The murmur of voices and raucous laughter came sweeping up the stairs, interrupting his fitful dreaming. Rolling over in his cot, he listened intently for a particular feminine voice, relief flooding his body as recognition dawned. "She's back! Finally!!" The twisted mass of anxiety he was carrying unfurled, making him feel giddy. She had been out of contact too long this time, and both he and Sister Sarah had been worrying themselves senseless over her.
Grabbing various clothing, indiscriminately strewn about his room, he hastily dressed, letting his chaotic thoughts recall the time of their first extraordinary meeting ...
Newt, careening around the corner of the alley, swiftly hunkered down in the wealth of shadows where the burned out building's walls met. He immediately slowed his breathing while tucking his head inside his hood, slitting his eyes so the whites wouldn't reflect any light, he peered through their thick, black, lashes. Slags, enforcing for Harlen, the King of Thieves, were chasing him, and he desperately hoped he had juked enough to shake them from his trail.
He was wearing a suit of brushed, black silk, streaked throughout with an indigo-gray, and its rippling effect helped Newt to 'disappear' in the dark. Shadow and Smoke, Newt named it. It was the last clothing his mother had given him before... well before. His mother would never know of the many times he credited her gift (along with Lady Luck) for keeping him alive.
At times, Newt thought, his mother had
to have known she wouldn't always be here protecting him, and this was why she had woven the cloth in its intricate pattern and colors; she understood that the suit may be the only worthwhile inheritance she could give him- a possibility. Newt was dreading the day he would discover he had finally outgrown it. He angrily pushed the maudlin thoughts aside, their distraction could be deadly.
Sea mists regularly fogged the settlement's evenings, allowing Newt to dart in and out of the murk with ease. He was quick as a deer, wily as a rabbit, and fast with his hands. These skills, enhanced by the suit, turned him into quite a competent pickpocket, and he managed to keep himself fed and warm through theft and barter.
Tonight, however, he made an enormous mistake by thieving from one of Harlen's slags. It was only a small bag of fruit and nuts, but the value of the theft didn't matter. All stealing fell under Harlen's jurisdiction, and you needed the Baller's permission for it; something Newt hadn't an opportunity to ask for- and he wasn't wanting an involuntary introduction to the 'King' now.
Again, shoving his thoughts away, he willed his body to disciplined stillness, and concentrated on listening for the menacing thud of footfalls. He knew there were two slags, and hopefully the call wouldn't go out for more to join in the chase. Newt had a good possibility of ducking two, but any more and getting lucky would be marginal at best.
Opening his eyes a fraction, Newt frantically scanned the alley he had turned into. There was a dumpster in the middle of one wall, but even if he climbed it, he didn't have a chance of jumping and reaching the roof another story above it. He could burrow inside the bin and pile the trash over him, but the brutes would expect that, unfortunately, they weren't that
stupid. However, it was possible for him to slide under it, he was small enough at nine, and the suit would render him nearly invisible. Scurrying, he wriggled his way beneath it.
Hobnailed footfalls approaching the alley alerted Newt, and shrinking further beneath his sanctuary, he held his breath and waited. Moments later, a second set of heavy footsteps joined the first, and lighting a smoke, he coughed, dropping the match; in the guttering flame, Newt caught a brief glimpse of his pursuers.
"I'm gonna find that puny piece o' shit and feed him to Harlen's pets for making me look like an ass." Boasted a scar faced, lanky slag, waving a nasty looking bully club for emphasis.
"If ye weren't snorin' like the lazy dog ye are, we'd be cozyin' up by now. Shut yer gob and search down that alley before I drag ye in front of Harlen myself, telling him how worthless ye are." Threatened a beefy slag with a spiked, multicolored mohawk, cuffing his hapless partner in the ear.
Newt would've snickered, if his belly wasn't a churning block of ice. Instead, he sent a fervent prayer to Lady Luck for an opening, and the ability, to escape the two ruffians.
"Alright, alright, I'm going. No need to swipe me, Mac." Griped the scarfaced slag, rubbing his abused ear. Still muttering curses under his breath, he crossed into the alley.
Hobnails clicking with each step forward, the scarred slag began singing, "Come out and plaaay little monkey. We've got some pets who'd like to eat, uh, meeeet you. Come out, you little bastard."
Every fiber of Newt's being was clamoring to flee, but he remained cemented in place, willing himself to become shadow.
As expected, Hobnail, using his club, began poking around inside the dumpster, the lid clanging closed, with a "Bah" of disgust a few minutes later. The scarred crook took another look around the alley, and after furiously kicking the dumpster a few times for not giving up his quarry, he left to continue the search elsewhere.
Newt remained in place for a few minutes before warily emerging from beneath his haven. Getting his feet back under him, a "Yo kid! Look up!" hissed from above, dropped ice down his spine.
"C'mon, kid! Grab the damn rope before those fools beat it back here." The hissing voice insisted. "Let's go! Get your ass moving!"
A knotted length of rope appeared, dangling a few feet above the dumpster. Newt, scrambling into action, clambered onto the receptacle and grasped the knot. Silently he pulled himself, hand over hand, with his unknown benefactor assisting from the roof. Before long he was standing, face to face with his rescuer; a slim teenage girl, no more than fifteen, with short reddish hair, dressed in military blacks.
Newt, his breath hitching, muttered a quick "Thank You." As his hammering heart returned to normal, he thrust his hand out in introduction, "Name's Newt. Thanks again for helping me."
Taken by surprise with the boy's formality, the girl, hesitating, clasped his hand. "Fox, here. No problem, looked like you caught some trouble. Tell me, and no lies- got it? Why were Harlan's goons hunting your scrawny ass? They usually don't trade in sleaze, even cherries like you, so why are you
special?" Fox queried.
Instinct told him lying was pointless, and after rescuing him, she deserved the truth. He took a breath, before speaking, "I got caught stealing some fruit, and it seems they had a notion of making me pay for it." Newt shamefully admitted. "I had a slight difference of opinion." He finished, jutting his chin in defiance.
"Oh, I can see you did." The teenager, chuckling at his audacity, dryly responded. "Fruit huh?" Her face softening, "Well, how about some soup and a sandwich instead?"
Newt, his hunger painfully coating every syllable, wistfully replied. "Sandwich? Soup? H-how? I don't, I don't have any money Fox. I wouldn't be stealing again, would I?"
"Well, Lady Luck is shining on you then chicken! Where we're going you won't be needing any money, and no stealing I promise. I think there's been enough excitement, don't you?" Ruffling his silky black hair, she grinned when he hesitated. "C'mon Newt, take a chance, what have you got to lose besides that empty belly? .....
Sprinting down the hall, Newt tucked the beloved memory safely away, but not before realizing how much he had come to gain with Fox's friendship. The three years of her mentoring and the children's mission of Sister Sarah's, meant everything to him. They were family now, and he vowed he would give his last breath before allowing anyone, or anything to hurt them. Little did he know how soon those vows would be tested...
**All concrit, suggestions, silliness and discussion welcome.
***Links to Fox and friends (not THAT Fox and idiots) are below.http://dmousey.livejournal.com/26517.htmlhttp://dmousey.livejournal.com/29682.html