Sunday, 8 February 2009 - 4:26 pm

Eyes like her dad

I caught up with Sax today. He’s been withdrawn ever since he went to his daughter’s home, which is understandable.

I spoke with Thorpe first, tried to find out what happened when they got to the apartment. This is what we were trying to talk about when Ben exploded yesterday and I was determined that it wouldn’t just slide past us. So many things seem to be slipping through my fingers at the moment.

Thorpe said that the Stripers had been delighted when they found a building that hadn’t been broken into yet. They tore off into the other apartments, while he and Sax went into his daughter’s.

It was untouched; it looked like they had just stepped out for a moment. There was nothing there of use. The Christmas tree was still up and the presents were all there, wrapped and pristine underneath it. Sax didn’t say anything. He just wandered around, took a few things, and then they left.


Normally I’d sit with Ben while we all ate, but he’s still avoiding me. So I sat with Sax and asked him how he was doing. He gave me an odd look and then smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“Checking up on me, Faith?”

I thought about what I should tell him, then shrugged and went for the truth. “Yeah.”

He patted my hand and suddenly he looked like a grandfather. The hair growing around the base of his skull is lightly salted and he doesn’t have a time-creased face, but there was something so aged in the slump of his shoulders, in the downturn of his head.

Her name is Alecia. She’s a few years older than I am, and her little boy is nearly three years old. He runs her ragged, all energy and straining boundaries. Her husband is the only boy who ever stood up to her father and refused to be intimidated out of dating her.

He showed me a couple of pictures of them; he must have taken them from her apartment. She looks a little like her dad around the eyes.

Their car was gone, he said, and the little one’s pushchair. They hadn’t been home since it happened and he didn’t know where they might have gone that day. Still, I told him, there was hope. They could have joined a group, like we did. They could have gone somewhere else for help and sanctuary.

At least we didn’t find evidence that they’d died. At least we know that they might still be alive somewhere. And we’d keep looking, we’d keep an eye out for a sign of them.

I don’t know if I helped, but the reassuring smile he gave me was a bit more convincing the second time around.