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They had grown up in dysfunctional families and sought each other for any form of comfort they could find. They knew nothing could come of it, but they tried anyway. Years wasted away in a sort of film. A hit here, someone strangled there. They could never win. He was ten when he asked her to run away with him. They were smart, being brought up as adults in a child’s world. She agreed and they had made plans. Secret plans, which were posted all along the walls of his bathroom. In what would be a lover’s embrace in a few years they held onto each other when they met up behind the run down shed in the back of his parent’s house. Letting go they disappeared beyond the fence and into the shining lights of Las Vegas.
They walked along the strip and wedged themselves between men with white powder falling from their noses, and woman in nude leotards handing onto the arms of men dressed in business suits. She made him follow her into a darkened cave between buildings. He hesitated, and when he could no longer see her, he rushed in. In the dark he fumbled for her hand and he clung to her. There was that feeling of not being such a good idea, but it was a part of the plan, and the plan doesn’t change. They heard noises all around them. They were in a zoo of creatures they had never seen before. Even the smartest child couldn’t undo the lock on this cage.
There was an opening in the cave, and they rushed toward it. They had to get away from the never ending darkness. They came out into the bright lights of the Vegas strip, and all around them, the animals were going crazy in their own sort of way. There was a car parked near them, and he noticed the men standing around it. They were men in business suits holding large black rectangles and sticks with smoke coming from them. He assumed they were waiting on the ladies in the leotards and he felt like telling them to go the way they just came through. She pulled his arm and they started walking toward the men. She said it was a short cut. To what, he didn’t know.
The men watched the pretty little girl with blonde ringlets walk in their direction with a boy who looked like someone they were familiar with. The man that the child resembled had left them on their own. No one leaves them alive. The girl had a bounce to her step and she twirled, taking the boy with her. She held a small bag in her other hand as she held onto him. His backpack was strapped to his back and he kept an eye on hers. The men sat up straighter when she was almost upon them.
She looked like a sweet little thing, and they wouldn’t give thyis chance. The young ones were more fun to play with. They liked to run and they tried to hide. They were more of a challenge. So small they can fit into spaces others can’t.
When she was next to one of the men she looked up into his face. She smiled showing off her shinny teeth. She was missing a few and the men chuckled. The boy was watching them warily and he tried to steer her away from them, but she pulled back. Standing in front of the men she reached out to touch the black rectangle the man’s hand had placed on the ground in front of him. She squealed as she felt large arms wrap around her waist she looked back at him, her face pleading. Tears were starting to fall from her eyes and her bag fell to the ground forgotten. One of the men looked at the boy, his face was hard and he gurgled out nonsense the boy would never have recognized. He quickly slammed his hand down upon the boys face and retreated to the car as the boy fell backwards. As the car drove away the boy got up and ran after them after grabbing her bag. After a while he ran out of breathe, and collapsed to the ground.
He gasped as he lifted himself from the bed. Looking around the room, he sighed when he noticed the lines connecting a single face to others. Her picture stared at him from all corners of the room. In each one she had aged slightly until they were the age of nineteen. He sighed and ran a theough his scraggily brown hair. He watched her face for a moment. It was a picture of both of them a few years ago. She hadn’t recognized him, and it had taken his breathe away to finally see her after six years. She had changed so much and when she threw herself at him he couldn’t deny that he had longed to be close to her. The next morning she had gone missing again.
He lifted himself from the bed and looked at the clock. It was half an hour till midnight, and he needed to hurry. He quickly dressed for the cold New York weather, and picked up a piece of paper that had a single address on it. She was close to were everyone else would be when the ball dropped. He wondered if she would be joining the festivities, or if she would disappear from the world once again.
He found the building quickly and sighed as the people barred his entrance. He noticed how the building was taller than those surrounding it, and he knew she would be at the top. New Years was their favorite holiday. It had meant that they had made it another year. He walked around the back and started thye fire escape. He stood below where her window was and looked up. She was staring out the window playing with a picture. He wasn’t sure who the picture was of and he didn’t really care all that much. He watched as she turned away from the window. His nineteen year old eyes taking in her back side. He saw faint lines that crossed her back, and he clenched his fists in attempt to stop himself from lashing out. He didn’t remember those.
He moved up to the ledge outside her window. Her back was to him and he watched as she pealed the sheer night gown away from her body. His eyes traced her curves and he shuddered as a gust of wind hit his exposed neck. Even for a New York winter, it was unreasonably cold. He watched as she disappeared behind a door he only assumed to be the bathroom.
Slowly he lifted the window so that he could maneuver himself inside. He stood straight and went to close the window but thought better of it. The cheering outside had gone down to a minimum but you could still hear the voice of a washed up pop star. He looked around the room and spotted a door with the name Cassandra written across it. The words were in swirly letters and around it there were pink butterflies.
There seemed to be a knot in his stomach as he moved slowly into the room. Pushing the door open he spotted a white crib, and other young child things. He walked over to the crib and peered inside. There was a girl, around the age of three sleeping soundly. He shook his head. Slowly he picked thye child. She had “her” blonde hair and pale skin.
He cradled her in his arms and poked at her cheek. Her eyes opened and he almost dropped her. He wanted to drop her. Her eyes were a shade of brown he’d never seen before. Her eyes weren’t brown and neither was his. She’d moved forward. The girl in his arms squirmed and he squeezed her shoulders, her face squished and her mouth opened. She tried to cry but he put his large hand over her mouth. He didn’t notice the woman behind him.
“What are you doing?” she said.
He turned to face her. She was clad in only a towel. Her wet hair was dripping onto the wood floor beneath her. He watched her face and saw recognition in them. She walked over to him hesitantly. She looked down at the girl in his arms with his hand still over her mouth.
“Put her down.” She said.
He slowly lowered the girl the ground. She looked up at him in alarm and quickly crawled behind her mother. She carefully picked the girl up and cradled her in his arms. She smiled at the girl and looked past the man to the clock on the wall.
“I would have expected someone of your standards to have been here earlier. I made my route clear as day. You must be loosing your touch Cameron.” She said.
He walked toward her and ran his hand along her cheek. Her eyes closed and she inhaled sharply. He watched her move hesitantly into his arms. He embraced her and held her tightly. The girl in her arms looked up at both of them as she was squished between the two bodies. She cried out and they separated. The woman nodded down at the girl and the man looked confused.
“She’s yours. That day a few year ago when we met up again.” She said.
He watched her and nodded slightly telling her he understood. He placed a hand on the girls head and she watched him with wide eyes. He took the girl from her arms and held her against his side. He looked into her eyes and made a funny purring sound. The girl giggled and latched onto his neck. They walked over to the window and watched as colors filled the night sky.