Flew the Coop

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Ultimately, the cops never showed up. I'm usually not one to be comforted by the presence of armed police people nearby. It seems like getting attacked in the street in broad daylight is making me rethink my views. Not really, but still. Where are those damn coppers the only time you need them?

With the paranoid streak of thoughts that has started to become common since I learned that mysterious cult was after us, I find myself expecting that they got to the police too. Or maybe the cops are in on it? Part of it?

All of it is unnecessary speculation. My head hurts, it's way too early to make up conspiracy theories. It's barely breakfast time.

Nathan gestures at me from the other end of the table, his mouth full of toast. Poor kid, I must look pretty out of it this morning.

"What?" I say. I look around at what he's pointing, lift a few of the table's things in the air only to see him shake his head to say 'that's not it'. He mimes spreading something on toast. The jam! He wants the jam.

"Here you go," I say. Between us, Domenica keeps scattering paper around, reading at the table. I was always told it was bad manners, but hey, she seems to have raised Nathan to be pretty all right. I spread butter on a warm toast and put it in her mouth. She lets out a muffled 'thank you'.

Yeah, you'd better thank me, girl. Feeding you while you pay no attention whatsoever to me, that's only gonna fly while we're in the lovebirds phase. I might as well admit how smitten I am, though. I'm really sensitive to these little situations, like waking up with a partner.

Once again nothing racy happened, not because we were hammered or I was anxious like last time, but rather because little Nathan slept in between us. After a real bogeymen attack, you don't want to sleep alone, not even if you're all quiet and reasonable. I suspect Domenica was also relieved to have him close. No matter how stressed or scared I get, I only have myself to protect. I wonder if having to care for someone that strongly makes you weaker or stronger. Maybe both: life does have a strange tendency to balance things out.

For me it was a little weird, but warm, the kind of warmth you stop getting when you can't rely on your parents to get it anymore. The sense of a family. This morning I actually woke up quite a while before them. I sleep much better on my own than if I have to care about whose leg I'm bumping into and which blanket I have to wrestle with. Nathan had a knee on my back, Domenica had let her arm fall over him so her hand brushed against my ribs. Beside it being objectively uncomfortable, if felt safe, like the direct contact with random body parts was proof that we stood together. I stayed in that half-awakened state for a while, didn't dare to move. I was afraid to break that link, to allow them to leave me alone. Have I always been so greedy about relationships?

I didn't care about not wake-up alarm, and it felt right. Not mentioning how the work hours seem to be kind of loosely set up at the factory - seems to fit after what we learned yesterday -, there is the matter of it being pretty dangerous to me altogether. Just because I pretended to be brave so Domenica wouldn't have to be even more reckless doesn't mean I'm ready. It doesn't mean I'm sure this is a good idea either. It simply beats all the alternatives. Letting Domenica go sounds pretty stupid. Calling the cops hasn't worked yet, but I'm working on it. Last but not least, not doing anything seems as dangerous as the first option. I have a hard time thinking people who are gone enough to come and do scare tactics in broad daylight are gonna quiet down after one attempt. We need protection. Me, but mainly Domenica and Nathan, who's the most likely to be easily cornered when going to school or something like that. If the threat becomes too real, I'll just ditch work. I don't know him well, but I care about little Nat. No matter what happens next, I'll be protecting him the best I can.

I get prepped for work while Domenica gets the table clean again in a sleight of hand. In order to help I'm going to head out a little early and go directly to the police station. No matter how incompetent they have been on this case, they still need to hear what happened.

"Domenica? Do you want to come with?" I say. Maybe she'd be better at explaining, and I doubt I can ask for protection if I'm not the attack's target. She shakes her head and refuses.

"I'll slow you down," she says, running a hand through my hair like it's the most natural thing in the world. I'm stumped and happy. Nathan is focused on his breakfast. We're getting the steps all wrong, ain't we? I'm pretty glad both of us have a lot of goodwill to spare, otherwise I'm afraid this relationship wouldn't have worked even five minutes.

The day is pretty chilly at this time. Looking in the gutter confirms what I suspected: it hailed again last night. For all I know it could very well be magical hail. Cursing my cowardice I cross over to the street while attempting not to touch any of it. Stupid cults and ghosts, stupid me.

The police station is more than half-way to Tig's place. It might be a good idea to stop by and ask about Leon, if he had acted strangely lately. I'm not sure I'll have enough spare time to do that. I go down the small streets, wind picking me up on the way. The world feels bright and fresh. A layer peels in front of my eyes, revealing how much of my attention was used by my sleepiness. It's better than coffee. I cycle the lengthy boulevard that runs along Yolkside. While most of it is well-kept grassy hills that have to be watered, there are some good patches of trees that look like a baby forest. The perks of living in a tropical area: you know you can't stop nature. After a sudden left turn the police station is in sight, shoved in a back alley like it's no big deal. No shop, no other institution would be build there. Maybe it makes sense for the cops not to be reactive when this is the kind of money they have. I'm torn: I'm happy we're in a city that has usually no need for cops and at the same time, right now I'd really love to have people with legal use of force on my side.

The building is small. Part of a length of row houses, it looks like a regular home decorated with a police sign and bars on the windows. The door is pretty sturdy looking, though. I ring. I ring again, call out, bang the door. No one answers. Seriously? At half past nine in the morning, on a week day? Now this is incompetence at its finest.

Looking at the time, I can't really swing by Tig's either. Tonight, hopefully. I'd be worried even if she was mentally stable right now, given how her main support has possibly been kidnapped by a cult, or who knows what. The fact that I only saw him once at the factory then never again is ominous. Wasn't Dave the one who steered me away from him when I called him out? I should have known the old bastard was up to something. Thinking back on him and how the attack on Domenica's house seems to have been motivated by what I told him, I hope he's low on the food chain of whatever that cult is. Because if he directly ordered the attack, if they reported back to him, I'm sort of screwed. He'll know and he'll know I know. Going back there, no matter how important it is, is reckless.

I steel myself, breathe deeply and go back to my back. Time to face the music.


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