Aldreck Freud’s shaking hands checked the ties securing the dark shades over grey eyes, checked the sound filters protruding from cauliflower ears, lowered the volume two notches, took a deep breath and cursed him-self for being a thousand kinds of fool.
An icy rain, a rain smelling of sulphur, smelling like decayed rotten earth, smelling like warmed over death hammered through his paper thin overcoat, soaking him to the skin, sending shivers coursing through his plump body.
For the tenth time in five minutes a dirty fingernail tapped a scratched watch face. For the tenth time in five minutes, a large wrist was raised up to a hair rimmed ear. The constant, even paced tick, tick, tick did nothing to temper the anger, or still the fear brewing beneath the short scant crop of salt and pepper hair scattered over his head.
He muttered, “Damn it,” in a voice that could take the skin of a weir rat in the blink of an eye, “Five more minutes, that’s all I’ll give her. If she’s not here by then, I’ll go back to the inn, dry off and see if I can’t find some fun in this hell hole of a town. Tommy will have to find someone else to take part in his latest hair brined scheme.”
Thinking of her sent heaver, colder shivers through him. He muttered, “I’m a fool, a great big damn fool,” and went back to his pacing. Pictures of what she must look like filled him, haunted him, knowledge of what she could do, what she most likely would do to him if she had half a chance tied his belly into knots, sent bile burning into his throat.
He cursed for letting himself be lured here by that cryptic message, “I know where Genie is. Meet me at the Brill City space port in three days, Tommy.” It had brought madness to his mind and dragged him away from a rich widow and a comfortable life to this hell hole, “It can’t be, it can’t be, it was destroyed,” had filled his mind when the decoded message burnt into his mind.
The same doubts had followed him to the space port and Tommy. It was a dark shadow in his thoughts all the way to these streets, to this moment. “But what if it’s true,” dogged each waking moment, haunted his dreams. “Well Aldreck, you should know the truth in a few moments. What if she doesn’t show up? What if………..?”
He sighed, letting the rush of air slip out between parted teeth. “If it doesn’t exist, well then my boy you’re up the proverbial creek. Not only wont you have a paddle, but there’ll be a big hole in the bottom of your canoe.”
The empty street, the freezing rain and ghostly dark windows staring at him vanished, replaced by the over-flowing-space-port of Brill City and his onetime friend and sometimes partner in crime, Tommy Bain, with lips two inches from his face.