Chapter 14 (part 2)- Run

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Before any of them can ponder what Scenery could possibly mean, a ball rolls their way. Several boys are hot on its trail, yelling and laughing.

"What are you doing here?" Alwin shouts above the noise. "This is an authorized work site. You aren't allowed to be here!"

"Blah blah blah, cool it old man!" The ringleader chuckles, "We're just having some fun."

One boy reaches the ball first and to his dismay, it's torn up, seemingly beyond repair. After rolling through the maze of glass, it's cut and air leaks out of it until it sits in the boy's hands like a dead carcass.

"Hey, our ball is broken!" He says back to the others, who sigh and start muttering amongst themselves.

In the back of Jordan's mind, a small voice whispers, "You should help them. After all, you know how to fix it. Why wouldn't you? Surely it wouldn't hurt to help a few strangers."

Another voice replies, "But what have they done to earn it? I don't know them, I don't owe them anything."

"Maybe they don't need to earn it. Perhaps you could do it out of the kindness of your heart."

"What heart? Besides, kindness is worthless. All it does is make you hurt more in the end."

The voices talk back and forth for a while until she reaches a decision.

"Here," Jordan says, holding out her empty, scarred hands. "Let me see it. I think I can fix it."

"Why should I give it to you?" The kid replies apprehensively.

"What have you got to lose?" Jordan counters, not totally sure why she's doing this.

"Just give it to her, Dashi!" Someone shouts from behind them. "We want to get back to the game and if she wants to..." The speaker pauses and shudders, "help us, then so be it."

Jordan takes the ball gingerly, examining its many cuts and wounds. It appears to bleed out in her hands and gasp for breath. Carefully, she traces each jagged scar on its face. Looking around at the junkyard, she searches for something sticky to patch the holes. Sure enough, near the bottom of a pile to her left, she sees a roll of tape with only a little bit left.

She stands up and grabs it, pulling out whatever tape is left. Like a mother putting a bandaid on her child, she fixes each and every imperfection. When the tape runs out, she grabs small pieces of cloth and glues it to the ball's surface, covering the last few holes. Soon, the ball looks better than it did before, the scars forming a beautiful pattern, a constellation of tape and glue.

"How'd you do that?" Dashi asks as she hands the ball back to him.

"I, uh, know how to fix things. It's what I do."

"You've lingered here long enough," Alwin declares, standing on top of the mini fridge. "Get going. Scram!"

"You know what?" The leader steps forward, swagger in his every step. "I'll tell you what. Since your friend helped us, we'll give you a chance to kick us out and send us back to the cave. Win a game, we'll leave you be and never come back. In fact, if you're ever in trouble, we'll defend you!" His friends snicker and laugh, gawking at the outrageous challenge. "If you lose, we get to play here whenever we want and you owe us."

"Owe you what?" Sidney says, considering the offer.

"A favor." The leader elusively says, drawing shapes in the dirt with his shoe. "What do you say?"

"What are you doing?" Alwin whispers angrily as Sidney motions for them to huddle up.

"You want them to leave, right? Well, there's more of them than us. We just don't have enough people to force them out physically." He replies.

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