Thursday, September 29, 2005

 

the child, one hundred three


With a nod, Walker reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of papers. 'While you lot were taking your sweet time getting here,' he said, 'I've been busy. I found several folks that are ripe to be rescued.' He shuffled through his papers, then read: 'Logan. Big bruiser. Sixth level down. Mean and vicious as they come. But his kid brother died lately, and he's starting to look for something more to life.'

'We'll take him!' Forest said confidently, snatching the paper from Walker's hand. 'Won't we, James?'

James gave a half-hearted smile, then winced as even that much movement sent a spasm of pain shooting through his beaten face.

'All right,' said Walker, going to his next paper. 'This one's Ginger. She's...'

'Ginger!' Lucy cried. She grabbed the paper from the man's hand and looked it over rapidly, her eyes devouring the information written there. 'Yes! This is the Ginger that lived down the hall from us, Starr! Why don't you, uh...' But even as she started to ask Starr to help her rescue Ginger. Lucy glanced over at her old friend. Starr looked so comfortable there at Stone's side, her fingers entwined with his. 'Uh... Linda,' Lucy said instead. 'Why don't you come with me?'

'All right,' said Linda.

'Good enough,' said Walker. He picked out the next page. 'Rob. He's well named; he's a thief. Morose fellow, never laughs. Some deep tragedy there. His only comfort is sneaking things that aren't his. He told me lately that he wanted to die.'

Jack put out his hand. 'I'll take that one.' He glanced over those who were left - Joy, the unknown Walker, the obvious couple, and the three men whom he didn't know were angels - and he chose, 'Morgen?'

The angel nodded.

'Moving right along,' said Walker. 'Another woman. Well, more like a girl. Talia. Spends most of her time mooning over one guy or another. She even had a crush on me for a bit there.' He made a wry face. 'The girl lies like you wouldn't believe. She's...'

'My age?' asked young Joy.

Walker looked up. 'Yeah, pretty much. You want her?' Joy put out her hand, received the paper, looked around, smiled, and said, 'Malachi.'

He smiled back.

Now there were only four left: Stone, Starr, Mac, and Walker himself. And Walker was looking embarrassed. 'I, um, I only have one paper left.' He held it up. 'Beatriz. And I've managed to develop a bit of a rapport with her. She trusts me, and she doesn't trust many. So...' He pointed. 'How about you? A woman, to help rescue a woman?'

He was pointing at Starr.

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