The sun was at its peak by the time I reached the warehouse district, and the rise in temperature had forced me to grudgingly remove my trench coat, revealing my cheap polyester shirt and braces. Worst of all, there was now no way of concealing my dragunov and I simply had to rely on luck that I wouldn't run into a policeman. Still, the chances of that happening now that I'd reached the seedier areas of the city were low, and I carried the rifle slung across my shoulder like a bat.
The area seemed to have radically altered since my last midnight visit, the sunshine giving each previously ominous building a much more mundane quality. I tried to remain on guard despite this, and soon found my way back to the scene of my fight with Dr. Eclipse and his goons. Even before I found the entrance to the building I could tell from the emerging stench that the corpses of the two suited men remained - undoubtedly all the worse for the summer heat.
As I turned the final corner toward the entrance, the urge to retch slowly building inside me, I could see the bodies lying as I'd left them. Despite the sunshine, the grimy windows meant that shadow was still prevalent and it took a few seconds to spot the dried trail of blood that the conflict had produced. No chance of it staining my trench coat this time.
Approaching the first corpse ; I had no idea if it was Tiddles or Oaksy. My eyes set upon something else: a line of blood-printed footsteps, still glistening from moisture. I dropped my trench coat on a nearby box and readied the dragunov before following the trail, breathing shallowly in the musty air. It didn't take long for me to reach the conclusion of the prints, and to find the culprit who'd produced them.
"I can't believe you've just been here for the past day and half," I chuckled, looking down at the good Dr. Eclipse, who was resting against a crate with a cigarette in his mouth. His skin was pale from the blood loss, and a bright red patch could be seen where I'd shot him in the foot. In all fairness, his managing to even move this far was impressive.
He looked back up at me with obvious loathing, "Oh, you gotta be kidding me."
"Sorry Doc, it's me again. Still hunting for my bear, actually... yeah?," I said casually, leaning down and taking the cigarette from him.
"Hey, give that back!"
I took a much needed puff and blew the smoke into his face, "And what are you going to do if I don't" Bleed on me? There's not a damned thing you can do to anyone at the moment, and that means you're going to do as I ask or I'll make it so that you can't move at all. Savvy?"
"No actually. I'm pretty much going to be dead from blood loss soon, and that's not really an incentive to help you," he said with an odd satisfaction, raising his head high like it was something to be proud of.
I smiled at this and positioned my rifle so that, if I pressed the trigger, he'd lose not only a lot more blood, but also a knee-cap. Given that he was my best bet toward getting a fix on The Belgian Truffle's location, I didn't want to kill him, but that isn't to say that I wouldn't if it came down to it, "Okay, sure. You're gonna die. That's no big deal to me. But what may be of interest to you is that, depending on how you respond, your final hours could be spent in relative comfort or in writhing agony. Personally, I'm for the writhing agony?"
"Comfort?" He replied with interest, his previously resolute will already crumbling under the threat of yet more pain.
"Yeah, sure, I've got some drink in my trench coat over there that I'll let you have if you just do as I say," I murmured with mock-enthusiasm before taking another puff, " PLUS, I will return your cigarette!"
He sighed and shook his head, which somehow turned into a nod, "Sure. Go get the drink and I'll do what I can to help you. If I'm gonna die, I may as well die pissed."
I leant down and gave him the cigarette, before grinning at him, "There's the spirit! I'll be right back with some nice whisky or something for you. Don't go anywhere!" I mocked merrily, turning away from the enclosed boxes where he'd set himself.
Jogging over to the trench coat, I began to extract the bottles from my pockets. There was still a wide selection remaining, and I had no idea whether to take them all back or just a couple that I preferred - and that he'd have to put up with, "Hey Doc", do you mind vodka? It's the best stuff here, but you've got to have a pretty strong stomach to handle it."
There was no answer.
Following the prints again, I quickly ran back to the area Eclipse had been sitting in, carrying a bottle and half expecting him to have died. Instead, there was no one there.