I ventured out about 15 minutes later, followed by the sales assistant’s glare. He clearly didn’t want to have anything to do with me.
I couldn’t blame him, really. It wasn’t like I’d had any intention of actually buying anything. But the bird was still there. It didn’t actually stoop on me right away, though. It swooped above me so close I felt the beating of its wings as wind, heard a cry that struck to my soul.
No words in that cry. Just an attempt to instill panicking fear. It didn’t want to take me on in a fair fight and I felt heartened by that, even as I wished I had a sword. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really carry one.
What was that old TV show where the characters could hide swords in any outfit? I didn’t have that ability.
So, I ducked into a different store. This one sold customized frozen yoghurt. You took your cup, added scoops of whatever flavors you wanted, your own toppings. I started to put a cup together, all the while thinking what kind of weapon I could use against that thing.
I could tell it’s fear cry hadn’t had the desired effect on me. It hadn’t quite worked. That made me feel a little bit…better about my self. I was strong enough. I was strong enough to beat it.
I just didn’t have any way to do so. I couldn’t grab a flying thing and bring it down by mere strength. Bullets wouldn’t work even if I wouldn’t get arrested for shooting at it. I began to understand Thea’s frustration with what she called “civilization” in a darkly sardonic way, meant as no compliment.
She didn’t like the rule of law…or at least not the rule of law as it was. There was something about her that wasn’t…
…maybe she was an alien. Maybe I was, like Skye in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Alien. Dropped out of the sky with my memory wiped. Except for all the people trying to kill me. And now this bird.
I finished putting together my froyo cone, paid for it by weight, and then sat at one of the two plastic tables inside, looking out the window.
Maybe it would shapeshift into a human and come in here.
The hair on the back of my neck prickled at the thought. I glanced at the door, but the only person coming in was an overweight, middle-aged woman, dragging a couple of squalling brats with her. I wasn’t one to be bothered by small children, but these two were definitely not happy.
Hopefully the froyo would silence them. That was clearly their mother’s plan. But I knew she wasn’t a monster in disguise.
The kids might be monsters, but they weren’t particularly disguised.