The Queen of Bones

Livy Warren had her head-phones in. She usually did. People left her alone, which she liked and it sometimes managed to drown out the OTHER things she heard. Sometimes.

Currently she was listening to 'Modern Love' by David Bowie. One of her favorites. But walking home from school was always an ordeal, trying to ignore the graffiti and the protesters.

“AMERICA FOR HUMANS!” A livid man in a red ball-cap yelled.

She ignored him as Bowie sang in her ears. She listened intently. She tried not to notice the signs they waved, the things they said...

“FUCK THE USERS! KILL 'EM ALL!”

“HUMANITY FIRST! HUMANITY FIRST! HUMANITY FIR...”

Squinting her eyes, Livy hurried past. They didn't know. They couldn't. But that fact made her no less uneasy, no less terrified. If they knew what she was...

-Let me out.-

“No.” She said it out-loud and prayed no one heard her talking to herself.

She hurried a block, slowing as she passed the protesters. She took a series of deep breaths as 'Stuck in the Middle With You' by Stealers Wheel filled her ears. Placing her hands on her knees, she inhaled deeply, her blond hair falling into her face.

-Fear is your weakness. I can show you a world with no fear, with only...-

“SHUT UP!”

Clapping a hand over her mouth, Livy looked around. She was alone.

“Shut-up.” She muttered, not quite to herself.

She could see the bus-stop ahead. Good. She picked up her pace. She could climb on the bus, listen to her music, be left alone by one and all, get off, walk the three blocks home, ignore her mother, go to her room and...

“Hey freak! Yeah you! What's up freak? You an alien or something?”

Livy froze, her blood seeming to still in her veins. She looked up from the sidewalk. Before her, right at the bus-stop was a small crowd of men. Between them was a little boy, ten or eleven. In all respects he looked like a normal kid. Except he had four arms. And he was purple.

One of the men, his red ball-cap tilted back on his head, shoved the boy to the ground.

“Fucking freak...” He said, shoving the boy back to the sidewalk when he tried to rise.

“A goddamned monster bro...” Another said, taking a long swig of a forty ounce beer. The four-armed purple kid struggled to his feet once more and the man swung the forty ounce in a wide arc, exploding the bottle against the boys head. The purple boy went to the concrete hard, blood pouring from his scalp.

And something in Olivia Warren snapped.

“Hey! Stop that! Stop it you ass-holes!”

She dashed to the boys side, shoving one of the men aside. She cradled his head and he looked up at her with a dazed expression through purple eyes.

“Run...” He muttered.

“No.” Livy whispered, “THEY should run.”

Behind her the little gang milled and snickered.

“That yer boyfriend sweetie?” One of them said.

“He good with all them arms?” Said another.

“Bet we could show you a good time too baby.” Another said.

Livy stood, looking down at the purple-four-armed-boy. Her expression was very sad.

“Run away.” She said, and the boy did, one of his many hands pressed against the wound on his scalp. Livy turned to the group of men with a look of resignation on her face.

“You some kinda freak lover bitch? You know what we do to freak loving bitches, right?”

“Yeah, we might just show you what REAL men can do.”

“Yeah, yeah, maybe we just take you back behind that building and fuck all your....”

He stopped. Livy was simply standing and staring at them, her brow furrowed in rage.

“Okay. Let's go behind that building.” She said.

“Listen girly...”

“No.” Livy said, her hands balled into tiny fists. “Let's go. Show me what you're made of. Cause if you don't SHE will. I'll see EXACTLY what you're MADE OF.”

Concern crossed a face. “Bro, I...”

“-Do not show fear now, apes.-” Livy said, her eyes dark and reptilian, her voice not entirely her own. “-Back your words with your blood. Face the Queen of Bones mortal, and watch the things that squirm inside you spill into the light.-”

The small crowd of men began to back away.

“Bro, fuck this...” Red-Hat said.

Suddenly, Livy fell to her knees. Tears in her eyes, she looked up at the group of startled men.

“Run.” She said quietly, “Run away or she will kill you all.”

They ran.

Livy stayed that way, the wet cement soaking into her jeans for a long time. She heard the Queen's voice no more that day. But in the single ear-bud still in her ear she heard her favorite song begin to play, Billie Eilish's “Bad Guy”.

She yanked the tiny speaker from her ear and climbed to her feet to walk the rest of the way home.

<TBC>

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