Strike, 1899. 6 girls and their borough, all but forgotten amongst the large concrete jungle of NYC and in deep trouble. One Brooklyn leader, hot on the tail of a gang with roots hidden deep within his own organization. 4 Manhattan boys, all striking with his own reasons for victory. Throw them all together and you've got yourself one grand adventure…
The Lost Borough
Ellis Island, 1899
"Everything in place?" Mafia asked Cloud.
The brunette bookworm of their gang nodded. "Everything. We gonna send these things ta Manhattan 'o' watt?"
Her blonde haired gray eyed leader shook her head, gazing out the window of the old immigrant registry building they were staying in, clearly abandoned. "Not right away. Wait for the signal."
Cloud groaned. "It'll take da twins forever ta get da close enough ta da newsies. It'll be easier just ta go ahead."
"An' leave you three behind?" Mafia raised an eyebrow in question, pointing towards Daisy and her second Phantom. "I trust Witch an' Lucky. We'll wait. Den I go ova an' deliver dem."
Her companion glanced towards their row-boat, a method of transportation from borough to borough for their small group. "Fine."
Manhattan Docks, 1899
"Youse think we're in da clear?" Witch asked her twin Lucky.
The other redhead nodded, holding out their lantern to see in the midst of the darkness. "No one's following' us or seen us enter da docks. Put up ya light sis, Mafia's gonna be countin' on us ta help deliver da flyers."
Witch frowned, worried as all get-out. "Watt if it don't work? Da newsies are our only way 'o' savin' ourselves now dat Sprite's dead. Crypt might still be on our tail an' figure out da code we placed in da paper. He'll find us all before we see im' comin'!"
Lucky smacked her sister on the arm, disappointed in her. "It won't come ta dat. We're too far away for im' ta know we're here. All we gotta do is help Maf slip dem flyers in da LH an' wait for at least one newsie ta show up. Dey'll listen ta us, Isa know it."
"An' watt if dey don't? Crypt's dead ta dem, remember?"
Lucky frowned even deeper and stared out towards Ellis Island, anxiously awaiting mafia's return signal. "Dey will, given a little luck. Dat's watt youse got me for, ain't it?"
Manhattan Lodging House, 1899
"Isa tellin' youse Jack, dem two redheads in da square were pretty suspicious lookin'," Race kept repeating. "All dey did was watch us, an' dey was wearing newsie clothes. Dey ain't spies are dey?"
Jack groaned, tired of Racetrack's constant conspiracy theories. "Dey was orphans like us, probably pick pockets lookin' for a pay-day. Stop worrying, we'll be fine. Now get some sleep. Da strike ain't gonna carry itself ya know!"
Manhattan's second reluctantly crawled into bed and stared up at the one above him, thinking. "Carry da Strike now. Funny how things work like dat, huh Cowboy?"
His leader just nestled even further underneath his covers, also thinking but about other things. "Yeah, real funny. Youse know how Spot found out we was on strike at all? We got ova dere well before Queens an' Harlem could send word."
Race shrugged before slinking off to sleep. "Isa dunno. He's da King 'o' Brooklyn, Spot is."
Brooklyn Docks, 1899
Spot Conlon looked out over the docks from his perch of crates. Night was falling, and the other boroughs would be asleep by now. But before he called 'lights out' there was someone he needed to see.
"Isa came here as fast as Isa could Spot," his old friend Brandy said, looking up at him. "Watt is it?"
The King of Brooklyn swung himself down to greet his visitor. "Youse remember da former leader 'o' Brooklyn named Crypt, right?"
Brandy shuddered. "'O' course Isa do! How could Isa forget, an' how could youse for dat matta? Youse was his second aft' all! Became King by throwin' im' out if Isa recall-"
"Yeah, dat's da guy. You're absolutely sure he left New York for good, right?"
The other Brooklynite sighed. "Spot, youse asking' me ta remember something dat happened ova a year ago! Dat's a long time."
"Youse were in charge 'o' da escort dat left with him ta da edge 'o' da city Brandy," Spot growled. "Is he still in Jersey 'o' not?"
"Isa dunno Spot. Why youse bringing all dis up now? Crypt's dead ta everyone else, dat's da story we told 'Hattan an' da rest 'o' da boroughs when youse became King. So watt if he's back in town? He don't got no body ta support im' no more!"
Spot shook his head. "He's still got people who're afraid 'o' im', people who he'll force ta join im' if he finds out where dey are. All 'o' his old enemies are turnin' up dead all 'o' a sudden an' he tried ta have Hatter taken out yesterday."
Brandy gasped. "Hatter's one 'o' da only people besides youse dat were in his inner circle. Ya think he'll go aft' youse next?"
"He'll use da strike as cover for any an' all deaths, including mine," Spot agreed. "Dat's why Isa ain't launching Brooklyn into it. We're on high alert as 'o' now."
The other boy was silent for a moment, and then asked "Watt about da giorls?"
The King blinked and looked at him, faking confusion. "Watt giorls?"
Brandy rolled his eyes. "Spot, youse have ta remembered da giorls dat ran with Crypt when he was King. If he's back, den he'll go an' find em' before dey have a chance ta skip town. Dey might not even know he's back-"
"Dey left da day aft' he was exiled," Spot cut him off, not willing to bring up old and particularly bad memories. "Dey was gonna be newsies with da rest 'o' us, but dey disappeared da day before we started legitimate selling."
"Den find em'!" Brandy pleaded with his leader. "Spot, Isa know youse still care about em'. Youse an' Crypt both had a thing for dere leader aft' all-"
Spot snapped his head around and glared at him. "Don't bring dat up!" he ordered, before looking back out over the harbor.
"Alright, Isa gonna find em', bring em' back. Dere in trouble, an' it'd be wrong ta just stand by an' watch em' get killed." He glance back at Brandy. "But da moment dis goes south Isa blamin' youse."
Manhattan Lodging House, 1899
"Where's Cloud?" Lucky asked anxiously, looking at her leader.
Mafia shook her head. "Isa left err' behind in Ellis. She's not da quiet type if youse know me meaning."
Witch chuckled. "Youse coulda come with Phantom den; she's real good at sneakin' around."
But Mafia just shrugged. "She's with Daisy," she replied simply, referring to the girl's attachment to the littlest one. "Now c'mon, we've got papes ta deliver."
The gang of three quietly sneaked into Manhattan's LH, not making a single sound. Slipping into the boy's bunkroom, they placed a single flyer on each of their bunks before retreating back into the hallway.
"Da youse think dey'll figure da code out in time?" Mafia asked her twin spies. They both stifled a chuckle. "We've been watchin' dese guys all day Maf," Witch replied. "Dey gotta smart kind 'o' guy named David; if anyone'll crack it, it's him."
"Good," the short haired blonde replied. "Now let's get outta here. Dey'll be waking up soon an' Isa need at least some sleep before we meet em' tonight."
At that Witch, Lucky and Mafia slipped out of the building as quickly as they had come.
Center Square, Manhattan, 1899
"Hey Jack!" Mush called out to the leader, who was lounging over by the Horace Greenley statue. "Youse get one 'o' dese too?" He held up a flyer identical to the one Jack was holding. On them were seemingly random adds, each for some kind of cause or product.
HELP US SAVE OUR VETERAN SOLDIERS! BUY A NEW WASH TUB, PROCEEDS GO TO MEETAND GREET FUND.
14TH PRECINCT CENTER BINGO NIGHT, HOSTED BY WILIAM HURST OF THE JOURNAL.
CENTRAL PARK BIRDWATCHING CONVENTION. JULY 31ST, ENDS AT MIDNIGHT
DON'T BE THE LAST HOUSEWIFE TO OWN THE PRICELESS LATE NIGHT PERFUM COLLECTION! MADE IN BROOKLYN, SOLD TO YOU!
DOESN'T EVERYONE HAVE A NICE SEWING MACHINE? NO? GET ONE AND GET INVOLVED WITH ONE OF THE BEST TRENDS IN AMERICA!
There were about a dozen others, but these 5 really stuck out to the newsboys, Racetrack especially. "Look at dese underlined words, Cowboy," he told Jack. "Dere all in random order."
"So? It was a mistake," Jack brushed it off. "Dey don't mean nothing Race. Stop with da theories already!"
Race shrugged and walked away, pretending not to be interested anymore, but he really pulled out a pencil. Sitting down on a bench, the second wrote each underlined word down.
A machine don't make dat many mistakes, he reasoned. And if it does, den I'll just forget it. But if it's something more…
HELP US-MEET AT CENTER OF CENTRAL PARK-AT MIDNIGHT-DON'T BE LATE-BROOKLYN DOESN'T GET INVOLVED.
Reading this several time, Race's mind finally clicked and he yelped in surprise. Throwing the pencil down, he leapt to his feet and whirled around to find his leader. "Jack! Jack, youse gotta come see dis!"
Center of Central Park, Manhattan, 1899
"Ya see Race, no one's here!" David Jacobs groaned, looking around into the oncoming darkness. "It's just a coincidence, or a prank. Let's get out of here, we'll need all of our energy for the raid tomorrow."
Race just shook his head. "Dere ain't no such things as coincidences Davey," he replied. "Not when youse a newsie, not when something like dis happens so suddenly. Tell em' Spot!"
The Brooklyn leader just shrugged. Jack, David and Racetrack had brought him along regardless of what to message had said, hoping to get a reaction out of whomever they were meeting. "He's right Mouth. Dem kind 'o' things are rare an' far between. Only come across two in me time as King-"
"Which hasn't been very long," Jack pointed out. "But if youse helped us with da strike it could prolong it by a reasonable amount-"
"Me answer's still no Cowboy," Spot snapped "Da only reason's Isa even here is 'cause dere ain't nothin' ta do on a night like dis except sleep."
"All 'o' youse stop!" Race ordered, freezing suddenly. "Did ya hear dat?" Everyone stopped to listen, and sure enough the sounds of voices lightly pierced their ears. IT was coming from the tree above them.
"They brought Brooklyn along, we can't trust them!" one voice argued.
"We'll have to now, won't we Phantom?" a second, more controlled but just as furious voice replied. "They're our only chance!"
"Shut up, you'll get us heard!"
"We've already been heard, would ya look down already for Pete's sake?"
The branches rustled, and suddenly two girls, both ages 16, appeared before them. The first one was shorter and had the palest complexion either boy had ever seen. The second one, whom they assumed to be the leader, had short blonde hair and stormy gray eyes that looked ready to kill. "Youse came," she muttered, almost to herself. "Ya figured it out den?" She looked expectantly at David.
It was Racetrack who answered. "No, Isa did," he stepped forward, and the girl turned to see him, perplexed. "Really?" she replied, eyebrows raised. "Interesting. Isa woulda nova guessed."
"Oh cut da polite act Mafia!" her second Phantom snapped. "Youse brought along Brooklyn when we asked ya not ta. How da we know ya ain't part 'o' Crypt's group den?"
Spot's jaw dropped. "So youse figured it out too," he asked. Mafia nodded, refusing to meet his gaze for whatever reason. "'O' course we did!" she snarled meanly, much to the Manhattan group's surprise. "We're da people who alerted youse ta his presence in Brooklyn actually. One 'o' me giorls saw im' soaking a kid in an alley a few days ago. Came right back ta Ellis n' started makin' flyers shortly aft. Looks like it worked."
"Wait, youse are Crypt's giorls ain't ya?" Jack asked, eyes widening in horror. Phantom nodded, still unhappy. "Yeah, we are. Turned on im' though, right before he got kicked outta New York. But Maf knew he'd be back, despite us doubtin' it. Hid us ova in Ellis Island eva since."
"An' actual lost borough," Jack finished. He was clearly impressed with the girls' ingenuity.
Race turned to glare at Spot, who suddenly looked down at da ground guiltily. "Isa thought youse said he was dead!"
"Sure couldn't say dat he was alive an' well could I?" Spot retorted. "Dat'd put everyone on edge, possibly cause da downfall 'o' several boroughs, stretchin' themselves so thin if dey knew! Trust me Race, we nova thought he'd come back!"
But Jack ignored the fact that Spot had lied. He was stuck on the girl's story. "Youse said youse was from Ellis Island," he stated. "Da borough's been outta commission for years."
Mafia grinned slyly. "Exactly. But enough about dat. Da point is, Crypt's back in town an' da first thing he's gonna do is come find us. Dere ain't anywhere we can go, an' da only people who give a dang about im' is youse guys. Dat's why we came ta see ya. We need help; allies if youse will."
"We'll help you!" David piped up. "Right Jack?"
The Manhattan leader nodded thoughtfully. "Right. Youse two needs a safe house ta hide from Crypt, we needs ta make sure dis city ain't plunged into another panic because 'o' im'. If youse get killed den it'll start everything back up dat ocured a year ago. We can't have dat happen."
"Thanks Cowboy," Phantom breathed, very much relieved. "We owe ya one."
"Ya don't owe us anything!" Race cut in abruptly. "Youse saved us from Crypt in da first place. We're repaying da favor."
Phantom smiled politely at him while Mafia rolled her eyes, seeing the transaction between the two. "Dere's one problem though," she told Jack. "Dere ain't just two 'o' us."
Jack blinked. "How many? Three, four?"
"Watt? We got room for only three extra people, four if two 'o' youse share, but six? Dere ain't no way we'll be able ta fit!"
Spot coughed, getting his friend's attention. Staring at Mafia, he said "Jackie boy, we in Brooklyn got plenty 'o' room for dese giorls-"
"No!" Mafia yelped, earning a look from everyone around. Regaining her cool, she started up again more collectedly and tried not to go off the hook. "Isa mean, we got several younger giorls in our group Jack. Dey wouldn't survive a day in Brooklyn-"
"So we'll split youse up!" Spot cut in desperately. "Half 'o' youse go with Cowboy, da rest go with me."
By now Mafia was getting frustrated, on the verge of angry. "It's not an option,' she replied coldly. "We'd be beta sleepin' on da floor den with youse in Brooklyn."
"What do you have against Brooklyn?" David asked, slightly confused. Mafia turned to him solemnly. "Crypt was dere."
Spot huffed. "He ain't dere anymore! Trust me dollface, da last place he'll look if Brooklyn."
The leader turned red in the face at that but replied just as tartly. "I'm not goin' anywhere with youse Conlon," she hissed.
"Oh, so it's me now is it?"
"Well maybe Isa don't trust youse huh? What happened ta bein' Crypt's little second who did everything without question, like soakin' ya best friend ta da brink 'o' death an' half drowning innocent children?"
"Isa hated im' just as much as youse did! Isa had no choice an' Isa nova killed anybody-"
"Don't matta, youse still did it!"
"EVERYONE JUST SHUT UP!" Phantom interrupted, her pale face now flushed with a light pink. "Look Maf, Isa know ya don't like it, but Spot's right. He'll nova know youse in Brooklyn. We can take da littler kids ta stay in 'Hattan an' da rest can stay back in Kings County. We can discuss final arrangements later when we're not out in da open an' vulnerable."
Mafia rolled her eyes again, crossing her arms. "Youse one ta talk Phantom. Ya like makin' a scene 'o' things."
Her second in command turned an even brighter pink but said nothing, so Jack took over. "Could we hurry things along please?' he asked in a strained voice. "It ain't safe here at night, especially now dat Crypt's on da loose again."
Nodding, Mafia turned and whistled into the darkness. "Alright youse guys, get ova here. We're movin'!" At that four more girls appeared out of thin air; a nerdish brunette with think rimmed glasses, a ultra blonde 10 year old in a light blue frock (the only girl out of all six in a dress, the rest in trousers) and the same two red heads Racetrack had seen a day ago. "Jack Kelly, meet Cloud, Daisy, Witch an' her twin Lucky. Finest giorls anywhere."
Jack nodded towards them in greeting, looking them over while David stared at Cloud from behind him. He was obviously smitten with her, and her with him as well. "Dey'll do," Jack finally announced, looking back at Mafia. "Which ones go where da youse reckon?"
The girl bit her lip, thinking. "Daisy's da youngest, she'll definitely stay in 'Hattan. I can split Witch an' Lucky up, sendin' Lucky ta Brooklyn with Phantom. Dat leaves me with Manhattan-"
"With Cloud in Brooklyn?" Witch questioned. "Youse honestly think dat'll work Maf?"
Mafia groaned, seeing that there was no way out of it. "Youse right, it'll nova work. Phantom, youse stay here with Daisy an' Cloud while Isa take da twins with Conlon. We'll see if dat works an' make adjustments if necessary I da morning."
"In da morning?" Spot remarked disbelievingly. "Youse gonna be with me at all times, no goin' waltzing around New York at a wit's end!"
"I'm not leavin' my team in another borough for ova 12 hours Conlon, it ain't right!" Mafia snapped. "Would youse?"
"Yeah," he replied, a bit sarcastically but true. "Isa know dat dey can take care 'o' demselves, unlike ya giorls here-"
Everyone's heads snapped towards Fury and Spot as the King staggered back in horror, rubbing his jaw. Mafia stood a few feet away, hands raised to block any attack he could throw at her in revenge.
"We can take care 'o' ourselves just fine, just don't have a death wish," she replied coolly. She then turned to the twins and beckoned them forward. "Let go."
Lucky and Witch nodded in unison as they passed by Spot, each snickering at him. The Brooklynite set his jaw, glanced back at the Manhattaners as if daring them to laugh (which they weren't trying not to) before following in suit.
Ok, is this worth pursuing? I know, it's not my normal type of writing style, but I figured I'd try something new. Anyhow, review if you like this!