She Picked Up Her Soul And Tore It In Half

"Here, Nye." She held out half a loaf of warm, toasted bread. Nye hesitated, staring at the sustenance for a moment before reaching her hand out and accepting it.

The sky was a cold, rusty red. The sun had yet to rise fully into the sky, but already there were people arriving at the city centers. She stared around her, unused to the new surroundings, but Nye had lived here all her life and wasn't surprised by anything. Except her sudden new provider, that is.

"...Thanks." Nye tried to say. It came out weirdly. Strangled, almost. Nye was unused to being grateful. "What's your name?"

The other girl smiled and shrugged . "Does it matter?" She gnawed on her own piece of bread thoughtfully.

Nye noticed that even though she'd began eating, the stranger's piece was smaller. Clutching her bread, she heard and felt her stomach, and kept silent.

"Where are you going?" Nye asked after a short silence. A stranger wouldn't come here only to stop and break bread with a homeless girl. Someone like her must have places to go, people to meet.

She looked Nye over. Then she looked around them. It rained a few nights before and there were still puddles in the alley. The fire that Nye had used to keep herself warm was slowly beginning to die out, but she decided not to try and save it seeing as it was almost morning anyway. The stranger looked at Nye again and made a wry face.

"Not sure yet. But I'm looking for a dog."

Nye stared incredulously but ate in silence. Sometimes if you let crazy people be, they left you alone.

The stranger jumped up suddenly. Her bread was finished and she was moving on. Nye nearly lost her balance and wobbled to stand from her squat as well.

"Well, I'm off! I'll come back here to find you once I have the dog. You'll be here right?"

Nye gazed around resignedly at the trashcans and shadows. Her domain.

"Yeah." She said quietly. "I'll be here." It isn't like I have anywhere else to go.

The stranger nodded enthusiastically. "Good!" She held out her hand again. This time, there were two crumpled bills in her palm. "There's a store over there where tea is cheap. And with the money leftover you can get something nicer than old dry bread." She grinned apologetically at Nye. Nye was silent, that bread had been the freshest bread she'd eaten in at least a month. "But you're to wait here for me, or else I won't know how to find you."

Nye took the money carefully, but less apprehensive than she had been.

"I'll be back later with lunch alright, Nye?"

Nye stared at the stranger. She wasn't as tall as Nye. Her eyes were big but her face was small and her hair was plain and slightly unkempt. Her coat was drawn tightly around her thin frame, and its pockets were unusually large. She smiled again, and her smile was too wide and made her look like a duck, but for some reason Nye felt that it seemed natural.

The question "Why?" remained unspoken, lodged in Nye's throat like a tennis ball in the gutter as she watched the stranger walk away with a strange bounce in her step. Besides, Nye had a feeling that even if she had asked, all she would've have received as an answer was a shrug and a friendly smile.