Beacons: Chapter Five
Like Moth to a Flame
Lacey's head rested against the cool metal door. Her meal would be coming any minute now, and if she wasn't there to catch it, it would hit the floor.
Lacey didn't like eating mashed potatoes off the floor.
The telltale rattle of the guard's keys echoed down the hall, and Belle straightened.
"Back," he grunted. She couldn't see him through small slat, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered much anymore. A colorless tray wiggled it's way through the hole, and Belle yanked it from him. "It's hot." The slat shut.
The most conversation she'd had for at least a week. The keys would be back in the morning, but the morning shifts didn't talk as much as the night shifts. The morning shifts were usually on time, however, and—
Belle's train of thought derailed as she thrust the stale bun into her mouth. Mashed potatoes. Peas. A wet, cooled slab of turkey. The Styrofoam cup of water. It was gone in moments.
But the fun was just beginning.
With steady hands, Belle tore the paper napkin into the shape of a little shirt. The left sleeve was definitely lopsided, but it would do. Grinning, she lifted the bare mattress from the squeaky springs and pulled a stack of napkin people from the space.
"Now, Princess Belle," she murmured, fitting the shirt to the blank faced, craggly doll. "You are dressed for your ball." She patted the doll, standing it on it's two feet. Another doll found its way into her hands.
"Look Belle," she whispered. "It's your prince!"
"Why hello, Sir," she made Belle say.
"The name's Rumplestilskin." The other doll said, Belle's voice taking on a warped lilt.
Mary placed the extra-large, family value maple syrup in her basket, making sure it didn't crush the eggs. The market was crowded today, but she'd had no choice. All hardcovers were 60% off, today only. She might be a recluse, but she was an educated one.
If she could just get through this aisle, she could reach the shelves on the other end. Bodies pressed against her, voices, louder than the one in her mind. Her breath came faster and faster. Her feet teetered, and she swayed. The person next to her cursed, shoving her back. Vision blurring. Heart pounding. What was she thinking. What was she thinking. How dare she go to the store and get in their way. She ruined everything, she ruined every—
"Hey," a firm but gentle hand grasped her elbow, pulling her from the chaos. The basket left her arms. There was room to breathe. "You look a little lost."
The words were lost in the air for a good moment before they reached Mary's mind.
"I… I," she stammered, looking up to meet the man's eyes. Warm, rugged, open. "I'm sorry, the people."
"I understand," The man offered a crooked smile and a hand to shake. "The name's Fletcher."
Mary nodded and allowed the man to guide her from the crowd.
"I'd order my groceries in, if I could," Fletcher said. He was reassuring. He smelled of freshly mowed grass. Mary reached for her basket, but he stayed her hand. A flash of black on his wrist. "If you'll allow me, I would be delighted to carry this for you."
"You don't need to do that," Mary said, scuffing her shoe on the tiled floor.
"I'd like to," He gave her another smile. "You're pretty."
The sound of something shattering filled the aisle. Mary whipped her head around, muscles tense. On alert.
A man stood over a puddle of milk and glass shards, a little girl in the basket of the cart to his side. Murky blonde hair. Leather suspenders. Blue jean shirt and eyes that matched it.
The world was silent.
And, he was looking at her.
She was looking back.
Author's Note: Hey, guys. I know it's been a while. Turns out, I'm way better at keeping up when I finally commit and give myself a deadline. I hope you like this chapter. I mean, I think it's cool. As always, I don't own these characters. And, in case anyone was wondering, badgering me to upload more in the reviews DOES help me. I wouldn't have finished this chapter without those pushes. So, thanks. Please review! I read every single one!