Charity case. Hunter-Hale didn’t question his father.
Nor did he question his mother. “I’ll be right down, darling.” Her voice sounded both tinny and icy over the intercom.
He turned back to the guy claiming to be his father instead. “So you’re Adder.” He didn’t look like much. The way his shoulders rolled forward, the way he kept looking at the ground; he looked like a beaten dog, one really hoping someone would throw him a bone.
Hunter-Hale wanted to feel sorry for him, but his parents had taught him the dangers of that. What they hadn’t taught him, the end of the world had.
(“You little shit,” the man had screamed at him. “Do you know who I am?”
“Two hours ago, you were dying on our sidewalk.” He had turned the shotgun to the man’s chest, although – ten years old, then, and small for his age – he hadn’t been sure he could actually fire it. “An hour ago, you were eating food my sister cooked for you. Now, you’re demanding we give you more, because you used to be someone important.”
“Not used to be! I am! I’ll have you arrested for this!”
“All the cops have fled the city. Right now, the only law is us.” Hunter had done a little jerk with the shotgun he’d seen on a movie he wasn’t supposed to be watching. “Get out. And don’t come back.”)
That man had fled, but he hadn’t been the only one. It made Hunter-Hale reach for his gun when this one spoke again.
“I’m Adder. And you’re Hunter-Hale.”
“I am. You know, I’ve always wondered – why the hyphen?” He peeked up at Silas to be sure he wasn’t screwing anything up.
Adder didn’t seem to mind burning time talking. “It needed to be the whole thing, and putting it as one word didn’t look right.” He shrugged one shoulder apologetically. “It’s the way it came in the vision.”
“Who’s the guest, Silas, Hunter-Hale?” Mom was moving forward like she was a Queen in her castle. Hunter liked it when she did that, but it could be a little scary. “Oh. Oh, hrm. Has he proven who is is, yet?”
Mom sounded intrigued. More than that, Hunter-Hale realized, she sounded predatory.
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