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There was a general excitement and apprehension about reaching Quipignon, apprehension because Cootie had suddenly started changing bits of the show with no warning. He had spent most of the journey closeted with Bissy, making substantial amendments to the dance routines in particular. These changes began to make everyone nervous. He was ordering that the sexual content of the show be bumped up considerably, and some of the tamer acts were temporarily axed to make way for them.
On the evening of their one overnight en-route stopover Trixie invited Kieran's group to his tent for supper, adding the enticement that Vanod would be elsewhere. They felt well-disposed towards Trixie this evening. He had endured the day's travelling without a single complaint and for once was beginning to seem positively regal in his bearing. He had had his chocolate-brown locks shorn for the journey, which made him look much older and much less like an overweight Pekinese. He talked constantly of ways to defeat Gabriel, which Kieran found wearying.
"I believe in taking one thing at a time", he said "I had no idea how I was going to defeat Angel until I got together with him".
"But we must have a strategy", Trixie protested.
"One'll come to me in time", said Kieran, which didn't suit His Grand Lordship, but he could conceded reluctantly that Kieran wasn't in the mood for discussing it any further.
The party broke up amicably soon after, and they left Trixie's tent to find Finia standing outside with his favourite snake wound round his neck.
"Julian wishes to see you Adam", he said.
"It'll have to wait", said Adam, nettled by the eunuch's imperious tone "I'm tired and Lonts needs putting to bed".
"I can see to Lonts", said Kieran.
"Patsy! Are you trying foist me off on Julian?"
"Certainly not", said Kieran "But he'll keep badgering you until you do see him, so you might as well get it over with".
Adam was doubly annoyed that Finia then insisted on walking him to Julian's tent, as though he was under armed escort.
"I can find my own way", he snapped "And keep that snake away from me".
"You have nothing to fear", said Finia "It's had its venom removed".
"Shame they couldn't have removed yours whilst they were about it".
Finia flounced off, and Adam entered the tent to find it considerably less cluttered than usual. Most of Julian's knick-knacks were now stored in boxes and loaded onto his small fleet of mules for the journey. Julian had been smoking hash for most of the evening, and was now stumbling around blearily in his dressing-gown.
"This had better be good Julian", Adam barked.
"I haven't seen you since we arrived. I wanted to check you were alright. We seem to be surrounded by so many dark forces", said Julian "And from what I know of Quipignon it'll be worse there. And you're harbouring a viper in your bosom".
"Finia's got nothing to do with me".
"I was talking about Gimmit. He's double-crossing you".
"And not getting very far", said Adam "Anyway I will deal with Gimmit in my own time".
"Move in with me Adam", Julian tried to get him in a bear-hug but seemed to have trouble keeping a grip on him "I can keep an eye on you then".
"I'm really not in the mood for this Jules".
"Please Adam, you know I've always loved you".
"You liar!" Adam roared, his head tearing apart with travel exhaustion, and a weariness with distrusting everyone outside his own circle "Don't play anymore games with me Julian. You've had more than your fair share out of me".
"It's the truth, I always have loved you".
"Liar!" Adam punched Julian so hard on his chin that he was knocked clean off his feet. He then dragged Julian back up and screamed at him wordlessly, many years of repressed anger spilling out at once.
"Please Adam, not my eyes", Julian whimpered, trying to shield his face with his arms "Don't hit me in my eyes, I have a terror of it. Please!"
Adam saw a mental image of himself hitting Kieran in just such a way at the Loud House. This memory could bring him to his senses quicker than anything.
"I once hit Patsy that way", he said, as though talking to himself "It was bad. Very bad. I could've damaged him for good. It was just luck that I didn't".
"I'll pour us a drink", said Julian "Oh I'm sorry, you can't. I'm not being sarcastic Adam, I genuinely forgot. I'll put some coffee on instead".
"I was so lucky he gave me a second chance", Adam continued "I didn't deserve it. If he hadn't, I don't know what I would have done".
"Can't you give me one too?" said Julian "A second chance".
Adam began to sob wildly.
"You wouldn't believe Jules", he cried "How low I got at times. After prison, with the booze and everything".
"It's gone now Adam", Julian whispered "It's another life. Let it go. Let it go".
He took Adam in his arms, and Adam cried madly into his shoulder, occasionally beating Julian's back with his fists. Julian took it, and continued to whisper his soft entreaty whilst Adam finally allowed his demons to be expelled.
He awoke at dawn to see the first fingers of daylight filtering through a gap in the tent. Julian moaned next to him and rolled over, wrapping his leg around Adam's, which position Adam found hot and uncomfortable.
"Gabriel's power is waning", Julian muttered.
"How do you know?" said Adam.
"Because when I woke up I swear I very nearly had an erection".
"You were dreaming", said Adam "Either that or you smoked too much of that stuff last night".
"No I swear it. It surely means Gabriel is losing his grip if the curse is wearing off".
"So we use you as a barometer do we?" Adam laughed "If you get a full erection then it means Gabriel's defeated?"
"Are you coming home or not?" Joby suddenly yelled, from the gap in the canvas.
Adam propped himself up on his elbow to find Joby standing there, holding onto Lonts's wrist.
"I'm fed up with minding him", said Joby, indicating Lonts "And we're all due to leave in under an hour".
"I'll be with you as soon as I've got some clothes on", said Adam.
"Alright", said Joby, and walked away, tugging Lonts behind him like an awkward dog.
Adam clambered off the futon and splashed some water into a bowl. He began to swab at his armpits vigorously.
"I do wish that goofy little friend of yours would wash his hair and sort out his spots occasionally", said Julian.
"Leave Joby alone, you spiteful old cow", said Adam "When he's scrubbed up he's quite striking. He doesn't always get much chance to wash properly, not when we're sharing all our water amongst the six of us. Gimmit doesn't wash at all. I think he relies on his act to keep him clean".
"Spare me the sob stories", said Julian "You know damn well you don't have to live in that Dickensian way".
"Move in here you mean? Don't make me laugh", Adam swiped at Julian's shoulders with a rolled-up towel.
"That hurt!" Julian screamed.
"Don't worry. I'm sure you'll get your own back", said Adam, mischievously.
Back at the wagon he found Ransey sitting next to the camp-fire and catching up with his diary. There was a billy-can bubbling over the flames from which the most delicious aroma emanated.
"Meat-loaf and peppers", said Ransey, in answer to Adam's question "There's a scraping of it left for you. What hasn't got burnt onto the bottom of the pan by now".
Adam spooned it onto a metal plate, and devoured it hungrily. As he ate the last mouthful he noticed Gimmit standing nearby, looking more scrawny and weasel-like than ever. He was wearing only a set of filthy underwear which swamped him, and drinking beer out of a pint-mug that looked half his size.
"Gimmit!" Adam roared, causing the little man to blanch in terror "I want to talk to you".
"T-Talk to me?" Gimmit whispered.
"Yes, I'm going to ask you some questions and I want straight, clear answers. Not your usual 'I'm not really of this world' replies", said Adam "I believe you're a time-crosser. When are you from?"
"Stop stammering and just answer me. What year was it in your time when you left?"
"I'm not sure", said Gimmit, trying desperately not to stammer.
"What century then?" said Adam, feeling exasperated.
Gimmit looked blank.
"What country were you from?"
"England, like yourself", said Gimmit, sounding relieved that he could answer positively at last.
"Alright, so let's try another tack. Who was prime minister when you left?"
"I don't understand".
"Good grief, I've had less painful syphilis injections", Adam exclaimed "Can you name a famous person from your time?"
"The King?" said Gimmit, nervously "King Richard".
"Richard. Which Richard? Lionheart? Duke of Gloucester, which?"
"The boy king".
"Richard the Second?" said Adam.
"Lord Trixie reminds me of him at times".
"I'm sure he does. But you've been here some time haven't you?"
"Several years", said Gimmit "I can't remember much of my own time. I was little more than a boy when I crossed. And ever since I crossed I've been living as a nomad. You must understand, I've been so scared and lonely at times. That is why I fell in with my Master".
"And you serve him still, you little scrote".
"He was going to kill me Adam, unless I raised the flies".
"You did that? How?"
"I've always been able to", said Gimmit "When I was a very small boy my mother took me to a priest, because she believed I was capable of sorcery".
"Did you cause the locusts too?"
"And that leach-like creature that tried to vampirise Patsy?"
"N-No, not that", said Gimmit, vigorously "That was my Master, Gabriel's elemental. He is capable of many forms. Adam, please understand. I had no choice!"
"We'd better not tell the others it was you who caused the locusts", said Adam "I doubt if Hillyard would forgive you for what happened to the horses".
"I didn't want them to die", Gimmit wailed "And I don't want harm to come to any of you. It's just that I've been so afraid. I've seen my Master's form. Have you ever seen an elemental in its naked state?"
"Yes", said Adam "At the Winter Palace. I've never seen such a personification of evil before".
"Then you'll understand how frightened I've been?"
"I understand", said Adam "But if anything happens to anyone because of you, then it won't just be the elemental you'll have to fear. I'll kill you myself".
Quipignon was a large town of beiges and yellows. They arrived there at the hottest hour of the day, and as a consequence found the streets deserted, save for a black dog who was scavenging listlessly in the gutters. Screens were pulled shut over the windows, there wasn't a sound to be heard, and it seemed as though the whole town had gone to sleep for a hundred years. Certainly no one appeared inclined to turn out just to see a circus arrive.
"This heat, it's unbearable", Ully complained "I'm never going to be able to stand wearing a wig and make-up in this".
"Quipginon is one the hottest inhabited places on earth", said Cootie.
"Now he tells us".
The circus settled in an area of grazing land beyond the houses. The animals were watered, and then everyone went to earth for the rest of the afternoon. Pepuaah had been hot, but at least there the heat had allowed them to move around in it, here the humidity was stifling. Darkness came on in the early evening, but the heat didn't lessen any.
In spite of the drawbacks in temperature and isolated location, Quipignon was an affluent town. Like Pepuaah, it was law unto itself, and in recent times had seen an influx of wealthy refugees, who believed themselves to be safe from Gabriel's clutches here. Hence it had gone from being an austere place with few attractions, to a thriving playground for those with too much money and no rudder to their lives. These days the town sported bars, hotels and a casino, where Manada sang in two shifts, one at ten p.m and another at two a.m.
There was to be no show at the circus that first evening, and as soon as the bars re-opened at sunset, after taking their long siesta, they were flooded with circus members all desperate for cold beers. After a few of these some of the dancers were prepared to put on a free show on the pavements. Eunuchs in flouncy skirts, and male dancers wearing only skin-tight black trousers, hoofed their way towards free drinks, all the while jostled by carpet-sellers, jewellery-sellers, and traders of more dodgy goods, some of whom walked around with monkeys on their shoulders.
Nonetheless it was cool and silent in Manada's house. He lived on the outskirts of town in a neighbourhood that seemed to somehow simply forbid noise and so none ever happened. His house was tall and narrow, with no more than two rooms on each floor, connected by twisting stone staircases. His living-room was on the first floor, and was fairly typical of the decor in that part of the world, namely whitewashed walls, heavy dark Moorish-style furniture, and carpets hanging up instead of lying down.
Joby was nervous. Manada had greeted him and Kieran cordially, and offered them a wide choice of drinks as soon as they arrived. Now he was sitting on a large, squishy sofa under a whirring ceiling, wondering what they were doing here. Manada had dropped by at their wagon an hour ago to welcome them to Quipignon. He was a formidable-looking person with a personality to match. Basically warm-hearted, he was still unable to forget though that he had once been a star of some magnitude. There had been an awkward moment when he had found out that they had once been acquainted with Noni. It turned out that Manada had shared digs with him in their up-and-coming days, but they had lost track through the pressures of fame. Adam broke it to him that Noni was dead, and Manada took it with an almost resigned acceptance.
"What got him in the end?" he said.
"He was murdered", said Adam "In Husgalonghi. We think it was Gabriel's doing".
"Poor Noni", Manada sighed "But he was never very intelligent. Always getting mixed up with the wrong people".
"Like us for example", said Hillyard, glumly.
Kieran had had a lengthy conversation alone with Manada before he left, and so Joby couldn't understand what they were doing here now.
"Well I must love you and leave you", Manada said, suddenly getting up and draining his glass "Help yourselves to drinks. There's also coffee in the kitchen and a few eats. Make yourselves thoroughly at home".
"Are you going out?" said Joby.
"Oh yes, I've got a show to do in an hour", said Manada, casting a critical look at himself in the mirror "And it can take me nearly that long to put my make-up on. Now, a word of advice, you are welcome to use any room in the house. After all, up here I've got nothing to hide. I can't imagine why you would want to go down into the cellar but don't try to. I keep the door locked and padlocked, and I strongly urge you not to tamper with it. That is vitally important, but I know we're all on the same side, so I can trust you not to be intrusive".
"What's down there then?" said Joby.
"You'll find out in due course. Have fun".
Manada left the building soon after. Kieran poured two more brandies, and drank his whilst looking at the contents of Manada's bookcase.
"Some pretty heavy stuff here", he said "And they look as though they've been read too. He must be quite intelligent".
"Kiel", Joby whispered, as though Manada was still in the building "What are we doing here?"
"Making ourselves at home", said Kieran, putting a record on Manada's gramophone. A gentle but atmospheric ballad began to fill the room "This is one of his apparently. He's got a good voice. I reckon he'd have done well in our time too".
"For crying out loud Kieran, what are we doing here?"
"Has it been so long that you've forgotten?" said Kieran "I asked Manada earlier if we could use his house whilst he was at work, to re-kindle old fires".
"You've got the cheek of the devil you have".
"Cobblers, he was only too happy to play Cupid. He's an incurable romantic at heart", said Kieran "Oh come on Joby, you're hardly entering into the spirit of things. You haven't touched your drink".
"I'm nervous that's why".
"What of? Me?"
"Don't be daft. It's this house, there's something about it".
"Cobblers", Kieran said again, and sat down on the sofa next to him "You've been living the gypsy life for so long that you've become nervous with bricks-and-mortar around you. Look, I went to all this trouble so that we could have a nice evening together. If I'd known you was going to sit there with your legs jammed together, I'd have asked Adam instead".
"Why didn't you then?" said Joby, sourly "Probably because you knew he'd be with Julian".
"Bastard Joby, you know how to wind me up so well", Kieran brushed away a tear with the back of his hand.
"Hey I'm sorry", Joby put down his drink and sidled up to him "You've got nothing to worry about. If Julian's bothering you that much, perhaps you should put your foot down".
"Oh Joby, you know I don't like playing the jealous bit".
"No, but it'd bring Adam running. He'd love it".
"I might then. Sometime", Kieran giggled softly, and patted Joby's bare knee "Anyway I'm here with you, and the only reason for that is because we haven't properly been alone together in months. I mean seriously alone".
"You don't need to tell me that", said Joby "I can't remember the last time I had a bit of hows-yer-father with you. Must have been at the Waxworks Resort, and that was before Christmas! Unlike some, who've been at it like rabbits. Given half a chance anyway".
"I really upset you with Hillyard didn't I?"
"It wasn't that. Perhaps it was the hay-wagon, I wish I'd thought of it first!" said Joby "Sometimes it's felt like the old days, when you'd be all over Adam, and I'd be dying of frustration. The closest I get to passion these days is when it's my turn to put Lonts to bed, and he insists on kissing me goodnight".
"Well there you are, you can't complain then", Kieran laughed.
"Cheers", said Joby, morosely "Joby the dork that's me".
"Don't you want me then?"
"No I've had a better offer ... you know I do!"
Kieran lay back on the sofa. Joby kicked off his shoes and then climbed on top of him, hungrily feeling his mouth and closing his arms around him.
Kieran lay face-down on the sofa, feeling his body awash with perspiration. He had been apprehensive about getting Joby to Manada's house alone, fearing that Joby might feel used. It was nigh-on impossible though for him to satisfy both Joby and Adam because of the way they lived at the moment. And with all his own fears about Julian's sudden re-appearance on the scene, it was easy to forget that Joby had feelings too. But their love-making had re-awakened feelings that had been put on ice for some time. As he felt Joby pressing down on him, his breath brushing his ear, he found it incredible to believe that this was the same man who had once denounced gay sex as unnatural.
Joby walked back into the room carrying two cups of coffee. Kieran noticed he had put his underpants on and smiled.
"What are you smirking at?" said Joby, sitting down next him.
"Smirking with great fondness at you", said Kieran, taking his coffee.
"What have I done now?" Joby sighed.
"Putting your pants on to go to the kitchen", said Kieran "I don't think me or Adam would've bothered".
"We're in someone else's house", said Joby "I suppose that makes me a clot again does it?"
"Joby, I wish I could convince you how much I think of you. You get so damn sensitive at times".
"Was it alright?" said Joby, staring pensively down into his coffee.
"It was wonderful".
"I wish I was as confident as Adam about it".
"You seem to think Adam's some kind of sex-god, but he has his weak moments just like everyone else. Just like me too".
"You don't have any".
"Not even my puny little cock?"
"Oh Kiel", Joby stroked his hair "Sometimes I forget what you went through at Gabriel's place".
"I got out of it quite lightly", said Kieran "After all, I could so easily have come out of it with Julian's problem".
"It gets me angry when I think about Mundaba Heights", said Joby "I should've looked after you better than I did".
"You did all you could. Anyway, it's my job to look after you. Age before beauty".
"I'm a coward really", Joby continued "I've always known that. Comes of not being very bright. Ever since Mundaba Heights I've felt even more inadequate than ever, in everything I've done".
"You're not inadequate to me Joby. We've both of us come out of that place with emotional scars on us. The one thing I'll never forget is having to stand there helplessly and watch you being beaten".
"We'll get the bastard though, won't we?"
"Oh we'll have a fair old try", Kieran smiled.
They spent the next hour lying on the sofa together, listening to Manada's recordings and drinking more brandy. Reluctantly they then tidied everything up and got dressed. On their way out of the building they came across the mysterious padlocked cellar door.
"Do you think he keeps his mad wife in there?" said Kieran.
Joby shivered as though something had walked over his grave. During their session upstairs he had forgotten about Manada's warnings regarding the cellar door, but now he felt uneasy again.
"Come on", he said "Let's get out of here".
"I wonder what's in there?"
"Ssh, I can hear something moving about", Kieran pressed his ear to the door "A sort of rustling noise. Might even be a hissing ..."
"Kiel, come on. I'm nervous".
Kieran bent down and peered through the keyhole. It was some while before he straightened up.
"Anything?" said Joby.
"Nothing distinct. Just a dark shape moving about. See if you can make anything out".
Joby looked through the keyhole, but couldn't decipher anything very much amongst the gloom.
"Nothing", he said "Now come on Kiel, I won't say it again. I don't want to be here any longer".
Adam finally located Joby sitting in one of the bars. Although it was nearly two in the morning the place was fairly busy, as the sticky heat made going to bed unbearable. Adam had gone to see Manada's first show at the casino, and had gone round to his dressing-room afterwards to talk to him. He had found Cootie there, and together they had let him in on the secrets of Manada's cellar. The further news that Kieran and Joby were using Manada's house as a love-nest horrified him, in spite of Manada's protestations that they were quite safe, as long as they didn't try getting into the cellar that is. Adam knew only too well that this was just the sort of thing they would try to do.
He had gone straight round to Manada's house but found the place in darkness. Since then he had toured the bars looking for them. He eventually found Joby sitting alone at a table in a very basic drinking-hole, that at least had the vital attractions of cold beer and adequate ceiling-fans. He was relieved to hear that an exhausted Kieran had gone safely back to the wagon, and at once began to fill Joby in on what he now knew.
"The G-Gorgon?" Joby stammered "But she was destroyed. I heard that Resz had chucked acid over her".
"And Manada resurrected her", said Adam.
"But how? I mean, why hasn't he been turned to stone then?"
"He employed the same methods Perseus used to behead Medusa, he worked through her reflection. That can't harm you, you see. He did it all with mirrors".
"But why? Why bother?"
"At first he wanted to make money out of her. Sell her to the likes of Cootie to exhibit perhaps".
"Shit, you wouldn't catch me going to see her!"
"If she stays masked she's safe apparently. Now he wants us to use her as our secret weapon in destroying Gabriel. I must admit that drastic though she sounds, she may be our best bet".
"God help us if she falls into the wrong hands".
"Quite. That's why Manada has stressed that we mustn't go shouting our mouths off about this. No one else in Quipignon knows about her apparently, and I get the impression that he doesn't trust many of the people here".
"What's wrong with 'em?"
"Oh I think the natives are alright, it's some of the rich refugees we have to watch. And I must admit I saw a fair few of them in his audience tonight. They reminded me of the crowd at Brenfar's resort".
Adam went to the bar to fetch a coffee for himself and another beer for Joby. When he returned he found Finia had joined them, sweat dripping profusely from under his blonde wig.
"Why aren't you with Julian?" said the eunuch, in an accusing tone.
"Because I'm with Joby", said Adam.
"I thought you might have gone to see him this evening".
"Oh piss off", said Adam, and watched in satisfaction as Finia departed, his flimsy blouse sticking to his chest with sweat "I sometimes think Julian employs him as a kind of sheepdog to round me up. I find it very annoying. Are you alright Joby? You've gone quite pale".
"Me and Kiel took turns to look through the keyhole into the cellar", said Joby, his grey eyes wide with shock "We could've seen her Adam! We could've been ..."
"Gorgonised is the word I think you've been looking for", said Adam.
"But we didn't know she was there!" said Joby "We heard something moving about but we never thought ... oh shit, I knew there was something weird about that place".
"And I knew I was right to be worried sick about you for the past couple of hours. Sometimes Joby, I could put you across my knee!"
"You do, and I'll tell my mum about you", said Joby.
"Do you fancy a stroll round the streets?" said Adam "I'm nervous. Finia might go home and tell Julian I'm here. I don't want him to come looking for me".
The streets were actually beginning to quieten at long last, although the intense heat didn't seem to have lessened any. It was all a far cry from the desert, which had gone cold at night. Some men were still sitting out on doorsteps, mopping their necks with handkerchiefs. Adam and Joby came upon a small restaurant that was still serving food, and went inside for apple pie and blackcurrent ice-cream. For about twenty minutes they had the place to themselves, but then, as they were about to start on their second helping, a door at the back of the room opened and a loud drunken mob came through. The average age of this mob seemed to be about sixty, and so Adam was surprised to see Vanod in their midst.
"Into necrophilia now Vanod?" said Adam, as the said man joined them.
"They know how to enjoy themselves", Vanod boomed, drunkenly "Nothing wrong with a bit of good, honest enjoyment. Seeing as it may be the last we'll get if your little blondie gets into power. After all, I expect the only enjoyment then will be compulsory buggery!"
"And you prefer Gabriel's regime do you?" said Adam, fighting to be heard above the massed titters and shrieks of Vanod's aged friends.
"At least he isn't soft on criminals and lunatics and all the other undesirables of society".
"No, he just annihilates them".
"And tell me what's so wrong with that, eh? Why should the rest of us support them, eh? Bringing back the Cage was the best thing he did. The crime level in the City has dropped sharply so I've heard, since Gabriel came into power".
"That tends to happen when most of the population has been exterminated", said Adam "Criminals and law-abiding citizens alike".
"You think you're so fucking clever!" Vanod screamed "Well Gabriel knows how to deal with unnatural bastards like you. Freaks of nature. Admit it. You are freaks of nature, no better than the bloody eunuchs".
"Let's go Adam", said Joby, nervously.
"Yes you run along Adam", said Vanod "Do as your common little runt says. Run along back to your mad-boy. The Kiskev peasant. The one who should've died in the flames along with his loony neighbours. To think that if Gabriel's defeated, you and your kind will be living at the Ministry H.Q! It will be the end of the world. Sodomists, common louts and lunatics living in style and at our expense".
"Let's go Adam", Joby repeated, more insistently.
"Yes, I've heard all I want to hear", said Adam, rising to his feet.
"Can't take it eh?" Vanod cried "Well I'm a vocal person, I say what I feel and sod what people think. I am a fucking vocal person".
"Do you realise how extraordinarily ugly you look when you're ranting?" said Adam "Your face sort of screws up and you stick your lips out. It's quite grotesque".
"Oh I see", Vanod sniggered "You resort to personal insults now do you?"
"I rather thought that's what you've been doing since you walked through that door", said Adam.
"Have you anything intelligent or constructive to say?" Vanod sneered "Anything at all? Come on, we're all dying to hear it if you have".
"Yes I have something constructive to say", said Adam "Shut up".
"That it is it?"
"Not quite", Adam picked up his plate of uneaten apple pie and rammed it firmly into Vanod's face.
"Are you alright Adam?" said Joby anxiously, as they walked back to the wagon.
"I'm fine old love", said Adam "I've been wanting to do that to bigots like him for years. I feel quite refreshed".
"If Cootie gets to hear about it he'll kit you out with a red nose and a pair of baggy trousers", said Joby.
"I do seem to have exceptional aim", said Adam "I'm suspicious as to what Vanod's doing hanging out with the embalming fluid brigade though. I wouldn't have thought they'd be his sort at all. I can't help feeling they might have been hand-in-glove with Brenfar's crowd. Do you think that's possible?"
"Anything's possible", Joby groaned.
Back at the wagon everyone else was asleep. Adam climbed into his bunk to find Lonts had fallen asleep whilst eating some chocolate biscuits, and a few of these were now ground into the mattress, making it feel like a bed of nails.
"I'm sorry Adam", Lonts mumbled drowsily, and went back to noisily sucking on his thumb.
"That'll be your epitaph that will", said Adam, nudging him aside to make more room for himself "First thing tomorrow, Gimmit finds somewhere else to live!"
That night Adam dreamed about the Gorgon. The dream was uncomfortably vivid, so much so that when he woke up he had almost convinced himself she was standing outside the wagon. Even when he was fully conscious it was several minutes before he dared to look outside.
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