« on: July 24, 2014, 11:10:17 pm »
I collapsed back down on the bench, the burst of energy likely some of my last.
“I said ‘You look awful’,” Lara tried again.
“And now you know why.” I looked at her, entreating, “you aren’t afraid of the Debt Collector.”
“So you’ve never seen him.”
She nodded again.
“So you left me down there by choice,” I said flatly. I realized I was looking through her and I turned away.
“What, did you, did you just hope I would die down there? Problem solved? No more idiot gringo to look after?”
Her eyes narrowed. “I expected you to leave your Necronomicoin behind, just like you did, and to find me gone and decide to go back to your family. Like any sane person would! To get back home, a little changed maybe, but to get home and to forget about that horrible place and what you left there and,” she swallowed, “who left you there.”
“I might have,” I said. “Yeah, maybe I would have if that was all there was to it. But Lara, you have to believe me. This Debt Collector is dangerous. It was the worst thing I saw down there and, trust me, I saw some pretty bad things. They weren’t evil, though, not like him, they were cruel, maybe and dangerous and powerful, but not evil.” I looked at her again. “You should be afraid. I was. I am. That’s why I’m here.”
Lara leaned forward and rested her hand lightly on my own. “You look awful,” she said for the third time. I said nothing. “We have to get you cleaned up.” She looked up at the sky, toward the sun. “And soon. There isn’t much time and you’re going to need clothes, and,” looking at my head, “a haircut.”
“I just had a haircut before I-”
“A real haircut.”
She was in a dress, I realized, and jewelry and makeup and, “what for,” I said slowly.
“For the Museo del Oro, idiot gringo, like I told you,” she chided.
“It’s closed.” I pointed across the plaza.
“It’s closed to them,” she swept her hand at the people around us, “it’s closed to you,” she pointed at me, “but it is, or it will be, open for me.” She nudged me, “for us. When the gala starts, anyway.” She stood and held her hand down to me, flicking her wrist up. “Up up. We have work to do. We have to make you presentable.”
I groaned and eased forward, pressed down on my palms to lift myself and groaned again and sat heavily. I glared at her.
Lara smiled and exaggeratedly tapped her foot. It clicked softly on the ground.