The was a whisper in the wind. A mischievous, bone-chilling whisper, that brought goosebumps to Jett’s arms. She held the unnamed baby closer to herself nervously. “What time do you think it is, Finn?”
“I have no idea,” Finn raised his hand to his forehead, shading his eyes from the sun as he looked up. “I have no idea how long we’ve been walking.”
“My arms are starting to cramp up,” Jett adjusted the baby’s weight to her other arm.
“We can switch, if you want,” Finn offered.
“Or I can hold her!” a new voice called out. Jett yelped, spinning to face a small girl, about fourteen years old, with a brown scarf wrapped around her neck. Her black hair billowed in the gentle wind, her cool green eyes resting on the baby. Then, they snapped up to look at Jett.
“Who are you?!”
“The question is…” the girl stalked closer to them, circling the two. “Who are you?”
“I-I’m Jett, and this is my stepbrother, Finn.”
“And who is that?” the girl pointed at the baby in Jett’s arms, interest twinkling in her eyes.
“Our sis-” Jett started to lie.
“We don’t know,” Finn shrugged. “We found it on a train.”
“FINN!” Jett snapped.
“A train?” the girl’s lips twitched. “Interesting.”
“Right, well, we should really be going,” Jett glared at Finn, stepping backwards. “We have to get home.”
“There doesn’t seem to be any other way,” Jett said, stubbornly turning away from the girl.
“You sure you don’t need any help with the child?” the girl gracefully stepped in front of Jett. Jett froze, unable to force her eyes out of the girl’s gaze.
“Who are you?” Finn asked, tugging Jett back.
“Good question, Finn,” the girl giggled. “Why, I’m Good.”
“Good? Like...that’s your name?” Finn asked with uncertainty. The girl giggled once again.
“That’s a weird name,” Jett mumbled skeptically.
“Your name is Jett,” Good crossed her arms.
Jett frowned. “Well, it’s about time we head on our way. We don’t need any help with the baby, thanks,” Jett tried to sidestep past Good, but was cut off once again.
“Be careful, Jett,” Good tugged at her scarf, pulling it down to expose her neck. “There’s a fine line between good and evil.”
“Uh...huh…” Jett managed to walk around Good this time, rushing to get away from the creepy kid. “Thanks for the advice, bye now.”
“Bye Good!” Finn waved, running after Jett.
Good snarled, her lip curling upwards as she moved to follow the two, but a rustling in the bushes caught her attention. The bush- or, rather, the thing in the bush- growled at her and she spun on her heel, storming back into the woods and adjusting her scarf.
Jett slowed her steps as she realized Good wasn’t following them. “That was weird.”
“You could have just told her that this kid was our sister,” Jett scolded, glaring down at her stepbrother.
“I couldn’t lie to her, I don’t know why,” Finn looked down at his dark hands, wiggling his fingers. “It’s like I had a...seizure or something.”
“You’re eight! You don’t even know what that is!”
“It was weird, like I couldn’t control myself!”
“Well, get in control,” Jett growled. “We don’t know what kind of creeps are lurking around here.”
“She was a teenager! What could she have done?”
“I don’t know, and I don’t care to find out,” Jett sighed, marching down the train tracks. Their conversation fell silent, and Jett’s eyes were only tugged away from the train tracks occasionally, to look at a bush, swearing she heard growling. Constantly telling herself that it was all in her head, she continued thinking of names for the baby.
This shouldn’t be too hard, she thought to herself. /t’s just something to call her until we can get her...somewhere.
Deep in her thought, Jett wasn’t paying attention to where she was going. She was yanked back to attention when someone else leaped in front of her. She gasped, jerking to a stop and nearly choking on her breath. “People HAVE to stop popping out of nowhere!”
“Sorry there, pardner, but I just wanted ta talk with ya for a sec.”
Jett blinked, staring at the stranger in front of her, a strapping young man with a gruff voice and stubble lining his chin. His eyes were shadowed by his large cowboy hat. Despite Jett’s own peculiar outfit, she couldn’t help be confused by his cowboy get-up. Consciously, she took a step back, holding the sleeping baby closer to her chest.
“Watcha doin’, walkin’ all alone like this?” he asked, taking a step closer.
“She’s not alone, I’m right here,” Finn stepped up beside Jett. “Who are you?”
“Not from ‘round these parts, are ya?” the man snickered, tipping his cowboy hat and gnawing at the toothpick hanging from his lips.
“From the looks of it, neither are you,” Jett said. The man laughed.
“Snippy! I like it. Just like I like that purdy little crown atop your head there.”
Cradling the baby with one arm, Jett’s hand flew to the small tiara, still pinned into her hair. It was a small tiara to match her white tutu, encrusted with fake, albeit very real looking, jewels. She had almost forgotten she still had it on. “It’s part of my costume,” she took another step back, grabbing Finn by the wrist.
“Costume, eh?” the man still stalked closer. He tilted his head up, the shadow over his eyes leaving, revealing two green eyes stuck on the tiara.
“She’s Odette,” Finn grinned proudly, looking up at her. Jett sighed.
“In my studio’s ballet performance of Swan Lake. That’s why I’m wearing this tiara.”
“Ah...talented dancer, are you?” the man asked, pulling the toothpick out of his mouth and smiling.
“I’d like to think so,” Jett tried to sidestep around him, but he blocked her path. “I’m sorry, sir, but we’re in a rush,” Jett plastered the most patient smile she could onto her face. There was an unfamiliar clicking sound, and something pressed onto her back.
“And where do you think you’re going, friend?” a female voice asked with as much twang as her male companion. Jett froze as the man grabbed Finn by the wrist and pulled him close, pulling out a gun and placing it on his head. The child’s eyes widened with fear.
“Let him go!” Jett demanded, but the woman pressed the object harder into her back.
“One move and I’ll shoot,” she hissed.
Great, nothing like being held at gunpoint by two crazy cowboys in the middle of nowhere. Well, one cowboy and one cowgirl. Cowpeople? I probably shouldn’t focus on this right now, Jett thought, her brain rushing to make sense of it all.
“What do you want?” Jett asked quietly as her step brother began to silently sob.
“Are these pretty jewels real?” the cowgirl poked at the tiara on Jett’s head.
“Don’t lie to us, girly,” the cowboy said.
“I’m not lying,” Jett barely had any time to react as, with a CRACK, the cowboy fell to the ground, unconscious, revealing a teenage boy with a long wooden board behind her. There was another CRACK as the cowgirl behind her also got hit in the head, falling to the ground in an unconscious heap. Jett spun around to look at her savior, but got hit on the side of her head by the wooden board, held by an older man.
Her last conscious thought focused on the fact that everything by these crazy train tracks moved too quickly for her to process, like the entire world was sitting on the fast forward button. In a split second of searing pain, Jett stumbled backwards, tripping and falling to the ground. The last thing she heard before falling unconscious was the baby waking up and starting to cry.