The Circus Freak came to a stop inside some crumbled down forgotten bedroom that had belonged to a group of three. From the art filling one of the two walls that were still standing, one of the three had not been that young of a child, but the others had been very young. One had been learning to spell, and the third liked drawing.
“Uff,” Hugo sighed, exhausted.
He heard the Beasts rampaging past the house, having lost sight of him. Hugo was clutching the shadow scroll to his chest and just trying to be silent, which was a skill he didn’t have much practice at, but he found a way.
Once his brain was convinced it was relatively safe, it started relinquishing control of his faculties and nervous system. His mind stopped yelling.
Idiots, the Circus Freak thought in annoyance.
Hugo leaned his head back and sighed, bothered by what had happened.
Stupid idiots throwing their life away because they’re scared of losing a fight, Hugo cursed in his mind, trying to do it silently.
If the Beasts were taking prisoners, torturing them or otherwise questioning them, Hugo would understand, in part, the willingness to do what the militia had decided to do.
But they weren’t.
“Alright,” Hugo whispered, pushing his thoughts on to more relevant matters, “let’s see here.” He positioned the scroll to catch some shadow, and letters began appearing. It was being written on at that very moment.
He waited a bit and noticed it wasn’t stopping, it was being used to report on the battle. That meant he couldn’t just catch up on everything that had been said so Hugo looked around the room and found a mock pencil that the younger kid would have been using to learn his spelling.
Hugo figured that would work, he used it to write.
Yes, the barracks have fallen and Main Square’s overrun, it doesn’t matter, it’s not unexpected.
What do you mean it doesn’t matter? That’s half our defenses.
Woman, I know what I’m doing. All I need is a couple of hours and this battle will be over!
I’M BACK! What’s happenin’? Where is everyone?
The Circus Freak eyed the scroll in slight confusion, not understanding why he was writing as “EG.” Ah, he immediately thought to himself, of course, the scroll was given to the general lady.
I’M BACK! What’s happenin’? Where is everyone?
Elsa? How are you alive?
This is the Circus Freak. I tried to help but they blew themselves up, what’s that about?
CF? What are you doing? Where are you?
In some kid’s room near the cop’s place. Where is everyone? What’s going on?
Battle is going terribly, that is what is happening.
In any case, summarizing, everyone’s with the Scavengers except for S, she’s dead.
Hugo’s heart kicked his throat. Reading the sentence brought on such an unexpected shocked reaction that he could not, well, react. A building blowing up all around him with Beasts trying to hunt them down had only made him react faster, and yet reading that one sentence–that she was dead–froze him still and dead.
Hugo’s mind reactivated at the brat’s line.
She is most certainly dead.
Lot’s happened, CF.
Head my way, we’ll clue you in and put you to use.
But free up the scroll, we need it.
Almost instantly, the communication was again taken over by E, which should be Eliza, Mad Genius and others that he didn’t know about.
What had happened? Falk thought she was dead but not the brat? What had Hugo miss?
“Heh,” Hugo voiced, giggling in a low voice, “shouldn’t have skipped out to take a pee, I guess.”
The Circus Freak looked out the hole in the wall to confirm the coast was clear and in what direction he need to run towards. He observed the mess that was now the neighborhood the police headquarters had been in. Pillars were already being placed to terraform what was left of the environment, with little regard to the corpses which now plagued the entire district.
The explosion had sent both Beast and Man alike scattering through the air, along with all the debris.
A body part fell just outside of his view just then, having just slipped off the roof it had landed on. He couldn’t tell which part it was, and he wasn’t that interested in finding out. The Circus Freak didn’t have a weak stomach, but that didn’t mean he was that willing to commit that kind of stuff to memory. It was gruesome and ugly.
Hugo instead focused a bit of attention on himself to check if he was wounded in any serious way since he wouldn’t be feeling it if he was.
It seemed he was somewhat unscathed. On top of that, it was looking like the Shadow might yet be alive, whatever that meant.
Hugo needed to find out what that meant.
He checked his legs and body to make sure there was no wound gone unnoticed, or some kind of tiny puncture that was bleeding him dry from the inside or something. Hugo was dirty and had someone’s blood on him, it was dripping down his back, but other than that, he seemed to be okay.
Alrighty then…think I’m good, Hugo thought, satisfied.
“It’s actually pretty crazy that I made it out o’ there…I bet it took all my luck. Bet there’s nothin’ left of it,” he said to himself in a low voice, chuckling lightly.
He turned to the crib that was next to him and paused to listen.
“Oh, what do you know?” Hugo asked, “you’re just a piece o’ furniture, you’ve never had to outrun an explosion.”
Hugo stood up and sighed. “Not as fun as it sounds, I’ll tell ya that much,” he said.
Hugo hopped in place, did a few forward and side bends, getting ready to head out again. “But cool, though,” he smiled widely, “very cool.”
The Circus Freak took a final breath before setting out once again.
They had said half their defenses were left. Some of the light he had seen, he was sure, was coming out of the Chancellor’s tower, which meant that place and the Scavenger’s territory were the last places on the planet that were resisting the Beasts.
That was legitimately a worrying thought, but it brought up the question…if the brat was there and Falk was at the tower, and none of them knew for sure about the Shadow’s fate…where was she? It stood to reason she wasn’t with either but what other place was left?
Hugo didn’t know, but he needed to find out.
On his way to the Scavengers, the Circus Freak was already thinking about what kind of lie he could tell to justify abandoning them to head to wherever the Shadow was. All that had happened so far only worried him further about her condition since she was exactly the type of person to sacrifice for someone else, let alone the world.
The Shadow would have probably managed to keep James from blowing the place sky high. She would have been able to do something, for sure, but sooner or later, she won’t. Just like she hadn’t back then…when he saved her.
If he wasn’t around back then…
Hugo shook his head.
I’ll be around, the Circus Freak told himself, I got to.
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