At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
- Member for
- 4 years 13 weeks
|3 years 46 weeks ago||true religion kinder Mission Impossible||
Jim Phelps goes to a specified place and time and finds an envelope and tape recorder and presses the play button.
"Good morning Mr Phelps. With the cold war seemingly dead and buried and, the west too caught up in the political diplomatic ties of the war on terror to care about Russian views and their current weapon development on the Russian/Polish border. You are looking at pictures taken from one of our satellite cameras in space of earthwork developments being created to support an industrial scanner situated in an underground vault that the Polish state government have reportedly complained is breaching their own territory in several areas. The head of the home division of the KGB, Wilhyame Hansen, has recently taken over a town close to the Polish border to oversee the area and is in constant contact with his guards positioned right up to the border with Poland and, as reported, within Poland itself to try and stop anyone getting too close to whatever works Russia has on-going in that sensitive border area.
Your mission Jim, should you decided to accept it, is to breach Russia's border and discover what this scanner is being used for and report its location and plans to the authorities as soon as possible.
Of course, if you or any of your group are caught or killed, the secretary will disavowal any knowledge of your actions.
This tape will self destruct in five seconds. Good luck Jim."
Jim stopped the tape and watched it smoke and fizzle away.
Back at Jim's apartment, he walks out of the kitchen and moved over to his sofa and sat down. He now grabbed the IMF folder and went through it and picked out the usual operatives and then sat back pleased with his choice.
Within days, his team had met up with him in his apartment and he explained the plan to discover the secret of Russia's scanner and just what they were planning that close to Poland.
Jim had found a hotel thirty miles from the area that was under scrutiny and his team checked in to this hotel as separately as they could to not raise any suspicions.
Jim pulled into the car park of this hotel just as an American family had arrived. Jim was pulling out his suitcase from the trunk of his car just as the children of this family started to run around the car park screaming. One of the children from this family noticed Jim and moved up to him.
"Don't tell me, you're American, right?" The child said looking at him.
Jim looked around at the three other children still running around the car park screaming and, then to the girl in front of him.
"I beg your pardon."
"Your clothes, the airport business car, I'd say defiantly American." The child said folding her arms around her in a protective manner.
Jim watched this then bent down and grabbed his case and looked back at the child and raised a smile towards her.
"Yes, I'm American, like yourself and," He now looked at her parents trying to grab the rest of their family. "As are you and, the other members of your family, hmm?" He said finishing on looking at her.
She now stepped back slightly.
"I'm Claira, Claira Reese." She said then stepped forward to hold out her hand.
Jim looked at her small hand and then shook it and then looked at her beaming at him.
"I'm Jim, Jim Phelps."
"Are you staying at this hotel? I mean, of course you're staying at this hotel. Err, I mean, what would you be doing here if you wasn't?" She said looking down to her feet.
"Yes, I am staying here at this hotel although I haven't made up my mind for how long, yet."
"Claira!" Her mother said behind her. "Would you mind not going up to everyone and asking them what they are doing here? The poor man is probably on holiday to relax or something, just like us."
"No, he's not on holiday mum, Mr Phelps is on business here, isn't that right Mr Phelps?" Claira said looking back to him.
"Well, I..." He stopped as Claira's mother pulled her back from Jim.
"I'm so sorry if my daughter has upset you Mr, what did you say you're name was?"
"Mum, I said his name was Mr Phelps and I don't think he minds me talking to him. Do you Mr Phelps?"
"It's Jim and no, I do not mind you talking to me, in a hotel car park of all places." He added looking around.
"See, you've insulted him, come along Claira, I will not ask again." Her mother said pulling her away.
Jim watched as Claira was pulled back to the rest of her family by her mother. He shook his head and slowly went into the hotel and signed himself in.
Jim managed to get a room down the hall from the family and made himself comfortable as he waited for the rest of his team to sign in and get allocated separate rooms.
That evening his team met up and Jim got on with the rest of his briefing from within his room where Barney would be making a tunnel of his own to run along with the Russian version to find out exactly why the Russian's have been breaching the Polish border and why.
"It would be a good idea to find out what the Russians have at the border on a daily basis." Jim said looking at the map.
"How are you expecting to work that one out? I mean they will not allow you to just walk up to the border and ask them to view their plans right there and then." Rollin said showing him the exact border guard layout.
"I have been working on that one Rollin. I guess you can put this one down to a family that I met in the hotel car park earlier today. I'm just a businessman that has a few days to spare around the border gates. Who says that I can't be just a little curious in a tourist's kind of way? Rollin, take this mobile phone and call me when you go on guard duty." Jim said handing him a phone.
"I get it. When I call I just happen to forget that the gate is unmanned for a while." Rollin said checking the phone.
"I just need to wait for your call."
Jim now headed down to the hotel's restaurant to check out the local Polish cuisine. He started to get buried into the pages of choices available.
"If you want to wake up in morning like you did this morning, I suggest you stay away from the main menu and try the side meals, you'd be safer that way"
Jim moved the large menu away from his face and focused in on Claira holding the other menu in her hand.
"Claira." He said taking the menu from her. "Thank you, I'll try that." He added checking the menu.
Claira now looked back then jumped up onto the seat across from him.
"Hide me, quick!" She said ducking in next to him.
Jim watched her move up next to him and buries her head into his side.
"Claira, what are you doing?"
"My dad, I bet he's been looking for me all afternoon."
"Why, what have you done now?"
"Nothing Mr Phelps, honest, I..." She stopped and watched her father walk past Jim's table.
Jim now looked up to see the rest of Claira's family sail past. He now looked at Claira with her head into his side.
"You know their probably worried about you."
"You think? My mum and dad are, well ever since..." She looked down.
A waiter now appeared next to Jim waiting for his order. Jim looked at Claira now checking her parents seating area.
"Could you send four sausage sandwiches and a bottle of pop to room 454 and add it to my bill. Is that alright, Claira?" He said looking over to her.
"You think that you can handle a couple of sandwiches?"
Claira looked at Jim then at the waiter.
The waiter marked his pad then left them alone.
"Come with me." He said moving out of the seat and allowing Claira out.
"Where are we going?"
"Back to my room."
"Oh no, I can't."
"My mum and dad told me that I shouldn't go with strangers."
Jim stopped and looked at her.
"Yes, mum said..."
"Did she? Strangers, indeed." He said taking her hand and leading her out and up to his room.
Within a few minutes or so a waiter arrived with Jim's order and brought it into the room as Claira sat on the sofa watching Jim sign for it and letting the waiter out.
"Right, let's see if this kills us or not." He said lifting up the tray to reveal four freshly cooked sausage sandwiches.
"Wow cool, can I?" She said moving forward in her seat.
"Of course, and the drink is yours too as I have my own drink cabernet.
"I guessed you would have. My dad has the same set up just down the hall but, I think mum uses it as well." She said grabbing a sandwich and sitting back in the chair munching.
Jim grabbed a sandwich and went up to the drinks cabernet to make himself a drink then moved back to the sofa and sat down to grab his plans to check over them again.
Claira snuck in next to him and watched him reading the plan.
"What have you got there?" She said pointing to the folder.
"It's private. No fear Claira but, you may think that falling out with your mum and dad is the number one priority around here but to me that doesn't even come close. I'm just keeping you here to make sure you don't go and do something stupid while you're not on speaking terms. Besides, I left word at the reception to inform your parents exactly where you are."
"You what?" Claira said looking at him.
"You really think I would help you over a 'whatever' in your life just because I'm a fellow American whom you just decided might be around to cover your ass when you're parents have it number one on their spanking lists? I've seen kids like you many times before and you are not going to get one over me like you do with your parents."
Claira looked at him then there was a knock on the door.
"Ah, there you go." He said putting his file down and moving to the door and opening it to find Claira's mother and father standing there.
"Oh Jim, thank you so much for telling us where Claira was, I really thought we wouldn't have any problems with her this trip but, I guess, we were aiming our inspirations to high again. Come on along Claira; thank Mr Phelps for taking the time to look after you." Her mother said coaxing Claira towards her.
Claira looked at Jim as she reached the door.
"Thank you so much, Mr Phelps." She said sarcastically.
Claira made a fake grin and followed her parents down the hall looking back to Jim waving her goodbye. He then went back inside his room and laughed.
The next day Jim met up with his team again and Barney had managed to secure some sensitive equipment that would be able to obtain precise measurements and graphic detail of Russia's movements.
"How close would we have to be in making this work properly Barney?" Jim said checking the equipment was working fine.
"After the first initial programming, I would be able to take this machine straight into the main tunnel."
"Where would we have to be for the initial programming?"
"I'd say, between three and five hundred yards, either way of the border, to be certain of a proper reading being obtained." Barney said looking towards Jim.
"Three hundred yards in daylight before you can use this in the tunnels?" Jim said looking at him.
"To, at least get this to read and work properly the way we want it, yes." Barney said looking back to the machine.
"Alright, I'll contact you when this is ready for you."
Jim packed up the machine and left it by the door ready for him to put into his car and head towards the border.
The next morning Jim came down with the machine and went out to his car and put the machine in the boot and then went back into the hotel to have some breakfast and studied the local maps for a route up to the border crossing.
He looked across to see Claira walking in behind her two sisters and brother with her parents bringing up the rear. Jim sipped at his coffee as he watched the family sit down and again making their parents life hell as they all went through the breakfast menu as loudly as they could.
Jim soon finished his breakfast and moved out to the reception and then out into the car park.
He got into his car and noticed Claira running out of the hotel and across the car park.
Claira made it to a big tree by the entrance of the hotel.
Jim started up his engine and drove over to her and caught her attention. She now moved away.
"Claira!" He said calling over to her.
Jim looked away then turned off the engine and jumped out of his car and moved up to her.
"Are you still mad at me because I called your parents to tell them where you were last night?"
Claira did not answer him and moved away.
Jim looked back to his car.
"Look, I'm heading up to the border for the morning."
"Good, bon voyage."
"Claira, you don't mean that."
"Yes I do, after all what do you know about me?"
"Nothing but, if you're interested in a drive with me, I won't tell your parents where you are this time."
"Oh whoopee, let's get the flags out for that one." She said looking back.
"Okay, well I don't want you saying I didn't ask." He said getting back into his car as Claira looked back. "See you later, Claira." He added starting up his engine and starting to move away.
Claira looked towards him then jumped out in front of him.
"Wait!" She said allowing him to pull up next to her and she opened the rear passenger side door and got in. "I don't do this for anyone you know." She said closing the door.
"I'll keep reminding myself that as we go." He said looking at her through the rear view mirror as Jim drove off following his map drawings to the Polish Russian border.
Claira looked around as Jim got closer to the border as a lot of heavy plant machinery was moving around the whole area.
Claira jumped forward as the border now appeared.
"Wow, this is some border."
Jim looked at her as he pulled off to a private car park.
"I want you to stay here for a while." Jim said as he got out.
Claira quickly jumped out.
"Don't leave me here." She said grabbing Jim's hand.
"Claira, I'm not going to leave you anywhere. I just need to do something on my own and I would like you to wait for me in the car."
"Claira, I need you to trust me again and this time; I'm not going to let you down. Just stay there." Jim said closing the door and he moved back towards the boot and opening it up to reveal the machine.
Claira noticed other people in the car park moving around.
"Is there any problem with us being at the border, Jim?" She said noticing some official men.
Jim was too engrossed in the workings of the machine.
"Jim, can you hear me?" She said moving further back into the seat.
"Can I ask what your business at the border today is, Mr?" A guard said moving around the car.
Jim looked up and over to the guard who had now noticed Claira in the back seat.
This gave Jim the chance to lock the boot and move away from it as the guard now looked at him.
"Jim Phelps." He said looking at the guard.
"Dad?" Claira said as she moved over to the other side of the car to get out.
The guard now noticed her and grabbed his gun.
"Now wait a minute. She's a kid, and she's just scared, that's all. How do you expect her to behave when she see's you coming towards me?"
Claira ran to the front of the car and looked around for the exit.
"Dad?" She again said trying to get her way out of the situation.
Jim and the guard looked at her.
"Excuse me. My daughter needs me." Jim said as the guard reluctantly stepped aside and watched Jim head to the front of the car and grabbed her.
"Sweetheart its okay daddies' right here." He said touching her.
Claira now looked at him and allowed Jim to hug her.
"It's alright, I'm right here." He said kissing her.
The guard now went up to them.
"I asked you what you were doing at the border today. You have no business reason to be here."
"We wanted to see the border. Well, I guess I wanted to see the border." Claira said looking at him.
"And wherever my daughter wants to go then I will duly take her." Jim added looking at Claira as they both agreed and looked at the guard.
"You are an American businessman on work here for a local conglomerate financial team. You and your daughter have a room at the international hotel thirty miles from the here."
"That's right. This is my business car and I have all my legal documents in the glove box, if you would like me to show them to you." Jim said moving to open the driver's door.
"That is not necessary. All the information we require was forwarded to us some weeks ago,p90x RevAbs, otherwise you wouldn't have been able to stay anywhere near this sensitive area.
Jim watched the guard check the car.
"What were you doing in the boot of this vehicle when I first approached you?" The guard said heading for it.
"My daughter was tired. I was just getting her a blanket so she could get some sleep. Claira's not one to sleep on strange beds and she finds this hired car more suitable especially when I'm driving." Jim said moving up to him.
The guard tried to open the boot.
"Alright, but all that is in there is the standard issue spare tyre, jack and." Jim opened the boot to reveal the blanket. "One special blanket that my daughter uses to sleep with, as I explained."
The guard lifted out the blanket and checked underneath.
Claira now moved up to Jim and the guard and noticed the blanket.
"That's mine." She said grabbing the blanket from the guard and putting her head into it to smell the newness.
The guard watched her do this then looked at Jim.
"Well, if there is nothing else."
"I have just one request from you to agree with, Mr Phelps, and that is that you do not come to this border area again. The whole area is guarded and CCTV is watching you're every turn, even at the hotel." He said putting down the boot and walking away from them.
They watched him go and Claira stepped back into Jim and he held her.
She now looked at him.
"Are you alright?"
She nodded and allowed Jim to help her into the car and put the blanket around her.
Jim drove slowly back to the hotel and parked up. He looked into the back and found Claira asleep on the blanket and smiled.
He got out and opened the door and gently shook her.
"Claira, Claira we're home." He said as Claira stirred.
"Dad?" She said then realised where she was and sat up. "Hur, their gonna kill me." She added and jumped out of his car then stopped and turned back.
"Thanks for the drive" She said then ran off to the hotel.
Jim chuckled and watched her.
"My pleasure." He said then looked in to see the blanket and then remembered the machine, so he grabbed the blanket and moved to the boot and opened it up. He now pressed a button in the boot as a false back fell down to reveal the machine and put the blanket back in its place. He then secured the car and headed back into the hotel and back up to his room.
That evening, Jim met up with the rest of his team to discuss plans further. Barney showed exactly where he was with his tunnel and that he was now ready to work with the machine Jim had.
"Time is short here guy's. This machine will need to be calibrated just as Barney can receive it." Jim said checking the plans.
"Jim, I need to have a picture of the whole area or we could never prove what the Russians are planning on the border."
"I know Barney and I am the only one who can get those readings for you. I wasn't expecting a border crossing guard to be interested in a private car park. When Rollin is ready I will do my best to get over the border for the machine to work better but, I have to tell you now that I believe I am already being watched, especially after today and I think I may have put an innocent family in jeopardy."
"If that is the case, then what are you going to do about it?" Barney said looking at him.
Jim looked at him then turned away.
"I don't know how serious it is yet, but I've got to do something for them." He said thinking of Claira.
The next day Jim came down to breakfast late and saw Claira's mother battling to control her children as Claira stood by her and then noticed Jim and waved to him. He returned the wave then tried to attempt some breakfast.
"I have the morning paper which has been kindly translated into English, if you're planning on reading something other than a stupid book today,true religion kinder, Jim." Claira said as Jim looked up at her beaming at him and handed him the paper.
"Thank you." He said scanning the headlines.
"Mum's going to be ages sorting out my sisters and, I think my brother will be with my dad all day so, I was wondering if it was alright if I hung out with you again today Jim? I think you're business trip yesterday was fab!" She said jumping in next to him.
"Fab?" He said looking at her.
"Aha." She said looking at him.
Jim folded up the paper and went back to his breakfast. Claira sat there as good as gold as everyone staying at the hotel walked past them to carry on with whatever they would be doing that day.
Jim soon finished his breakfast and looked at Claira trying to get interested in the paper.
"Where's your father?"
"Your dad, where would he be at the moment?"
"I don't know. It all depends if they had a row this morning or not. Do you know I read a book once that said that parents are more likely to divorce six years into a marriage with children than any earlier."
"Where did you read that, you're parent's marriage counsellor magazine rack?"
"How did you know that?" She said looking at him.
Jim laughed and kissed her.
"You're a good girl and I'm sorry I got you involved in all this." He said getting up from his seat and heading out past the reception area with Claira in tow with his paper.
"You forgot your paper, dad!" She said after him.
Jim stopped and looked back.
"Thanks." He said as Claira drew level with him and he took the paper from him.
"Where are you going?"
"To find you're, father." He said quietly as he allowed Claira to walk with him over to the lift to take them up to their floor. They walked over to her parent's room and Claira allowed Jim in to their room.
"Ah, I see Claira has found the fellow yank, as I believe my daughter has said on several occasions." Her father said shaking hands with Jim.
Claira sank into the background as Jim and her father started to talk to each other.
Later that day Jim was given the green light to approach the border where Rollin was making sure that all the guards and the important CCTV operator was not present at the time Jim needed to get the machine calibrated for Barney to use. Jim managed to complete the calibration as requested and returned to the hotel after dark where Claira had been waiting for him by the main gate entrance.
Jim pulled in as Claira came running up to him.
"Hurry up Jim, I'm freezing. Where's that blanket you had yesterday?"
"In the boot." He said handing her the keys as Claira grabbed them from him and ran round to the boot and opened it.
"How long have you been waiting out here?" He said taking her hand.
"I don't know. Not long, I guess." She said pulling out the blanket.
"Was it light when you came out?"
"Sort of, we had lunch, I remember that."
Jim stopped her.
"Lunch, not dinner?"
"Of course not, that's still to come."
Jim looked at his watch.
"Claira, its seven o'clock!" He said grabbing the blanket and wrapping her.
"Seven? He's going to kill me."
"If I don't first, come on." Jim said picking her up and carrying her into the warm hotel.
"What am I going to say to him?"
"Start thinking." Jim said as they waited for the lift to arrive by the reception area.
"I know, sorry daddy I lost all track of time."
"That's possible sweetheart, I mean who was the one who said that time stands still around here?" Jim said making sure everyone heard what they were saying.
"But dad, I'm only saying this because I haven't got a watch."
The lift now appeared and they walked in.
"I'll buy you a watch of your very own when we get home." He said kissing her as the doors closed in front of them and whisked them to their floor.
"I'm not going to hear the last of this. Mum will go ballistic and dad will blame me, as usual. We'll be in counselling for years to come, hey Jim, where are we going?" Claira said looking around.
"You can sweat it out in my room while I clear this with your father."
"Dad won't accept having to have another dinner just because of me."
"No, that's why you can stay here and have dinner with me."
"Good luck in trying to pursued him with mum around."
"Have trust in me." He said putting her on the sofa and putting the blanket over her. "It will take a while for this room to get warm so keep this with you. I'll be back soon with some dinner." He said kissing her then went out.
Jim sorted out the problem with Claira and dinner and returned to his room to find Claira asleep on the sofa so, he had some dinner while Claira slept.
The next day Claira woke up on the sofa that she had fallen asleep on and looked around. Jim walked out of the bathroom and noticed she was awake.
"What am I doing here?"
"Well, I certainly wasn't going to take you back after you had fallen asleep."
"I didn't mean to sleep here last night, honest."
"That's nice to hear. Did you want to shower before you go down for breakfast?"
"Your mother supplied me with some extra clothes this morning, so you're more than welcome to have a shower, because there is an hour or so before breakfast." He said checking his watch.
She looked at him then jumped up and into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. Jim chuckled to himself and carried on getting dressed.
An hour or so later Jim was leading Claira down to the restaurant area to meet the rest of her family. They got to the reception area when Claira caught sight of her parents.
"There they are. You don't mind if I go and have breakfast with them, yes." Claira said standing there waiting for an answer.
Jim looked at her approvingly and flattened down her top.
"Go on then. Don't upset them."
"Upset them, me?" She said looking at him.
"Yes, you!" Jim said kissing her and allowing her to go to her parents for breakfast.
He now took his seat in his normal way to have his breakfast and Claira spent her breakfast and part of the day with her family.
Jim returned to his room and Barney met up with him to acquire the calibrated machine and he made the final plan arrangements to get the information they required and to get out with that information safely.
Barney carried the machine out and to an awaiting car to take him back over the border and to start scanning the area.
Jim stayed in his room and moved over to his window and noticed Claira going out for a walk with her parents and brother and sisters.
Jim now started to pack and check his plane ticket home and moved his suitcase to the door when the phone started to ring and Jim looked back.
An hour or so later Barney was in his makeshift tunnel heading parallel with the Russians tunnel and finally entered the sensors in to the tunnel to get a reading. An alarm now sounded in the main command room of the local KGB office at the border and a team was dispatched to the area.
Jim moved back to the phone and picked it up.
"Jim it's Rollin, Barney has tripped a sensor in the command room and I haven't got the authority stopping it getting out. Their sending a team to search for him now and there's nothing I can do about it."
Jim looked at his watch.
"Barney would have only just got there. We don't have enough time to scan anything especially if they have found out where Barney is. Get through to Barney and pull the plug."
"But Jim, if I can't get there in time."
"Don't tell me that, stop them finding Barney before I get there." Jim said dropping the phone and running out leaving his suitcases by the door.
Jim ran out into the car park and into his car just as Claira and her family was walking back.
"Well Jim, that's the fastest I've seen anyone run away from their hotel. Is the place on fire or something?" Claira's father asked.
"I hope not. I still have all my clothes waiting for me. Sorry to leave you so soon, but I'm needed somewhere."
"Don't mind us; we've just had a nice walk out which I believe has done us the world of good."
"I'm happy for you." Jim said as he got in and started up the car.
"Are you alright Jim, you look worried." Claira said moving to his car.
"I'm fine." He said then sped away.
They watched him leave the hotel as they walked into the reception area.
It took Jim twenty minutes to get to the border area where everything was quiet on the outside. Jim pulled into the private car park under Rollin's surveillance cameras. Jim moved over to one of the areas that Barney had set up and checked it for any signs of life. Rollin now appeared from the main camp and met up with Jim.
"Where were the main guards when you last saw them?"
"Main tunnel heading for Barney and,MBT Schuhe Damen, I don't think that he would be aware of them being around him at his position." Rollin said showing him pictures of the tunnels that he had caught from the CCTV cameras.
Jim went back to his car and grabbed a torch.
"Stay here. If anyone comes you can handle them." Jim said going into the tunnel.
Rollin looked around to the CCTV then back to Jim.
Jim headed down the tunnel towards Russia's main tunnel as the KGB worked their way to Barney. Jim looked around for the machine that Barney would be using as he came up to his station. Barney now appeared next to him as he came out of the main tunnel.
"Barney, we've got to pull out. The machine has been recognised and we have Russian border guards heading to this point." Jim said trying to collect the machine from the wall.
"I have only made one scan Jim, if we pull out of here now the world will not know what the Russians have down here. They could easily have something radioactive down here especially if they have read this machine within the hour." Barney said collecting the data.
"We can't take a chance not with the KGB so interested in this place. Maybe someone will be able to take these readings to someone who's interested but we've done our job Barney, and that's all we can take from this." Jim said grabbing the machine and started to head out of the tunnel.
"Halt! Stand where you are!" A guard said entering the tunnel.
Rollin moved up behind him.
"It's alright soldier, I have these two." Rollin said moving forward.
"I'm sorry sir but, my orders are to stay with anyone seen in the tunnel suspiciously." He said pointing his gun again.
Rolling now grabbed him and pulled the guard to the floor and knocked him out.
"He must have called this in." Rollin said checking his gun.
"Then we have no time left. Come on!" Jim said heading out towards his car.
Jim started to load the car as a truck pulled in and some men ran down the tunnel. The guard that had seen Jim earlier in the same car recognised him and jumped out to confront him.
"You, I thought I told you not to come here again." He said pointing his gun at him and radioing his position.
Jim now noticed him and jumped into his car as the guard did his best to stop the car. Jim did his best to get away from the hail of bullets. Jim looked back at the guard grabbing his radio.
"Their heading for the hotel, alert the guards there." The guard said as Jim sped away.
"Are we heading for the hotel, Jim?" Rolling asked.
"Yes, I have my suitcases waiting for me at the door of my room." He said heading down the road that led only to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, someone had alerted a KGB source there new exactly what he had to do. He went up to Jim's room and checked it for anything that would show what and why Jim was staying at the hotel for. After checking his room and finding nothing the man decides to set the room on fire to destroy everything of importance to Jim and then came back out and noticed Claira with her brother and sisters playing in the hallway corridor. Claira noticed him coming out of Jim's room and looked at him, so he decided to use the hallway phone to alert more men to the fact that Claira was at the hotel and not with Jim at the border and, that he needed more help to deal with her. Within minutes some more men arrived and they grabbed the children including Claira along with her parents and pilled them back into their room. As her father was arguing with one of the men over their treatment Claira managed to get out and headed back to Jim's room and the ensuing fire.
Jim arrived some moments later and looked to see people rushing away from the fire which had now taken over the middle floor where Jim's room was.
"I can't see Claira anywhere. I don't even see her parents."
"Jim, we have to leave, the authorities will be here any minute." Rollin said looking on.
"I must know Claira is alright." He said heading for the entrance.
Jim ran past the lifts and through into the stairway as the smoke became heavier. Jim moved into a toilet and wrapped a towel round his face and headed onto his floor and went towards Claira's room that she was in with her parents. He went into the smoke field room and came face to face with a blood bath of Claira's family dead in front of him. He looked around for Claira but she was not with them, so he ran back out and shouted down the corridor to no avail. Jim now took his chance and headed for his room now totally well alight.
"Claira!" He shouted into the blackness of his room.
Jim saw that his room had been trashed but he ventured as far as he dared into the room as he noticed Claira on the floor by the bathroom unconscious and with superficial burns all over her body.
"Claira!" He repeated as he picked her up and carried her under the rising smoke and down to the reception area as the local authorities arrived to tackle the blaze.
Jim moved out into the car park and Rollin run to him.
"What about her family?" He said checking her.
Jim looked at him and shook his head and then they looked at Claira.
Jim, Rollin and Barney left the carnage of the hotel and headed back to the states with Claira. Jim admitted Claira to a private doctor that Rollin recommended who could help heal her burns and scars and to get her back on the road to recovery.
Claira awoke some days later and looked around. She noticed a nurse checking her vital signs and guessed she was in a hospital.
"Where am I? What hospital is this? Are we still in Poland?" She said as she realised she had a bandage on her face and hands. "What happened?"
"I'll get the doctor for you. I believe you're father is also waiting to hear that you're finally awake."
"My dad?" She said watching the nurse go out and the door closing behind her.
Claira looked at the closed door then jumped out of the bed and moved to the window and pulled the curtain to reveal the sun beating down on her face as she touched it.
"I wouldn't suggest full sun rays on that face for a few weeks yet, Miss Phelps, if you wouldn't mind returning to your bed so that I can talk to you for a moment please. I have called your father and he will be with us very shortly." The doctor said as a nurse moved her away from the window and back into her bed.
"Where am I?"
"You're in a private hospital, in New York." The doctor said moving towards her to check her face.
She leaned away from him moving any closer.
"Claira, let the doctor check your face, please sweetheart." Jim said behind her.
"Jim!" She said jumping down to him and moving to his side. "I'm in New York, New York in home?" She said looking up at him.
Jim now put the flowers he had for her down and picked her up and carried her back to her bed.
"New York is your home now, yes, home." He said kissing her. "Now let the doctor do his job." He said stepping away as the doctor approached her again.
"Is my mum behind this?" Claira said as the doctor took off the bandages.
"Behind what?" Jim said sorting out the flowers.
"Why you're here and not mum and dad. Did they finally get divorced or something?"
"Miss Phelps please, you need to sit still." The doctor said checking her face under the light.
"Sorry." She said as the doctor made his notes.
"Skin pigmentation will settle into the background once the swelling reduces. I don't think there will be any problems with the fingerprints as the hands still have some time to grow and most of the burns will settle into skin lines." He said as the nurse started to reseal her face and hands.
"Burns, hur, I remember now! Jim there was a man who was in your room and when he came back out I noticed a fire and then these other men appeared and they grabbed my mum and dad and my brother and sisters."
"What happened?" Jim said moving to her.
"They stopped me trying to do something about putting the fire out. I heard mum and dad shouting at them and I didn't know what to do. I thought that you were in the room, but you weren't. What happened, why did this man want to destroy your room?"
Jim moved up to her as the nurse finished and the doctor left them alone.
"I never asked or wanted to get you involved in this, entirely, sweetheart."
"Involved in what, Jim? I thought we were having fun, but I couldn't understand what was going on with the fire in your room."
"I have a team and I had a job to do. I guess someone at the hotel really did think that you were my daughter. I made enquiries and in the official book for the hotel your name is listed with me and not with your parents."
"What does that mean?"
"Claira, I believe that because you and I were seen together at the border and that you became scared and wanted your father that the guard really believed that you were my daughter."
"But back at the hotel the receptionists must have seen me with my brother and sisters and sometimes my mum and dad when they were talking to one another." She said looking at him.
"That's what I would have been led to believe but thanks to what my team and I were there for I guess that they would have forgotten that just to get at me."
"Well, what are you going to do now? I mean I'm back at home now and my mum and dad are going to be here any minute with my brother and sisters, probably laughing at me all the here, yes?" Claira said looking at him.
"Claira," He stopped and looked at her. "You're here because I'm going to take care of you from now on."
"Take care of me now? Well, what does mum and dad say about that?"
"Sweetheart, you're the only one I managed to save from the fire. When I entered the hotel I found your entire family had already been shot and left for dead."
"Mum and dad?"
"You're mum and dad, you're little brother and sisters too. I believe that if they would have found you first you wouldn't be sitting here now."
"Why didn't they kill me too?"
"Because, I understand that you tried to find me I guess, thinking that I was in my room and they must have lost you in the smoke from the fire. I found you unconscious by the bathroom and you were in a pretty bad state with burn marks all over your face and body. I carried you out and brought you back home to the states with me and I'm going to take care of you from now on."
"Because, I feel responsible for what happened to you and, that I wasn't there to help save your family, I want to make it up to your parents by taking care of you." He said looking at her trying to make sense of what Jim was trying to tell her.
"Taking care of me, how?"
"By being your father and making you a part of my team." He said touching her face and watching her reaction.
Claira slowly looked down as she tried to make sense of everything Jim had been saying to her.
"I know this is going to be hard for you to take in. One minute you're with your family in Poland on vacation and the next you wake up here, back home alone, with me but, you're not alone." He said moving to touch the flowers.
"Oh, have you got children too?" She said looking at him.
"No, as I said, I have a team that, to me are as tight as a family could ever be and, I'm going to look after you Claira, have no doubt about that. You have a new face and you're fingerprints now match that of my daughter." He said turning to look at her.
"Wait a minute; I thought you just said you haven't got any children."
"If you'd let me finish! I was about to say, you're fingerprints match that of my daughter, Claira Phelps."
Claira looked at him.
"I guess that name will still sound laughable to you for a while, if not somewhat scary too."
"I hope that you don't expect me to call you dad over night."
"Of course, I shall leave that up to you, but I hope you realise that nothing will happen to you in my care. I'll make personally sure of that. When your facial scars heal the doctor said that you will then be ready to go home."
"Home?" She said looking at him.
"Yes to my, our apartment here, in New York." He said watching her reactions.
"Well, how long will that be, exactly?"
"I will talk with your doctor and find out exactly when. I'll see you later." He said then kissed her and left.
Claira watched the door close then looked to the dark curtain hiding the strong summer sun and looked away thinking of her lost family as a tear fell from her eye.
Please refer to Mission Impossible continued for the rest of this story.
|3 years 46 weeks ago||Tory Burch Heels Mistaken Myths||
Chapter One: Beware the Big Bad Wolf
(and other crappy beginnings.)
The sky swirled in an angry temptress portraying Violet Blacke's morbidly sarcastic personality and present anger and frustration. The Gothic church's stone pillars jutted stabbing the sky in petulant disobedience. Violet sat in the church pew listening as the priest rattled on about the light that followed death and the peace that followed the end of this chapter, and the adventure of the chapter to follow.
Violet repressed a derisive snort with trouble. Not being a religious person, she found it extremely difficult to refrain from getting up and leaving. That however would not end well considering this lengthy sermon was lectured in honor of her grandmother.
"Let her family and friends be comforted in the knowledge that our dear Edith Canton will have departed her everlasting life where she will be one with God."
Violet eyed the short balding priest cynically with a stony expression and tapped her knee impatiently with her fingers. The closed black mahogany casket lay in the middle of the aisle near her elbow. She simply wanted to leave; it almost felt as if she were locked in that dreaded dreary casket with the cold, quite dead, corpse.
The congregation stood simultaneously as the priest ended the mass.
"May the Lord be with you. Mass has ended; you may go in peace." The organ began to wail some sorrowful haunting tune as the priest led the procession with his thick book emblazoned with curly loops of gold across the cover; the altar servers followed obediently, the heavy bedazzled golden cross carried somewhat fawningly down the aisle. Next, the four casket bearers stepped forward and lifted up the casket, each wearing a matching pin stripe suit. A sob rose from somewhere in the back of the church as the four men marched in time, heaving the encased cadaver down the center aisle.
Violet reluctantly stood, her arms folded petulantly. She was supposed to lead everyone out of the looming Gothic church, being her grandmother's only living relative. Her grandfather had passed away at the young age of thirty-two and neither him, her grandmother, nor her mother had had any siblings what so ever. Her father had only one crazy sister who died a while ago; she hadn't been fit to take care of anyone, even if she were alive. Both her parents having died in a freak catastrophic car accident, she had no relatives left to speak of or take her role as the main mourner.
She fixed her simple black dress with a V-neck and lacy bottom skirt and ensured that her green and black checkered pea-coat was buttoned up against the tremulous winter winds. She wore her black striped tights and clunky black lace up boots. She followed the casket as the chattering crowd trailed after her.
Once everyone was outside, she watched morosely as they loaded the casket on to the long black hearse.
"You are coming for the ride, right little lady?" the hearse driver asked with a tip of his cap revealing his white hair that was almost as blinding as the surrounding dusting of snow.
"Yes," she answered curtly.
"Well we should get going," he answered, his coal black eyes quite deadened of any spark of liveliness. Violet wondered if endless jobs at funerals resulted in this monotonous exposure and bitter exterior. He opened the passenger door, bowing slightly in an annoyed gesture that she was to sit. She slipped into the car, smoothing her dress so that it did not bunch up on the leather seats. Through her sheer black stripped tights, she could see her legs were red and chilled from the frigid temperature. The 'chauffeur' closed the door once she was reluctantly seated and made his way around the front of the car. He sat himself quickly, attempting to avoid the cold weather himself that seemed to snap with a deep chill, each wind was a bitter slap in the face. He turned the heat on, blasting what warmth he could throughout the vehicle. The four casket bearers squished their way in the back seat joking amiably amongst themselves and bantering jovially about some football game.
The ride to the Nashua Cemetery was a quick one. Few cars followed the hearse onto the burial site, the rest hurriedly driving away as though their leave would escape her notice. The black death bed twisted its way through the endless sea of marble and slate grey gravestones. The car rolled to a stop once it reached the off-white pavilion that was erected in the back of the cemetery, closer to the woods than the actual stones, as though attempting to avoid whatever disease or sorrow had placed the unfortunates about five and a half feet under. The four men jumped out, eager to get the job done, and lugged the casket into the front center of the pavilion, stumbling through random snow drifts. They opened the lid, the hinges shrieking their protest at the unwelcomed movement. God did Violet know how they feel. She had no desire whatsoever to see the stony expression her grandmother would give in death; even as limp and lifeless as she now lay.
This was all according to the instructions left in her grandmother's will. It stated there was to be a mass for her followed by an open casket wake in the cemetery's pavilion. The day would then end with a private 'family' burial, meaning only Violet was to be present.
Violet stood at the opposite end of the pavilion as the bossy old ladies and their wistful husbands piled out of their cars. They filed into a line, the woman taking the front and the husbands standing reluctantly behind and to the side of them. Each took turns praying; kneeling in pretend humbleness before the lifeless corpse. She watched on in disgust as they leaned over the empty shell of her grandmother's body, weeping and holding her cold stiff hands. She lay like some morbid angel. Her wrinkles seemed to lessen considerably and her face was made up heavily with rose lips and soft blue lids. Her pearl rosary beads were clutched, almost desperately, in the fold of her arms. Her flowy lilac dress lilted like a dead flower and her grey curls piled on top of her head.
The flabby old women with their fidgety pensive husbands stepped up to offer their condolences to Violet. She shook the men's hands reluctantly and was attacked with brusque hugs by the wives. This was an issue for her. Not only was Violet orphaned by her whole family, but she also had a problem... a mutation she liked to think of it as. She was naturally a very perceptive person, but became even more so upon the slightest touch of skin. Whenever someone's bare skin met her own, she suffered from a strange sort of 'out of body experience'. She would embody the person; their thoughts were hers... their worries, problems, opinions, self-inflicted horrors, petulance, ignorance... you can see how this peeved her. Because of this 'dark gift', as her grandmother often had called it, Violet had a deep understanding of all people, and hated them for it. She had no need to know their terrible desires; no want for the knowledge of the secret sins they had stored in the deep dark crevices of their hollow, self-indulged abyss they called minds. People were bothersome; complex emotions and sinful indulgences that lead to their own heartfelt demise, it all gave her a migraine that failed to ever truly leave...as long as there were people. Animals were simple. They relied on instincts alone and for that reason she adored them. They didn't leave her mind in shambles. Their only needs: food, sleep, home, and love; they relied solely on the essentials. They did not judge or hurt for evil. This was Violet's curse, her living horror, the true reason she kept her distance from people. Let's just say, for the sake of argument (which just so happens to be her favorite pass time), the person who said relationships are built on honesty, lied. Lies shape the world, keep it spinning, keep people happy; because when you get down to the whole ugly truth, only then do hearts get broken and dreams shattered.
A particular plump and wrinkled squat woman waltzed up, squeezing her in a bear hug as she simpered, "You poor dear! I am so greatly sorry for your loss. I understand your grandmother took care of you? It must be awful!" Translation: Haha! You are an orphan! How does it feel to know you are the soul heir of your family's blood? What a waste your family has been degraded too... And you all alone. Pity rolled off in great waves from the surrounding women, and general indifference from the men.
Violet almost screamed with indignation. She barreled past the robust women, nearly knocking her on her butt as she sprinted into the cover of the dense woods. She slowed upon entering a vacant clearing, her breath ragged and harsh from the sprinting. She began to dry heave as her stomach clenched sickly. She leaned over a boulder, concentrating on deep breathing and not hurling.
A twig snapped, echoing throughout the small clearing sharply as though a threat was hidden behind the obtrusive sound. She twisted around, eyes narrowed searchingly and ears strained, senses suspiciously alert for a sign of the perpetrator. A man in his thirty's appeared from the shadows of the trees. His coal black eyes danced malevolently, nose flared as though he could drink in her scent. His lanky dirty blond hair hung unframingly, barely brushing his broad shoulders. He wore a leather bomber over a plain grey tee-shirt with some dark, rugged, and ripped jeans and black construction boots. He smirked a pointed grin, revealing two large fang like teeth as he advanced a few menacing steps. She took a couple involuntary steps back, eyeing the intruder wearily through narrowed eyes.
"Now, what is a beautiful young lady such as yourself doing all on your lonesome in the middle of the woods?" he asked in knowing concern and mocking wonder.
"None of your business," she snapped vehemently. She bristled as he stepped closer, his eyes stalking with the intensity of predator like surveillance.
"Feisty," he teased smirking still," you need to learn when to bite your tongue." She glared with angst sincerely wishing that she could wipe that Goddamn smirk off his scruffed face.
"Maybe you should learn when you are unwanted dumb-ass!" she retorted, her eyes darted nervously, wishing she had a can of mace with her. Before he could comment, a voice called out, hailing from the direction of the funeral. Cursing, the man raced off, melting into the shadows; the only evidence of his visit, the foot prints imprinted in the snow marking his path.
"Violet!" the voice called out again, slightly more desperate. One of the casket bearers appeared having gone to search for her. His brown hair flopped over his big brown eyes.
"Hey! We have been looking all over for you... the wake is over, it's time for the buria- are you okay?" he asked worriedly, noticing her trembling fingers and wide fearful eyes.
She shook her head to clear her mind, "Yeah I'm fine, just ummm... let's go." She began to walk briskly from clearing in an attempt to put as much distance between her and the man, scrambling her way through the trees and brush, looking back over her shoulder constantly. The bearer struggled to keep pace.
"Why do you keep looking over your shoulder?" he huffed, tripping as he became entangled in the low but dense brush.
Well," she confided with a furtive glance in the general direction of the clearing, "there was some strange man and..."
"Did he hurt you!" the man interrupted with incredulity. He grabbed her elbow to keep her from walking and spun her around to look her up and down.
"No, I just... I'm really fine. Let's just go," she tugged away persistently, but he was having none of it. Grasping her elbow in an iron grip, he began to drag her even faster than she had been walking, nearly dragging her to the ground in his haste.
He let go of her arm tentatively upon reaching the safety of the cemetery grounds. Together, they weaved their way around the endless mass of graves. Names like Elizabeth and John popped out as she raced past the grey and black stones. Is this the fate of all mankind? - A piece of marble slat with meaningless etched names and dates.
A group of people stood solemnly around the newly dug hole, all waiting expectantly.
Two grave diggers stood side by side with dirtied faces, leaning heavily on their shovels. All this was according to her grandmother's wishes. "'the grave is to be dug by hand; no backhoes or such... bury me with some dignity.'" Those were the words a clever and amused lawyer read to her, a smile playing at the corner of his thin lips.
By the looks of the dirtied grave diggers, they did not find her grandmother's words amusing. Violet was relieved that the casket was now closed for good; there were to be no more peeks at the decaying body. She did not like the stony expression that was molded on her face in death; it was too similar to the expressions the people in wax museums have, except without the sheen.
Her grandmother's grave resided next to her mother's. Her mother's, next to her father's. There they were almost all of her family (her grandfather's on the back of the grandmother's and her father's crazy sister doesn't have a grave. She died in a fire, her will burned with her. Her ashes are floating somewhere in the blue green sea).
Violet blinked back tears that had sprung into her eyes threatening to cascade. She had not cried through out this whole three day ordeal; not when the body was found, nor when the telephone rang, neither the numerorous explanations or the power hungry lawyers. She didn't even release a shred of emotion when she learned that she would have to go to the orphanage, the state having deemed she was too immature to live by herself being only 16.
Their was a severe sense of finality however in the burial and it made her heart thump and her breathing become rugged. She supposed it was mostly because of seeing her so close with her parents and all the dirt and snow that would eventually blanket her, cutting off all chances of her coming back... well, unless she became a mindless zombie.
Her grandmother's shrewd lawyer, with sharply defined features, grabbed her hand with a comforting squeeze. She watched as the box landed with a thud into her new resting area. The white snow that was left around the hole was dirtied by the mud from the thawing ground and the rocks scooped. Time suspended, one of those strange moments where you worry that the sky is going to break falling in glittering bits and pieces. The priest read from the bible, some line of how we were born from dust and dust we will become again.
In a moment, the spell was broken, everything snapping back to reality and time. He stopped and cleared his throat, snapping the small, black, leather bible shut and tucking it inside his coat pocket. Nodding curtly to Violet, he departed the depressing scene hastily. The grave diggers began to throw the pile of dirt back into the hole, shoveling rhythmically so that the clump made a solid beat... coyotes, at least that's what she assumed them to be, howled mournfully from deep in the woods.
Violet sauntered up to the stones that were her family. She read her fathers grave:
Ian T. Blacke
"It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees."
She turned reluctantly to her mother's grave that resided close to her father's:
Salia L. Blacke-Canton
"The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages."
With a sigh, she turned scrutinize the newest addition to the collection of slabs. She knew these quotes better than the back of her own hand, having come to that very spot to contemplate life, the only place she could achieve a pensive state well enough to write, draw, (which she was rather suckish at) and sing/play guitar (which was what she considered the better of her failures). Etched into the smooth face, she read:
"To the well-organized mind; death is but the next great adventure."
Violet smirked, the corners of her usually pouting lips twitching playfully at the corner.
"So," the lawyer began, dropping his hand where they swung restlessly and a bit nervously at his side. He returned to formality with a sad reluctant smile.
"Their are business matters to discuss. Firstly, your grandmother sold her house to the bank giving you $20,837.57... that is when you turn 18."
Violet nodded wiping her moist eyes on the back of her hand leaving a smear of black in it's wake. Damn, she thought bitterly, that'll be the eyeliner.
"Secondly," he continued, "she had $2,341.82 saved up in cash to give you the day she was buried." He pulled a Manila envelope from his pocket and handed it to her.
"Here ye be," he said with a tight, some what forced grin, "I'll take you back to the house. The orphanage is picking you up in an hour." He looked at his watch.
She nodded her understanding with a sniff and followed him to his fancy silver Porsche. She sat down stiffly. He started the car and pulled out of the cemetery. The lawyer said nothing on the short drive back to what used to be her house. The radio was off and the only sound to be heard was the gentle hum of the engine.
Once the car rolled to a gentle stop, it's destination having been reached, the lawyer departed with a simple, "Good bye."
Violet exited the car and nodded her head curtly and gave a lazy wave. He sped off allowing himself only one backwards glance.
Shuffling her feet up the brick path, she opened the red front door tentatively. Looking around, she recalled where all her old furniture in the now barren and mostly emptied rooms had belonged. That was when reality came crashing down; she would never see this place again.
Storming wildly into her bedroom and slamming the door behind her so that the walls shook, she glared menacingly at herself in her full length mirror that hung idly on her closet door. Critically scrutinizing, she narrowed her eyes.
Her hair was raven black and had a natural purple sheen when in the sun. It was shaggy and unkempt because of its numerous edgy cut layers giving her the roughness of a rocker; not to mention the hoop looped through her nose, the star labret through her lip for a Monroe piercing, and the over zealously pierced ears. Her eyes, great round orbs of stormy grey against her pale complexion, shone like thunderous dark storm clouds. At the moment, she appeared bleak and lifeless, but she normally had rosy cheeks giving what would be dead features some life. A thin white scar zigzagged its way down her cheek from the corner of her left eye. She never knew where it came from but she enjoyed making up tales whenever people asked. Her small lips naturally settled in a definitive pout or a devilish smirk. It seemed she had no true grin. She was tall and slender, not supermodel scary thin... but thin enough where it seemed none of the normal clothes ever fit her right. She was pretty. Not amazingly drop dead gorgeous like her mother had been,p90x workout schedule, but she possessed enough spunk for people to find her attractive. Her surly attitude and sarcastic humor was what kept most people at bay. For her, this was a helpful attribute... just the way she liked it.
She sighed breaking eye contact from the mirror and became even more furious. She ran into the kitchen, searched the nearly empty cupboards, seized the best china that was left, and smashed it against the tile floor. The porcelain shattered spraying shards in every direction. One flew back and hit her on the lip, making it bleed; yet the effect was satisfying.
At that precise moment, she had made her decision. She would not let people order what to do and when to do it. She was her own person and could make her own decisions whether they were mistakes or life altering; it would be all her fault, no one else.
She raced back into her room, nearly falling headfirst around the corner of the hall, and began a violent frenzy of action. Stripping off her clothes, she changed into her favorite pair of black skinny jeans, a long sleeved black undershirt, and her maroon Panic! At the Disco shirt on top. She double checked to make sure she was wearing her black gemmed poison ring, and her swirly silver thumb ring. She put on her simple black choker, checked that she was still wearing her silver pentacle, and simple black locket.
Finding all in check, she grabbed her grey military style messenger bag, stuffing it with a pair of jean shorts, her black Bellatrix Lestrange shirt, and a pair of black and white checkered pajama pants. She shoved the manila envelope into a zipper pocket of the bag to ensure that it would not fall out. Slipping into her clunky, grey, lace up boots with the buckle; she swung her bag on her shoulder and scanned the room at the doorway.
"Oh Reg! Can't forget you!" She stumbled over to her big glass tank that stood at the foot of her small dais bed. Lifting up Reggie, her small black pet snake with narrow red eyes and a pointed flitting tongue, he entwined himself through her fingers and up her sleeve only to coil snugly around her neck, falling asleep.
She stood underneath the doorway once again, scanning her purple and black striped bedroom for the last time. She checked the cuckoo clock that hung on the wall in the hallway just outside her door.
"Better hurry," she muttered to Reg.
She quickly stopped into the 'library' of the house. Each wall was lined with shelves where stacks and stacks of books were sorted alphabetically. It pained her to have to leave them all. She scanned the bookshelves hastily.
"Eureka!" she cried out triumphantly, startling Reggie so that he raised his head in annoyance and gave a little hiss of defiance. Clutching the thick blue paperback book she had been searching for, she leafed through the comforting pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before putting it too into her bag.
Reaching into her back pocket, Violet pulled out her small black cellphone that was covered in black skulls and roses. She dialed one of her co-workers at Shorty's, Nashua's best Mexican Restaurant.
"Hey Lynn!" she greeted, "I was wondering... you still going to Florida? With Jose?"
"Yeah..." came her curious response over the phone.
"Do you think I can tag along? And would it be too much to ask if we left in say... 10 minutes?" she asked double checking with the clock hanging on the wall.
"Gosh! Sure! Jose is here now and the bags are all packed in the trunk; we were just waiting for a good time to leave... Now works!" she gushed happily over the phone.
"Good," Violet said, flooded with relief, "I will meet you there in about 5-10 minutes."
"'Kay! See you then!" she replied cheerily.
Violet ran her fingers through her hair. She grabbed her green military style jacket off the coat rack by the door and put it on, careful not to hurt Reggie who was still asleep on her neck. He wriggled a bit as the coat went on but settled down quickly enough with a few comforting words. She slipped on her turquoise and black, checkered and striped hobo gloves.
Hitching up her bag and buttoning her coat, she locked the doors. Turning on her heel, she whipped the only key as far as she could into the neighbors' bushes. She grinned mischievously at the thought of the social workers trying to get in with her and the key missing.
She made her way down the street, refusing to look back even once at what she was leaving behind. Once on the main road however, she had a hard time not glancing backwards. To someone driving by, it almost appeared as though her head were on a swivel. She was nervous that the police or the social workers were going to swoop down at any moment, condemning her to a dreary existence at the orphanage.
"Well," she muttered bitterly to Reg, "if they do, they're going to have to bloody drag me, damn it!"
After about 5 minutes of suspenseful brisk walking, Violet made it to Shorty's without any inconvenience. It was quite uneventful besides her jumping at every sound.
She pushed open the door and entered the brightly painted restaurant with the southern decorated theme. Lynn jumped up and down excitedly, her bright Irish blue eyes twinkling with the glee seen when someone knows they are being rebellious.
"Jose' just went to go and bring the station wagon up front. We handed in our aprons already, you going to do the same?"
"No, the less they know about me leaving the better." Violet checked her cellphone.
"About this time now the stupid social workers from the orphanage will be pounding their meaty fists on my front door right now..." she noted worriedly to herself.
Together, Lynn and she exited the restaurant as Jose pulled the old Station wagon up. Violet crawled into the back seat. Half of the seat was taken already by leafy green bags of pot and white powders of cocaine. She shoved them aside in disgust and sat down.
"Hey!" Jose hollered from the front, twisting frantically in his seat, "Watch the stash!" She rolled her eyes as Lynn sat in the front seat, near fit to burst with excitement.
"Okay Jose', let's go... quickly," Violet ordered eyeing the time apprehensively, they had to know she was gone by now. Jose glared at her through the rear-view mirror but did as she ordered with a sigh of exasperation, understanding the ride would not be an easy one.
The car sped off past where she had just come from. As she passed the street that led to her house, she ducked wearily from view. She watched as they passed the church, the condos, and the suburban houses. Her heart thumping wildly, she began to relax once they passed some of the Hollis Farms. That was when she remembered... taking her phone out of her coat pocket, she glanced at it longingly before rolling down her window and chucking it as far as she could into the snow of the annual strawberry patch.
She rolled her window back up.
When Lynn turned and gave her a quizzical look, she answered her unasked question with a muttered, "couldn't have them trailing me."
"I'm going to bed," Violet announced, "wake me up when we stop to eat." With that generally random announcement, she fell into a deep troubling sleep. Scenes ran through her mind of her being chased by a wolf through a peach grove. When it went behind a bush, it was a wolf, but emerging from behind the shadows, he was suddenly that smirking sinister man...
Violet's nose twitched as the car lurched repeatedly. She awoke with a big stretch and a wide tremulous yawn. Reggie too stirred around her neck. He hissed gently in her ear before coiling up again to sleep in a more comfortable position.
She noted the bumper to bumper traffic and the obnoxious honking of horns. The sky darkened and the billboards around the city began to light up with dazzling neon signs and displays.
"New York City?" she guessed. Jose jumped a little, startled.
"Yeah," he answered, "didn't know you woke." He rubbed his face as if he could scrub off the sleep that threatened to engulf him. His dark hair stuck out at odd angles and his chocolate brown eyes were partially covered by his drooping eyelids. His skin was a deep caramel tan.
Lynn stretched and yawned, waking also.
"Where are we?" she asked, failing to hide a tremendous yawn.
"New York City," he grumbled,Scarpe Gucci Italia, moving the car forward a couple inches before having to stop again. Lights flared and horns blared; people swore and kids whined.
"THAT'S IT!" Jose hollered in frustration. With some difficulty, he pulled the car out of the line of traffic to the side of the road and parked.
"I'm going to eat and sleep. We will leave here at 7. Maybe then the traffic will have lightened up. Go do whatever and meet me here." The clock on the dashboard read 6:15.
"'Kay," Lynn and Violet agreed simultaneously. They both got out of the car stiff-legged and cramped from being encased in such a small place. The two limped down the crowded street.
"What do you want to do?" Lynn asked, as they continued to meander down the street. Violet's stomach growled loudly in demand for it's fulfillment. Lynn chuckled and tossed her wavy brown hair over her shoulder.
She led the way entering a little cafe. Waiting in line, they bantered nonchalantly about what they would do once they reached Florida.
"Pffft. It's simple. I'm going to Disney and Wizarding World!" Violet said, only just deciding the plan while they talked. Lynn chuckled her cute giggle.
"I'm going to get an apartment and live with Jose. He's going to lie and say he's Puerto Rican...Though you know he's really an illegal alien... and then we'll live happily ever after." Violet rolled her eyes, her lips pursed in a sorry attempt to withhold her ever-present opinion.
"What?" Lynn demanded, hands on her hips, "Don't you believe in happy endings?"
"No. I don't," Violet answered quietly, "that's why I'm going to Disney. I can pretend they do. Truth to the matter is we all end up in a box where people forget who or even where you are and walk all over you. Your bones turn to dust and all that remains, if you're lucky, is a stone with your name engraved on it. That too will eventually crumble."
Lynn sobered instantly from this fact. Violet wanted to kick herself for putting a damper on her dreams and innocence. She was one of those few people whose mind wasn't tainted or desecrated by the filth and lies of the average human. She was pure, despite being on the run with an illegal drug dealing Mexican, which, on its own, was quite remarkable.
"How may I help you?" the cashier asked.
"Errrrr... I would like your chicken noodle soup." Violet turned expectantly, waiting for Lynn to order.
"I'll have the Caesar salad and lemon meringue," she ordered.
"Okay," the cashier said ringing up the total,Gucci Stivali, "that'll be $9.32."
Violet dug into her pocket and pulled out a crumpled twenty she had had in there for a while. He handed her the receipt and the meal they ordered. The two found an empty table and sat down. Violet stuffed the change in her pocket along with Reg, who until this moment was curled fast asleep around her neck.
"Sorry Reg..." she mumbled apologetically when he gave a little hiss of discontent.
"Who are you talking to?" Lynn asked curiously, spraying crumbs across the small table, having just taken the bite of her meringue.
"Oh errr... Just my little friend here, Reggie," she said, pulling him out of her pocket for closer inspection. He flicked his little, red, forked tongue in greeting. Lynn squealed and backed her chair up as far as she could go without hitting the people behind her.
"That is disgusting!" she exclaimed. She eyed the snake tentatively with trepidation. Reg hissed displaying his little white fangs; puffing up with indignation. Violet returned him back into her pocket with a shrug, she had met many people who possessed these feelings. It was either that reaction or the people coddled him, much to Reg's dismay.
The two conversed, a palpable awkwardness in the air, about the busyness of New York City and the long ride to come.
Lynn looked longingly at the little bit of lemon meringue and Caesar salad that was left over.
"I should bring some to Jose," she decided wearily. Gazing at the food intently, she stood reluctantly and began to pack up the food onto one plate.
"Here, I'll come with you," Violet offered, "I'm done with my soup." She sauntered over to the trashcan and discarded her empty Styrofoam soup bowl. She followed Lynn out of the cafe as they meandered down the busy sidewalk.
"Hello there," a scratchy voice muttered from a dark and dank alleyway. Violet and Lynn twisted around simultaneously to see a small, bone thin woman with ragged, unkempt, loose curls that hung listlessly down her back. Her hair was either a natural dirty blonde or she was simply so dirty that her locks appeared so. Her pale blue eyes were ringed heavily with thick, smudgy, black eyeliner giving her the wild manic look of a rabid raccoon.
She leaned against the side of the brick building in her too large mossy green trench coat. She wore ragged and ripped jeans with unlaced hiking boots.
"Listen," she began, "I'm in a bit of a sticky situation. I'm going to be beaten to a pulp if I don't get money for some necessary... errrr... medicines that I have snatched... The point is I am willing to perform a service...like tattooing or something." The troubled druggie shrugged her shoulders suggestively, obviously hoping one of the two dumb-founded girls would agree.
"No, I don't think so," Lynn snapped venomously, disgusted and offended by the offer. She began to stalk off, expecting Violet to follow her lead. Violet stood thoughtfully however in between the pissed off and impatient Lynn and the hopeful yet questionable druggie.
"You can't seriously be contemplating this!" Lynn asked in utter disbelief. Violet gave a petulant shrug and looked away deciding it best not to answer.
Lynn threw her hands up in exasperation and frustration.
"Whatever!" she cried out angrily, "I'm not your mother...do what you like. I'll be at the car." Violet's face hardened at the maddeningly bossy rant; her eyes narrowed at the receding form of the fuming Lynn.
"'Kay!" she called over her shoulder as she followed the druggie down the dark dreary alleyway filled with stinking dumpsters and other trash items that people threw, too lazy to try and make it in the trash. She stumbled to a sudden stop when the 'tattooist' came to a halt without warning, pulling out a moldy, tattered, black briefcase that was closed shut with rusted hinges and clasps from behind the putrid green dumpster.
"Here we are," she rasped. Violet watched as her bony arms seemed to nearly snap from the heavy lugging of the case.
"So what's your name?" Violet asked conversationally, cringing when she got a glimpse of the rusted needles that were being filled with ink.
"Acacia," she answered distractedly, concentrating more on the readying of the needles. She had a dangerous manic glint in her wide dilated eyes as she placed the black ink into the designated capsule of the needle. Eyeing this procedure with interest, she noted with utmost amusement that the women had an extra finger on her left hand that dangle limp and useless.
"Okay!" Acacia cheered with a sadistic dimpled grin, "what do you want and where?"
"I... er... want the deathly hallows symbol on my wrist," she directed. She sighed at the blank glazed response from Acacia.
"Like this," she informed, drawing a triangle with a circle in the middle and a line through all of it on the green and black grime found on the wall they were crouched next to.
"Simple enough..." Acacia shrugged. Taking the needle she began to pierce the ink into her skin, drawing the symbol. Violet winced, drew a sharp intake of breath, and bit the inside of her cheek from the pain. This process lasted for about 10 minutes before Acacia cheered an exuberant, "Done!" She knelt with an outstretched and eager palm. Violet reached into her pocket, moving Reggie to the side, to retrieve the change she had gained at the cafe from her purchase of the delicious meals.
"Thanks!" Acacia cackled, skipping off to pay the drug-dealers she had stolen from. Violet eyed her new tattoo skeptically. It was puffy and red, definitely irritated from the lack of practical equipment and sterilization. She walked out of the alleyway clutching her pained wrist protectively as it throbbed. So intent was she on getting back to the car that she didn't notice a young man in his twenty's come barreling into her, colliding heavily.
The man, who had dirty blonde hair and a cocky grin, jumped to his feet uninjured and unharmed. Violet, on the other hand, lay flat on her back. She groaned holding her hand to her head as she slowly sat up. Her hand flew instantly to her side to pet Reggie, making sure he was safe and unharmed. He hissed to prove his health was in order, even if his ego wasn't.
"I am so sorry!" the biker apologized profusely, holding out his hand helpfully, "are you all right!" She stood up avoiding his outstretched his hand. He eyed her up and down taking inventory of all the injuries: bloody lip, black eye, black and blue chin, and minor abrasions on her arms, hands, and knees. She slumped over to the stone steps of a tattoo parlor and sat down, a bit dazed. Dragging his bike over, he grabbed the little white box with a red cross from underneath his seat in a little zipper compartment. He began to clean some of her cuts with the antiseptic, accidentally brushing her arm lightly with his pinky fingertip. Violet squinted her eyes as if pained as she suddenly was the man. The stupid prick, he thought angrily, God damn; hope she doesn't sue...
She came to a shuddering stop as she was jolted back, seemingly herself. She shook her head,Tory Burch Heels, furious but still slightly dazed. Rummaging through the battered box, the smarmy man pulled out some bandages. He began to stick them on her hands and arms when he noticed her wrist.
"What the hell!" he said in wide eyed shock. He took a wipe and began to dab gently at the irritated tattoo.
"Is it broken?" he asked in worried confusion, holding her wrist gingerly, closely examining the puffy red area. He was nervous now about the legal issues that could be troubling him in the close future.
"No... errrrr... I recently got a tattoo." Violet lowered her head slightly abashed, quite embarrassed by her compulsive and rebellious decision. It reminded her greatly of the time she had been admonished for letting a friend pierce her nose and lip because of her grandmother's strict rules on ears only piercings. The man looked up at the brightly lit and extravagantly decorated sign that hung over their heads.
"Umm, not exactly," she replied shiftily, averting her eyes, trying to avoid the discussion, "It was actually in that alley next to the tattoo place." She tilted her head in the direction of where she had gotten the simple tattoo. She scowled as she said it, the confession sounding even more stupid and immature out loud. The man eyed her skeptically with a look that suggested he felt he was superior to her, only she knew that was exactly his opinion. Violet bristled.
"Aren't you only seventeen-eighteen?" he asked, his eyebrow arched in question.
"That's none of your business," Violet replied waspishly. Her face became stony as her eyes blazed fiercely and she jutted her chin out stubborn and indignant. This defensive act confirmed the man's question that she was not old enough to have a tattoo... she may not have been old enough to even be by herself.
"Your point?" she challenged testily, contempt dripping heavily from every fiber of her being.
"My point! You are ridiculously stupid!" the man laughed heartily and obnoxiously. He shook jovially from his raucous laughter.
"To each his own," she answered coldly, "besides, it doesn't affect you in anyway what so ever. So you carry on your damn way to the grave and I will do the same with mine."
"By the way," she tacked on with a smirk of the devilish kind, "do everyone a favor, take your damn tight spandex, shove it up your ass, and take some of your pretty boy money that we all know you have and buy some frecan clothes. By the way I believe your fianc��e Anne Smith won't be happy that you have been spending some nights slutting it up with her sister... Lisa."
Violet grinned with her victorious burn as he plucked dubiously at his skin tight black spandex and an ugly red slowly creeped up his face, acknowledging what she said was true. She waved her hand dismissing the annoying prick of a biker as he stood dumb struck and sputtering.
He stammered, groping for a reasonable retort, "next time, watch where you are going you whore." He peddled off quickly, looking relieved he had managed to get away from the "secret-spilling, maniacal, whorish witch".
Violet stood holding the antiseptic wipe and continued to gingerly swab her wrist. She stormed back to the station wagon, ready to leave rapidly before anything else ludicrous or stupid occurred.
She came to a sudden halt at the scene that unfolded a mere 10 feet before her. Lynn was being handcuffed as tears streamed down her freckled face,true religion jeans günstig, while Jose was chased down by three cops. He was having a hard time running away due to the fact his pants were hanging half way down his ass.
Violet chuckled humorlessly to herself, now considerably all alone, she was not fazed. Though people often said her grandmother took care of her, the truth to the matter is she was often away at bingo or some sophisticated society, there for she was never truly around to care. Violet had often made her own way 'cooking' microwave meals and doing laundry, or simply crumpled in a ball; face inches away from a spell binding book.
Now, she was down a ride and stranded in a cruelly busy city where no one gives a damn about anyone. To top it off, her money and the bag were in the car that was now being searched for more drugs. Jose was squished into the back of the cruiser next to the hysterically sobbing Lynn.
Violet began to panic, she needed some sort of distraction, and now; that is if she was going to escape notice when retrieving her bag. She turned frantically scanning the crowd when she noticed a little whining boy relentlessly tugging on his mother's pant leg.
"I want a pop!" he wailed miserably; the mother continued to gawk nosily at the scene that was taking place. Violet hurriedly checked her pockets, making a pissed Reggie hiss menacingly as she groped around him.
Pretending to drop something, Violet whispered, "Hey, hey kid." He stopped wailing and glared daggers at her.
"My name. is Zac," he growled bitterly.
"Errr...okay. Zac. I need you to do something for me..." she began conspiringly.
"I ain't doing nothing for you," he interrupted, crossing his little chubby arms.
"Oh you will if you want this pop," she threatened, holding a blue raspberry pop tantalizingly out of reach. She always carried some candies and chocolate in her pocket due to her ravenous sugar addiction. Luckily, she had a good lollipop flavor in her pocket, not one of the suckish kinds such as watermelon.
The kid eyed the lollipop with wide longing eyes.
"So do we have an understanding?" She smirked as he nodded with a slightly dazed and awestruck gaze.
"Alright," she grinned victoriously, "you need to run right in front of the car right there and distract them however you can. Do whatever it takes to make sure that police officer doesn't notice me. I will come to you signaling when the 'act' is over. "
"Okay," the little kid nodded enthusiastically. He ran into the middle of the crowd of onlookers, shoving a few people brusquely out of the way and began to pretend to choke. The cruiser pulled out to bring Lynn and Jose to the station, while the other two cops eyed the small 'choking' child with a panicky uncertainty, neither knew how to perform CPR.
"Can't breathe!" the kid sputtered, inhaling deeply with great rattling breaths. Everyone gathered around as the mother shrieked. Violet crept over to the station wagon and opened the back door quietly, everyone's attention being on the little devious child. She reached her hand searchingly under the front seat from the back where she had stowed the bag for the journey. She grabbed the bag and quickly but silently shut the door. Her mission accomplished, she scurried up to the boy who lay on the cold cement, holding his breath so his face went blue.
Violet knelt over his little body and whispered into his ear to get up, thankful that her shaggy hair covered any conspicuous glances or actions. He sat up, a wide grin spread across his face from cheek to cheek, as his hysterical mother attacked him with hugs and kisses a plenty. The little kid was now clutching his blue raspberry lollipop in his small tight fist.
"Oh my poor baby!" the mother sobbed, "What were you choking on!"
"Air momma," he answered innocently. The mother blushed an instant beet red as Violet hooted with laughter. The police officers stalked over; furious they had been showed up as fools. They began to reprimand her on her awful parenting skills. Voila! An instant argument was aroused.
Violet walked off, a slight bounce in her steps, bag slung across her shoulder, and a small smirk accenting her strange and unusual luck. After a few blocks of walking, her bounce began to fade gradually but surely until she gave up all together and sat with her head in her hands on a nearby bench. She had no idea how she was going to get to Florida now. What to do... What to do?
A black mustang came to a creeping stop in front of the bench Violet sat at. She looked up wearily.
"Do you need a ride?" The driver rolled down the passenger window and peered through. He had blonde hair streaked blue and spiked with gel. He had a hoop through his nose and one through the corner of his lip.
"Err... actually yeah," she answered uncertainly. A strange vibe emitted from him, filling her with unease and worry... it was one she could not recognize or truly understand.
"Where you headin'?" he asked, reaching across the passenger street to open the door for her to enter.
"Well," she answered, "as far south as you would be obliged to take me."
"I'm driving to Washington... is that far enough?" he asked hopefully.
"Yeah, I can hitch another ride from there," she nodded thankfully. She seated herself down and tucked her bag beneath her feet. As soon as she was settled in the luxurious seats of his car, he pulled out from the sidewalk to be sandwiched in the midst of the bumper to bumper traffic.
"So," the young man began conversationally, "are you from around here?" Violet peered sideways carefully. His dark brown eyes were full of question and genuine interest. She wished to avoid this interrogation but was too charmed by his carefree smile that seemed to never leave his face.
"No," she answered cautiously, "I'm from Nashua, New Hampshire."
"I see," the young man said, with a curious tinkle in his big soft eyes, "You strayed far... So why did you leave?-wait that's too personal... forget I asked that."
"No," she answered, heaving a deep sigh, "It's a fair enough question and seeing you are giving me a ride I might as well divulge..." By the time she finished explaining and reasoning for her escapade, the two were speeding down the highway. She pulled Reggie out of her pocket and analyzed him closely.
"He's cute," he said with a small smile, looking over to see the snake, "So... your grandmother's death kind of set all this in motion?..."
"Well yeah," Violet stated as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, "I wasn't going to live in that stupid orphanage. Besides, I like to travel, and it's my life. I have the right to pursue my happiness." She rested her head back on the leather seats. The lull of the speeding car was beginning to make her sleepy. She stared bleary eyed and unfocused outside of the window as the scenery seamlessly blended into acre large farms with fields dotted here and there with black and white patched cows. He turned the radio on to fill the silence. Violet perked at the song that filled the car.
"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste, I've been around a long, long year, and stole many a man's soul and faith..."
"I love this song," she cheered sleepily, "Sympathy for the Devil; Rolling Stones." She nodded her head dreamily to the beat of the tune that sounded from the speakers.
"Pleased to meet you... hope you guess my name, ah, what's puzzling you is the nature of my game..." Violet hummed quietly and began to doze off at the comforting and familiar song.
Her dream began with the usual swaying palm trees and sanded beaches. The ocean waves lapped peacefully against the seashore. The beautiful and hunky Jack Sparrow sat next to her, simply talking and absent mindlessly twisting her fingers... The dream began to dissolve around her and was filled with shadowed faces. Some leered while others stared open mouthed in fright. Two female faces shown out clearly, but when she woke she would not be able to describe them anyway. All the faces melted, only to reform itself into a figure she would not soon forget; it was the man who haunted her at the funeral and now haunted her in her dreams. His dirty blonde, lanky, shoulder-length hair lay limp and unframing around his smirking sinister face. His deep set black eyes leered with the attentiveness of a treacherous predator. He mouthed one sentence, "it will be you."
Violet woke with a start, struggling and gasping for air. She glanced around wildly, being rather disoriented. A hand grabbed her shoulder making her jump, frantic.
"Calm down," a voice murmured comfortingly. The man was sitting next to her watching worriedly. The events of the day flitted through her mind as she reminisced, allowing her breathing to regulate into slow even breaths.
"Jeesh, you okay?" he asked quizzically, eyebrows furrowed. Violet nodded not trusting herself to speak. Her reflection on the car window revealed her hideous condition. She had a sheen of sweat covering her unusually pale and lifeless face. Her grey eyes were wide and dilated with terror as her hair stuck out at odd angles even more so than usual. Her rosy cheeks and plum plump lips had drained of color, making her appear as she thought she would look like when she died.
"I'm sorry... errrr... I had a nightmare." she croaked, rubbing her neck in an attempt to get her tense muscles to loosen.
"I'll say," he confirmed," you tossed and turned moaning over and over for him to leave you alone?... who's him?"
"Oh just some creepy guy who showed up at the funeral..." Violet leaned back and rubbed her eyes with the palm of her hands. If possible, she was even more tired now than she was before she fell asleep. She blinked her eyes rapidly in a desperate attempt to keep them open. They were parked next to a gas pump at a small gas station just outside of D.C. She reached down into her bag and pulled out a crisp twenty dollar bill.
"Here," she ordered, shoving the bill into his hand. He stared at it unwilling and refusing to take the money.
She shook her head vigorously, "take it... you deserve it for putting up with such an unprofessional hitch hiker." She smiled a small smirk. He reluctantly stuffed the twenty into his pocket.
"Listen, there is something I need to ask you," he began awkwardly," See I run this, want of a better word 'business'. I wondered if you would want to join?" Violet raised her eyebrows understanding he was about to put his foot in his mouth and ruin the respect she had for him.
"What the hell are you raving about?" she asked in frustration, itching to touch his hand so she could find out already, but he was too far from reach for an inconspicuous poke. It would be to awkward to reach across and touch him to get some glean of insight.
"Well ummm... I am most commonly misconstrued as a pimp..." he sighed, slightly abashed and avoiding eye contact. He became quite interested in his left hand's nails.
"Are you kidding me!" Violet laughed hysterically without humor, "you want me to be a whore?" Her face was set in a hardened expression of incredulity.
"I'm only suggesting it to protect you from dangerous guys out there that take advantage of pretty girls like you..."
"No," Violet interrupted venomously, "you are the guy who hands 'pretty girls' like me on a silver platter ensuring the sickos have a knife, fork, spoon, napkins, and a belly full of wine. You will get them anything to ensure their happiness and that your pocket is lined with cash." She jabbed her finger accusingly, poking him hard in the chest with each angry syllable. She shook her head furiously and grabbed her bag. She stormed out, slamming the car door for emphasis of her fury. She marched angrily down the highway muttering under her breath.
"I'm not a whore."
His black car trailed her; the bright luminous lights lit her path better than the clouded moon that hid up in the dark starless sky.
He rolled down his window.
"Come on," he wheedled, "at least let me take you the rest of the way into D.C."
"No." She continued on her way quickening her steps.
"It's dark out, not a good time for sweet desperate girls..."
"You would know," she retorted, "now leave me the bloody hell alone!"
"Fine," he said with an angry and frustrated sigh. He raced off into the night, tires squealing, as the dark forms of trees swayed in a chilling breeze, branches reaching out threateningly.
Violet inhaled deeply and nervously as she was left in a mostly empty highway that was quite dark. She began her trek slowly with trepidation and chills. Having trudged for about 5 minutes, she came to a sudden halt. A big looming figure of a wolf with dark and shaggy locks stood tall and fiercely, blocking her way.
His white teeth were sharp and jagged, glistening in the surrounding darkness; his dark eyes shining, strangely familiar. Violet took a sharp gasp of breath. Headlights fell on the beast revealing black fur and a black nose. He flinched back into the shadowy protection of the trees with a low rumbling growl.
"You need a ride you hooligan?" a wrinkly old woman squawked sticking her heads out of the window.
"Yeah," Violet answered with a tremulous nod.
"Well then get in!" she barked.
Violet turned scanning the surrounding area. She backed up carefully until she bumped into the car. She quickly turned wrenching open the door and jumping in.
"You're a weirdy," the old lady snickered. Her many wrinkles were etched in a permanent sullen frown, her Avon red lips pursed as though they constantly tasted lemon.
The rosary beads swayed violently as the old lady sped off, down the highway beginning a constant string of nosy interrogations.
"What the hell are you doing on a highway at night? Why do you wear so much eyeliner?... you look like a raccoon. What's with the piercings?... it's disgusting. Why are you traveling? Where are you from? Why do you keep looking nervously over your shoulder?"
"First of all," Violet began, "none of these questions pertain to you so I don't see why you should know. I am on the highway at night because some dumb ass left me here at this time. Second, I like black eyeliner, deal. Third, I get piercing because I like the adrenaline rush and rebellion of old hags like you...it's basically the same reason you go to bingo, it makes you feel bad ass. The rest is personal and none of your business."
The woman scoffed but otherwise seemed unperturbed by Violet's long winded rant. Violet sighed and rolled her eyes, lying on her arm where it rested on the window as a sort of pillow. She knew this self-centered egotistical type...they never listened.
The woman rattled on about the importance of conformity and its attributes. Violet closed her eyes in a sorry attempt to get some sleep. Her thoughts were to befuddled by large wolfish beasts, pedophilic men at funerals, pimps searching for whores, and the meaningless chatter of the lady beside her.
The old lady's voice continued to grate on her ears for another 15 minutes as she stared dejectedly out the window. They had finally made it to the crowded city of D.C. Lawyers ran about in high stilettos, briefcases swinging wildly into photogenic tourists. Bums lazed about holding out plastic cups as they begged for change despite the terribly late hour of the night...
"Did you hear me!" the old lady hollered, startling Violet so that she jumped, hitting her elbow painfully on the window.
"What?" she asked testily, rubbing her now bruised elbow.
"I asked," the Old Lady grumbled, "What do you think Jesus did the day he was resurrected? I think he killed the bastards that tortured him."
"Well, I'm not the person to be asking such questions. I am not even sure that I believe what is written in the bible... I gave up on church a while ago."
"What?" the woman shrieked horrified, she slammed on the car brakes causing many cars to honk and drivers curse angrily. She didn't care.
"OUT!" she ordered shrilly, "don't darken my doorsteps with your blasphemous ideas you devil!" She shoved Violet bodily out of the car onto the dirty sidewalk. Violet clumsily stood and caught her bag as the mad lady whipped it at her. The old woman shook a fist angrily and sped off down the road much to the backed up traffic's pleasure.
The woman's bumper sticker read:
+JESUS 3 YOU!+
Believe Now or Burn in Hell
Violet stood slightly dazed on the sidewalk and blinked, able to rid herself of confusion. The strange one way conversation they had had in the car began to make sense, like dominoes falling into place.
She would get picked up by an over religious psycho, all the people possible in picking her up: axe murderers, serial killers, strange business men, anyone; she gets the one who hates those who aren't of the same narrow-mind as herself.
"I'll give you blasphemy," she threatened under her breath. Turning to a hobo that lounged on a park bench, she asked, "Which way to the nearest train station?"
"Why there's one 'bout 5 minutes' walk from here," he said and began explaining the directions. She was sick of the hectic crazy hitch hiking and decided she could risk splurging some of her money.
"Thanks," Violet nodded, handing him a crisp $10 bill from her messenger bag. The smelly hobo thanked her profusely and skipped down the street gleefully, certain that it was to fill up on more booze. Once the hobo had left, Violet took poor bedraggled Reggie out of her pocket. He was limp and tired, probably hungry too. She would have to find some place soon that he can go catch a meal. She looked into his dull red eyes and petted his head sorrowfully. She put him on her shoulder where he slithered to his usual resting spot, curled snugly around her neck.
Violet meandered her way through the twisted and crowded sidewalks until arriving shortly at the train station.
"May I help you?" the ticket woman droned in a monotonous tone from behind her Plexiglas booth. Translation: Will you hurry the hell up so I can go on my damn lunch break you imbecilic.
"Yes," Violet said waspishly, she did not like to be called stupid...whether out loud or in that person's head. "I need a one way ticket to Florida."
The woman snorted malevolently, "There is no train for Florida... go to North Carolina and then you can switch trains there to go to Florida." The lady snorted her contempt, now being pretty blatant about her feeling of superiority.
"Fine, give me one way ticket to North Carolina then," she snapped, frustrated with the lack of helpfulness this woman was being.
"That'll be $62.50," she droned, and popped the bright pink bubblegum. Violet muttered madly about the disregard for others and the blatant robbery going on in the traveling industry. She reluctantly took out the cash and paid the rude ticket seller. The woman dropped the change and ticket bitterly on the counter, for Violet to scramble to pick up.
Before Violet walked away she called over her shoulder, "It must suck to be trapped at a train station where people are constantly traveling, living their dream. Oh the irony." She loved the face that she left the amazed and heartbroken ticket seller, understanding that travel was her goal in life. The ticket read that the train would depart in 10 minutes. Violet went and sat on the bench that faced the silvery steel railroad track. Head back and gazing at the plain marble ceiling she contemplated the events that had occurred. It was late; the fluorescent lights illuminated everyone with a nasty alien like glow. Everyone around her was tired, each having had dilemmas and problems of their own. Suddenly, a loud train came rumbling and barreling down the track. It came to a screeching halt with a shudder and a low sigh of steam. Grabbing her bag that lay next to her on the bench, Violet scrambled to the second to last caboose, finding a solitary seat and glaring menacingly at anyone who had the thought or intention of sitting in any of the seats surrounding her. She leaned her head against the cool pane of glass and listened to the quiet murmured chatter of the people that stalked up and down the aisle.
"Here's a complementary pillow, miss," a young helper of the conductor offered. He handed her a flat fluff-less pillow to sleep on.
"Thanks," she muttered, crotchety and peeved. He walked away; too happy and awake for her liking. Crumpling her pillow into a lumpy ball she attempted to find a comfy spot. Reggie hissed, disgusted at her tossing. She sighed and rolled her eyes.
Violet closed her eyes the entire journey of the rattling train. She didn't see the light powder of snow that had fallen in D.C. disappear as the train moved on further south. Bleak whites and browns made way to spring greens and bright earthy browns, not those dreary tones of death and decay. The morning sun rose shining its rays on the spunky girl whose snake lay coiled up around her throat having left from her pocket as she half slept to find some mice to eat. He had gotten to scare two old women, giving them angina, and startled a now severely shaken mother and daughter. He hissed his content. The girl on the other hand slept fitfully, a little string of drool making a tiny puddle on the terribly flat complementary pillows. She woke with a stretch and an awful crick in her neck. She sat for a few minutes to get her bearings. She looked at the window at the green stretch of grass that lay before. Violet smiled a small smile. She had at least made it south...in a few more hours' time she would finally be in Florida.
The train hissed to a stop at the final station.
"All personnel must leave the train being the final stop. Take all your things with you for we aren't liable. Have a good day." the intercom ordered in a false, cheery, robotic voice. Everyone exited the train in varying degrees of excitement. People pulled overstuffed luggage cases, every one of them seeming to be red because the owners thought they would be different and be able to spot theirs better. Violet shouldered her bag and left, double checking on her way out that Reggie still snoozed around her neck. She went up to this stations ticket booth where a cheerful old man greeted her.
"Good Morning" he greeted perkily, a wide smile across his face.
"Mornin'," Violet mumbled, she was not a morning person, "I need a ticket to Florida. The soonest one you've got." She held back a yawn bringing tears to her eyes.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry," he apologized, his face falling slightly upon hearing the request," that train broke down. There won't be one until two days from now."
"Damn it!' Violet swore, making him frown disapprovingly, not that she could care. She stalked off, now in a pissy mood. She couldn't afford to say in a hotel for even a night, never mind two days! She stalked out of the train station. It seemed that she was back to hitch hiking.
Violet shrugged out of her coat and hung it over her bag so it wouldn't be in her way. It was warm and the air was slightly thicker with the humidity. It was lovely. Birds sang with their melodious chirps and she was in a smaller town, not a busy city. She was still in a surly mood, though it was hard to be with all the light springy air. Wandering around aimlessly, she finally made it on a southbound highway. She trudged down it knowing she looked like a mess and realizing she really had to pee. She hummed Mona Lisa, by Panic! At the Disco thoughtlessly as she gazed at the scenery around her and the passing cars.
Violet twisted suddenly on her heel, she eyed a small olive green Yaris roll to a gentle stop behind her. She eyed the parked car with great trepidation and narrowed eyes, weary of who would be behind that tinted window...