Rain drummed on the metal barrels, angry and resilient. Caleb crouched in between them, holding his knees with his chin as though doing so kept his body in its proper shape.

Despite the normally insignificant nature of his weight, the softening mud beneath him accepted gravity’s slow, inevitable decision without debate. He swore he could feel ambitious snails prodding his buttocks.

“Not as glamourous as you thought, is it?” asked a voice. It was familiar and singularly unwelcome. It also echoed like a bad film effect.

He reached a hand out into the downpour, one rebellious finger extended past the rest. “I’m not comin’ home.”

“I could just drag you outta there.”
“Piss off.”

Sharp metal dug into his back as his sinking affected his position vis a vis the ground. He flailed for a single damning moment, and then felt a big hand snatch hold of his wrist.

His oldest brother Vincent pulled him to his feet. “It’s not solved anything, you know.”

“Not yet.”

They trudged back through the rain in near silence, Caleb’s muddy shoes squelching out their rhythm.


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