It was almost sundown and he was worried that he wouldn’t get back to the apartment in time.
The boys from the drag had been watching his window as soon as the sun had set for the last two days. They hadn’t tried to get into his apartment yet, but it had only been a matter of time before they caught him out after dark.
Alex sat in the hard plastic seat of the bus, holding the black feather gently in his fingers.
He was still worried that they had been the ones that taken Lia. What if Martin had taken her? He shuddered.
He didn’t think that they had. Martin didn’t seem like the little girl type, and it hadn’t been until the next night that one of the boys followed him back to the apartment and they had started the night vigil outside of his window. If they had, they would have used it against him. Offered her back if he would come out, but they hadn’t done that either.
He only had two more nights before he had to be out, and he still didn’t have the money.
Alex could survive on the street, as long as the guys from the drag didn’t get him. He had before.
Everything was supposed to have changed with Lia. Everything was supposed to have been better. Maybe if they’d used the money to buy bus tickets. Maybe he should have left Lia in the garage, to be found by the police. What had he thought he was doing?
He’d thought he was protecting her. Alex had convinced himself that he could, and he hadn’t been able to protect her.
He’d spent the last two days looking for her. His feet were sore from all of the walking, and he knew every shopkeeper within a block and every tenant of the building by sight. He’d searched every alley, and today he’d even ridden up to The Strip and walked all of the places that they’d visited looking for her. Except for the MGM amusement park. He didn’t have enough money for entry anymore.
There had been black feathers in her bed, and when he he’d searched through the drawers next to the bed he found a few more. If it was a message, it wasn’t one that he understood, and he couldn’t think of what else it could be. Why feathers? Why so many of them? There were eight, altogether, and he’d wrapped them into a bundle and kept them in his jacket pocket. When he found her, he would give them back to Lia.
It was going to be too late. The sun was sinking too fast. He wouldn’t have time to walk back from the bus stop. Damn it. What if Lia came back looking for him? He wouldn’t be there.
There was nothing he could do about that now. If he tried to get back to the apartment, Martin’s boys would find him.
When the bus stopped at the station that would lead back to his apartment, he stayed seated, but he twisted to look back toward the dark building where they’d lived.
I’m sorry Lia, he thought to himself. I’m sorry.