Been aloof/busy. Hoping to get a lot more writing done during holiday break. Anyway, here’s some things:
They sat around the campfire, listening to the trickling water of the stream nearby. Seamus had a bag of candy open and was dancing around to keep his elephant from snatching it up. Sadie was cooking some greens they found, poking them listlessly with a stick. They were shriveled, cooked down way more than she hoped. And they smelled bitter. One of her teeth was sore and loose. She could taste blood from the root. Sadie squeezed her arm and took a deep breath. She could feel the panic setting in, but she had to keep it under control. Seamus might not think she’s a criminal, but he’d probably think better of traveling with her if he knew about her mental problems.
Got to stay active. Just have to keep doing something.
“I’m getting some water real quick,” she said and grabbed a pouch to take to the stream. She scooped it up, cool and fresh, then marched over to Seamus.
“Give me a candy.”
She plucked it from his fingers and dropped it in the pouch, shaking it around.
“Why’d you do that?”
“The greens are bitter. I’m making them sweeter.”
Seamus stuck out his tongue and gagged. “Sounds awful.”
“Well, I’m doing it. Shut up.”
By the time she was finished, the vegetables were mushy and overcooked. The sugar didn’t cancel out the bitterness. It just tasted like bitter greens and candy mixed together.
“I think it tastes fine,” Sadie lied. “Stop being a baby.”
Seamus gave his portion to Alabaster.
Sadie swigged the rest of the sugar water to get the taste out of her mouth. It was a bad idea. Her toothache throbbed.
“Remember when we were little, Kira, and we didn’t give a snort about nothing?”
“I remember a month ago when you were like that.”
“Why do you think he left? Puppy love?”
“I don’t know… maybe.”
“Ugh! But she’s the one…! Why do little boys always go for the bad girls?”
“Search me. Is that why you’re so popular, Dizzie?”
Dizzie stared down at the waving grass, at the gentle slope down to the next ledge. They used to roll down hills like this one back in Marca. Back when they were both Seamus’s age.
“Race you.” She slapped her hand down and shot down the hill. Kira, with her lanky legs, started to overtake her. Dizzie pumped her legs like she was running on even ground and lost her feet from under her. She went rolling past the next ledge and down the next slope. This part of the hill was steeper and rocky. She banged elbows and knees while trying to stop her momentum. Eventually, she hit bedrock. Beautiful, wispy clouds spun above her.
“Are you okay?” Kira called down.
Dizzie cackled and winced. “What the hell was I thinking?”
“You weren’t!” she said, then a little more concerned, “Is anything broken?”
“No. Just my pride. And my skin. And my head. Lots of bruises.”
“That was stupid.”
“Yeah… I just really wanted to go faster than you.”
Kira half-galloped down the hill and helped Dizzie up.
“Maybe your brother felt the same way.”
“He had to go fast?”
“He had to go faster than everyone else. Faster than Marca.”
Dizzie was about to say he stupid that was, but she stopped herself. She knew exactly how that felt. All her life, she’d been going to school, preparing for a job she’d be stuck with until she died. Life in Marca moved slow. Painfully so.
“Let’s get you washed up, speedy.”
“Can’t it wait?” Dizzie asked. “We know the set.”
“Dizzie! You booked us last minute. At least have the professionalism to practice during the one hour we have to prep.”
“Just give me five minutes to talk with him and then we’ll prep.”
“This isn’t a negotiation, Dizzie.”
“Everything’s a negotiation.”
Dizzie hummed a love song as she approached the stage. She could see the crowd funneling down the hall, finding places to sit and wait, to eat and smoke. Kira was playing the fourth song on their set list called “Belly Feel.”
“Good one to practice.”
“I’m playing them in order. Five minutes, huh?”
“Don’t waste time apologizing. Just join me from the top.”
Dizzie nodded. The first minute of the song was just obscene moaning and grunting followed by squeaking and foot stomping. It turned the heads of the stage crew.
Kira wanted to try a song with lyrics next, but they were already being called to the stage by a bearded man in a coat.
“People are arriving early so we’re starting early.”
“Shit!” Kira muttered.
“Hey,” Dizzie smirked, patting her shoulder. “We got this, Kir-la.”