Further annoyed, by the loud snores of a sleeping Zephina, I rose from the space on the floor (which I had somehow offered to sleep on again) and walked outside for a change of setting. The crisp night air bit at my dessert scalded skin and I coughed a bit after breathing too much of the dirty city smog.
Something sticky caught onto the thin sole of my only fitting pair of shoes, and unsprisingly a I only felt sicker. Trying to distract myself, I walked towards the sounds of the commotion, deeper and deeper into the slums. A young woman with matted black hair stood next to what I assumed was her husband, reeking of alcohol and sweat. An equally drunken gaggle had gathered round the scene.
“Delilah.” The man moaned, obviously not catching onto the fact his ‘delilah’ was in the process of throwing a duffel bag into his hands. She looked unimpressed and unaffected by the voices around her. “It’s the festival of light Delilah.”
“Think about that next time you go out with that whore. Don’t enter my house and don’t you dare lay a single hand on MY children,” said Delilah in a sort of deadly calm way, crossing her arms. The man stumbled into her arms but she simply pushed him off.
The crowd erupted into laughter.
“Can’t fight a woman!”
“Not strong enough?”
I frowned, unnerved by the sight ahead of me. But it was not in my place to intervene. I couldn’t attract attention to myself, it would be my downfall. So I would simply watch.
The expression on the man changed from helplessness to anger. This, was not going to end well.
“What did you say?” the man shouted, pulling Delilah forward but still she said nothing. He then punched her in the nose, a flurry of blood and equal punches leading. The people around them were no help, igniting the others anger when the fight tried to die down.
Is this what the world had turned to? I had never seen something so horrible, so truley.. wrong. My heart sank. There was nothing good in this twisted world, nothing but idiots provoking fights and broken hearts. This city had too much hiding behind its gold plated palaces and boastful centre. Way too much. Someone should do something about this.
I walked back into the shack with a mountain of guilt weighing down my shouldours. I couldn’t help. I am not God. I can’t help. I have too much to lose. It is not in my place to help. My conscience fought with reason.
“Amara! I was so worried,” screamed a half dressed Zephina standing by the door, hand on hips as if she had any control over me.
“I was just seeing if I remembered the ways.” I lied, making an effort to smile.
“It is dangerous,” I tried to walk through her arms but she stopped me at either end. Zephina was just too big for my petite body. I sighed but was not going to say sorry. I did not admit defeat. It just did not happen.
“You could have hurt yourself. There are terrible things around here. It’s not your typical countryside in the middle of no-where!”
“You are not my mother!” I shouted as loud as I possibly could. She looked down as if sad but my worries where blown away by a shooting glare. But it was true. She was not my mother.
“How would you know about mothers?” She said so quietly, I almost didn’t catch it. My ears began to burn and I knew that if I had a paler skin tone, I would have been as red as a tomoto. Thank the Gods I was as dark as a piece of wood.
“Says Miss Stranger. Tell me, what experience do you have of a mother? Hmm...” the air stilled as no-one spoke, “As I thought!”
“ALOT MORE THAN YOU.” Zephina slammed the door on me. Well now I would have to spend the night in this muck. The prospect of leaving this woman seemed sweet in the moment had it not been apparent that I could not for the fact that all my belongings where with her. So I would spend the night here. It was not like I was going to find sleep anyway.
So I tried to distract myself. Away from the young couple and my absent memories and my uncle. Looking up at the stars, I could see that dawn was near. So I pretended I was an invincible person in the city who could help everyone and kill all those that wronged her. I walked through the streets like a wild woman, caught up in my imagination. One minute I was surrounded by friends, happy, the next I was old dieing a fulfilled life. As the light hit my eyes, I killed my own creation and wandered back towards my own.
Zephina found me first though, eyes red as if she had been crying and unusually puffy skin. She pulled me towards her, and though I tried to resist I was overwhelmened and did not have the strength to fight. “I’m sorry. I put you in danger. You have no disguise, nothing on. Stupid. Stupid girl,” she sniffed. I was suffocated and made the effort so that she saw that. I coughed twice (maybe a bit too dramatically than needed).
She let go and sniffed again. “Is it your?” I asked, genuinely worried at her complete mood swing.
Her eyes widened and closed as she realised what I was hinting at. She shaked her head firmly and regained the furrowed eyebrows and looking down from before.
“No./. No. You?”
“No. Never had it.” The conversation was becoming rather uncomfortable and disjointed, so I jumped onto the battered mattress. It was my turn to sleep on the’bed’. And just as my heavy eyes shut she said,
“No...” I whined. It was true, I remember first hearing about bleeding from a group of teenage girls in the baths. I wasn’t to know, having lived with my uncle for all I could remember (literally). It came across as something I must have dealt with in my early teens. And I couldn’t remember anything from then. There was nothing else to say about it.
“But you seem very moody all the time.”
“JUST LET ME GO TO SLEEP.”
“Now is not the time to sleep,” she said, “You must wake. I don’t care. We’ve both had a hard time.”
So I rose (unwillingly) and she forced me to dress for public. She had had an idea. There was always the royal kitchens. Some of the servants where bound to know this cook. And as Zephina said we couldn’t just walk through the front door and ask them- according to her we would be caught and jailed- we would climb over the left fence and go through the side door. It didn’t surprise me that she had previously robbed from the royal palace and had detailed plans of the complex in her otherwise empty cupboard. I wasn’t complaining though, it was better than no idea.
I yawned as we walked through the hidden slums. It was an even more terrible day than the night. The rain was now there but not there, clouds hanging but not really giving. This I had decided was the worst type of weather. I didn’t mind the feel of the rain or the cold but when it decided not to pour but the heavens still decided to blacken, that, that was extremely miserable.
The crowd from the night before had obviously dispersed, I noticed as we walked through a familiar pathway. The broken couple where no-where to be seen. All that where left where a a few rabid dogs peering out of a broken fence. I remembered to try and walk like a man and leave the talking to Zephina.
I lost 400 words so I’m counting those. (Seething with anger here).