Trajan wondered how long E-Z would wait, knew he would circle back to see for himself what had become of the girl he’d left behind. Trajan gambled on the innate laziness that E-Z and his brother both shared. He thought to himself: What would Bunny do?
Trajan kept low as high beams swerved into the gravel lot again. He held Deanna down alongside him while the spotlight mounted to the side of E-Z’s patrol truck swept back and forth over their heads a couple times and then switched off. The truck scrambled from the lot. Trajan guessed E-Z would set up along the roadside and wait for him to break toward Preston—or toward Ledyard to take Deanna home if she’d managed to survive the pond.
Deanna pushed her arms through the sleeves of Trajan’s jacket, reached for his hand as he helped her to her feet. She was still unsure where she was and how she’d gotten there, but she recognized that he meant her no harm. She was, however, quite certain she was not getting back in the water. And there was nothing Trajan could say to persuade her to follow him across the train bridge and leave the same way they’d entered. It was just as well. E-Z would be waiting, weaving back and forth between the few roadways that crossed the river if they attempted to head straight home.
Trajan started toward Sylvia Lane, Deanna dragging behind him, tugging at his elbow about needing to get home. They trudged deeper into the woods, heading in the only direction Trajan knew to go: farther away from E-Z. A smattering of light eventually came streaming through the thinning tree line: shiny things, man-made things, things that might see them home safely.
They swashbuckled their way down a grassy slope at just past two in the morning, angling their descent, reaching the pavement thirty yards from the place where they’d exited the woods. The courtyard outside the apartments was teeming with activity, the drug trade in Norwichtown obeying no fixed schedule. Trajan approached the first face he came upon.
“Do you know where I can find Luscius?” he asked.
The face paused, searching the skin and bone of him, the half-dressed white girl tagging along beside him. “I don’t know any Luscius,” the face responded in the darkness.
Trajan continued between clusters of people. His question was met each time with the same shuttered ignorance, nobody willing to claim knowledge of the man for whom they were no doubt busily plying their trade.
A pair of eyes followed him, had been on him since he and Deanna entered the courtyard. “Young boi, what you doing out here?”
“I need to find Luscius.”
The man’s eyes took their turn to study him, to survey his frazzled sidekick. “You know Luscius?” he asked, not waiting to hear Trajan’s response. He produced a phone from his pocket and began speaking fast and low in Kreyol.
“I helped him once at Fort Shantok,” Trajan added, pleading his case. “Turned tracks for him in the snow.”
The man turned to the phone again, relaying the bit about the snow. “Bred’ren,” he offered, echoing the words spoken on the other end of the line.
“Yes!” Trajan answered, beaming. “He called me brother, said I should come see him if there’s anything I needed.”
“What is it you need?” the man asked.
“To get home,” Trajan replied, Deanna still antsy by his side. The man spoke into his phone one last time. “Wait here,” he said.
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