Minty stood in the field. It was the field now, the only one where Craven Lorne ever seemed to meet her. He found as he'd learned to expect to find her, staring mindlessly into space, unaware of just about everything around her.
She looked at him as he approached. “Hello, Craven Lorne,” she said.
Craven was surprised but not alarmed. He was getting used to Minty's airy voice. “Hello, Minty,” he answered. “I thought I'd find you here.”
“Yes,” she agreed.
Craven couldn't decided if she was agreeing with his thought or its conclusion. She was so infuriatingly vague. “Quite,” he said stiffly.
“Do you kill me today, Craven Lorne?”
“As if I would tell you when.”
“Don't.” There was a change in her voice; she was almost pleading with him.
Craven wondered if she meant don't kill me or don't tell me when you're going to. With Minty, it was impossible to be sure.
He stared at her. She stared back.
“You do not wish to,” Minty said.
“Not really, no,” Craven admitted. “Well, not that. It's not that I don't want to kill you; I do. And I intend to. But—” He looked around the field, at the blue sky, at the big, shade tree in the distance and let out a long sigh. “But I shall be sorry to see you go.”
“You should kill me now,” she told him. “Fast, like a Band-aid.”
Minty turned her head on its side. “It will hurt less,” she explained.
Craven Lorne sneered at her. “Why would I want to hurt you less?”
Craven determined that the best thing he could do with that final piece of conversation was ignore it. “I will kill you,” he told her. “But not today. A little bird tells me you have some powerful friends.”
She didn't answer him.
“Rumour has it that Daisy Chain came to your rescue quite recently – and I imagine that Charm-Charm wasn't far away. The same bird tells me they're not far from here. The rumour is that the rabbits are launching a full-scale military campaign against raiders, that they're even getting humans involved.”
Minty didn't answer and Craven took her silence as acquiescence.
“They're probably lurking in the bushes right now, waiting for me to make a move. Of course, I won't give them the satisfaction.”
Minty stared. The only sound in the stale air was the whirring of her eye. After a moment, she said, “No.”
Craven, again unsure what she meant, ignored her. “But rest assured, when they're not around, when your bodyguards have abandoned you, I will be there and I will catch you out.”
Craven was tired of being the one left standing in the field. He turned on his heel and marched into the forest, sure that Minty was watching him go and not daring to look back to confirm it.