The Lovely Blue )-2-( Prussian- The Being That She Is)

Fiction By The Lovely Blue // 2/5/2013

( a little short, so it's still in the process of stretching)

-2-

It's cold. It's November and summer's stay was a painfully wonderful memory by now. At least she had the decency to come with her pitiful sweepers.

Let me explain Agnes Allotte to you. She's just under five feet tall, has wide gold-brown eyes and hair so pale it's white. It's not blonde. I refuse to call it that. It's like snow.

Being the person she is, she was up before we were and sweeper duty officially begins at 6 AM. Today Cecliy, Agnes and I stand out in the frigid cold by the city harbor. It's Saturday and I had plans but I'm willing to sacrifice them if I can stay alive to enjoy them later.

Sweeping is nothing fascinating, really. Whoever's unlucky enough to make a big enough of a mistake (in Agnes's eyes) is charged with walking along the docks and bring back anything interestiing they find. It seems like a pretty ridiculous thing but this task seems to consume her. Sifting through piles of leaves, nets, trash and gravel, she looks more human than usual. Maybe she's searching for something in particular but I'm not going to ask. I probably don't want to know, do I?

"Pst. PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTT-"

"Cecily... even Agnes could hear that-"

"SHUSH. And listen up but keep your voice down so she won't hear you." Cecily hisses, dragging me by the collar of my coat. She's clothed just as warmly with a green scarf and bland tan jacket. She also had the insight to wear boots. I'd just about kill for an extra pair of socks.

"How are we going to get away from her?" she asks, flinging me across the brick wall of some nearby building. At least we're able to look side-long out at the harbor, so we can keep an eye on the wandering figure of Agnes Allotte while we're conspiring.

"How the heck should I know? Besides, I don't want her turning around and spilling the story on what happened to the old building. Too much of a lifetime has gone into covering it up and I refuse to give in so easily."

Conspiring would be the ultimate crime for the dictator who governs our every move. Maybe we shouldn't be so obvious yet she seems to have forgotten us in her search, looking off so strangely into the blaze of the sun over the glass-topped waters. But what I said was true, absolutely. I refuse to give in. I refuse to give in to Agnes Allote.

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"May I tell you something dear? There's something extraordinary about this place and the world we live in. It's full of people who change the world around them but there are also things that aren't people. Beings and creatures that live here, that protect us."

"Like angels?"

"Yes, angels are one kind. But this being doesn't come from heaven. It's from here on earth. It's a beautiful thing, a thing that lives in this city and wanders through the woods. Long ago, a young woman was killed in those woods and left behind something very special to her. A ribbon said to be of loveliest blue anyone had ever laid eyes on. It's said that the ribbon protects girls from the dangerous things hiding in there, making a path along through the woods to the docks. Ever since, strange things have been found there."

"Strange things?"

"I know, this story must seem strange to you, no? But I know it is true because I was there when my friend died years ago. I saw the ribbon fall from her hair. I know it's looking for her still and I can't clear it from my mind. If I only I could walk, I would go look for it myself to lay it on her grave and maybe give it a sense of peace."

"Do you want me to go find it-"

"No. The woods is no place for a little girl like you. Your father would never forgive me but you must promise me that you won't let anyone take it away from there, now will you?"

"I promise but... couldn't you just take it later? When you walk again-"

"I'll never walk again. I gave my legs to someone else."

"Why?"

"Because they'll outlive me, I will give my life to make sure of it."

"Do I know them?"

"You will grow with that person but you'll never notice them. I've made them swear to protect you. It was well worth the price."

"Can I get someone to help me-"

"No. You must do this when you are grown, on your own. You must do it on your own otherwise someone might take it. That blue is very pretty. Now, let's pretend we never said this. Someone might be listening. Go now. Or tell me a story about one of those birds you love so much."

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"Ian...Ian... hello? OI. SNAP OUT OF IT. YOU DON'T CHECK OUT THE ENEMY, YOU-"

"I can hear you, you know? Not to say that I wish I couldn't, so shut up already. And look, doesn't Allotte look a litte... sad to you?"

"Sad?"

It hasn't been that long since she's extorted us into her little operation but I've become much too familiar with the range of expressions that Agnes is capable of creating. This look I've seen before, in the faces of my little sisters. It was the expression they wore the days after my mother no longer woke up.

"Hey, you two."

We both freeze, turning slowly so as to not agitate the predator in our line of sight.

"Go home. I'll finish today on my own but I expect you to be at the designated place all the earlier tomorrow morning."

Tomorrow was Sunday. Some people, including normal people with families, would be attending church. She stood there, arms folded and swaddled in her navy blue pea coat. She was forcing herself to glower, I could tell. It takes a lot of work to look menacing when you stand a little more than four feet tall with a blue pea coat and floppy beret. So, I fold my own arms and scowl in retaliation.

"No. I've got nothing better to do and since you've forced me to cancel all my plans for today you're stuck with me all day now."

"But... we're done here, you idiot. There's nothing left to do-"

"Well, I suppose you're going to have to settle for cheap coffee with me and Cecil over at the 7-11."

"That stuff tastes terrible... but I'm willing to go down as long as I take you with me."