A/N: What what no way, I know you're thinking. It's been like, what, a year? Madsauce is what it is :P I apologise for my negligence. It's disgraceful. But I'm back after feeling crap for repeatedly abandoning everything I start and still get really nice comments from lovely and apparently very patient people. Please take into account that I haven't written for ages, and this chapter hasn't even been proof read (/me punts self) so any major mistakes/typos I'm sorry.
But, y'know... points for effort right xD
Just Nosing Around
Logan's soup was cold. Cold and slimy. Gross, in other words. Small, unidentifiable particles floated around in the murky liquid, glistening slightly under the artificial light above. There was a hair there too, a small fine one. A bit too fine to come from a person, which meant it wasn't quite so bad. Probably from some upholstery. Got caught up in the air and then decided to make its home in the slop in the bowl before him. At least something was enjoying it. But then again even if he had a plate of delicious gourmet food in front of him he still probably wouldn't touch it. His stomach wasn't responding well to food recently. It hadn't been responding too good since... well...
"...start paying rent if you're in for the long haul..."
Logan's ears reluctantly pricked and he dragged his eyes away from his bowl. Seeing the other two faces around the table looking at him he realised that the conversation was directed at him. "Uh... huh?" he finally managed.
Logan's father was a big man. Not obese or unhealthy in anyway – in fact he was the opposite. At fifty six cycles Logan Baxter Senior was at his prime. Solid muscle, smooth skin, thick brown hair on his head and a full beard that housed flecks of ginger. The only thing that gave away his age was his hands. But they could be passed for working man's hands. Calloused and rough, lines of veins like roads on a map. The guy was not a guy anyone messed with. And he was a guy who didn't like being ignored.
"What's wrong with you, Junior?" Dad boomed, glowering at his son disapprovingly. "You got your head way up in the clouds since you decided to move back here. What do you think I was saying to you?"
Logan paused, knowing he couldn't really shrug this off. The last thing he had wanted was to move back in with his parents, not since he had managed to secure such a decent flat, but the view from his bedroom window looked out onto the sea. More precisely, the beach. And Logan couldn't really stomach looking out onto that beach anymore. Not since... well...
A thick strong finger poked Logan in his shoulder. "I'm talking to you, boy."
"Rent, I know, I know," Logan managed to blurt out. "Don't worry I'll pay my way." He cleared his throat and went back to prodding at the soup. "And I won't be staying for long I swear I just... It's just until I can get somewhere else sorted out."
"What's wrong with your flat?" Logan's mother enquired in her soft, caring voice. His mother was the polar opposite to his father; petite and fragile, and certainly starting to look her age. Greys were starting to show through her mousey hair and lines circled her eyes. She was still an attractive woman, she was just moving out of her prime. She did so gracefully though, like she did everything. "I think it's a wonderful flat. Especially for the location. I'd love a place by the sea, it's rare to get that these days now that they're closing off the shores for the rigging. Such a shame I think." She sighed and glanced to her husband. "Some people are thinking about petitioning to get a stretch of beach saved. Conserved, I think it's called. Wouldn't that be nice, honey?"
"Glorious, dear," Dad replied dismissively. He was still looking at Logan. "That's a point there, son. What's wrong with that flat? You messed it up? Getting kicked out? You better not be moving in here with debt under your cap, mister."
Logan dropped his spoon and rubbed his face with both hands. "I'm not in debt, dad. I just... I just fancied a change that's all. I don't like that flat as much as I thought I would."
And every time I look out the window I'm sure I can see the sand moving. He decided not to add that on.
"I remember having holidays on that beach as a child," Mum said whimsically. "Great days they were. No one seems to appreciate the little things like nature anymore. Too concerned with themselves, I reckon."
"Well you better not be lying to me, son," Dad went on. "You know better than anyone I don't house liars and frauds. You're welcome to stay as long as you need but the minute you're late on your rent you're out of here. I don't carry freeloaders. I don't work my hands to the bone just so you can sit on your backside and have it easy. If it hadn't been for your mother I would have had you working as soon as you could lift a hammer."
Mum clicked her tongue. "Don't be ridiculous, honey."
"It's true," Dad went on. "Kids don't know they're born. Get them earning a living early and they'll behave better. I don't raise no freeloaders."
Logan pushed his bowl back and glanced at his watch. Normally he would still be in bed at this time. Day off and he was sitting at the breakfast table at the crack of dawn. "Well I'm going to call around the flat and grab some things." He pushed himself up from his seat and went to leave, not really wanting to go back to the flat but unable to bear the company any longer.
"Uh, wait a second mister," Dad said, pointing at him. "Mind your manners. What do you say to your mother?"
Logan glanced to his mum, who was smiling faintly back at him in expectation. He refrained a sigh and moved towards her, pecking her lightly on the cheek. "Thanks for breakfast, mum."
"You're more than welcome, sweetheart." She beamed back at him. "Make sure you're back in time for lunch, I'm doing fajitas."
"Yeah, sure." Logan muttered, and headed for the door before his parents had a chance to pounce on him with something else.
Why is it that the thing you're trying to avoid looking at always seems to grow larger and more obvious? Logan desperately tried to work out the mechanics to that question as he hurried down the seafront towards his flat. There were plenty other things he could have kept his gaze entertained with; many other things that normally held his attention quite well. But this morning the only thing his eyes wanted to focus on was the great span of sand that lead down to the blue, froth lined ocean. Even the advertisement billboards that were plastered with images of scantily clad women advertising laxative tablets couldn't hold his twitching eyes.
Right now he wanted to be nowhere else than back sitting at that breakfast table with his work-addicted father and painfully ignorant mother. That was proof that things were bad. Bad was an understatement. Any situation that made a twenty-something year old man terrified of even looking at a beach was terrible. Ridiculous, even.
It was ridiculous. Come on, frigging tentacles sucking fully grown men down underneath the sand? There was no way that could have happened. The sheer physics of it was impossible. Tentacles were usually attached to things, like octopuses, for instance. How the hell did an octopus get underneath the sand so far up the beach? Okay the tide could have washed it up there and buried it, but even then the thing would have either suffocated or dried out. It was impossible. Ridiculous, even.
Obviously the whole thing was just some elaborate prank. Those guys probably knew exactly who he was. Someone had hired them to scare the crap out of him and then terrify him even further and pretend they'd been devoured by some hideous sand monster. There was only one person who had the imagination, time and more importantly malice in their system to do something like that.
"That conniving little..." He didn't allow himself to finish that curse.
Josey Baxter was Logan's younger sister. Well younger by only three minutes. She had always been horrendous for outlandish pranks and insane stunts. When she was five she had constructed a life sized dummy and set it up in the shower simply to scare her mother half to death in the morning. She was more than capable of doing something like this. And more importantly she could easily gather a bunch of terrifying bat wielding guys at the drop of a hat.
Now that he had figured all of this out, his anxiety was now replaced with anger. His quick, frightened footsteps began to turn into purposeful strides. Yet again he had allowed himself to get dragged down by one of his sister's stupid pranks. Why hadn't this occurred to him earlier? What an idiot. She was probably rolling around on her back practically unconscious with laughter. Well there was no way he was going to give her the satisfaction. As soon as he got home he was going to think up of the most evil, humiliating prank that she...
Logan was pulled from his angry thoughts by quite a pleasant voice. He stopped to discover that he was right outside of his building. Those angry strides didn't half get you moving around faster. He also noticed a very strange man standing before him. A man with hair that was practically defying gravity.
"Logan Baxter. Been waiting ages for you." The man held out his hand and grinned a surprisingly broad grin. Only one kind of person grinned at strangers like that. Salesmen.
Logan sighed. "Not for me thanks, whatever you're pushing." He pointed to the half peeled sticker on the window of the door he planned to leave this man through. "See that? Means I don't want anything."
The man peered at the sticker in bemusement, then shook his head. "Oh no, no," he replied, amused. "I'm not selling. Don't have anything to sell anyway. Unless you like, um..." He paused, lowered one eyebrow and reached into his pocket. He produced a small flat disc and then grinned broadly at it. "Pogs! Oh I love Pogs. There's no way I'd sell you my Pogs."
Logan cocked his head in bewilderment. He had no idea what a Pog was. It looked like a circle of card to him. He shrugged, now uninterested in the weird man and wanting nothing else than to get inside and start planning this extravagant prank. "Right, well if that's everything..." He started to move for the door, but the man blocked his path.
"This is yours, am I right?" The man held out something with the hand that had only seconds ago been holding the Pog. "Found it a little way down the street. Pretty silly place to leave something like this if you ask me. I keep all my licences in my shoes."
Logan was very surprised to see his driver's licence. He took it and examined it. Yes, there was his gormless mugshot staring back at him. He nodded gratefully to the man. "Thanks. Thanks a lot." Again he turned to the door.
"Uh, just another second."
Logan refrained a sigh. What did this guy want, a medal? If he thought he was going to get something out of returning a driver's licence then he could have it back.
"Can I ask if that was your car out on the beach? Only it's a big peculiar if you've left it there then obviously climbed the wall to get off the beach and leave it behind? Might just be me being overly curious but... What the hell I'm the personification of curious. Doesn't paint me in the greatest light the best of times but..."
Logan blinked, bewildered. "How would you know I climbed over the wall or not?"
"Well considering you obviously drove onto the beach for whatever reason, I'm not one to pry," the man shrugged his thin shoulders and glanced across to the beach. Logan found himself following suit and then quickly turning away again. He wasn't quite ready to look at the beach yet apparently. "Something made you leave that car of yours in a hurry and instead of walking just a little bit further down to get to the stairs you chose to scramble over a seven foot high wall. Bit peculiar, is all."
Logan eyeballed him for a long moment, then slowly felt a grin of his own emerging. He pointed a finger and nodded knowingly. "Ah I get it. Josey sent you, right?"
The man cocked an eyebrow. "Josey?"
"Yeah, to make sure I believe all this crap about bat wielding maniacs and big black tentacles. Well you can go back and tell Josey that I believe it if you want. Anything to keep her thinking I've fell for it-"
The man's eyebrows quickly lowered. "Tentacles?"
"Yup," Logan nodded, now grinning broadly. "And very convincing ones at that. Bravo to whoever put that together. You tell her it worked a treat. I'm going to get her back and I'm going to make sure she never pulls another prank like that on me again, got that?" He clapped his hands in mock admiration. "Very good show, sir."
"No, Logan wait," the man said, desperately trying to get to the door before he did. "Wait a second, I'm not who-"
But this time Logan successfully reached the door. He pulled it open and directed a quick wink to the man. "Piece of advice, mate, don't quit your day job. You're a rubbish actor."
With that, and feeling very satisfied with himself, Logan closed the door behind him, ignoring the man's protests.
Sand monsters. Wow. For a minute there he almost believed it.