You Can Take the Fighter out of the Ring...
Evie sat on the sidewalk with Con as Migelle went to buy some things for the trip. The sun was hot, she could tell, but it didn’t feel as bad in her new clothes.
“He’s coming back, right Mister?”
"A’ course he’s commin’ back. He’s a good boy, like you."
Evie smiled. “It’s just he’s been gone for so long... I guess I’m just worried.”
"He’s been gone five minutes, Vodka."
“Oh. Well... Still.”
Con smiled and mussed her hair as best he could, considering its length. He took a swig of his beer and kissed the bottle.
"Who needs memories when I have you, my sweet, sweet elix...elex...elexzer...drink?"
It wasn’t long before Migelle came back with a canvas bag hung over his shoulder and a sandwich.
“You hungry, Evie?”
Evie turned her head in his direction and nodded. Migelle smiled and handed her the sandwich.
“There’s more for later, but this should do for now.” He helped Evie up and started to walk. Con had to lead her the rest of the way out of town since she was so focused on eating; chewing fifty times or more. Once they made it to the road, Con carried her on his shoulders.
“What?” Evie asked, storing the sandwich bit she had been working on in her cheek.
“He really is there.”
“I thought you knew that already.”
“I did but...man. It’s just weird to see you...floating there. It’s like you’re flying.”
Evie finally swallowed her food bit. “Flying? What’s that?”
“Flying? Well it’s...it’s like walking, but in the sky. Moving without touching the ground.”
Evie took another bite of her sandwich. “That sounds much better than walking.”
Migelle looked up at the floating twelve-year-old and smiled. “Yeah. It’d be great if you were tired.”
Evie giggled. “Yeah! You could just fall asleep and fly around all night!”
Migelle looked down and smiled to himself. He’d noticed that, ever since he’d known Evie, she was usually quite mature. He remembered when he was her age, working in the brothel. He never had a chance to be a kid, unless it was requested. He didn’t want that for her. He wanted her to be able to laugh and think that people could fly in their sleep if they just put their minds to it. He promised himself that he’d try his best to do that for her.
“Migelle?” Evie asked after a while, finishing her sandwich.
Migelle blushed a bit again; not used to those words being said so genially. “F-For what?”
“For buying me clothes; for coming with me; for getting me people food. Just...for everything.”
“‘People foo’-” He whispered before shaking it out of his head. “No problem, Evie. Thanks for taking me with you.”
Evie rested her head against Con’s and sighed deeply. The air on the road seemed to be much clearer than that in the town. She could feel the lack of walls around her, and smiled.
“It feels good, doesn’t it?” Migelle asked, looking over at her. “The open space; the freedom.”
“The open space really does, but I don’t think I have freedom just yet.”
“You could say that.”
Migelle shifted the bag on his shoulder and looked out into the distance. He had never been on this road before, but he could tell from the tire marks that they were going the right way. He had heard people talk about the city back at the brothel; many people came down from the city to see him. He hated those people; most of them had had kids his age back home.
“Would you do this to them?” He would always think. “Or don’t I have the same value?”
Migelle sighed, and they walked in silence.
After about five hours of walking, they stopped for a break. Migelle passed Evie another sandwich and sat down, taking one for himself. Evie ate slowly as always, and Migelle ate fast before laying down to rest his leg and closing his eyes for a few moments.
“I’ve never walked so far.”
“Me either. And the sun is so hot... Always hot...”
“You don’t like the sun much, do you?”
“I never saw it in my room; and it was never this hot there.”
Migelle kept his eyes closed and sighed. “I never saw it much either; least not ‘personally’. There weren’t many windows back at the club.”
“Migelle...did you have any brothers or sisters back there? Did you leave anyone behind?”
“...no. No one there cared enough about me to be considered my family; nor did I care enough about them. You got feelings, you got punished. One way or another, you got punished.”
Evie frowned. “It must have been hard for you, then.”
Migelle shrugged. “Life is life; besides, it’s over now. And I’m never going back.”
“Me either. My sisters wouldn’t let me...”
Evie nodded. “The other three-hundred. They had to stay at the lab.”
Migelle thought for a moment. ”Oh. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. They wanted me to go. They always have.”
There was silence for a long while, then Migelle sat up.
“It’ll be dark in a few hours. We should get back to walking.”
“Right.” Evie got up and held onto Con’s hand, and they started walking again.
“Say Evie, can Mister Con get tired?”
“He says no.”
They walked for another six hours before deciding to stop for the night. Again Evie ate slowly and again Migelle rested his leg.
"Do them bullety holes hurt, Migirl?"
“Mister wants to know if your wounds are healing, Migelle.”
“Uh...yeah. Just sore with all the walking, but they seem to be healing up quite nice. You two did a good job.”
Evie smiled proudly and Migelle rubbed his arm.
"Tell Migirl to get some sleep. I’ll watch out for ya’s."
“Mister says to get some sleep. He says that both of us should, actually. He says he’ll keep look-out, since he doesn’t sleep anymore.”
“’Cause he’s dead?”
“″cause he’s dead’.” Evie repeated, smiling.
Migelle smiled back and laid back. “Okay. If you trust him, I trust him.”
Evie knelt down and felt around until she was beside Migelle and laid down next to him, holding onto his hand. Migelle blushed a bit and closed his eyes.
“Good night, Evie. Good night Mister Con.”
"’night kids. Sleep well."
There were clouds overhead that night; a very rare sight in the desert. They blocked out the moon and most of the stars, leaving no one for Con to talk to. He looked over that the sand and the road and sighed.
"Maybe the rains ’ll come..."
Again he sighed. For him, a long, boring night was ahead. He took a long chug of his beer and looked over at Evie. He kind of wished he could be better for her, but the thought didn’t process fully and he took another drink. His gaze moved upwards and he squinted. He thought he saw four dark figures wavering in and out of each other. When they got closer his drunken vision realized that there were, in fact, four regular figures coming towards him.
Con scrambled to his feet and went to Evie. He tried to shake her awake, but she wasn’t waking, and her nose was bloody.
He raced over to Migelle and tried to wake him, but his hands phased right through. He picked up his bottle.
"Sorry Migirl..." He said as he whacked Migelle on the head.
Migelle woke with a start, grabbing the bottle and throwing it out of reflex. He looked around but, since Con’s bottle was now gone, saw nothing.
Migelle looked around and saw her bleeding and tried to wake her, but Con nudged him with his beer again; after retrieving it.
“Mister Con? Is that you?”
The beer nodded.
“What’s wrong? Is it Evie?”
The beer shook ‘no’ and pointed towards the figures, which could now be seen clearly. Migelle stood and told Con to try and wake Evie as soon as he could.
“You there, boy! Come here!”
Migelle walked over slowly.
“We have some questions for you.”
The figures turned out to be three woman and a man, all wearing strange uniforms. Migelle kept his gaze steady; he’d answer their questions and tell them to go.
“We’re looking for someone. A girl. She’s convicted of the murder of several of our co-workers.”
“Murder?” Migelle asked, sounding genuine.
“Yes. She’s about twelve years old, black but pale, has short hair and is blind.”
“Let’s see... Blind? Sorry, but a blind person wouldn’t last long out here; especially not one that’s twelve.” Migelle started back, but one of the women grabbed his arm.
“That wasn’t the question.”
Migelle shrugged her hand off, but she held firm and turned him back around towards her.
“Where is she?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think you do.”
“Why the Hell would I know the location of a blind little girl!? Do I look like a fucking babysitter? Now leave me alone.”
“She killed more than twenty people, kid.”
“Does it look like I care?”
The man in the group looked over and saw something move; he pointed. “There! I see her there!”
“Fuck!” Migelle yelled as they ran past him. He caught up and grabbed one of them while the rest went for Evie.
“Leave her alone!”
The woman flipped Migelle over her shoulder and went to kick him, but he caught her foot and twisted it to the side. She fell down quickly and Migelle sat on her back. She called out and another guard came to her aid, but Migelle had already forced her to black out.
“You’ll pay for that, kid!” The woman yelled as she kicked him off the first guard. In front of him he could see Evie convulsing; she still wasn’t awake. He got up and tried to run to her, but the guard stopped him.
“She’s ours to take back!”
“She’s not your fucking property!”
The woman elbowed Migelle in the jaw. “Oh yes she is!”
While Migelle and the guard were fighting, Con was desperately trying to wake Evie up. When the guards came close he lifted her and started to run.
“She’s being possessed!” The man cried in horror.
“Shut up!” The woman yelled, pushing him to the side and grabbing on to Evie’s leg. “She’s doing this herself!”
Con and the guard both pulled on Evie, trying to get her. With his hands full, Con couldn’t grab a bottle and therefore had no way to fend the woman off. He tried to yell for Migelle, but couldn’t be heard.
"Wake up, Vodka! Wake up!"
Inside Evie’s head, another fight was raging. She knew she was asleep, and was trying to wake up, but they wouldn’t let her.
"You’re going back where you belong, you little rat!"
“Let me go! Stop it! It hurts!”
"Know what else hurts!? Dying! But you didn’t care!"
“That wasn’t my fault!”
Evie was being pushed around from all directions, causing her body to shake and jerk. She screamed inside her head, but they wouldn’t let her go. She felt a light pressure on her leg and under her arms from the outside, and she tried to concentrate on that.
“Listen...” She whispered “Listen to the outside...”
There was silence.
And then: ”Evodkaline! Wake up!"
She felt the voice pierce into her and she grabbed it. She grabbed it and let it pull her. The ghosts in her head screamed and tried to pull her back in, but she made it out; screaming.
At the sound of Evie screaming, Migelle ran. He pushed the woman aside, and she hit her head on a rock. He pulled the other guard off and touched Evie’s shoulder.
“Evie! Evie it’s okay!”
"Vodka! You’re awake!"
Before she could ask what was going on, the woman pulled Migelle to the ground.
“Grab the girl, you idiot!” She yelled to her male counter-part, who had been standing like a confused dog this whole time. He saluted and went for Evie, picking her up trying to run. Evie, of course, was not about to let that happen.
“Let me go! Leave me alone!”
“You’re coming back to the lab, 3-0-1.”
Evie gasped and started to kick violently. “No! I’m not going back! You can make more! Leave me be!”
“Augh! Stop squirming, you brat! Do you know how much money we wasted on you!? We can’t just flush that down the drain!”
Evie started to scream and kicked harder. “Leave me alone!”
She opened her mouth and screamed loudly, and a strange white breath left her. It moved quickly over the sand to Con, and entered his mouth. It filled his body and gave him some form. The more Evie screamed, the more solid he became.
Con looked at his hands through the chaos around him and blinked in disbelief. He moved his fingers and clenched his fist. Migelle stared, holding his attacker down in the sand.
"Well will ya look’ie that; it’s me!"
“Well don’t just stand there!” Migelle yelled “Go get Evie!”
Con moved over towards Evie and the now-shocked guard. He reached out and touched him, then smiled at the fact that he could make contact.
And with that, Con punched him in the neck.
The man fell back, and Evie fell to the ground; still screaming. con kicked the guard for as long as he could but, when Evie stopped screaming, his form went back to normal, and he couldn’t touch him.
He knelt down beside Evie as Migelle struggled to get free.
"You okay, Vodka?"
Evie panted and nodded slightly.
"Did you see me, by the way? I was solid as a sheet!"
Evie shook her head and smiled, pointing to her eye cloth.
"Oh yeah. Well I looked REALLY cool."
Evie smiled weakly, and Migelle hurried over.
“Evie! Are you alright?”
Again she nodded.
“Can you speak?”
She nodded, but kept quiet.
“Just tired now?”
Migelle knelt down and hugged her. “Come on. I have a feeling we should get going now. Mister Con’ll carry you.”
"I will? I mean, yes, I will."
Evie nodded and Con picked her up. There was a long night of walking ahead of them.