Hope Springs

Pippin's Furnishings

Chapter Two

Two Weeks Later

Alice’s Agent was getting angry. She’d canceled another shoot and was refusing to leave the bourbon capital of the world.

“Imagine the way it’ll look, Alice!” – Doreen

“I don’t care.”

When Missy hung up the phone she was almost crying. Alice’s career was important to her… Alice. It was important to Alice. Missy told herself that it didn’t matter to her… and that was true… It had to be true.

Missy dialed the phone number she’d committed to memory when she first came to Hope Springs.

“Mitch’s Old 76, this is Jimmy”

“Yeah, Jimmy, can I talk to Theros”

Jimmy put her on hold without another word, he didn’t dislike her. It was her, he just really hated the boss. She got that… sometimes.

“Hey, Missy.” – Theros

“Is Dexter busy today?”

“Nah, she’s just playing with her “hot wheels” in the yard.” – Theros scoffed.

Dexter’s Hot Wheels was a 78 gold Crown Vic. That she pushed around the yard making racing noises.

“Tell her to get cleaned up. I’m taking her into town to go shopping.”

Hope Springs Historical District

Dexter sat next to Missy in the car. She held out her hand and pretended it was a wing as it moved through the air. This was only the second time she’d ever rode in a car.

Dexter liked cars.

“We’re here” – Missy.

Dexter looked around, she’d never been here before… there were too many people.

“Where is here?”

“We’re going to get you some clothes, Dexter.”

Dexter hugged her coveralls.

“No, honey, we’re going to find you some pretty clothes.”

Dexter narrowed her eyes.

“It’ll be fun” – Missy, hopping out of the car.

Dexter watched her cross the street before getting out of the car. She was crossing the road when she noticed a small figure in the alley next to the store. Distracted by the mysterious figure, she forgot about Missy completely.

It was a boy in a hoody, his small hands grasping a spray-paint can. He was painting a strange picture on the wall.

“Can I play?” – Dexter

The boy turned around and looked at her, his eyes wide his mouth agape.

He handed her the spray-can and ran away.

Dexter shrugged and began to draw.

She drew symbols, no less strange than the boys, but somehow she knew they were important to her.

She’d drawn a circle with an arrow pointing up and to the right and crossed halfway between its point and the circle. She finished by spraying a big ugly dot below the circle.

She knew what it meant… whatever that might be.

“That’s really nice.”

Dexter spun on her heel. It was a police officer. She didn’t like police officers. They were mean to her, made her move.

“Hi.” Dexter grumbled.

“Howdy.” – The police officer.

He stepped toward her.

“Now, I’m sorry to tell you this, but graffiti is illegal in Hope Springs.”

“Oh. I just wanted to draw.”

“Well, I’m sure we can get this sorted out, hun, do you have any ID?” – The officer.

She pointed at the nametag on her coveralls. “Dexter” it read. Theros had made it special just for her.

“I’m Dexter.”

“Well, uh, Dexter, do you have any other ID?” – the officer, he was speaking slower now. Dexter hated it when people talked to her like that.

“No.”

“Wait, officer, stop, stop! She’s with me, she’s just a little bit slow. She didn’t know what she was doing.” – Missy.

“Sorry, hun, we’re going to have to take you to the station to get this sorted out.” – The Officer.

Missy saw the officer’s partner step out of the vehicle. Everything was moving too quickly.

The officer reached out with his hand and gingerly grabbed her wrist, revealing a pair of handcuffs in thether hand.

Dexter panicked.

The cop didn’t even have a chance to let go of her wrist before he was lifted skyward and thrown bodily into the wall opposite her.

Missy could hear the massive creature weeping as she turned towards the end of small alley. It was a dead-end, save for the heavy door that acted as a service entrance to whatever business faced the opposite street.

“You scared her!” – Missy

The officer’s partner ran toward the alley and drawing his weapon.

The hulking figure lifted her arms to protect her face as she charged the door, blowing the thing off of its frame as she ran through.

“Freeze!” – The officer yelled after her, while bent low to check on his unconscious partner.

“Stay with him until back-up arrives!”

Missy nodded as he ran into the building, barking into his radio.

She counted to eight before going to work.

The Muse desperately pulled the cop’s belt off of his sleeping body, cinching it loosely over her Jean Paul Gaultier Tattoo Lace dress and took the cap off of his head, placing it on her own.

“Goodbye, Little black dress.” – Missy, in the cop’s voice.

She felt the fabric stretch and heard it tear as the pyros burned through her, reshaping her flesh and bones as if they were only a shimmer of heat on asphalt.

Missy gave chase barefoot.

It had been a bad choice.

The floor of the shop, some sort of furniture store from the looks of it, was littered with splintered wood and broken glass. It seemed that Dexter had tried to bulldoze her way through the whole store like she did the door and from the look of the panicked Wretch, the store had won.

Dexter’s arms and legs were sliced in a dozen places, and littlered with bits of debris from the various displays she had destroyed.

Currently she was slamming herself into one of the shop’s display windows for what must have been, from the size of the blood smeared across it, the hundredth time.

“I said freeze!” – the cop

His voice was less than commanding. Dexter turned and grabbed the antique cash register that sat on the counter next to the window.

“Don’t make me shoot!”

As if the word possessed some sort of magic, the cop fired.

Missy’s ears rang as two black spots appeared on her friend’s back. She didn’t know where the other went, maybe the wall… why did she care?

Dexter didn’t seem to notice, heaving the massive metal device in her left hand she turned to the cop and bellowed. Her eyes were swollen and red behind the goggles that held them in place, her face a rictus of anguish and fear.

With a roar she hurled the register through the window and into the car beyond, caving in its rear passenger door.

Dexter leapt through and seemed ready to run.

Why was it so hot? Missy turned to see that a fire had erupted, igniting a settee.

“Hey, I think we should go!” – Missy-cum-Cop.

The cop turned, confused. It must have been odd to see his partner in a $500 dress. At least he wasn’t shooting at Dexter anymore.

Missy had been only vaguely aware of the woman screaming in the room before that moment, having been deafened by the police officer’s gun. But now, she noticed the older woman with dark hair and a purple dress pointing out the window and wailing.

She turned to see Dexter, her pyros guttering to reveal her true face for all the world to see, was lifting the car in front of the building.

“Oh.” – was all that Missy could say before the car tore through the storefront. In a moment the police officer was nothing but a smear on the ground and Missy found herself flying backward, she felt her skull crack against the wall and knew that in that instant she’d reverted to her natural state.

Her poor dress.

The woman was still screaming, too terrified to run.

“Come on, lady, we’ve gotta go.” – Missy, noting that there was something wrong with her arm.

The fire that had broken out on the settee had caught the carpet and was now spreading across the store.

Missy ran out the way she came, she knew that it was only a matter of time before the fire met the broken heap that was the car and oil and fire most definitely mixed.

She was outside and just around the corner when she was thrown off her feet by the explosion.

It was time to go… and she had no idea where to find Dexter.

Mitch’s Old 76

Theros’d sent Jimmy home when they’d seen the news. A local business had some sort of gas main eruption and they’d cordoned off must of downtown. There wasn’t going to be any more business today.

The Titan had been calling Missy for twenty minutes straight when he heard someone come in the back door.

“Dex?”

“No. It’s me, she didn’t come back?” – Missy, covered in soot and more the worse for wear.

“What happened?”

“Dexter happened!” – Missy, explaining the course of events that ended with at least two people dead and a monster on the loose.

Theros listened patiently while the Muse told her tale. She hadn’t noticed that he’d broken his phone even after she finished speaking.

“Three.”

“What?” – Missy.

“Three people died. The other cop died of his wounds.” – Theros

“Oh.”

“So you left her?” – Theros

“Left her? I had to get out of there. I couldn’t go around asking people which way the monster went!”

“She’s a child, Missy! Not a monster, a child! And you abandoned her!” – Theros

“This isn’t my fault, Theros!”

“I trusted you!”

“It wasn’t my fault.”

“She trusted you!”

“It wasn’t my fault, Theros!”

“You LOST her, Missy, You let her get away from you TWICE, and now you have no clue as two where she could be!”

“She’s probably in the sewer! It’s the only place she could have disappeared in all of this.”

“Probably!”

“Hey! It’s not my fault that your “cousin” is a super-strong rage-monster! But there was no way in hell I was going to go looking for her after she threw a car AT MY HEAD!” – Missy

“Stop talking. Right now.”

“What did you say?”

“Stop talking or I will put my fist through your head.” – Theros, his face flickering like a guttering candle.

“Wow. You’re violent.”

“Yes I am, please stop talking. If you had watched out for her, she wouldn’t have been drawing on the wall, the police wouldn’t have had any reason to talk to her and she wouldn’t have gotten scared and BLEW UP A GOD DAMNED BUILDING! This comes back to you.”

“Technically speaking, it’s your fault. I’m not strong enough to control her when she goes into a rage. You are. You should have come with us, like I asked you to –“

Theros hit her. Fire had been pouring into his arms and she went flying, a loud crash sounding out as she slammed through the window she’d been standing in front of.

In that instant Theros’ rage subsided. He was still angry to be sure, but he no longer wanted the girl dead.

He approached cautiously, nudging her foot with his own.

“You shun a vish.” – Missy, her misshapen head lay all but motionless at an odd angle on ground but her black eyes bored into him.

“Dammit.”

“I key ya weh ah geh up.”

Theros groaned and grabbed her ankle and dragged her back into the junk yard.

She cursed him the whole way. He’d heard it all before.

He placed her into a car trunk and for just a moment Missy thought he was going to leave her there to rot before he returned to dump a bucket of ice water onto her.

“I bet that’s cold” – Theros, attaching a pair of jumper cables to her ankles and another to her wrists.

“Ahm bunnin don yo shop.”

He slammed the trunk shut and turned on the generator.

Electricity arced around trunk and the air filled with the smell of ozone for nearly a half minute before the generator burned out.

Theros popped the trunk.

“You son of a bitch!” – Missy swung at him with her left arm, which seemed to be the only one that was working.

“I’m going to burn this whole place to the ground!”

Theros closed the trunk. When he came back he brought with him a cart with four car batteries on it.

The entire time he spent attaching them to her still paralyzed legs and arm she screamed about how she was going to kill him.

He slammed the car lid and hit the switch.

When the batteries finally died he popped the trunk open she slapped him in the face.

“You’re welcome. Get off my property.”

Somewhere below Hope Springs

Dexter looked upon her domain and smiled a cold cruel smile.

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Raymer

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