Chapter Fifteen | I Hung my Head

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"Cash?" Gideon's voice roused Cash from the stranglehold of a dream she could not remember now, despite having just left it.

"What's wrong?" Cash instantly sat up.

"We're not sure." The Vox shook her head. "You better come see."

Cash slapped around on the nightstand until she found her watch. The screen lit up and revealed the early hour.

"Sun ain't even up yet, Gid," Cash groaned.

"It's Boss."

Cash asked no other questions. She rolled out of bed and slipped on a discarded pair of trousers and her black button-up, wrinkled and askew with sleep. Gideon opened the door further and led her down the hall to Boss's room. Tate stood in front of it, one earhole pressed to the wood.

"What's going on?" Cash asked again.

Tate's heavy brow was drawn low over his eyes. "Boss sad."

The sobbing coming from Boss's room rose and fell in warbling waves.

"Door locked." Tate informed her.

"She won't talk to us," Gideon said softly, her tail drooping to the floor in worry.

Cash nodded and approached the door. "Boss?" Cash tried to sound calm but there was a tremor in her voice, "Boss, you gonna let me in?"

Boss's shaking cries softened. "I'm-m f-fine."

"See..." Cash leaned up against the door. "You're a good liar and that was not convincing. Which leads me to believe you are in fact, not, fine."

Cash heard Boss hiccup out a small laugh. There was a short pause followed by the sound of soft footsteps approaching the door. It opened with a creak and Cash saw just one of Boss's hazel eyes peek through.

"Just Cash, please," she murmured.

Cash waved the others off and slipped through the slim crack Boss had allowed.

In the dim glow filtering through the thick curtains, Boss looked akin to a ghost. Her hair hung loosely around her face, pieces of dark curl stuck to her damp cheeks in places. Her warm bronze skin was pale with exhaustion and worry.

"Boss." Cash opened her arms and the woman fell into them, her crying starting up again as if it had never stopped. "What's got you in such a state?"

"C-Calvera, he-e, he..."

Cash felt her embrace tighten. "What's he done?" she asked hurriedly.

"He sent m-me this," Boss slipped from Cash's arms and moved to the bed where a thin tablet was still projecting a glowing holo into the air. 

It was a recording of a boy, maybe 5 years of age. He was laying on the floor, alone, his little body curled tightly in upon itself. His voice, still high-pitched and unsure, was calling out 'Momma-momma-peas-mom-momma-where's my mo--"

The recording went on in an agonizing loop.

"He doesn't look hurt." Cash offered weakly as she strode to the bed and flipped off the tablet. The holo image shrank down and disappeared, silencing the boy's exhausted terror.

Boss offered no answer, her breathing had leveled out, but thick glistening tears still rolled slowly down her cheeks. 

Cash approached. "We're gonna get him back," she said thickly. "You know that, don't you?"

Boss bit her lip and nodded, her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

"Do you need anything?" Cash questioned, "A glass of water?"

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