Locked up with the Badboy.

I take a seat on the floor in front of him, "What?"

He combs a hand through his dark hair and sighs, "This is a maximum security prison, the people here have killed babies, shot up schools , killed multiple partners and run crime rings and you, are saying that I'm mean? "

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22. Empire

 

 

 

Our journey through the city is fraught with embarrassment, embarrassment and traffic lights as people on their phones to record us and Mums with kids honk at us. By the time we manage our way through the gridlock I just about don’t care anymore. Once we pass from Lulsa into the surrounding country I spot someone’s washing hanging out on a wooden fence to dry.

Pulling over I find a large woollen jersey and some polar fleece trousers. I quickly throw them on, wishing I had some sort of foot wear to soften the gear changes.

“Yoh Ben,” I say, reasoning that I should be allowed to talk like a gangster after everything I’ve been through, “Are you going to leave some money behind for these clothes?!”

He shrugs, wincing “We’ve got none Clara, it’s all back in the hotel,”

“So we’re stone cold broke?”

“Well I’ve got fifty dollars in my pocket to call the guy who wires me money and get us a room for the night...”

“Yeah we should leave that here.”

He looks confused, holding a hand to his head, “What? Why?”

“For stealing theses clothes,” I sniff mine; Tobacco and cornchips. “I’m willing to bet these people didn’t sleep in a thousand dollar per-person hotel last night.”

“Aww, man.” He forks out five and places a weighty stone on top to keep them from blowing away, “Why do you have to be so damn sentimental ?”

We both turn as a car appears, and duck slightly as it passes us, “I dunno.” I say half heartedly.

Ben seems to fade a little, his face pales. I can see he’s hurting.

“Ben are you okay?”

After a moment, his eyes blink, and he comes back to the real world, “Okay let’s go, we don’t have much of a head start on them.”

We drive off with our too-large clothes flapping in the wind. I’m watching Ben closely, he doesn’t seem quite in control of his bike, occasionally he drifts before catching himself

 Half an hour of flapping and Ben flakes out completely. His bike speeds up and crosses the road, “Ben,” I shout uselessly trying to warn him about the six meter high embankment that he hits then plunges over.

“Ben!” I yell again, crossing over the double yellow lines and parking my bike beside the spot he just flew over, climbing over I find him sprawled out but still conscious. Strangely he’s laughing. “Ben?” I ask sliding in the dirt. He keeps laughing as I near.

“Hey Clara,” he says, the wounds on his head dripping down over his nose and onto the cloth shirt we stole, “Why is our life so messed up?” He bursts into another laughing fit as I crouch down beside him. “I mean, we’re being chased by the police, a gang I just ruined my motorbike. We have like forty bucks left and the clothes I’m wearing don’t even belong to me.”

I rub one of his arms, the way my Mum used to do to me, “You know what I think?”

He grins taking my hand in his, “What do you think Clara?”

“I think that you look rather dashing in those oversized trousers.”

“Aww, you really think so?”

“And I also think that it’s pretty neat we have each other, and I know for a fact that if it was me out here all by myself I’d either be dead or captured in like a single day.”

“Pretty neat?” he repeats, looking at the shrubs that got bent out  of shape by his bike’s arrival.

“Yep, it would have been awesome but you had to go drive into an embankment and that kind of killed it.”

He laughs softly and we both look at the smoking wreck of his bike that lies in a crop of rocks. Up high, grey clouds smother the stars as the wind pushes them toward us. Ben gives my hand a little squeeze, “There’s a storm coming.”

“Yeah, we should go.”

I hold out both hands, he takes them and I help haul him to his feet. Now his foot is twisted as well so with one arm around my neck we do a three legged limp over the embankment to our remaining bike.

I sit in front and Ben slides on behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist. “To infinity and beyond?” I ask.

“To infinity and beyond.”

We drive about three kilometres to the next hotel, hide our bike around the back and crawl inside as fat raindrops begin to lick the corrugated iron roof and an army of motor bikers scream past.

****

Despite it being past midnight, there is someone at reception. An older lady who first looks annoyed and then a little worried for us. We pay forty bucks for a far cosier room then the one we were going to sleep in and she tells Ben not to bleed on the carpet.

The hotel room reminds me of my flat; small and low-key. Drowsiness hits me like a brick wall. I crawl into one of the single beds and throw the covers over my head. 

 

A/N: The cat empire - just 'cause.

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