Standing in the shelter of the trolley stop, I saw her standing out in the rain, illuminated by the lightning. She was soaked to the skin in an instant.
The dim streetlight, its automatic eye shutting the bulb off with every burst of lightning, turning on with the darkness, flickered like a dancehall strobe. It was one hell of a storm.
She wasn't there a blink of an eye ago.
An old fashioned pocket watch in her hand, she looked at it, shook it, held it to her ear, shook it again, frowned and collapsed.
The watch bounced off the curb and into the street.
What the hell?
Forsaking the dubious shelter of the too small trolley stop, I rushed to her and saw her head was bleeding.
What the hell?
The glint of fractured ice in her hair and the fist sized ball rapidly shrinking in the rain ... another splashed in the gutter.
Ah ... that's one mother fucker of a hailstone.
I pulled her into the trolley stop.
My clean today handkerchief applied to her head I waited. I could feel the lump as it rose under the hanky.
That's one hell of a lump I thought.
Normal circumstances would dictate a splash of water to bring her around ... that brought on a chuckle ... water, water, everywhere and she's already soaked.
I heard a distinct crunch under the trolley tire as the driver pulled over. I slung the girl over my shoulder and climbed aboard.
"Evening, Ben," I nodded to the driver. "Let me just put her down and I'll come pay."
"Dampish out tonight, David," Ben said. "You find girlfriends in the damnedest places."
"You got that right," I grinned. "Thump 'em on the head with my trusty club and haul 'em to my cave." I brandished my unused umbrella.
"Put her down," Ben said.
"Don't run off yet. I need to pick up something she dropped ... if I can find it."
"No hurry, you're it ... nobody else braved the storm," Ben said.
I took the small redhead to a seat ... close to the front where the heater was, leaned her back in the seat and bolted for the door.
The watch was a mess.
Climbing up the steps I dropped my pass in the slot and grabbed it as the machine spit it out. I ran it through again.
"Thanks David," said Ben. "Drop you off out front of your house?"
"You're a lifesaver, Ben ... I didn't want to carry her two blocks in this weather. I don't think she weight more than 90 pounds but even 90 gets heavy."
"Try a 90 pound pack, an M14, 200 rounds and three rounds of 60mm."
"Ben ... I did." He knew ... but he worked for a living while I had been an officer.
"Oh ... that's right," he said, sounding dubious. "Go hold her so I can get going."
The handkerchief was ruined but the bleeding had stopped.
Something needs to be done with the roads, I thought as she bounced all over the seat. I pay my taxes.
She had minor flutters but returned to the dark side. Ben dropped us off ... profuse thanks and don't mention its abounded. I sat her on the leather and called my neighbor.
"Janie? Did I wake you?" I said, "Good ... I have a problem and I need your help. Thanks."
Almost before I hung up, Janie bustled through my door. "Where is this problem? Never mind. Go run body temp water in your tub. Where did she get this bump? David? Have you been naughty? She's soaked."
Soaked was my fault ... I could hear it in her voice.
"Why isn't the water running?" she asked, "Oh ... I should shut up. Right. Hop to it."
The tub was filling when Janie supported the redhead in the door. The girl was not helping.
"Hot tea ... sugar ... shoo. Bring a robe."
I brought the robe and shooed.
Earl Grey is my tea of choice ... the Earl is my hero. Ever since he was arrested at his Adult store I wanted to be like him. Old, randy and lots of nasty young things. Great role model.
"Tea is on the table," I said, heading down the hall. I needed to get out of my wet suit and the tie was strangling me. Life was a lot more fun when I was a tech. Middle management ... I had enough of that in the army.
I was in my sweats when Janie shouted, "We're done ... clean the tub ... it's filthy."
"It is now!"
Bathtub ring? Blood tub ring. It was a mess. There was bloody red hair on the tile floor and my good scissors were dripping on the commode seat.
Scrubbing Bubbles applied everywhere.
Finally clean ... as clean as it was going to get anyway, I headed for the kitchen.
"Good god ... she's beautiful." I was supposed to think that but I said it.
No makeup, a sheared spot covering about half her head ... woozy green eyes, a generous mouth and tiny ears with a straight nose. Classic Irish. I thought.
"Egyptian," she said ... and clapped her hands over her mouth. Oops.
"Where is my watch?"
"On the table in the dining room. I'll go get it," I said and put actions to my words.
"Oh My God." She poked at it and prodded it ... things fell out ... some of them were fragments. Her eyes rolled back...
Her last words before unconsciousness took her, "I'll never get home. David." David was said with a huge sigh of regret.
"Yes?" I said.
When she awoke, the first thing she said was, "My name is Wendy."