2a: CloudsMature

Joy was gone. She walked so softly, everywhere, like she'd be scared of the sound of her own footprint hitting the Earth. She was in the nearby kitchen, pouring some hot water into three dehydrated pouches. Noodles with red sauce, or something like that. Angus had finished his quick stride to pick up his tin cup, and was busy refilling it. He soon finished and walked over to the window, viewing the nothing between worlds. Staring openly, his eyes echoing where he gazed. His sudden, lost and searching voice made Crowley stand on edge. The voice of someone who residing far deeper into his thoughts then he should. 

"You ever think about clouds?" Angus' eyes remained the same, lighting with fire against the great void, the edible black. The spark against the night. Crowley's mind went to the sky then the sun then the clouds that covered them. He thought quickly about the lake, the town, that last day replayed and replayed. The mist and the fog of British Columbia. To be honest, he hadn't thought about clouds unless they messed up his fishing. He saw massive thunderstorms, but his mind went to lighting and the deep roar of thunder, not of clouds. They seemed to Crowley to be something just in the way of the sun, not something that should be studied in itself. 

"Boy," The old man started against the edge of the chair, finally making it to the armrest, and up. He stood bent, resting a moment. He then kept his arched figure and he tried to straighten and get to the liquor cabinet at the same time. Angus thought of it like a reflex or and impulse to avoid eye contact, more than a desire to drink. "I've spent the last six years dreaming for the smell of my wife, that damn harsh mist that blows in off the lake, it used to cover me in sheets." He shook his mottled head and went on, the 'plop' 'plop' of ice cubes in liquid echoed across the room.  "And I miss the sound of the paddles of the canoe on the water, or the boat that sounded like a tank it had so much power," He paused again, turned, and took a drink all in the same motion, "But never once had I thought about clouds, clouds, hell, those things are just blocking the sun, nothing else. I guess I'm more of a personal kind of guy to get all worked up at clouds." His eyelids wrinkled when he smiled and coarse lines ran through his forehead. Angus turned from the black he gazed to and gave him a questioning look.

"I do."  Was all he said, he repeated it, as though he didn't hear his own voice, "I do."

Joy broke the odd drunken talk with the incoming smell of Beef or something similar from the doorway to the "kitchen," a small closet of a space with a massive containment of pouched bags holding all sorts of food, labeled, "Breakfast," "Lunch" and "Dinner" About all of them are about half-gone, with breakfast holding a little more than that. 

"What are you talking about?" Steam visible from the three packets she held, 'BEEF STEW' was labeled on the side in big black letters against the white of the bag. She handed one to Angus, "Clouds" he said quietly, still staring out the window, she didn't hear him or didn't care. Crowley refused his and held up his tin cup instead,

"Gotta' keep my buzz on." And nodded sincerely, the stick thin arm remained extended. Joy remained inanimate with the bag of stew under his nose, a look of displeasure etched across her pencil drawn lips and drawn back hair. To Crowley at that moment it looked as if everything about this fiery soul was too thin. Her voice came out a mimic of Crowley's own, 

"Your hold damn life is just one long buzz." But as soon as the words came out she regretted them and quickly apologized, "I'm sorry." She said softly and lowered the bag, "I didn't mean that." She lost eye contact with the old man, green orbs drifted to the panels layering the ground. She looked up when he didn't say anything and didn't move and saw that familiar smile that reminded her so much of her Great-Uncle, her Grandpa's brother, who she'd only seen once. He came to the farm her family had owned back in North-Eastern Texas. Gray and grizzled beyond years, Crowley's smile reflected that man she'd only met once, and as an early child. This man's smile was the same one that person had that remained in her memories, one of her first memories. It curved ever so slightly, spread like a worm grabbed from it's hole, across his face. White large teeth made her feel even worse for the comment. He grabbed the bag from her frozen hands and gave a light chuckle at how the words made her feel worse than him. 

"You did mean it, maam," Between spoonfuls of stew, "but that's alright." Angus ate from his perch, still staring into black, his mind rolling in loops and turns like fair ride, and the stew hit wrong. He placed the bag down and sat again on his cot with his hand on his stomach. Joy woke up and took the first few bites of her bag. Crowley stopped eating at Angus' reaction. 

"You alright?" He went a few steps closer.

"Yeah, yeah." The burly hand of Angus moved to his head. "Just a headache and the stew just hit wrong." He got up and went to the drug drawer and grabbed a painkiller. Crowley shoved an imitation potato into his mouth. Angus swallowed the pill without water and sat back down on his cot, "I"mma lay down."

" 'Kay," The other two said in unison. Crowley nugged his elbow into Joy's side, making her look up at his face, "Besides about the buzz thing," He took a drink of his alcohol and then ate another spoonful of stew, "You're right."

The End

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