Okay, imagine this one girl so sick that it's not a far cry to imagine how she would look in her death-bed.
Now see the same girl, twelve hours later, running about as if nothing had happened.
That's what being sick is for me.
Now also imagine the same girl, 5 years old. From age five to age nine she has close to no close friends.
Seen as a bit of a freak.
Give her two or three close friends and she treats them like they're her only means of survival, therefore keeping them as safe and healthy as they make her feel.
Now, what happens to the girl's emotions and reactions when one of her life-lines is threatened. One of those that kept her alive and happy being hurt.
Imagine what it's like for me to hear that one of my 'sisters' was attacked.
Imagine the initial fear and worry turning to anger.
Figure that out, and you have a pretty good idea how I felt at that moment, that moment of perfect lucidity after being sick for half a day, and then recovering enough to fully digest the information one of my friends had given me on suck and attack.
I was livid.
But at the moment, I couldn't really do anything.
"Re-re, are you sure you couldn't see his face? Anything?"
She shook her head. "It was dark. I probably should have encountered him in a brighter area."
I rubbed my temples with the tips of my fingers. "And you said you might have dropped my spare key?"
"Well, that's not good. I'm glad Sadee and Lace are with Johnny right now..."
"Why didn't you go with them?" She asked me.
I shrugged. "You're my mo-ma, I can't let anything happen to ya. You got off easy this round, but what if he has a gun or something next time?"
She snorted. "Then we'd both be screwed."
I stuck my tongue out at her. "Hey, you know me; I take care of my friends. Lace and Goose are the same."
"As do I," Leah added pointedly.
"Yeah, we're all that kind of person. I kind of think Johnny might be, but..."
Leah shifted her feet. "But what?"
I shrugged. "I dunno," I said finally. "Remember my whole thing about people's Shadows?"
"Not really, but you could remind me."
"Like, how I associate people with certain colours and weights?"
She nodded. "I remember that vaguely. What about it?"
"Well..." I crossed my legs. "He's got a heavy Shadow. Like...hmmm....sometimes angry. He's kind of a rusty brown...but a lot of the times, he's grey."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
I ran my fingers through my hair and pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose. "I don't know. I don't know what a person's colour means, just that a person feels like that colour."
"Ugh...you're so vague..."
"I can't help it! You know as well as I do how...ah...swirly? Abstract! How abstract I think!"
She gave me a look. "Yes...I think everyone at school knew that, too."
A knock sounded at the door and Leah stood up. "I'll get it," she said.
I just sat and continued to think. Nothing I could do to help...I chewed on my thumb-nail. Chikusa, I hated feeling so useless...
Laura's blonde friend...Leah? lead us to the living room. Laura was sitting on the floor, chewing on her thumb-nail in her usual 'I'm thinking deep don't bother me' posture. She looked up as we walked in. "Hey guys," she mumbled, a half-glazed look on her face.
*Either she's still sick or she's really thinking deeply on something...* Since she was no longer green, Johnny leaned towards the latter.
"Get up, Laura!" Demanded Lacey. Laura of course immediately stood. She always did what Lacey told her to do.
Same with Leah.
And with Mercedes.
She was rather passive towards her friends when they gave orders, and she always seemed to be unsure of what to say or do.
Other than that, she was a little blue and black ball of pure energy, rarely still for any lengthy amount of time.
Apparently, though, Leah had been attacked by a random mugger who had possibly made off with one of Laura's keys. Since then, she had been very quiet and contemplative, rarely out of her thinking pose.
Like she was trying to formulate a plan.
Something's skin prickled and tingled. They were all together now, all of them. Every little connection, brought together in such a small group. The creature within seemed to giggle. The time had come, the necessary items had been gathered. It didn't even need the key.
They were all outside, all of them. So close...
Something decided that now would be a good time to move.
We were all outside, walking to the park. We normally wouldn't have walked, but it was getting warm; a nice night for a walk. Well, it wasn't quite yet nighttime. Pure nighttime, my favourite time of day, would begin in about twenty minutes.
"What shall we do tonight?" Asked Sadee, stretching.
A soft popping sound rang out somewhere far away from us, and next thing I know, Mercedes was on the ground, breaths coming out as shrill whistles. She was clutching her side, which was bleeding. My head whipped back up, scanning around us.
"What the fuck was that???" I hissed.
Another faint pop. The ground at Lacey's feet poofed up in a confetti shower of side-walk chunks and earth.
Then another pop. Something grazed Johnny's face.
We were being shot at.
Leah and I ran and pulled Mercedes up. "Johnny, where's your car?" She hissed.
"What the fuck is going on here?!?!?" Yelled Lacey.
"How the fuck should I know?" Yelled Johnny.
We were all running, Leah and I lagging slightly behind while carrying Mercedes. "We gotta stop the bleeding," she said almost calmly. Johnny unlocked the car and we all jumped in, Leah, Mercedes and I taking up the back seat. I pulled off my sweater. "I'm glad I'm so sensitive to the cold," I muttered.
"I think she's going into shock," said Leah. "We need to get to a hospital."
Johnny peeled off. The blood on his face was flowing freely.
"Johnny, we should get something for you, too," I said. "It looks like that ass almost shot a hole through your mouth."
He touched his face. "Almost," he muttered.
He pulled up in front of the apartment complex. "We can call for an ambulance here," he explained. "While we wait, we can try to stem the blood-flow a little more."
Leah shook her head. "We really shouldn't be moving her," she said.
"The hospital is about twenty minutes away. The ambulance will get here faster than we'll make it to there."
We stayed quiet for a small moment. "Well," began Lacey. "I don't want to be stuck in here if that crazy bastard shooter is looking for us."
We all agreed on that.
We finally got to my apartment. I rifled through my pockets for my key, then I realized...
the door was ever so slightly ajar.
Somebody was inside already.
We walked inside, looking around cautiously. Lacey walked into the kitchen and shrugged.
Mercedes let out a small groan and Leah and I carried her over to the table and placed her on top of it.
"Shit, I'm gonna have to get a new table now," I muttered.
Everyone stood there, staring at me. Then, we all began to laugh.
It started out quiet, then built up to full-on belly laughter. I was crying. Lacey was having trouble dialing the phone.
Then, we heard a clicking sound.
Like somebody undoing the safety on a gun.
Like a gun pressed hard against the back of my head.
"Why hello," said a voice in my ear. "Why don't you turn around slowly, so that we can both get a proper look at each-other?"
I turned around very slowly.
There, standing before me with a hand-gun pointed directly between my eyes, was a man. A very tall man.
"Hello, hello," he said. "My name is Jetty, and while my little brother may have gone by whatever bull-shit nick-names he could come up with-Darkness, what bullshit-I prefer going by my own name."
He smiled. "I like my name."
Jetty may have been smiling, but none of us were laughing anymore.