Barry stands on the edge of the building and looks down at all the people below. Today has been the worst day of his life. First, he wakes-up hungry, because his father spent all the welfare money on drugs and booze. His mother is a major drug addict who is wasting away and could not care less about him. His father brought nothing home for dinner again for the third day in a row and his clothes were old and ratty. They barely fitted him anymore. His shoes were held together by duct tape and on top of that, he was beaten-up today for something he didn’t do.
He had been accused of stealing money from one of his classmates, but he hadn’t. The teacher didn’t believe him and sent him to the principle office. He tried to explain to the school principle that he didn’t do it, but no one would believe him. Because he was the child of drug addicts, they wouldn’t take his word for it.
Then, on the way home, he was jumped by four guys from his class who had accused him of stealing in the first place and beat the crap out of him. When he got home he found his parents stoned out of their minds and his stash of girl clothes he had taken from the Goodwill out in the mud in the front yard. He was tired of being made fun of and tired of being hungry and smelly all the time.
He was just so tired. He had been born in the wrong body and to dead-beat parents. He just wanted to end it all right here and right now, as tears slid down his dirt covered cheeks.
“You know, jumping isn’t going to help you.” A female voice had sounded from behind him.
Barry turns around to see who it was. Standing there was an oriental woman with long black braided hair, wearing a black jump suit with a gun holster belt around her waist with two guns on either side of her hips.
“Who are you?”
“Names Cheshire, kid.”
“Why are you up here?”
“Because, I saw a nice teenage kid about to make a mistake that can’t be undone.”
Cheshire could see the defeated look in the kid’s eyes, the bruises and the bloody lip. She noticed that the kid’s nose was broken.
“Why should you care what happens to me. No one else does. This world doesn’t care about people like me.” He started crying again.
“Look, why don’t we talk and if you don’t like what I have to say. Then we can see how far you can fly, okay.”
Barry gives Cheshire a weird look. He walks away from the edge, but stands close enough to jump.
Cheshire noticed how close the kid still was, but figured it was better than nothing at least.
“Good, now I can get back to answering your question. Your first question of why do I care what happens to you? Because kid, I have seen
enough death to last me a lifetime. Most of it was caused either by what I did or what my partner did. Believe me kid; he has no problem
killing someone to make a point. So, I don’t want to see you go splat on the side-walk below and I know everyone else down there doesn’t want to see new modern art either. As for no else cares about you, that’s true, I won’t lie to you. This world is made up of assholes and pricks. Everybody is concerned about themselves and could not care less. However, there are people who do care about children and try to do what they can do to help them. The problem is, there are too many children that need help and not enough people to help them.
Therefore, most children fall through the cracks. You’re just lucky I came along to help you. What did you mean by this world doesn’t care about people like you?”
Cheshire had some ideas, but she wanted to see what the kid meant.
“I meant, I meant. I’m not a boy, but a girl.” Barry could feel the warm tears sliding down his cheeks.
“Okay, now that explains some things. Look, I don’t really care what you are. You can be pink, purple, gay, straight, bi-sexual, asexual, a
lesbian it wouldn’t bother me. You don’t deserve to die. There are people who do care about people like you. My partner has two daughters that started as boys and are girls now. Those girls mean the world to him and he didn’t care that they had been boys before. Therefore, I’m saying I don’t care either. So, let’s get out of here and get you cleaned up and put some food in you.”
“But my parents”
“Are dead.” Cheshire walks towards the roof access and disappear inside.
Barry watches as the woman turns and heads towards the stairs that brought him up here.
“Are you coming kid or do I have to carry you?”
Barry chases after the woman and follows her downstairs to a back alleyway. Parked there was a slick looking motorcycle.
“I don’t have a spare helmet, so tuck in close to my body and hold on for dear life.” Cheshire puts her helmet on and mounts her motorcycle.
Barry climbs on behind Cheshire and wraps his skinny arms around her tiny waist and buries his face as close as he could to her body. He
could feel that the material beneath his cheek was rough. Barry feels the motorcycle take off and feels it sway and tilt as she takes corners and back alleyways. He felt the motorcycle lift off the ground for few seconds and land again.
Cheshire smiles when she feels the kid tighten his grip around her waist. She had purposely jumped the motorcycle to see if he would freak out. She doesn’t know why she had stopped and gone to the roof after finding his parents dead in the hallway. She doesn’t know why she feels that this kid needs her. She could have just let the boy jump and end his life, but something was telling her she should do something for this kid. She has learned to listen to those hunches.
Barry kept his eyes closed until he feels the motorcycle slow down and hears the opening of a metal gate. He feels the motorcycle zoom up the drive way and stop.
“You can let go now, kid.”
Barry opens his eyes and notices they are in front of an old Southern Mansion. He dismounts from the motorcycle and just looks at the
Cheshire looked at Barry and saw how big his eyes got when he saw the mansion.
“I’ve never seen one like this before.”
“Well, we won’t be here long. We’re staying the night and flying back to Hawaii tomorrow. I only came in town to handle some unpleasant
business.” Cheshire starts walking towards the front door.
“Come on kid. If you don’t go in when I do, you don’t get in.”
Barry runs to catch up with her.
Barry watches as a panel opens with all sort of weird pictures moving on it. He watches as Cheshire touches a few of those pictures.
“Well. The entire world is falling to ruins and poor Cheshire's off his tea.”
“I really hate that saying.”
Cheshire walks in.
“Why did it say that?”
“Because, I was named after the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.”
“I’ve never seen Alice in Wonderland.”
“Then my boy, or should I say girl, we will have to educate you on Alice in Wonderland. Because if you’re going to be with Cheshire, you need to be able to understand Cheshire.”
Cheshire leads the boy upstairs to the bathroom and starts filling a tub for him.
Cheshire watches as the boy takes off all his clothes. She couldn’t believe how skinny he was. There was literally no meat on this kid’s bones. She has her work cut out for him.
“Alright into tub, there are bubbles in there for you to play with and feel free to use all the soap you want.”
Cheshire takes out a comb, checks the kid’s hair, and notice that at least he doesn’t have lice.
“Okay, you don’t have lice. Now, use all the soap you want to and shampoo and conditioner kiddo. I’ll be back in a few minutes to check you over.”
Cheshire leaves Barry alone in the tub to see what clothes they have here at the house. She and Jack haven’t used this house in a while.
She could talk to him about selling it.
Barry couldn’t believe the place. The bathroom had a huge Jacuzzi bath tub next to the tub he was sitting in. He washes up and watches as the water turns slightly gray. He empties the tub and refills it again with hot and cold water. He adds in some bath beads he found under the sink. He did check them first to make sure they were safe. Once the water level was where he wanted it, he washed his body a second time and scrubbed his hair and everything.
By the time Barry has done cleaning himself, Cheshire comes walking in with some clothes.
“Well, these might be a little big on you, but they should fit.”
She helps him out of the tub and dries him off. She puts a nightshirt on him that comes down to his knees. Cheshire hands the kid a pair of small slippers, they barely fit. They were snug on his feet.
“Come on, let’s go get some food.”
Cheshire takes him down to the kitchen and finds everything she needs to make him a nice stir-fry.
“Cheshire, you said my parents were dead. Did you?”
“Not me kid. I wasn’t sent there to kill your parents. I was sent there to kill your landlord. He was a scumbag and pedophile. He had a collection of photos and/or films of the kids in the apartment building. He was selling them on the internet. Plus, he sold drugs. Where do you think your parents got them from?”
“Oh, won’t there be questions about me not being there?”
“Already taken care of, you’re my child now, Ms. Tizzy Patel.”
“But I don’t look oriental.”
“So, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?”
“My birth last name is Patel. My First name is Cheshire. It’s not a code name. So, your name, young, lady is Tizzy Patel or I could just call
“Why call me mouse?”
“Because you squeak a lot.”
Cheshire taps Tizzy on her nose.
“Come on mouse. You can help me clean up the kitchen up.”
Cheshire cleans the kitchen and then afterwards takes mouse upstairs to a bedroom and tucks her in.
“Sweet dreams mouse. Tomorrow we’re flying to Hawaii where it is always warm and the islanders are friendly.” Cheshire kisses Tizzy on
As Cheshire is walking out.
“Cheshire, thank you for saving me.”
“No kid, thank you for saving me. You’ve given me a second chance to be a mother.”
Cheshire heads to bed.
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