‘Jack is leaving.’
It was known by a few, but rumour soon courted all their ears, until they were all aware that they were about to be abandoned, leaderless. Some cared, some sneered, some worried about the future, but most were indifferent. Since Richard’s death Jack had existed in a state of melancholy. His nerves were raw; a passionate and pleasant nature had now twisted into a temper fuelled with incoherent rage. His was a palpable grief, worsened by the feeling of utter dejection that had been his brother’s final gift. That he had left Jack, and the world, for another, was too abhorrent to consider. If the men at Burton felt leaderless and looked to the future with concern, Jack was adrift. The only person who could have reached out to still his destructive passage was dead. Jack listened to no-one.
‘Jack is going today.’
It was said amongst the men, quietly, and they considered the news. Would he pay them? Would he come back? Would he say anything at all? They pressed the only person who had any link at all with Jack, and they hoped for some answers. Dan, however, was reluctant to face him again. He was only too well aware of his state of mind and didn’t at all relish yet another confrontation. He’d tried, there was little more he could do. But they pressed him further, and eventually, he gave in and went in search of Jack.