Damn Dirty Rats

raleigh_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: Streets of Las Vegas

When: September 11, 2012; Afternoon

What: An unusual spectacle enters the streets of Las Vegas.

It's a nice day in vegas and in the distance, the tourist trap beckons with it's distinctive buildings that rise from that section of the city. But they're not there, they're here, and outside this local coffee shop that has defied the chains and survived, the day is very nice, mild for a vegas day and families make the post school pick up of dinner, chores, groceries and otherwise heading home in preparation for the night.

Stopped in front of the coffee shop, his back to the front and facing the street is Zan. He's out of the way of other pedestrians that might care to pass by while his attention is on his phone. So much as it often is, a backpack hangs from his shoulders, heavy with books and supplies of his craft.

And speaking of families, he's putting his off in a text message, eschewing dinner with the folks because he's got other plans. Namely in acquiring food items for supper at Rylie's house. Not that the younger Caldecott son discloses as much with the parentals. Whatever their response is, he ignores it for now to pull up the required groceries and take stock of where he's at a bit more thoroughly.

Inside the coffee shop, Raleigh is at the front of the counter, waiting for her coffee to arrive. She scans over the shop, half bored and half-interested. She offers the barista a smile and a thanks once her drink arrives. She takes a sip as she heads out of the shop, pausing just outside to take another drink and glance up and down the street. She smirks as she sees Zan, offering a slight smile and a slight wave of her hand. "Hey Zan. Feeling any better?" She asks causally.

A glance starts to go to Raleigh, but it's the phone that demands Zan's attention. There's the text he's ignoring, clearing the screen without even reading it. The phone is tucked into his pocket as he looks at Raleigh, a bit of a bruise coloring his temple and some area around it. "Yeah," he answers with a shrug. "I guess. Pretty sure I'll heal well enough to get myself into trouble again another day."

Raleigh lets out a soft laugh at the reply he gives. "Well, you should make a point to try to avoid trouble. At least make sure I'm not around when it happens at least." She chuckles softly as she takes another drink of her coffee. "Though to certainly do make things more interesting. That's for sure." She laugh softly once more before she falls silent for a moment then speaks again. "You going to come in for a tattoo anytime soon?" She asks, an eyebrow slightly raised.
There's a scream, a sharp little shriek from a woman pushing a stroller as from out of a grating that provides access for trash and water to run into collection drains, scrabbles forth a rat. All rough fur, long tail, black eyes and long whiskers, he moves quickly, scampering out of the wide spaces and hopping up onto the sidewalk, heading north, past Zan and Raleigh.

"I…" Zan's answer trails off and dies, interrupted by the shrieking woman. His attention shifts from Raleigh to locate the source, probably one of many sets of eyes looking to see what's happening. Just as he finds the woman and her stroller frantically trying to get away from… something, it's that something's movement that catches his eye. He doesn't scream or flinch away, but watches in curious concern as the rat runs along the sidewalk. "…Whenever you see rats doing that, there's usually a flood to follow," he remarks offhandedly.

Raleigh's attention is also drawn in the direction of the shriek, her head tilting slightly to the side. "What's going—" And then she sees the rat running by. "Oh fuck!" She says after adding her own shriek. "A rat!" She exclaims as she tries to move behind Zan to get away from the rat. She may be a tom boy and act tough but she's still a girl, damn it. Her first instinct is is to throw her cup of coffee at the rat, not hearing Zan's remarks.

It zips, little paws scurrying and hightailing it. He stick close to walls, dodges under a table, stops and looks back with his nose twitching before he's off again. It seems like that might be it, just a lone singular rat.

But then there's another. A heartbeat later there's another and another and suddenly it's as if the sewers of vegas have vomited forth a plethora of rats, a veritable sea of them as they scurrying out of the grating fast as little claws can find purchase. Around people, over their feet, under the tables, spilling out across the curb and onto the street and under the cars, the sea of brown fur follows it's first bretheren.

That human shield doesn't last long. Zan gives Raleigh a look. After all, they're just rats. Then he starts toward the storm grate the vermin are escaping from. His steps are careful, both to avoid people as they try to escape the supposed plague and to avoid an unfortunately squishy, fuzzy foothold of his own, and his gaze travels from his target to follow the path the rats make. Shouldn't be too hard to find where they've gone after he's had a look at that storm drain.

Raleigh isn't in a such a rush to see where the rats are coming from. She's too busy hopping up on the nearest bench so the rats don't run over her feet. She's not coming down off this bench until the rats are gone, which doesn't seem to be anytime soon.

It's so hard for Zan to move forward, they seem never ending in their exit from below. They seethe over Zan's feet and he can feel a nip or two from ones who's tails or other parts have been stepped upon but his jeans protect him from needing to actually worry about needing to hightail it for a rabies shot.

A few even scrabble up his leg as if that might be an exit but bail. he is however, the only person doing what he's doing. Everyone else has the sense that god gave them and have scrambled to on top of chairs and tables, people across the street stopping and pointing, even a few phones out with video's being taken. By the time Zan has made it to the grate in question the flow seems to start tapering off and eventually there's no rats taking off. Just empty sewer beneath and the trash there.

It's unnerving, having wee beasties biting at one's ankles. Zan makes some small effort to gently shake the biters and climbers free. He might have outright slapped one or two off without realizing it. Probably did. As the last of the rats make their great escape, he kneels down at the grate and works his fingers between the metal bars as leverage. He leans forward to take a good look around, studying the underground and searing for any sign of what might have chased the rats off.

Raleigh waits a few moments after the last of the nasty foul vermin have passed by before she tentatively climbs off the bench she was standing on, glancing in the direction they went. "That was nasty." She says to herself before she looks towards Zan and sees what he's doing. "Please tell me you're not going in there." She calls out to him as she makes her way towards him. "There may be more of those god awful things down there." She slips her hands into her back pockets, since she's now coffee free.

Nothing. Just garbage, wrappers, gum, waste and nothing more. Nothing surging out of the din to yank Zan in, the entrance to the drain is as silent as it was before the rats bailed en masse.

"Something had to've chased them out," Zan points out as he sits back. His hands still rest on the grate and he looks like he's seriously considering going down there. "Either in or follow them." Time is ticking if he goes with that plan, and he lifts his gaze from the drain to see what's left of the evacuated rats.

Raleigh chews on her lower lip as she kneels down to take a look into the grate that the rats came out of, hoping not to see the big mama rat looking back at her. She lets out a breath as she doesn't see anything except for trash. "Well, if something did chase them out, I don't think it's something I'd want to see. It must be huge or mean if it chances that many rats out of there."

Finding no rats yet running down the sidewalk, Zan returns his attention to the grate. For a moment, he looks like he might just pry the cover off and drop down into the drain for a better look around. A chime from his pocket pulls him away from such thoughts. Sitting back on his heels, then standing, he pulls his phone out of his pocket to clear away another message from one of his parents, sighing something about moms being mom-like.

"I'd like to know," the Caldecott boy admits while returning his phone to his pocket. Probability is good that he'll go snooping later on. He shakes his head, then looks at Raleigh. "I'll get back to you on the tattooing. Haven't given it a lot of thought, to be honest. But I should get going."

Raleigh frowns at the mention of him wanting to know what's in there. She, on the other hand, will pass on knowing what drove out the rats unless she's forced to face it. She tries to focus her mind on other things, like tattooing which Zan brings up, nodding her head a few times. "Sure. Stop by the shop and I'll hook you up with a tattoo or a piercing if you'd prefer." She offers with a smile. "I'll see you around." She asks when Zan mentions having to go. She stands back up and starts to head back to the coffee shop to replace her coffee that somehow ended up on the ground.

"Sure, see you around." Zan looks at the grate again when Raleigh starts for the coffee shop. He lingers for a moment longer, then pushes his hands into his pockets as he steps away. Curiosity still tugs at him, but he moves away from the drain. No sense in dwelling on it right now. Besides, he still has some groceries to fetch before he heads home.

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