She appears at the opening to my shelter. Drenched. Clothes in tatters.
“Hey, Zach.” Like nothing had happened. Like she hadn’t been gone for months.
“So, uh, how’ve you been?” she asked. Awkward much?
“Really? Really? Wow.” I’m stunned. Not really sure what to say to her. She was supposed to be my friend. I told her everything. And then she disappeared. Why the hell should I just take her back like nothing had happened. Like she was just here yesterday?
“You want some coffee or something?” I hang my head in my hands. Notice the left finger that should be there to rub the headache forming at my temple. Guess this one is coming on whether I like it or not.
I just can’t say no to her.
She’s not one of us. But she’s not from the City either. I’m not really sure what she is or where she came from. But for some reason, I trust her. She listens. I talk. A lot.
She turned up a couple of years ago. We had a disaster and she was just there. She said she had met a Wanderer who told her about what had happened, and she felt like she cold help.
Honestly, she didn’t do all that much. Helped with a roof here, a wall there. Not useless, mind you, but also not some kind of superhero. But she stayed.
And everyone started to like her. Mainly because she wasn’t really scared of us. More like curious, really. Like she wanted to understand us. She asked us to tell our stories. She sat with Arthur for hours at a time. She didn’t talk much about herself. Like I said, I’m not sure where she came from or what she did before. She was just there. Pitching in.
Since she didn’t have The Rot, she was pretty useful. She could go a little more all-in when building carts or helping the Old Ones, so she did that a lot. That worked out pretty well…they like having her around. They babble about the slivers of memories they had from The Days When There Was Night. They tell her about moonlight, and she smiles and nods for them.
But I thought what we had was different. She was special. I trusted her.
And she disappeared.
And now she’s back.
I walk around my shelter in silence. I’m not going to make this easy for her. Why should I?
She watches. Waits.
That infuriates me, you know. Her patience. She’s always been like this. She just kind of waits. And I know that I’m going to cave in. I know I’ll start talking. I’ll tell her everything, and she’ll share nothing. That’s how it is.
But I’ll make her some coffee first.
I look at her and relax a little bit. She knows me too well. She sees her opening.
She takes a deep breath.
“I’ve been to the City.” She sips the coffee and smiles like she’s home again.
I missed that.
This could be worth forgiving.
Who is she? Leave a comment…