This is Part Two! Thanks to all of you who liked this story! We do get a little more of Nathaniel’s back story in this bit.
The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering. Ben Okri
Noah gave Nathaniel a small wave as she joined him over at the rooftop entrance of the theater. He nodded to Anya and Shaun who were chatting about something or another at the door. Nathaniel was joining him on a walk today. Maybe they would even stop by the library, he thought wistfully. He loved books. It was so easy to lose yourself in foreign realms and immerse yourself in the unknown. They jumped to a few streets over so it was harder to trace them back to their hide out and slid down into an unused alley. The ripe scent of garbage wafted up from the tipped trashcan they hopped over, a cat scurrying away in fright. The smell of rain was evident on the breeze as were the dark clouds moving in from the west. He grinned lightly at his friend, purple eyes sparkling.
“Shall we head to the market and see what we can snag for supper?”
Nathaniel smiled, clutching the straps of her old worn backpack.
“You bet!” She said happily as they passed the bakery.
Noah sighed enviously, seeing a small boy and his mother walk out of the shop with a couple of piping hot cinnamon sticky buns. He could practically taste it as the delicious smell wafted over to them. What would it be like to be able to have hot food every day? It must be nice. They had lived on canned foods, raw produce and day old bread for so long that he barely remembered what it was like to have a hot meal or even three a day. The two of them headed to the market in companionable silence, each spotting each other so they didn’t get caught. Noah managed to snag two jars of homemade marmalade while Nathaniel got a head of cabbage and a bag of apples. Before they left, they had quite a haul, including a bushel of radishes, some celery and a rather craftily stolen bag of tomatoes. They were quick as lizards and stealthy as shadows, slipping each item into their packs. By now they were professionals at the art of the five fingered discount. When that skill could make or break whether you ate or not, you learned to get good at it.
They were just passing Tesco’s when, out of the corner of his eye, Noah caught a dark shadow in an alleyway. He thought at first that it was just some drunk but the rain began to come down at last, distracting him as they hurried under the overhang of the nearest building, a hair salon. When he looked back at the alley, the figure was gone. Odd. Was it the police? A private investigator? One of the other gang members? Were they being tailed or was it just a coincidence? He didn’t know. One thing was for certain, though: they would have to be extra careful on the way home today.
Nathaniel was looking around the corner wondering what had caught Noah’s sharp eyes but she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary when he glanced over his shoulder at the alley himself. So she didn’t give it much more thought after that. She paused as a familiar, overwhelming pressure began to build behind her skull. Seconds became hours and when he eyes closed, it wasn’t darkness that greeted her. She was standing at a construction sight, beside a crane. Up above, a crewman lost his step and fell off of a building causing a crash that killed at least five others, near the downtown area by the bus station pickup. She looked over at her partner in exasperation and watched his face as he came back from the vision as well.
“Are you up for a quickie before we head home?” He asked with a smile lacing his lips.
Nathaniel and Noah came back from a full day of events to find the rest of the group in a whispering huddle. There was the sense of excitement and anxiety in the air. Shaun and Anya were in the midst of the conversation when they walked into the room.
Anya shook her head and added with a sneer, “…And just the other night I was taking a run around town, and there was that creepy limo circling the street again. I don’t know who it is, Shaun but that’s the fifth time this week I’ve seen it cruising this side of the tracks. There are barely enough people who own cars, much less a driver.” Shaun nodded his head deep in thought. He paused and asked a question, as Noah and Nate sat their cargo on the make shift table.
“And the windows were tinted you say?”
“Yeah, and I even laid in the middle of the road! It just stopped, turned around and sped off in the opposite direction! Creepy.”
“Definitely odd, though not as odd as you just laying in the middle of the street.” Remus smirked from behind one of the tomatoes Noah had tossed him.
Anya gave him a rather unflattering one fingered salute and he held a hand to his heart as if he had been mortally wounded. Nathaniel thought about all the different types of cars she had seen lately and from what she remembered no limos came to mind. The last limo she had seen was before she had started living with her new friends. The first night, with a most intriguing man.
“Get in the car now, there‘s a good girl.”
A man with gelled-back red hair held the door open for her to get in. Horence was Nathaniel’s keeper. He was a man who knew her father long ago, according to Nathaniel’s mother. She had claimed that Horence had brought her mother and father to Britain to begin with, smuggling them in from Spain on a ferry. That had been before she’d been born. He was a stalky, greasy individual who kept most of his secrets to himself. He had a way of using other people’s weaknesses against them. Though Nathaniel didn’t like the things Horence did or made Nate do, she knew it was the only way to help her family now. And there was no limit to things she would be willing to do for the well being of her family. If Horence wanted Nate to go to the local clinic to get cash for some weird blood experiments, she went down to the clinic. If Horence wanted Nate to spend some ‘special time’ with a ‘business ally’, then Nate would spend her night with that person. In all seriousness, what Horence said was law. Which was usually fine considering everything she earned went towards helping her sick mom and little sister. Nathaniel nodded and bent her head into the elongated vehicle, sliding along the leather seats.
The inside of the car was awesome! Lights on the ceiling with mirrors lining the walls. It was like a whole new world inside this car. She was so caught up in awe of the limo ride that she had almost forgotten why she was even in it. Nathaniel smiled, feeling guilty for not acknowledging Horence’s friend yet. She looked over at the person sitting across from her at last, paying extra attention to the stranger to make up for her rudeness. The man was reclined back in the seat but he looked ready to spring into action at the drop of a pin. He was dressed very sharply, which was odd considering Horence knew him. Most of his allies were shadier than Horence himself. The well dressed man had an entertained smile across his face, an expression that she was embarrassed to find dashingly handsome. He had been watching Nathaniel’s reaction with no small amount of amusement.
She grinned and quietly spoke to the man, “Hello, sir. I’m Nathaniel. I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.”
She didn’t want the nice man thinking she wasn’t interested in him since he was letting her ride in his nice limo. The man cocked his head and spoke almost as softly as Nathaniel, except with more of a well cultured taste in his voice, the hint of an accent flavoring it all.
“Hello, Nathalia. Do you know what champagne taste like?”
It was an odd question and the surprise showed on her face. It was very rare for a client to ask Nathaniel questions not pertaining to them. Nothing wrong with that, they did pay for her time, after all, so conversation directed towards her was often limited. Since this man ask her a question that meant he wanted to talk with her. It must have meant that he bought a lot of time with Nathaniel. Curious.
“I’ve never really had anything alcoholic before, mister.”
“Hmm. Is that a personal preference or an order from that pathetic little Horence?”
Nathaniel smiled at the tone of the man voice referring to his manger. Though she did what he wanted, Horence hadn’t grown emotionally attached to Nate but she didn’t hate Horence for it. She just didn’t agree with his deals or temper or habits or body odor.
“I’ve just never really wanted to try it that’s all. Do you want me to try some?”
Nathaniel didn’t bother trying to ask her client’s name outright. The majority of the clients never told her their names out of fear of blackmail, or something. The last one she had asked gave her a beating she wouldn’t soon forget. Horence had merely said,
“Heh! Serves you right for being so nosey! Stick to your job and don’t ask so many questions, girl.”
The man cocked a brow at her question.
“Not if you don’t want to. Now then, I believe we’ve reached our destination, dear Nathalia.” His impossibly green eyes were shining full of quiet excitement and mischief.
She had never seen a more beautiful color in her entire life. So much so, she just had to tell the man of her discovery.
“Wow! You’ve got the prettiest eyes I’ve EVER seen.” She was so taken by the color that she blushed when the eyes in question were staring straight into her own amber colored orbs.
“Thank you.” He said with a small grin, averting his amused gaze.
Nathaniel wondered at his reaction but quickly shrugged it off. If he wanted to discuss it then he would bring it up. Then the limo came to a stop. The man sat up and leaned towards Nathaniel closing the space between their bodies considerably. He wore a mischievous grin as he whispered in Nathaniel ear softly,
“I hope you enjoy Italian.”
For unknown reasons this caused another blush to creep up her cheeks. The man leaned back as the door was open and a grand restaurant was suddenly outside of the magical limo.
~~~Snap back to reality~~~
“-out you Nathaniel? Nathaniel? You alright?” Noah asked turning to his dear friend.
By the sound of his voice and the look on his face, he had asked that question more than once.
“I’m sorry! Now what was that last part?” She smiled sort of embarrassed that she had a space out moment that wasn’t involved with seeing future deaths. It was a fond memory, easy to sink into. That had been the last time anyone had ever used her birth name but the man had insisted on it. He had said it was beautiful and exotic.
Her friends looked her over with worry. She usually couldn’t just space out because she’d lose concentration and that was never good for anyone. Shaun walked over to her, placing rough hands on Nate’s shoulders, making her look straight into Shaun’s husky blue eyes. He was looking for anything that could have been slightly wrong with the smaller teen. Nathaniel smiled tenderly up at her partner. The expression seemed to satisfy him enough to release the hold Shaun had on her shoulders. The subject was changed and soon dinner was served. Nathaniel was going to have to be more careful when she reminisced like that. If only she could recall what that man allowed Nathaniel to call him. Oh well another thought for another day. There was cabbage, after all!
- Prophets- Part One (thewritersbay.wordpress.com)