Forge Netting 18: Further Down The Road

‘Who’s that fucking mess over there?’

‘No one knows his name.’

‘No one knows his name? Bullshit. Has anyone asked him?’

‘No, why would anyone ask him?’

‘To find out. It’s the way that one gains information … by asking questions.’

He was in a bad way: his teeth were rotten, his nails broken, his hair was long and bedraggled. He was little more than skin bone, and it was like he had barely hung onto his humanity and was still engaged in the fight. He didn’t look like he was going to win.

‘I’m going to go and ask him.’

‘Why fuck with a rabid dog? Seems like an unwise idea, Hester.’

‘Maybe, but sometimes unwise ideas are the best, Feldman.’

‘But look at him – he doesn’t look like he is able to remember much.’

‘Sure, I see that, but I am curious, and that curiosity needs to be satisfied.

She walked over to the man and she placed her hand on his shoulder.

‘Hello, friend, how are you? I wasjust wondering what your name was.’

He looked up at her, dark circles under his bloodshot eyes.

‘Can I tell you? Not sure. Am I safe? Am I finally safe? Did they leave me alone after all? Did they stop their looking? Been hiding for so long. Can I tell the girl? Sure, why not? What can she do with it? Been so long now, what can she do with it? Ruebeau – that’s my name; Ruebeau.’

She stumbled backwards – she had stumbled on a rabid dog. Everyone knew that name – and everyone had been talking about him for a long time – how he had disappeared and forsaken the world he cursed. A liar and a cheat with no memory who then remembered and then ran away. How long had they been looking for him and how long he had been hidden out here? Ten years? Had to be.

When he saw the reaction he knew he was in trouble – should have kept his mouth shut; time to run again; time to get well away from here and hidden. He ws out the door before she had gathered her wits enough to process what she had just found out, and by then it was too late.

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