Fifty

Apr. 23rd, 2013 10:38 pm
[personal profile] theonecalledwander
Somehow, against my wishes and my better wisdom I do fall asleep... I must have, though I do not recall it. But sleep is a necessary precondition for waking up, and the fact that I perform that latter action is my first awareness of having done the former as well.

"Blast!" I say as I take in the implication of the cold gray light streams through the open shutters. "I'd meant to be away with the dawn."

"You missed it, but not by much," Bel says, nudging me with the toe of her boot. "Come on downstairs and we'll get some provisions for the road."

"Will 'we' just be getting the provisions or will 'we' be sharing them on the road?" I say.

"Do you know the way to Toma's retreat?"

"Do you?"

"I know how to get there," she says. "Though I've never been. I know the countryside."

"You don't need to convince me of your worth, Bel," I say. "I merely wondered if we would need to seek out better directions before we go."

"Wonder not, Wander... I can get us there."

"Don't you need to mind the shop?"

"I am minding the shop," she says. "I'm minding that anyone will be around who's hungry for bread a month or so. I'll just need to put up a sign."

There's no shortage of grain, so breakfast is a sort of porridge. Bel leaves me stirring the pot while she goes outside to see to her sign. I don't see her handiwork until we're leaving.

"'Closed due to sickness'?" I say.

"It's broadly true," she says. "I can't say closed due to vampire infection, can I? I live here. I work here. You think Tyrol will still buy bread off me if I push his town to the point of panic?"

"You might have put the cat among the pigeons, anyway," I say. "Right now, everyone knows something is wrong but no one's saying what. A boarded-up shop with a sign speaking of sickness... there's a lot of fear swirling around looking for something to latch onto."

"If not this, then it will find something else," she said. "I can't stay closed on a holiday without a reason."

"Don't you own your shop?"

"Yes, and I own debts, and contracts, and duties," she says. "If I closed without good reason, I'd lose half my customers in a heartbeat. Everyone but the foot traffic."

"Are you sure you won't lose them anyway?" I ask, feeling guilty.

"It's covered, I took care of things while you were sleeping. I only mention it so you appreciate what I'm doing by coming with you."

"I do, Bel," I say. "Believe me, I do."

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