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Union Candy (part 19)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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“Hey! I’ve just scrubbed…”

Finny looked up and stopped. Queen Bee, Bethany Ambrose, stood two steps up, smiling down.

“Oh, I’m sorry Finny.”

Finny climbed to her knees, taking note of Queen Bee’s two companions as they descended the stairs, one on each side, to stand behind her. There was no one around. Even if it hadn’t been a mealtime, this was the back stairs and much less travelled than the main staircase that led directly up from the front door.

“What do you want Bethany?” Finny asked, cautiously.

“Nothing much. It’s just that, well, see. I’ve been doing very well making a teeny, tiny profit from lending chips to those poor people who want things they can’t really afford.” Queen Bethany started to tap Finny’s bucket with the side of her shoe. She and Finny both watched the ripples it made in the dirty water. “So,” Bethany continued. “I’d really appreciate it if you stopped that little game you’ve been playing with the Union Candy.”

Finny watched the rippling water in her bucket become more and more agitated as the sixteen-year-old teenager tapped the bucket harder. She could guess what was going to happen next. It looked like she wasn’t going to even have time to get any cold leftovers once she had finished mopping up the mess that was likely coming. She also doubted that anything she could say to the older girl was going to make much difference. Finny’s expression set. No point even trying then.

Casper stood up slowly, dreading the answer to his next question.

“Did you tell her?”

Onetooth’s expression, as he watched Casper rising from his seat, changed to one of apprehension that he might have done something wrong.

“Um, yeah. She said she wanted to talk to Finny about Union Candy so I…”

But Casper was already gone, heading for the door.

As one, Onetooth and the other three orphans at the table looked at the still pretty much full tray of food Casper had left behind.

Not giving a second thought to his meal currently being fought over upstairs, Casper arrived at the top flight of the back stairs just in time to hear Finny’s response to Queen Bee. He knelt down to listen, his head as far through the old cast iron railings as he could get it.

Finny tilted her head to one side and forced a smile through the growing anger building in her chest.

“But I like the game… An’ I’m winning.”

The kick in the back she got for her disrespect from one of the Queen Bee’s ladies-in-waiting, not only hurt like hell, but it catapulted Finny forward so that she had to use her hands to stop her head from smacking into the corner of the step Bethany was standing on.

Queen Bee grinned at the opportunity this presented and the foot that had been about to kick the bucket over stamped down hard on Finny’s left hand.

Finny screamed and rolled over onto her side. The two teenagers behind her laughed and Queen Bee, hands on hips, bent forward.

“It’s gonna be hard playing a game with a smashed-up hand Finny. Good job you’ve got another one.” She stood up and lifted her foot off Finny’s fingers. “For now, anyway.”

The royal entourage stepped past Finny again to join their leader, where they all turned to leave through the door that led to the second-floor corridor. Queen Bee stopped and turned back.

“Oh, I almost forgot.” She said, then pushed over the large, three quarters full, bucket to send a sudsy waterfall cascading down the stairs and soaking Finny in the process.

Finny, clutching her hand, struggled into a sitting position, ignoring the exit of the three teens through the double doors. Casper joined her.

“Finny. I’m sorry.”

Finny looked up at him, grinning through her pain.

“What for? You couldn’t have done anything. There was three of them an’ bigger than both of us.”

Casper seethed inside. Maybe he couldn’t have done anything, not while they were hurting Finny. But he knew how he could make them sorry that they had. He was temporarily distracted by his thoughts of revenge by Finny’s sharp intake of breath. He turned to see her paler than normal face staring at him.

“I think she broke my finger.”

Casper helped Finny to her feet.

“Come on, we’ll go an’ find someone.”

While Finny was taken away to the Union Medical Centre to have her ‘accident’ seen to, Casper quietly slipped away from the orphanage.

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

Interesting twist. Every school/orphanage has one...  I can not wait for the next bit :)

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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