Cory and Alex were the most successful robbers the country had seen in a long time. Cory went into a bank and took the money; while Alex waited outside. Sometimes he had to drive away when the police arrived or something else went wrong. Every time that happened he worried about leaving Cory but he believed that nothing could happen to him.
They had spent nearly half a year together. Alex wondered where Cory spent his money. They had divided their ill-gotten gains from the beginning each taking half. When they were in a new city, Alex went into the malls and bought things. He didn't really need the stuff he bought but Cory didn't suggest he stop. However, if he didn't stop soon, they would need a truck for their next moves.
He was happy to have money and used it to impress girls by giving them a good time. It became his hobby to hang around in malls picking up girls. Cory often warned him, but Alex reassured him. He knew how to be invisible to cops and other suspicious people. For a while, at first, Cory went with him. They had fun looking for twin girls they could ask for a date. But Alex had the feeling that Cory somehow missed something. He often surprised Cory staring at some of the old photos he always hung on the walls on his room. The photos of him posing with a woman. Alex wanted to ask him about that woman but he knew that Cory, if he wanted to talk about it, would bring it up himself. But the more he looked at the photos the less he went with Alex to the malls and other places. These moods came on so unexpectedly that Alex never knew until he was leaving if he was going alone or if Cory was going with him. And if Cory were with him, Cory got the best girl of their selection. So Alex was sometimes happy if Cory stayed at home, even if he was in that melancholy mood.
One day, Alex knelt in the bedroom packing again for their move to another city. He had stopped to count how many times they had moved - it seemed that they moved every week.
It was dusk and their last dinner in this house was nearly ready. Alex still couldn't understand Cory's joy in cooking. He stood up and walked over to him.
"Yeah?" He looked up from the stove where he was putting the finishing touches on their meal.
"I know, it's not my business, but where do you spend all your money?"
"You won't believe it. Most of it I give to people who really need it."
"Just like Robin Hood." Alex teased him, like he had from the beginning.
"Exactly. But I did it before Robin was born."
They smiled at each other, but then Alex became serious.
"Where are we going this time?"
"Where do you want to go?"
"I dunno." Alex shrugged. "Do you plan what the next city will be?"
"No, I just look for small ones, not too small, but not too big. Sometimes west, sometimes north, sometimes... You know."
"Yeah. What do you think this time? North? South?"
"Would you like to select a town?" Cory gave him a couple of state maps.
"Why not?" Alex closed his eyes and pointed to one city. "Think we'll go there."
"There? Okay, looks nice, at least on the map."
When they arrived in the city Alex chose, they rented a little house just outside the city. Just like all the others, they had been living in; it stood alone in a little forest.
Alex had an idea that Cory could find houses like that all over the country. Another nice thing was, that from the moment they first hit the road together, all the houses had two bedrooms. No one had to sleep in the living room.
When they had finished unpacking and cleaning the house, at least a little bit, Alex decided to go to the mall and sure to check the banks of the town. He took the keys to their car and started to leave.
"Could you call if you aren't coming home for dinner?"
"You sound like a wife!" When he saw that Cory's face had that sad expression again he added fast "Okay. I promise."
He got in the car and started the engine. Cory had been depressed for several weeks. Sometimes his moods were so bad that even Alex began to worry. It sometimes seemed to Alex that Cory's low moods happened when he unexpectedly caught sight of Alex. In the beginning Cory was always in a humorous mood and was highly amused at their resemblance. But now, it appeared he was getting more and more unhappy with each move. Alex also had the feeling that Cory was afraid that there was somebody following them. He drove into the town.
// It really looks nice here. I think if my parents had lived in such a beautiful town my life might have turned out totally different.//
After he had checked several banks, he decided to stop with the work and start with the fun. He pulled up in front of the mall.
// Let's see what's up here.//
He walked through the mall, searching for something on which he could spend his money or a cute girl to spend it for him. Suddenly he was tapped on the shoulder.
He turned around. Behind him was a small, overweight, baldheaded man. He was looking at Alex as if he knew him. Then Alex saw the badge, a police badge. He wanted to run away, but he stayed where he was.
"Yeah?" he asked, trying to suppress his fear.
"Ricky! Hey, are you dreaming? It's me!"
"What? Um.. sorry, but my name is not Ricky. You have me mixed up with someone else. "
The man eyed him with a smile.
"Ricky, don't fool around." He looked at his watch. "I have to hurry, Rachel is waiting. We'll talk tomorrow at work about this."
The man left and Alex stood still standing with all the people that were streaming into and out of the shops brushing by him.
// Ricky? How many of us are out there?//
He was still irritated as he went to the car. When he got in it, he waited a long time staring at the entrance of the mall watching the constant flow of people walking in and out before he started the engine. As he drove towards their house he passed a sign standing beside the road. It said. "You Are Now Leaving The Town Of Eastbridge".
When Alex arrived at the house he was still confused by the things that had just happened. He got out of the car and looked around. This was another wonderful evening. A night with a clear heaven, so you were able to see the stars with their incredible light. He sighed. How often had he looked into the sky? When he was a young boy he used to do it often. He turned around, yeah, when he was a little boy, but that was long ago. Alex didn't want to think about his past, he was happy with the present.
As he entered the house he called for Cory. He moved too silently, thief and murderer that he was, and he had scared Cory nearly to death once too often. He had learned to call out though it was hard for him but Cory 's revenge was swift. He wanted to behave normally for Cory and the longer they were together the more normal his behavior was becoming. Part of it was because he wanted to be nice to Cory, but the biggest reason was the very creative revenge tactics of Cory.
One time he had found a dead rat in his bed - he would have laughed about it - if he didn't have a girl with him. She started to scream and screamed even more as Cory appeared in the door with a devilish smile on his face. The girl ran out of the room, out of the house towards her car. Alex tried to follow her. As she drove away, he stood in front of the house, yelling at the girl, trying to make her come back.
// Damn. I don't even know her name.//
After he returned in the house, he eyed Cory with a look that could kill.
"Why the hell did it have to be this night?"
Cory looked at him very serious, but after some seconds he couldn't help himself and started to laugh. Alex looked at him and started to laugh himself. After they calmed a little bit, they sat down in the living room and had some wine still laughing about the girl.
Yeah, that was during the time when he and Cory were still having a lot of fun. It seemed to him to be a long time ago, when he thought of the moods Cory had been having lately.
So, he had learned to be noisy enough for Cory to hear him. And now he was standing in the living room, calling towards the kitchen where he supposed Cory to be. When he got no answer he walked into the kitchen. He saw that Cory had cooked. The pots containing their dinner were still on the stove. He still couldn't understand how something could taste so delicious. Sure, in the last few years he had eaten many things he didn't want to remember, but Cory cooked better than his mother ever had. He shook his head to shake the memory of his mother and called again for Cory, this time a bit louder. Then he turned around to walk towards the bedrooms. Suddenly Cory appeared in front of him.
"Jesus! What's the hell is going on?"
Cory looked down and didn't say anything.
"I came here right on time and who didn't answer? You! You told me to tell you if I wanted to go out and to let you know if I'll be absent any time."
Cory still looked down, but this time he started to speak.
"Sorry. I...I had to do something. It...had to...be done."
Alex saw that Cory was holding his sword in his hands and it was covered with blood. Cory himself looked sweaty and he was breathing heavy.
Alex thought he had been up to something strenuous like maybe a sword fight, but he couldn't believe that in this day and age people had sword fights - okay Cory had lived a long time, but sword fights? He held the sword in a very special way, on the one hand he looked prepared to attack, on the other hand he seemed to be afraid of using the sword - or to have used the sword. Alex gulped.
"Is everything okay?" he asked trying to start a conversation with him.
"Yeah. Everything's fine. J...just had something to do..."
"Uhm...Okay. What about dinner? I'm hungry."
"Yeah. It will be ready soon... Could you take the plates off the board? I'll put this away." He lifted the sword a bit and Alex nodded while Cory went to the bathroom.
// What the hell was that? Sure, lately Cory had been in a strange mood, but 'that' was really unusual.//
Alex took two plates and put them next to the stove. Then he took two forks and knives. As he saw the knives he shuddered a little bit as he thought of the bloody sword. He was placing the knives and forks on the table, just the way Cory had been teaching him when the Immortal came in. He was still looking a bit confused, but he had his trademark smirk on his face.
"Very good, Alex! Maybe I can call you Marian very soon."
"Hey! It's your work, I'm just helping you."
"My work? Who said that?" asked Cory. He teased and Alex teased back.
"The preacher. Didn't you listen when we were married?" grinned Alex.
"He talked about loving and honoring for better or for worse and something about for richer or poorer. He didn't say ANYTHING about cooking and washing and cleaning and..."
"Okay!" Alex stopped him grinning widely. "But I'm hungry. Really. I didn't eat anything since we stopped at the dirty truck stop."
"Oh! You care about the hygiene of the places where you eat?"
"That's a new one on me. From all I've heard you never gave much thought to that!"
"I didn't give a lot to that. But now I do!"
They joked on this way while Cory put the meal on the plates and brought them one after the other to the living room. Alex wanted to start eating, but he knew that Cory laid stress on good manners, so he waited for him. As Cory returned from the kitchen with his plate, Alex eyed him with a serious look, hoping he would tell him what had happened. But Cory didn't say anything about it. He just continued joking and teasing and Alex went with it. Then he suddenly remembered the encounter with the man in the mall. He told Cory about it.
"There is something with this town. I don't like it. First I meet someone who knows me and now this."
// Okay, he met someone he knew. But what had he done with the sword?//
"And the sword. the blood? Is there a reason you had it with you?" Alex looked very serious as he asked Cory that.
Cory sighed and closed his eyes. Alex thought that Cory would not continue, but he did. After he took another deep breath.
"Yes. There is a reason. I killed him. Just a few minutes ago. I had to kill him, otherwise he would have killed me."
"Your friends are as nice as mine are."
Alex tried to make him laugh and he succeeded. At first he saw the smile just in Cory's eyes. Then Cory started to grin. That was the expression Alex had begun to miss. That smile that proved to him that Cory was again his playful self.
"I think they are. But let's change the topic. I'm sure you looked for the banks."
"Sure I did. And there're at least two with the poorest security system I've ever seen."
"That sounds good. Where exactly are they?"
They talked about the banks the rest of the evening. Once more Alex asked Cory about this 'friend', but he repeated that he didn't want to talk about it. Alex knew that if Cory said this, he really didn't want to talk about it.
// If he wants me to know he will tell me.//
To be continued...