Nibbled to Death by Ducks

by Jane Davitt

Blair tore off another piece of bread and threw it high and far into the squabbling quack of ducks. He'd been here long enough for his ass to be numb from the rock he was sitting on and for the loaf of day-old bread he'd brought to be mostly crumbs, but the ducks weren't bored.

Jim probably was, though.

Blair turned his head. Silhouetted against the bulk of the warehouse buildings, Jim was too far away for Blair to see his expression, but he knew Jim was watching him.

"Okay, I'm done," he murmured, taking advantage of the fact that Jim couldn't tell him to shut up with this much space between them and wouldn't stop listening in case Blair needed him. "Done being, what was it you called it? Oh, yeah. Morbid and emotionally wallowing. Like you haven't been dreaming about it, too."

Jim straightened and began to walk back to his vehicle, back rigid, jolted, Blair hoped, out of his own long introspection by irritation and impatience with Blair's flaky notions.

It'd been more for Jim that he'd returned here. He didn't need closure. He had it. He'd won. He was alive. But it was Jim who'd paid for his passage back across the Styx with bullets, not coin, and he wanted to repay him by giving Jim back some peace of mind.

Lot of questions asked once the congratulations had been made. Awkward, probing ones about excessive force and -- never mind. He'd got Jim back here, made him see the place in daylight, with both of them alive and well, reinforcing the fact of their survival.

He emptied the plastic bag of the last of the bread and put it into his pocket, backing away from the determined advance of a dozen ducks and toward the safe haven of Jim's truck.

The water, breeze-stirred, slapped against the pebbled shore and he shivered. Drowning. Not the way he'd choose to die, but he'd been spared that, thank God --

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