A/N: My first attempt at an Eerie, Indiana fanfic. Beta'ed by chibimarchy from LJ for characterization.
Disclaimer: I do not own Eerie, Indiana.
I looked over the list, making sure I hadn't forgotten anything important. This was a stakeout, after all, and I wanted to be prepared. I mentally checked everything off, making note of any provisions Simon and I might want to pick up after dinner, then tucked the list into my pocket and locked up the evidence locker.
I headed downstairs, mulling over how well I'd adapted to Eerie so far. Granted, my adapting was different than that of the rest of my family's, but it was still happening. While they chose to take the "normal" route (or, as normal as you can in Eerie), I chose to tackle the weird head on in an effort to weed out what was behind it all.
Not an answer I expected to come up with anytime soon, but I wasn't gonna try to restrain my curiosity.
I pushed the my musings aside as I reached the living room, pausing to unzip my backpack where it lay by the stairs and glance through the contents, just to be sure, before I made my way to the kitchen. Mom was rushing a pot over to the table, where Dad and Syndi sat, waiting for whatever the meal was.
"Hey, guys," I said, squeezing around behind mom to take my seat by the window.
"Hiya, Marshall," Dad said. "Spaghetti tonight," he added, nodding to the pot.
"Sounds great," I said with a glance at my watch. Mom served up the pasta and we all settled down for a nice meal, but glancing at my watch told me I was cutting it tight. I quickened my pace, hastily chewing and keeping tabs on the time.
"Jeez, Marshall," Dad said. I paused and peered up at my family, my mouth still full of spaghetti. I swallowed, taking in their appalled expressions.
"What?" I asked. "I'm hungry."
"That's disgusting," Syndi said, cringing slightly and shaking her head.
"Marshall, eating to fast isn't good for you. It can upset your stomach," Mom said in her best 'mom' voice. I nodded slowly.
"Yeah. Sorry," I said.
"No need to apologize," Dad piped up, setting a hand on my shoulder and looking me in the eye. "Just gotta remember that your digestive system is pretty fragile."
"Yeah, I guess," I muttered, wanting nothing more than to finish eating so I could head out and meet up with Simon.
I waited until the conversation had shifted and Mom, Dad, and Syndi had returned to their meals before I continued eating myself, though I didn't get many more bites. There was a sharp tap on the window, my cue to get out.
"Oh, I've got to go," I said, pushing my plate away and rising. My parents looked up at my quizzically, while Syndi just stared at the window, probably wondering if there was an injured bird lying on the ground outside.
"Is everything all right, Marshall?" Dad asked. I nodded.
"Yeah," I said. "Of course. Simon and I were just going to hang out for a bit, and I'm runnin' late."
"All right," Mom said. "But don't be out too long." I hardly paused to nod as I headed out, grabbing my backpack from the living room and ignoring Syndi's comment of "Honestly, how does he expect to get a girlfriend if he spends all his time with Simon?"
Once outside, I caught sight of a frantically waving Simon standing by the tree in front of my house. I jogged over and set my bag down at our feet, leaning against the tree.
"Sorry about that, Simon," I said. "I lost track of time."
"No biggie, Mars," Simon replied. He tapped the bag with his foot. "We got everything?"
"Pretty much," I said. "I just thought we might wanna stop at World O'Stuff and grab some snacks." Simon's face broke into a wide grin.
"Got ya covered," he said, producing a plastic bag from somewhere behind him. I smiled and ruffled his hair.
"Nice job, buddy," I said. "Shall we?" With a nod from Simon, I swung my bag back over my shoulder and we headed for the old mill.
As we made out way through town, I thought about exactly why we were going down there. It wasn't really going to get us any closer to the truth, and thinking about it more made me think it was just an exercise in the pointless; regardless, we were still gonna do it. Every little bit counts, and all that.
Not to mention it had been my idea in the first place, even if Simon didn't mind getting out of his house for a bit or anything, and I didn't want to change my mind on him all of a sudden.
Besides, who knew, maybe this stakeout would reveal a bit more about the mill's current inhabitant. The idea wasn't completely beyond the realm of possibility. I hoped.
But, hey, you never know in Eerie.
"Does here work, Mars?" Simon asked, his words interfering with my thinking. I pushed my thoughts aside as he dropped his shopping bag and sat down amongst the weeds across from the mill. I nodded and dropped my own bag, then settled down next to Simon. I dug two pairs of binoculars out of my backpack and handed one to Simon before focusing on the mill with the other pair pressed against my eyes.
"See anything?" I asked, focusing on a window and watching a light flickering behind it.
"Not really," Simon replied in a muffled voice. I lowered my binoculars and glanced at him just as he crammed what I guessed was a second handful of popcorn into his mouth.
"Hungry?" I asked.
"Just a little," Simon replied. "Want some?" he asked, holding out a hand filled with popcorn. I shook my head.
"Maybe in a bit," I said, returning my attention to the mill. I peered through my binoculars at the window, but found it dark.
"He must've gone to bed," Simon said as he chewed. "What d'we do now, Mars?"
"It's a stakeout, Simon," I said. "We stick around and see if anything happens."
"Don't you have to get home soon?"
"Nah, not yet," I said, glancing at my watch. "I've still got a few more minutes."
"Mind if I join the party?" a voice came from behind us. I whipped my head around and found the reason for our stakeout, none other than the gray haired Dash X, leaning against a tree a few feet behind us, his arms crossed over his chest and an unnerving smile on his face. I swallowed and glanced at Simon, whose mouth was hanging open, letting bits of popcorn fall to the ground.
"Uh," I said turning back to Dash. "We, uh, aren't really doing much. So, uh…no?"
"Well, that's a bit elitist of you, isn't it?" Dash said in a snide voice. He dropped his arms to his side and strolled over to where Simon and I sat. He crouched down beside us and reached a hand into Simon's bag of popcorn.
"Hey!" Simon protested. "That's ours!"
"I don't see your name on it," Dash retorted, popping a few kernels into his mouth.
"What d'you want, Dash?" I asked, glaring at him as he sat back on his heels and leisurely ate a few bites of popcorn. He shrugged.
"To join in the fun?" he asked, motioning to our set up. "I should ask you what you're doing here, anyway, Teller. I live here, after all," he added, nodding to the mill. He stood and looked down at us. I shook my head.
"Whatever," I said, grabbing my backpack and shoving my binoculars inside. "We're going anyway."
"So soon?" Dash chided as Simon asked "We are?" I sighed and stood, slinging my bag over my shoulder and facing Dash. Where he stood on the slope made him just slightly taller than me and I had to tilt my head up a little to look him in the eye.
"Yeah, so soon," I said. "I've gotta get home." I watched out of the corner of my eye as Simon quickly stood, grabbing at his bag as it toppled a little and the contents spilled out, but quickly returned all of my attention to Dash and his aggravating smirk.
"You were spyin' on me, weren't ya, Teller?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest. I rolled my eyes.
"This is Eerie, Dash," I said. "There are far weirder things demanding our attention than you." Dash stared at me for a moment, then tilted his head back and laughed loudly for a few seconds. I glanced over at Simon who was frantically looking from me to Dash and back. I tried to give him a reassuring smile, but Dash finished laughing before I could catch Simon's eye and I returned my attention to the boy before me.
"Is that so?" he asked. I opened my mouth to reply, but didn't get a chance. Dash shoved his hands against my shoulders and sent me toppling backwards down the small hill. My bag fell at Simon's feet as I rolled down. When I came to a stop, Dash was there, violently rolling me onto my back and pressing his boot against my chest to keep me down.
"Let's try this again, Teller," he said, pushing down harder as I tried to struggle. "You were spying on me, weren't you?" I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. "I thought so. Any particular reason?"
"Because it's Eerie," Simon's voice reached me and I turned my head to see him standing a few paces behind Dash, my bag in one hand and his in the other. Dash, too, turned to look at him, his foot rising enough for me to push it aside and roll away. He nearly lost his balance as I struggled to my feet, but he regained it quickly and glanced from Simon to me, his forehead creased in a glare.
"It's Eerie so I get spied on?" he asked. "How's that make sense?"
"Well, you are the major weird of the week," I said, shrugging.
"Great, do I get an award?" Dash asked, rolling his eyes as he spoke.
"It doesn't matter," I said. "Simon and I were leaving anyway."
"No, you weren't," Dash said, intercepting me as I tried to get to Simon. "You're staying here and telling me what you know."
"What we know?" I asked.
"About me," Dash insisted. "What have you figured out?"
"Nothing," Simon said. For a split second, I thought I saw a disappointed look cross Dash's face, but it was gone just as quickly and he barked out a harsh laugh.
"That's what I thought," he said triumphantly. He brushed past me, his coat billowing slightly as he walked, and Simon and I watched as he returned to his makeshift home.
"Mars?" Simon said after a few moments. I looked over at him. He held my backpack out and I took it. And, with one last glance at the mill, Simon and I headed home.