Kent’s custom was to eat lunch at his home between work shifts on a Friday and as such he was pedalling down Cutters Court when he caught sight of Nix sitting in a car near the entrance. Pretending not to have noticed him Kent pulled over and parked his bike on the opposite side of the street from the factory he lived underneath, and chained it to the fence leading to the park and brick kiln beyond. Knowing he was being observed he made a subtle spectacle of looking out towards the path leading away, and started walking towards it. It wasn’t long before he heard the sound of a car slam to a halt at the end of the street. Jerking his head back there was Nix erupting from the car and preparing to dash after him. Kent quickly sprinted straight for the path that went out towards the lake area beyond the kiln. Behind him Nix was following.
The brick kiln was originally built next to a clay quarry so it could be supplied with the raw materials for making the bricks. With the closure of the brick kiln this area had been turned into an artificial lake. Since it wasn’t a natural lake, minerals had seeped into the water and turned it opal green. There was no top soil around the edges but hundreds of pine trees grew up around the banks, obviously not affected by the minerals in the water as much as the other plants were. A local environmental group had built boardwalks along the edge of the lack and through the forest of trees growing up around it. On the weekend there might have been people around, but on a Friday afternoon it was deserted. This was the place Kent had fled into and the place he was leading his hunter.
Realising his mistake Kent, looked over his shoulder to confirm that Nix was indeed following him into the park. Kent pulled the straps of his backpack tight and leaped from the boardwalk and into the forest of pine trees. Nix didn’t hesitate to follow and the chase continued. Kent ducked and weaved between the trees and while Nix was less agile there wasn’t enough foliage for Kent to conceal the path he was taking. Kent ran up a steep embankment thinking it would be too much effort for Nix, a heavier build of man than himself. Nix surprised Kent by being fitter than he looked. Kent ran down a slope too fast for it to be safe, he snagged himself on a branch but kept on running. Nix yelped behind him in pain indicating that he had snagged himself too. Kent was still running but quickly nearing the area of the park he had previously explored. He bounded through a thick cluster of underbrush hoping to find a place for concealment, but instead found he was trapped on all sides by an electric fence.
Turning quickly on this heels, hoping he might have a chance to hide in the underbrush before Nix arrived his stomach sank to see Nix burst through the brush before him, pistol in hand. Realising that escape wasn’t an option, Kent slowly raised his hands showing how empty they were. Nix grinned like a cat with mouse under his paw. For a while Nix just stood there silently enjoying his moment of triumph, he moved his arms about, the gun still dangling at the end of one of them.
“Ha! For a druid you are pretty stupid, it was too easy for me to follow you.”
Kent didn’t respond. Nix went on mocking him, hurling insults one after the other. Kent continued to ignore him and just stare blankly at a point behind Nix. Eventually Nix realised Kent wasn’t paying attention to him. Nix raised his gun and pointed the muzzle directly at the middle of Kent’s forehead.
“Are you listening to me nature scum?” muttered Nix.
“I certainly am. I was admiring how much time and effort you put into your insults. Although, ‘nature scum’ it a bit of an odd choice of words,” replied Kent almost calmly.
“Well it fits, you’re a druid now and obviously you have made your base somewhere amongst these trees. Why don’t you show me where exactly you live?”
Kent tried to sigh casually, but it sounded forced. Nonetheless he pushed himself to speak flippantly, “I would invite you over to my place, unfortunately I only have one cup left and I would be too embarrassed not to be able to offer you a cup of tea.”
“You think you’re so clever, you think you’re so smart,” snarled Nix all traces of the neat and polite policeman from the day before were gone now, “you can talk funny and use your clever words, but the only universal language is force. I have the gun. I know the language of violence. I have the power. I tell you what to do.”
“And yet, I am not moving,” Kent surprised himself this time hearing the bravery in his own voice.
Nix heard it and instantly felt weaker. His shoulders slumped slightly, and his movements became less vigorous.
“I don’t know why Peterson doesn’t want me to just kill you. This would be a good place to do it. Nice and far away from witnesses. I might even have enough time to bury your body deep enough not to be found for months.”
“Why don’t you just kill me then?”
“That’s what I want to know. I know Peterson, he’s cold blooded. I’ve seen him kill before. It’s not like him to be this cautious. There’s something going on between you two. What is it?”
Kent swallowed uncomfortably, “I don’t know, I suppose I must just be special.”
“You are a pitiful liar, Kent. You know the reason why.”
“Actually, in all seriousness, I don’t know why Peterson is so cautious about killing me.”
Nix observed Kent carefully, and reaching a conclusion that Kent was being honest decided to move onto a more pressing matter.
“Show me where your base is or I will shoot you.”