Doodle stopped beside the mural of Crystal Jones…he pressed his fingers to his lips, then to her painted forehead. “Our lady of lost causes,” he whispered and moved on.
He was the only person Sara had heard call her that. The mural dated from before her arrival in town, based on the character of the same name that starred in a comic strip in a local zine. Crystal Jones and her partner Rock righted wrongs, avenged evil, et cetera, but all against the familiar backdrop of the city. The strip occasionally featured local personalities as guest stars. Doodle had appeared in it several times, all of his features exaggerated – his normally curly hair out of control, his baggy overalls become full-on raveresque. He’d gotten his nickname not because he was an artist, after all, but because he almost resembled a pencil sketch, all loose, arcing lines. Sara knew that Doodle had copies of all of the Crystal Jones comics in his apartment, next door to hers, and she made a note to herself to borrow them – this “patron saint of lost causes” bit sounded intriguing.
They turned the corner, and Hathaway House came into view. Home. And yet Doodle tensed. “Doodle?” Sara asked from behind… then, as she drew even, saw what Doodle was glowering at.
Martin Tallart, landlord and “warden”, stood by the front steps talking to two strangers. Men. One of whom seemed wounded – yes, that was a bandage around his bicep. Seeping blood. “Doodle, who…?” Sara whispered.
“Axis and the Griffin.” Doodle replied, his voice tight with anger. Sara looked up at him, startled, to see his gentle brown eyes narrowed. He glanced at her. “Can Kaylin crash with you tonight?”
“Sure, I guess-“
Doodle passed Kaylin to Sara; she hugged the little girl close. For her part, Kaylin was silent and watchful. “I’ll come to your apartment when this is over.”
“Ooookay,” Sara said slowly, following Doodle as he strode toward the men.
He stopped immediately before them, crossing his arms. “Martin,” he said stiffly, flicking his eyes toward the other two. “Trouble?”
“Not as such, Doodle,” Martin said calmly.
Sara walked up the stairs, struggling under the weight of a tired little girl. She covertly eyed the men as she walked past – the injured one – Axis? – was older. Shaggy-haired. Looked… Hawaiian, maybe? The Griffin was shorter, with short, razor cut blonde hair… which fell across his brow as he turned to look at her and Kaylin. “Is that…?” he whispered. His eyes met Sara’s… deep blue. She paused.
Doodle looked over his shoulder at her. “Sara, please, get her in the building.”
“Right. Sorry.” Sara hurried up the last few steps and caught the elevator up.
“Why is your heart pounding?”
Because I just saw a very cute boy. “Um. Because you’re getting heavy, munchkin. Carrying you is becoming a workout!”
“I can get down!”
“Ah, yes. So you can.” Sara lowered Kaylin to the ground, and held her hand as they left the elevator.
She performed Kaylin’s bedtime ablutions almost mechanically, unable to keep her mind from the strange tension downstairs. Who are these guys, and why is Doodle so freaked?
Aside from mediocre story cut & pasting... I'm in a midnight headspace. My ex-husband used to pick fights with me after midnight, because he knew that I had difficulty being coherent when tired. Unable to defend myself.
I feel half-dreaming. Things are sliding in my head. Sometimes I wonder if chunks of my life are Dream.
I obsessively reconnect with my past, in part just to prove to myself that I was there. Looking forward to talking to childhood-best-friend-Jeff on the phone, maybe tomorrow. So much there. Large pieces of me that I'm uncertain of.
I want to be a real girl.
I tried to do a little freewriting, but it didn't work; my head keeps trying to organize itself. I'm not tired enough for pure freewriting, not awake enough to be coherent.
I feel as though I should be DOING stuff.
Almost 1 AM, and my body isn't tired. And my brain is but half-tired. My daughter and my almost-husband are asleep upstairs; the cats are down here with me.
I don't feel real tonight.
I'm going to try to get some sleep.