Lander sat in the darkest corner of the pub, watching. He watched the people, he watched the door. Watched people going in and out of the door. He watched his life fading away. The door was never going to open to show the right person coming through it. She was long gone, like the wisps of smoke swirling around in the dim light hanging above his head.
“Want another one, hon?”
The waitress stood close to him. He could smell the mix of her perfume and drinks that had been spilt on her. He glanced at the empty cup. “Nah. If I drink any more coffee, I’ll never sleep tonight.”
”Could put a shot of whiskey in it?”
”You know I don’t touch the stuff. I only come here ‘cause you have the best food in town. That and your smile. What do I owe you?”
She smiled. “It’s on the house tonight. Tips were good.”
“Thanks.” He tossed a few bucks on the table when she wasn’t looking and slipped out the back. He pulled his collar up against the chilled night air and began to walk home.
He rounded the final corner, and heard a scream. Chills ran down his spine that weren’t from the night air. He followed the voice, jogging down the street.
He peered around the corner, seeing two shadows standing near another shadow huddled on the ground. Putting his hand in his pocket, he poked it forward. It worked in the old movies, it was worth a try. “Step away from her!”
“Heh! Getta load o’ th’ hero.”
“What do ya say, Walt? Think you can take ‘im?”
The one shadow made his way toward Lander. Before his features were clear, the world went dark.
He awoke, with an ache in his head and a dry mouth, reminiscent of his misspent youth. Trying to move, he felt ropes cutting into his wrists. He could hear someone else breathing behind him. Probably the woman he failed to rescue. So much for being a modern knight in a drab trench coat.
“Lady? Are you a’right?”
“No thanks to you.”
“Well, ain’t that gratitude for ya? See if I try to save you next time.” He could feel bile rising, but it wasn’t from her attitude. The floor moved under him. He swallowed to keep from throwing up.
“I guess I don’t deal well with being mugged then kidnapped.” She sighed. “Guess it could have been worse.”
”So where are we?” Lander tried to find enough saliva to wash away the bitter taste in his mouth.
“I’m not sure. They through a bag over my head after they clocked you. I heard loud birds when I woke up.”
“Do you know what kind of birds? Maybe we could figure out where we are.” He really had to stop watching those old movies.
“They were loud and annoying.”
The floor tipped again and he heard water. “I’m going to take a stab at this. I think they may have been gulls. I think we’re on a boat.”
The door opened and one of their captors came in with a tray. “Thought you two love birds could use somethin’ to eat.” He set it on a table and untied Lander’s wrists and he turned to finally see his companion. She was slim, but athletic with long blonde hair… like her.
“It’s about time you brought us something.”
Any similarities to her ended there. This woman had the personality of a badger.
“We’ll make land in a few hours. Captain will decide what to do with you both then.” He left, locking the door behind him.
“So…” Lander looked at her. “I’m Lander. And you are?”
”Ready to get out of here.”
“Me, too.” He gave up making small talk and ate his meal of bread, cheese and water in silence.
The door opened again a few hours later. Two men came in, binding their hands behind their backs. They were shoved roughly out onto the deck of the ship.
A modern day pirate stood before them, eye patch and all. “Well, we’ve made land, and we’re going to dump you here. There is quite a bit of… traffic through here. We’ve made quite a profit off them. You’ll be rescued soon. We’ll even leave you some food water.”
One of the crew lowered her into a boat.
Lander looked at her, looked back at the captain. “Take me with you, please!”
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