“-let me give you the ride of your life then, cowboy.” The man she’s talking to chuckles and pulls her closer- as if that’s possible- before kissing her and pushing away. She turns back to the bar with a smile on her face.
“You know you shouldn’t do that.” I mumble into my drink, she turns that smile on me.
“What’s the difference? Portals closed, no going home for me.” She hums as she raises her glass, sipping at the foaming beer happily.
“They’ll find you.” I set my drink aside and turn to face her.
“Nah- took my tracker out.” I stare, I can’t help it.
“How?” My voice is a harsh whisper. She rolls up her sleeve revealing a long, angry scar.
“Easily.” I scoff.
“Nothing about that makes me think it was easy.” The sleeve comes down covering the mark.
“Easy for my friend, not me.” I look back at the man- waiting for her no doubt.
“Take mine out.” She snorts and pushes away from the back “I’ll pay.” My voice is desperate, she stops. “I can’t leave. I can’t… My life is here now. I won’t be able to survive back home.”
“Fine.” She waves the man away and looks at me. “You sure, this is a one way trip.”
“Yes.” She studies me then nods.
“Excuse me.” She calls leaning over the bar “Strongest stuff you got, please.” The bar keeper slams down a brown bottle, she takes it “Pay up, Ponyboy.”
“My name isn’t-”
“Don’t care, pay up.” I mutely hand over the money, she pours some into a glass and plunks a knife in wit it. She looks up at me. “Don’t need to spread what we got.” I just nod.
“Did they sterilize you too?” My voice is barely above a whisper, I’m surprised she heard me.
“Yes.” Its curt, enough said I suppose. “Sleeve up.” I roll mine up and she pours alcohol over the bulge in my right arm that blinks periodically. She pulls the knife out of the glass, the tip resting against my skin. “Ready?”
“Y… Yeah.” I don’t get a second to reconsider. The knife slides across my skin, a red line appears in its wake then the pain of the alcohol washes over me. My arm tenses but I refuse to pull away. The knife is dropped onto the bar and her fingers push the tracker free, covered in blood and still flashing. I feel sick.
She drops it into the glass and then presses napkins to my wound. “You ok?” Her voice is very far away, the room is slowly starting to spin.
“I-I’m going to be sick.” I manage to mumble, she looks at the bar keeper.
“You got a room? This guys gonna pass out.”
“No, miss. You got the last one.” She nods and stands up, sliding her arm under my shoulders.
“Ok, thank you sir.” She hefts me up supporting most of my weight. The man that was with her rushed to us when she started walking. With his help I made it from the bar to a quiet room; she drops me on the bed and mumbles something to her lover. He vanishes and I turn attempting to sit up. “No, no. You lay back. Its ok. You need to rest.”
“But-” She pushes me back and he returns holding a first aid kit.
“No buts, just relax. Let me bandage you up.” I nod and lay there staring at the ceiling as she wraps my arm with gauze and bandages. Again she whispers something to the man and he vanishes. “You can stay here, on me. When you wake up you’ll be looking for something, you won’t know what it is but you will search for it. Let me save you the realization, its the tracker and you won’t find it.” I nod “Now rest.” she heads for the door.
“What is it now?”
“What’s your name?” She smiles at me.
“You can call me Ezekiel.” I nod mutely, the name is so familiar but this woman is not. The man returns and playfully tugs her from the room, they embrace in the hallway, locked in a passionate kiss as the door to her room- now mine- swings shut.
I wake late in the day and roll out of bed. I feel like I’ve been hit by a train, and just like this Ezekiel said I have the desperate feeling that something is lost and I need to find it. I look at my arm, its done. It really happened. They won’t be able to find me, I’m free. I can stay here forever. With a stupid smile on my face I go down to the bar for something to eat. The man denies me food and gives me a bill instead. I guess nothing is free… I dig into my pockets and pull out enough to cover two rooms, booze, her and her companions breakfast, and then my breakfast as well. After paying up a gray gruel is set before me. “This isn’t-”
“Ezekiel’s orders. Nothing but this for breakfast. Anything more and you’ll get sick.” I nod mutely and eat it. Thankfully it has no taste, and its filling. I can live with it. I rise up and he takes my dishes
“Any other orders?”
“Yeah two, don’t come back and don’t mention you saw her.” I just nod and exit. Its weird not having that tracker in, I pull my hood up and walk toward the city gates, no one stops me at I cross out of them. I nearly stop in my tracks but that would draw attention that I just lost. I keep moving. I don’t know where I am going, but I’m sure I will know when I’m there.