The pursuers of him and his older brother had already passed by below, unable to notice that they had climbed up the scaffolding. He put a piece of bread in his mouth and chewed slowly, his gaze focused on something in the distance. As he watched a sparrow duck in and out from behind a piece of grating in the wall, the corners of his mouth curled.
“Hey. You’re smiling,” his brother said.
The expression slipped.
“Hu,” he said turning to his older brother.
“You don’t smile like that unless you have a plan. Wha-What are you thinking about?”
His eyes were open.
“What are you thinking?” a man in the room was asking another.
Again. He breathed in, closed his eyes, and counted. The people in the room finished their conversation on the areas of town that should be avoided. When the room was left empty, he sat himself up.
Yesterday. What had he been doing yesterday? The door clicked as someone re-entered the room and stopped when they saw The Stranger sitting there.
“What?” The Stranger asked him.
The visitor stayed silent. Then he reached over and turned off the light.
“Thanks for the groceries,” he said, before leaving for good.
Oh ya. He had been doing that and there had been that girl again. He must have taken to many shots to the head while trying to finish up that shopping list during the evening thaw. But, why say thanks for something like that.
Well, he couldn’t go back to sleep now. Maybe he could go visiting. He got up, and for the first time walked the opposite direction of the front door to get to the staff room. He opened the door and received quire a few stares from the group members relaxing around the tables, but he ignored this and went over to fruit bowl of the counter where he picked up and examined the selection.
“Hey. Do you work here?” one of them asked as he put one apple in his pocket and picked up another.
He looked to the speaker.
“As of last month. Why?”
“Well, I’ve never seen you before,” the man said simply.
“Likewise,” The Stranger said.
He picked a ripe pear and left them to figure it out. What sort of day would it be he wondered. Of course, a normal day would be the best. He opened the door and it was stopped as it was caught. Odalas stood on the other side holding it. They watched one another. The Stranger noticed that Odalas had been looking down and not paying attention.
“Do you need something?” The Stranger asked him.
“Sorry,” Odalas said letting go of the door so that it could swing open.
The man sidestepped his way past. The Stranger blinked, concluded that he was becoming paranoid as a result of prolonged seclusion, and continued his stride. It was odd to see people out and about looking quite happy that day despite the result of the freeze the day before, but he supposed that from a competition standpoint everyone was better off.
As usual, his path ended at the crumbling bridge. He leaned against its outside arch as he waited, and focused his eyes up on one of the brighter lights above. It was easy to imagine himself elsewhere on occasions such as these, but the reality he was in was not to be undermined. He absently listened to the everyday conversation of the small group sitting in the dirt under the arch. A lot of bad things and wishful thinking came from there, the sort of thing that put him to sleep. This time he decided that he would stand here for a week if he had to.
“Have you heard of Dominic Odalas?”
The Stranger’s thoughts dropped off.
“That mob leader.”
“Ya. Ya, They say his daughter died this morning, left down by the bank.”
“Is he going to resign?”
“I don’t think he would ever. He would be killed too if he did that.”
“Who?” The Stranger asked himself.
“Did you say something?”
One of the speakers stuck their head out.
“Oh, it’s that guy. Did you say something?” she asked.
The Stranger looked at her, but couldn’t figure out what he had wanted. He rubbed his hand in front of his face.
“I’m sorry I just…”
“Don’t be shy,” she said, “What do you need to know?”
“Do-Do you know who it was that killed her?”
“Funny thing that,” another from under the bridge said, “The killer left his address at the scene.”
What he thought. The scene. He saw the girl watching him.
“Ah. Here,” he said taking the apples out of his pocket and handing them to the girl.
“If he comes by, tell my brother James that I am…sorry.”