Chapter Nine: RaiderMature

The girl's breath smelled just like cigarette smoke, and something else. Something sweet. Turkish Delight, maybe? Molly held her gaze as steadily as she could, which proved difficult since she was slumped on the floor with the other girl towering above her.

"Tell me your name," the dark face mumbled, that smoky-sweet breath pouring into Molly's face once again.

"M-Molly." The word slipped past her teeth before she had a chance to think rationally.

"Molly what?"

This time, Molly bit her tongue. Don't say Meriwether. "Meriwether," she said promptly. Damn it! She had meant to use Hiddlestone as an alias, thinking of Lydia's motherly embrace and lavender-scented clothing. 

"And what in the name of all that is sacred were you doing, Molly Meriwether, standing on a train track in the middle of the night?"

"I was.... looking for someone." Molly considered herself to be skilled at a decent handful of things, but lying was not one of them.

Dark eyes narrowed, disappearing into slits against the girl's bronze complexion. "Stupid," she whispered, seemingly to herself more so than to Molly. The girl straightened her back, and offered Molly a hand. Molly grasped it, and was hauled swiftly to her feet. From this angle, Molly got a better look at her rescuer's face. It was framed by chocolate-brown hair which grew as far as her ears and then curled inwards, and might have been pretty if it weren't for the scowl she seemed to have stitched onto it. She kept her grip on Molly's hand and tightened it ever so slightly as she confidently stated, "Raider."

"Raider?" Molly repeated.

"Yes."

"That's.... I...." Molly nervously rubbed at the elbow of her mechanical arm, feeling the blood rush to her stinging cheek.

"What is it?" Raider snapped.

"I've just.... Never heard of a name like that before."

"Of course you have," growled Raider. "You've probably heard 'raider' and 'thief' being shouted at people in the street every time you poke your head out your front door."

"Yes, but -" Molly cut herself off, before steam could start to pour from Raider's ears. Instead, she glanced at the darkness surrounding them. The walls were gray and damp and not very far apart from each other, and a rickety double bed sat in the corner, springs sprouting from the mattress like whiskers from an unshaven chin. It felt a lot like a cell. "Where have you taken me?"

"That's going to need a lot of explaining, and I've had a long fucking night." Raider rubbed her eyes viciously with one fist, and with the other hand began to detach a metallic pack which she'd had strapped around her shoulders. "Let's both get some sleep and I'll explain in the morning, okay?"

Panic flared behind Molly's rib cage. If this strange specimen of a human thought that she was about to spend the night in the dark with her, then her retractable wings weren't the craziest thing about her!

"Actually, I.... I think I'm gonna go...." Molly slowly backed away from the shadowy girl, intending to feel her way through the darkness until the got back out onto the streets, and taking it from there. Not the most rational of plans, but when needs must!

"I wouldn't," Raider said coolly, flopping down onto the bed and proceeding to remove her dark grey blouse, button by button. 

Molly's panic intensified, sparked by Raider's ominous remark, and boosted by the girl's increasingly naked upper body. "Wh-why not?"

Raider's glistening black eyes somehow stood out in the somber room, rooting Molly to the spot in which she had stopped edging towards the exit. Her fingers moved down her front with each button she popped loose. "They've probably already got assassins out looking for you."

Molly's stomach dropped to her knees. She put a hand against the slimy wall to keep herself from dropping to the floor. This couldn't be happening. "They've got.... what?" she squeaked.

"Assassins." Raider shrugged her blouse the rest of the way off, and began the task of wriggling out of her tight leather leggings. "Easiest way to kill someone."

Silence hung like a lead weight over the room, as Raider busied herself with removing her pants and Molly attempted not to be sick on the floor. Assassins?! Who on earth would want to kill her? She quickly replayed the past year of her life in her head. No indiscretions she could think of. Well.... There was that one time that she'd accidentally called a waitress "sir", confused by her stocky figure and husky voice.... But that hardly warrants a death sentence.... Does it?!

By the time she had dragged herself from that ridiculous train of thought, Raider was lying slack-jawed and unconscious on the dirty old mattress, a soggy woolen blanket draped across her middle. 

Molly's bones suddenly screamed out with fatigue. I literally must have a screw loose, she thought in resignation, as she suddenly found herself stripped down to her bloomers and corset. She crawled under the blanket, careful not to jolt Raider too much, and squeezed her eyes shut. This is ridiculous. Ridiculous or not, waiting to question her mysterious angel in the morning seemed much safer than wandering out into god knows where.

Rhoda farted in her sleep, and Molly resolved to lying on her back, staring at the ceiling and embracing the notion of staying awake and doing so all night.

The End

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