“Take Gray, keep him safe.”
There was no more time left for arguing, nothing he could do but obey his father. Gripping Gray’s hand in his own, he ran, dragging his little brother behind him, the hot sand dragging at their feet and slowing them just when they needed every ounce of speed they could muster.
Stumbling onwards, struggling to keep going despite the treacherous footing, he didn’t notice Gray fall, didn’t register the loss of the small hand he’d been holding. Not until he reached the edge of the beach did he realise that he’d failed.
Gray was gone.