Chapter Six-

Mathilda lay in her bed the following day. Was it really her bed? She didn't own it or anything. It was the hotel's bed. So, she was really laying on the hotel's bed. But who gave a shit? Nothing mattered now. None of that shit she had worried about earlier. She guessed that she should be grateful for the fact that she had stopped bleeding after several hours. She felt a bit better, but couldn't run, leap into the air, do any of her specialized moves, anything. So she decided to rest for the rest of the week, because, sincerely, she couldn't fight anyone if she wanted to.

So she took the resting time as a chance to teach Hallie how to use and load a gun. The girl caught on quick, even though Mathilda guessed she was only around eight or nine. The girl reminded Mathilda so much of her brother--she was happy, vibrant, excited, and nothing put her down. That's why Mathilda took such a liking to the little girl. Hallie had short blonde hair--it resembled Mathilda's, except her's had been a dark brown. Hallie had blue eyes, not ocean blue because, in truth, the ocean didn't look very blue from where Mathilda stood. In fact, she had never seen it blue in her LIFE! It had always been either:

a.) black

b.)gray

c.)green

d.)brown

or

e.)green with a slight HINT of blue. Not completely blue, but with only a hint of it.

Mathilda loved to run her hands through the girl's hair. It was always so soft and silky. The next night, Mathilda decided to take them shopping. She had a couple of thousand dollars and they needed clothes. Plus, Mathilda needed to make a call to an old friend.

While the two were looking in the toy store, Mathilda took this as her chance to sneak away. She found a nearbye pay-phone and dialed the number, only to find out that he no longer lived there. The person that Mathilda was trying to call her was her childhood friend, Eny. Eny was a boy a year or two older than Mathilda. It turned out that his mother had just recently died from cancer and that he was forced to go and live in an orphanage. Mathilda remembered that his father had left Eny and Mrs. Bogart whem Eny--or Emu, as people often called him, when picking on him, etcetera--was only five years of age. Mathilda remembered wishing that she had a father who had run away, due to the fact that her father at the time was the most evil man on the face of the planet. Or at least to her. Plus, he was involved with drugs or whatever.

Mathilda found the number to the orphanage and dialed it up. "Hello?" she said, hearing a cackling sound. "Hello?"

There was the voice of an elderly woman on the other end of the phone. "Hello? Oh, hi deary. Who be you?"

"My name is Mathilda. I was calling, trying to get in touch with Eny--I mean Enrique Bogart." Mathilda feared the woman wouldn't know his nick name.

"Ah, yes, Rick. Hold on, I get him."

Mathilda waited patiently in the dark corner near the store. Another crackle, then a voice.

"'Lo?"

"Hey, Eny!" Mathilda was so excited to hear his voice. It sounded wonderful.

"Mattie? That you?"

"Yes, Eny. It's me."

"How did you find me? I thought fo' sure you was dead."

Mathilda's eyes widened. "What? What are you talking about?"

"These men came by when mom was real sick. Said they had s'um bad news. Said you died."

Mathilda wiped away a few tears from her eyes. "Did they...did they say their names, Eny?"

"Something like Gasoline. I think that was his name. Gasy...Gasoline..."

"Gaston?" said Mathilda.

"Yeah!" cried Eny. "How'd you know?"

Mathilda looked around. "Just a good guess. Listen, Eny, do you think me and you could meet somewhere? Could you leave the orphanage for a little while? I just want to talk to you. I really miss you. Plus, I've got a lot going on, and I think that I'm going to need some help. Do you think that you could help me? Do you think that you could...run away? Just for a few weeks?"

"I don't know, Mattie. D'you think I could stay with you? I don't want to come back here. It's horrible. Just plain horrible."

Mathilda smiled to herself. "I think we could work something out."

"So, who is this friend that we're going to meet?" questioned Hallie, holding on tightly to Toad with one hand and Mathilda with the other. "What's his name? Eny, right? How do you spell that? Is he nice? Is he cute? What's he like? Mean? Nice? Ugly? Fun? Does he know--"

"Shh, motor-mouth," smiled Hallie.

"Ribbet! Ribbet!" cried Toad as they walked along the side of the pond. He was spying two or three frogs. "Ribbet! Ribbet!"

It was dark. Around twelve or so. Eny and Mathilda had agreed to meet along the bank of the pond near the hotel. They had strayed from the path so that Toad could peer at the frogs.

Mathilda smiled down at Toad. "Are you done yet, Toad?"

Toad looked up at her and, with a serious face, said, "Ribbet!"

That was when they heard the rustle behind the bushes. Mathilda glanced up. There was someone in the bushes, she could only see their silouhette, but she knew that he, or she, was there. Mathilda took both Toad and Hallie's hands. She began to lead them down the side of the bank, towards a boat rental. They were the little boats that you pedal around in the water. She walked around the small shack-like building and saw one of the boats tied up to a short little peir. Mathilda hurried to it--red with blue stripes--and shoved Toad and Hallie in first. Mathilda stared down at them. "I want you to pedal out to the middle of the pond and stay there. I don't care if I'm in trouble or anything. I just want you to stay there until I tell you."

Hallie nodded and began to peddle.

Mathilda looked up and saw the man approaching her. She took a deep breath and began to walk towards him. "What do you want?"

The man, a unshaven creature with long shaggy blonde hair--suddenly, Mathilda remembered him from the other night--smiled at her. He walked towards her. "Hello, Mathilda."

"How do you know my name?" questioned Mathilda.

"I know a lot about you Mathilda. But know this. I am not here to harm you."

Then he stepped aside.

And there was Archie, Mathilda's brother.