I also explained to him that, seeing as he could not keep out of my business, and the girl escaping in the first place was mostly his fault (he disagreed thoroughly, that), he was going to help me clear up the rapidly upsurging debt I was accumulating. That, he seemed perfectly willing to accept…
The Sheriff’s Office, more appropriately a multistory bunker, sat squarely in the center of town guarded by a high wall and mounted turrets and framed by two large spires on either side each with an array of thick coiled cables conjoining various buildings. The sentries at the front opened the doors for us to enter a short hall where a non-automated guard sat behind a walled desk. He snapped his head up from his work, straightening his posture, but smiled and relaxed when he saw who it was. The man greeted Eizak and perked an eyebrow, “what’re ya doin’ with this rascal, Zak?” motioning to me.
“Ain’t’cha heard: I’mma changed man; turned a new leaf; on the straight’n’narrow.” I rattled on as we passed him and continued down the hall and I heard him mumble something cynical.
A handful of deputies wandered hollow halls leading to the epicenter of detention and processing. We caught the Marshal’s eye from across the room; she was brooding over an older deputy, her brow turned down with worry. Nearby, the girl was seated on the floor with her legs tucked underneath her – she appeared as though she were meditating, her eyes closed and her rag covered form unmoving. When the Marshal noticed us, she cut her conversation short and marched over, “what’d you get into this time?” She threw the accusation between the two of us.
I took point, “nothin’ new, just more debts to deal with. That girl wins first place as worst headache of my life — did’ja shoot’er yet?”
She was unamused, “no. She’s been calm and cooperative since we got here. You found her in the dunes?” I confirmed her inquiry. “Yeah, well, she says she’s from beyond the Sea and that you’re the reason she’s here.” I reminded the Marshal that I had not been beyond the Sea in well over two centuries; the girl barely looked to be a century and a half. “Truth or not, you brought her to this town and she’s been trouble which makes her your responsibility.” I knew that. “I ain’t gonna keep her here, she don’t deserve that, but I can’t have her capering about like a hobo and we can’t just throw her back on the dunes.” Could we not? I joked. The Marshal rolled her eyes and began to lead me and Eizak over to where the girl was sitting silently.
“What’s her name?” Eizak questioned and stepped ahead of us, overeager to properly introduce himself.
“I was never given one.” She spoke flatly and unmoving and with a tone that perfectly fit the level of her surroundings – not too loud or too quiet. Her disposition seemed Janus-faced from the intense girl I had met before. She opened her eyes and locked them unto me and I could see the dull fire of hatred simmering in her pale eyes. “They do not name us.”
Everyone turned their eye to me and a profound silence fell briefly. “What? Tell me y’all ain’t enterainin’ this.” No answers came back and I furrowed my brow before locking eyes with the girl, “look, I don’t know who they are, or who the heck you think I am, but where I come from, where I’ve been, everybody gets a name. Even sudi’qogen mesaa quriqo’keht who’ve been a bigger headache than they’re worth.”
“Maqola! Paneh’sudi miish’vun’tueh. Ma qogen eht qokaa sudi qun.” She spat back, fluently, in a language I did not expect to hear from someone of her age or in this part of the world.
The elder deputy chuckled and shook his head, “I don’t think she cares for you much there Aarden. Y’all catch any of that?” I glowered but when eyes fell back on me I shrugged and crossed my arms.
“Well, how’s about we just call you Sunny, then?”
“What, because of her oh-so-pleasant disposition?” I murmured and caught a glare from the Marshal. Eizak rubbed his head, rethinking the name after I had shot it down as nothing more than a poor pun.
“I like it. I will accept this name.” The girl, Sunny, stood up and Eizak broke into a wild smile. A ghost of a smile grazed her lips before she looked at me again and I played with the idea that she had accepted the name out of nothing but spite.
Word of the Day: Janus-faced (7/10/2017)