Sean stared at him with a look of absolute betrayal. ‘Where have you been?’
‘Out,’ he replied. He wasn’t going to give Sean more than that. It was best with Sean never to give him any sense you had done something wrong. If you acted like whatever you had done was no big deal, eventually he would lose his nerve and go along with it.
Gavin had spent last night on the outskirts of town, in that bombed-out looking squatter’s nest. He had begged his way in from the others, the homeless junkies and urchins, with promises of pot and speed the next time he came around. He had huddled under a blanket atop of a pile of rags the whole night, staring off into the darkness of rotting drywall. The little purple-haired girl had been there, huddled up on the edge of a ratty sofa like a cat. About halfway to dawn he had picked up the blanket and gone over to join her. The floor was cold, he told her, and he had left his jacket at home. Could he huddle with her for warmth? She kicked at him, hard, making his ribs ache, and he went back to his pile of rags. He had left before anyone else had even woken up.
‘You haven’t moved.’
Sean blinked. ‘He was talking all night. Kept asking for us to open the door. All night.’ He blinked again. ‘I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t move. I just kept waiting for him to stop, but he didn’t. I think he knew I was here. It was like he could smell me.’
Gavin looked over towards the door. ‘He’s not saying anything now.’
Sean followed the gaze and nodded. ‘He stopped just around the time it started getting light out.’
‘Around the time it started getting light out.’ Gavin and Sean looked at each other. Neither moved a muscle, but a kind of understanding passed between them. It may have been only a word, but it was a word neither was willing to speak just yet.
Gavin went to his room. He put on an old army surplus jacket, took the money he had out of his sock and stuck a clip on it, shoved it in his pocket. In a box in his closet he found his dad’s old service revolver, which his mom didn’t even know was missing. Loaded it. Placed the heavy metal of the cylinder against it his forehead and thought something like a prayer that wasn’t. He put it in his pocket.
Going back into the living room, he found Sean, newly dressed in green army pants, imitation Converse, and a Grateful Dead t-shirt. He was holding a steel baseball bat. ‘We’re going in, right?’Gavin nodded, took out the gun. ‘We’re going in.’