Wanna work out the kinks
The last two months with Six had been wonderful. Coming back after a great Christmas with her parents, engaged to the man she loved, she felt… almost right again. Not the same, definitely different… but not really broken anymore.
Sure, there were still moments when she was alone when her mind would drift back to dark painful things, when she’d get scared and feel weak. But they fell so much fewer and far between than before.
All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter
The head clerk at Morgenstern’s Antiques watched his newest customer with curiosity. At this time of year, with Christmas only a couple of weeks away, most people who came into the shop were seeking a gift for someone. Often they already had an item in mind - a vintage vase, maybe, or a painting by a particular artist - and they would come up and pester the clerk until he either brought it out for them, or told them another store where they might find it.
But the thin, dark-haired man with the ugly burn scar across his face hadn’t said a word. As soon as he came in, he’d gone straight to the jewelry section, and was now pouring over the various sparklies and baubles as if he thought the meaning of life lay inside that glass display case.
For a moment, the clerk had worried he might be a thief, examining the case so he could plan a robbery later. But then he took a closer look, and immediately understood.
He was looking at the rings.
Everyday… everyday they took more. She would have thought… hoped..she would have run dry by now, just so they would stop sticking her with needles. Staring down at her bare arms seeing the bruises and needle marks, feeling as though they were multiplying right before her eyes. She’d already lost track of the days. There were no windows in the cell, no clocks on the walls any where they took her, no way for her to tell how long she’d been here, loosing her mind. They didn’t speak to her, just shoved her around when they wanted her to move, barked short orders at her if she wasn’t doing as they liked… struck her if she spoke back. Her life….what she had thought was her life, was beginning to feel more like a dream. What little bit of her identity that she clung to, the threads of what the truth hadn’t torn from her, gave her hope. Six’s face when she closed her eyes, it was a sweet haven… and a torture. Torn between the desperate hope that he would come for her… and the guilt of what she’d done to him, telling her she didn’t deserve his help.
Her eyes stung from the tears that seemed to never end, slow and constant while she lay in the light-less cell. All she could do was wait, helpless with her bound wrists and bruised body, just hoping in vain that the next time they dragged her away, the test would be needle free.
Not Meant To Live
Slow absent tears dripped from Alice’s eyes to soak into the thin mattress of the cot she was laying on. The almost total darkness of the small cell gave her at least a sense of privacy as she lay there, feeling as though her whole identity was unraveling.
Going On A Road Trip
Alice sighed as she dropped the last pair of socks in her duffel bag and pulled the zipper closed. Six was already stacking his couple of bags at the door, waiting for her. Pulling on her backpack that held her laptop, sketch book, art pencils, etc., she grabbed her pillow and blanket and lifted the strap of the duffel over her shoulder. She looked around, making sure she hadn’t missed anything. She had her cellphone, charger, keys, wallet… she couldn’t think of anything else she might need.
When Six had come home and asked her to leave town with him, she’d been surprised. He’d explained that with Rapunzel’s death and events in the city looking as bad as they did, he didn’t feel safe leaving her alone for so long while he was at work. While the I-can-take-care-of-myself part of her had bristled just ever so slightly, she couldn’t help but feel touched… and relieved.
His thinking was along the same lines as her own had been when she’d seen the live news feed. Any of them could be next. While Six’s worry was that it could easily be her, given her past run in with the Psycho Delic, her worry was that he wouldn’t be able to just stand by and watch. As much as she hated the purple man, as much as she believed he deserved to die, she couldn’t help the stab of fear that shook her when she thought of Six confronting the man. She knew, or at least a part of her did, that Six was extremely powerful and he might just be able to take down Psycho, but it didn’t stop the fear that he would go up against him… and die.
She had planned to keep the worries to herself, feeling incredibly selfish for wanting to deprive innocent people the help that Six could give. So when he’d come home and asked her to leave with him? How could she not say yes?
The first thing she’d done was find someone to keep Ember while they were gone. As independent as the cat was, Alice didn’t think leaving her to fend for herself would have been a very bright idea. She’d texted Gracelyn and she’d agreed to keep her while they were away. The cat had been surprisingly mellow about the trip in the car, though she did give Alice what amounted to a death glare as she walked away, apologizing to the cat and promising to be back for her, begging her not to hate her… and feeling a bit stupid for begging and apologizing to a cat.
As soon as she’d gotten home, the packing had begun. Six was already half done and had pulled out her duffel bag for her.
Now, an hour and a half later and their bags were packed away in the back of her El Camino. They had food and drinks in an ice chest in back seat with the couple of pillows and blankets they’d brought. The gas tank was full, the radio on, and they were headed down the road on their way out of the Metro City.
With Alice’s hands on the wheel she concentrated on the road ahead, though now and then she would cast her gaze to the rear view mirror as the city began to slowly fall behind them. Besides her, Six sat in the passenger side. He, unlike herself, hadn’t lifted his gaze to watch the retreating city. The decision must not have come lightly for him, and it showed on his face. After a moment, though, he reached over and gently placed his hand onto her knee and gave her a gentle squeeze. An assurance that this was all right, that they’d be all right, and that the city would be there when they came back.
She just hoped he was right.