“Let’s get this desire of yours absolutely clear, you want an invitation to go outside with Mr Paranoid and his shotgun, instead of staying in here, doing needlework, nice and safe?”
“Invited or not, I’m coming. You need me to watch your back.”
I never considered asking her for help. It’s a man thing.
“Will you do what I say?”
She nods unconvincingly, evaluating my alertness and mindset.
“Excellent. Let’s go. I took so many uppers I’ll be bouncing off the walls soon. Get dressed in your finest armour, young lady, the intricacies of servicing a genset await.”
The spare leather jacket is a bad fit. Way too big.
“Take it off. You’ll be safer without it.”
She looks at me questioningly. Instead of explaining, I blank my face and paw at her arm in close imitation of a Creepy. I snag a fold of leather and proceed to jerk her back and forth by this handhold until she staggers.
“Quit it. That hurts.”
The jacket is tossed aside and she rubs red marks from rough treatment.
“Hurts more when they start biting. Just wear boots and whatever tears off you the easiest. Might I suggest a bikini?”
She rolls her eyes at a practised leer and retires to change into the camo-pants and halter top worn when we met. There’d not been much to offer her in the way of women’s clothing here since I’m not bent that way.
Amphetamines have interesting side effects that nurture rash thoughts and unpredictable actions. Psyching up for the excursion builds an agitated state ripe for its exploitation. A roof side reconnaissance and perusal of the surrounds are casually skipped. Their prominence as first steps on an inviolable checklist overlooked.
Unusually the omission is not motivated by laziness. I ride a cresting wave, gambling it will overcome fear-clouded senses. Having a monster clamped to ones face creates traumas that have no positive bearing on scales already unbalanced by alarmism.
The time comes to proceed downstairs. It inspires unfathomable panic.
Not just in me. Kristine also shows the effects of overlong wakeful hours and soiled dreams. Dark ringed eyes nervously flit from the weapons I draw to the bottle I swig from. The images that break her sleep are not spoken of. Occasionally an eerie cry in the night comes from her room as I sit up late into the night, staving off weariness with Duramine rather than return to claws and teeth.
Dressed once more in stiffened leathers, surrounded by an assortment of weaponry, we are go for launch.
A set of master keys goes into a zipped pocket. I remove two pistols from loosely hanging shoulder holsters. One contraption goes to Kristine.
She holds it out like a dirty nappy. Watching her contort herself to fit the straps has more entertainment value than assisting. The humour of her resulting bondage is one sided. I get her to strip it off and untangle the mess. Here I may impart a lesson with competence, the result of an expert book’s tuition in patient mirrors.
Holster adjusted correctly, I fit her with its deadly metal accessory and admire the way the tightened straps accentuate her breasts.
I feel a flood of artificial endorphins sweep away the last of my lethargy and recalcitrance. Taking a deep breath we push through the security door and retrace the route used to enter. This time I explain which keys open which doors plus other pertinent advice and instructions. Kristine listens carefully.
We thump and clatter up to the outer air lock doors. To pre-empt a full body lock up currently threatening to seize my limbs, I irresponsibly slam through the door and let loose a war cry. The shotgun waves in all directions, the barrel strangled and the trigger caressed. The sight of a bee would result in an eruption of gunfire.
Nothing large moves in any direction. Kristine finishes her surprised scream and edges out behind me to kick my ankle. Payback for the scare. Sunlight hammers unprotected eyes as I limp down the short set of metal steps.
I’d rather Kristine think I’m a maniac than a pansy.