2. Close Encounter
Her axe casually slung over her shoulder, Mel went into the bar and ordered a drink. Time was, she'd have been in the middle of a fight inside ten minutes of arriving. These days, not so much. Everyone in the Warren knew who she was by now, and they all appreciated her keeping the lurk population down. For a girl who liked a good fight, it was kind of frustrating being a leading citizen.
"Here you go," said the woman, putting an ale in front of her and pocketing the coi Mel put out.
"Hey, Amma? You seen any new people around these last few days?" Mel took a drink and looked at the crowd. She recognized everyone there at the moment, so she turned her attention back to the bar's owner.
"Drifters come, drifters go. Looking for anyone special?" Amma pulled out an old dishrag and made a half-hearted attempt to clean the bar. Ever since Loo was killed, she'd had a hard time caring some days.
"Some guy. Name's Giles," she said, considering whether or not to put down her axe. If he was a Watcher, chances were he'd recognize it and come talk to her. Better to keep it up and visible.
Sounding like she didn't really care about the answer, Amma asked, "What's he look like?"
Along with no more casual brawls, there was also the problem with shits named Whistler who disappeared before Mel could get around to asking that kind of important information. More than a little disgusted and pissed off, she answered, "No idea. Son of a bitch that told me about him took off before I could ask."
A small spark of interest seemed to light Amma's face for a little bit, and she said, "He someone to worry about?"
"No. Pretty sure not. Maybe someone who can help." Mel finished off her drink and added when she stood to leave, "You hear anything about him, let me know?"
Outside the bar, it was full dark. Lurks would be bolder, which meant Mel would have to put off her search until daylight. On the other hand, there was no reason she couldn't go looking for more of Harth's suck-ups. She was in the mood for —
Flattened against the pavement, she tried not to think how much that damn boot on her face hurt. She couldn't squirm without leaving a goodly piece of skin on the ground, so she decided to try the axe first. When she moved to swing it up and behind, all she got for her trouble was, "Nope. Don't think so." He pulled it out of her hand and said, "You always this easy to take down?"
"Wad be to adswer dat or kick your ass?" Whoever he was, he knew how to put her down and keep her down, and yeah, that kind of scared her. A lot. On the other hand, she was pretty sure he wasn't a lurk. They weren't that chatty for the most part.
Unless they were like Icarus.
"Such language. Tell you what. I'm going to throw this pretty little toy of yours. Wonder how long it will take you to find it," he said, his voice deep and kind of rumbly.
She felt his weight shift, and she tracked the sound of the axe as it whistled through the air and away from her. Next thing she knew, the weight was gone. She sat up and saw someone running away from her, but tracking him would have to wait.
Damn pump threw her axe away, and she'd have to get it back before she could make him pay.