Scene Eighty Nine
In which things get better then worse
This was the first time since she had got back that Clare had been able to walk to work without what she thought of as her honor guard. She hadn’t been able to believe her eyes when she had opened her door and not seen anyone there.
If she had to be honest with herself then she would have to say that she really missed it; as terrifying as it had been, she had kind of enjoyed being the center of attention.
Still, loss or no, she walked with a new spring in her step as she walked down the snow frosted path.
Frankie couldn’t be her escort in the mornings. She hadn’t been too happy about that, but Sandra had convinced her eventually; risk or no it was just too noticeable if she was waiting every morning for a man to walk past her house.
She was in that strange part of town which isn’t quite the suburbs, and isn’t really the center, the part that no-one ever really has need to go to. Clare hadn’t known that this part of town even existed until her car had broken down four years ago, and she had taken to walking everywhere she had to go; after all, it wasn’t like she lived too far from work.
She had just passed the odd dairy which always smelled of egg fried rice when she realized that someone was running up to her, or towards her anyway.
Clare turned her head so that it was pointing resolutely in front of her, and walked a little bit faster, holding her hand bag closer.
The man chasing after her stepped roughly into her path, and halted her with a palm thrust out in front of him. His other hand reached into his pocket, her hand slipped into her handbag. The man drew his hand out holding a recorder. Clare stayed on her guard outwardly, but inwardly she relaxed a little; it was just another reporter.
The man clicked the record button, and started speaking in a rough aggressive voice. “Tell us, Clare Summers” he said, “Why you are choosing to ignore the wanton destruction of Dryads, your people?”
Clare thought that the question was far more accusative than was really necessary; she had only vaguely alluded to the possibility of Dryads living in the Amazon.
Besides she had never actually met her paternal grandmother, and while her background made in easier for her to amass contacts in the wider Dryad community, she had never really thought of herself as being part of it.
She gave the standard answer she had drilled to be as boring as possible. “I don’t really want to talk about that” she said, stepping around him.
The man grabbed her shoulder. “Well I want to talk about it” he said, “I think you’re being an evasive bitch”
Clare didn’t feel safe. Her hand was still in her handbag. “Let me go” she said.
The man tightened his grip and leaned in uncomfortably close. “No” he said.
Clare whipped the pepper spray out of her bag, swung it round in a wide arc, and brought it down with a crunching noise on the side of the man’s head.