"It's all the same, never changes," David remarked carelessly as they made their way down the beach, by the tide line where the lights were not so intrusive. "This town's so small people seem to think this place actually has some entertainment value." He snorted derisively. "So how late do you stay out?"
"As long as I want. My mom never notices I'm gone; she just gives me money and forgets about me. I love it."
"I'll show you my place, then," David said. "How did you get here?"
"To the boardwalk," David answered patiently. "Did you come by car? By bike?"
"Oh. Um...I walked." Alex was almost bursting with embarrassment.
"Oh." David made his way under the boardwalk, where light filtered in dimly from between the board slats overhead. He led Alex to where a motorcycle was parked, concealed far under the boards, leaning against one of the wooden posts. "You can ride on back, then."
"Wow," Alex breathed as he ran his fingers over the strange markings painted on the fuel tank. "A Harley. Your old man must be rich!"
David grunted. "Something like that," he said, and jumped on the bike, patting the seat behind him. "Well, get on, then. We haven't got all night."
Alex climbed awkwardly onto the back as he started the engine with a coughing roar, and then tore off at a high rate of speed. The bike leaped under them and Alex reflexively clung to David's thin waist for dear life.
"Hey..." David said in a strained voice. "Ease up, okay? You're squeezing me too tight."
"Oh, right. Sorry." Alex relaxed, embarrassed, as they tore up the boardwalk and onto a back road that went parallel to the beach.
"Never ridden on one of these before, I take it," David said, a hint of amusement creeping into his voice.
"Didn't know what you were missing, huh?"
"No way." Alex felt exhilarated as the bike roared powerfully onward, slowing down slightly as the road became quite steep, taking them high up onto a cliff. He peered to his left and saw the shoreline far below, the wave tips silver and breaking in the light of the moon. It was breathtaking, and Alex felt almost sad to leave it as the bike suddenly veered downward on another, smaller dirt road. Ten minutes later David shut down the engines outside a massive cave, surrounded by debris.
"Home," he said brightly, and jumped nimbly off the bike, helping Alex as he clambered off. "C'mon; I'll show you around."
* ~*~*~*~ ~*~*~*~ ~*~*~*~
"This is your home?" Alex asked incredulously.
"Yep," replied David proudly as they traveled farther down the chasm, finally arriving in a large room decorated with various cloth hangings and a huge picture of Jim Morrison. Fire burned in garbage cans, providing light inside. "Used to be a fancy-ass hotel, but in the San Francisco quake it fell right down into this crack. Now, it belongs to me."
"Wow...You live here all alone?"
"Yeah," David replied quickly, obviously trying to evade the subject as much as possible without seeming rude. Alex decided that it probably wasn't wise to inquire about his parents. He felt a strange sensation that something wasn't right as his mind related what he had said about David's old man being rich. He swallowed and quickly thought of something else.
David plopped down on an old, worn couch that was covered in blankets and drew the small bag from his pocket. He reached over to a small chest that was collecting major dust on the right side of the couch. It was wooden and atop its splintery surface sat a half- burned candle, white wax collected in shriveled rivulets down its sallow sides, void of a holder. The wax, which looked like it had been suspended in time, interrupted in its melting process, puddled around the base and sealed it to the wood of the chest top itself. David opened the lid and the candle stayed fast; he dropped the baggie inside and shut the lid again, sending up a puff of dust. He waved it away distractedly and reached behind the box, drawing out a decorative bottle that looked like it contained some sort of red wine.
"Thirsty?" he asked, grinning wickedly.