Cross Roads (For EcoDude's story contest)

Cross Roads (For EcoDude's story contest)

Maureen "Mo" Britton is a 15-year-old living- well, living nowhere. She's just another homeless person. Or- is she?

Rates are needed for the contest, so I'd really appreciate it if you took the time! ^.^ Thank you, and enjoy! I edited it slightly sinds last time, in case you read it before. It's not very noticable, though.

Chapter 3

Sheriff

The sheriff stood in front of the two teenagers, his face full of anxiety. "Alright, get moving, the two of you," he grunted, looking imposing in his khaki uniform. Sweat leaked down his red face, and he scratched the beginning of a scraggly beard on his cheeks.

Flynn got up and yawned, stretching excessively. "Of course, Connor."

The man couldn't help the corner of his mouth twitching in amusement, and Mo guessed they were well acquainted. "Why do you keep coming back here?" he demanded, pretending to be irked while he still had trouble fighting his smile.

Mo's fellow-traveller shrugged, but gave the sheriff a boyish grin. "I need a warm place too, you know. Plus, I was helping that lady over there out," he said, pointing at Mo.

"Oh. Well, yes. But don't come back!" grunted Connor, tugging at his sweaty blouse. He didn't seem to notice Mo's wide eyes fixed upon his huge, bulging stomach.

Flynn snickered and made a mocking bow before he helped Mo up. "Don't stare," he whispered in her ear, giving her a slight wink.

She nodded, and Flynn made a show of wrapping his arm around her waist and pretending to haul her along. Maureen understood and acted as if she was too weak to walk, uttering short cries of pain. Only at the end of the village--stared after by many disapproving people--they were stopped.

"Alright, alright! The both of you can stay in my place until you feel well again.
But stop the weak victim pretense, I can see through that," the sheriff shouted, his face exasperated.

Flynn dropped Mo immedietly, who hadn't expected that and fell down, scraping her hands across the gravel road. Sheriff Connor gave Flynn a stern look as the girl scrambled up again. "Be nice to girls, Flynn. Especially the fragile ones."

The boy chortled. "Don't worry, she can handle herself."

Connor squinted his eyes, curious now. "How long has she been with you?"

"Since yesterday."

The sheriff grunted again and hoisted his too-large pants up. "Follow me."

Maureen gave Flynn an accusing but thankful look and followed the man with trembling, hesitant legs. The people shut their doors quickly as they passed by, as if they were lepers. The sun was gaining in strength and shone on their backs as Sheriff Connor opened the door of his house for them and led them in.

............................................................................................................................................

Their host wrung his hands together, looking rather uncomfortable in his small, plastic chair. "Okay. We'll start with names. I know yours, Flynn. Who's the girl?"

"She's called Mo."

"Can Mo talk for herself?"

"Yes," Maureen snapped, her eyes glinting angrily. Flynn tapped his foot and stared at the ceiling, pretending to be interested in a cobweb.

"And you're his girlfriend?"

"No!" she spluttered, nearly digging her broken nails into the rough, cheap wood of the table. "We only met yesterday!"

The sheriff scratched his head, where a few sparse hairs resided. "Alright then. Showers are upstairs. I'll prepare some food for you."

His words had barely left his mouth when Mo's stomach snarled loudly, as if it was capable of recognizing the words that promised nourishment.

Flynn teared his gaze away from the cobweb and eyed her. "When is the last time you ate, anyway?"

"Yesterday morning," mumbled Mo, tracing circles on the arm of her chair.

Flynn tutted. "I'll show her around, Connor," he said casually, grabbing Mo by the arm and dragging her upstairs. He opened a door, glanced around and then pulled her in, shutting it again quickly. They were in some kind of extra room, clearly.

A wachingmachine stood in a lonely corner, the old dryer next to it. The floors were tiled and cool against Mo's battered feet, the walls a calming ice-blue color. A window stood up, letting in no breeze but allowing Mo to smell the outside world that was so familiar to her. "Have you been here before?" she asked.

"Yes, good old Connor tends to take me in whenever I come by. Good work, by the way. I never got more than a brief meal out of him. I guess a girl softens him up even more," he spoke, glancing around in appreciation and then returning his eyes to Mo's face.

She wrinkled her nose. "I can hardly be called a girl," she remarked, staring at her large feet.

Flynn raised her chin and patted her cheek. "Well, let's just say you can hardly be called a boy either. Showers are in the back, sweetheart. Keep up the victim face and remember, don't tell him your full name."
He patted her other cheek and then left the room, swinging his hips in a girlish way that was rather disturbing.

Mo flushed slightly and glanced around. There. A door. She opened it and shuddered in delight as she saw the shower. The girl couldn't resist taking the small room in. The ceiling was full of cobwebs and a dangerous-looking ventilator hung in the middle, that seemed to quiver everytime Mo moved. A tiny window was open in the corner, a wasp buzzing in front of it. The tiles were slightly faded with age, but other than that it was a decent bathroom, and Mo wasted no more time standing there admiring it, but jumped into the shower instead and allowed the cool water to rinse her dusty skin.

.......................................................................................................................................

Flynn chewed on the soft bread and kicked the table softly, staring at the ceiling once more with a delighted look on his face.

"Where did you pick her up?" barked Connor, eyeing him warily, ignoring the tempting urge to kick his leg in order to claim his attention.

The boy shrugged carelessly in response and chugged down some milk, "Along the railroad. Crying. We all arrive there sooner or later. She looked thirsty, so I gave her some of my water. We teamed up. Girls are always useful, they soften people up."

Connor sighed wearily, taking a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiping his forehead. "You'd think that in this place people would be loving and caring about each other."

Flynn shrugged again, though his face hardened and he balled his fists. "You can't blame them. They're bitter about...you know."

"I know," said the sheriff, rubbing his now sweat-free forehead. "We all are."

There was a creaky noise, and both of the men looked at the stairs. Mo came stumbling down, looking much better now that she'd had a shower. Still not pretty, but decent enough. She smiled slightly and ruffled her hair, shy at the attention the two men were paying to her.

"Hello there, gorgeous! There is some bread on the table for you, eat as much as you want!" exclaimed Connor, seeming delighted at the presence of a female in his house, however unfemale-like she was.

The smile grew on the girl's face and she skipped to the sheriff's side before taking a seat, giving him a tight hug, "Thank you, sir."

He looked touched and blinked, patting her crooked back awkwardly. "You're welcome, sweetheart. You're welcome."

Her affection turned to the aromatic bread waiting on the table, and she wasted no time stuffing it into her mouth, consuming every crumb she dropped.

"Careful there, you don't want to get cramps," remarked Flynn, seeming a bit baffled at the amount she was about to swallow.

She directed a glare at him, but listened and ate more carefully, picking slowly at the bread and casting embarrassed, shy looks around her, swinging her legs under the table.

"Where are you two going after this?" inquired Connor, his chair creaking dangerously as he leant back. He seemed to realize that, because he sucked in his breath and eyed it warily, trying not to move again.

"We'll go our seperate ways," muttered Flynn, still concentrated on his bread, which he was tearing into small pieces, rather like Mo. He made a show of dipping one piece into his milk and eating it slowly.

Mo looked up from her precious bread in alarm, and the sheriff frowned in disapproval at Flynn. "You're not going to let her strut around the desert, are you?"

"She's not related to me in any way. She's not my responsibilty," he responded, sipping his milk calmly, staring rather cross-eyed at the crumbs floating in it.

"He's right," said Mo disjointedly, poking her ripped bread in a sudden loss of appetite that was caused by worry. She pushed her plate away and turned her gaze to the wall, which seemed rather dull all of a sudden.

Connor gave Flynn an indignant look, clearly affected by her posture. "How can you leave that girl to herself? Just look! She'll be a difficult, but pleasant companion. And softening on people's hearts, no doubt!"

"Alright, I'll take her with me. But-" he said, turning to Mo "-no complaining, and if I tell you something, you do it. Got it?"

Mo gave him a cold, proud look, turning away from the wall and raising her chin. "I'm not going to do anything if it involves harm to myself," she said in a stiff voice.

The sheriff snickered and moved--despite his earlier resolutions--and the heavily protesting chair. "Smart girl."

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