A Flute Player's Story

Head Busting and Rescuing

Robin and I had reached an agreement after our talk with Laura, Carey, and Killian. Robin had decided she wanted what the other girls had and believed in their Jesus. I wasn't so sure, but we had an agreement. Robin would try harder to be nicer from now on, and I would listen to her talk about her new faith sometimes. It maybe wasn't the best agreement, but at least we had stopped fighting. We were having one of those talks one day two weeks later when the door to the Brooklyn Lodging House flew open and a Native American girl came through. Robin and I stared in shock at her.

"Spot…Conlon," she panted in English. "I…need…Spot Conlon."

"Dat's me," I told her, standing up and pulling up a chair. "Who are youse?"

"Chepi. I'm…Lenmana's cousin. She…told me…told me…to find you."


"Who's dat? Spot, is dere…" Robin started. I looked at her and she took a deep breath before starting over. "Sorry.Who's dis Lenmana goirl? It is a goirl, right?"

"Yes, Lenmana is a girl. She's my cousin. She's short and has black hair, she plays flute…she told me you knew her." Chepi looked confused now. "She told me you kissed her before."

I shook my head. The only girl I had kissed lately was Allegra. Unless…"Lenmana is Allegra?" I asked. "She plays flute, right? Short wit black hair ta her waist and green eyes and plays flute."

"Yes. That's what I said, isn't it?" Chepi asked. "Lenmana, my cousin."

"Youse is Ally's cousin?" Robin asked.

"She neva told me her name was Lenmana."

"She ran away from home. Why would she tell you her real name?"

Ally's cousin had a good point and I shrugged. "So Ally told youse ta find me?"

"She's in trouble. She got hurt real bad and now she's in a hospital and her brother is in jail and-"

"Wait, Ally's back?" I interrupted. "In New York? Right now?"

The girl nodded. "They got in yesterday. I only managed to get away from that Snyder man a few hours ago. My cousin is hurt-"

"Come on!" I yelled, grabbing the tall girl's hand and pulling her along. Robin followed on our heels. "We's gotta tell Race!"

We ran all the way to the Manhattan Lodging House, and burst through the doors. By that time, I was out of breath, but Ally's cousin hardly looked as if she had been running. Racetrack was the only person in the room and he looked up at us as we ran in the door.

"Wat happened?" Racetrack asked.

Panting, I threw myself in a chair. Robin sat on a bunk, and Chepi just stood there looking around. "Ally's back," I told him.

"So Ally's real name is Lenmana?" I asked. Ally's cousin was sitting across from me, telling Spot, Robin, and me what happened.

Chepi nodded, looking slightly annoyed. "Well, that's what her mother calls her. Her father calls her Allegra because it's a Spanish name. Anyway, after Snyder found us in the cave-"

"Snyder?!" I shot out of my chair. "Snyder?! Ise is goin ta bust his head in!" Spot and Robin each grabbed an arm before I could move.

"Wait till da goirl finishes da story," Spot warned me. I gritted my teeth but sat back down.

"Snyder found us in the cave. Len was hurt real badly so we made a sled for her to ride on. Castel and I walked behind and took care of her. We had to walk all the way back while Snyder and Wisel rode in a carriage. Len got sick about halfway, so they let her ride in the carriage after Castel threatened them. He sent Spot a letter when we stopped in a town for a few days to rest."

I got up again and reached for the stack of letters from Ally. Shuffling through them, I found the one she was talking about. "Dis one. It said dat Ally was hoirt real bad and dat dey would be getting into da city soon."

Chepi nodded again. "As soon as we got into the city yesterday, Castel insisted that Len go straight to the hospital. He was brought to jail-"

"Was it called da Refuge?" I interrupted again.

"If you don't stop that I'm never going to finish," Chepi snapped. I apologized and sat back down, turning a light shade of red. "Yes, it was called the Refuge. Anyway, I was supposed to sit with Len until she woke up, but I managed to slip away a few hours ago and came to find Spot. Castel told me if I could get away to run to Brooklyn and find him. It seems that my other cousin thinks you men will have a plan."

"Oh, we's got a plan," I cackled gleefully, rubbing my hands together.

Chepi looked nervously at me. Spot, on the other hand looked excited. "Da plan youse came up wit?"

"Better," I told him. "Ise call it plan B, for plan Bust Snyder's head."

I sent Spot with Robin to gather everyone who knew Ally and would want to come rescue her. I was surprised to see both Maggie and Tajo come.

"Magpie, Ise think dis is a bad idea. Wat if youse get caught? Wat about da kids?"

"Are they married?" Chepi whispered in my ear.

"No, dey're brudder and sista."

"Ova here!" Spot whispered, waving his hands. Maggie and Tajo came over, followed by a rather large group of people, which included Laura, Carey, Blink, Crutchy, Jack, Killian, and for an unknown reason, Killian's dad.

"I think this is a terrible idea," he whispered to me, "but I wanted to come along and make sure nobody got hurt. Besides, I want to meet this girl of yours." He winked at me and I smiled back, getting the idea that he thought it was a better idea than he let on.

"Wat's da plan?" Jack asked.

I had asked everyone to meet at the Refuge. Looking around, I counted the number of people. Altogether we had ten or so people. Turning that over in my mind, I decided my old plan might not work and formed a new one as I talked. "Dis is da plan. Da goirls will go in first and cause a distraction. Ally's cousin Chepi-" I pulled Chepi to her feet so everyone knew who she was. "Chepi will come wit da boys and help us find Rooster."

"What kind of distraction?" Maggie asked.

"Anythin youse can think of. But make it good. It's gotta last long enough for us ta get Rooster and get out. Once dat's done, da goirls go back ta da lodging house and make sure dere's a place for Ally da stay. Da boys will get Ally outta da hospital and brink her back."

Everyone nodded and got into the positions I told them to. Just before we went in, I handed made sure everyone had a stick or some kind of weapon.

"What's this for?" Chepi asked me.

"For hitting people wit," I told her. "Soakin da people dat work here." When everyone was ready, I nodded. "Soak 'em wit no discrimination."

The girls quickly caused a distraction and I led the boys past. Chepi led us to a room with a single door with a slit in it. Spot was about to open the door when guards came around the corner. We managed to fight them off with our sticks. Chepi turned out to be very good at throwing hers like a spear and took out a number of men that way. When the path was finally clear, Spot had the door open. Rooster was looking at him in surprise and confusion.

"What are you doing here?" he asked in Spanish.

"Rescuing you and Ally."

"Ally, please wake up. I can't sleep and I need you to sing me a lullaby."

My first thought was that I was too tired to sing for Ariana and Caelyn tonight. My second thought was to wonder why I heard Ariana's voice in the first place. Sure, I had heard it in my dreams several times since I had left New York, but it had never sounded like she was standing next to my bed.

"Si prega di Ally. Te amo."

Racetrack's voice whispering in Italian was what made me open my eyes. Blinking, I looked around and saw several people gathered around me. I had no idea where I was, but I had no time to think about it. As soon as I tried to sit up, a little body landed on my left side and I gasped in pain. A pair of hands pulled the person off me. I groaned, feeling like a very heavy animal had just stepped on me.

"Welcome back, Ally." I looked up to see Maggie, Ariana on her hip and Caelyn on her other side holding her hand. I could hardly manage a painful nod at her.

"What…happened?" I got out.

"We rescued you," Ariana and Caelyn chirped. "It was all Uncle Tony's idea." I turned my head to see Racetrack standing the right side of my bed.

"Bentornato," he said with a smile. "Mi sei mancato."

Si prega di Ally-Please Ally

Te amo-I love you

Bentornato-Welcome back

Mi sei mancato-I missed you

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