Dillard watched the silent exchange between the woman and the barman, all raised eyebrows and pursed lips at the end of which he shrugged and turned away, pulling off two glasses and moving to a draw tap. The movement disturbed a housefly which lifted off, flying languorously along the bar. "Thanks." he took the other bar stool. "I don't know what you said to him but thanks."
"That's okay. Dill, isn't it? And Sam?"
"Yeah, sorry. Dill Farthing. This is Sam Trubshaw. We're—"
"Students, yes, you said. You're having an odd day by the look of it."
"Fuck yes." Dill looked at her past Sam, who was tearing slits in beer mats and using them as a construction toy. "Our own fault, really. We were given a sample of—"
Sam kicked him on the shin.
"—some medicine that really wiped us out. It's been a really crazy morning. We actually saw a ghost in the cemetery."
Julie nodded. "I can't say I'm surprised. There are plenty of them in there. Any inexplicable cravings?"
"Now that you come to mention it, yes."
"He licked the blood off a dead crow." Sam gazed at her then grimaced. "It was disgusting."
Dill shrugged. "I couldn't help myself. Then we went into Mr. Xio's to get a drink and Sam raided the cold meat counter and ate loads of raw bacon. That was pretty disgusting too. We really had to leg it. Did you know he's got a sword behind the counter?"
Julie smiled. "So I've heard."
The barman returned with two pints of dark, still beer. Dill nodded at him. "Thanks man."
"The barman paused, leaning forward on the counter. "Just watch it, sonny Jim."