#3: My guardian

I awaken. When I sit up, the blanket slips to the ground. My eyes lock on it. “But… it was a dream.” Or was it? I begin to wonder. If the blanket was real, then… maybe it was father!

I look about frantically, but fail to find him. My heart sinks and my stomach growls. No food. No money. I need to battle today. If I can just win one turf war…

I don’t. Snipers are no good for it and that’s all I have. At the end of the day I crash on the same bench as before.

This time, when I wake, it’s enough cash for a glass of tea that I find. Best gift I’ve had in years. While enjoying the cool drink, I wonder who it is that’s looking out for me.
“Probably Clam.” I tell myself. It would make sense. Only I can’t get the thought of my father out of my head.

I’m too weak to try to battle. I need food for that, and I have not eaten. Instead, I focus on avoiding Tri and Coral and Clam. I hide out in various places the entire day. By night, I’m going to collapse. I fall asleep where I have hidden, knowing that my watchman would not be able to help me tonight.

Mid afternoon is when I wake. I want to cry, but I don’t. My stomach hurts and my head feels light. It takes me five minutes to stand up and five more to stop the world from spinning. I decide to suck it up and find Tri and Clam. I need help and it’s stupid to die when I can get it.

With my last bit of strength, I force myself to go to the Plaza. It’s slow. Halfway there, rain starts falling. The cold water, and pain from it, manages to snap enough energy into me, to make it, to the Plaza.

I turn in, what I think is the direction of Tri’s place, stumble, and fall over. I don’t even care anymore. Let me die of starvation. This isn’t worth it. What was it that girl had said?

“Know who to splat and who to spare?” Well I’m splatting myself. It’s better for us all. Dad never has to look at me, no one will get in between Coral and Tri. Clam won’t have to defend me. And i won’t have to be hungry.

Death is good.

The rain pounds on the back of me. The cold, wet concrete chills me to the core. Briefly, I see a shadow emerge from the darkness that overtakes my soul.

“Come now, Love. You’re too young to be doin’ this sort of fing.” The voice reaches me though the black. Long silence. I hear it again. “Love, it’s time to wake. You’ve slept far longer than you should ‘ave. Let’s get somefin’ warm into you now.”

I feel a hand brace my neck and head then hot broth trickles down my throat. The broth helps to bring my awareness back. With some effort, I open my eyes.

“There now.” The sea urchin smiles gently, “I had a feeling that would wake you up.”
I feel the softness of a bed and warm the of blankets. I see the walls of a room that I’ve never been in.

“Where…. am I?” I ask weakly.

“Now, now. You shouldn’t speak just yet.” He tells me, in his heavy accent, “Seeing as you only just woke up and all. Here, ‘ave a little more, and I’ll explain where you are.” Obediently, I drink the broth he offers. It’s wonderful.”You’re in my home, Love.” The urchin told her, “A trailer, near the dump.”

“On the… outskirts… of Inkopolis?”

He nods. “Name’s Spoike.”  He said “Spike” but pronounced with an O in the middle. Like how i pronounce “Nice”.

I recognize this man. He’s that thief from the alley in the Plaza. I remember being told that he specializes in “finding” gear like that of other squid kid’s and will get it for those who order it.

“How… Long-”

“I thought I told you not to speak.” Spyke reminded me. I fall quiet and he leaves the room.  “Three days, Love.” He calls back, “Now try to rest.”

Three days. That’s how long I’ve been unconscious. He’s taken care of me all that time. Plus the time before. It’s clear that Spyke had left the blanket and cash for me. He was my guardian.

I don’t understand. Why would a thief do this for me? A pathetic girl, with no money. Surely he knows I can’t repay him..

Oh well. I settle into the covers and take his advice. Rest.

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