He tossed his cigarette over the edge of the pier.
Smoking was his nastiest habit, but he couldn’t help himself. It’s what he’d always done after a tough job. Especially after killing someone.
The nicotine was starting to ease the jitters in his jagged, broken hands.
“You should get that checked out.” His partner approached with his rifle on the ready.
“I’ll be fine,” He answered as he looked over his shoulder to his partner.
He checked his hands. The blood had soaked through the wrapping on his hands.
“You’ll turn into one of them junkies.” His partner slung the rifle over his shoulder and drew a pistol.
“Been there, done that,” He turned from the peer and walked past his partner. “You found the brother?”
His partner shook his head. “You?”
“Nope,” He said. “I can barely tell these junkies apart.”
“Suprised you found the girl.”
“Boy can’t be far behind.”
He had to take out a dozen of the junkies to get to the girl. For drugged up and malnourished people, junkies had ungodly strength and endurance beyond logic. His mark nearly gnawed off his hand before he was able to subdue her.
“These bastards bite hard,” His partner said.
“Yeah,” He grabbed the potato sack holding the unconscious woman and slung it over his shoulder before walking the body to his car and popping the trunk. “And they’re strong.”
“We should check another nest,” His partner suggested.
He popped the trunk and dumped the body in. “No.”
“Why not?” His partner asked. “We don’t, another suiter will.”
“Don’t care.” He slammed the trunk closed. “Bad idea.”
“I need that bonus,” His partner said. “Ain’t leaving without the brother.”
“Shit,” He muttered.
His partner would do it with or without him.
“They’re only two of us,” He said.
“Those ghosts are more interested in the next high than us,” His partner said. “Just help me look through one of their nests.”
He watched the charcoal colored smog overtaking the river.
“Just one?” He said.
“Just one,” His partner answered.
He sighed. “Just one.”
The smog reminded him of something he couldn’t quite remember, but he could feel it gnawing at his subconscious mind.
He checked his ammunition before following His partner to the hangars just beyond the docks.
All the hangars were opened and abandoned. No traces of ever being used. Except one.
“Got your bolt cutters?” His partner asked.
He drew the cutters from his belt. “Yep.”
The fog had grown thicker over the years.
It bothered him. He didn’t know why it bothered him. He couldn’t let it bother hi-
“Hey?” His partner snapped a finger in front of his face. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” He answered.
“You keep looking out there,” His partner said.
“Ever thought of just catching a boat out of here?” He asked.
“I mean, I could,” His partner replied. “But never thought about it.”
“Just never did.”
“Not one bit.”
He drew his pistol.
“You’d be sailing to another shithole place,” His partner answered.
“You sure about that?” He asked.
“The whole planet is a shithole.” His partner said. “Why not remain in the shithole you’re familiar with.”
“How do you know?” He asked.
“Should probably just sail out there.” His partner said. “Since you’re so curious.”
“Perhaps I will,” He answered.
“Could use the bonus to buy a boat,” His partner said.
“And I’ll sail to the edge of the goddam world,” He said. “And you’ll ride out too.”
“Count me out,” His partner said. “I’m fine an dandy in my shithole.”
“Know anybody who’s sailed out of town?” He asked.
“What do you mean?” His partner questioned in reply.
“Have you ever seen boats sail out?” He inquired.
“All the people I know are businessmen,” His partner answered. “They’re too busy making money to go sailing.”
They walked along the docks and approached the biggest building on the pier.
“These businessmen have yachts?” He asked.
“Of course,” His partner answered. “Several.”
“Any of those yachts leave port?” He questioned.
His partner looked off to the smoggy sky. “Probably. Will have to ask next time.”
He couldn’t think of a time when he’d ever left Rose City, or whether he knew anybody who had left Rose City.
His lip quivered.
“You got a smoke,” He asked his partner.
His partner shook his head.
“Shit,” He muttered.
His overthinking would always get the best of him when he didn’t smoke. The last drag was all he had left until he got back to town.
“C’mon, let’s clear this place out,” His partner said. “The wife’s expecting me home early.”
“Alright, I’m good to go,” He clipped the chains on the door.
His partner nodded as he pulled the hammer back on his pistol.
He opened the door.
A gathering of glowing white eyes stared out to them from the darkness.
“Alright…” His partner lowered his pistol and drew a picture of their target along with a glowing white vial. “Free drugs for the first junky who leads us to this kid.”