angel, pt.4

Continued from yesterday...

Her brother. Crying. Something stirred in the dark place inside her head. Slight at first, then rushing over her, pulling her in, gathering intensity until she thought she might throw up. She staggered a little, and the woman grabbed her. The grip was firm and sure. She felt power in the hands that held her, a fierce power in the gaze that urged her to follow. The only family you got. Momma flipped. You knifed their girl. She dead now. Your brother an' herself. Only family you got. Angel.

"Angel... Angel!" She looked into the eyes of someone who knew her, who was holding her up, who would protect her. Her friend. Her sister. Who knew her. "We gotta go. Now!" She felt like she was falling as they started to move, out of the alley and down the street. She stumbled, but the strong hand kept her upright and moving. They were falling together.

The cars and people and storefronts flashed by them, indistinct, a wash of color. They fell faster. Then a sudden cry startled her and she tripped hard and hit the pavement.

When she looked up there was a child. A young girl, with tears in her eyes, her mother bent over her. Lifting her and gently brushing the dirt from her dress. "It's okay, honey. See? Good as new." The girl wiped the tears, then for a moment their eyes met.

"Ange, c'mon!" She was lifted from the pavement by the strong arms, but then she didn't move. And this time she answered the fierce gaze with a shake of her head. "You got the wrong..." She pulled away from the insistent grip. "I'm not Angel." She turned and started the other way, ignoring the shouts.

Within a block, Christie found a pay phone. She pulled the slip of paper from her pocket.

(The whole story is available as a RTF file here.)