A Gift of Combs

Someone tell me what is going on. . .fateful words. Some of the last she uttered. Silence met her. A trust fund was set up by the Largo family as a sort of pay off. She didn't care. It wouldn't bring back her father. The driver with the funny mustaches dropped off packages at random intervals; food mostly, clothes, tickets to the opera. Other than the fact that her father was dead practically nothing had changed for Shilo Wallace. She stayed indoors, and left the packages outside, the perishable food left to rot, and the tickets washed down the gutter. When hunger got the worst of her, she munched on whatever hadn't gone bad. Bread mostly, and hard cheeses; every now and then a very soft fruit.

The driver must have reported his findings, her leavings. Eventually the meals were dropped off, fully cooked underneath a flawlessly shiny silver dinner dome. It grated on Shilo that she was dependent upon the murderers of her father until she turned 18. The Largo's wanted to look good in the eyes of the public. Gene Co. after all, had a reputation to look out for.

Besides missing her father, Shilo did little in her spare time. She hugged a pink, stuffed bunny that had been a birthday gift when she was 5, she still had hair then, tied back in neat braids.

In the evening, she watched the night life from her window. She had long ago thrown away her television set. Each and every commercial was sponsored by the organ-snatching company she had grown to hate. She had been manipulated and used, her life forever altered. Her father's last words had been to go and change the world, but how could she, just one person change the entire world? How could she change a world that in less than a day caused her to hate it forever? She went out there once. Never again.

Shilo supposed she was being childish, and petty. Where there's life, there's hope, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Suddenly, she spotted the multi-colored hair of the grave robber who had helped her escape the Repo men and later the Largos, what seemed like a life time ago. He was by turns gregarious and silently concentrating, depending on if he was with a crowd of people or harvesting the lethal drug, that caused more profit for him eventually, in the end. Harvesting back what they paid him to give out.

She didn't know he watched her, too. She didn't realize what a small bit of a thing she looked to him. Her hair had begun to grow back. She relinquished the wig. It grew in chestnut waves. Just now it was finally at her chin. Bald to chin-length in 6 months, not bad. She had no idea what to do with it. It was unruly and frizzed, not like the wig she had grown accustomed to wearing. She let it snarl and tangle.

Her room was a disaster area. She had thrown things aboaut, ripped and torn things, that night in a fit a grief. She had burned everything she had worn that evening to the Opera in the fireplace, and took a hot scorching shower afterward. She continued to sleep in the series of night gowns she wore when she was 'sick', varying in length; with one addition. Shiloh donned the gray sweater she'd last seen her father in. It was soft and let her remember comforting thoughts.

Though she was liberated, she didn't know how to be free. Someone would have to come and give her a shove in the right direction, she finally decided. This was home it was all she knew. Some day she'd leave, but right now she was so used to being captive, it was just easier that way.

Shilo awoke that night with a feeling of uneasiness. Someone had been there. It was a feeling she couldn't shake, in her gut, she just knew. She made for the balcony, and nearly stepped on it. A small package lay at her feet. Two obsidian hair combs tied with a purple ribbon.

A squeak from a long-since discarded rubber duck made her whirl. The Grave robber with the multicolored hair stood in her bedroom doorway with a grimace on his face, one foot poised above the traitorous tub toy.

"What are doing here?" They were the first words that Shiloh had spoken in months, her voice cracked and was scratchy.

"Do you know they serve you seven course dinners?" came the tangential query; the second foot came down to stand with first. He was tall, and had a look of amusement on his face, not at all unlike some sort of odd, gothic clown. He had overexaggerated his statement to try and get a reaction out of her. Still, it was a large amount of food.

The man in Shiloh's doorway was from the time of her father's death. She didn't want to remember that time.

"I've been eating well thanks to you," he gestured to the combs in her hand, "consider it a gift of thanks," he began to step closer. Shiloh retreated until she could feel the spikes at her back. She had nowhere to go now. He stalked up to her like a cat. Wordlessly, he took one of her hands from the combs she clutched tight and kissed the back of it.

Shilo felt a flood of warmth. It had been the first human contact she'd had for so long. She dropped to her knees.

"Easy now," he helped her to her feet and guided her to the bed to sit. He plucked the combs from her hand and untied the purple ribbon. He placed both combs in her hair, one above each ear. "That's how they're worn. You're very pretty you know; Rapunzel in her high tower."

"No, I'm not," she refuted his claim, staring into her lap. He sneaked a finger under her chin, forcing her to look up. He considered her for a moment, and then placed a chaste kiss on her lips. This wasn't his usual M.O., but she was making him feel unusual things. "You should really come down and join us some time." He left her there to ponder the idea.

Shiloh sat for a long time, not moving. Eventually, she removed the combs, not that she was ungrateful for the gift, but her hair was too short yet. In a few more months, perhaps she would join him. Perhaps she could start changing the world as her father had said. Maybe she could do it, starting with him.

Tired from the encounter, but not willing to go downstairs and open the front door for food, she lay down on the bed and went to sleep. That night, she dreamed of changing the world, one person at a time.