The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

NaNoWriMo: Just Lara

Charlie mingled in the bustling crowds moving through the street fare, weaving through gaps as they appeared and pushing past people when they didn’t. There was much to be had amongst the carts and makeshift tables set out on either side of the street, and he was taking full advantage of the five-finger discount with so many distractions to mask his presence. Pockets nearly bulging with genetically altered fruit, a fair amount of jewelry, the occasional piece of hardware and – essential to remember for Doogs – the miniature bottles of scotch which AlcoCo had been dispensing to the homeless in return for some rather intrusive questions and blood samples. It had been a good day.
A fist in his back pushed Charlie forwards, and trying to regain his balance meant either loosening his grip on the bottles in his front pockets or hitting the pavement with his face. Cursing his luck he did the only thing he could, and the sticky strong smell of the alcohol permeated the air. Turning to see what was happening he came face to face with a girl his age, tumbling onto him, hands full of goods liberated from the stalls. Three men were approaching quickly through the crowd.
“Shit,” The girl babbled, “Shit, shit, shit…”
Charlie struggled to his feet.
“Come with me if you want to stay out of jail.”
The girl stared at him, then reached out her hand.

Staying under the tarpaulin which lined the pavements to conceal them from overhead cameras, Charlie moved quickly with the girl’s hand in his. They made it to a quiet side-street without being seen, though Charlie made sure to check every so often that they weren’t followed. Brushing off the worst of the spilt alcohol, he sat beside the sobbing girl and took her hand in his once more.
“What’s your name anyway?”
“Charlie.”
“Just Charlie?”
“Yeah. What’s your name?”
“Lara.”
“Just Lara?”
“Just Lara.” She smiled.
“This doesn’t seem to be working out for you.”
“I don’t normally steal, it’s just… I was hungry.”
“Do you have somewhere to stay?”
“Kinda. I’m staying at the shelter on the roadrail crossing.”
“Anyone there to look out for you?”
“No. Just me.”
“Just you by yourself, Just Lara?”
“Just me by myself, Just Charlie.”

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