Alone

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Bright Lights, Big City

Evie took a breath and Migelle walked around her. He picked up something; something Evie couldn’t ‘see’. She stood very, very still. He aimed with his left arm, and still she stood. His arm moved forward, and he threw that something at her. She moved to the right; Migelle had missed.

“Good job, Evie!” He said, smiling.

Evie took a breath and sat down. “Did you throw something this time?”

Migelle nodded. “A rock. But you dodged well. I could’ve sworn you could feel it, too.”

“No...just you. I could feel your arm and you picking something up.”

Migelle looked up at the sky. “It’s dark, Evie. We should get going.”

Evie nodded and stood weakly. Con lifted her up onto his shoulders.

"You’re too tired to walk, sweetie."

She nodded and laid her head on his; she smiled.

They started to walk, and Evie started to sleep.

“You did a good job, Evie. You worked hard.”

She nodded a little bit as she faded in and out of consciousness. Her mind had gone through a lot the past few hours, and had given up for now; it needed rest. She was too tired even to hear any ghosts. And, for the first true time in her life, she had a good dream.

In her dream, everything was warm and milky. She was floating on and drifting through the night sky.

"Welcome, Evangiline."

She turned to the voice. It felt warm, whatever it was, and she felt safe. “Thank you.”

"You seem so tired, my child."

“I have had a rough day.”

"No, you have had a rough life. I must apologize for that. Creation can be so cruel..."

Evie thought for a moment, still snuggled in her cloud. “Are you my mother?”

The voice seemed to smile. ”In a way, my child. In a way."

“Are you here to help me sleep?”

"Yes, Evangeline, I am. I am here to offer you a chance to stay here, in this dream. To sleep here and be happy."

“For how long?”

"Forever."

“Forever? Can Mister Con and Migelle come? And my sisters?”

"No. Just you; for now."

Evie frowned. “But...I can’t leave them. I have a job to do. I have to find that girl and... Migelle and Mister would miss me. And my sisters... I have to go back to them someday.”

"Are you sure? You could be happy here, you know. The ghosts wouldn’t bother you ever again."

“I’m sorry, mother. If my friends aren’t happy, I can’t be happy.”

The voice wrapped its arms around her, holding her gently in its warmth. ”Then sleep for just as long as you need, my child. I understand."

When Evie woke up, she was being held in familiar arms. Migelle was resting beside her, and Con was drinking slowly.

“Did we make it?”

"Not yet. We’re still about two hours away. Migirl just needed a break."

“Two hours? But... How long have I been asleep?”

"In hours? ’Bout ten."

Evie gently rubbed her sockets and stretched. Migelle woke softly from her sounds and sat up.

“You awake?”

“Uh-huh.”

He smiled. “Good. Me too.”

Evie stood slowly and stretched again. “Onwards?”

“Onwards.” Migelle answered, standing.

The sun was just starting to rise when Baggs finally came into view. It had taken them much longer than expected to get there, and Evie was starting to get worried.

“What if she left already? What if we’ve lost her?”

“We won’t lose her. We’ll ask around, just like we did in BurnTown.”

“But isn’t Baggs bigger?”

“Well...yes but...”

“But?”

“...okay, so I don’t have an argument, but don’t worry anyway.”

"Yeah, Vodka. We got luck on our side."

Evie slumped down off of Con’s shoulders “I’ve never been lucky before...”

They entered Baggs by the West-side truck stop and Migelle decided to ask around the area while Evie went to get something to eat in the diner with Con.

“What if there isn’t a diner?”

“It’s a truck stop. There’s always a diner.”

He gave Evie some of Con’s beer money and went to ask around. He’d gotten a basic description for the loading guys at the “B&G”, so at least he had something to work with.

Evie headed off to the diner, subtly holding Con’s hand.

“What if she’s not here? What if she was never here?”

"You worry too much for a kid."

“I have issues, Mister.”

Migelle looked around the stop for a “B&G” truck, hoping he’d get lucky. He didn’t find one, but he did find a truck with a guy in it. Unfortunately, it was leaving. He ran up to the truck and waved the guy down.

“What the fuck are you doing!? Get out of the way!”

“I need to talk to you! About a girl!”

“I don’t have any!”

Migelle cocked his head to the side. “About a girl who might’ve stolen something from you!”

The man turned his truck off and opened the door. “Go on.”

Evie sat down at the diner’s counter and waited. Soon, a young man walked up to her. He was thin and looked extreamly disinterested, but he took her order.

“Pancakes, please. If you have them.”

“Uh-huh.” He wrote it down on a tag and hung the tag up.

“Thank you.”

“Uh-huh.” He leaned against the back wall, having no orders to take since it was still a bit early.

“Um... Do you know who makes the pancakes?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Are they good?”

“Uh-huh.”

Evie frowned. “Um... Have you seen a girl around here lately? Young, I think. Kind of rude?”

The man raised an eyebrow. “Uh-huh...”

“Wearing ‘B&G’ clothes, probably.”

“Red lips?”

Evie perked up at his, albeit slight, interest peak. “I...don’t know. Maybe?”

The man noticed her eyes. “Oh. Yeah. Well I might’a.”

“Do you know where she was going?”

He shrugged. “Maybe. What’s in it for me?”

“For...you? Um... What do you want?”

The man smirked.

“She didn’t steal nothin’, but...it was really odd. I remember telling her I wasn’t gunna drive her anywhere, since apparently she’d been stealing. Next thing I know, she we were here, and she was getting out of my cab.”

“You don’t remember driving here?”

“Isn’t that what I just said?”

Migelle stopped himself from rolling his eyes.

“Look, she didn’t say anything when she left my cab, so can I go now?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

The man shut is door and re-started his truck, so Migelle went back to the diner.

“Migelle!” Evie turned, recognizing his feeling and hoping she was right. He smiled at her.

“Good job. And yes?”

“This man says he saw her, and he’ll tell us where she went!”

“Oh?” Migelle eyed Evie’s half-eaten pancake plate and the money on the table. He went to pick some of it up, but the man stopped him.

“The terms.” He said, pulling the money away from Migelle.

“He wants some money.”

“How much?”

The man smirked. “How much you got?”

Migelle kept his hand on the money, and pulled it closer to him, leaning in. He looked up and down the young man’s body quickly; sizing him up. He was thin and a bit above average in height. His arms were lean and lanky; he didn’t look strong or fast. Migelle took the money back quickly, snapping it from the guy’s hands.

“We got none.”

“Then I guess I didn’t see her after all.”

Migelle out the money in his pocket to avoid pulling his wallet out and flashing it. “She’s pale with freckles, red lips, red eyes and light blond hair; German most likely. Wearing short grey pants, black combats, brown shirt, cut-off gloves and a thin green vest. You’d know her if you saw her, so I’ll ask you one more time: Did you see her?”

“I don’t have any reason to remember...”

Migelle’s hand jolted out and grabbed the guy by his shirt, pulling him a bit over the counter. “Did you see her?”

The few patrons of the diner looked over; some of them smirked at the scene.

“Okay okay, I saw her! I asked for her number but she said she didn’t have one! She told me she had some business to do and to leave her alone while she was in the city! Just lay off, okay?”

Migelle let go and looked over at Evie. “Finish you’re pancakes. We should go check the stop again.”

She finished quickly.

“He didn’t seem very nice, that man.” Evie said, walking into the parking lot.

“That’s because he wasn’t. And Evie? If people ask you for money, tell them you don’t have any.”

“But why?”

“People like money, Evie. They do bad things for it, sometimes.”

“Like try to cheat people into paying them for information they would normally give freely with no problems?”

“...yeah. Like that.”

Migelle walked around the parking lot, spotting a few more truckers now. Con followed him, and Evie followed Con. They asked around at the stop for about twenty minutes before they decided to stop.

“No one saw her! How could no one see her?”

“Calm down. Someone must’ve seen her. We just have to find out who.”

“But how can we when we don’t know our way around?”

“I guess we’ll just have to find our way around.”

Evie sighed and kept walking. There were three roads by the stop, and one led to the main warehouse. The one on the left was more of a dirt-stomp then a road, so they decided to start there on the assumption that whatever “business” the girl had, it was probably sketchy. They were about twenty minutes down that road when Con spoke up.

"I don’t think you two should be here."

“Huh? Why not, Mister?”

"I’s got a feeling that this is the kind of place better suited to a drunk, and not a couple a’ kids."

“What makes you think that?”

"I feel comfortable here."

Evie turned to Migelle. “Mister says he thinks that his is a bad part of town.”

“That’s good, then.”

“Really? Why?”

“It means we’re on the right track.”

Five more minutes, and the “street” started to be lined with people. A few drunks, but mostly girls. Migelle started to understand exactly what Con had meant.

“Hey young man,” One of them said, walking up Migelle. “I ain’t seen you around before.”

“That’s because we haven’t been around here before.”

“Oh my. You lookin’ for a tour guide?” She smiled.

“No, I’m looking for a girl.”

The woman walked closer.

“Sorry honey, not you. She would’ve come by about two nights ago, maybe. Blond hair; bad attitude.”

The woman’s smile faded. “Look, kid. I’mma need more than that. Have you looked around?”

“Her voice changed.” Evie whispered to Con.

Migelle shushed her. “She’s not a walker. She would’ve looked like a customer to you. Her outfit kind of combat-esque. Red lips; red eyes.”

“Oh, her.”

Evie smiled.

“Yeah, she came by. Bubbles offered her a spin, but she said she was too busy. Said she was looking for ‘daddy’, and she didn’t mean Big Daddy.”

Evie opened her mouth to ask something, but Con stopped her. ”Just let it be, Vodka."

“What’s down there?” Migelle pointed down the road. “Downtown’s the other way.”

The woman snorted through her nose. “Those’re the slums, kid. Ain’t nothing down there but drunks, drugs, an’ us.”

"Sounds like paradise."

“Sounds like Hell. You know who this ‘daddy’ might be?”

“No. And Bubbles don’t neither. Now you gunna buy a spin or not?”

“No. I’m outta the spin business.”

The woman opened her mouth a bit. “So you...? Oh! From where?”

“BurnTown boys house.”

“Ooh. Rough business. Look, go talk Rick on the far side by the mill. If anyone were to see her, it’d be him.”

“Thanks ...?”

“Bitz.”

Migelle raised his eyebrows.

“...Alyssa.”

“Thanks Alyssa.”

She smiled and Migelle gave her a ten. She refused and walked away. “Not from a brother,” was all she said in defense. Migelle turned to Evie.

“Let’s go see Rick.”

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