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Character Gill

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The Broken Child

3rd October - Sprawl - Late Evening

Eris made her way into the tenement block and climbed the dank stairway to the third floor. As she climbed silently upwards she curled her nose up at the stench. How did these people stand it? She looked down at the bare skin of her pale white hands and frowned. Closing her right hand into a fist she observed the pink blush of blood around the knuckles and the light filament of veins on the back of her hands. Truly a wonder. Her new master had given her a gift beyond measure, but she could do without the stench.

Arriving at a closed door she knocked. There was movement from inside, a woman called out something unintelligible. Eris waited patiently until the door suddenly creaked open. A middle aged woman stood there in a threadbare yellow dress. She was overweight and her skin was red and blotched, not like her own. The stench of sweat and cigarette smoke was strong on her and he breath. Eris fought the urge to wretch. She took the sight of the woman in, her lank dirty blonde hair, her glassy grey eyes framed with puffy skin. She decided that what was to come next would be a kindness.

"Who the fuck are you?" the woman said. Definitely a kindness.

"Are you Silvia Anderson, guardian of Gill Anderson?" Eris asked ignoring the woman's rude greeting. It was irrelevant all things considered.

"Yeah what of it?" the woman said, "The little bastard got im self in trouble again?"

"May I come in?" Eris asked.

"No you may not.." the woman started to say, but Eris had made the decision to act. There was no need to cause a scene. In one fluid motion she pulled out a long silver blade from the inside of her jacket and swept it across the woman's neck. Before the blood could gout out toward her she gave a sharp kick to the woman's abdomen knocking her back into the apartment and onto the floor within. Eris then reached forward and closed the door. She looked down at the blade and retrieved and cloth from her pocket to wipe it clean. There were sounds coming from inside the room, thrashing and gurgling. She stood there waiting for them to stop before walking to the top of the stair and seating herself.

***

Gill was shaking as he climbed the stairs to his aunts flat. He paused at the second floor and glanced over to the apartment where he had lived with his mother. Empty now waiting for new occupants after her death. His aunt had taken him in, although he got the feeling that he would not be welcome there for long. He fought back a sob as he tried not to think about his mum.

At the third floor he stopped short. A woman was sitting there. She had shoulder length black hair and eyes that seemed to shimmer in the dark. She was looking down at him and smiling.

"Hello." he said after a moment hesitation.

"You live here?" she asked, and her voice had a strange lilt to it something he had never head before.

"With my aunt in the flat there." He indicated the closed door behind her but she did not turn to look at it. Her smile widened.

"Your aunt has gone away." she said, "She asked me to take you to a safe place."

"Who are you?" Gill demanded feeling nervous now.

"I am called Eris." the woman said, "I have been sent to escort you."

"I... I just want to go home." Gill said edging forward and considering trying to run past the woman or even to run back down the stairs and out into the night.

"But this is not your home, your mother died in the Silken Mill explosion and your aunt is a cruel woman. I am here to take you away from all of that."

"How? How do you know?" Gill demanded, his aunt was an old cow true but he didn't like this, how did she know.

"I work for a man who knows things, he knows that your mother died, he knows that you were caught in the explosion at the Green Docks, that you were damaged and then taken by the tinker and experimented on. You were found in the market by the Skyrider and tonight. Tonight you lost a friend, she died so cold and so alone and you found her. He knows all of this, he knows you."

"Who are you?" Gill demanded not knowing what else to say to this strange woman.

"I am... a friend. I will take you to my master and he will fix you just as he fixed me." she looked down at her hands as she said the last, "Would you like to be fixed Gill Anderson? Would you like all of the pain to go away and to feel strong?"

"Leave me alone." Gill turned and ran. He ran down the stairs and into the night, taking little care for where he was going. He ran for what seemed like an hour or more until his chest was heaving with the effort and sweat ran down his brow. He looked around finding himself at the foot of the central bridge that passed over the Styx and into the Rose District. He heaved a sob of pure anguish then and sank to his knees in the dirt. Another wrack of grief shook his small frame, and then another. Tears streamed down his cheeks.

"Let us help you." came the voice of the woman and with a start he looked up at the strange woman. She was standing calmly before him with a look of pity on her face. She held her hand out towards him and smiled,

"Come with me and I will make the pain go away." she soothed and after a long moment he took her hand and stood.

They walked in silence then for a long time. Over the bridge and deep into the Rose District. They moved through narrow alleyways and lanes that Gill had never seen before. He grew cold and began to shiver and the woman noticed and placed her jacket over his shoulders. He stumbled on a loose cobble and she gently caught him and lifted him into her arms. He was so tired and she was strong, he could feel the strength in her arms. It was unexpected.

They came at last to an underpass beneath a wide squat warehouse where the cobbled path angled downwards into the shadow. She smiled down at him then as they walked onward and he returned the smile. He was so tired and so alone. He had not been carried since his father was alive, and he had not been held since his mother... he closed his eyes enjoying the sense of comfort from this strangers embrace.

Eris carried Gill down into the darkness.

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