.beyond death. | .hancock.

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Hancock tapped the side of the beer bottle before twisting the cap off with the inside of his frock coat. The cap slid into an inner pocket. He'd perfected that move a while ago. He smiled and tasted the brew. The beer was alright, for warm beer found in some absent scavver's stash. Now if only he could turn up a box of Mentats.

This place was truly a fuckin' hole-in-the-wall kinda place, not all that surprising once you crossed the river from Bunker Hill. Its jagged partial-roof sometimes protected them from the rain that fell, but thankfully four walls still stood in place (minus one teensy literal hole in the wall), and the wind moved the rain in a favorable direction. This large section of floor stayed relatively dry. The highway might've been safer, but hauling ass after smelling rain was a good call; they'd be soaked and chilled to the bone if they had moved any slower.

The absent scavver, probably the body MacCready'd spotted down the road from the building, had built a pretty good firepit on this third-floor shelter. The half-barrel of rusted steel had seen its fair share of fires, and now hosted another. Travis, host of Diamond City Radio, soothed the travel-weary crew from the static-free speaker of a radio. Hancock passed around some beers, figuring he couldn't let Travis do all the soothing. Preston declined, since he was on first watch, but Sam was a good little guest, and he pulled a similar move to Hancock.

"Nice trick." Hancock toasted with Sam. "Hope yours tastes better than mine."

Sam grimaced a little, but swallowed. "I've had worse."

"Same here."

They drank in relative silence-well, if you didn't count the low-volume song playing on the radio-until MacCready punctured it with a whisper. "Did you guys see that?"

Sam's face fell and he searched for the source, as if scouring for an infestation instead of whatever shadow the fire had flung MacCready's way. Of course, Hancock knew better than to doubt the eyes of MacCready, so maybe Sam was onto something. Sam held out his arm, then sniffed the air.

"You okay over there, Winchester?" said Deacon.

"What did you see?" Sam asked MacCready.

"Not sure, just a shadow of something."

The wind picked up, giving their fire a momentary strength, then threatening its very existence. The room chilled, and thunder rumbled.

"Never mind," MacCready said. "It was probably just a trick the lightning did. I must be tired."

Sam didn't buy it.

"You okay there, brother?" said Hancock, sharing a look with Deacon.

"Maybe." Sam searched the absent scavver's things, hitting up the tall tool chest and a rusty trunk first. The trunk didn't open.

"Let me have a look at that." Cait stood and fished through her pockets for a bobby pin, then knelt beside the trunk. "Hand me that screwdriver."

Sam passed it along, then continued his search elsewhere. "We need something made of pure iron."

"Here," said Deacon, standing to lend a hand, "let me just hop over to that massive zeppelin and bring back the Brotherhood of Steel's iron fist."

Hancock joined the search. What would it hurt? "I think we could find one on Mayor McDonough, too."

"Oh right, two iron fists."

"I'm serious," said Sam. "Uh, MacCready? You sure it was a shadow?"

MacCready furrowed his brow. "I thought it was a shadow, but now you're making me think it's not."

A flash of lightning, followed by an immediate shake.

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