After a week, Blue and Del went for a run together before breakfast. Out along the lake, under the trees, where the ducks fluttered to the surface and the shadowy shapes of deer raised their heads in the trees then looked away again, unconcerned.
"It was worth coming out," Del said as they returned home, "wasn't it?"
Blue could but agree, although he had had trouble keeping up with her - even though, he was sure, she had been running slower than usual to let him keep up.
From then on Blue went every morning, sometimes with her but more often later, after she got back. He divided his time between that and working around the house - I don't have a job, he said, it's only right that I help out.
There were things in the trees -- small shapes of sticks, bones, insectile sculptures. When Blue mentioned them, nobody, Aru nor Del nor Mikey, was prepared to say much about them. Some kind of taboo, Blue thought. He looked out through Window and couldn't see any from where he sat; too high up maybe, or perhaps whoever placed the effigies or fetishes or whatever they were only did so in the deep forest.
Perhaps what they were designed to repel or attract only lived in the deep forest. Imagine that.
One day when he was running alone, so much quicker and less out of breath than he had been only weeks ago, he heard the sound of an aeroplane. The usual fish run, he thought; but it was the wrong day. It appeared from over the trees and crossed the lake: a twin-engined plane of unusual design, its colours mottled grey-green. It had the sinister look of something that had come from The City.
Blue stopped running and dodged into the trees. From behind a tree he watched as it dropped -- something -- from its fuselage. A canister of some kind, that hit the surface of the lake and slipped under the surface almost without a splash.
That night as he lay drifting off to sleep he heard, from far off, somewhere in the forest, the chill scream of something dying. He remembered the plane and the canister. Was there a connection? He shuddered and turned his face away from Window.