Christophe followed Lykos down the small hill to the stream. There was a source of water in the caves, but it didn’t have fish. Lykos kept the leash short, only a few feet, but there was an additional coil of chain in his hand. His wrist and ankle cuffs, however, weren’t secured together, allowing in freedom of movement otherwise. Lykos rarely bothered with those chains anymore, but he never removed the leash. It was no longer even fastened to the collar by a lock. Lykos had used his power to seal the links to create a ten-foot length of unbroken chain permanently attached to the collar, though longer lengths were often attached.
He sat on a rock, enjoying the sun as Lykos gave the stream one of his critical looks. “Overhunting. Fish too small.” Lykos glared at the water, then sniffed it and wrinkled his nose. “Fertilizer run off. Shameful.”
“They’ve been trying to pass laws about the runoff problems, but the corn industry has a powerful lobby.” Christophe lay back on the rock. Lykos had secured the leash, giving him about a twenty-foot radius to move around in. But with living half naked in a cool cave most of the time, the sun felt good and he saw no need to move from where he currently was. Off in the distance he saw a helicopter heading west.
“Lobbyists. Should all be drawn and quartered.” Lykos shook his head as he waded into the river.
“Can’t really argue with that.” He lifted himself up to rest a hand on his head. Watching Lykos catch fish with his bare hands remained fascinating. The man had attempted to teach him and Christophe had even managed it once, but Lykos made it look far easier than it actually was. Within a few minutes, several fish were on the bank.
Cleaning the fish and game, however, remained his task. He was getting better at it. Lykos had caned his feet twice before he’d gotten the hang of properly butchering a deer. He’d wondered at why the man had brought back so much before realizing that the leaves were falling. Lykos was stocking up for winter. “You like chickens?”
It took him a moment to realize Lykos had asked him a question. “I like chicken.”
“Not chicken. Chickens.” Lykos gestured for him to grab the fish. “I think I steal some. Eggs. Meat. Build little coop.” He shook his head. “Cow too big. Goats better.”
“You…” He picked up the fish. “You talk like you intend to stay in the caves forever.”
“Good place. Secure.” Lykos nodded. He frowned when he looked at Christophe, and a couple expressions crossed his face. “You don’t want to live in cave forever.”
I want you to let me go. He didn’t say the words aloud. “I kind of miss television sometimes. And uh…” He rubbed the back of his neck.
“Lonely.” Lykos gave him a look that was surprisingly sympathetic.
“A little.” He watched Lykos unfasten his leash from the tree for the trip back.
“Perhaps…” Lykos hesitated before he started back toward the cave. “We can go north. Canada. Find small town where no one will look for us.”
“That uh…” Christophe nodded. “Yeah.”