He sat under the bridge. A rocking, twitching troll. It was too light to go to his room, but he couldn’t risk being seen. He hadn’t pulled his Outerself on, the one that walks amongst them. So he waited. Counting in his head. Planning his next attack. Wondering if he had enough yet.

***

The brothers walked home in silence. They had spent all day in the vault, looking at pictures, reading about the world as it was before the collapse.

Aaron started to read about a woman called Emmanuel, who seemed to be very important by the amount that was written about her, but he wasn’t sure if he should have been reading that with his brother there.

Or quite what she was famous for.

Damien was lost in thought. He wished they knew if it was dangerous – touching these things through FeltGloves wasn’t the same. He was sure that foetoegraffs don’t have that slick, cold feel to them, or that dry paper felt like leaves.

As they approached the underpass Damien took a deep breath and and turned to his brother. “I didn’t see anything about the ships, about RU-D01F – or any of that stuff you talked about!”

Aaron looked stumped for a fraction of a second “Oh shit. You’re right. I didn’t show you any of that. Ok…next time, OK? I’ll show you it all next time.”

***

He watched them come closer. Come under his bridge. He thought about how they could add two more to his count.

And children would surely count as double. Children would definitely show them. They’d have to notice then.

And he needn’t use the device. He could use a blade.

They got closer and he heard them speak.

The small one. He knows. How can he know. He is too young. Was someone else teaching the Old Way?

Suppose they were set up in opposition to his count?

He can’t kill them now.

Yet. He needs to know what they do. So he watches, waits until they’re far enough away, and twitches out from under the bridge after them.