Part 1763 – “I Need Something Better.”

Sarah fell asleep with The Phantom of the Opera tight in her grip.

Barbara tried to pull it away from her so she could put it in a safe place.

The small XQ burst into flames.

Barbara gave up and let the girl sleep with her book.

Sarah’s flames retreated into her body.

Barbara laid down beside her.

What’s going to happen to you? I don’t know if Ambrose and I can legally adopt you, especially with him being a vampire. Seems like that would be a flat rejection. So, that means Raven can’t adopt you either.

The Institute’s burned down. So, you can’t go back there. Not that I would send you back to the place that stole away your voice and memories.

I could ask my dad. But he isn’t as young as he used to be. I mean, not that he’s sickly or anything. Still. If something happens to him, you’ll be back to square one.

What about Jeff? Would it even be fair to ask him, considering the state that Missy’s in?

But we can’t let you go into the whole adoption/fostering system. Not with your tendency to randomly burst into flames.

So? What’s the solution?

Barbara closed her eyes.

I’ll have to talk to Dad and Jeff later. See what they say.

As Barbara drifted off to sleep, she knew one thing for absolute certain.

If we asked Sarah what she wanted, she’d want to stay with Ambrose. I’m sure of it.

I wonder what happened to her parents.

***

Carthage walked down the street, seething.

I can’t believe it.

I still can’t believe it.

How did they slip past me? It must have happened when I left for the restroom, but—

He stopped and yelled his frustrations at the sky in one loud, “ARRGH!”

A homeless man huddled against a nearby storefront gave Carthage an anxious look. He quickly scooped up his small world of possessions and hurried down the sidewalk.

“Ohhh, what am I going to do?” He contemplated the dawning sky.

I guess I’ll go home and get some sleep.

He sighed.

I guess I should be glad that I have a home to go to.

I wonder where LM went.

***

LM hid in the small copse of trees at the outer edge of the tent sight. He could still see the circus lights and smell stale popcorn.

This is the farthest I’ve ever gone.

I need to keep going.

He’ll notice I’m missing.

He’ll know to search for me here.

But.

I don’t know where to go.

He wrapped his arms around his thin, narrow chest.

I guess I just need to keep moving.

The longer I stay here, the sooner I’ll be caught.

I don’t want to be caught.

I don’t…

Heavy thunder rumbled.

LM looked up at the overcast sky.

I could stay here.

I could run.

But.

My wings will get wet. I can’t dry them by myself.

They’ll get feather shaft rot.

LM looked at the tents.

So near and so far.

Thunder sounded again, even louder than before.

LM stood.

I don’t have a choice.

He ran back to the tents to the sound of thunder in the sky.

***

LM opened his eyes.

Dawn colored the sky and lit up the dingy alley.

I can’t live like this.

The sky is clear now, but it will rain.

It will rain and I have nothing to dry my wings with. My feathers will rot. The rot will spread to my trec lun bone and break it down. The rot will spread through the bone into my blood stream and slowly break down the rest of my bones.

It isn’t a pleasant way to die.

I need something better than this.

Capernaum would say I deserve better than this. I wonder if that’s really true. I’m not a full fey. I’m not full human. So, what does that mean? What do I deserve?

Something bumped against the box.

LM instinctively retreated to the back of the cardboard box and huddled.

“LM.”

Blood rushed in his ears.

“LM.”

He cautiously crept to the box’s open end.

He poked his head out.

No one was there.

LM thought about it for a moment. He crawled out of the box and froze.

Capernaum was there, standing right in front of him.

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