Two minds on the matter: Sibling




“We can’t keep this up,” she said into the cold morning air, trying to stretch some of the stiffness out of her neck. “It’s been almost two weeks since we slept in a bed, and half that long since we had a good meal.”
For emphasis she held up one skeletal hand, covered in pasty flesh that was far too taught for a 24 year old. There was dried blood and unidentifiable types of dirt speckled over her arms, filthy fingernails with chips and some evidence of the cold taking a toll. Her knuckles were swollen and she was sure arthritis had already started. Looking around the dark alley, her tears started again as they did often these days.
“I know, I feel it to…I’m sorry Angela, but we couldn’t stay any longer.” Her hands moved to wipe tears away from her eyes, leaving essentially the only clean streaks on her face. Her misery and wretchedness were not seen by anyone else, but she was still ashamed of it. Not having nice clothes, not always enough to eat, being isolated in a world she could never shut out were all companions from birth; being filthy and cold were recent additions.
The lower pitched voice came again, “I just don’t know what else to do, we have to go to the city for help.”
“We can’t! Crey almost caught us the last time! We won’t go back to that lab, it would be better to die.” She was shaking uncontrollably, her voice rising in hysterics to something near a scream. That proved to be her first serious mistake in some time.
The fire escape rang with sudden booted footsteps from above, rattling against the aging lag bolts holding into the chipped plaster of the brick wall. She looked up in enough time to know that this dark day might be her last. At least ten gray and black clad figures were pouring off the three story roof onto the steel ladder, the gang that held sway in this part of King’s Row, The Skulls.
“Hey little girl,” the largest of them sneered from one level above the street. “did you say you were lookin’ to die?” His gang was waiting along the railings, a couple with baseball bats or long knives flashing. She knew that killing was one of the Skulls rites, but didn’t believe that was all they would want.
She backed across the alley, as far as she could in the narrow space, until the cold bricks of the next building were pressing into her back. There was nowhere to go, the alley ended in dumpsters and another three story business, and the entrance already held several “Bones” leering at her. She was so tired and so hungry, even when she was feeling well this would have been too much.
“Please, we aren’t looking for any trouble,” Angela began.
“We?” The thug looked down the alley from one end to the other, “You got an invisible friend somewhere? Maybe we get two for one?” Harsh laughter rained down on the lone woman’s form like the misery and pain she felt.
Terrified, panicking and hopeless; that was how the first episode had been, too. That was when Cliff had been the brother and Angela the sister, when they had lived with their parents, before the incident that had started their long slide into today. The first time The Gestalt had happened.
Her mind went white, eyes rolled into her head and the voice that had been quiet and female, or lower and male by turns, took on the qualities of two rocks grinding together, impossible in so small a body.
“You will not touch her!” With an authority that left no question.
Even the Bone Daddy, Kneecapper, stood still for a moment, a suppressed shiver in his back. He had faced Heroes before, so it quickly passed. No little skirt was going to prevent this fun, and his men were witnesses.
“Kill her!” He bellowed, leaping off the landing and starting a negative energy attack. If the girl resisted, he knew the powers that provided him his strength would make sure she stayed “alive” long enough for some revenge.
Several things happened in quick succession: Kneecapper was falling and then rising rapidly to land with felt impact on the fire escape, two of his minions who had been rushing down were now convinced they should fight one another, another minion grabbed his splitting head…and the girl fell unconscious to the street.

“Hey kid, you alright?”
She opened her eyes only far enough to see that the man standing over her was not their father, when he shoved something warm and oatmeal-flavored into her mouth. A hand quickly reached up to grab it, to make sure she could eat it all. The quickness of her movement startled the stranger enough he stepped back, causing the immense rifle, barrel still smoking, strapped to his back to swing.
“Whoa! When’s the last time you ate?” His brown hair stood at attention, one half-gloved hand moving through it in a gesture. He watched the girl scuttle backwards like a beaten animal, tearing at the energy bar. He realized she must be almost starved, the bones in her face were visible beneath her skin, but what disturbed him most was the feral look in her eyes.
”You don’t need to thank me,” he strung out the last word for effect, “it looked like you were about to rise up from the grave and save yourself.” He was sarcastic but kept his tone gentle, this girl was as near outright panic as anyone he had ever seen. “Seriously, can you understand me?”
“We understand,” she said around the last bite of the Ms. Liberty Insta-End bar. “What do you want?” Her voice changed from definitely female to somehow masculine in mid-sentence.
He didn’t notice it immediately. “I only want to make sure you are OK. I’m a Hero, that’s what we do.” He smiled and slung the weapon tighter across his broad back. “You know, helping old ladies, purse-snatchers, taking down gangs.” The more he looked, the more it appeared this might be someone suffering Superadine withdrawl. It was eating up the city, but he knew a good clinic, and there were always beds for those he brought in.
“No, no drugs,” she said quietly. “I’ve been living on the streets, trying to stay off their grid.” The surprise on his face brought a small smile to her wane lips, “The Crey grid.”
She tapped the side of her head and stood up slowly, “We can read thoughts, at least some thoughts. And it is ‘We’.” Again the voice had changed quickly and seamlessly.
“Well, if you are on the run from the Crey, you ran into the right guy.” He pulled a small pouch, one of many, open at his belt and removed several small packets. Holding them up to the early light, she could see that they were Paragon Protector badges.
“I try not to mess them up, if I can help it. This one took some heat when the owner decided he stood a chance against old Mack here,” the man patted his rifle’s butt.
“By the way, I’m Mr. Fixit,” he held out one large hand.
“Sibling, sir, “ she shook it with her much smaller one. “Cliff wants to say he’s sorry, but you have to understand, nobody else has ever given us something for nothing.”
“Cliff?” The Hero looked puzzled, glancing behind him.
“Angela and Cliff, that’s us. We both share this body, that’s why we call ourselves ‘Sibling’. It’s a long story, but we don’t have time. Thank you Mr. Fixit, maybe we can help you one day.”
“The day is young, and my patrol is over. Actually, those Skulls helped me clean up a job I overlooked. I need to get back to my Contact with this,” he held up a bracelet that caught the light, light that didn’t look entirely earthly.
“I tell you what…Sibling?” he cocked an eyebrow, then continued when she nodded her head. “I’ll buy you breakfast at the Cafeteria in City Hall if you want to go that far, and maybe you can tell me a little of your story?”
“We are still filthy, and don’t have anywhere to go to clean up. Thank you for your kindness, but you have given enough.” She stared up at the man, but her eyes showed her shame. He had saved her life, obviously, given her food and even the offer of assistance, but the twins did not beg or shame their friends.
“No prob,” he waved a hand and quickly pointed, “I own that building. It’s a gym with showers and plenty of workout wear. You can shower in there and get cleaned up, and I’ll loan you some clothes until we can get you registered with the city.”
“Never!” The girl’s panicked voice was back and she took a step away.
“Not under your real name! None of the Heroes in Paragon go by their real names.” He held out his hands in peace. “The city is also really good about asking for only minimal info, and I have a friend in G.I.F.T. that will want to meet you.”
She stepped forward, head bowed sheepishly.
I told you he could be trusted, Angela silently said to Cliff in their head.
You are the telepath, He replied.
Mr. Fixit was fishing around in another pouch and the sound of keys was heard.
“Looks like it might be a good day,” he called behind him as Sibling crossed the street.
Looks like it might be a good day, indeed, the twins agreed.
This will be an ongoing thread if anyone is pleased, post comments are appreciated, good, bad or ugly.



If I may be so bold as to throw a comment in, you might want to break the next posting up a bit...since the board doesn't allow for regular indentation, paragraphs are a must, otherwise it's kind of hard on the eyes and you loose flow.

Wonderfully descriptive otherwise



Yeah, I did it in Word and noticed that indents don't work. Thank you for the suggestion.