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Spark Pt. 2
Ricardo turned to leave just as Em leapt up from her seat. “I’ll do this one.” She said, smiling at her boss. Ricardo let her leave, and sat in another vacant chair to watch the smoldering wigs in the trash bin.
Em smiled at her customer. “Hello. Is there anything we can do for you today?” she asked sweetly. He was a tall man, with rusty red hair, and a handsome, chiseled face that wore a cocky smile. His eyes were strange. Sometimes they looked black, but another time they seemed as if they were scarlet. He wore a black turtleneck, black pants, combat boots, and over that, a long, tan trench coat.
The man leaned against the counter, smiling handsomely at her. “Yes, cherie,” he began, “I do believe dat dere IS something you can do for me.”
Em ignored the way that the innuendo had been said, and although her first impression was to send this man packing, she knew that if it happened again, Ricardo would not be happy.
Instead, she smiled innocently at the man. “And what would that be?” she asked innocently. “As you can see, we carry every variety of sports equipment. What is it that you need help finding?”
The man sighed. “I very much doubt that you carry this particular item, cherie. dey are gloves, like dis,” he held out a very worn pair of black gloves, the kind sometimes used by professional card players. Em took them in her hands.
“Actually, we have a box of these in the store room. There was a mix up in an order we made a while back, and we never got around to sending these back.” Em knew exactly where the gloves were, mostly because she herself had been using the gloves for boxing. They were thin, and extraordinarily tough. How this man’s gloves had become so worn out when her own pair barely even showed wear was beyond her.
“What size do you wear?” she asked, cocking her head towards him.
“It’s been so long since I bought dese dat I don’t even remember where I got dem in de first place cherie. Just guess, and we’ll find out soon enough.”
Em nodded, and walked back into the storage room. The gloves were in a cupboard, on the top shelf. It was easy work to get it and bring it out onto the counter.
“The manufacturers sent us pretty much every size known to man, so take your time finding a pair that fits, Cajun.”
The man looked at Em, puzzled. “How did you know dat, cherie? Most people just assume dat I’m French.”
Em shrugged. “Unlike most people, I lived in New Orleans every summer for four years. I haven’t been since I was twelve, but I guess there are some things you never forget.” She smiled as the Cajun attempted to try on a pair of gloves that were only half as big as his hands. “That isn’t even amusing, Cajun. Put those down and try on a large.”
It wasn’t long before Em had sorted things out with the strange man, and sent him packing with several new pairs of gloves. After that, work was boring, as usual. For the rest of the day, and part of night, Ricardo had Em sorting through a new shipment of stock.
Once she finished, it was nearly ten o’clock at night, and pitch black outside save for the lights in the parking lot. Em had changed her brown wig for yet another one, this time a dark brown, curly wig that framed her face beautifully. She walked across the near-empty parking lot to where her car was parked, and hopped in without even opening the door. She smiled. If her father had caught her doing that with his convertible…well, he wouldn’t really care, actually. He could buy himself a new Ferrari any day. It paid, being the sixth richest man in the United States.
The car started nicely, And Em began her drive home, taking the back roads. It would be nice, alone in the dark.
Still fourteen miles away from her home, Em could hear muffled bangs and shouts echoing through the forest. Dim lights flashed to her right.
“What?” Em muttered to herself. “What in the name of….” She sighed, unable to come up with something to say, and pulled over. Whatever was going on, she wanted to see it.
Again she hopped out of the car, landing lightly on the grass at the edge of the woods. “Hello?” she called. “Is anyone out there?” No answer, but the bangs and flashes of light were closer now. Em could see little fires burning on some of the trees.
Her curiosity got the better of her. Em walked into the forest, towards the noises. Closer and closer she came, with the branches scratching at her face and hands. In frustration, she tore her wig off and threw it to the ground, letting her vibrant, scarlet locks fall onto her shoulders. She really hated her hair, because it was the color of…fresh blood, she thought. Fresh blood, or poppies, or a stop sign.
Shaking off her feelings for her hair, Em moved farther into the forest, and suddenly broke out into a clearing. She could see two men on either end of it, watching each other warily. The trees around them were broken and burned. One of the men was wearing a trench coat.