Three Days Part 2

The ice cubes in my glass clink together as I push the remnants of my drink away. I get up. My shoes squeak against the wet floor. Simon’s predatory gaze follows me to the back door and out.
I can’t believe that an evil bastard like him is out in broad daylight, walking among all those innocents that could be his victims at the drop of a hat. If only I was able to take him out before the massacre begins. But no. There are rules. No matter how many lives are at stake, I’m still bound to play the game. Fortunately, Reeps and the other freaks are bound as well. There won’t be any killing, raping or destruction a week before the anniversary of conflict.
Coming out of the back door, cold hair rushes against my face, ruffling my hair and obscuring my vision with dark strands. I shiver, pull my coat closer. I brush the hair out of my face.
The red light of an exit sign stains the barren alley before me. Nothing stirs; not even rodents scurrying in between trash cans. In the center of the alley, I can see something glinting in midair.
It floats steadily towards me, a circle gleaming underneath the rusty lighting. I reach out to grab it, but the coin shoots into the air and my fingertips graze nothingness.
“Call it.”
A calm, self-assured and pleasant voice. I remember it.
I glance up to see Ellen as she glides down. She’s crouched low on a flattened trash can lid that hovers about six feet above me. It smoothly descends to the ground where she walks to meet me. Her right hand covers the coin sitting on her left.
“Call it.”
“Why?” I’ve never liked gambling without knowing the stakes.
“It’s just a coin flip.”
“But for what?”
“Stop overanalyzing and call it.”
I’ve missed Ellen. I really have. Not that I can let her know that. I look down at the slender hands that cover each other. “Heads.” I always go with heads.
She laughs. “You always pick heads.”
She moves her hand. A steely red eagle calmly glares up at me.
“You lose.” She smiles at me, and I feel like a winner.
I step back. Focus. That’s what I need to do. No need to reawaken old feelings this close to such a dangerous time.
“What do you want?” My tone is brusque, more so than I had intended, and she looks taken aback.
“I just thought I would say hi. Bad time?”
“You could say that.” Seeing Reeps so close to the Three Days Massacre has put me on edge, given me the same itchy, uncomfortable feeling that I always get when I see him in his true form.
“About time to be dragging the emblems out of the closet, eh?”
“I don’t see how you can be so cavalier about what’s coming.”
“You’ve been in this city for too long, Drake. I’ve just never understood why you need a symbol for the Three Days.”
“It can give people hope. They’ll be needing plenty of that when freaks like Simon Reeps come knocking at their doors.”
“Reeps is still alive?” Even in the bad lighting I can see the shock evident in her face. I nod.
“He works here.” I jerk my thumb back to the bar.
“Doesn’t he…attract attention?”
“No. Looks like someone’s made prosthetics or something for him. A suit maybe? Better than living in the sewers for ten years, I guess.”
Ellen bites her lip, and I suddenly wish that I hadn’t brought Simon up. She meets my eyes.
“How did you know it was him?”
“You kidding me? Who else has such a creepy voice?”
“Right.”
We stand there awkwardly for a few moments, silence hanging heavy like a shroud, before she throws her arms around me. My arms fall around her more from surprise than anything else.
“I’ve missed you, Lucas.” Her voice is muffled, buried somewhere in my shoulder. Almost of its own volition, my hand floats up to cup the back of her head. She’s still wearing her hair the same way, short and dark. I’d always liked it like that.
Damn it. This isn’t supposed to happen.
“I…” I can’t say it, even though I want to. I should have pushed her away by now. I can’t afford this.
I carefully disengage myself from her arms. She looks crumpled, like something’s missing, something that I hope isn’t called Drake. There’s a hard edge to her as she looks at me.
“I don’t get you.” Her eyes are accusing and melancholy. “Why do you always push me away?”
“I’m sorry. I–” I clear my throat, wanting to stay, wanting to hold her. But I can’t.
“I’ll see you in a few days, Ellen.” She’s silent as I turn away from her and head down the alleyway.
The street is a welcome respite of open sky and streetlights, a nice departure from confusion and a red exit sign. I press the bronze button for the crosswalk and take in a deep breath.

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Comments
  1. kayla sikes says:

    back for round two, omg

    things that were good:

    oh man, I love this narrator so much more than Simon. seriously, he’s likeable and not a sadistic asshole and he’s just…he’s relateable. which is always great and helps people get into the story, if they can find some kind of reflection of things they’re familiar with in a world that they aren’t familiar with. gives us normal stomping ground to work with, I guess.

    I like Ellen. because of her name she makes me think of Ellen Page, which um, I automatically like her now! anyway, with the coin flip and just the way you have her talking, she seems like an awesome character, very authentic feeling.

    I love the description of the alley, especially the light staining the pavement, that was so gorgeous and vivid.

    the description of the whole last paragraph was equally gorgeous and awesome!

    things that were marginally less good:

    I think Ellen cried way too quickly. I mean, you comment on the overly huge amount of tears yourself, and that just makes it more obvious that the emotional reaction was super strong. and the transition from normal conversation between friends to ~melodrama~ was a bit fast. plus, I have no clue what she’s crying about, so I’m just left sort of bewildered and fed up with her for being overly emotional.

    the description of the coin ‘gleaming like blood under a streetlamp,’ it just didn’t work, sorry :/ it’s not clear at all and unnecessarily gory, even in this setting. also, the ‘eagle screams up at me’, ‘screams’ is just way too intense and human of a verb.

    ok, see you soon then, I liked this chapter a lot more than the last and I feel like this is overall really going somewhere. great job :]

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