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Union Candy (part 13)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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Finny sat down on the wet floor of the tunnel and started pulling off her shoes.

“Have you got a knife?”

Looking unsure, Kru reached into her boot top and pulled out a substantial hunting knife.

“This do?” She asked, flipping it in her hand and holding it out handle first for Finny to take.

Finny pulled of her other shoe with a grunt and took the knife. Then, sitting with her right leg straight, she moved the blade of Kru’s knife to a point just above her knee and, with a regretful sigh, started to dig it into the expensive denim.

Kru lunged to stop her, pulling the knife out of Finny’s hand.

“What in hell do you think you’re doing?!”

Annoyed, Finny looked up.

“Cutting the legs off so they look all scrappy.”

“Not like that you don’t, girl. There’re two damn big arteries just where you’re about to stick that thing. You nick either of those and you’re dead meat.” Kru squatted down. “Here, give me your pants and I’ll do it. Not having you dying on me in a damn sewer and me having to explain it to Joe just before he blows my head off.”

Finny looked at Kru and blinked.

“Joe wouldn’t do that.”

Kru was about to set the kid straight when she caught the uncertainty in Finny’s voice. Shit, she doesn’t even know, she thought. The two stared at each other for a single long second. Kru felt a chill ripple down her spine. If Finny didn’t know that Joe could murder in cold blood, then it was only because Joe didn’t want her to know, and she nearly blew it. Kru changed tack.

“Yeah, well, maybe not. But you slicing your leg open is still gonna leave you dead and me having to explain how I watched you kill yourself.” She waved her fingers impatiently. “Just give me the goddamn pants.”

Finny stood up and unbuckled her belt. That done, she stopped and looked up at her companion. Kru might be a girl, but still.

“Please can I have your tee-shirt?”

“What?”

“I need your tee shirt. It’s part of the disguise.”

Muttering under her breath, Kru took off her jacket and pulled her black tee-shirt, with the long since undecipherable logo, over her head and handed it to Finny. She shivered as she put her jacket back on, glad she had a vest on underneath.

Finny pulled the too big and still warm tee shirt over her head, the hem of which came halfway down to her knees. Then she finished taking her jeans off and handed them to Kru.

“Do it just above the knees, like you would if you were making a worn out pair into shorts.”

“I know, I know.” Kru bunched the material of one leg around the knee area and began sawing through the tough denim. “What are you going to do about that ginger explosion on your head? That’s what’s gonna get you recognised up there more than anything else.”

Finny was busy slapping ‘mud’ over her bare legs.

“Wait here an’ I’ll show you.” Finishing up she turned and headed back the way they had come.

The knife finally sliced through the leg of Finny’s jeans.

“Hey! Where are you going?”

Finny was already out of sight when her voice floated back.

“I saw something.”

“Saw what?” But Finny was gone and didn’t answer. Kru cursed and set to work on the other leg.

When Finny came back she almost cried when she saw her precious jeans. She handed Kru a soggy mass of green wool.

“Can you cut one of the sleeves off for me? Right at the top by the neck.”

Screwing her face up in disgust, Kru took the dripping sweater and straightened it out. There were matching big ragged holes right in the middle of the chest and back. During the sweater’s time caught on a broken piece of rebar that had been sticking out of the wall most of the blood had been washed away, but not all of it.

“From the shoulder you mean?”

Finny, pulling on her now sodden ‘shorts’ nodded. While Kru was hacking through the fibres with the hunting knife, Finny started tying her long braids up into an untidy swirl on top of her head. Kru wrung out the cut off sleeve as best she could and passed it to Finny.

The look on Finny’s face showed that this was the just about last thing she wanted to do, but she pulled the wider end of the sleeve over her head, then folded the rest of it down and tucked the end under the back. Then she stood back.

“How do I look?”

Kru looked her up and down, nodding.

“Not bad, not bad.” She frowned. “Hang on a sec.” She picked up one of the discarded legs of Finny’s jeans and sliced it in two lengthways. Then she tied the two ends together.

“Okay, come here.”

Finny stepped closer and Kru knelt and looped the home-made denim belt around the nine-year-old’s waist and tied it off in the front. Then she pulled a few inches of tee-shirt up through the belt and let it fall loosely over it. She stood up.

“There, done.”

As an afterthought, Finny wiped her dirty hands down her cheeks, hiding most of her tell-tale freckles under muddy smears. Kru grinned.

“You look like a proper little street urchin now.” She held her nose. “Phew, you smell like one, too.”

Finny laughed. She stepped over to where the ladder hung down above her.

“Okay, boost me up.”

Kru still looked uncertain.

“You be careful, okay. Keep your eyes open.” She saw Finny roll her eyes. “Listen kid, these guys will grab you and beat the crap out of you to get their hands on this briefcase. You see anyone looking like they’re coming for you, you run back here fast, got it?”

Finny nodded.

“Got it.”

“Okay then.” Kru squatted down and cupped her hands. Finny planted her bare foot against the interlaced fingers and put her hands on Kru’s shoulders. “Ready?” Kru said, bracing herself ready to boost.

Finny checked her balance.

“Ready.”



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