Shredder 33

“Where in the hells am I?” Merinde reiterated her frustration.

“You’re alive,” Gerard smiled her a kindness, “Which is no small gift considering the circumstances.”

Merinde stared at the diminutive ranger.  “I’m hairless,” she announced once more.

“And naked, and destitute, and displaced,” he countered, “Yes, we’ve established that.  Think of the chances of me finding you though.  The small odds of our paths crossing in this vast wilderness, and it really is sizable, let me assure you.  Doesn’t that give you the slightest spark of hope that there are forces at work here beyond your fixation with hair?”

“I’ll slap you,” Merinde said, but her mind began to appreciate the nuances of his line of reasoning.  Little was known about the fickle spirit that exerted its will over the Last Dance.  What if that overarching entity had an agenda?  One that required the use of cunning agents abroad.  What better way to draft them than to acquire the winner of a lengthy competition?  Her mind raced with possibility.

“Have others arrived like me?”

Gerard’s head tilted in unspoken clarification.

“Arrived as I have?” she said, “Unexplained, timely, hairless.”

Gerard chuckled, “Not to my knowledge, though I’ve never had reason to inquire along those lines.”

Merinde’s wheels continued to spin, and though she didn’t care for the notion of being something’s pawn, the idea of starting over with a clean slate was beginning to grow on her.  There were a great many dark alleys in her past which she could leave behind.

“It’s better than I deserve,” she muttered.


“Oh, nothing,” Merinde deferred, “I was just thinking about where to go from here.”

Gerard nodded and said, “Well, I’ve an idea where we can find you some clothing.”

“Well, that’s a start.”

“Provided, of course,” he added, “We survive the night.”


Shredder 34

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