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Author Topic: [JUN 2020] - Track Marks - Submission Thread  (Read 390 times)

Offline xiagan

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[JUN 2020] - Track Marks - Submission Thread
« on: June 01, 2020, 10:13:27 PM »
JUNE: Track Marks

Track Marks by EyesofOdysyeus

The first theme is an image prompt. For those who don't know them, it's about writing a story inspired by a picture. For the sake of fantasy, we ignore that the track marks are made by car wheels. Every kind of wheel is allowed.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Online Alex Hormann

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Re: [JUN 2020] - Track Marks - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2020, 03:56:55 PM »
The Three Thieves of Numae

1405 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
Our tale begins with three thieves. A human woman named Deshaia, a human man named Akked, and a thumari woman named Waelys. You may recognise their names, but I shall not hold it against you if you do not. No child can be held accountable for a lack of proper education.
They were not wealthy, these thieves. If they had been, I suspect they would have found more gainful employment. But they were content with their lot in lives. Not in what they owned, but in how they lived. Moving from town to town, forever looking over their shoulders. Hounded by watch and militias at every corner. It was a dangerous life, yet it was one that made them happy.
Imagine you are one of these thieves. What is the greatest treasure you could hope to steal? The Gemstone Eyes of Ra’Bul? The Protector’s Sword? The Six Scrolls of Shadow? All fine treasures, to be sure. And each worth a tale of their own. But none of those are the tale I bring you this day.
No, this is the tale of the Three Thieves of Numae. It begins with a theft, not of any shining trinket or divine relic, but that most humble of treasures: Salt.
Waelys cursed the Great Green Gods as the cart rattled across the flats. The sacks around her bounced like they were full of cats. She straddled the back of the cart, holding three sacks back with her arms, a fourth with her left leg, and one with her tail. Only her right foot, hooked through a hole in the wooden side of the cart, held her in place.
“Almost there,” called Deshaia from the front. Her voice had lost none of its usual cheer, but all the smiles in the sea couldn’t disguise the lie for what it was.
“We are not ‘almost there,’” Waelys growled back. “I would say we are in fact ‘nowhere near there.’”
“What do you know? You can’t even read a map.”
“I know I can still see the walls of Numae, so shiny and white. And that in the mile between us and them there are a dozen riders.”
“Make that eleven,” said Akked, raising his crossbow. The weapon twanged loudly, but when the dust cleared there were still twelve riders in pursuit.
“I thought you supposed to be the best bowman in Gelhadre,” said Waelys, looking up briefly from her precious cargo. “Didn’t you win the Summer Prize?”
“Yes, but that wasn’t held on the back of an old cart in the middle of the Dry Sea. And I didn’t have you yammering in my ear the whole time either.”
She threw him a mocking hiss, then turned her attention back to the sacks of salt. If it came down to saving them or him from going over the edge of the cart, she knew which she’d pick.
Stretching out behind them were two lines, gouges in the Dry Sea left by their passing. Waelys couldn’t understand why they called it a sea, for there was no water for tens of miles, only a barren expanse of dead earth. Deshaia had said something about the sea drying up in ancient times, but Waelys dismissed that as one of her partner’s jests. Even the greatest of southern sorcerers could not dry up a sea. Even the Great Green Gods would think twice before using their powers in such a way.
The riders were gaining on them. Numaen Merchant Guard, clad in silk as white as the city’s famous walls. They carried spears four times the length of a person, the tips bobbing up and down like boats on waves as they charged. Their steeds were not the horses Waelys had grown up with, but the reptilian monstrosities the southerners used in their stead. Red-scaled beats, seventy hands high at the shoulder, with claws that could tear into any surface and teeth that could do the same to flesh. Their tails were tipped with sharp barbs, and these particular individuals were barded with thick leather, as if the creatures needed any protection.
Another of Akked’s bolts flew through the air, this time striking true. One of the riders took it in his shoulder, above the hard. He rolled backwards, falling from the saddle and tumbling to the ground. Free of its rider, the beast shrieked in confusion before coming to a halt.
“I told you it’s only eleven,” said Akked.
“Make it none and I might be impressed,” Waelys replied.
“We might have a problem,” said Deshaia, poking her head through the cloth divider between cart and driver.
“We have nothing but problems,” Akked said.
“A new one, then.”
“Spit it out,” said Waelys, curling her tail tighter around the neck of a sack so it didn’t spill. “Or I’ll come over there and choke it out of you.”
“We may have strayed a little further west than I though.”
“And there is a very small, slight, erm, massive ravine.”
Waelys dropped the sack. “A what?”
“The salt!” cried Akked. He lunged for the tipping sack, but it was too late. The sack fell from the rear of the cart, and their precious crystalline cargo spilled across the Dry Sea. Akked watched in horror as the fallen sack receded into the distance, his mouth hanging open.
“Forget it,” said Deshaia. “We could do with loosing the weight.”
Waelys stared at her, shaking her head. “No.”
“You’re a madwoman.
“We cannot.”
“We are about to find out.”
Akked retrieved his crossbow and reloaded. “I don’t know what you two are arguing about, but if you don’t resolve it quickly, some very angry men with lizards and spears are going to end the debate for you.”
“She wants to jump the ravine.”
“I don’t want to jump the ravine” countered Deshaia. “We just don’t have much of a choice anymore. The horses are good, they can get over a little crack in the ground.”
“A crack in the-?” If Waelys had a free hand, she would have slapped the woman. “You’ve repeatedly called it a ravine. At one point I believe you used the word massive.”
“I exaggerate. You know what I’m like.”
“Get us across,” said Akked. “If you’re right, we can argue afterwards. If you’re wrong, that’s its own punishment.
Deshaia returned to the front of the cart. “Hold on tight.”
Waelys looked from one hand to the other. “What do you think I’ve been doing?”
Akked dropped into a squat, gripping the edge of the cart.
“This is it. Wish us luck.”
The cart bucked beneath them, soaring with all the grace of a dog thrown from a window. They were only airborne for a few seconds, but each one was more terrifying than the last. The sacks pressed against Waelys. Akked’s feet struggled for purchase. The only sound coming from Deshaia was a loud scream. The ravine yawned beneath them like an open maw, waiting to swallow them whole.
The horses made it across the gap.
The cart did not.
They landed at an angle, one wheel hitting before the other. The axle buckled, spearing through one of the sacks. The vehicle began to roll, mercifully continuing its forward trajectory onto solid land. The tongue snapped cleanly, and the horses bounded away from their owner. Splinters, salt and curses flew everywhere.
When the tumbling vehicle came to halt, Waelyn stood on unsteady feet. The ravine was indeed massive, and the Merchnat Guard had stopped on the other side, shouting jibes and demands across the gap. She ignored them and helped Akked to his feet.
“My crossbow,” he said mournfully, holding aloft a broken piece of wood.
“Are we alive?” asked Deshaia, crawling from the wreckage.
“Nothing but bruises here,” Waelys answered.
Akked raised a palm. “I have a splinter.”
Deshai smiled, but it dropped immediately. “The salt!”
The three thieves ran to the edge of the ravine. At the bottom, among the alarmingly jagged rocks, they could just see their lost cargo.
Akked fell back. “All for nothing.”
“At least we’re alive,” said Deshaia, patting him consolingly on the shoulder.
“Not quite nothing.”
The both turned to look at Waelys.
Smiling, she raised her tail. Clutched by her curled tip was a lump of white the size of a fist. “I don’t know much about salt,” she said, “but would this be enough for a third horse?”
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Offline Jake Baelish

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Re: [JUN 2020] - Track Marks - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 10:47:35 AM »

2000 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
If this is ever found, then let this be my record of what happened these last few weeks. Even as I write this, I do so with a failing hand. I haven’t eaten in days, I turned the horse loose and what water we brought is almost spent. I just want people to know who we were and what we did. And why we did it. It is important, for me and for Jarriel. We weren’t bad people. My name is Corinth Alexandra. I was an alchemist, from Darrowfell.

We left from the dungeon of the Alchemists' Guild several weeks ago, through a hidden passageway. It had to be like this. The guild is known for engaging in increasingly unorthodox experiments, but what Jarriel and I were involved in could’ve seen us in a different kind of dungeons. Myself, Jarriel and the guild master alone knew of it. The necromancer we kept down there had been procured through unknown sources and we had been tasked with researching the thing with utmost care. Our cause was not ignoble. The specimen raised the possibility of new elixirs for varying ailments. Maybe even overcoming death itself. Jarriel and I saw the risks, of course we did. But such an opportunity seemed too promising to squander. In the worst case – we thought – nothing would come of it and any dark discoveries could be covered up. The fewer who knew, the better.

Our arrogance was misplaced.

During our examination of the corpse, it happened. Jarriel watched from across our low-lit table as I cut an incision in the neck. I’d barely slid off my thick gloves when its eyelids shot open. Its pulsating retina and groaning sent me stumbling in shock, a few phials toppled over and shattered behind me. Jarriel – wide-eyed, though losing none of his elvish efficacy – spun out his elven dagger and plunged it into the heart of the creature. It writhed beneath the blade. Black blood spewed from its rancid mouth while its arm flailed at its assailant. A flash of silver and the dagger plunged once more. Again and again it fell. How many times Jarriel stabbed the thing I cannot recall, but by the time it stopped moving its front was a seeping mess of black and red goo. Thank the gods we had such a weapon at hand. Jarriel slumped back against the bulk of a tall cabinet stuffed with every kind of poison. I raced to him and grabbed him by the arms; his skin was clammy, eyes stricken.

“No!” he cried, pushing me away.

He must’ve registered my astonishment as he added, “It touched me.” He raised his wrist, which bore the red mark of a firm grip. Had it really had the chance?

The air suddenly turned cold. Sour.

We both knew what this meant. The touch of a necromancer meant you’d become one of its rotting followers. Dead or alive. Whether you wanted it or not. There was no remedy.

Jarriel was Touched.

And I’d touched him.

You see, we chose to leave rather than risk exposing others. We left in this cart and with a single horse, packing limited supplies of any kind, as to reduce waste. We took up our seats with him to my right, and set off toward the Wastelands beyond the Eastflow.
Mere days passed before the first real signs started showing.
Poor Jarriel. All his elven loveliness ruined in such a short space of time. The skin around his eyes had darkened ever since our departure and now it began to crust over and flake. He couldn’t stop picking. It marred the flesh in patches under and along his arms too. I winced at the sight of the weeping wounds. I flinched whenever he caught me looking. The humiliation stood stark in his eyes. His ceaseless scratching worked its way across his body, eventually moving toward even his groin. A pathetic sadness replaced the shame – he no longer stopped on catching me staring. In any man, it would’ve hurt to see – but an elf.

Time blurred. Our cart rumbled through an endless expanse of cracked stony earth. All directions the same.

Those grey days weren’t all doom and deterioration, however. Jarriel had brought his bow – along with some pristine arrows – and often held it in his arms whenever I took the reins.

“I’ve never seen you use it,” I said one of those days. Nothing but the bleak greyness and blighted landscape lay ahead. We’d been quiet for hours.

Still, he answered with muted cheer. “I was never one for combat. I remember firing it once. My father always seemed quite disappointed. Although, not as much as when I turned my head to alchemy.”

“You kept it all this time, and bring it with you now. Of all things.”

His greying fingers ran along the elegant curve of crafted yew. “It is beautiful. Beauty is a thing I could always admire. But its worth to me is more than aesthetic. I may not have shared a passion for the traditions of my people, yet I still hold a kindle an affection for my heritage. In the human cesspit of Darrowfell, this kept me close to home.”

“Cesspit? You stayed a while in that cesspit.”

“Well, even cesspit’s have a charm.” His eyes fell to the dying land we rattled across. “I’ll never see the forests again, I suppose.”

Oh, Jarriel. I took a breath. “Your father would understand. You had no choice.” No response came. The bow slid in the elf’s grip and I gently pulled it from him. Its length was glossy, its weight pleasant. “You know, I was a decent archer myself, when I was younger. Even placed in a few competitions.”

The elf sniggered, it was the best he seemed capable.

“It’s true! I had no interest in using my skills in battle, though. My parents paid for a good enough education; fortune worked in our favour, and I found myself working with you. Could’ve worked out much worse.”

Jarriel’s deadpan eyes met mine with minor mirth. “It could’ve worked out much better.”

“So could all things.”

“Corinth, I have a request.” His expression was empty. His arm made to reach out, only to pull back – as if it made a difference.

“I will do my best.”

“You haven’t heard what it is yet.”

“When has that ever mattered?”

He grinned, showing the receding mess of his darkened gums. “Don’t worry. You won’t have to look away much longer.”

“Jarriel, I…”

His head shook. “Let me finish. It’s almost time. I need you to promise me, that you’ll end it, when the time comes. Corinth... Tell me. Tell me you’ll do it.”

My eyes burned. I squeezed them shut a little. “How will I know when?”

“You will know. Also, know that I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same if our roles were reversed. But I will turn first.”

“Jarriel. You…”

“We are no longer ourselves, when it happens. I can’t become like that. You can’t let me.”

A nod was the best I could offer. My mouth ran dry. We didn’t speak again that day.

He was drooling and rambling a lot near the end. His sleep was disturbed, and rasping sounds and foaming forced me to sometimes turn him away – always with a burden of guilt at my revulsion. His clothes were torn by furious scratching, revealing more scaly, crusty skin beneath. And there was the sickly-sweet smell of the autopsy room.

By day he’d return to his coherent and thoughtful self, albeit drifting off more and more often. Now and then I’d catch him sniffing himself, and retching. Sometimes he’d apologise. He never needed to.
I did come close to fulfilling his request. He twisted and turned in his sleep in the seat beside me. Nothing unusual there. Then he made a wild, yelping sound. My neck spun to it.

My teeth clenched. Jarriel, still very much asleep, had his right arm in his mouth, chewing, nose twitching at it. The area around his gnawing was wet and reddened where skin had slightly broken. I grabbed his hair and tried pulling his head away, but his strength held. I seized my dagger.

“Stop,” I muttered.

I don’t know what I’d expected; it did nothing. My blade pressed the flesh of his neck. My soul ached, jaw trembled.

I just couldn’t do it.

Instead I pulled again, both his head and arm this time, managing to prise them apart and press the man back in his seat. His head lolled, at peace.

I couldn’t do it.

Too weak. Too… human. 

Jarriel would’ve been disappointed.

A week has passed since. Three nights after my failure we were rattling along, silent as had become custom, when he shifted over the edge – hanging for a second – then flopped off the cart. He thumped to the cracked earth and groaned.

“Jarriel!” I leapt off and ran to him – cart halted.

The elf staggered, head low.

I inched forward. “Jarriel?”

“Co… Co… Ugh. Ugh.”

I held out a hand.

A mighty moan oozed from the man’s mouth, and he lurched at me.

“Jarriel!” I threw out my arms to stop him. It. Too late. He fell upon me and buried his face between my neck and shoulder. Those gnawing teeth pinched my skin. So heavy, so cold. I sank my hands in his hair and yanked, yanked harder and harder, grasping at limbs. I cried out.

Nothing worked. I felt myself go weak as he tried biting to my flesh.

I hated myself, but rammed my knee in his midsection.

It sent him stumbling. “Ugh.” More moaning.

Too late. Should’ve done it sooner. It was him or me now – and he was slow. Slow like I never could’ve imagined.

I darted to the cart and quickly grasped the elven bow and an arrow. This had to work.

More than enough space stood between us. Alone here in the middle of nothing, only our ride and our tracks for eternity. I dared not get close. I let the yew settle in my hand, pulled, let the arrow line up. This had to work – it’d been a while.

The thing that was Jarriel shifted forward, scraping dirt, eyes fixed to the ground or nothing at all.

The fletch held tight below my chin. My arm burned. The thing lurched again and I let her fly.

It punched through chest in a spurt of blood. It had to have shattered ribs and wrecked the heart. But it didn’t fall.

Jarriel raised his ashen face and my stomach turned. His mouth hung agape. He knew now who he saw, the recognition pained me to see. He shook his head.

I moaned. He wasn’t protesting. Wasn’t vengeful. I knew.

An arrow to the chest wouldn’t do it. Jarriel, I thought, I’m sorry. But I’m glad you’re here. Really here. You'll know that I didn’t disappoint you.

I wiped at my eyes and secured another arrow.

When I turned, I saw the creature shuffling on its feet. Saw the conflict within. Saw my friend of five years and more fight the evil within.

My arm pulled taut. The arrow lined up. Higher this time. Arm burning. Every part of my body shook with duty and betrayal.

It lurched forward.

The arrow blasted through skull and threw my friend on its back some distance away. Its brains somewhat further.

I wavered where I stood, overcome with light-headedness. I touched at the bite. It had broken skin, though not too badly. The wound would heal, normally.

But, this was far from normal. It’d only be a matter of time. It always had been. It had been since we left the dungeon of the guild a lifetime ago. It’d just come sooner now.

At least we got away.

If you are reading this. If you followed our lonely tracks. Happened upon our abandoned cart. I am sorry. It might’ve been better if you had never found us. 
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 01:44:10 AM by Jake Baelish »
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Offline Caith

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Re: [JUN 2020] - Track Marks - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2020, 09:53:44 AM »
When I Came To, This Kid Was Shaking Me

Spoiler for Hiden:
“I'm gonna keeps ya. I found ya, so I gets ta keeps ya,” the kid said.

“You can't keep me,” I managed to get out.  “I'm a person.”
“You're a dog. Ya can keeps found dogs.”

Where I'm from, the kid would be described as an urchin. She would probably have a cheery smile and indulge in brave but reckless acts of minor larceny. Here in downtown Los Angeles, on the edge of Mission Junction railyard, she looked like just more orphan gutter trash.

“I'm not a dog,” I said.

“You looks like a dog.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, as I rubbed at them. I had a blinding headache going. My tail hurt from laying on it the wrong way. My snout hurt from breaking my fall. “I'm a wolf.”

“Wolf's a kind of dog.” She gave me a sly look. “Means I gets ta keep ya. Ya gets ta keep stray dogs. Whatcha doing laid there on the railroad track anyways?”

“I'm a private investigator. Its hard work. Sometimes I need to lay down to think about things.” Actually, somebody had clocked me from behind. Left me on the tracks. But I wasn't going to tell her that. I've not got much but I've got my pride.

She gave me a calculating look. “I don't believes ya.” The calculating look turned speculative. “Say, I knows you. You're that storybook guy from the papers. I heard about you.” As she said it, she hunkered down beside me. “Tell me a story.”

This day just got better and better. Luckily I know how cheery urchins work. Give them what they want and they skip off to steals apples. Or die horribly. Like I could care right now. “Once upon a time, there was a dumb-ass girl. The big, bad wolf ate her all up because she was annoying. Along with being a dumb-ass. The end.”

“You're mean,” she said, her bottom lip stuck out in a pout. “You're a mean dog.”

“I told you, I'm a wolf,” I said, with as much patience as I could muster. Which wasn't much.

She pouted some more. You got to practice plenty to get that good at something.  “You're still a big, old meanie.” A thought seemed to drift into her head. Or at least, she got this vacant look. “Say, what's the time, Mr Wolf?”

I did a double take but, in all seriousness, she looked serious. I checked my wrist watch. “Just past midnight.”

She nodded. “Twelve oh two to San Fran comes through here in … just about … now.”

The rails started to shake under me. I can move fast when I want to. Like when  several hundred tons of locomotive is about to  turn me into dog meat. “Thanks kid,” I said, as the train hurtled past, showering us with soot. “Now I've got work to do.”  I made a vague gesture at the rail yard, as if that would explain the unfathomed depth of shit I was in. Then I made a fatal mistake. Never ask an urchin their name. “What's your name, kid?” I asked.

Her eyes lit up. “Adi,” she said. “And I'm coming witcha. So I don't lose ya. We're pals now, right?”

What's a wolf to do?

So maybe I should explain. You can mull over this while I'm stumbling about on these train tracks. I left fairyland and came to Los Angeles on the fifth of December 1933. Look, I had to. After the thing with the pigs? And then the grandma and her scheming grandkid? All lies, I might add.

 I've got a nose for finding things, so I became a detective. You can find me at my office in China Town. 'BB Wolf – Private Investigations' is what's painted on the door.  Yeah, I did pick the right day to arrive. I mean, who'd be interested in a six foot tall talking wolf on the day Prohibition ended?

So what's with the railroad tracks, you ask. Well, there's these two crazy Greeks,  Little Nicky Athens and Big Nicky Crete. Between them, they own most of the action  in the down town area. Only Little Nicky wants to be Big Nicky, which, naturally, Big Nicky is none too pleased about. So they have a war and now Big Nicky has kidnapped Little Nicky's virgin daughter and since I owe money to my bookie, who owes money to  Little Nicky … I think you get the picture.

Anyway, my nose got me as far as the Mission City rail yard. I know the daughter's stashed in here somewhere. But the trail's gone cold and I don't know my way around the yard. If only there was a handy someone who did.

“You're not going in there, are ya?” Adi said. She had a cute, urchin frown on.

“What's wrong with going in the rail yard?” I said back.

“That's where The Bull lives. He's the yard boss. He's a bigger meanie than even you.” Her frown deepened. “Before you were my pal, I mean. He finds you in there, he'll beat you up bad and leave ya to get smooshed up on the tracks.”

“I think we already met,” I said.

“He was just warning ya that time,” Adi said with fierce conviction.

“He's a charmer,” I said. “Say,” I went on, friendly like. “You know your way around the yard at all?”

“Uh-huh,” Adi said, wary like.

“You'd like to help out a pal, wouldn't you?”

“Jeez, its a maze in here,” I whispered. We were creeping down the narrow space between two rows of boxcars, ducking under their couplings to get into another narrow lane made by looming boxcars, that looked pretty much the same as the last. Gradually, I hoped,  working our way towards the middle of the yard. Where, I fervently hoped,  Adi swore there was an old office building. Where, I prayed, Little Nicky's daughter was. 
Only we didn't seem to be getting there. “Are you lost?” I hissed at Adi.

“Course I ain't,” she hissed back. “I'm right here with you, ain't I?” 

I was about to make a biting critique of her logic when she silenced me with a look. The cheery urchin was gone. She looked like the hunted. Or maybe the hunter. To be honest, she looked a bit scary.

I froze beside her, because I caught his scent before I heard him. He smelt of coal dust and sweat and old blood. Then I heard. Heavy footfalls crunching the cinders between the tracks, a slow and purposeful tread, with the counter-point rap of a billy club on the boxcar's sides, tock-tock-tock. Now his breathing, heavy and thick. Now his voice, a Southern drawl. “You all come out now, I'll go easy on ya.” 

Adi shook her head. Risked whispering  to me. “Its the Bull. He's fishing for us.”

We crouched down, deadly still, hiding behind the meagre shield of an iron wheel, as those footfalls got closer and closer. Just on the other side of the boxcar from us now. I snatched a quick look, saw boots that would put Karloff's Frankenstein to shame, grinding the cinders to dust, as he turned this way and that. A snort and one boot scuffing at the ground. If he bent down for a look under, he would have us.

Then he was moving away and Adi took my paw in her hand and led me in the opposite direction and I figured she had been circling us around. Trying to find the Bull. So we knew where he was and avoid him. Smart kid.
We set off again and she took me straight to the centre of the yard, arrowing through the labyrinth of wagons and flat bed trucks with sure and certain speed, to a weed strewn open lot where a building of blackened brick stood. On it, a weathered sign hung askew, “Deedleluss and Son, Engineering Co” it proclaimed.

Was Little Nicky's virgin daughter in it? Yes she was.
Was the Bull waiting for us, after we found her and got back outside? That too.

Was he as big as I've made out? Bigger. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, he was fucking huge.

He roared, put his head down and charged at us. I pushed Adi one way, grabbed Nicky's daughter and went the other. I figured he would come after me, so I pushed Nicky's daughter the other way again, so we were split three ways. Only, the Bull was going after Adi.

Adi was fast, I'll give her that. But the Bull, for all his size, was faster. But still, by the time he caught her and dealt with her, I'd be long gone with the main prize. I watched their retreating backs and all that debt I had, all those markers I owed, retreating with them. Adi was just some gutter trash orphan who'd never be missed. A cheery urchin. Dying horribly.

I can run some. I've got more puff than most folks. Still, it was close. But just  before the Bull clapped one big mitt on Adi, I leapt and landed on his back. He just kept right on going, so I reached round and poked him in the eye. Nobody said this had to be a fair fight, did they?

Adi veered away, the Bull hollered like … well, like a bull bull, tripped over a rail, went sprawling forward, I flew off the back of him, see a locomotive rushing towards me, see the ground, see nothing.

When I came to, this kid was shaking me, she's grinning fit to bust. “Ya gotta lets me keeps ya now,” she said with delight.

So that was it. End of a night's work for your old pal, BB Wolf. End of story.
What? Oh, now you want all the details? Come on, you know this stuff already. Okay, Little Nicky gets his virgin daughter back, I get all my debts cleared and he gives me fifty bucks. They bury the Bull in three bits. Coffins don't come that big, but at least he was pre-sliced. Moral of the story? Don't lay down on train tracks, unless there's somebody there to pick you up.
And the cheery urchin. Yeah, we're still pals. I gave her the fifty bucks. Don't tell anyone. And we all lived happily every after. Actually, we didn't, but that's another story.

1759 words. Warning: contains sweary word (one only).