The presence, though, shied away. We watched the hospital all night, and I was yawning a little. Not Thea…come to think about it, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever seen her actually tired.
But there was no sign of the kelpie. “Still doesn’t want to take on both of us. He’s going to wait until we leave.”
“Looks like it. And we can’t watch 24/7.”
“You might be able to.”
She didn’t immediately deny it. “You stay here. I’m going to get us some backup.” She hopped onto the bike and left. I breathed a lot…less easily. This might well be the opportunity he took. He didn’t, though. Maybe he was tired. Or maybe he’d found some way to sneak past us and we were wasting our time out here.
I didn’t trust for sure that I could sense him. It seemed that I could, but I was uncomfortable with relying on it. Part of me wanted to go inside and make sure the junkie was still there.
The wind shifted and it was raining again. I ducked under one of the trees that grew by the building. Right at the corner, not far from the cross suspended on the outer wall. Perhaps a comfort to some of the patients, it didn’t resonate with me at all.
Probably not with the junkie either. I wondered who would end up picking up the bill. He’d be a charity case, no doubt. Or possibly yet another casualty of a healthcare system I’d been told by more than one person was thoroughly broken.
I found I cared, but only a little. Or maybe I cared in the abstract, not the particular.
And then half a dozen bikers showed up. Half a dozen female bikers. “Pulled in the big guns,” Thea noted. “Let’s go home. You need some rest.”
“I wish I could be as tough as you,” I noted as I hopped onto the back of the bike.
She didn’t answer, and I almost felt she was uncomfortable with the question. What did she know about me?
Whatever I could sense, I was an ordinary girl otherwise. And maybe that thing had been pushing into my mind intentionally. Gunning for me. Or assuming I would know it was there.
Did everyone else know more about me than I knew about me? No, I thought wryly, the junkie didn’t.
Once we got back, I collapsed onto the bed. At one point I dimly stirred. I could hear Thea talking to somebody by the door, but only hear such a mumble in response I wasn’t able to identify the other beyond male. Then the conversation was over.
My head finally cleared about an hour later. I realized it wasn’t just the all-nighter – I’d been running on fumes for days. Thea offered me some kind of tea, which helped. It wasn’t just tea in it, but some other things too. “Who was that?”
“A concerned friend.”
“Did the thing show up again?”
“No. Like I said. They’re cowards.”