Quick update. It may not be the best that I can do, but it’ll have to do for now. This one was sort of emotional. Be warned. We’re delving a bit into the past of the Dayton sisters. Enjoy.
Sugar Dayton took one look at her sister’s face and grimaced. “Don’t you dare say anything. Besides, you bought it for me.”
Mae blew a thick stream of smoke in her younger sibling’s face. “Yeah, I paid for it, but I never thought you’d actually wear it.” She chuckled as Sugar tried to cover he exposed flesh and failed. “Looks good on you, though.”
The younger woman huffed. “Whatever. I just felt, well, dangerous today. Figured I’d dress the part.” She tugged at the red leather bustier, which was little more than two patches and several pieces of string. The matching low slung pants, also in red leather, felt suspiciously low. It required every ounce of self-confidence she had in her not to jump back in her vehicle and return home to in order to change her clothes. She shifted uncomfortably, annoyed at the unfamiliar restriction of the tight clothing, unconsciously untying and retying the laces on the front of her shirt. She raised one leg with the intention of resting her foot on the large boulder in front of her, but staggered with the weight of the steel-toed military issue boot. Sugar finally settled for dropping her pack on the ground, and leaning against the driver side door of her truck. Glancing over at her twin, she frowned.
Mae’s eyes were closed, her beautiful face twisted in pain. Both hands clutched her belly. She was breathing hard; beads of sweat appeared on her upper lip. The cigar that she just moments before held clamped tightly between her lips lay on the ground, smoldering and forgotten.
“Mae Day!” Sugar yelled. She pushed herself away from her vehicle and headed to her sister’s side.
Mae held up a shaking hand to halt the younger woman’s progress. “I fine,” she croaked. Clearing her throat, she repeated herself. “I’m fine. You got the dossier?”
“Let’s call this off. Or at least wait until you’re better.”
Mae snorted. “You know as well as I do, SIFRAS does not wait.”
“But Mae -”
“Stop. Alright? I said I’m fine. This is nothing. What are the specs for this little jaunt in the woods?”
Instead of answering, Sugar walked over to her sister and looked over the guard rail. Some yards away from where they stood, the weather-beaten ruins of a large complex sat forlornly. What little steel and glass remained gleamed in the day’s sunshine.
“Remember the first time they let us play outside?” Sugar asked, looking at the remains of their childhood home.
“What’s the point of remembering anything remotely good about those bastards? After all the bad things, the good is useless.”
“But you do remember, right?” she pressed. “Do you remember what you said to me?”
Mae said. “Of course I remember, Sugar. I promised to protect you and find us a way out.”
“And now, I’m going to give those words back to you.”
“Have you been in my stash? Cuz I swear, you’ve been smokin’ somethin’.”
“I’m serious, Mae Day. This can’t continue. They’ve done too much to you, to us. I know you’re nearing your limit -”
“You don’t know shit.”
“I know enough. This can’t continue.”
“What choice do we have, Sugar? Huh? Answer me that. We may be hard to kill, but they don’t have to kill us, do they? They can go on doing what they’ve been doing, and letting us live. That’s hell enough by itself.”
“Maybe we’re allowing them to use us-”
Mae cut her sister off. “Allowing them? Do you honestly think I would choose to live like this, to be used like this? They own us, Sugar. They branded us at birth. You may not remember, but I do. I inherited all of our mother’s memories.” She choked back tears. “Did you know, Sugar, how we were born into this world? They caught our pregnant mother running through these very hills and ripped us from her womb. The same way they ripped my daughter from mine.” The older Dayton pushed her pants down and yanked up her button down shirt, showing the younger woman the mess of scars crisscrossing her abdomen.
Sugar gasped, and started to shake. “No, no, no.” She swung her head back and forth with the denial, willing her sister’s mutilated flesh to be whole. “No, no, no,” she sobbed. Her tears were hot as they streamed down her face.
Mae fixed her clothes and turned her back on her sibling. “They own us, Sugar. Might as well get used to it and do they damn jobs they force us to. So what’s the specs on this one? Simple retrieval? Do they have a lead on the Fire Wielder?” Hearing the sound of footsteps and then a zipper, she turned to face her sister and jumped as a metal case was shoved in her face.
“Is this -?”
Sugar popped the case open, revealing the contents. Mae felt
the familiar sickness rise as she stared at the orange fluid.
“So I’m the bloodhound again, eh?” She tried to make light of the situation and failed.
“I’m so sorry, Mae Day. I will find a way out of this.”
“You want to find me a way out? Kill me.”
“What?” Sugar’s head snapped up and her tears dried instantly. “I could never-”
“If you don’t, they will. This shit-” Mae motioned at the vial. “-has been killing me for years. I wonder if they even know what they’re doing to me. Forcing me to drink the essence of these creatures doesn’t just give me the ability to track them.” She paused.
“When I drink a creature’s essence, I become one of them.”