What's Your Damage?

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Abby
Junior Adventurer
Junior Adventurer
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:30 pm

What's Your Damage?

Post by Abby » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:13 pm

Monday. July 5, 1982
Long Island, NY


“Jesus, this place is a dump. What’re we doing here anyway?”

This Place had been abandoned for well over fifty years. Miles of chain-link fencing surrounded it with dozens of keep out out signs that nobody ever obeyed. There were plenty of holes and breaks to climb through for anyone bored enough to explore the derelict grounds. Once upon a time, legend had it, a mad scientist had done extraordinary electrical experiments here. History had mostly long forgotten him, though.

“City Momma told me to be here,” said Abby.

Unofficially, she was their leader, and especially their spiritual leader. She often had visions bestowed upon her, only half of which while under the influence of something or other. Last night while they had huddled on the roof of their building to watch the fireworks, she had seen something else within the flashes of color. Like all her visions, it had been unclear what precisely she was looking at, but all her instincts the following morning had demanded she come in this direction, to this place here.

She had dragged most of the rest of the pack along with her. They were an interestingly ragged group of misfits that all shared one thing in common. While most of the time they walked around in human skins, deep down in their souls, and sometimes when they felt like a metaphysical change, they were rats.

Jameson, the one who had asked her why they were even here, was tall and gangly with knobby knees and elbows. He wore his hair long but refused to give into the short in the front fashion that was becoming ridiculously popular among men. Instead he just refused to comb it, or wash it, creating a natural shine and wavy effect. He often wore a hat, any hat. Today’s hat was a bucket hat.

The others fanned out around her, prodding at the tall grasses and kicking over tin cans. A sixteen year old Asian girl that had named herself after a cup of instant noodles was busy stacking half broken pallets and grumbling about how bored she was. She kept her hair cut short and dyed it any color of the rainbow she could find. Today the color was blue.

“Hey,” called Linda from beside the crumbling building. She was a plump young woman no older than seventeen herself, with long blonde hair that she liked to style like all the famous pop stars. This year meant bangs, lots of bangs. Her long gold hair otherwise shook behind her as she waved her arm to get their attention. “Over here. I found something.”

Hector was the first to join her. He was probably Mexican. Nobody had ever asked him and he hadn’t voluntarily supplied the information. He spoke Spanish as easily and frequently as English and had the kind of golden brown skin that was typical of people from that far south. He kept his head shaved to fight off a high widow’s peak that was turning into premature balding. He was too young to have so little hair, but that didn’t seem to stop Linda from find him attractive.

Neither of them thought that anyone else noticed the coy glances and stupid, shy smiles they shared with each other. Or how their fingers bumped against each other, hungry to hold hands. It was one of the more common reasons why Noodle rolled her eyes, like now. She rolled her eyes a lot.

“What’cha got?” asked Jameson as he loped up to them.

Linda pointed down at a heap in the grass just outside a busted out window. Rumpled clothes and leather shoes stuck out from under the tatters of a curtain piled with scattered bits of glass. Jameson crouched down to pull the fabric away so they could have a better look at what appeared to be a body.

“Shit on a stick!” He jumped up to his feet and back a pace. “That is a person.”

“Cool,” said Noodle. She hurried over and leaned over, hands to her knees, for a closer look. “Aw,” she said disappointedly. “It’s not a dead person.”

“You are so morbid,” Linda chided. Now that she knew they weren’t dealing with a corpse, she stepped up to the body and crouched down for a closer look. “It’s just a boy,” she said, sweeping back a lock of his feathery black hair.

“What’s a boy doing here?” Noodle asked. “Shouldn’t he be in school?”

“Like you’re one to talk,” Jameson muttered. She stuck her tongue out at him and they proceeded to give each other dirty looks for the next five minutes. An immature game that was only briefly interrupted when Jameson warned Abby, “Watch the glass.”

Abby never wore shoes, not even in the dead of winter. She found them too confining and didn’t like how they separated her from Gaia’s soil beneath her feet. Even though half the time the soil she felt was actually concrete, she preferred it to machine crafted rubber soles.

“What’s he wearing?” asked Hector.

The boy’s clothes were strange. For a start, they were dull and seemed colorless. He was wearing tan trousers with wide legs past the knee and a thick starched shirt that was more ivory than white. Smudges of dirt decorated his attire in patches just about everywhere. His shoes were leather, brown, with hard soles that might have been made out of wood. Rounding it all off was a pair of gray and white striped suspenders. He looked like something right out of the extras of a period movie.

Abby knew one thing immediately when she looked at him, though. She could feel it in her bones and the positive buzz that charged up from the earth and into her feet.

“This is it,” she told them. “This is what City Momma sent me to find.”

Jameson arched a brow at her, more surprised than disbelieving. Linda brushed more of the boy’s hair away from his pale, smudged face, and smiled fondly. Like most strays they encountered, she was instantly smitten with him. He might as well have been a puppy. Noodle, of course, emphasized her annoyance and displeasure about the world’s entire existence, particularly this boy, by saying, “Ugh.”

“I’ll get him,” Hector offered. As he stepped over, Linda stood up and backed away to give him room. He scooped bits of glass aside with his shoes before kneeling down to shove his arms under the boy. Hector might not have been a very tall man, but he was definitely the muscle of their outfit. He lifted the boy with ease and hefted him to hang over his shoulder.

None of this jostling about woke the boy at all. If it weren’t for the obvious signs of his breathing, and the fact that he was warm, they all would have taken him for dead. Except perhaps for Abby. She didn’t think City Momma would have sent her all this way to collect a corpse.

“Let’s get him home,” she said. They trekked back across the abandoned yard to the hole in the fence that was wide enough to climb through with an extra person hanging off Hector’s shoulder. It was a long walk back to their building. Good thing they had brought a van.
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