Storytime: Rain Down.

October 30th, 2013

Nakky Soos groaned without using her throat and tried to focus a little harder on not focusing. She was at the bottom of a glass, and that felt right, down there felt right. It made sense. It was smooth, compact, hard-shelled for security and you could see right through it at all the big world out there it was protecting you from.
But there it was again, raising its voice over the roaring in her forehead’s veins, the world come knocking again.
Well, no time like now.
Nakky Soos counted to three in one order or another, acknowledged that she had eyelids, and then lifted one of them. An eyeball nearly as green as hers own peered back skeptically.
“You awake yet, Aunty Nakky?”
Nakky swung her arm, aimlessly and without force or anger. Gimba dodged it with insulting ease, not even the courtesy of a frightened wince. The battered spoon that had served him as makeshift mallet glittered in his hand and made her head hurt even more.
“Go ‘way,” she told him. “’M busy.” Didn’t he see the glass? It was right there, right in her oh where had it gone? It must be here on the counter somewhere…
“Momma says it’s important,” he said. “Momma said fetch you. Momma said so, you’ve got to do it.”
Nakky tried shutting her eyes again, but they got stuck halfway down. Also, it made finding her glass even more difficult. “She that desperate? Your mommy’s a worry-warting shitbird who gave her heart to a crow’s gullet and was surprised when it flew away, Gimba. Go home and tell her I said so. Go on. My exact words. Go on.”
“I’ve got exact words too,” said Gimba.
“Great. Tell ‘em to someone else.” Her hand clanked against something heavy and cold – aha! – that fell over and turned slimy. Woops. There went the pickled onions.
“Momma’s own. She said to get you because nothing else worked.”
Nakky pondered on that, or pretended to, as her seeking hand retreated in shame to her lap. Then she sighed – all for drama – and gave her best go of trying not to pout.
“Which field?”
“The big bendy.”
“Fine. Gimme half an hour. Two half an hours. And a little bit.”
Gimba scampered away, duty done. He had places to go and people to be, the little bastard. Nakky, the most she had to come was work and sleep. Work and sleep. Work and sleep and where the FUCK was that glass, she’d held it in her hand just a minute ago an hour ago.
Oh well.

The big bendy field was an old one. Old and tired. It needed time to rest and sort itself out and maybe dream of days when it wasn’t loaded down with tired and half-sprouted crops but Mett Soos needed things too, and what she needed was food and money. So the field groaned under the burden, and burned under the sun, and it was a damned mess the likes of which Nakky Soos had never seen before when she walked up to it after two hours.
“You’re late,” said Mett. The other people didn’t look at her, so that they didn’t accidentally look at Nakky. It was better that way.
“I love you even more,” said Nakky. Her eyes were little slits of pain underneath her mask, and she couldn’t stop blinking or the sweat would fill them to the brim. “I had to find my mask and my clothes and my drum and my bell.”
Mett leaned in just close enough to be insulting and sniffed loudly. “You’re drunk,” she said, nose crinkling. “You’re late, and you’re drunk.”
“Like you’re surprised. What else you meant to do in this heat?”
“Your job.”
“Told you, it’s not my job.”
“Which is why we tried everything else first. Because you keep saying it isn’t your job. Smarten up, spit that booze out of your breath, and do your job.”
Nakky rubbed her forehead, wincing as the rough wood ground against perspiring skin. “Lissen, you going to yell at me? Because I don’t know if you know this, but my head is fresh to split in half and if you go yelling at me I’m going to pick up both halves and bash your face in with ‘em.”
“And I love you even more than that,” said Mett sweetly. “Do your job, please. This instant.”
Mett knew it didn’t work that way. Mett knew you couldn’t just pop it on and off like a rain-hat. But Mett also knew that the people who weren’t looking at them were listening, and what they were going to hear was Nakky shuffling around and muttering a lot before doing what she was told. Like a sulky child.
Nakky wasn’t sure who Mett’s father was, any more than she was sure of her own. But she wouldn’t have put it past her mother to have slept with a grasssnake, just for sake of the sheer venomous spite of the offspring.
Didn’t matter. No, what mattered now wasn’t here. She had to go out and find it.
Nakky closed her eyes to the sun and the sweat and her sister, and she started walking, but not with her feet.
Five steps up, five steps down. Five to the side and four to the other and then up, up, up.
Ting went the bell in her left hand. A smart little snip of a sound, quickly strangled with a darting movement of her little finger to still the clapper.
Now it was time to get going.

Somewhere, Nakky’s body was dancing without her. She could hear the crumble and crackle of its feet on dry dirt and dryer plants. Nakky envied the bitch. True, she wished she were still back at the bottom of the glass, smooth and safe, but she would’ve sat the rest of her days anchored to that bag of flesh and scruff by her fingernails if it meant she’d never have to walk up high again. It wasn’t safe up there. Too much sky above and below you.
Hey now, said Nakky to all the sky around her. Tall proud lords and ladies of the clouds, grey and serious and stern, ignoring all the little things around them. Hey now, she said to it all.
It ignored her, kept on moving on and on all around her, but Nakky was used to that. She was only playing for now, joking a bit. You can’t just go up and say hi to the sky and expect an answer. You’ve got to speak its language.
Hey now, said Nakky again. Boom.
The world moved again, but this was different. The pace was off. There was a stagger in the steps of the grey people. Something had caught their ears.
Boom-boom, said Nakky.
And now they moved again, and again, and again, but this too was different, this was all new. The world was moving, but it was moving around Nakky. They knew what she was talking about. They knew what she was up to.
Boom-boom, said Nakky. Her lips tingled – not from blood, this wasn’t a place for blood, but with force and sound from far away, rhythmic and solid. Boom-boom she shouted. DOWN!
The sky agreed with her. Very loudly. See them dance, the lords and ladies, see them shout and huzzah.
Here! she said, and she would’ve said more but somewhere her hand went sharp and the buzzing thud in her voice suddenly fell away, far

Ting, went the bell in her left hand.
Nakky Soos blinked. Nakky Soos swayed. Nakky Soos still had one foot in the air, and that’s why Nakky Soos fell over backwards into the dirt, not sure if she was tensed or limp.
“Uh,” she said, and winced. Her right hand was sorer than anything from the drumming. It was also sore because there was a nasty cut on it. Blood everywhere.
Nakky turned her head very slowly to the right, where her drum lay next to her. It had been cut to ribbons from the inside out. Something glittered in its guts.
So that’s where it had gone off to.
“I think I’ve pissed myself,” she declared to her audience of none.
Well, one. That’s when the sky started to open up.

The little bits of her glass were impressively sharp. Nakky saved the biggest and cleanest of them for later, in case she had to cut something up. The rest she threw down her outhouse.
That job done, it was up to the stitches. Nakky was right-handed, and so had to make compromises: she put in only half the number of stitches needed, but made them twice as large as would have been convenient. It hurt a lot but hey, she still had a third of the bottle left over from last night, and she didn’t really need a glass anyways. Would have more if she could corner her sister tomorrow, before she could weasel out of it. You let people get away with not paying you long enough and they started to convince themselves that you never did it in the first place.
She’d get her sister to pay her first thing tomorrow. Second thing tomorrow, after she woke up. Third thing tomorrow, once she ate some of the complicated root she kept in a little clay pot that made her head stop feeling like someone had squeezed a stone into it. Fourth thing after
Nakky slept. And woke up to the sound of smashing crockery.
“WASN’T ME!” she yelled as she lurched herself to her feet. Half her mind was still back when she was little. “I didn’t do it hey you what are you DOING!”
This was directed at the child that was standing on her table, guilty-faced. Spread over half the table were the remains of Nakky’s root and the pot it had been kept in.
“Stupid kid! Do I look like your mother? Go break your mother’s pots!” She grabbed the girl by the arm. “Move! I said move oh.”
Nakky’s eyes were green – like a wad of chewed cud spilt from a cow’s mouth, as Mett had always said, as if hers were really all that much lighter. It ran in the family. Most folks around here had blue eyes. They ran in their families. She’d seen a brown-eyed lady once. She guessed her family far, far away had those.
This little girl had no eyes at all.
“Oh fuck,” said Nakky Soos. “What are you doing down here in my house, little kid?”
Her lower lip trembled.
“Don’t you start-“ said Nakky, and that was as far as she got before the tears came pouring out and the murmuring, stammering wail filled her head from ear to creaking ear. It was a sound she’d heard a thousand times from her nieces and nephews, and it never got more appealing to her.
“Hey!” she shouted. “Hey! Stop that!” The wails continued. “Hey you! STOP!”
She slapped a hand over the girl’s mouth and was rewarded with sudden, shocked silence. Teardrops trickled over her skin, ice-cold.
“Oh fuck me,” said Nakky. “You REALLY shouldn’t be here. Calm down, okay? Just calm down and shut up for a second. Stop it. Please.”
She nodded, weakly.
“Can I take my hand away now?”
Nakky withdrew. The lip hovered, but did not bob. This one could keep a promise.
“I bet your parents taught you that, huh?” she said. “Where’re you from? Can’t be anywhere sunny or you’d have eyes for that pretty little face and you’d be warmer than a corpse-tit. Speak up, huh?”
The girl shook her head.
“You got no eyes, but you got a tongue. Speak up.”
“You wanna get back to your parents or you want to stay stuck down here? Trust me, it’s no fun. Talk.”
The girl hesitated, then opened her mouth.
When everything stopped shaking, Nakky let go of the floor and stood up again. “uh,” she said. “ag alal. Ebbit. Ight. Right. So. Thunder, eh?”
“Well you’re going back home soon as I can send you, thunder child,” said Nakky. “And if we’re both lucky it’ll be sooner rather than later.”
But Nakky knew what kind of luck she had, and did not say the words warmly.

She got up with the sunrise, like it or not. The thunder girl was up and running around her home, poking at things and picking them up and putting them down again with needless force.
“Quit it!” said Nakky. “ow.” Her head felt like it had been rubbed with needles from the inside out.
“This wouldn’t be a problem if you hadn’t showed up,” she said to the girl, who was too busy trying to put on Nakky’s mask and failing to pay her any mind. “Hey! Put that back!”
The girl dropped it. Nakky sighed, flipped her off, and examined the damage. A slight chip off the jaw, hidden among a thousand others.
“Listen,” she told the girl, who was visibly swelling with indignation from the offhand dismissal. “You want to get home, I need this stuff in one piece. My drum’s already shot to shit and I don’t need you rigging up a matched set of broken garbage for me, eh? You understand me? This is important. You understand me?”
The nod was reluctant.
“Good. Now c’mon. I got to go get this thing sewn up, and I ain’t doing it one-handed.”

They walked down the road in the sunset. Well, Nakky walked. The thunder girl rode on her shoulders, victor in a wordless argument that had lasted for hours.
“Right,” said Nakky, shattering a peaceful silence that had lasted since they left town, marked by the slish-slosh of the jug dangling from her belt. “So. Don’t worry yet.”
The girl shrugged, her heels idly beating against blisters on Nakky’s sides.
“Stop it or you’re getting dropped right here and now.”
A final kick of protest, then alert silence.
“I can get this fixed, okay? So what if nobody in town’ll take my money but the barman, eh? I can do this myself. It’ll just take longer, that’s all. I just wait ‘till my hand gets better and…” Nakky sighed under the sheer weight of the skeptical, eyeless gaze directed at her from above. “Yeah. Okay. We need to get you back NOW, not later. Right. Shit, not as if I wanted you here in the first place, not like it’s my fault. Right.”
A thoughtful hum from above rumbled through her from skull to spine.
“What now?”
Drum-drum-drum went the heels, a rhythm of boundless excitement, and then a sudden lightness filled Nakky Soos from her shoulders on down.
“Hey! Get back here you little shit!”
The thunder girl was in full flight, arms and legs pumping, face serious. Nakky’s legs were longer, but not much stronger, and it was some time before her hand closed on a soft nape and yanked its owner to a full stop, sending her feet flying every which way.
One lodged itself in Nakky’s jaw.
“Nffgh,” said Nakky. Practiced to the ways of nieces and nephews, she grabbed the foot and danced her fingers across its base with a spider’s agility. In the ten-second squirming frenzy that ensured, she secured her grip on half the girl’s limbs and pinned the other two between her and the ground.
“Right! What was that about, huh? You’re not going anywhere if you get away from me. Nobody else around here can do what I do, right? You know that! I told you that! What’s the big deal?”
The thunder girl rolled her head. Nakky’s fingers hooked into her tickling claws again. The thunder girl rolled her head faster, wincing in anticipation.
“What now?”
Roll, roll. Side-to-side, exaggerated. All-around.
Nakky looked all around, all around, all around at the damp, soft soil of the field that surrounded them. Big bendy.
“Oh? This where you landed?”
Nod, nod.
A short walk later – made longer by the nagging pain in Nakky’s stitches, which had come loose during their tussle and started to quietly weep blood – and they stood at the edge of a little crater, a hole in the earth made by the sky.
“Rode the bolt down here, huh?”
“Stupid girl! You shouldn’t do that! You KNOW you shouldn’t do that! Why would you chase me?”
The thunder girl pouted defiantly, then pointed at Nakky’s hand.
Nakky sighed. “Well, maybe I did vanish a bit suddenly. Still, worrying about things like that’s not your problem. I’m a big girl too, right? I can handle myself. Matter of fact, now that I’ve got a refill, I can handle myself just fine for the next week. Little thunder-girls should pay attention to their parents, not me. Hey, you listening? Pay attention!”
The thunder-girl raised her head again. Little chilly tears were prickling from her empty sockets.
“What now? Your parents’ll see you soon enough.”
That did it. The sobbing fit that followed lasted all the way home and then some, lulled at last to sleep by the wind-blown creaks of the old deadwood tree that leaned over Nakky’s home.
Nakky consoled herself with the contents of the bottle. Adequately, of course, but not excessively. No more than a drop.
An eighth of the jar.
A quarter.

Nakky woke up too early again, with a splitting headache and an empty jug and a sore hand and no thunder-girl. Further reluctant, hesitant investigation revealed a thunder-girl and what was left of one of her shirts, which was being carefully sliced several sizes smaller with a piece of her glass.
“You got six seconds to tell me a good reason you’re doing that,” said Nakky.
The thunder-girl flinched, then pointed at her dress, still smeared brown from their struggle in the field yesterday.
“Clothes now? Spit in sand, you’re needy. Well, live with it. You’ve torn that shirt to shit and we ain’t going to town twice in one week. Even the barman’ll get funny-eyed if I’m filling up again so soon. Hey, what’s that face for?” She followed the line of the girl’s frown to the bottle. “Oh, none of your business. Not like I’m your mother, not like I’m going to get mean on this and turn your face red as sunset. No, this is medicine. Medicine won’t hurt anybody. That’s for mothers to do.”
Thunder-girl tugged pointedly at her dress.
“Not like I’ve got more lying around. Never had much for children, not like my…” Nakky’s mouth sank into her gut as she saw the girl’s immediate interest. “…anybody… else I, I know oh damnit. Fine. FINE! For you, you little brat, I go to see my sister. Alllll for you.”
“Besides, she owes me anyways.”

“I can’t believe you let her run around in that thing.”
Nakky hummed to herself as she watched the children running in circles for no reason.
“I mean, it was barely half of a dress,” Mett continued, with the professional air of a butcher looking for just the right angle to start cutting. “I’m amazed nobody gave you trouble in town for it.”
“They know better’n to screw around with me,” said Nakky without paying attention, and immediately cursed herself.
“You? I’m more worried about her. Little girl like that doesn’t need to get dragged into the sort of scenes you cause every day. How’d you manage to pull her down?”
“Scenes I cause? I don’t ‘cause’ anything. Except rain. Which you still owe me for, by the by – don’t you go thinking three hand-me-downs from your oldest makes us square. That was a damned good storm.”
“Your ‘damned good storm’ came down too heavy, left too soon, and scorched a bolt right into big bendy’s gut. You owe me if anything, and owe me double for the clothes.”
“And YOU owe me triple because it’s your fault I’m stuck with the girl, so you owe yourself for the fucking clothes,” snapped Nakky.
“MY fault?”
“If I hadn’t come out to get some water on your field –”
“If you hadn’t fouled the job up-“
“I cut myself up doing it, drum and hand!”
“Then maybe you should do it proper-”
Both sisters turned to the door. Gimba froze under their combined glares.
“Th-the girl? She’s run off.”

“I can get her by myself,” Nakky had said.
“You can barely stand up and your breath would knock a bull head over ass. I’m coming with you. That girl needs a responsible adult.”
Nakky had given up at that point. Better to let it lie.
“Come on, girl,” she yelled as she flung open her front door. “Come on out! Why’d you go sneaking away like that? You left me to carry all your clothes for you and I’ve half a mind to-“
“Nakky, shut it,” said Mett crisply. “And quit calling her ‘girl.’ Do you even know her name?”
“She can’t exactly go and say it now, can she?” said Nakky. “And you can shut it sideways up a tree with a grasssnake in your nose. GIRL! You come out here!”
The hesitant pit-pat of small feet on dirty boards cut off Mett’s further protests, and thunder-girl soon emerged from under Nakky’s bed, hands clutched behind her back.
“What was all that about?” asked Nakky. “You didn’t have to do that. You looked like you were okay, did one of those little jackasses do something they shouldn’t? Wouldn’t put it-“
“Hands out,” said Mett.
“My what now?”
“Your nothing. Her hands. She’s hiding something.”
Nakky glared at thunder-girl. “This true?”
Slowly, guiltily, to the slow metronome of a quivering chin, one empty palm was made visible.
“Both. Now.”
The other was revealed, overflowing with its burden. The trek to and from town had not been kind to Nakky’s drum, and had nearly finished the job that the glass had started – that, and thunder-girl’s clumsy feet the night before. Fresh dents and scratches of the last five minutes glimmered dustily on its surface, gouged as deep as small fingers could carve them.
“Now why you going and doing that? We need this drum, little twerp. You’re not exactly doing a good job of fixing it, are you?”
“No,” said Mett, shoving Nakky to the side and plucking the drum as if it were a weevil. “No she isn’t. In the name of every mouse and its mother, why didn’t you tell me that you needed this fixed?”
“Because you’re a giant-“
“I mean, you’re hopeless with a needle. I can’t imagine your girl here is any better. And you won’t go to town for anything that isn’t drinkable, will you?”
“They told me to fuck off.”
“I know Jmit, he’s very polite and so is his wife. You’re full of it.”
“It’s the truth. I told them to fix it, they told me to fuck off.”
“You didn’t, say, barge in, interrupt a paying client to insist you needed this fixed right away, then cause a scene when they tried to get you to wait your turn?”
“I don’t ‘cause scenes’ and you know it!”
“I suppose you’re right. You throw tantrums.” Mett peered critically at the drum. “Yes, I can mend this. Of course, after that you’ll owe me. I’ll be expecting a better rain this time.”
“I owe you squat and I’ll owe you less after this. Besides, I need to call up a storm anyways.”
Nakky rubbed her hand. “She’s gotta go back somehow, don’t she?”
Thunder-girl’s chin accelerated.
“Oh, not agai-”

The sun rose the next day, and for the third time in a row Nakky Soos rose with it, once more against her will and this time at the bidding of her sister’s firm right hand.
“Nflfpfffrruck offff.”
“Up. You’ve got a job to do, you said so last night.”
“Nobody else can do it, sad to say. You’ve got a little girl who’s got to go home, and it’s your fault she’s stuck here. Up. Now.”
Nakky rolled over and stared at the ceiling of her sister’s house. She hated it. It was far too clean and there was no reassuring creak of deadwood above her head and the children one room over were noisy and the air smelled like frying breakfast foods instead of last night’s bitter drink.
“She’s already up and helping clean up the dishes. And she still needs a name.”
“Nuumyprollm. Dunnnoet.”
The hand struck again, this time in a more sensitive spot. Nakky yelped. “Up!”
Breakfast was late, cold, and left-over. Nakky picked through it with no appetite, as was her custom, and stared moodily out the door. Thunder-girl had finished early and was out running around with her nieces and nephews again, playing catch-me and catching and being caught and other things that Nakky considered to have been the better parts of her life.
“Here’s your drum,” said her sister. She slapped down the repaired instrument on the table. “I nearly broke my best needle on it. Why you don’t take better care of that leather I don’t know; it’s practically rock at this point.”
“Has to get the sound right,” said Nakky vaguely. She inspected the thing with half an eye, the other pointed outside. “It’ll do.”
“I’d hope so. I’m not touching that thing again without money up front; the smell’s sure to stick to my table for weeks.”
Nakky’s fingers danced slowly on the table – left hand only. “Eh. Hah! She got him. Your boy’s too fat, that’s the problem, Mett. Gimba can’t run three feet without panting.”
“Please tell me you aren’t getting attached.”
Nakky jumped. “What?”
“You’re taking her back home. She has parents, Nakky.”
“Yeah. Yeah I know. Why I’m doing this, isn’t it?”
“Half a week ago and I’d have said you’d be doing it just to get you time to drink yourself to death in peace.”
“It’s medicine.”
“Amnesia isn’t medicine. I’ve put it all behind me, why won’t you?”
“Me too. Just different.” Nakky rubbed her forehead. “Need more of it, anyways.”
“How’d you manage to drain that so fast this time?”
She winced. “Girl dumped it, I think. Can’t prove it. Listen, let’s get this done. Head hurts and it won’t get better. Let’s have a quiet morning. Okay? Let’s do that. Soon.”

Soon happened in the big bendy, right in the center of the little charred circle where lightning had left a little girl alone.
This time, she had company.
“Leggo, you.”
“She won’t.”
“What makes you the expert?”
“Five of my own. She’s not letting go.”
Nakky sighed deeply behind her mask, then sneezed as she kicked up dust inside it. “There’s gotta be a way.”
“Well, there isn’t. Unless you want to try it the way mother used-“
“No.” She frowned down at thunder-girl, who was currently attached to her midsection with the tenacity of a creeping vine. “Look, this isn’t going to work well at all. I can’t dance with you down there. Mind letting go?”
“Mind letting go please?”
“Let go right now!”
“Fine. Get up here. At the very least you’ll stand out of the way, okay? Okay. Here-up! Good. Now, hold on tight, don’t kick, and stay quiet.”
“Look who’s talking!” called Mett.
“Stay quiet goes for you too, all of you! Now stop. Wait. Wait.”

It was harder to move this time. Maybe it was all the eyes on her body back where she left it. Maybe it was the fuzzy sharp feeling of not enough drink in her belly to keep her mind soft. Maybe it was the heavy weight around her neck that was thunder-girl. Nakky craned her neck to look up at her; she looked different far away up here. For one thing, she had eyes, even if Nakky couldn’t place the colour. At least, she thought it was a colour.
She looked farther, and where she looked, she went. Up. Where the world was all sky and the sky was all and it was grey and towering. Distant figures, stern lords, solemn ladies.
Hey now, she whispered to the girl, feeling those distant drumbeats pumping where her body had to settle for blood. Hey, you’re almost there. Almost home. Hey. It’s good.
The grip around her shoulders squeezed a little tighter, then released.
She patted the leg. All good. Hey now! Hey you all! Listen up! Boom!
That got their attention.
Boom! Hey now! Look here! I’ve brought you a place to play and a person to say hello to! Boom!
Whirl around, whirl around, see them spin, the dark-haired, grey-coated lords and ladies of the storm. Proud and tall and stiff and stern, but so full of energy they just might burst. See them spit and yell and bluster.
Hey now, said Nakky. Calm down. She’s safe, that’s all. She’s safe. Look, see? Your daughter’s back!
Look at their glowering faces, the highest of faces. The lightning sparks from the nostrils of the grand old man and darkness eats the eyes of his lady. They aren’t happy. They’re coming down hard. She can see their mouths work, the rumble and roar of them.
What’re you on about” said Nakky. She’s home. She’s safe. She’s been a goo – a mostly good girl. She listened to me when I left her no other options. Leave off her!
They aren’t listening. They don’t listen to little words like those. Nakky knew that. She’d always known that. She’d just figured that was for her alone.
They are coming down hard, the father with words and the mother with more than that. That big sweeping front is raining down around now, with the force of a hurricane and the fury of a gale and the stung pride of a slighted parent. She’s not listening.
Nakky knows that they’re like that. All of them. They won’t listen to you.
Not if you don’t get their attention.
Hey! Stop! Boom!
They can hear her now. They’re just too busy thinking about themselves to care.
Right. Now.
Well, then they’re going to have to hear harder.
Nakky’s hand is still sore. It won’t matter much.


Ting, went the bell in her left hand. Then it fell apart.
Nakky Soos spat violently, trying to figure out which swear-word she’d been halfway through saying. Then she compromised and fell over – face-first.
“Mfffrrrrph. Fffffrruccc,” she said.
Many small hands dragged her upright. They were less successful in trying to remove the lump from her back. It felt heavier than ever – although some of that was probably the rainwater it was sopping up.
“I just fixed that drum,” said someone familiar.
“Not my fault,” said Nakky. She winced and tried to unclench her right fist from the instrument’s innards – it had gone straight through and out the other side. Cramps spasmed up and down her arm like wriggling snakes.
“What’d you go and do?”
“Nothing I wouldn’t do to my own dear mother.”
Mett Soos looked sharply at her sister. “Oh? Is that why your little friend’s still there?”
Nakky put two and two together and reached upwards with her good hand, her left hand. It clasped ahold of a slim ankle. “Guess so.”
Mett sighed. Not in an annoyed way, not as a declaration of offense, not like anything Nakky had ever heard from her sister. Just a short puff of tired air. “Right. I guess you’ll need more clothes then.”
“Guess so,” said Nakky. She wasn’t quite sure how to have a conversation this way.
“And maybe I can lend you some of the old furniture.”
“That’d be…good. Fine.”
“I don’t suppose you’d save the effort on hauling this stuff and just move in?”
“Oh fuck no. But thanks.”
Mett nodded. And then they all went home, all of them, in the meek and timid rain.

After Nakky Soos and the girl got home, the first thing she did was put some food in them. The second thing she did was crowbar the girl off her back and into the bed, head-first. By the time head touched covers the snores were already starting.
The third thing she did was pull out her bottle and look at it. She really, really, really wished it were a lot fuller than it was right now. It would make whatever she had to do next feel much easier.
But she could still hear that little soft snoring from one room over, and she remembered what it felt like to get woken up at the brink of dawn. And that was something that was going to come knocking, over and over again.
Well, no time like now. Nakky was right-handed, but she was still a good enough throw to land the bottle right on top of the glass’s grave.
“Boom,” she said.
She’d clean up the rest of it tomorrow.

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