The clouded sky dawned over the barren woods, riddled with alive and dead trees of all sorts growing in the vast land, creating a sea of green. Lovely birds were singing beautiful tweets and innocent rabbits were hopping along the trails, with several insects crawling in the soil. And the green grass was flowing softly in the cool, noontime breeze.
But all the happy elements of the environment was shattered with the sight of one silhouette. Sitting against a tree, sleeping soundly, was one green haired little boy. His head rested against his bent knees and his dirty soles were parallel to the ground. And nature could here his silent snoring as the wind blew against his green locks.
With a short grunt, he calmly opened his tired eyes. He lifted his head and looked around, not recognizing where he was. He had been travelling all night, and when his eyes could not stay open any longer, he decided to rest at a random spot in the woods in the pitch black of night, not caring where he actually was.
He did not have a care about what would happen to him anymore.
For in the previous night, he had been betrayed by the only people he had left. One young brunette girl had broken his trust by showing her true feelings. One orange haired crippled boy destroyed his hope by forcing him to leave the group. One blonde boy ruined his faith by siding with his one-armed brother, when he knew he did not want to.
But what stung the most was the actions of a certain little red head; her saddening expression, her lack of consideration of his feelings, her harsh judgment, and her heartbreaking words that rang in his heart.
Flippy stood up and looked at the sky at the remembrance of his thoughts at the beginning of his departure.
He remembered walking in the night, and denying what he had seen and heard.
"This… Can't be real… It's gotta be a bad dream.."
He started pinching himself while he walked.
"Come on… Wake up…"
He felt the pain, but did not feel any different.
"It's a dream… It's… Gotta be…"
But the feeling of the same heartbreak began to hurt, after denial did not soothe his pain. It was real, and the first step of accepting that he was alone again had passed.
And now back in the present, the next step was beginning to take place.
He arched his brows in anger as he looked back.
"They're all a bunch of jerks, anyway…"
He started walking forwards.
"Who needs them anyway?"
And lucky for him, his goal was right in front of him; he was directly on the outskirts of a city, looking large and busy, as well as populated. Surely there would be somewhere to sleep there, just like old times.
Only now, he did not have a care if a police officer recognized him and shot him. He only prayed he would live a few days before it would happened, and he was ready for whenever it happened. He was done running, tired of fighting.
Nothing else mattered to him anymore, other than to eat and sleep.
Flippy took several steps out of the woods and started walking to the streets in front of him, on a mission to first find some food. He was starving.
The adults walking the streets were accompanied by a dirty looking boy, freckled and with grey circles around his eyes. Nobody knew his name, nor did they care. But surely, if they knew about his dark secret, they would all turn on him. He was not safe anywhere if anybody but the those children knew about Fliqpy.
Luckily, he was barely talked to. Just by grumpy men yelling at him for bumping into him, and others who noticed his strange smell and appearance. Occasionally, mothers with their children walked the street, and he watched how happy his fellow kids looked. The memories of his own mother started to burn as he continued to walk.
Taking a short rest stop, he rested his bottom on the stoop of an apartment complex and looked at the street and the sidewalk. He noticed the cracking pavement and the flowing trash cluttering the cement, and he basked in the feeling of being in the city once again. It felt completely different than what he had gotten used to over the past month.
And he was becoming homesick already. He missed feeling the grass on his toes from the plains. He missed climbing up trees and picking juicy, red apples to munch on. He missed tending to his crops and getting the privilege to be a caretaker.
But most of all, he missed his friends. All of them held a special place in his heart. Sure, it was broken now, but it was still beating for them. Only now, he felt no love from them. And that was the cause of his mental pain now; the memories of his past only fueled them.
And Autumn. Sweet little Flaky was who he missed the most; he missed her hugs, her smile, her kisses, her calling him 'Flippy', and just being near her. That was his real misery.
But during his rest, his eye caught something in the storm drain in front of him. Something he remembered collecting before, when he was with a certain girl. It was small, green, paper thin, and it was caught in the grate.
He walked over and picked up the paper from the grate, and he unfolded a $20 bill, obviously left behind by a poor soul. Nodding at his sudden good luck, he began to walk down the sidewalk again, with a bit more of a hopeful look on his face.
Feeling the bill in his shorts' pocket, he started to wonder what kind of food he wanted to buy with it. Something meaty, perhaps? Or maybe just a snack. Whatever he was gonna buy, he only hoped it would be soon. His hunger was starting to burn once again.
And just down the road, the answers to his prayers were answered; an open ice cream parlor.
He licked his lips at the thought of the sweet dairy treat. The feeling of the frozen vanilla flavored ice cream, coated with chocolate and other toppings he could just barely taste was luring him to the parlor. He had not had a sweet, artificially flavored treat in some time; it was all natural sweet foods, such as fruit, he had been eating for weeks.
A bit of junk food could very well cheer him up about now.
But suddenly, while passing an alley, he heard something. The clang of a metal soup can hitting the floor caught his attention. He looked in the opening, seeing how dirty it was, and he could make out the sight of a dumpster at the other end. It was large, steel and rusty, and flying out of it was assorted pieces of trash, looking like it was being thrown out.
Curious, Flippy walked towards the dumpster, smelling the rather gross scent of garbage in the air. And he could just make out the rampant grumbling of what sounded like a child, just like him. Only this seemed rather fast in pace, like it was affected by an unknown virus that caused a fast talking voice.
Reaching the dumpster, he was about to peek inside, only for something to hit him; it was hard and the impact stung his forehead. He fell back and heard the clang of another can as he groaned. And he held his aching forehead as he heard more rustling in the metal box.
He arched his brows and got to his knees.
He used his fist to pound the dumpster.
"Who's in there?"
A frightened voice gasped at the outburst, and Flippy watched as a set of fingers grabbed the edge of the bin, and up came the perpetrator.
Flippy made out his face; he was a young boy, younger than he was. His brown eyes were jittering, with one of his eyes twitching. And his black hair was coated in filth and dirty looking assorted candies.
And his cheeks were red with his nose just as bright.
"You hit me!"
The boy scoffed.
Phillip stood up, meeting his eyes at the same level as the boys.
"Say you're sorry!"
The boy stuck his tongue out at him.
"Go away now!"
The boy sank back into the bin, and Phillip was starting to get more confused about him. Sure, he was rude, but he looked rather dirty for being just a ill mannered kid. He knew one other like that, and he knew that something was causing this behavior.
He stood on his tip toes and looked over the edge.
"What are you even doing?"
He noticed the boy was digging around, rather frantically.
Flippy rested his arms on the edge of the dumpster.
"Looking for something?"
The boy, annoyed, popped up and fiercely grabbed his shoulders, shaking him roughly.
He practically dove back in the filth, digging for the sweet substance affecting his speech. Now Flippy understood the reason for his rampant behaviour and fast talking; the boy was hyperactive. But he thought that was a reason to stay away from sugar, not to get more.
Flippy dropped his rough expression and looked at the boy.
"If it's sugar you want, why don't you just buy some?"
The boy stopped and looked him.
"No money, no cash, nothing like that, nope!"
Flippy noticed he was jittering like he was insane.
"Geez… You okay? You're acting real weird..."
The little boy had enough, and he tossed another can at Flippy, making him lose his grip on the dumpster and fall off. Now frustrated with this boy, he scoffed and waved his hand in annoyance at him. And to think he thought he found another friend.
He started walking away.
But suddenly, he heard his voice again.
"Wait a minute, hold on!"
Flippy stopped and looked over his shoulder, and the boy was looking out of the dumpster again.
The boy gained a sad look, and he stopped shaking just a bit, so Flippy could understand him just a little better.
"I… I'm sorry…"
Flippy turned his whole body around as the boy continued.
"But I just gotta have sugar… I get real tired and I black out if I don't have sugar…"
The boy bowed his head.
"Sorry for the can… I just… Hate it when people call me weird..."
And Flippy, being blessed with a good heart, could feel a bit of sympathy for this strange little boy. He had heard of people getting really tired and fainting at the lack of sugar in their system, and he knew it could be serious if not treated soon. But this boy seemed desperate for sugar to keep himself alive, and being the way he was, being forced to dig in the trash for his mana, it was rather sad.
And that was what earned his forgiveness.
Flippy walked up to the boy and spoke calmly, seeing that the boy was tearing up just a little from how miserable he was.
"Well… I guess I forgive you…"
The boy looked up.
"Yeah… And listen… I was gonna go and get ice cream anyway… Wanna come with me?"
The boys face beamed.
"Really?! Ya mean it?!"
"Yeah. Sure. Come on, let's get you outta there."
The boy, too excited, scrambled over the edge of the metal dumpster and fell straight to the ground, causing Flippy to bend down and help him to his feet. And besides the goofy smile and black hair, he could notice the boys neon green colored t-shirt and ripped blue sweatpants, as well as no shoes on his feet.
But the boy still kept his goofy smile and his tongue stuck out at the thought of ice cream.
"What's your name?"
The boy spoke abruptly.
"SAMMY! That's spelled S-A-M-M-Y!"
"Nice to meet you, Sammy. I'm Phillip. Call me Flippy, though, okay?"
Sammy tilted his head.
"What kinda whacko name is that?"
Flippy shook his own head.
"Nevermind that. How old are you?"
He raised all the fingers on one hand and one on the other.
"Alright. Come on, let's go."
Sammy immediately sped off.
"Race ya there!"
He ran out the alley, giggling in excitement, as Phillip trailed behind him. And the people watched as two little boys ran down the street, one of them practically sprinting and the other just mousing along. But Flippy was starting to feel a bit better about himself, now that he had met another child like the ones he had grown attached to.
And he was starting to experience deja vu. After all, he met a child that looked younger than him, looked miserable, and was rude at the beginning. But after gaining their trust, both he and the child started to feel happy again.
Only this time, it was not a little girl that would win his heart.
He kept a neutral expression as Sammy reached the parlor doors first, and he stormed inside with Phillip trailing behind him.
Phillip watched with a slack-jawed expression as across the table from him, a certain blacked haired boy was shoveling down spoonful after spoonful of sugar filled ice cream, coated in all kinds of sweet little additives. Sammy was practically face first into his bowl as the mound became smaller and smaller, and his mouth became dirtier and dirtier. Customers were getting disgusted with how much of a pig the little boy was, and Phillip was just wondering how he has not stopped from getting a pain in his head.
Flippy called out.
Sammy stopped eating as he looked up and swallowed what was in his mouth as Flippy continued.
"You gotta slow down. You'll give yourself a bellyache."
Sammy shook his head.
"My belly's already aching from being empty!"
And he dove back into his sundae as Flippy chuckled a bit.
"Heh… You're nuts…"
Then Flippy got an idea.
"Hey… Can I call you Nutty?"
Sammy looked up.
"Yeah… I'm used to being called a nickname, like Flippy. I think a nickname makes you special, when someone gives it to you. So… How 'bout it?"
Sammy thought a minute, then smiled.
Flippy gave a slight smirk too.
"Okay… Nutty… So… You out here all alone?"
Nutty dropped his smile.
Flippy took a bite out of his own sundae and spoke.
Nutty put his spoon down on the table and bowed his head. And his eyes began to jitter and water from the thought of what has happened to him. It was weeks ago, and he had no idea why nobody had paid attention to him yet. He believed he grew up in a nice home, with loving parents and plenty of attention.
But weeks living on his own had disregarded his trust.
He sank in the booth.
"Me and my mom and dad came here for a trip. We took one of those subway thingies here, and we walked all around and went to a bunch of stores, till we went back to the train. But I had to go to the bathroom first, so I went. And when I came back…"
He looked up.
"They were gone."
Flippy raised his brows.
"They just left you behind?"
"Yeah… They never came back…"
Flippy bowed his brows in sorrow.
Nutty gained a sad expression.
"Thanks… But… What do you care?"
"What do you mean ?"
Flippy shook his head.
"Why do you care what happens to me? You don't even know me!"
He crossed his arms.
"Besides, you're just giving me ice cream so I'll shut up and leave you alone, right?"
Confused, Flippy shook his head.
"No, I… I'm doing this because... I know how you feel…"
Nutty changed his expression to a confused look, and just now noticed how dirty and mangy the older looking was. His dark green shirt was covered in dark stains and holes, and he noticed that he himself had no shoes on his feet. Perhaps this older child was sleeping in the streets too.
"Yeah… See, when I lost my own parents… I ran into a little girl named Autumn, and we walked together into the woods where we found a barn… And we met two kids named Noah and Jack, and we turned that barn into a home for kids without one…"
He sank in his own seat.
"But… I can't be there anymore… They hate me now…"
Nutty leaned in.
Flippy shook his head.
"Don't wanna talk about it…"
"Alright… So… What are you doing here then?"
"I don't really know… I wanted to just stay hidden… But now after meeting you… Maybe I wanna… I don't know… Start over…"
Sammy tilted his head.
"Yeah. Find a new home, and stay there for free, and survive by myself."
He instantly stood up and shuffled out of the booth.
"Good luck, I guess…"
Nutty bowed his head.
"Well… I guess I'll go now…"
He started walking to the door.
"Thanks for the ice cream…"
Flippy, confused on why the boy did not ask to go with him, started wondering if he could survive out in the wild on his own. He barely did before he met the other kids, and even when he was the caretaker. He knew life was not the same without a sturdy shelter manned by Handy, weekly visits to the grocery store from Cuddles, a steady money supply from Lammy.
But especially, he knew a child could not live without comfort, and love. And there was only one who could provide Flippy with that.
So, Flippy got out of the booth and caught Nutty before he reached the door.
"Wait a minute…"
The boy turned around.
Flippy put his hands in his pockets.
"Look… When I said I wanted to start over… See, those kids I told you about… I helped them get their lives back together, and mine too. I, sorta, understand that… Well, a kid needs help growing up… Like from other kids…"
He thought about the red haired girl.
"And love… Plenty of that…"
Nutty, confused, squinted his eyes.
"What are you saying?"
Flippy eyed him closely.
"I'm saying… If you want… Wherever I go… I'll make room for you…"
Sammy blinked a few times.
"You… Want me to go with you?"
Flippy looked around and shrugged.
"Well… I guess if you want to… But I don't know where we'll go…"
And the little black haired boy was stunned. A sudden act of kindness from a boy he barely even knew had blessed him. Before, he thought this kid was just going to leave him behind, like his parents did. He had yet to trust anyone, until now.
And he smiled.
Flippy got confused.
Sammy was getting excited.
"The train station! We can catch a train and ride it downtown! There's lots of places to stay there!"
Flippy raised his brows.
Sammy nodded rapidly.
"Yeah! Come on, I'll show you my place first!"
And he stormed out the door, into the street, with Flippy coming slowly behind him. Nutty continued to stop and catch his breath from running as Flippy just continued walking. And the continued passing several people who watched them hop and skip and laugh together, looking like best friends.
It was like they were meant to be.
The two boys raced down the steps, leading to the subway train station. They could hear the chatter of busy people talking on their phones, waiting for the next train. And Nutty ran past them all, heading for one place in particular. To Flippy, he seemed like he knew where he was going, like he lived in this station.
Unfortunately, it was true.
Sammy had led him to a particular place, and showed his home to the boy.
Flippy was baffled to see a single bench, with a blanket over it, and a pillow on one end. Sammy sat on top of it, raised the blanket to reveal several unwrapped candy wrappers and dozens of empty soda pop cans.
And there was a sign on the far end that read:
Flippy kneeled down to him.
"This is your home?"
Nutty shook his head.
"Not anymore! Used to be, though."
He patted the side of the bench.
"Come on, Flip. Train doesn't come for another 10 minutes."
He tapped his head as he shut one eye.
"I mem-or-ized it!"
Flippy smirked as he sat down, next to Nutty. And the two boys waited patiently for the train as Nutty hummed and swung his feet back and forth, them nearly touching the floor. They were both thinking about their future home, wherever it was. Flippy was dreaming of being in the plains, where he could spend his free time planting crops like he used to. And Nutty dreamed over sugar; endless sugar.
Nutty looked over.
Flippy looked at him too.
Nutty tilted his head.
"What's it gonna be like at our new house?"
Flippy looked around.
"Well… I think it'll be good. Probably not the best, but good enough."
He looked forward.
"A bed for each of us… Food… Water… I think we'll be okay…"
"Will there be sugar?"
Flippy looked at him and nodded.
"Sure. Plenty of sugar."
Nutty smiled with his tongue out in thought of his future life, filled with his favorite treat, and the essence that kept him alive. He felt so excited, and so blessed with having a new friend that wants to give him a new life, out of the gutter. He kept recalling his pathetic hours digging through garbage to lick candy wrappers to get his sugar intake.
But now, he never had to dig through garbage again.
"You know… You're alright, Flippy!"
"You too, Nutty."
And suddenly, almost on cue, Nutty pointed down the way.
Flippy watched as Nutty popped up and imitated the locomotive.
"WOO WOO! THERE'S THE CHOO CHOO!"
The boys watched as a long, rectangular shaped train suddenly came up and pulled to a stop, with an ear striking whistle and grinding gears. They both watched a man in a blue hat come out first, and a crowd of people came flooding out of the sub and into the station. The man looked middle aged, and grumpy.
And he hated a certain black haired boy, who was the most annoying twit in his life.
And that boy pointed to him.
"See that grumpy Mr. hat man?"
"What about him?"
"All we gotta do is get him away from the door, then we can get on!"
Flippy raised an eyebrow.
"How're we gonna do that?"
Nutty smiled with his tongue out.
"Just watch! Come on!"
Nutty grabbed his wrist and the two ran over to one of the concert support beams, and hid behind it as the man in the hat checked his clock as the last passenger came off, and nobody went in. Nutty winked at Flippy and walked casually over to him, with him taking his eye off his clock for a second.
Nutty smiled and waved.
The man scoffed.
"You again… What do you want, kid?"
Nutty blinked a few times, then rudely blew a raspberry at the man, making him angry.
And Nutty quickly rammed the tip of his foot into the mans lower leg, making him grab it in pain and grit his teeth in anger. The boy giggled and quickly ran off, making the man run after him in retaliation. Flippy watched as Nutty tried his best to stay away, taking sharp turns and even ducking under the mans legs.
And when he saw the open door, he realized it was his chance.
While Nutty dipped down under the mans grabbing arms, making the man fall over, Flippy sneaked forward and climbed onto the train. He stepped inside, seeing it mostly empty, but a few people standing and sitting. Of course, it was only one car of the whole train, so he was sure there was more people.
But he could not forget his friend.
He looked out the train door, seeing Nutty jumping up and down on the mans body.
Nutty looked up, with a large smile.
And he immediately sped off, with the man growling as he was starting to get to his feet.
"STOP THAT KID!"
Nutty was fast, the fastest runner that Flippy had ever seen, even faster than Flaky. And he watched as he had no problem sprinting onto the train with him, with the man running towards the door as well.
Thinking fast, Flippy dragged his little friend over to the next car and took immediate shelter underneath one of the seats. They were both panting hard from exhaustion, as they watched the door swing open, and an old man grumbling in anger. They kept their mouths shut, trying not to breath in the dirt and dust in the disgusting space under the seat.
But as the man passed by, Flippy felt the dust fly into his nasal cavity. He tried his hardest to keep a sneeze held in, but his face showed he was about to let out the force. But before he could, he felt a finger over his nostrils, with a smiling Nutty attached to it. Flippy felt the sneeze go away, and nodded in thanks.
But that did not stop Nutty, who let out a force of his own.
The old man looked at the space.
Flippy shook the kid.
And the man kneeled down and found the boys, both of them gasping. They tried crawling away, but the man grabbed both of their legs and quickly pulled them out. The boys attempted to scramble away, but he had an iron grip, and the old man brought them both to their feet and grabbed their shirt collars.
He growled at them both.
"You both are in a lot of trouble!"
The old man shook them a bit.
"No little street rats get on my train without paying!"
The boys continued yelling and trying to get away, with the man not letting go and yelling at the both of them about how they were criminals. Flippy felt this kind of wrath before, from an older man he knew all too well, and he was struggling his hardest to keep his dark secret from coming out again.
But as the struggle continued, on the far end of the car were the only other passengers. And out from his his jacket, one of them pulled out a brown piece of paper, showing its contents to the other. They both gave a quick nod, as one of them stood up and started walking over.
The boys continued to struggle as Flippy begged.
"Please, sir! We're just trying to get home!"
"Let us go, you old fart!"
The man was about to knock their heads together, when they all heard a different voice.
"HOLD UP, HOLD UP!"
And a slender arm, with a fist full of greenbacks, appeared in the mans face.
"Here. I'll pay for their tickets."
They both caught a glance at the other man, and how he looked. He was pale skinned, with dark hair and cold green eyes. And he wore a pressed black suit, with a black tie and matching dress shoes. And on his head was a white fedora, finishing his look.
He gave a creepy smile as the man calmly took the bills and let the boys go.
"Um… Okay then…"
He looked at the boys.
"Sorry for that. Take a seat."
He mumbled off to the next car.
"God, I don't get paid enough for this…"
Flippy looked up.
"Uh… Thanks, mister. You didn't need to do that."
The man spoke.
"Yeah, yeah. Come on and sit with me and my brother."
He led the two boys over to the other end, and Flippy thought he was looking in a mirror. Sitting down in the seat was the mans brother, and he was exactly like him. Same cold eyes, same dark hair, same suit and tie. But he had no hat on his head, and a small little moustache covered his upper lip.
The other man sat down as Flippy sat in between them. Nutty held his head.
"Woah… I'm seeing double…"
The moustached one spoke first, in the same toned voice as the other.
"You can call me Lifty."
The one in the hat spoke.
"And I'm Shifty."
They spoke in unison.
"We're the Frugali Brothers."
Nutty spoke, a bit weak.
"Uh oh… Flippy, I'mma gonna need some sugar soon… My head's all wobbly…"
Flippy shrugged his shoulders.
"Sorry, Nutty. Don't think this train's got any sugar…"
"Well… I think I saw the catering tray in the next car had some jello on it…"
Nutty popped up.
He ran off, through the door.
And they all could hear as the sound of clashing dishes and screaming men could be heard from his sudden burst of energy. Flippy chuckled at the sight of his goofy little friend, and he was starting to feel a certain way for the little boy. A feeling that he knew all too well.
He did not admit it yet, but Sammy was starting to feel like another little brother to him.
He looked up at the men.
"Sorry. He can get a bit crazy sometimes. Anyway, my name is-"
Suddenly, the twins expressions changed to ugly smiles as they grabbed his shoulders tightly.
"Phillip Masterson." "The Demon Child."
They spoke in unison.
"Wanted Dead or Alive."
He dropped his jaw in shock as the men suddenly looked rather threatening. He had no idea that he was still recognizable, with his dark green hair still intact. But seeing the childs face up close must have provoked the men to take action, for in their heads swirled visions of money and greedy fantasies.
And Phillip was starting to think that maybe his nightmare had finally come to an end.
Flippy spoke calmly.
"You guys know who I am? Does that mean you're gonna kill me?"
He bowed his head.
"Okay. I guess you guys get the money then."
The twins looked confused as he rambled on.
"So where're we gonna do it? Dark alley? Behind a dumpster? Public restroom?"
"Wait… You… Wanna be killed for the money?"
"Guess not. But I won't fight it. I'm done with running around. Besides, you guys seem nice enough, since you bought me and Sammy's tickets. Really, I'm fine if you guys want to kill me, so you can be rich."
The boys shook their heads as Lifty spoke.
"Look kid, we don't wanna to kill you…"
"Nah… See, we been looking for yous for a long time, now. Cause we want to make you one of the rich and famous people, like us."
Phillip looked at them both.
"Rich… And famous?"
Lifty gave a proud look.
"See, me and my brother here, we're professionals. We take pride in our job."
Shifty looked off into the abyss.
"Yep. Our names are everywhere, wherever you look. And we love all the attention too."
"And you've been getting a lotta attention too, eh little guy?"
Flippy sank in shame.
"I guess… So what do you guys even do?"
"Advertising, kid. Making our name known wherever we go."
Lifty gave an angry look.
"But… Problem is, we're a little low on money, right now… We need to stock up before we head out for another job."
He patted Flippys shoulder.
"And that's where you come in, little man."
Flippy, confused, spoke again.
"Wait… You want me to be a professional… Advertiser? You're… Giving me a job?"
Shifty spoke, in a caring voice.
"Yeah, of course! You know how to attract attention, exactly what an ad does."
Lifty knelt down onto the floor.
"You'd be rich and famous, just like us! Whaddya say?"
Flippy thought a minute.
"Well… What do I have to do?"
"All you gotta do is watch, and learn from the masters. We'll teach you everything you need to know. And then, when you're ready, we'll let you do some advertising on your own."
Flippy thought about this moral problem for a minute. This was too good to be true; a job offering for a poor boy. He would not have to search for single bills, steal or beg ever again if he made his own money. Besides, he was supposed to be the caretaker of his group, and now that he was off to a fresh start, this seemed the right way to go.
But still, could he really trust these shady looking men? Were they really wanting to make him rich and famous, or did they have something else in mind? And why exactly did they need him of all people?
Whatever reason, it was good enough for him.
"Guess I can't go wrong with a job offering. Alright. Count me in."
Shifty patted his shoulder.
"Good for you."
Lifty took his hand and shook it.
"Very mature decision."
And he gave a quick wink to his brother, who stood up with him.
"Now, uh, we gotta talk in private… Discuss how we're gonna make your name known. You just stay here, okay, kid?"
Flippy nodded as the two twins walked over into the other car, both of them gaining a smile. And Nutty, covered in food from his outbreak, was licking little colored cubes that wiggled with every taste. He saw the twins walk past as tossed the jello aside.
"Aw, sugar-free! Tastes like dooky…"
But something caught his young ears; he overheard what the twins were talking about, and it was not good. He concentrated a bit, but he could not make out what they were saying right away. So he quickly crawled under the seat and made his way so he was directly underneath the twins.
And he kept his mouth shut as they continued.
"So where's our first job?" "I got us all ready for a bank heist later today. We'll take the brat with us."
Lifty dropped his smile.
"What about the cops?"
Shifty gritted his teeth.
"You idiot, that's what we got Masterson, for! He'll take out the cops, and everyone will forget about us and go after him instead, like they always do…"
"Yeah… And when we've had enough?"
Shifty ran one finger across his throat and made a menacing sound.
"Bye bye, Demon Child; Hello, lake of gold!"
They both chuckled loudly as Sammy overheard their plan. And he tried as hard as he could to hold his gasping breath, as his hypoglycemia was starting to take effect. He held his head as he felt himself breathing heavily.
And he caught the attention of the evil men.
Lifty bent down.
"Little rat bastard!"
He pulled him by his hair and dragged him out from under the seat.
"You're getting outta here!"
Shifty grabbed him too as they dragged him over to the other car, where Phillip watched him drag him over to the door. Sammy tried as hard as he could to talk, but his illness was making him speechless, and Phillip could only make out mumbling.
He spoke to his new adversaries.
"What are you doing?"
Shifty looked at him.
"We're getting off here."
The train was slowing down as Lifty looked at the little boy.
"And you, you're getting lost."
And when the train came to a halt, Phillip got up from his seat and walked out the now open door, as Lifty followed him. But Shifty, still holding onto Nutty, knelt down to eye level, forcing the little boy to look into his eyes of fire.
And he threatened the little boy.
"You say anything to anyone, your ass is grass!"
And he dragged the kid off of the train and forced him to start walking away, as the twins took Phillip and began walking away. With his cheeks turning red, Nutty started to run after them, with his legs starting to give out from his exhaustion. He had to warn Flippy, before it was too late, or he would lose the only friend he has had in long time.
But his illness was getting the best of him as he came to a stop.
Thinking he would be worried, Flippy called back.
"Don't worry, Nutty! Just going to get my job, then I'll come and get you right here!"
The twins looked back and gave the other boy an evil smile as Sammy held his heart and he finally collapsed onto the ground, just barely breathing. He felt his head throb and his chest get tighter and tighter as he kept gasping for air.
And there was nobody to help him; he was suffering all alone.
Meanwhile, coming from the woods towards the city was a group of children, ranging from height and hair color. One was a quick to start tracking blonde, one was an already bored looking ginger, one was a auburn haired girl, who was holding the hand of a little red head with green eyes, who was busy sucking the thumb of her free hand.
The children were on a mission; find their friend.
"Ugh… Can't we take a break yet?"
"NO STOPPING! WE FIND FLIPPY NOW!"
Lammy tried her best to control her.
"Calm down, Flaky. We will, I promise."
Cuddles could not find one trace.
"Well… Maybe he went in the city already…"
Jack shrugged his shoulders.
"Maybe he bought a ticket outta town and we're wasting our time…"
That was when Noah got an idea.
"The subway! Yeah! Maybe someone there has seen him!"
He started running off.
"Come on; it's this way!"
And they all watched as the free minded boy ran towards the city, with Handy lazily following along. Lammy and Flaky stayed behind a minute, as Flaky kept a sad face throughout their walk. She still felt the heartbreak from last night, and it burned in her tiny chest.
And what was worse, she forgot an important asset to her feeble little mind. She forgot her best friend; a symbol of a bond between her and a certain boy. It was her most prized possession, and the goal of finding her true love cost her to forget it.
She forgot her teddy bear at the barn.
Flaky bowed her head as Lammy gently grabbed her cheeks.
"We'll find him…"
She started walking after her brothers, as Flaky stayed behind. And she muttered as she began to walk to.
"Flippy… I hope you're okay… I… Love you…"
"That's a good look for you…"
The twins were standing in front of a mirror, with a little boy in front of them.
"What do you think… Poacher?"
And the boy eyed his new attire from head to toe; a new fitted black suit, a black tie, dress shoes, a white fedora hat that barely covered his green hair, and a set of green tinted glasses. He barely looked like himself anymore, which was his intention.
And he liked his new nickname.
"Poacher… Cool name… I look good too…"
They all smiled as they walked out of the boutique together, with Shifty getting into the drivers seat of a black car with tinted windows. And before he got in the back, Phillip was caught by a hand grabbing his shoulder.
Lifty pulled him in and spoke softly.
"Keep this on you, would ya?"
He reached into his jacket, and Phillip was shocked to see him pull out an object. It was the bane of any mortal mans existence. It was the key factor in so many cases of people taking lives that it was criminal to even carry it on your person.
Lifty grabbed his hand, and slowly put a pistol in Phillips tiny hand.
"The cities full of crazy ass people who wanna kill you. Use that when you need to protect yourself, or one of us."
Phillip eyed the gun.
Lifty spoke calmly.
"Only real men can use one of these babies. You're a real man, aren't you?"
"Yeah. I'm a man."
"Good. Now, big man, get in the back. And uh… Keep that thing hidden, will ya?"
Lifty quickly got into the passenger seat as Phillip looked at the gun steadily. He had never held a gun before, neither did he want to. He knew how a knife felt, sure, but the other deadly weapon felt even more evil in his hands. It was just begging him to pull the trigger and take someones life right in front of the boy.
And Phillip could feel Fliqpy chuckling in his head as he got in the back of the car, and it sped off soundly. And the whole while, he just kept eying the pistol, how it felt in his hands, and how good he looked in his new suit.
Hopefully, he would not have to use that gun. He did not even know how.