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Selki (Part II)

Author: Syrinx
ASL Info:    16/F/US
Elite Ratio:    6.16 - 35 /30 /12
Words: 1743
Class/Type: Story /Misc
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This is a continuation of "Selki". I'm sure that you'll be able to follow it, but you might want to read the first part in order to understand everything:)

Selki (Part II)

Selki opened her eyes cautiously, in slits, and squinted as the light streaming throughout the room hit her eyes. It was dawn. She had no idea where she was or how she had got there, and there was no sign of anyone around. She sat up, and, after a few unstable and unexpected bounces, realized she was sitting in a bed, albeit an inflatable one. She was inside a sleeping bag, and the pillow was nothing but a sack filled with what looked like cotton balls. She got out of the bed with some difficulty, and looked around at the strangest room she’d ever seen. What caught her eye first was what looked like gleaming diamonds hanging all around a bright lightbulb in the middle of the ceiling, but on closer inspection were actually pieces of broken glass, filed into to teardrop shapes.
One entire wall of the room was taken up by an enormous window, pieced together from various pieces of glass, some colored, most in the green or amber color of bottles, and some clear. The whole spectacular window as well as the display of hanging glass sent a kaleidoscope of blinding light dancing throughout the room. The room was cluttered with strange creations made out of, it looked like, anything that came to hand. A row of bottles sat on a splintery table, ranging from a tiny glass medicine bottle and ending with a huge beer bottle, all cemented together. A rusty pipe snaked out of a hole in each bottle and pointed upward, giving it the look of some bizarre church organ. Selki blew gently over one of the bottles and, sure enough, a hollow musical note sounded. On a tilted, three legged table in the corner was a strange display of buck-toothed figurines made out of stacks of mostly molten pennies, crudely molded together to form a bucktoothed rider sitting on a bucktoothed horse, a bucktoothed rabbit, knight…she counted eight in all. She picked up the horse and rider and inspected them. The teeth were real. Suddenly, there was a scraping sound, coming from far corner, where a narrow, rusty ladder led into a jagged hole in the ceiling. The ladder shaking and shrieking in protest, and a moment later, a vaguely familiar figure dropped to the ground, dragging a ratty sleeping bag behind him, the one with eyes the color of smoked glass. He seemed to not to notice her, but tossed the sleeping bag onto a thin mattress, of the uninflatable variety, on the other side of the room.
“Who was the other one for?”
Jinx whirled around to see Selki standing there, awake, pointing at the bad she had just slept on.
“Oh, just in case a little girl happens to collapse at my feet.”
She just stared at him with wide, clear amber eyes.
Jinx hesitated, then said, very casually, “I had a little brother about two years ago. He used to sleep there.”
“How old was he when he died?” asked this strange, very direct little girl.
Jinx stared at her. “Seven and a half.” Fifteen halves, because they had counted halves.
Then he barked a laugh, because Selki had gone back to inspecting the figure made out of molten pennies, equipped with two ominously real teeth.
“Oh, don’t worry,” he said, “I don’t lure children up here just to eat them and use their teeth to make toys. Although the idea does have a certain poetry. Those were Toby’s. The tooth fairy wasn’t really an option.” At least, not when he had lost all his baby teeth, and started losing his permanent teeth as well. He had lost all of his adult teeth by the time he was six. Just looking at the toothy figures made Jinx shiver, but he couldn’t possibly throw them away, just as he could never throw away the bag full of crinkly white hair that was stowed under his mattress.
Selki was staring at him intensely. He smiled uneasily at her.
“How do you like my secret lair?”
She looked around, and smiled for the first time. “It’s very…bright and shiny.”
He barked like a seal, then stopped. “Yes it is. Toby couldn’t see things very well unless they were.” At least, he couldn’t once his eyes began to grow white and cloudy with cataracts. His eyes had been hazel, not gray and transparent like Jinx’s, but he wasn’t completely blind until just before.
Jinx grinned at Selki. “And now, we’d better go eat, because luring children up here and eating them is starting to sound like not too bad of an idea.”
The door of a shabby café opened with a groan and Jinx and Selki slipped inside. Jinx headed for a counter where the steady ding of a cash register was originating, and Selki followed. A glass display window full of pastries and biscuits lined the top of the counter, which the woman behind it was furiously wiping with a cloth, as it was covered in at least an inch of dust. She came over when she saw them, still running the cloth over the counter. “It keeps coming back,” she said, looking flustered, “what can I get you?”
Jinx was surveying the prices. He threw five crumpled bills and some change on the counter.
“Four donuts”
The cash register dinged. The woman handed them a greasy bag. She looked to be about twenty-five or thirty, but her hands were thin bones draped with creased parchment, mottled with liver spots like ink and blue and purple veins bulging near the surface. Jinx sat down at a rickety wrought iron table and slid three donuts across the table to Selki. She attacked one as if she had never before eaten anything as wondrous as a pastry with a hole in the middle. Jinx ate his ponderously, it was more than a little stale, but he barely noticed, how long had it been since he had eaten a donut? He looked across the table at the strange little girl across from him. Her dirty bare feet didn’t touch even the floor. Her tarnished bracelets clinked against the table. While her mouth was busy devouring the donut, going at it again and again like a striking viper, her eyes were flickering around the room. She seemed to be staring at the anomalous customers, the young woman with the ancient hands at the counter, the supposed ten-year old wearing an old suit and carrying a briefcase, sipping alcohol in the corner, the ingenuine girl outside with her nose pressed flat against the window, whimpering like an infant. The donut wasn’t stale at all; actually, it tasted like it had just been made this morning. Jinx stuffed the rest of the donut into his mouth and swallowed it. He put his elbows on the table, resting his chin on his fists, and watched Selki stuff more donut into her mouth. She was avoiding his eyes.
“I like your name. You know, selkies are magical creatures. They are a part of the sea, usually seals or dolphins, who sometimes take off their seaskins and are people underneath. When they take off their skins, they walk around on land for a while. There’s an ocean, east of the city,” he tilted his head to the left , smiling, “That way. Did you come swimming out of that sea?”
She smiled and shook her head, long hair whipping around her face.
“Well then, where did you come from? Did you used to live where I found you, or did you run away?”
She just took a big bite of donut and shook her head again. But he thought he saw a glimpse of a smile on her face.
“Well then, I’m just going to keep you, and continue to fatten you up until you tell me.”
The woman at the counter smiled bewilderedly at them as they went out. She was still scrubbing at the glass compulsively, but all of the dust was gone.

“Where are we going?” Selki asked, looking up at Jinx, as they walked down a mostly empty street that smelled like charcoal and cats.
“You are going home to the secret lair, you can stay there until I get back.”
Selki stopped in her tracks. “Where are you going?” You’re leaving me behind?!”
Jinx raised his eyebrows at her. This was the most he’d heard her say all at once.
“Sure I can. Learn to play the bottle organ, it’s not as easy as it looks. I’m going…rummaging. You can’t go with me.” He started walking again.
She stayed where she was. “Why not?”
“Because…” Jinx trailed off, exasperated. Where had she gotten this sudden defiance? Because, he was about to tell her, she was a little unclaimed genuine, for God’s sake! There was a black market trade, children were being stolen left, right, and center and sold again. For a looter, genuines found alive in the collapsed buildings they ransacked, it was the best kind of plunder they could hope for, worth much more than broken refrigerators and worthless knick-knacks. But maybe she didn’t know that. And, then again, even if the fog still lay heavy on the city, not even the most desperate Rat would venture out in the middle of the day. Not unless they had just spent the last of their food money, that is. He looked down at Selki for a moment, considering. He had never taken Toby with him, never, and he had been an ingenuine. But, then again, Toby was rickety and feeble and could barely see for most of his life, and Selki had been running around the city for some time, he suspected, judging by the look of her strange, raggedy clothes. Maybe she had been stolen and escaped, but, whatever the case, she did seem to have a certain savvy, for all her taciturn strangeness.
Suddenly, she gave him an odd little smile, and said, very surely, “You can’t leave me behind. I am of the essence.” And she started walking, with a noticeably jaunty spring in her step. Jinx followed, shaking his head bewilderedly, for it was a very odd thing for a little girl to say.

...To be continued...

Submitted on 2006-07-04 15:25:22     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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  I can see the characters starting to develope nicely. Jinx seems to have a found a very independant new friend in Selki. She seems to be a strong young girl. Maybe they have both found exactly what they need to get through this life they seem to be trapped in.
Never expected them to be eating donuts, lol. At least not from the description of the current condition of the world they live in.
The details of the lair was a noce touch. Definatley origianl to say the least.
Nocely done.
| Posted on 2006-07-04 00:00:00 | by Man in Black | [ Reply to This ]
  This is so interesting. They've got this odd connection full of sadness and loss, but in this progressing story it seems they feed off each other's strengths and stories. Very interesting...
and this:
Fifteen halves, because they had counted halves.
I don't know what but that broke my heart. Fifteen halves old.
you have so much in your brain.
| Posted on 2006-07-17 00:00:00 | by parabola | [ Reply to This ]

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