Sera Cross: A Requiem

Chapter One

The day was drizzly and the air was saturated and muggy. The moisture in the air brushed against my face as I walked down the nearly desolate sidewalk of River Street, my boots splashing up water from scattered puddles littering the wet cement and cobblestone. Everything was an off shade of gray; the haze creating a veil over the city that made everything appear like an old silent film. Even the sky chipped in with its blanket of slate gray that hung just out of reach. It had been that kind of week.

As if the constant smell of fish wasn't good enough, the potent aroma of wet concrete and asphalt mixed with the incoming sulfur from the nearby swamp was to die for. Though I shouldn't care so much, I wouldn't be staying here much longer anyway. It wasn't that I hated Savannah. It was nice and quaint, everything that a historic city should be. I enjoyed going into the little shops and looking at all the handmade trinkets that were overpriced. And I particularly liked the musicians who drowned out the bar noises with their own renditions of popular jazz pieces. I would frequently sit nearby and listen for hours as I stared off across the river and watch the ships pass by. Frankly I had nothing else better to do.

There was one place that offered me some comfort in visiting. I had found myself dropping in about once a day by the end of the week. The small café was tucked away in one of the allies, far enough away from the hustle and bustle that one could relax and enjoy their meal. Well, for the most part. There were some exceptions, of course. I wasn't too keen on some of the fellows who felt the need to demonstrate their drunkenness to everybody in town. But there was a pub next door, so I had to accept the presence of the blundering oafs despite my longings.

Today was no different. Upon entering, the familiar scent of coffee welcomed me as I stepped out of the rain and headed over to my favorite table towards the back corner of the room. Hanging my drenched long coat over the back of my seat, I slumped into the chair, listening for the familiar creek of the swollen wood. I rested my head in my hands, slowly taking in the warm sensation of the freshly brewed coffee that wafted in from the bar. At least there weren't any drunks, for the moment anyway. It was only about 6 pm, so it would a while until the mobs started up. Then again, I've known some to start earlier.

"Well hello, there, hun!" A giddy and slightly shrill voice snapped my attention to the young waitress standing to my left. "What can I do for you?" She stood straight, ticket book in hand, and had a smile that I could have sworn was painted on. I paused for a moment as I restrained myself was snickering. How about less caffeine? This isn't a sitcom.

"Um…just coffee will be fine, thanks." I drew my eyes away from the beaming girl who couldn't have been much older than me—twenty years at most—and focused on picking the fuzz off my sleeve.

"Are you sure that's all you want? We have a special today on our delicious fudge brownies." I could hear her voice rise in pitch the more she spoke.

"No, really. Just coffee is fine. Thank you." I could have really gone for some rich chocolate right then, but that would mean more talking, and her voice was starting to make me lose my appetite.

"Oh, alright then. Would you like some cream or sugar with your coffee, dear?"

"Dear"? I really am in the South. I hated pet names.

"Sure. Both would be nice, thanks."

"Great! Would you like a newspaper?"

I gave a plastic grin and looked up at her with a slightly raised eyebrow. "You sure don't let the weather get you down, now do you?" I could feel the sarcasm drip from my tongue like acid.

"Nope!" She grinned and shook her head with pleasure, bouncing on her heels. "On these kind of days, it's best to keep yourself in high spirits or else you'll fall into constant moping, and no one likes to be around an unhappy person." She gave a quick wink and happily scribbled down my order, humming to herself. I on the other hand, wanted to slam my head into the table.

"You must be new." I leaned back into the country-style chair and stared at her through narrowed eyes.

"Huh?" She looked back at me with a childish, questioning gaze. "Oh! Yea, I am! How'd ya know?" She let out a soft giggle and the corner of my mouth twitched just slightly.

"Um, well, I just haven't seen you here before." I wanted to say, 'because you don't know when to leave the customer alone!' But there were other people in the room, and that would just draw more attention.

"Mm!" She nodded with a grin. "Yea, today is my first day, actually! I hope I'm doing okay." She gave a short nervous laugh and looked at me as if it was a question. I held my tongue and muttered a short, "You're doing fine," before turning my gaze to the dark lines in the wooden table.

"Good! I'm glad! I'll be right back with your coffee, then! Cream and sugar, right?" She turned on her heels and glanced back over her shoulder.

"Mm." I nodded and watched as she scurried off to the kitchen.

"Geez…" I sighed and sunk down into the chair, stretching my arms up over my head and draped over the back of the chair. "That girl has so much energy. Wonder where she gets it." I scoffed. "Probably from all the sugar and caffeine." I shrugged and leaned forward against the table, face in hand as I mindlessly spun the rotating menu centerpiece.

I had been here for about a week and a half, an impressive time compared to my normal stay. Typically I only managed a few days to a week in one set location. I didn't like staying in one place for too long; people begin to remember you.

Six months have passed since I first left, and to tell the truth it hasn't felt that long. I've travelled almost the entire U.S so far, save the east coast, so I'm constantly kept busy. Leave one place for the next, fool around, and then it's off to the next stop. I'd like to say that there's never a dull moment and that I lead a fairly exciting life, but honestly it's really nothing special. I wouldn't call my life uneventful, but it's nothing to envy. I simply wander from place to place with no real destination. Ever since I left that place, that's all I've done. Just wander. Then again, that's all a person like me can do, at least in my current predicament.

The very memory made my forearm twinge, and I ran my fingers over that spot under my sleeve. I tried my hardness not to remember, not to think back on it, but it was like a scar on my memory. I didn't know if I could ever forget it. And even if I could, there was no way I could forgive it.

"You shouldn't look so down, you know. People won't see how pretty you are if you're gloomy all the time."

"What?!" I pulled away from the table just in time to see the waitress come forward with a steaming mug and saucer.

"Don't look so surprised, dear. I'm sure you get compliments all the time." She cooed and set the coffee mug and saucer down on the table in front of me. "But I must say, I've never seen someone with such brilliant green eyes." She leaned over slightly and stared me straight in the face. "Your dark hair really makes them pop!"

"Uh…." I pulled my face away, a bit confused. "Thank you?" What the hell was up with this girl?!

"Sorry, I couldn't help it. Well, they're very beautiful in any case." She nodded in agreement with herself as she placed the ticket face-down on the table. "Oh! I forgot!" She reached for the small towel on her arm and placed it on the table as well. "I thought you might want to dry your hair off a little bit. You don't want to catch a cold." I blinked in slight surprise, but took the towel and thanked her. "Well, enjoy your coffee. If you need anything, please feel free to ask."

I nodded and she left to attend the new customer walking through the door. Well that was awkward. I brushed the thought away and took the opportunity to wring out the last remaining water from my shaggy hair.

My cup was nearly empty when my concentration was interrupted by the loud yammering and snide comments from one of the other customers. I watched from the corner of my eye as the man, obviously drunk, made feeble attempts to pick up his waitress.

"Aw, common' now babe! Just a little peck. Right here, see! Nothin' hard!"

"No, sir. I really can't do that."

"Of course you can! Look! I'll even show you how it's done." At this the howler monkey got up and took hold of her arm, pulling her down as he craned his unshaven neck to plant one on her.

"I said no!" The young waitress screamed and reared her free arm back, slapping him clear across the face, halfway knocking him out of his seat. Dumbfounded and utterly embarrassed, the now enraged drunkard leaped from his seat and grabbed her by both arms.

"Now listen here you little tramp! There will be no slapping involved, here! Just a little you and me time, ya hear?!" He then proceeded to slam her against the wall and get a nice handful. This ticked me off.

"Hey jackass! Let her go." I called out from my seat, eyes glaring at the lecherous beast. I couldn't stand such disgusting brutes.

"What the hell did you just say?!" The man turned his head sharply towards me, face red and flustered from liquor and rage. He apparently didn't like what I said.

"Oh, didn't you hear me? Or has all your blood gone south? I said, let her go."

"Why you little bitch! How dare you speak to me that way!"

"Let her go and I might apologize."

A wry grin stretch across his oily face as he let out a raspy chuckle. "Well aren't you a pretty little thing! You know what? I think we should make a little wager. I'll let her go, but only if you and I take a little trip to the back ally." His grip loosened on the girl as he started towards me, just enough for her to slip away. He didn't care. He eyes were set on me, and it repulsed me to think about what he was imagining.

"You really don't want to do that." I said flatly, taking one last sip of my coffee then setting it down on the table.

"Oh yes, hun. I really do."

I could see the dark lust in his glassy eyes, and the stench of alcohol and body odor enveloped the surrounding area like a shroud of fog. Disgusting.

"No. You don't understand. You really don't want to do that." I was getting tired of fooling with him.

"Aw, come now, toots," he knelt down beside my chair, one hand on the back of my chair, the other tight on my upper thigh. "It's not so bad! I promise, you'll love it!" His hand inched higher.

"No thank you." I quickly brushed his hand away and left my seat, heading for the door.

"Hey, now! Just a little play time!" He reached his arm in front of me and held me against the wall, his face so close his breath was making me nauseous. "Don't tell me you're shy. What's a girl like you, so bold and daring, to fear from a little puppy dog like me, huh?" I turned my head to face him dead in the eyes. I had had enough fooling around.

"Nothing." I let my posture soften. The corners of my mouth curled into a seductive grin and I relaxed my body, sinking into the wall and leaning closer into him. "How about, you meet me behind the shop in ten minutes?" My voice was low and soft, dripping with heated tension.

He rolled with erotic anticipation and bit his lower lip as her ran his fingers through my hair, pulling on the locks to draw me closer.

"I'm going to make you scream." He whispered in a hard, raspy tone and then darted out the door.

"No, sir. I believe that will me my pleasure." This was going to be fun.