He watched the hotel draw closer as the boat slipped through the water, studying the almost-blank face of the building. To be honest, it looked more like an apartment building on the steadily-growing-seedy side of town than a five-star hotel.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, coming up beside him and sliding an arm around his waist.
He’d seen better, but didn’t say so. This was special to her, even if it wasn’t to him. It should be special to him, but he just couldn’t make it so in his own heart.
Truthfully, he loved her but he didn’t much like her anymore. Her neediness; her desperation to fit into his world when she didn’t. The band tolerated her because of him.
And that was a bad sign.
Because he loved her, he’d arranged this last weekend. It was gonna hurt like hell to walk away, but he would. Family was more important and the band was his family.
Turning to her, he smiled, determined to give her one more happy memory.
“Did you know praying mantises used to be worshiper as Gods?”
“God of bugs?”
“Harvest? Don’t they eat the harvest or something?”
He shook his head. “That’s grasshoppers. They eat insects.”
“And each other.”
“So why did they worship them as Gods?”
“Because, see it’s front arms. It looks like it is praying.”
“Well, sort of.”
They were silent for a few moments, watching the insect on the wall; filled with the wonder of life all around them, thick with the scent of fresh-cut hay and horses.
The shadow of their father fell over them, hands folded in prayer.
Rodney moved his binoculars back and forth. “They’ll hear you.”
“You know, them.”
“So who’s them?” They had a they and a them and that was too confusing for him.
Rodney growled under his breath. “Doesn’t matter. Just hush.”
They both fell silent as Rodney scanned some more.
“All right,” Rodney finally said. “After this monster, run! And, Andy, I mean run your tail off.”
“It’s an awful long way, Rodney.”
“You’ll be fine.”
“I’m sure. Just… get ready….. One….”
A huge gust of wind almost dumped them backwards as the monster flew past, metal sides gleaming in the sun.
The last of its wheels passed.
Grabbing Andy by the scruff of his neck, Rodney threw him out of the sewer drain. With all the speed two rats could muster, they fled across the pavement, reaching the far side and diving into a ditch as another monster flashed behind them. Collapsed in the grass to catch their breath.
“Are we going to the feast now, Rodney?”
Rodney slowly rose on his four feet. “Yeah, we are. Come on.”
Rodney led the way as they scampered through the woods towards the houses beyond.