Friday, September 15, 2017

Sick Day

34.

"Stay home Gilbert." Gilbert was dressed in his usual work outfit, despite the doctor warning him he needed at least a week of bed rest. Clarissa was not happy.

"I make my own decisions."

"Clearly like risking pneumonia, now get out of those clothes, and into bed or at least the couch watch tv or something, STAY HOME!" There was a honk outside and Gilbert saw Sylvia's BMW with a waving Sylvia inside.

"No No this will not do."

"See you later tonight Gilbert I've got a work thing to do!" Clarissa was gone before Gilbert could even chase after her. Aided by a coughing fit. He mumbled to himself about how he'll definitely talk to her tonight about palling around with Sylvia.

"My.... dolllllllla, sir." Santinni announced his presence in his usual show up style.

"This isn't like a fake out and what I'm giving you is more than just a dollar right?"

"Just the dollar, rules must beeeeeeee followed." Santinni punctuated followed with a smile. He was dressed like he'd come off the African Savannah, Gilbert found himself wondering what the demon did all day.

"Just a second let me get my wallet."

"Not feeeelllllllling well?"

"You can see that with some freaky demon vision?"

"No its written on your face, the seeeeaaaa is a harsh mistress I would know." Gilbert handed Santinni his dollar and turned to head into the living room.

"Was going to write you a check, just to see what you'd endorse it as." When he turned around Santinni was gone and Gilbert was all by himself "Now I'm resigned to day time tv, a fate worse than death." Gilbert coughed so hard his vision was marred by little black spots for a bit, deciding that was a sign he just went to go lay in bed catch up on sleep like he'd say he'd do for the last few years.

****

"I'm so glad you took me up on my offer." Sylvia was not dressed in a jump suit like Clarissa was, she instead was dressed up more like Lara Croft in tomb raider with short shorts and a tight t shirt.

"I just didn't want to be stuck at home with Gilbert, he won't take care of himself, but he likes to complain about how he's not getting better."

"Same old Gilbert, Shirley used to complain about him all the time with regards to that."

"She still does." Sylvia smiled at that, Clarissa had told her of her sisters ghost if only to let her know she was still around, Shirley was ok with her sister knowing as long she promised to not do anything to her.

"I hope you're good with that bow, what we're after are obnoxious from a distance but a nightmare up close."

"What are we after again?"

"Were chickens."

"You're joking?"

"You'll find out when we get there."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sympathy for Poor Queequeg

33.

"So we're running?" Janice was the only one qualified to pilot the ship. Gilbert and Clarissa were on the deck watching the Kraken slowly gaining on them.

"Well not so much running as hoping to run as you can very much see damned thing is gaining on us." Gilbert had went over his cache of weapons and found them all coming up underwhelming in the face of how big the Kraken looked.

"I was thinking."

"About how to kill the Kraken?"

"No I figure we're going to die horribly to that."

"You're far too young to be cynical like that, probably correct, but far too young." Gilbert always enjoyed these kind of conversations on a job, in the face of death that someone could just casually talk was heartening.

"Anyway, if Janice is Starbuck, and General Joe is Ahab, wouldn't that make you Queequeg?"

"I never took you for a racist." Clarissa laughed.

"Why is that racist?"

"The one minority on that ship and you think thats me."

"Well he was an islander, not black Gilbert, also the aged hunter doomed to go down hunting the beast, well that does fit you Gilbert." Now Gilbert laughed.

"I'm just glad you read the book."

"Watched the movie."

"Gregory Peck?"

"Who? Patrick Stewart." Gilbert looked back at the Kraken it had gotten closer now, the tentacles almost enough to grab the ship.

"Not talking to you anymore." Gilbert turned his back on Clarissa. It was mostly so he could try and come up with literally anything to harm the Kraken, but he also couldn't believe she didn't even know who Gregory Peck was. Gilbert was mad at himself for not packing better, but to be fair he had no idea what to do against something so large.

"So we're screwed?" Janice had come up, apparently she had just put the boat in cruise control.

"Completely, best I've got is this stuff." Gilbert held up a small tin, both Clarissa and Janice were confused. The tin read "Red Jim's laughing powder" and had a horrifically racist american Indian characture on the package.

"You're going to give him laughing powder?" Gilbert laughed.

"Nah the tin is enchanted, what's inside is well its best left to creature like Santinni to fully explain, all I know is when I was given it, it was told to me 'never open it, unless you have to'."

"Ominous." Clarissa was terrified of what was in the tin, something innocuous with such a scary description.

"So what do you want me to do Gilbert?"

"Kill the engine, lets let the creature grab us and then I'll throw this at it."

"Sure why delay the death anymore." Janice killed the engine and the ship slowed to a stop. The Kraken hadn't anticipated that and shot past the boat, causing the three of them to laugh. It course corrected and flung its tentacles on the deck ready to melt them into organic nothingness. Gilbert hurled the tin at the Kraken and at first it did nothing. The Kraken's tentacles rose up, and then stopped, they twitched at first, and then shot beneath the deck, the fog horn noise reverberated in the air as the creature thrashed wildly next to the coast guard ship, for a moment Gilbert worried it would drag them to their deaths. And then the sea went calm, the large creature was just gone, and the tin of Red Jim's Laughing Powder was in the hand of Santinni who has appeared out of no where much to everyone's surprise.

"Mr. Dunkley the use of hell mites is strictly regulated."

"Is that what those things are? Glad I never opened that before." Santinni didn't even respond, he just disappeared and in his place was a scroll of sorts. Gilbert opened it up and read part and started laughing.

"What?" Janice had never dealt with the demon warden before, but she knew of him, it was rather strange he arrived and then disappeared, Gilbert always said he was a lot more verbose.

"He's fining me for unauthorized use of dangerous hell organisms."

"How much is he fining you for?"

"One dollar." That caused all of them to laugh in relief more than anything else.

"So uhh do you guys want to know the bad news?" Janice had waited till the laughter had died down before talking again.

"How could their possibly be bad news after what just happened?"

"I don't think the boat has enough fuel to get back to harbor and the radio got damaged in the fight."

"Shit." Both Clarissa and Gilbert said it in unison, they couldn't even see the shore from where they were. Gilbert reached into his pack and withdrew a deck of cards.

"Least the weather is nice, poker?"

Friday, September 1, 2017

Aunt Mable's Slapdash Stu

32.

"Could have sworn I packed better." Gunfire was erupting behind him. Janice and the small group of coast guard people on the ship were fighting the undead, but the battle was not going great. Gilbert had his duffle bag out and he was looking for the right ingredients for a ritual to do something about it, but he had none of the stuff he needed.

"Gilbert its kind of going badly here." Gilbert could hear the shots, but he was trying to not listen to them, he was trying to work out what he needed from the bag.

"Its like when Aunt Mable would want to cook something, she didn't have okra so she'd use broccolli, didn't have sausage went with chicken, just trying to use what I got to make this stew right."

"What? Are you cooking?"

"Nah trying to hodge podge some stuff together, it's not exactly an exact science you know." Janice's gun jammed. She saw two of the coast guard people, and looked back at Gilbert in a panic.

"NOW OR NEVER GILBERT!"

"Lets hope Uncle Gilbert brought the heat then." Gilbert hurled the cannister he'd been working on at the horde of the undead and prayed to whatever god would listen that it worked.

****
"We have to save assholes Clarissa, yeah easy for you to say". Whatever the undead were doing was rocking the ferry. Clarissa was struggling to stay on her feet as she made her way towards the CDC people. She could tell things had gone poorly, there were screams and shouts, and she'd already come across some of the undead eating some of the scientists. Maddingly they were running from her and not too her, so she was having to continue to pursue deeper into the ferry instead of away from it. The water was now up to her calves and she was worried in the murky water there were things lurking.

The arrows were working at least. She was pulling them out of the things she killed, and so far they hadn't come back to get her, so she assumed that was ok. Though she was worried if numbers over whelmed her, she only had 6 arrows, and in the tight spaces the potential for one getting damaged was high. Clarissa also worried that by the time she got to the CDC people they'd all be dead anyway. She had almost convinced herself to leave the CDC to die in down in the depths when the person who had been a rude dick to her came running at her screaming.

"Help me!" He ran full on into her knocking her to the ground and causing the arrow she had notched to shoot into the ceiling where it splintered.

"Get off me you asshole." Clarissa was soaked now and her quiver had gotten wet as well which probably meant the arrows would be damaged much to her dismay. She got to her feet in time to shoot the two undead that had been pursuing the CDC man.

"We have to get out of here."

"Who's left?"

"Come on the water's rising and there are more of those things!"

"Who's left you selfish prick?"

"They are all dead, we have to go." Clarissa shook her head and went where the CDC guy had come from, he yelled something after her, but she hoped she'd missed an undead and he's get eaten too. Up the corridor was some kind of engine compartment that the scientists had holed up in and it had gone badly. The remains of the team were in the process of being eaten by the undead. Clarissa didn't waste any arrows or even disturb the creatures, she just backed slowly out of the room. Clarissa wanted to close the door, but seeing the water depth she knew it would prove difficult. Clarissa was barely up the corridor from the scene when she heard the CDC man scream.

"You know asshole the undead have ea... oh good lord." The CDC person had been "digested", there was a long sucker like tentacle that had sprayed him with that orange goo she'd seen in janice's videos. He was still screaming of course, but Clarissa knew he was as good as dead, and if she didn't act quickly she would be sharing his fate. She slotted the fire poison arrow Gilbert had given her and hoped that the water hadn't screwed with it. When she let it fly the tentacle reacted immediately swinging her way like a sentient creature, then it burst into flame. Clarissa heard a sound like that of a fog horn and the ferry shook viciously. Clarissa was thrown off her feet and once again into the water. She dredged her way back to her feet and managed to get away from the gurgling death of the CDC man, unable to put him down herself. The shaking of the ferry was getting stronger. Clarissa feared she hadn't wounded the Kraken, and only pissed it off. She ran as best she could to the coast guard ship and got there just as Gilbert was throwing some kind of green goo on to a group of undead.

"No dice on the CDC guys?" It looked like only Gilbert and Janice had survived the undead.

"We got problems Gilbert." Clarissa was panting running in water had tired her out.

"Nah I took care of the undead, though that damned ferry is sure rocking a lot."

"That's the problem! The fucking Kraken is here!" Tentacles burst free from the ship and Gilbert looked on in horror.

"Well ain't that just ruin my day."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Full Ahead, The White Whale Nears

31.

"1982, we lost a destroyer between Hawaii and Bremerton." Janice had pulled up an older video on her laptop. This one while clearly lower quality than the recent ferry video, had a lot of similarities. "At the time the pentagon believed it was the russians, General Joe Hollings, at the time he was a colonel, believed differently."

"Yeah Joe's always had this thing about Krakens, I don't rightly know what it is, but anytime there is some kind of water event he suspects Krakens, never have proved they exist." Gilbert had seen the footage, he was there when they shot it. Janice forwarded the video to the same yellow goo, except this time there was a least a couple living sailors struggling in it. Clarissa let out a yelp when she saw someone on camera shoot the men dead.

"They were already dead, they looked alive, but believe me that was a mercy."

"You guys were there?"

"Yeah it was Janice's first op with Special Eliminations, my, god I don't know, several hundred."

"Thousand probably."

"Yes Janice I'm old thank you."

"Either way, we weren't exactly thought of as highly as we are today, so us putting forward a theory that a gigantic octupus like creature had killed those men and left that goo behind wasn't met with much acceptance. Even less so when we couldn't prove anything and so until now the encounter sat in a file under the 'unknown category'," Janice closed her laptop.

"So now you and the General want us to kill a Kraken, even though we still don't know if that's what this is, and only have its most recent meal."

"What is a Kraken again?" Clarissa was confused, she felt like she was only hearing part of a conversation. Gilbert reached into his bag and produced an old well worn leather book and flipped to a marked page that showed drawings of a huge octopus attacking some kind of old ship.

"Big octopus basically, supposedly they spit that goo shit on to things to eat them. Melts you down and then they suck it back up."

"That's disgusting."

"Either way Gilbert, the General wants you here, and so you're here, no more questions." Gilbert smiled.

"Aye aye Starbuck, anything for the captain."

****
The ferry was partially in the water and not. It looked wrong to Clarissa when they saw it along side the beach. She'd seen ferry's before, but never partially out of the water and it looked enormous. Clarissa felt a chill go up her spine at the thought of a creature big enough to harm the boat, let alone to wedge it along the shore like that. The coast guard ship had pulled up toward what looked like the front of the ship, it was still bobbing slightly with the waves.

The cdc folks had already disembarked by the time Gilbert and Clarissa left the ship. Janice had stayed behind to "coordinate" but Gilbert knew that mainly meant not be in the line of fire. Janice hadn't exactly been the get her hands dirty type when he knew her in the past. Gilbert had brought some stuff he had read could work against a Kraken, but seeing as they weren't really a well known entity it was all guesswork. He didn't tell Clarissa this, if only not to scare her, on top of that, he suspected the Kraken was long gone and all he'd be doing is what he did in the past, nothing.

"So what is this stuff again?" Gilbert had attached to a couple of Clarissa's arrows some poison, she had an arrow notched as they walked around the ship, Gilbert didn't tell her how ridiculous it looked.

"Fire poison, I've used it on the past with some monster fish, fairly effective, you put it into the creature, and then it uses their blood to ignite."

"Good god why are there so many different kinds of poison?"

"Lots of things need killing Clarissa, lots of things, you want to know about a lot of lethal things let me go through all the various explosives I've used over the years you'd lose your mind."

"So what are we looking for again?"

"I don't rightly know." Clarissa chuckled, Gilbert felt honesty was the best policy, he didn't know what they expected to find, certainly not the Kraken. They weren't very far into the ship when he first heard the banging, at first he thought it was some CDC people doing a test or something, or maybe even a passenger that had managed to survive the slaughter. Eventually Gilbert figured it out that it was gun fire, he felt stupid for not thinking of that at first, and even dumber when he realized he had his walkie talkie turned off.

"Where the fuck are you Gilbert?" Gilbert could barely hear Janice over the sounds of gunfire.

"Middle of the ship, what's going on? What are you shooting at?"

"The undead! Didn't you hear my previous messages?"

"Nope had it turned off, we have undead?"

"Yeah look like passengers, lots of them, and hungry, did you bring any Yanya root?"

"Probably in my damn bag which I don't have."

"Iron's keeping them down, but I'll need something more permanent get up here." The walkie went silent and Gilbert looked to Clarissa who looked startled.

"Undead?"

"Yeah."

"So that's probably what got the ship right?"

"No, if anything according to lore we're more on target than ever, Kraken's don't just kill you they turn you, supposedly, shit, you've got some iron headed arrows, you'll need them to kill the undead, I have to go top side help out."

"Wait where am I going?" Gilbert pointed deeper in.

"CDC guys won't have brought weapons Clarissa."

"But they are assholes Gilbert."

"We save assholes, its what we do." Clarissa nodded and swapped the poison arrow for a more traditional iron headed one.

"So I save the CDC dicks proving the power of the common man and then meet you up top to get out of here right?"

"Sure that's the plan."

"You don't sound convinced."

"I'm not, lore says the undead show up and then..."

"The Kraken."

"Stay safe, the undead can't spread to you like a zombie film, but their bite can give you a nasty infection."

"Got it."

"Oh and Clarissa hows your shoulder?" Clarissa flipped Gilbert off and went deeper into the ship, Gilbert looked back towards the way they had come and sighed. It was going to be a long day.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Time to get Kraken

30.

The sun was high in the sky, but all Clarissa could feel was cold. The ship they were on was some kind of coast guard transport, it moved fast, but it also made the already chilly sound in the morning even more cold. There was a man up front fighting to be heard over the sound of the ship, some CDC dude who introduced himself as a doctor of something, but Clarissa couldn't listen to what he was saying the cold and noise made it hard to pay attention. Between herself and the doctor was a group of CDC scientists she assumed, they all seemed to be paying more attention than she was.

"Should I be listening to this guy?" Gilbert was next to her, one duffle bag slung over his shoulder another one at his feet. She thought he packed heavy, he told her wasn't taking chances.

"Nah he's just talking to be heard, what he's got to say ain't got shit on why we're here."

"Why are we here?" Gilbert hadn't even really told her where they were going when he got her up and told her there was a job that needed doing. She assumed it was going to be in eastern Washington and had dressed accordingly, the shorts she was wearing under the jumpsuit weren't doing much to keep her warm.

"Well we kill monsters, so that."

"So helpful Gilbert." He smiled.

"How's the shoulder by the way?"

"Fine like the other six times you asked me today."

"Good might need you to carry this other bag my shoulder is starting to hurt." She punched him in his none carrying arm and he feigned being hurt. The CDC man finished talking up front and Clarissa went to mingle with the science team to get more info than Gilbert was giving her.

****
"She's nice, new trainee?" Colonel Janice Mortimer was a trim lady in her late 40's she had long graying hair, but Gilbert remembered when it was was very blonde.

"Janice, its nice to see you."

"Glad you took my calls, the General was worried you wouldn't."

"Half thought I wasn't going to." Gilbert could see Clarissa mingling with the other younger people, he had been telling her she needed to get out more prior to her being attacked.

"Was it curiosity or a sense of duty that made you change your mind."

"Bit of both." Janice laughed.

"Well I'm glad you decided to come along, this looks like a real problem." Gilbert shrugged.

"Honestly I don't even know what we're dealing with do you have a description."

"Step into my office Gilbert, let me show you the video we got." Janice's office was a cramped cabin on the ship, but it was warmer and less noisy than outside. There was a small bed and a laptop on an attached desk, the laptop was secured with straps.

"You heard about the missing ferry right?"

"Nope." Janice frowned.

"It was like a top news item for three days Gilbert."

"You know my stance on reading the news Janice." Janice sighed.

"Ok so a ferry went missing last week, Bremerton to Seattle, over a hundred people on board, just gone. It showed up near the strait of Juan De Fuca on Monday." Janice pulled up a video on her lap top and it was of what Gilbert assumed was the ferry. The shot was at an angle showing the ship wasn't sitting properly and the light was from the camera with only small flickers from the ship lights. There was no one, no bodies, no blood, just nothing.

"No bodies?"

"Nothing, they did find this though." Janice forwarded the video to what looked like a lounge of sorts covered in yellow slime. Gilbert sucked in his breath.

"Well now I know why General Joe called."

"He thinks its the same one."

"Course he does, you know I bought him a copy of Moby Dick I never thought he'd take the lesson Ahab was the good guy." Janice was about to say something in return when Clarissa came inside very red in the face.

"Some fucking asshole just said maybe if I finished my degree I'd be wearing a CDC logo instead of one for pest inspection." Gilbert and Janice both laughed.

"Pleasure to meet you." Janice held out her hand, Clarissa shook it while looking confused.

"This is Colonel Mortimer, she's with the Army Special Eliminations Division."

"Meaning she's a monster killer like we are."

"Yes and Janice is fine, its nice to meet you Clarissa." Clarissa looked at the laptop and looked confused.

"What the hell is all that?"

"The army thinks its a left over from a Kraken." Gilbert's tone implied he wasn't so sure.

"What's a Kraken?" Janice and Gilbert both sighed.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Bad Idea from the latin Badus Ideaus

29.

"So just the lizards?" Gilbert was sweaty,tired and slightly pissed off, the van's air conditioning had been going out and the temperature on the drive was well over a hundred degrees. The Geologist looking at him was sweating himself.

"They aren't just lizards sir, there are dozens of them, they are like the size of small children." Gilbert held up his hand.

"Killed things like this before, trust me in a cave your not seeing things properly, there are only maybe three or four of them total. Hell I'd been in this cave before you were born killing something similar don't worry about it." The geologist wanted to say something, but Gilbert was already walking back to the van to gather some poison.

"There's a lot fucking more than four in there dude!" The geologist shouted it after him, but Gilbert wasn't listening anymore, he just wanted to get back to work and get the job done.

****

They were hunting him. He had underestimated their numbers and they had cut off his exit. There were dozens of the creatures. Gilbert knew he'd made a mistake, hadn't brought enough with him into the cave, hadn't been prepared and now it was about to bite him several times in the ass. Gilbert did a mental check of his weaponry, the revolver with a couple reloads, and a his knife dipped in a poison that had proved completely ineffective. He knew he would have to fight them, and he knew he was probably screwed, but he recalled once a conversation about how he'd want to go out, on his feet or on his knees and he had chosen feet every time. He came out from behind the rock he'd been hiding behind to the sight of dozens of the things, he had the pistol in his right hand and his knife in the other.

"GILBERT!" Gilbert thought for a moment he was losing his mind, he heard Clarissa shout after him, but he could see in the low light of the cave she was ahead of the creatures her bow with an arrow already notched.

"What are you doing here Clarrisa?"

"MAKING IT RAIN!" She fired the arrow which had some kind of whistling canister attached to it, when it was over the lizards it exploded in a burst of yellow fluid that burned the creatures like napalm. Clarissa came down a smile on her face, Gilbert couldn't help but share.

"Making it rain?"

"Best I could come up with." Gilbert looked over at what remained of the creatures, the smell was overwhelming.

"What is that?"

"Werechicken blood mixed with some kind of pixie dust? Larry said it would deal with these little bastards pretty good, and it has, I killed a couple out front that had attacked some poor geologist almost took the guys eyes out."

"I hope he didn't charge you too much for it, neither pixie dust, or werechicken blood are very hard to..."

"Gilbert."

"I'm just saying Larry likes to overcharge and you have to be ready for."

"You're welcome Gilbert."

"So Doris sent you I take it."

"She was worried you didn't fully read the description of the job, and just worried in general."

"I'll have to think about giving her a raise. I hope you brought more of that were brew, this group was the smaller of the three I'd run across." Clarissa handed over a back pack full of containers.

"Larry also said he'd heard reports the caves were infested, a lot of people like Gilbert."

"So I'm finding out, how's your shoulder?"

"Sore, but I'll deal." There was sound from behind Gilbert. The lizards were coming, sounded like an entire army of the little buggers.

"Good, because we got some exterminating to do."

"And you complain about my catchphrases."

****

Many hours later Gilbert and Clarissa emerged from the cave. Both were coated in lizard entrails, but they were victorious. The sun was setting over the horizon, the cool air felt like it had come from god himself to cool them down. Clarissa just sat down breathing none burning lizard air for a moment.

"I'm half tempted to just ride home with you, the Van's ac is shot." Clarissa laughed.

"Yeah my jeep's ac doesn't work either, I swear I was losing my mind driving down here in the weather." Gilbert joined her on the ground.

"Probably should get that looked into."

"Yeah do you know a guy?"

"Several, though I admit it's been years might be dead."

"As we all might be soon enough." Gilbert looked at the sun going down and pulled his pipe out.

"Some of us sooner than others."

Friday, August 4, 2017

What She Needs She Can't Have

28.

Clarissa was in the yard firing her bow. Gilbert watched from the kitchen window as she'd fire a shot, curse and then go push the hay bale further away. Since Gilbert had been watching her, she had the target at least fifty yards from her firing spot. Gilbert drank his coffee and sighed.

"She wants you to come out and say something." Shirley was there, Gilbert knew she wasn't actually there. She was a manifestation of his old age and conscience, but he admitted it made his heart feel better to see her.

"What she wants me to say is that she can come back to work, but she needs time to heal she got hurt bad, and I don't want her to get hurt in the field, bruises heal eventually."


"Gilbert."

"I don't need you to tell me what to do, I was there once, I was her, she just need to be patient."

"You weren't."

"And I have a scar that runs the length of my back as an example of what not being patient gets you, I got work I got to put this shit out of my head." Gilbert put his coffee down and Shirley was gone. He worried for his mental state, he knew age was creeping on him, felt it in his arms and legs, but his mind was now going too and he worried what that would mean for the future. The work needed doing though, he knew that too, and he was behind in his duties. He zipped up his work jumpsuit and grabbed his keys; today he exterminated.

****

"He's not listening to me anymore." Shirley the ghost had come to Clarissa her first official night at Gilberts. She hadn't wanted to scare her, but she had frightened her all the same. Now they were more like friends, just in secret because Gilbert was not ready for any truth of his dead wife.

"He believes you're a figment of his imagination."

"I don't dispel that in him, I know he'd be rid of me if he accepted I was actually there, but he still needs me, you both do." Clarissa smiled at the ghost. Her target was a publicity photo of her father, Gilbert had told her of his demand for her to stop being an exterminator and she was so angry shooting the pictures was all she could do to stop from wanting to harm the real thing.

"Why don't you move on? Are you afraid of the afterlife."

"No, I'm afraid of what Gilbert would do. You didn't see him when I passed, I waited for a few days at first, just to make sure he was all right. He wasn't, he used to come home and cry. Just take off his clothes, cook his food, and sit and wail to the night. It went like that for months. He doesn't have friends, he has work acquaintances, but no one to be there for him. So I waited and helped as I could, just being on the edge of his vision something to help the tears, eventually I talked he mistook me for his sadness, but he talked to me all the same, and now you are here and I see you are lost too in your own way. So I stay for now, I'll go when you both don't need me."

"Fair enough." Clarissa had pushed the target another few yards away, she felt like it was almost a football field now, hitting her father's face from that distance was getting harder.

"You're going to hurt yourself Clarissa."

"I already hurt, I just need to do this, I need to get better." Shirley sighed, she had a lot of work to do with both Gilbert and Clarissa, but in time, in time they wouldn't need her. Eventually.

****

"Didn't you say you don't do jobs by yourself anymore?" Gilbert had come into the office busier than Doris had seen him in a while. Like he was worried there weren't enough hours in the day.

"Clarissa's still hurt and jobs need to get done, what am I looking at?"

"Some kind of Lizards creatures in the mammoth cave..."

"Perfect lizards, got it, easy job I'll be back before sundown." Gilbert grabbed the paper out of her hand and was out of the office before she could even finish.