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User:Concerned Reader/Lotka Volterra
|This story is a work in progress.|
|Pig and Whistle story universe|
This wind is too hot. That was the first thought to ever enter my head. I wasn’t even really aware of myself at the time. I just knew that I had to get out of this scorching, abrasive wind. That was as far ahead as I could think. I couldn’t see past my own little world. Maybe if I’d been thinking faster I’d have noticed more than just me and my twelve inch patch of sand. Perhaps I’d have linked the sudden scorching wind with the fiery trail that split the darkening sky in half. Maybe I’d have run as far away as my four spindly legs could take me. Maybe I could have watched as twelve miles of desert floor suddenly and violently threw itself into the air. But no, I didn’t do any of those. I was too busy digging into my twelve inches of sand. The sound hit me first, like thunder made physical. The force of it drove me deeper into the sand. Everything compressed for a moment as a shiver ran through the ground, then the world turned upside down with me in the middle of it. As I tumbled through the air, the only thing I knew in that reptilian brain of mine was that, if I survived, nothing would ever be the same.
At the time I really had no concept of what was going on. I had thoughts and feelings, but no real language or foundation to give them meaning. I’d love to tell you about that transition; going from a mindless lizard to whatever it is that I am now, but everything before this point is a blur of instinct and learned response. This is as far back as my memory goes, and even so it’s like the desert floor: changing with the slightest gust of wind. Only the tallest dunes survived intact. This is just the first dune; there were many more made after it.
Somehow, against all odds, I survived that first dune. My scales were cracked and burned, there was a constant ringing in my ears, and it’d be weeks before I dislodged all the sand from the creases of my spines; but I was alive. Suddenly the world was much bigger than the twelve inch patch of sand. I’d been thrown out into the world to find something that I’d never had before: an expanse of possibilities. I could do anything and everything. So of course the first thing I did was find food. The ants I found and followed served as both a delicious snack as well as a trail to a nice little rock formation. With my stomach no longer clamoring for attention, exhaustion spilled over me. I settled down comfortably among the rocks and fell asleep.
Waking up during the first few weeks of my change was always very odd. The transition between sleeping and waking never used to be slow. The sand would warm my body and blood to a certain temperature and then I’d be up and running, doing whatever it was that I used to do. After the changes started, the process grew longer, like clouds were being parted in my head, letting the sun in so my mind could warm up too. I am laying in sand. The sand is warm. The wind is blowing. The air tastes fine. The sun is bright. There are no immediate threats around my rocks. That last part caught my attention. Not that there wasn’t any immediate danger; there’s always danger when you’re my size, but that these rocks were mine. I sat on that thought for a while. I had found these rocks, and even with my sand blasted senses I could tell that nothing else had laid a claim on them. Well, except for the walking buffet of ants. They were more of a bonus to go with it. These were my rocks, those were my ants, and this was my home. My Home. I liked the sound of that.
Whatever had happened that night, so many days ago, had affected me in more ways than I could imagine. I almost always woke up feeling hungry. I figured out later that it must have been because of how drastically my body was changing. If it takes food to make my body move, then it must take a lot of food to make my body change. That was another new step in my morning routine. Figuring out what all had changed. My arms and legs were growing longer, my body was growing wider and flatter, and my head and neck seemed to be receding. The end result being that each day it was harder and harder for me to move. Not that I had any reason to. I had My Home and My Ants right here. Everything I needed to survive. By all rights I should have been happy, and for a while I was, but for some reason food and shelter weren’t enough anymore. There was something missing, and my longing for it only grew over time. The desert felt bigger and bigger every passing day, and even though I was growing along with it, I felt smaller and smaller.
I eventually met another lizard. He must have followed the trail of ants back to its source by my home. I tried to interact with him, but that’s pretty hard when you don’t quite know how to communicate. He did the standard show of dominance. Push ups and body swelling to try and look bigger and meaner. I did much the same, only I was bigger and meaner. He scuttled back a ways and I didn’t go after him. It wasn’t worth the effort. He stayed a few dozen body lengths away from my home from then on. Every now and then I’d see him flash by to grab a few ants before retreating back to his burrow. Even though he was eating my ants, I was glad for the company while it lasted. Which was until a coyote caught up to him. I watched from the safety of my rocks as the coyote devoured him. There was nothing to be done. His time was up. The coyote was bigger, faster, and stronger. That’s how things work.
Life went on that same way for several more days, and I was more or less used to it by now. The dunes in my life had leveled off, so when I ran straight into what may be the biggest dune in my life, I was completely unprepared. My sleep ended abruptly. Something was wrong. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t see, and I could hardly breath. I thought that my home had caved in, the rocks and dirt crushing down on me. Each breath was pulled from my lungs as soon as I tried to inhale. Each gasp for air growing shallower than the last as my lungs ceased to function. My eyes refused to blink. I tried and tried to clear the darkness or dirt or film from my vision, but it wasn’t working. I strained and strained until something finally shifted. Relief flooded me, until the smell of blood hit my nose. The capillaries around my eyes had ruptured for their last time, releasing my blood to run down what was left of my face. It was too much. I was ready to just give up. To stop trying. Stop breathing. Anything to end this agony. So I did. I stopped struggling. Everything shut down. I was splayed out somewhere around my little cave of a home with no connection to outward reality. For all I knew, I ceased to exist.
A glimmer in the dark. Something was approaching: A blur in the darkness, blinking in and out of focus. Shimmering in the dark. I don’t know how I’d been separated from reality, but just being able to see something made my heart jump. At least as much as a heart can jump when you’re paralyzed. So I waited for whatever it was to come closer. It was all I could do anyways, but that was enough for me. The blur did come closer along a winding path. I could make out the shape of a body now, but to what sort of creature, I had no idea. It seemed to have four legs, like the coyotes that prowl around at night, but the white blur traveled along only two of it’s legs. The other two whipped back and forth through the air with every step. And every now and then its steps would bring it closer to me.
The blur bent over me, and for once I could see it clearly. I still didn’t know what it was, other than it was exceedingly weird looking. I didn’t get as long a look as I would’ve liked, because my body suddenly sprang back to life and threw me directly into it. Feeling had just began to return to my body when I blacked out again.
The sand cascaded down the mountain. In my mind, I mean. Like the wind had blown a bit too hard and now everything was crashing down. Then the noise hit me, as if the same wind was now screeching through the gaps in my brain. Information followed along behind the wind and began plugging up the holes. Filling the gaps and crevices. Creating connections and bridges between thoughts and ideas. The heat of a new sun waking up my body. Everything started to come together. I could feel again. Something was scratching along my body. Not quite painful, but more than uncomfortable. I could hear the scratching as well, along with a loud whistle. My eyes opened next, only they weren’t mine. I could see out of them, but I couldn’t control them. It didn’t matter to me though, I was just so happy to be able to see again. Through those eyes I saw myself for the first time. Or rather, saw the part of me that hadn’t yet been covered in dark crimson blood. My body was fused with some other creature’s. I could see the spines and spikes that used to go around my sides. They were almost entirely obscured by the congealing blood as they punctured outwards from torn pink flesh. Inside of that ring of spines the blood had been wiped away to reveal my hardened scales, but it was quickly pooling over again. I didn’t know what sort of creature I’d been embedded into, but knew I was watching through it’s eyes as it tried to tear me apart.
Something clicked, and a stream of data hit my brain. Language and labels at long last formed within my mind. Human. Male. Angry. Pain. Rage. Parasite. Violation. Whoever it was that I had latched onto wasn’t happy about it. I wasn’t too thrilled myself, but it had to be better than slowly suffocating to death. I didn’t have a chance to think about it further, because his eyes suddenly darted over to a screaming tea kettle. In quick succession he grabbed a large bowl, threw in a large kitchen knife, and then poured in the boiling water. I saw all of this through his eyes, and without really being aware of it, I knew exactly what everything was. I also knew exactly what he was planning to do, and for the first time since ‘awakening,’ I was afraid.
It was a lot to process. I was attached to the sternum of a very large and very angry human male who was hellbent on cutting me off of him. If he separates my body from his, his liver will cease to function and we will both die. I don’t know where the thought came from, but there it was, and I had no reason to doubt it. I didn’t much want to die so soon after my new lease on life, and I assumed that humans would have a similar ideology. So I did the only thing I could, which was try and think ‘STOP!’ as loudly as possible.
He stopped. Probably more out of surprise than anything else. I was so surprised myself that I forgot to keep talking. “Who’s there?” He shouted, brandishing the knife at the door, followed by each corner of the room before he returned it to point directly at me. “Now is a really shitty time, come back later!”
Hearing his voice pulled me out of my reverie enough to attempt another reply in his head. “Human Man Thing, I would suggest you drop the knife unless you want to die.”
He dropped the knife. Again, probably more out of surprise than fear or obedience. It stuck into the wood floor with a soft thud. He stood there for a moment, before collapsing onto his couch, breathing heavily. My body rose and fell with each of his breaths. I didn’t know what to do. It was all just so extremely different. So I just started rambling in his head.
“Look, I do not quite understand it, but we are stuck together now and apparently I am your liver or something so it would probably be best for the both of us if you do not try and pry me off with sharp pointy objects otherwise I will be forced to do something drastic and more than likely unpleasant.” At least I was starting to get the hang of communication. I really hoped that he wouldn’t figure out that I couldn’t actually do anything at all.
He stared at the ceiling for a moment longer, until I was just starting to see patterns in the texture, when he jumped to his feet. “No!” he shouted, as he smashed his fist into both of our bodies. It didn’t really hurt me, at least, probably not as much as he would have liked. Instead he achieved the grand total effect of knocking the wind out of himself, splashing his blood all over the floor, and cutting up the skin on his knuckles.
“Aah, Fuck you!” He gasped out. I got a very good look at the carpeted floor as he doubled over wheezing. “You fucking parasitic scum bag! Get the fuck off my chest! I swear if you gave me fucking space aids I will murder the shit out of you with your own spikey ass!”
He kept up his blue streak for some time. Pacing back and forth as angry words poured out of his mouth. I was just along for the ride. He probably wouldn’t even hear anything I had to say, so I just waited until he wore himself out. When he finally ran out of steam and vitriol I spoke again. “Alright look, I do not know where you got the idea, but I am not a parasite. I am a-- I do not know fuck what I am, but If you leave me fucking alone, I will not hurt you. We have two options available. Either you succeed in tearing me from your body and we both die slow and painful deaths, or we learn to live fucking together. It is your choice.”
I threw in some of the words he had used in an effort to be more convincing, but instead he just burst out laughing. I couldn’t figure out why. He’d been so angry a few moments before, and now he was almost falling over with laughter. “What is so funny?” I asked.
“Holy shit, but are you fucking terrible at cursing!” How he managed to speak between laughing and inhaling I’ll never know, but at the least he wasn’t trying to murder me anymore. That was a big step up. “Oh damn,” he continued, “I’m gonna need some painkillers and something stiff to drink. This is a night to forget for sure.”
“I do not think it will be that easy, human. It is not like I will disappear during the night.”
“I have a name you know. Just call me Jon for now. It’s a lot easier for me to trust you if I don’t feel like I’m talking to a fucking robot, you know? So what should I call you?”
That stopped me cold. I’d never thought about it before. I mean, I knew that everything had a name. Like we were sitting on a “couch” and that he had just tried to stab me with a “knife.” It just never occurred to me that I didn’t have a name for myself.
“I-- I do not know.” The full wait of it struck me as I said it. “ I do not have a name.”
“Well then,” Jon exclaimed, “I guess we’re stuck together, so I’ll have to fix that. But first I’m going to take about fifty aspirin and then drink until I pass out.”
Jon followed through on his plan down to the letter. A handful of aspirin and quite a few glasses later and he was passed out on the couch. I didn’t sleep much. Actually, I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep at all. As Jon fell into his stupor, my connection to the outside world grew dimmer and dimmer. Again I found myself unable to see, hear, smell, or even feel. I wasn’t scared this time though. For once it felt natural, like this was how things were supposed to be. It felt like the world had finally stopped spinning around so fast. I could finally take some time to think things over. So while Jon slept off his drunken stupor, that’s exactly what I did.
Unfortunately, when the morning came, I was the one with the headache. Or more like a whole body ache. Every part of me that I could feel pulsed with an uncomfortable pressure, like I was a cactus that’d been over watered in a storm. Jon was in the bathroom peeling off his clothes. They’d been plastered to his body with now dried blood and sweat, and they pulled away with a nasty scratching noise, like sand rubbing against a rock. He’d removed his shirt sometime last night, but now it was laying on the bathroom counter. There was a massive tear through the middle of it, almost bisecting it horizontally. He looked from the shirt to his reflection in the mirror.
“Son of a bitch,” he said, more to the air than to me, “That was my favorite shirt too.”
“Was that my doing?”
Jon looked down at me through the mirror. “Oh, you’re awake are you?” I couldn’t see his face, but his voice hardly masked the derision dripping through his teeth. “You burst through my shirt like a fucking face hugger in reverse. So yeah, you did that.”
I knew what the correct response was. I was supposed to apologize, but I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t sorry for any of it. In fact, I’d be dead if I hadn’t done it. But, pulling from my new found social awareness, I apologized anyways. Jon grunted some sort of a response, but his attention was more or less held by the tweezers he was using to pick little bits of skin away from where my body joined his.
“What did you drink last night?”
“Really shitty whiskey.”
“Is that why I feel so horrible?”
Jon paused a moment to pull a particularly stubborn scrap of flesh away, wincing as it finally tore free. He threw the tweezers onto the counter and grabbed a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide. “Yeah. It seems you’ve inherited my hangover. I guess that’s the silver lining on this fucking typhoon you dropped into my life.”
“I don’t really know how to reply to that. You are welcome I guess.”
“This might sting a bit.”
“What might--” I started, but by then he’d upended the bottle of peroxide and poured it directly onto his chest. It settled over me like the chill from a cold wind. Pins and needles trailed behind, walking across what used to be my back. “Oh. Well, that is unpleasant.”
“Relax, it ain’t gonna kill you. I’m just cleaning out all the bacteria and shit you probably shoved directly into my chest.”
“I know that much, but wouldn’t it be better to see a medical expert?”
“If I had time and money, yeah. I’d have skipped fucking around with you myself and gone straight there.” Jon paused briefly to screw the cap back on the peroxide bottle before tossing it onto the counter as well. “But as it is, I’m in a bit of a rush. I don’t have time for six months of testing and scientific method bullshit or whatever the hell they’d do when they find little alien things like you.”
“Look, I’m not an alien. I have told you that before. I mean, I know that I’m a bit of an anomaly, but as far as I know Earth is my home. You have to understand, I have no idea what I’m doing, nor what’s going on outside of this room. This is probably just as new for me as it is for you.”
“Alright, fair enough. At the least you don’t seem to be malicious, or malignant, or whatever the fuck ‘m’ word that is. Now can you shut up for a while? I’m gonna take a shower and it’ll be awkward enough as it is.”
I spent the next few days learning as much as I could from wherever I could. This proved difficult, as I could only learn from what Jon read or watched at the end of the day. It probably would’ve been much easier if Jon could have helped me out more, but he hadn’t been lying when he said he was in a rush. Turns out he was a detective of some sort. He’d spent the last three months chasing after some guy because he’d killed a couple of people. Personally, I didn’t really see why it mattered. Out in the desert, the strongest survive. You have to be stronger than everything. Stronger than the elements, stronger than the predators, and stronger than your competitors. If you aren’t strong enough, then you end up dead. It’s how life works. But Jon had it in his head that this guy was in the wrong. He was going after him no matter what, and I was just along for the ride. So I could only hope that Jon was a stronger predator.
It’d been another long day in the small desert town Jon had set up in, and not just because the days were physically longer. I’d learned that from a book Jon had read the day before. It said that the days get longer during the summer because the Earth tilts one side towards it, which means Jon and I were out scouring for clues, signs, and signals under the scorching sun for more than twelve hours. So, as had become his habit, Jon collapsed on the couch. Today must have been extra grueling, because he was so exhausted that he left the TV on. I didn’t sleep much anymore, but when Jon goes to sleep my vision shuts down. That doesn’t mean I can’t see anything, it just means I can’t see outside of his head.
I can’t sleep or dream, but Jon can. Usually when I see his dreams they’re disjointed and fanciful. Dreams are the virtual representation of the brain sorting through information. I learned that from the Discovery Channel. They don’t always make sense when you look back over them. Especially for me, since all I can experience are the sights and feelings. Only, this one was different. I don’t know if it was because of the TV or in spite of it, but this dream was much more focused. I wasn’t just a disembodied spectator this time. This time I was there, on his chest, just as I am today. Only Jon wasn’t the same. He was much younger.
From what I’d seen on TV, Jon had to be about twelve years old. He was playing with who I can only assume was his brother. They looked almost exactly alike, though Jon was slightly older. This part of human development always confused me. I could barely remember it, but I had a few hatch mates when I was much younger. We separated as soon as possible. Grouping together was a great way to be noticed and picked off by predators. I guess that doesn’t matter as much when you’re at the top of the food chain.
The scene changed. I don’t even remember when or how, but it changed and Jon was older again. Not as old as he is now, but older than before. His brother was there as well. He looked completely different. His hair was long and nasty, like he’d dipped it in muddy water. The rest of him looked like it’d gone through the same treatment. I don’t know how I knew it was him, but I just knew.
Jon was clearly unhappy about something his brother had done, and it had something to do with the plastic bag on the table. His motions were frantic and animated. Arms waving and pointing and gesturing between his brother and the bag, while his brother just stood there indifferent. Jon continued his tirade for a moment longer, until his rage crossed the breaking point. He grabbed the plastic bag and threw it at his brother. It burst open in a shower of powdery white as Jon turned his back.
The scene changed again. The white powder swirled around, morphing into cold white snow. Jon and I stood alone in a crowd of people. Everyone was wearing black, and when Jon looked down to check his watch, I noticed that he was too. His brother was there as well. He looked much cleaner, with the exception of his hair, and was dressed in the same black clothes. I would have thought him asleep had someone not closed the casket.
A deep sadness washed over me as he was lowered into the ground, and I couldn’t quite figure out why. This was a man that I hardly knew, and yet I’d grown to care for him. I don’t know if it was Jon’s influence or not, but that was when everything started to become clear.
Again the scene shifted, but this time it went straight to black. Like the end of those old movies I’d watched. I half expected credits to start rolling, but instead a voice cut through the black. “I could have saved him, you know.”
It startled me. I was so used to the silent nature of Jon’s dreams that it took me several moments to realize that Jon was the one talking. He continued, “I could have saved him from his own fucking stupidity.”
I didn’t know what to say. Hell, I hardly knew what I’d just witnessed. So I asked. “What happened? How did he die?”
A dim yellow glow slowly lit up the scene. A single bulb slowly swinging in small circles above an ill kept bar. It was then that I noticed that I was looking directly at Jon for the first time. I wasn’t seeing through his eyes, but looking directly at him as he slumped dejectedly on his stool. I looked down, confused, and saw that I was a lizard again, occupying the stool next to him. He looked over, slightly confused, then shrugged and took a long drink of what I can only assume was mostly alcohol.
“I fucked up is what happened. I should have had his back. I should have fucking been there for him.” Jon started. He didn’t get far before he took another drink. “Ah, fucking hell. He fucked up too. He was so fucking deep undercover even I couldn’t tell who he was anymore.” He took another drink while I thought about what to say.
I still had no idea what was going on, but then I remembered that detective movie Jon and I had watched a few nights ago, and everything fell into place. “Wait... Was your brother a detective too? Undercover like Billy in The Departed?”
Jon slammed his empty glass down and turned to face me. His face was splotched red, as if trying to decide between anger or sadness. I’m not sure which won. “Ha! Yeah, something like that. He was undercover all right, trying to catch some big fucking drug lord or some shit. Until he got addicted to the same shit he was trying to bust. I told him he was in too deep, but he wouldn’t fucking listen. Next thing I know he’s fucking dead. Shot in the back.”
He picked up his glass again as if to drink, noticed it was empty, then slammed it back down. With his alcohol supply gone, Jon grabbed his coat and stumbled to his feet, turning to face the door. I wasn’t sure what to do. There was no way I’d be able to catch up to him with my little body, but then he turned once more and spoke. “He had a life ahead of him, you know? He coulda been better than me. Hell, he already was better than me. So now I have to be better for the both of us. You see? I’ve gotta fill in his shoes.”
With that, he turned and walked out the door. It slammed shut behind him and everything went black again. I sat on that stool in the darkness for a while. I had hardly noticed it, but I was crying. I didn’t even know I could cry, but dreams are weird like that. They help you learn about yourself, even if they aren’t quite your own. Jon woke up a few hours later, sweaty and disgruntled, but didn’t seem to realize what I’d seen in his head. Just before he turned the TV off, I heard one last line of dialog that’s stuck with me ever since.
“In 900 years time, I’ve never met anybody that wasn’t important.”
Jon hit a break a few days later. Everything he’d been chasing for the past three months fell into place. I could feel his body reverberating with excitement. It seemed to be coming from every part of him, like the air crackles with energy before a storm. Something was brewing inside of him. Something fierce. Every now and then I could feel it pulse, and a couple of stray thoughts would drift over to me from Jon. That wasn’t anything out of the ordinary though. Over the course of the week he and I had grown used to each other. Though I never got as deep in his head as I had that one night, I’d still get something whenever his emotions peaked. Usually it was basic, like fear, happiness, anger, sadness, or excitement, but this time there was something else layered in there. Something I’d never received before. Whatever it was, It was strong, and felt a lot like the rage he’d had when we first met. It worried me.
“Hey, Jon.” I said, “Are you alright?” He didn’t answer right away, but kept creeping down the long back alley we’d entered just a few minutes before. Every now and then his eyes would dart between the dumpsters that lined the alley, and the closed back doors of the shops that we walked past. None of them were open this early in the morning, but that didn’t stop us from being on edge. The moment you stop actively looking for predators is usually the moment they choose to strike.
“Look, Jon,” I tried again, “I know you’re a strong predator and all, but you’re bouncing around inside more than a weed in the breeze. Don’t forget that my life is on the line right next to yours. I’d rather not die here because you’re getting jittery while hunting someone that you don’t really need to catch.”
Jon sighed out loud, quietly, and then replied to me directly with his thoughts. “It ain’t that easy, Lotka, alright?” He’d taken to calling me Lotka a few days ago. Something he’d found while researching whatever the hell I was supposed to be. “I’ve told you before, this is something I gotta do. Don’t worry about it, I know what I’m doing. I haven’t been killed yet, and I ain’t gonna die today.”
“I hope you’re right, for both our sakes.” He knew as well as I did that pretty much the only thing I could do was worry about it. There was nothing I could do to stop him. He continued on past more and more doors, until we reached the oddly cheerful rear entrance to Po’s Pipe Emporium. A squat painted face grinned down at us from the window, smoke rings frozen in place above his pipe. Jon carefully picked the door’s lock under his watchful gaze. Five faint clicks and we were inside. He closed the door silently behind us and continued into the dark storeroom. The room was humid, and stacks of boxes and bags lined the walls. Jon went directly to the nearest stack of bags and began checking labels. They were all full of different types of tobacco.
"What exactly are we looking for here?” I asked as he tossed yet another bag into a different pile.
“Remember that call I got yesterday? The lab tests came back for those tobacco fibers on the handkerchief. This is the only shop in the area that sells Francis Lacquers, and it just happens to be near a sediment deposit that matches the stains left near the last two bodies. That sediment is the whole fucking reason I’m in the damn town. Now I’ve got somewhere specific to look.”
“So we’re looking for Francis Lacquers?” I replied. “You’ve thrown at least two bags of it already.”
“Oh hell no, that shit just pointed me in the right direction. I’m looking for much harder stuff.” Jon threw another bag, then wiped his forehead. His body still rippled with excitement. “You’ll find weed in just about any smoke shop, but heroin? Most of them ain’t that fucking stupid, unless they’ve got some ‘protection’.” Jon grabbed another bag, but stopped before throwing it. He shook it a few times, and I could feel his grin sink through his body.
“Did you find something?” I asked, as Jon pulled out his knife and sank it into the bag. He slashed it open and the dried tobacco poured out, followed by another, smaller, plastic bag filled with a white crumbling powder.
“Jackpot,” he replied, “Looks like Po’s running a front. Let’s just hope--” Light flooded the room, and Jon instantly dove behind one of the stacks of tobacco. His heart beat pounded in my head, and a cold flush passed through his body. “Fuck!” He drew his revolver. “I guess we’re doing this now.”
Everything seemed to slow down, I could hear shouts coming from the opposite side of the warehouse, I could hear the slapping of approaching footsteps, but most of all, I could hear Jon’s heart pounding in my head. Not just it’s beating, but it’s feelings as well. It’s scream echoed across my mind. One feeling, the same one I’d felt earlier, only much stronger. Revenge. This was personal. It finally all made sense. The white powder, Jon’s brother, a murderer. They were all locked together, and Jon was the key. Suddenly I wanted this guy dead just as much as Jon.
"Not a good time Lotka.”
“No, I know, but I understand. I get it. So good luck and be careful.”
“I’m always careful, now shut up. I’ve got a murdering bastard to catch.”