She paints her eyes as black as night, now
Tim Dodds wasn’t a bad sort, as God botherers go. While his church ran a general outreach programme to the homeless, Tim had a personal mission to the young people living on the streets; where possible he reunited them with their families, or at least found them a place of safety. Every one he met had a different story, sometimes tragic, sometimes just a misunderstanding that was easily resolved. Of course, he had regrets for those he couldn’t reach, whether by circumstance or suspicion, but each strengthened his resolve to carry on. And then he met Kiera.
Kiera wasn’t a girl as most of his congregation would have recognised; she was tall, a bit of gawky, spoke in a whisper, and was quite obviously a boy for all the clothes and make-up — and there was a lot of the latter. She hadn’t been on the streets long enough to pick up a dependency, although Tim suspected it was a ‘punter’ who had put her in the A&E department where he first met her. Kiera’s life wasn’t a tragedy — yet — with a little help she could become the woman, God - if not nature - intended. His church might not agree, but he would bring them around — he was Pastor, after all.
She nursed her coffee cup, taking large bites from a sandwich Tim had bought her. The black eye had almost healed, as far as he could tell, under the layers of heavy eyeliner, and concealer. Was it vanity, he asked himself, to go hungry for appearance’s sake? It was one of many questions she had prompted since their meeting. Did the cross around her neck have any special significance for her, or what was the crumpled photograph that spilled from her pocket occasionally. That she should have been born a girl he had no doubt, every mannerism, her smile especially, said so. It was a cruel trick, on Kiera and on her parents; she told him they were dead, that she had run away from a care home, which he knew to be untrue — in hard fact at least.
“I want you to have this,” Tim took out a mobile phone from his pocket, “it has my number in the memory. I even loaded a few MP3s I thought you might like.” The phones had been donated by a network, older models that they couldn’t sell, pay-as-you go with a few pounds credit. As well as his own number, Tim loaded Kiera’s parents’, and a message from them asking their child to come home. There had only been one major flashpoint, not violent, and her father was distraught that she had run away. Tim firmly believed that things were not so advanced that he couldn’t effect a reconciliation.
“You’re not so bad,” Kiera said, rewarding him with a beaming smile, “anyway, got to go.” He watched her leave the greasy spoon with a few short, bouncing steps, before taking their cups back to the counter.
“Seems a good kid Rev,” the cashier pooh-poohed his attempts to pay, “always on the house for you.”
Outside someone was shouting, but there always was, so Tim took a few moments before turning. Kiera had sunk to her knees on the pavement, doubling over until her head almost touched the ground. He was at her side in seconds, kneeling in the spreading pool of blood.
“He tried to take your phone,” she held up her fist, tightly clenched around the mobile. Tim took it from her, his fingers trembling as he dialled ‘999’. He slipped an arm around Kiera’s back to support her, and she leaned back into it, revealing the bloodstain spreading from her chest. All for a phone, a phone no one was supposed to want. He’d as good as stabbed her himself.
“Ssh sweetheart,” he whispered, there’s an ambulance on its way.” She was shaking, a trickle of blood running from her lips every time she coughed.
“They called me Kiera,” she whispered, “in the message, on the phone.” A deeper cough wracked her young body, but she didn’t seem to be in any pain. What was taking the ambulance so long?
“I know,” Tim said gently, “they love you, and want you home, no matter what.”
“They called me Kiera,” another, larger cough, brought a torrent to her lips. She carried on talking, but so quietly, only the angels heard her.
I hadn't planned this one at all, but the idea came to me while listening to the Black Crowes' 'She Talks to Angels'. The song is about drug addiction really, yet there was the kernel of a tg story in there. It's also very beautiful... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a76FeV2-Dw
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