The sword came out of its sheath easily as I turned to face the stranger who had come through the door. Either he’d picked the lock or he had a key.
“Whoah. Don’t stick me with that thing, okay?”
“Who are you and what are you doing here?” He wasn’t exactly pizza delivery. Medium skin. Hoodie. I try not to judge by hoodies. I spend enough time around people who wore them to know they didn’t mean anything.
“How did you get in?”
Grudgingly, he held up what did indeed look like a lockpick. It was a pretty old lock on this place.
“Well, you’d better leave and forget you were ever here. Or I’ll catch up with you and stick you.”
“I…” He had his hands above his head. “Please.”
“Please what? Don’t hurt you? I won’t if you leave now.” I did feel the point waver. It was hard to bully somebody as clearly pathetic as this guy. No older than me, and now he was shaking a little.
“I need money. Need my fix. Need…”
“You don’t need your fix.” I wished I could help him, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t clean drugs from somebody’s system, but maybe something out there could. “Breathe.” I lowered the sword point. “I can’t let you rob me. Not that I have much.”
Thea had most of the cash. We weren’t stupid enough to leave it lying around. But what was with this place and junkies?
“Sword’s probably worth something.” He wasn’t coming any closer to me, though.
“It’ll be in you if you try to take it,” I promised. I hated to threaten him. “Now. Drop the lockpicks. And leave.”
He dropped them, then tried to flee. Somehow, he tripped over the steps, fell headlong. I sighed and put the sword down, moving to drag him out of the building, turning him over. He was barely conscious, his pupils staring.
I did the only thing I really could do. I got him outside, closed and secured the door, then called 911. Kept an eye on him. I hoped he wouldn’t…nah, in the state he was in, he wouldn’t be believed. I flashed back to what had happened to Barry and found myself becoming angrier and angrier. And I could sense the bird’s presence again. If I left this guy alone, he’d be eaten. Nobody would miss him.
Heck, he probably wouldn’t even miss himself. This might, though, be the perfect chance to take that thing out.
Moralities warred in my head. Not using a helpless junkie as bait, in the end, won. And I was totally not giving him his lockpicks back.