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It didn't take long to make himself a sandwich. He kept it simple; peanut butter and jelly. Daniel hadn't wanted any medicine, which was weird. Usually the guy was all about self-medication, whether it was painkillers or alcohol. Bell snorted a bit at that. Maybe it was less interesting to Daniel when the medicine was just medicine, and didn't have a nice side effect.
He wandered back over to Daniel and sat down beside him, watching him lie there on the pile and be miserable while he ate his sandwich. It'd be nice if he could do something to help. He just felt useless, like this. And it wasn't like goat's blood could fix it, if the goatling wasn't doing anything. Daniel had to pull through on his own.
Bell reached out and touched Daniel's hair, gently stroking it. It felt a little sweaty now, and stringy, what with Daniel both sick and unwashed. He finished the last of the sandwich and just sat there for a minute, making up his mind. Go back out, or stay in? Hunt the lady, or watch Daniel?
Well, there was still a little time before she headed home. He could stay and make sure Daniel was doing alright before he left. "Do you have any idea what this is?" he asked. Maybe some of Daniel's coworkers had come down with the same symptoms. It'd reassure Bell some to be able to put a name to it, at the very least, whether it was the flu or some stomach bug. Plus, it'd give him an idea of how contagious it was.
He yawned and stretched, then laid down beside Daniel. Actually, he could use a little nap. Take an hour or two to recharge, then go out there at full power to hunt the lady, and maybe Daniel would be feeling a little better by then. It was a nice dream, anyways. Worst came to worst, he could use Spot, though honestly, he'd rather leave Spot here to defend Daniel. Leaving Daniel by himself was bothering him more than it should, especially since he'd essentially just left Daniel alone for five months--but it was different! The goat was watching out for Daniel then, made sure he was somewhere he couldn't get in trouble--basically the opposite of now.
He yawned again, more tired than he wanted to admit. Almost as if he hadn't slept well last night. Even though it was just a bad dream. "Wake me up if you need anything," he said, then closed his eyes.
Shit, being sick had sapped all his energy clear out of him. It was disturbing how easily he was felled by something like this -then again, people died from this stuff. Not that he'd been such a heavy drinker, but enough to feel pretty miserable when quitting. Daniel sighed out, numbly registering Spot was now next to him. Water materialised and Bell-boy’s concerned voice resounded.
Medicine? Valium, if anything, but asking Bell-boy to get that would raise suspicion, wouldn’t it? Daniel made a noise to let Bell know he’d heard, but didn’t express the need for anything. The way he was currently, Daniel didn’t think he could even hold down any pills. And by the time he could, he’d be feeling better. Unless they stuck the medicine up his ass. That could be nice.
Whatever. At least Bell-boy was convinced he was sick, that way he didn’t have to pretend no more. That in itself was a huge relief.
Daniel sighed out and relaxed, closing his eyes. Slowly, his body relaxed and stopped stressing out, stopped from making him feel as sick. He actually felt sort of okay. Misery came in shorter, more intense and exhausting waves now, it seemed.
He hoped it’d let up soon.
Couldn’t hunt like this.
Daniel slowly pushed up enough to reach for the water and with clumsy fingers twisted the cap free. The water was tepid at best, but that was probably for the best; his stomach couldn’t get a scare over tepid water as it would with cold. He drank just enough to rinse out the taste of bile and moisten his lips. Wouldn’t do to get dehydrated, that’d just worsen his problems. He put the water back and rested his forehead on his arms, waiting for his stomach to loosen up and behave. Spot’s wet nose touched his cheek and Daniel blindly petted the animal.
“I’ll be fine,” he muttered at the mutt.
Bell-boy could use Spot so they could hunt in a team, if necessary. The perks of secretly having three people around. This whole thing was embarrassing more than anything. If he didn’t feel as shitty, he might’ve enjoyed Bell-boy’s concern though, since it was kind of cute.
In the end, Daniel didn't have much to throw up. Daniel didn't reply to his suggestion they go home, but the compliant way he fell in line with Bell's urgings spoke volumes. He didn't even try to fight it and stay out hunting, just followed Bell home silently. Bellwether hovered beside him as he walked, suddenly paranoid of everyone and everything. What if something attacked while Daniel was sick and weak? What if the hunters came back? It couldn't be some effect of lady-goat, could it? He didn't know. This was no good. No good at all.
He didn't feel safe until he'd fastened the chain behind them and everyone was safe inside. Daniel wasted no time in plopping down on the pile. Spot curled up beside him, concerned, while Bell hurried to the kitchenette. He fetched Daniel a bottle of water and returned, putting it down within reach. "Do you want anything? I could make a run for medicine," he said, glancing at the door. "Or soda, or whatever..." Soda always made him feel better when he was feeling puky.
Hopefully whatever Daniel had wasn't contagious. If they were both out, they'd just be fucked. Maybe Spot would take care of them. Why wasn't the goatling doing anything? Shouldn't it heal the sickness? Or maybe this was one of those things that the goat couldn't do anything about, like the fluids thing.
Bell looked at the door. If he went back out, he could stake out the lady--he didn't need Daniel for that. But then again, he didn't want to make a kill with Daniel sick. Could attract the attention of the hunters, and then they'd be really screwed. He scratched the back of his head. He didn't know! He didn't want to leave Daniel here, all alone and sick, but he didn't really know what he could do to help. Nervous energy propelled him to his feet, ace he wandered to the kitchenette and set about making himself a sandwich. At the very least, he needed lunch, and if they weren't going out, he'd make do. Though he didn't expect Daniel would join him. Not if he'd just puke it up again.
Bell-boy’s hand against his back was steadying him out a little, giving him some stability. Alcohol-withdrawal was a messy business. Daniel breathed in, taking long, deep breaths to ease up the taut muscles in his back and stomach. He was shaking. It was embarrassing. Bell-boy didn’t take long to conclude he was sick and answered his own question by stating they ought to go back. Yeah, joy, sit inside that stuffy, abandoned women’s clothes store and do nothing but feel miserable.
They’d already slept in, he wasn’t tired just. Yeah, sick. In a way. He wasn’t really in a position to reply as another heave threatened to uproot the lining of his stomach.
Spot leaned against him when he was done, and Daniel knew the mutt felt the same thing Bell-boy did. Half part frustration, half part concern. Disappointment, maybe, because they were close to finding all the ingredients to making this lady disappear.
He heaved a breath and stood a little straighter, both hands against the wall. His stomach was calming down a little already.
There were only a few strands of saliva mixed with bile and cereal he’d managed to expel and there couldn’t be much more.
He took a few seconds to calm down and was too weary to fight Bell-boy and Spot’s coaxing him back home. Daniel wiped a shaky hands by his mouth and sighed.
The words ‘I’m fine’ died on his lips. He wasn’t fine. Anything but fine.
Though he wasn’t sick either, it was probably easier to tell Bell-boy he was. Fake it was some type of flu or whatever would solve the stigma of alcoholism. Walking made him feel better, relaxed the tightened muscles a fair amount. He felt somewhat capable of producing words by the time the dilapidated store came into view.
“We shouldn’t waste the opportunity to intercept the woman,” he pointed out. It’d be a shame. Probably wouldn’t make any moves today anyway, but it’d set them back an entire day if they missed her route again. Or they could get up early tomorrow. Just the thought made his stomach complain.
It was stuffy inside the store, but the lack of sunshine glaring in his face felt good. Daniel trudged over to their makeshift pile and all but collapsed on top of it, resting on his stomach. Better. Much better.
Bell nodded, biting back the urge to snap back with the fact that he'd noticed. Being snappy wasn't going to help Daniel get over a shitty mood. Daniel leaned against the wall while he took stock, failing to be useful again. Whatever. Something had bit Daniel bad, and he was going to be in a mood until he got over it. Nothing anyone could do about that.
Nothing particularly special about this alley, except that it was a little narrower than the first and didn't reek of garbage. If the lady came by this way, it'd serve them well. Should be right on her route home, though, so it was perfect. If they hung out around here, they could confirm that, and then it wasjust a matter of waiting until they could get her alone. He smiled, already able to almost taste it. The hunt was on, and he'd missed it more than he'd realized.
Lunch? "Sure," Bell agreed. Why not. Didn't want Daniel to throw another hissy fit by insisting they go back, and honestly, it wasn't his money and hot food sounded good. There was a place right across the way that looked perfect, the smells tempting him from across the road. He headed towards it, then stopped when he realized Daniel wasn't following. Confused, he looked over his shoulder and found the man bracing himself against the wall, body shaking with dry heaves.
"You are sick," he accused Daniel, hurrying to his side. He put his hand on Daniel's back in an attempt to comfort him; the man was taut, whole body rigid and shaking, and felt a little too warm to Bell. "Shit," he muttered, patting Daniel's back awkwardly. "Should we head back? We should head back." He should've sent Daniel back right when he'd first noticed the man was acting strange. If he had some kind of flu, he'd only make it worse by walking around like this.
Spot returned, tail wagging, though it drooped when he saw Daniel. The dog gave Bell a look that Bell couldn't quite interpret and leaned against Daniel, pushing him back towards their makeshift home. "You can't hunt like this," Bell reasoned.
Laws were meant to be broken.
Daniel realized his mood was just as polluted as a sewage-addled river, so there was no way this discussion was going to end well if they just kept going and frankly, a shitty river wasn't a reason to break up a good marriage. The lake had been decent, but also in the middle of nowhere. That meant the heavier sewage became sediment somewhere else along the river before the water ended up in said lake.
Not so much for this part though.
"Sorry," Daniel sighed. "I'm just in the shittiest mood," he excused. Not exactly an excuse, but at least an apology. If he could get something to drink, he'd feel better, behave better. That much was for certain, but he wasn't about to give in and be weak. No way.
He licked his lips. Tempting.
Ever so tempting.
They paused at another alley, and Daniel figured this one would pass the bill rather than the one they'd encountered before. Figured.
He leaned against the wall, crossing his arms and waiting for Bell-boy's memory to make a nice little scan. Why didn't everyone have a perfect memory? It couldn't be hard.
Daniel nodded at a cheap-looking place.
"How about some lunch? Or would you rather go back to eat something there?" Daniel offered. He hoped beyond hopes he'd feel better after something to eat. Or at least a coffee or something. Caffeine probably wasn't going to improve matters much. They could relax in the food-place until it was about time they intercepted the woman returning with her kid. What time had it been they'd sighted her anyway? Late afternoon?
He knew it was the few shitty hours before they got no sleep.
Daniel felt his stomach churn. It was sickening and he swallowed down the sensation, trying to breathe through the nausea. Maybe Bell-boy's prediction was going to come true and his largest attack on this goat would puking on the lady's boots.
He took off his glasses and wiped away some sweat. It was about then his stomach gave. Daniel leaned against the wall with one arm, forehead pressed against the nook the elbow made and he gagged. Nothing. Shit tasted sour as well.
"Fuck," he muttered, frustrated with himself more than anything else.
Daniel was getting weirdly worked up about the river. Bell was starting to feel as though they were arguing from a million miles away about completely different rivers. No one used the river for a sewer here, aside from a few homeless, and then it wasn't much difference to the river compared to all the animals that used it. There were laws against putting sewage in rivers, so normal types didn't do it. For the most part, the water was clean-ish. People swam in rivers all the time. But according to Daniel, they should all have pneumonia. What did Daniel think had fed the lake they swam in, hopes and dreams? In the end, he just shrugged, too lost to keep fighting. Fine, rivers were dirty. But he couldn't resist a parting shot. "There's laws against that," he muttered, when Daniel mentioned sewage flowing into the river. "And we already swam in a river, so I win. Where do you think that lake came from, huh?"
Never become a teacher? It wasn't exactly in the cards. He just gave Daniel a weird look at that one, completely lost. Daniel was in a mood today with a capital M. No matter what he said, it was fighting words. He hadn't expected his suggestion to go over well but Daniel was just nasty about shooting it down. And he'd grimaced and moved away at the nudge. Didn't even want to be touched. Bell ran a hand through his hair, feeling his patience run out. Honestly. What was wrong with Daniel? He wouldn't even say, so Bell just had to suffer and take whatever Daniel wanted to dish out. He frowned and furrowed his brows, frustrated in silence. Couldn't win, he really couldn't win.
Further down the way, they passed an empty lot, too shallow to hide any kind of violence, then a narrow alley. Bell gave it a good look, memorizing the location. Might be easier to scare her down there, have the other waiting at the other end to box her in. He got the feeling that Daniel wasn't going to help him look. Whatever was bothering him was keeping him from observing the street, it felt like. At least it wasn't like Bell had never done this on his own before.
"Please don't treat me like a retard, I can see the river flows that way, come on..." He groaned out of sheer frustration. It was obvious shit flowed down-stream, but they were just as much down-stream from the rest of the river here, so he sure hoped not too many people took a shit in it. "There's no such thing as an 'upstream' unless you're at the source," Daniel bit out.
"And you don't think sewage spills into the river or the new water that flows from here to there," he pointed in a mock-repeat of Bell-boy's earlier pointing, "isn't just as polluted? That's just naive." Daniel dead-panned, semi-curious now and tired of the discussion because Bell-boy failed to see they were having the argument because of cultural differences and not a difference of opinion. Or maybe Bell-boy's notions were just old-fashioned.
And apparently Bell-boy saw the need to explain how flowing water worked.
That's how people in some backwards countries reasoned and those people never really got clean either. Or they did because other people used detergent as well, polluting the river real nice. Fact was, most of them did see shit floating down while washing up. So in what country did water mixed with faecal matter not equate to pneumonia and other interesting diseases?
"Even pre-schools serve lunch? What the hell, you're living in a weird country. I'm done with this shit." He pushed up to stand straight, having used up his patience for discussions like these.
What was up with school organized lunches for kids that young anyway? Didn't parents get a choice? He suddenly understood why parents in America went through such lengths to make sure their school of choice was the right one. If you were unlucky, they'd stuff their little students full of trash. Seemed sad, somehow.
Daniel just gave Bell-boy a look. Sure, after being belligerent, he got his hair messed up to. Bell-boy just loved treating him like a kid, didn't he?
"Never become a teacher," he stressed. Bell-boy sucked at it. Daniel's limited patience was probably no help, nor was his foul mood.
Even their sparring never really taught him anything, other than that cheating worked and there was no sense in using any tactics or strategies. And no sense in fighting to start with, because fighting like that, really? It was just an accident waiting to happen.
Maybe they ought to use Spot differently.
The dog was bounding away so merrily, and had a shorter line to Sinewy-goat than Bell-boy did to Bell-goat. Rather than a fighter, they ought to make him a sniffing-dog. Mutt would be useful if he could track other goats.
"What?" he started at the nudge. It'd landed wrong and it exacerbated the nausea. He held his stomach to ward off more nudging. Oh, nice, a burnt-down building.
"No she won't, she'll call the cops and then we'll go where she wants; jail," Daniel pointed out. "Something about people here being fiercely protective of their children, as you pointed out earlier." At least Bell-boy couldn't accuse him of not listening and learning.
Bridges sure hadn't ever given him pneumonia. Bell just shrugged, not sure what to make of that statement.
"Well, it's flowing, you see, so the water takes the shit thataway," he pointed with the water, "and new water comes down from thataway," he pointed the other direction, "and so you can wash up in the fresh stuff and the shit floats away. As long as you're upstream, no worries." It didn't always work out perfectly, but as long as the toilet spot was downstream of the washing spot, there weren't any unfortunate collisions.
"I mean," Bell said, confused by Daniel's statement, "most people don't use the river that way, but in a pinch...?"
Daniel turned and hung his head, pressing it against his hands. Bell frowned. He did [i not] look alright, despite Daniel's many protests that he was perfectly fine. Daniel looked more like he was about to vomit than about to take down a goat. When he started talking to Spot, Bell just shook his head. Something was wrong. Daniel might think he was being real slick about it, but the last thing this was, was slick. The man was sick, somehow or another.
"People don't usually take their kids home for lunch," Bell said with a yawn. Was that why Daniel had wanted to stake this place out so early? "Schools have a cafeteria, you know." He pushed away from the railing and ruffled Daniel's hair. "Yeah, yeah, we gotta. Don't wanna use that nasty-ass alley unless we have to."
He stretched, then turned abruptly and pointed. "She came from that direction, right? Let's start down that way, then." He took the lead, glancing back to make sure Daniel wasn't too sick to fall in line. Spot leaped ahead, excited by something; what, Bell couldn't tell. Maybe he knew there was a hunt coming. Actually... how would Spot respond to that? He gave the dog a look. There was a him in there, who understood what hunting was and what they were doing. Spot would definitely help, at the very least. As much as a dog was able to hunt.
They left the river behind, moving back into the city proper as he traced back to the place where they'd seen her yesterday. As they passed by a burned-out storefront, he nudged Daniel. Might be a place.
"Another thing to consider is kidnapping the kid," he suggested quietly as they walked. "If we can get our hands on him, she'll go wherever we want." Of course, there was the chance that she'd go to the police first, and they'd have to get the kid, somehow, but it was always an option.
"Hmph, bridges don't make nice roofs, they give you pneumonia," Daniel snorted. It'd probably be different in a milder climate though. The water back where he came from was so polluted that washing in it was sure to give you at least several diseases, especially if you couldn't wash up afterwards. Taking a shit in said water, that was the only good thing you could do with it.
"And how does washing up in water people shit in work, huh?" he posed, shaking his head.
"Things sure are different around here," Daniel added demurely. Things had been different. Even though everyone spoke the same language, it was different all the same. People weren't as polite, but then they weren't direct either. Closer, that too. No to little respect to personal space. He didn't mind as much when it was Bell-boy, but other people had a knack for surprising him with their sudden proximity.
"Hmm, maybe it's not a good idea. We should find a place," he mused, thoughts drifting off. He was a little sweaty again for no good reason, other than the scorching sun. The sunglasses had trouble guarding against the shimmering from the water's surface.
Daniel hung his head, resting his forehead on the hands he put on the railing of the fence. He wanted a nice, fluffy and soft bed, for Bell-boy to be right there, perhaps accompanied by several more beautiful people and they could drink and eat and have a good time. Who needed reality anyway?
Spot was sniffing around his legs and Daniel opened his eyes to stare into the deep brown eyes of the be-speckled mutt.
"What?" Spot turned its head, as if to say 'you're in denial, what's wrong', but that might just be his imagination. Eventually something distracted Spot enough to pull his gaze away from Daniel though and he was off the hook. For now.
"I guess the best time to intercept her is after she's dropped off the kid at school," Daniel figured. Anything to take his mind off of how he felt physically.
He turned away from the water, facing the same direction Bell-boy did. "If she's not taking the kid from school for lunch, it'll be a while. Why don't we look for a quiet place?" He glanced at Bell-boy. Last time he'd suggested that, he'd had to explain. And Bell-boy's memory had lapsed so badly they'd missed out on a kill.
"Bridges make handy roofs," Bell pointed out. "And because of what you just pointed out, no one else pokes around the riverbanks too often, but people like walking along the river--you know, up here and out of the mud, not under bridges--so it's a nice place to busk. Besides, river's running water. There's usually a breeze, keeps the bugs away from the very immediate area." He wasn't going to deny there were mosquitos--there were--but as long as they stayed close to the water, the breeze kept the most of them away. If they went further away, that was when they'd get in trouble. "You can wash in the river, swim and cool off if it's hot, and, you know, running water, so if you have to take a shit it doesn't usually stick around. And you can fish, too. Free food, free shelter, a good deal all around." Not that he'd expected Daniel to get it. City boy had probably never lived by a river.
Back to Daniel's way or the highway, huh? Daniel was seriously moody right now. If he wasn't sick, then something else was bugging him. Daniel loosened his hand when Bell poked it, but it just started shaking, for some reason. Was he sick? It'd explain a whole lot.
Daniel insisted he wasn't, though Bell wasn't convinced. But if he wanted to stay and hunt, Bell wouldn't push it. Whatever was going on with Daniel would sort itself out, or it wouldn't, and then they'd have to address it, but either way it clearly hadn't come to a head yet, so it should be fine. As long as it didn't come to a head when they were beating the lady's skull in.
Drown the woman? Bell started to scoff, then stopped. Huh. He'd never drowned a goat before. "Huh," he said. "It's... not impossible." He looked at Daniel, considering. They'd have to beat a goat in the water, which would only make a slippery creature more slippery, but at the same time, he hadn't found anywhere else to quietly kill her yet. "Well... yeah, we could try that," he said thoughtfully. Now that Daniel had mentioned it, he was really curious. [i Could] they drown a goat? Probably, right? They were only human.
Until they weren't.
"Always around the river? What kind of retarded assumption is that?" Daniel stared at the river as if it'd spat up something vile. "If it's too hot, you'll just get your sucked dry by mosquitoes and when it's cold, the vapour from the water is just going to make shit worse," he pointed out. The idea of going on the back wasn't even worthy of a reply. Were the vagrants around here daft or something? Or was it because they had no other means of coming by water? Either way river-water was foul; unsuited for drinking. There were better ways to get something to drink.
Just the thought made his lips dry.
But then, it was a nice day in general.
"Let's forget I ever mentioned the alley, okay?" Daniel pointed out. After Bell-boy having shot it down once, the idea really didn't need another truck running it over. Daniel sighed, aware he was having a short fuse.
He couldn't help it though. Everything seemed to just crawl under his skin and set off his temper.
Daniel looked up and focussed on Bell-boy when the man poked his hand, fingertips examining the white of his knuckles. He relaxed them an inch, but that only brought the tremor back, so Daniel unfolded his arms and shrugged.
"I'm fine," Daniel muttered.
"I'm not going to puke up on the lady, don't worry," he assured Bell-boy, though he wasn't entirely sure he wouldn't. Either way there wasn't much to throw up and the cereal wasn't the type of food that unsettled easily.
He stepped up to the fence and rested his elbows on it, leaning on the cool metal. One hand ran his hair back -as if it wasn't already sufficiently dishevelled.
"It's fine," he said with a little less conviction.
Not as if they'd get a kill in today anyway. Too risky. They'd barely even found a nice place to bring the woman back to, unless they wanted to drown her in the river. Daniel watched the water. They could, he surmised. Easily too. The goat wouldn't really mind the water, so if they stayed in the shallows -no. Bad idea.
It'd change into a fish or something of that ilk and escape.
Few goats had escaped them though. It was as if they were keen to fight. Which was good, because so were they.
"What if we drown the woman?" Daniel suggested.
"Vagrants always hang out by the river," Bell defended his choice. "We can go down on the bank if you'd rather?" He glanced over his shoulder at the small space between the river and the fence. It was mostly mud, a little sand mixed in here and there. If anything, it'd be weirder to be down there, and harder to get back up, but it didn't reek with the power of a thousand suns and it wasn't in plain sight. "Or we could go back to your alley, if you really want," he added reluctantly. It really reeked, though. Wasn't there somewhere around here that was hidden, and also not disgusting?
In the end, Daniel didn't move on, so Bell shifted, getting a little more comfortable. If Daniel wanted to go somewhere else, he could lead the way. Bell would follow, but he was fairly pleased with his spot right here. He didn't see the need to find somewhere else.
"Peaceful, though," Bell commented. More peaceful than getting hunted twenty-four seven and hounded across the world, just sitting here and watching the world go by. And there was a river. Felt just like home.
Daniel didn't seem at peace, though. He had a weird expression on his face, like something was paining him but he didn't want to show it, and was gripping his arms tight enough his knuckles turned white. Was it because they'd been talking about Alice earlier? But that didn't seem right. For one, Bell didn't think he'd tease Bell so mercilessly about the girl if this was Daniel's own reaction to bringing up his 'girl.'
He poked Daniel's hand, touching the white part of his knuckles. "Hey, are you okay, though? You've been acting weird since yesterday. You sick or something? We can go home. No point in hunting if you're just going to vomit all over the lady." He'd go back out and stake her out on his own, of course. It wasn't like he needed to be home to watch Daniel sick all over himself. And chances were, there wouldn't be a convenient opportunity to kill the goat today, and he'd just sit out in the heat and watch so he got an idea of her routine. If Daniel was sick, he might as well take the day off to recover.
"I'm not suggesting we hang around the school, Bell-boy, I'm not stupid, but it'll give us an idea of where the woman's going to come from," he explained, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. He instantly regretted the action too, his headache amplifying. Sometimes the things he said got the weirdest interpretation in Bell-boy's head.
He sighed out. Staying further away really got them nowhere in a short amount of time, did it? Given, the alley was just a bad idea.
Actually, if they killed the woman in that stinky alley, any rescuer would recoil before approaching. He wasn't seriously considering it though. Bell-boy held at the river again and Daniel just waited for the man to continue walking.
"Really? This is where we're going to wait? If they are as hostile to people as you say they are, hanging around for a longer period of time anywhere in sight is going to get us in trouble. That includes the river where we've already been sighted hanging about before," Daniel pointed out.
No one wanted a couple of vagrants to hang around, let alone settle, in their town -for fear of criminality. It didn't seem like the place to really be conscious of its own populace, but there had to be only one vigilant and slightly territorial person to get them into a mess.
No, if they wanted to wait somewhere, it'd have to be more hidden than this.
"I miss beating a goat's head in, the hunt's...this is just the boring part, isn't it?" Daniel said, crossing his arms.
"Used to miss this bit just because we never got a rest," he shrugged and chuckled. His hands were trembling, so he kept them tight, clutching his arms in what Daniel hoped was inconspicuous enough to go unnoticed.
His body was bouncing between feeling shitty and okay at the beat of some unseen clock. Probably coinciding with his usual rhythm of taking in alcohol. It was better when they walked, because then there was an outlet for the nervous energy off-setting him.
All in all, Daniel doubted the woman would walk by the river. The chance of a kid accidentally drowning was too great a risk.
He turned the way Daniel pointed. Sure, it was where the kid had come from, but they'd get sent to the police for being pedophiles if they lounged within a hundred yards of a daycare or elementary school. People were pretty sensitive about that kind of thing. Not without reason, he supposed. He and Daniel were hardly pedophiles, but they weren't wishing good things upon the child, either. He wondered briefly how the kid would do without his mother, then shrugged. There'd be a father. The woman had looked well off. In this emancipated age, she could be earning her own pay, true, but then the child would have a nanny because mommy would be at work and not able to walk baby about. They wouldn't be leaving this child an orphan.
Bell shook his head, waking from his thoughts. "No, uh... I dunno how it is overseas, but listen, people don't play around in these parts. If we hang around the school, we'll get sent to the police office before the day's out." Better to stay a little further away and not rouse any unneeded attention.
But maybe not this far away. Bell peeked his head in the alley and scrunched his nose. "Hate to keep shooting down your ideas, but she'll smell us coming," he said, waving a hand in front of his face. Phew. It might only be spring, but it was hot enough to be mistaken for summer, and the garbage was putting out a stink that'd put any summer dumpster to shame.
"Yeah," he agreed. It'd been a long time. He didn't really have anything to say on the topic, but then he realized it for what it was; an attempt to get away from Alice and that awkward moment when Bell hadn't been able to laugh at a stupid joke. He coughed, then continued. "Yeah, I've kind of missed it, actually. Kind of nuts, but it's true."
They were coming up on the river again. It was a straight shot from here to the lady's house; be easy enough to wait here and watch down the whole street. There were no conveniently-placed benches, but Bell didn't mind. He leaned against the railing instead, listening to the water rush by behind him. How long had it been since he'd staked anyone out? Forever, it felt.
"You too?" he asked, looking at Daniel. Had Daniel missed it, too?
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