He was almost there. It was almost over. He almost didn't need to think about Owen ever again, didn't even need to pay attention to what he was saying...
That was how Edgar leapt back about a foot and froze in terror when Owen pointed his knife at him.
A couple of tense seconds passed, in which nothing seemed to be moving but the frantic hammering of Edgar's heart against his ribcage. This was it, wasn't it? It was the greenhouse all over again. He'd said the wrong thing, he'd reached too far, and now he was staring down the wrong end of a deadly weapon while his feet rooted themselves to the floor.
A couple of seconds, and then reality set in. Owen wasn't Cody. He was a nice guy, he'd just generously given up some of his vital supplies to help probably the single person on the island who least deserved them, and now he was just...
Oh no no no.
Edgar didn't want Owen's scalpel. Wasn't it bad enough that he'd wilfully put him in danger without robbing him of his only ability to defend himself? Well, apart from what appeared to be a table leg? But then again, didn't he need all the defence he could get?
Edgar didn't need something to protect himself. Owen needed something to protect himself. Edgar was quite capable of protecting himself with only his words and his wits, as he had oh-so-ably demonstrated that very morning. And all that had resulted in was Owen, although he didn't know it (Edgar really ought to do something about that), needing something to protect himself more than ever before.
It wasn't as Edgar could protect anyone but himself...
...or if there was any way he could save Owen from the danger he'd put him in...
Edgar took a step forward. That's it. Take a few more steps like that. Just a few more, then you can take all the backward steps you want.
His hand reached up, and out, to meet Owen's own. His fingers closed around the scalpel, much more gently this time, but much more deliberately.
This time it wasn't out of necessity.
Nor was the way he forced his head to look upwards, to see Owen's eyes for only the second time. Only briefly, only just long enough to whisper, "Thank you," and quickly drop his eyes to meet the ground again as if scalded.
This was, indeed, it.
Edgar turned on his heel and began walking. Steadily, still somewhat shakily, but not quite his panicked shuffle nor his desolate trudge. And very much in the opposite direction to Owen.
A short, but safe, distance away, he stopped. Turned his head again to face the tall figure by the bank for the final time.
"I'm sorry!" he half-shouted, not quite loud enough for anyone else to hear, but perfectly loud enough for Owen to do so.
He turned back, and strode forwards.
Had Edgar looked back, he would have seen Owen vanish behind the passing undergrowth and buildings as his footsteps took him towards the town. He didn't look back. He couldn't stop his pace from getting slightly faster, to take him away from the pond quicker, or to take him onwards quicker, or possibly both.
Either way, there was still a purpose to it.
And so, as Edgar had arrived at the duck pond, he left it with his head buzzing with thoughts. He kept his head bowed and his lips pursed, aware of nothing but the grass beneath his feet, the painful memories of what had gone before, and the unknown prospects for what was to come.
A new plan was beginning to form.
((Edgar Tolstoff continued in I'm a Mechanical, I'm a Mechanical, I'm a Mechanical Man