"And even you," Reese continued, "must have figured out who 'they' are by now."
"Humor me," Vincent replied wearily.
The candy kid scoffed. "Really. Really, with all those picture comics and graphic story books I know you got lined up on your wall and under your bed, you don't have a clue." He pulled the potential prophet up from the moonlit ground. In the place where Vincent sat, the flowers hadn't flattened, but kept their uncrushed fullness, rebelling against the weight of his human body. Reese smirked, though not unkindly. "I bet you never read Gaiman. No wonder you're so confused." He clapped a fully informed hand on Vincent's uninformed back. "I'm not playing around. We've got to go. Now. Come on."
"Hey now, hold on man, you haven't told me a damn thing." Vincent pushed Reese's hand away. "Where are we going? Who are 'they'--these people you're talking about? For all I know this is some Dungeons and Dragons bull you're pulling."
Reese sighed, laughing a little. Despite all evidence to the contrary, from where he stood Vincent noted that the candy kid's breath smelled nothing like peanuts and chocolate. More like a curiously strong mint, an unnatural freshness.
"Don't be an idiot, kid." His hand clapped on again. "D&D is a table top game. This is live action, and I swear by the totally rockin' shirt on my back that it's real. If I didn't have to keep you out of trouble, I certainly wouldn't be wasting my time in this podunk one-store neighborhood." Pressing lightly with his palm, he began the walk from their spot on the flower grounds.
"It isn't so bad," Vincent muttered, swelling suddenly with small-town pride. He allowed the other boy to guide the way. "They've got everything you need, you know? Mr. Smiley's kept that store running since before I was born. He's an institution around here."
"Just because something's an institution, that's no automatic badge of honor. You gotta stay out of that store, now that they've organized. Smiley's no good. He's no good and he's up to no good." A sidelong glance. "Why do you think he's got the only store in town open all day, every day? Where's the competition? Not like our town couldn't use the economic boost. No, it's all about his backdoor operations. I shoulda taken the transfer to the Prez Rickard case. Easy job. Oh well." They stopped under a street lamp in an unfamiliar part of the neighborhood. It was a useless convenience in the moonlight. Vincent looked at Reese.
"What are you talking about you goddamn peanut butter cup."
"All I'm saying is that Smiley's on the other side, and you can bet your sweet bippy he's been messing with your head. I wouldn't buy anything from that store ever again, if I were you. Not that it matters. We're skipping town. Strengthening the prophecy antenna. Bringing your dreams to the dreaming place. Don't look so confused; I'll fill you in on the way." Reese grasped Vincent's hands and pulled him into the center of the lamplight.
"The way to where?"
"Where else, you moron? We're getting The Answers."