Chapter 35: Where the Wind blows
Shaft had taken a hard knock to the head. She was unconscious, concussed, and wouldn’t wake up until her body was ready. She could not see, but she could hear. It was hard to make sense of what was going on.
The one sound that stood out for her, was the thump of bodies hitting the ground. It bought up memories she was usually reluctant to recall. They were painful, but also her beginning.
Shaft had been Seven years old when they came for her. Small, tiny for her age with brown hair and big gray eyes. She had grown up in the city of London. She had barely any memory of when she lived there.
She was only a little girl, who had just started learning to read and loved playing Leap Frog with the children from school. On that day, she was playing in her room. Her parent’s room was down the hall. It was late, almost bedtime.
The TV had been on in her parent’s bedroom when it suddenly cut out, Shaft stopped playing for a moment to listen. In that moment, she heard the thump of two bodies hitting the floor. That sound would be etched into her mind forever.
She heard heavy footsteps, someone yelled out in a voice that she didn’t recognize.
“Find the damn kid! Boss wants her dead!” panic, fear, confusion. Shaft didn’t have time to sort through her thoughts.
Instinct made her run, she ran out of the house leaving her toys behind. She didn’t stop until she was completely lost. Then she curled up in the corner of an alleyway and cried herself to sleep.
Two months she tried to fend for herself on the streets, but she was only young and had nothing but the pink pyjamas she ran away in. She became gaunt and weak. She developed deep bags under her eyes, she lost weight. Walking became exhausting.
She was huddled in yet another alley, winter was coming. It was cold and she was hungry. Surely she wouldn’t survive to see spring, she didn’t cry anymore. She just sat there and tried to conserve energy.
A shadow blocked the light coming from the street. It was a large man, with eyes the same neon green as grass on a summers day. He looked intimidating and made Shaft tense up in case she needed to run away.
“It’s alright little one, I’m not going to hurt you. I’ve been looking for you” the man’s voice was soft and kind. No one had shown her any kindness since her parents died. Shaft may not have seen their bodies, but she knew what had happened to them.
She looked up with her flat and starving eyes and the man chuckled. He got down on one knee so she could see his face. He was an older man, with thinning hair. He held out his hand.
“My name is Daniel Stone; did you know the weather has been quite unsettled in the last two months?” to be honest she hadn’t paid much attention. She had other problems like getting food and warmth at night.
“Yes it’s been windier than it should be this time of year and that is how I knew that there was someone in trouble” she was confused as to what the weather had to do with anything. Especially why he had come here of all places.
“I know this must not make any sense to you, but I am…Like a superhero. I have superpowers” Shaft watched fascinated as he made a small horse statue appear beside him. He placed it in her hands.
“See I think that you young lady may have superpowers as well, and that you are making it windier because you are afraid” it was a very nice way to explain what was happening to a Seven year old. It made sense and didn’t frighten her.
He took her tiny hand in his large one and helped her to stand up where she wobbled uncertainly.
“I know it must have been hard alone, I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner. Let me take you somewhere safe and get you some food. I believe if you let me teach you that you will do great things” it was more the promise of food that made young Shaft go with Daniel. Still, it was a good decision.
He raised her as if she were his own daughter, if he couldn’t be with her he made sure she was looked after. When she turned Thirteen he paid for her to get some tattoo work done.
The swirls represented her air power, but they met in the middle of her back in the shape of a heart. The heart was for her parents, who had been killed by the Peacemakers out of cold blood. It was why she would fight them to the death if she had too.
There were other little girls out there, and Shaft wanted to make sure that they could live their lives without losing what was most precious in a little girl’s life. After all, no one deserves to have to live without their parents.
Shaft supposed that was why she felt so close to Sebastian, he understood, though he felt the loss so much more deeply than she did. She could accept what had happened, he could not.