By Chelsea Miller
The air was filled with the smell of sulphur and smoke. The familiar rain replaced with ash, falling soft as new snow. Firefly looked around, unsure about her next move. The spontaneous decision to run after Mosh had not left much time for reasoning or plotting. She decided she would first try and think about where Mosh could possibly be. Fly thought back to past conversations, and she remembered he had expressed an interest in the military, or taking down the military, more like. She decided to start there. Keeping to whatever darkness the edge of buildings offered from the harsh spotlights overhead, Firefly made her way toward the army base she knew of nearby. Quiet as a mouse she scurried across patches of light, always stopping to ensure she wasn’t followed. She approached a thin huddle of trees and squatted next to the biggest one. Looking around, she saw tents and guards posted at different spots, along with some patrolling the area. When one approached, she shimmied behind her tree and hid her face in her arm, hoping the guard would walk by without noticing her or hearing her breathe. A few minutes passed and she poked her head around and found she was alone once more. Another look around showed that Mosh was not at this base. Swallowing her disappointment, Fly backed away as quietly as she had come.
Still keeping to the shadows she wandered the city. Realizing that the majority of the conversations she had with Mosh were more or less revolved around her and her anger, she had no clue where to go next to find him. Shoulders slumped, she kicked a rock along the sidewalk, letting her feet guide her to nowhere in particular.
Since Fly had gone topside she’d noticed an increase in security around every entrance to the Shadows, as well as around the Golden Tracks, and this was only after a few hours. Nearly giving up her search for Mosh had given her the insight about the security and now she was stuck up here for God knew how long. She didn’t even know what all the commotion was about.
When she finally lifted her chin, she was nearing the lake that separated the Golden Tracks from the rest of Greylands. She stopped at the edge of the water and closed her eyes for a moment to reminisce about the stories she’s heard growing up. Once, the water had been clear. Not the murky grey that it was today. Her parents remembered playing Marco Polo with rich and poor kids alike. Back then life was simple, a world where a kid could be a kid and the parents were the ones who worried about where the next meal came from or who bought new clothes when the old ones got too small. Now everything was chaos, even more so than a week ago. Now she had to be something she never dreamed she’d be to keep herself fed and clothed.
Frustrated and starting to feel the beginnings of defeat, Firefly walked to a nearby tree and slumped down to sit at the base.
“Ouch!” a deep voice exclaimed. Firefly nearly jumped out of her skin and put a hand over her heart in an attempt to calm it. The figure below stirred and fear caught in her throat as a very tall man stood before her, leaves and dirt sliding from his back. “Who the fuck stepped on my— Fly?” Firefly had cowered next to the tree, but her head snapped up at the sound of her name and she was faced with a very dirt-covered Mosh. Relief and excitement flooded her chest and she jumped up to wrap her arms around his neck. Mosh chuckled and returned her hug.
“You scared the shit outta me!” Firefly said with a playful smack on his arm. Mosh started to chuckle again, but was suddenly serious when his eyes shifted around. “You shouldn’t be here.” he whispered to her, he placed a hand on her lower back and tried to usher her away from the lake and back toward the Shadows. Fly planted her feet and refused to move.
“I need to tell you something, it’s important.” She chewed her lip and watched him. He looked around and led her toward a hidden door and motioned for her to go inside. Stepping down Fly noticed they were in a tunnel.
“What is this place?” She asked Mosh after he came down behind her. He lit a lighter so they could see each other.
“It’s a man-made tunnel that leads to one of the houses in the Tracks, one of Bookworm’s old neighbours apparently.” He shrugged. “Fletch used it to get inside the Tracks, and asked me to cover it up after he’d disappeared. He told me to go back to the Shadows, but everything is blocked off by the pigs so I came back here and hid in the dirt to make sure nothing crazy happened on the other side of the lake. That’s why I was in such a hurry when I saw you in the Shadows, I was on a mission to make sure Fletch didn’t do anything stupid.” Firefly had to stifle a sigh of admiration for her hero, she covered it up with a sneeze. “Bless you,” Mosh said with a smile. She was thankful for the dark tunnel because her blush at his smile was well hidden. He offered her his arm and she took it willingly as he led her through the black.
“So you wanted to tell me something important?” Mosh inquired. Butterflies flapped in her stomach and Fly needed to muster the courage to tell him her secret.
“I’ve been lying to you about something, and I need you to know the truth, but I’m hoping it won’t change how you see me.” She took a deep breath before she went on. “I’m not a thief. I use other ways to get what I need or want, but it’s pretty embarrassing.” Fly mopped the sweat from her brow with her oversized sweatshirt, it was stifling hot in the tunnel.
“Just tell me, I promise I won’t judge you. I beat people up for a living, what could you possibly do that would make me better than you?” Anything would make you better than me, she thought.
“I – I sell…myself, to strangers,” she stammered. “Not for much dough either, most of my customers live in the Tracks. I do steal, but it’s easy, I usually do it when the customers are in the shower or something.” She rushed to get the admission out, and chewed her lip again as she waited for Mosh to answer her. When he didn’t speak right away her anxiety started to flare and she didn’t think he would ever look at her the same way again. “Please say something. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, the only people who knew were Maverick and Jack, of course. I just, I wanted to stay in the Shadows and this was the only way I could, I had no other choice.” She took her hand off of Mosh’s arm, suddenly feeling too disgusting to touch him. Firefly covered her face with her hands and hot tears seeped between her fingers. She felt a hand on her back and she stopped walking, Mosh took her in his arms, she was trembling.
“I wanted you to know because, because I love you. I’ve been in love with you ever since we met a year ago, when you saved me from that ‘rapist’. You can’t see me, but I’m making air quotes around rapist. I was doing this before you found me because I needed to survive somehow.” She took a deep, shuddering breath and Mosh smoothed down her hair. He took her face in his hands and swept away a tear with his thumb. She leaned into him and he brought her mouth to his. She returned the kiss eagerly.
“I love you too Little Fly,” he whispered into her hair. “I always have.” He covered her face and neck with soft kisses. Firefly felt a grin broadening, finally feeling happy for the first time since she can remember.
They continued to make their way down the tunnel hand in hand but stopped before they reached the trap door at the other end. They were able to see a little better here as light flooded down into the tunnel from the house above. The ground beneath their feet felt as if it was vibrating and Fly looked to Mosh with a puzzled expression. Mosh shrugged and climbed the steps to the house but the door was blocked by something.
“I can’t open it; Fletch must have locked the door or something, son of a bitch.” He put all his muscle into his elbow thrusts, but after a few minutes was still unsuccessful.
“Let’s head back the way we came, it’s too damn hot in here.” The minimal light showed him winking and Fly melted into his side. He placed his arm around her and they walked slowly toward the entrance, chattering as they went.
A loud crack behind made them both whip around. They were greeted with a wall of tumbling dirt coming toward them. Mosh grasped her hand and pulled her along. He was shouting for her to run, she must have been staring at the wall like a deer in headlights. When she found her legs she let go of his hand and pumped her arms alongside Mosh. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. When her foot snagged on a root, she crashed to the ground but Mosh was still running ahead of her. She let him go and tried to free herself. Her heart was pounding and she looked back to find the tunnel was caving in. She looked back the way Mosh had gone but he was out of sight.
Firefly smiled to herself as the roof of the tunnel engulfed her. She’d gotten to tell Mosh that she loved him, and she had gotten the satisfaction of having his love in return. They shared a beautiful moment and she was finally happy. Her anger and bitterness toward others had finally been buried and put to rest. For one blissful moment before she ran out of air she was at peace with herself. Fly was ready. He was calling her name but she couldn’t answer him now, she was already gone.