Dragon Rider – A Story – Part Five

Dragon Rider

Chapter Three Continued

Willow

It was mid-afternoon when Drake and Gizmo left the warehouse.  The heavy cloud cover threatened rain, making the City even darker than usual, and a bitter wind had whipped up, the crisp packets and screwed-up newspaper somersaulting across the streets like tumbleweed in an old Western movie.  The streets were almost deserted, the remaining people scuttled away like cockroaches, whether from the impending rain, the threat of the Shadow Walkers or from the sight of Drake himself, he couldn’t tell.

‘So how come a rich boy is hanging out with the Lost Souls anyway?’ asked Drake, trying to break the awkward silence that was opening out like some great chasm between Gizmo and himself.

‘What, because I come from a wealthy family I shouldn’t hang out with them?  Is that what you’re saying?’

Drake shrugged.  ‘It just doesn’t strike me as a rich guy’s thing.’

Gizmo stopped and stared at Drake, his amber eyes tracing the Devil’s Mark snaking around Drake’s right eye.  He opened his mouth as if to say something, then shut it again and instead shook his head and turned away.  ’I wouldn’t expect you to understand,’ he muttered to the floor as he strode off down the road.

‘Fair enough,’ said Drake striding after him.  He preferred silence anyway; he was only making an effort for Willow’s sake.

Before long, after a hushed exchange of words between Gizmo and two burly security guards, they had entered the exclusive gated community of Fordbrooks, the place where the rich played safely whilst the rest of Devilsgate burned.

On the face of it, Fordbrooks was impressive with its vast mansions, swimming pools and luxury cars, but Drake would much rather have the honesty of the desperate people of the slums – they were what they were, nothing more, nothing less – and they didn’t hide it or pretend to be something that they weren’t.  And, as anyone knows, the biggest crooks live in some of the biggest houses, Drake thought to himself.

Selling just one of those Garelli cars with their fine leather seats and gold trimmed panelling, would probably feed the Lost Souls for an eternity.  Maybe he should just take one now, save him the bother of meeting this Funestus Black.  Not that feeding the Lost Souls was his problem; he’d enough trauma just looking after himself and Falkor.

Falkor?  Now, how would that go down with the rich kid?

Gizmo suddenly stopped in the middle of the street and spun around on his heels.  ‘What exactly are your intentions?’

This took Drake by surprise.  ‘My intentions?’

‘With Willow-’

‘Oh,’ said Drake smiling, ‘you think that Willow and I, you know-’

‘No.  I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking,’ said Gizmo, pushing his glasses up his nose.

‘Relax,’ said Drake holding his palms up in surrender, ‘we’re just friends.’

‘That’s exactly what she said,’ said Gizmo.

‘Well, maybe you should listen to her-’

‘But if that’s the case why was she so cut up when you left?’

Those words sliced through Drake’s heart like a sabre.  Drake rubbed his hand across his chin, not knowing what to say.  ‘I…’

Gizmo sighed loudly.  ‘Why did you have to come back to Devilsgate?’

Drake could feel a bolt of anger flash inside him.  This was a conversation he was not going to have with Gizmo.  ‘That’s my business.’

Gizmo glared at him, his body tense and as tight as a knot.  ‘Are you going to hurt her again?’

Drake took a deep breath and closed his eyes.  ‘No,’ he said, rubbing the top of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.  ‘No, I’m not.  Look, me and Willow, it’s not what you think.  We grew up together in the orphanage.  We were like brother and sister then I left-‘

‘Why didn’t you take her with you?’

Drake looked at Gizmo, and sighed; whatever he said would not be enough for him.  ‘I couldn’t.  I could only just about look after myself.  I went back to see her but every time I left her again it hurt more and more.  In the end, I just stopped going.’

Gizmo turned and started walking away.  ‘Just don’t run out on her again, okay?’

But Drake didn’t reply.

 

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