We use to be friends. Everything changed. We got to high school. You went prep and I chose the opposite route. We rejected each other's new friends, our styles, and ultimately each other. I don't know you anymore. The person I used to know might be somewhere beneath the short skirt, revealing shirt and tons of make-up. Maybe you killed her. We both moved on. Remember the days? Now they are bittersweet. I have moved on and now it is like we never even knew each other. I am part of your shameful past that you dumped for a status. We use to be friends, now we are nothing but strangers.
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Waiting for death is like waiting for the rain to come in a drought. Slow and painful. Just waiting day after day. Death will come unexpectedly and no telling how soon. I lay in the hospital bed, hoping to die. Going to bed, hoping not to wake up. The pain is so strong and I am dying from the inside out. I wait and wait. I am sick of waiting and just want to die.
It was cold. Dark. Wet. She was drenched from head to toe, yet didn't seem terribly to mind. The rain around her made wet splashing sounds as it dripped down onto the street, and her black boots with the steel toes made a very satisfyingly dull thump as her feet collided with the concrete sidewalk Every once in awhile the moon would break through to illuminate her way for just a few moments before once again becoming covered behind the thick, choking clouds. It didn't matter, she was used to the night and had become quite used to seeing without any sort of light to guide her, the headlights from a passing car would work quite well. It had been years since she had been down this street, with this particular purpose in mind. Years even since she had been in this city, having long since moved on with her life after her teenaged years, married and even held a steady job. Yet here she was again, the nostalgia all around her as memories came flooding back of times long gone past, and friends that she long since lost touch with. That is, until this morning.
The call had come out of the blue and unexpectedly that morning, as she just woke up to be greeted by the bright, Saturday morning sun. She almost didn't recognize the voice on the other end, it had been nearly ten years since she had last heard it, but she recognized the danger behind it, the need, and the words spoken.
“Sixteenth Street. Tonight.” Was all the masculine voice on the other line said before abruptly hanging up. No hello, no how are you. But that was never the way her crowd worked, they had discovered that the four of them had a very specific purpose for their lives, and the urgency was conveyed through the shortness of the conversation. The words brought back a myriad of memories that she wasn't entirely sure she was ready to face. Three friends, one guy and two girls, happy and sad at different moments, fighting, playing and loss. As well as the very distinct scent of Vanilla wafting through the air, so thick she could almost taste it now.
She started packing immediately, and left with barely any excuse to her husband, and was on a plane down to Texas within an hour. When she arrived, she checked into a hotel nearest her target destination and made her way down to an old abandoned house that thankfully still stood. Ten minutes later she emerged with a long black box hooked under one arm, and a look of relief present on her stressed out face. She returned to her hotel, and waited.
It wasn't until ten minutes to seven that she finally rose from her bed and began to dress. She brought only one outfit with her. When she was dressed, she looked as though she was about to attempt some sort of re-con operation, with black cloth pants that made almost no sound, heavy black work boots, black leather gloves and a black t-shirt that fit tightly to her body, with a spare long-sleeved black shirt kept in a backpack she carried behind her. Other things were present in that backpack, water, as well as simple, non-perishable provisions that would last her nearly two weeks if she rationed well. A first aid kit would also be found in there, as well as a camera, matches, lighter fluid, poncho, thermal blanket, water purification tablets and six light sticks, as well as a backup flashlight with extra batteries.
She went over this list in her head as she walked, making sure she didn't forget anything that she needed, before finally her thoughts turned as she entered the alleyway just off sixteenth street. She turned abruptly to the right and slid open a heavy steel door, part of another abandoned building, and walked inside.
The first thing that hit her was that pungent smell of Vanilla, thick and heady in the air it almost made her head swim. A green light spilled from underneath a closed door, and that was where she headed. Her leather clad fingers grasped the doorknob and turned it, slowly, almost as though she was unsure, before she brushed it away and confidently opened the door and stepped inside. Two faces greeted her, one a man and one a woman, both of whom she barely recognized and both dressed in very similar clothes to hers.
“Tank.” The woman said, noting the long brown hair done up in a simple bun, the pale skin and the bright emerald eyes that inspected the two present. Tank Intalik, not her real name, but the name she used with this group, was the last to arrive.
“Fake.” She replied, then turned to look at the man, nodding her head to him as well. “Doku.” She called him. None of these were their real names, but names they had chosen for their missions. “Are we ready?” Her eyes scanned around the room, noting it's emptiness except for the familiar stand in the middle, the source of the vanilla smell. On it was various incense sticks, protruding from a handful of sand, some of them burning and some already burnt well past their time, the smoke wafting up into the air, seeming to surround the three of them in an old, familiar embrace. In the middle, resting comfortably in its sand bed was a white crystal, cast green from the light stick that laid on the floor.
“Yup!” Fake replied, and Tank noted with a bit of affection that Fake was still the hyper woman she always was, and wondered if she was still as lucky. Doku looked bored.
“Good.” She set the long black box down on the ground and pulled it's contents out one by one, checking over them to make sure that everything was in order. First came two twin pistols locked in a belt holster, their names Lyra and Iris etched into the side with a knife, named after the two characters she used most in her stories. The next thing to come out was a long katana sheathed in black and gold, that was quickly attached by belt to her waist. Lastly to come was a very wicked looking curved dagger, also sheathed in black and gold that was attached to a thigh holster around her right thigh. “Lets go.”
They were going to get their friend back, Fake's twin sister. Ten years ago she had accidently activated the crystal that allowed them to travel back and forth between time and space, and the window had closed before the other three could follow her. It was ten years before the window was available again, and now it was time to find out where she went, and bring her home.
If she was still alive.
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“Oh, shut it, they all taste the same.” I hand Julie a yellow gummy bear, which she takes with reluctance and does not eat. I fold up the bag of candy and put it back in the drawer she got it from.
“I want mommy,” Julie whines. “Mommy doesn’t make me eat the yellow bears. She lets me have the red ones.”
“Well, mommy won’t be home until eight.”
“When will it be eight?”
Damn little children, and their inability to tell time. I point to the clock on the far wall of the kitchen – the art deco kind with round black dots instead of numbers – and tell Julie that mom will come home when the big hand is pointing straight up.
“I don’t see any hands.”
“The long stick. The pointy thing that’s bigger than the other one.”
“You’re confusing,” she grumbles, except she can’t pronounce it properly. She crosses her arms, huffs up, and proceeds to pout.
“Mommy will be home soon,” I say.
She sits down on the floor, legs crossed Indian style, head hanging downwards. Her face is visibly reddening at the hairline. Oh, no…
The drawer opens with a clatter – I take out the bag of gummy bears and fish around for a red one, but it’s too late. Julie’s crying at the top of her lungs. She won’t take the candy when I give it to her. She won’t let me hug her. She dashes up the stairs to her room, tripping a couple of times over her own little feet. I can’t help but laugh – she screams at me.
I’ve never been good with children.
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