Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Verena wasn’t there.
“Thomas? That you?”
The man looked up from his drink and to his distant surprise saw Mark Cobham closing the tavern door.
“Hi,” Thomas said.
Mark shrugged off his coat and pulled out the stool next to him. “Don’t usually see ya outta th’ base. Don’t usually see ya out at all, come t’ think about it.”
Thomas chose to stare down at his ale.
The bartender, Rufus, came over. “Y’wanna order somethin’, Mark?”
Mark pulled out a bottle from his rucksack. “Nah, brought my own stuff.”
Rufus sighed. “Course y’did,” he said, and sauntered off.
Thomas raised his eyebrow at Mark, who winked. “Got it from th’ kitchens. Mary was busy takin’ care of some girl that came in th’ infirmary.”
Evelyn. Thomas took a deep swig of his ale. “Where’s your sister?”
Mark shrugged. “Dunno, probably off doin’ opium. That, or finding some lucky guy t’ fuck.”
Thomas didn’t comment, and the two stayed silent for a moment.
“Y’didn’t answer my question,” Mark said.
“Why’re you out here?”
“Why can’t I be?”
Mark’s light, playful tone darkened. “Me an’ Max have been lookin’ into what Th’ Rat’s been doin’ ever since we left, Thomas.”
Thomas didn’t look up from his bottle. “Good for you.”
“Now, I’m normally fine with London missin’ one or two bums,” the man continued, “But what yer doin’ for him – what we did, back then… it ain’t right, Thomas.”
“We didn’ know why we were killin’ those people two years ago. But you an’ I know now, don’t we? An’ yer still workin’ for him. Why?” Thomas didn’t answer. Mark looked up to make sure Rufus wasn’t listening in, and lowered his voice. “What if I just speak up an’ tell everybody in this room that th’ Black Murderer is sittin’ right here?”
His seax was there, hidden inside his coat. Mark only had his bottle. Would Mark react fast enough to stop a thrust to his neck? Knowing him, probably.
“Then I would have to kill everybody here,” Thomas replied.
“Aw, don’t kill Rufus,” Mark said. “I like him.”
The other man was definitely stronger. If it came to hand-to-hand, Mark would have an advantage with grappling because of his fights with Max. Quick, lethal attacks would be the best option. Eyes or throat.
Thomas looked at Mark.
“Be nice, mate,” the Crow said. “Just that one question. Who’re you out here t’ kill?”
There was an empty space where Thomas should’ve been afraid to answer, or felt guilty, or started crying, or did something, but Verena wasn’t there.
“Nobody,” Thomas answered. “Just some old man.”