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Where Dusty Hurricanes Commit Crime
“You don’t understand! I didn’t do anything wrong!” the little blonde wailed, looking to both sides in vain for someone, anyone who might help her out of this. Her mother continued pushing her down, and she struggled, pulling against her arms as hard as she could, but that was proving fruitless too. She looked back up at her mother and cried even harder, trying to wriggle free once more. “Please, Mother! Please stop!”
The woman shook her head, glaring down at the girl with disgust and anger. “Stop being such a brat,” she growled. “It’s time you got your punishment, now hush up.” She grabbed a fistful of the child’s hair and yanked it so hard, her scalp smarted from the pressure. As she yanked her head backwards, the child tried desperately to escape, but it only served to make her hair pull tighter. Tears started to stream down her face.
As soon as she stopped resisting, however, a dark blur shot past her, tackling her mother with enough force to knock her to the floor. A loud thump sounded through the room, followed by an angry scream. Dusty scrambled to get away as quickly as possible, not wanting to be caught between them again.
“Leave me alone! It’s not fair! You don’t get to hit me anymore! Let go! Stop it, let go!” The little blonde sobbed as she crawled on all fours across the dirty ground towards the door, tears streaming down her reddened cheeks.
Before she could make it to the door, however, there was a strong hand around her waist pulling her away. She let out a yelp and turned her head, looking up to see who had grabbed her. Dusty blinked in shock at the sight before her. She hadn’t been expecting to find him here. He had a scowl etched into his angular features, but the worst part wasn’t his looks. What truly shocked her was that he was holding the girl she had just seen hit her mother.
He held her up to his chest, cradling her small body close. “I said stop it!” he barked, and the little blonde flinched in fear. “This is why we can’t leave her alone. If you keep harassing her like this, one day she’ll get really bad again and then… well, I guess we’d better get going, if we wanna avoid that happening…” he trailed off, glancing over at the pair of them. His brows furrowed ever so slightly.
She watched as he gently laid her down on the ground, carefully avoiding any contact with her skin. Then he knelt beside her, scooping her up in his arms and taking to his feet.
“Let’s go, kid,” he muttered, and she nodded. She clung tightly onto him as they moved out of the house, ignoring how his arm tensed as he carried her. They walked in silence for several minutes, the girl hiding in her guardian’s coat.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, they arrived at their destination. The little blonde felt tears well up in her eyes at the sight of what was inside. There was no telling how long the building had been abandoned, but judging by its current state, it must have been very recently. Most likely years prior. Dusty opened the front door slowly, allowing the little girl to peer outside cautiously, and she saw the remains of the old sign hanging from the side of a crumbling building. On the other side stood another one, much older. However, instead of simply having a number written on it or some kind of logo like that of most buildings in town, this one read, ‘THE FINE AND DISTINGUISHED HALL OF MAGICAL REVIVAL! ALL THE WORLD CAN SEE YOU THERE!’ The letters were chipped, nearly illegible.
The two entered, shutting the door behind them. Dusty set the girl down, moving over to one corner of the room where a large couch sat underneath an ancient projector. Once it was ready, he turned on the screen, waiting for the movie to begin. After several minutes passed, Dusty finally spoke. “Are you gonna stay in my coat?” he asked, turning to look down at the little blonde girl as she still hid behind him.
She nodded. “If you think it’ll protect me,” she whispered.
Dusty nodded. “Fair enough,” he murmured, reaching up to stroke his fingers through her golden locks. The touch startled the girl, causing her to tense, and the boy sighed quietly. “Sorry about that, kiddo,” he said.
She bit her lip and shrugged in response, letting out a small sigh herself.
After a moment, Dusty stood up, lifting her out of the jacket and setting her down on top of the couch. Once he sat back down, he placed a protective hand behind her back. The movie began playing, and Dusty glanced over to the girl next to him every now and then to make sure she was alright.
Eventually, though, he couldn’t help himself. He reached over and gently touched her chin with a single finger. The girl froze under his touch, and she slowly looked up at him through glossy, teary eyes. Her bottom lip trembled, and he frowned. “Shh, it’s alright,” he soothed, leaning forward until he was almost hovering over her. Before he could say anything else, however, the sound of a loud, piercing scream filled the air. The couple jumped apart and immediately sprung to their feet, turning in the direction of the noise. Dusty pulled the little blonde closer to him, wrapping his arm around her shoulder to hold her securely against his side.
Dusty took in a deep breath and stepped toward the source of the sound, the girl clinging to the front of his shirt with one tiny hand. They came to a halt a few yards away from the source, and he peered around the corner, frown deepening. An elderly man stood, his hands resting upon his cane, staring directly at them. “How dare you,” he seethed, his voice low and menacing. “How dare you trespass upon my sacred lands. You are not welcome here. Leave at once or I will have you expelled and you may return later when you are prepared to repent.”
He stared at them coldly, his lips curling upward into an eerie smile, before he began walking forward, cane scraping against the cement beneath his feet.
When he was a mere few steps away, Dusty turned to glare at the man, clenching his fists tightly behind his back. “Don’t you dare come any closer,” he snarled, taking a threatening step forward. “Leave the poor kids alone. They don’t deserve to suffer the way you do. We don’t care if you’re immortal. All we want is to know what the hell you’re doing here!”
The stranger stopped walking and raised a brow in amusement. His smile grew wider. “Why, Dusty Curtis, how wonderful to finally meet you,” he drawled. Dusty’s frown deepened, but he refused to let himself respond. The man tilted his head slightly to the left. “But of course… You wouldn’t remember me…” he continued. “It seems so long ago, doesn’t it, that you made that mistake?
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