~ The Talk ~

One of the real people walked up to him. He was limping, and had a
gun in his off-hand. There was a big stick in the other. Steven looked up at his face with its hurt eyes, and frowned. Familiar…
”It’s time to go home, Dad,” the young man said.
”I think that he will stay here.” Churkk’s voice was the same as always.
The other one glared. “His choice, not yours.”
”Or yours.”
The young man shrugged and nodded that he knew. Steven could feel Churkk’s surprise that he
understood that much. He —
Steven looked up.
”I’m here.”
is he?
”Can we go?”
do you dare?
do you dare?
Churkk chuckled into the silence. It sounded like someone with a collapsed lung. “Seems ‘e might stay with me.”
The man glared again. “He can do what he likes, but I’ll still cave your head in.”
“The end result ‘s the same. What d’you think, Steven?”
Churkk was doing more than asking. He could feel the needles pulling.
”You let him –”
The young man jumped. “Dad? Are you–”
”Give me that stick.” Steven’s head was very heavy.
”Give it to me.”
Sean did. One of the others behind him make a noise… not even a word. It was Churkk that finally spoke. “He understands, Sean.” There was a dry rasping sound as it licked its lips. “You’ll understand too, someday. Heh.”
”Damned if I will.” Sean said flatly.
Steven’s head came up.
Damned if I will.
Steven turned and swung, as hard as he could.
Sean almost killed a cow with this damned thing when he was fifteen; s’why he only got to use it around the bulls after that.
Steven only swung once. After that, everything was quiet.