Sophie was looking down at her hands as if they were the only things in the world that mattered. Trish had taken out a cigarette and was busy getting to the end of it. Marcie felt drained and was at a loss to know what to do or say next. Finally Sophie broke the silence.
“Maybe I could spend the night with you guys again. If you don’t mind, that is.”
“You got it kid. That’s a good idea.”
They went their separate ways for the day after agreeing on a time to meet at the soup kitchen for dinner. Trish noted that Marcie was in better spirits in spite of, or possibly because of the ass kicking they had delivered. She decided she wanted to know which.
“Felt good giving those assholes what for, eh?”
Marcie grinned and mimed the kick she had given.
“I’ve seen those two before. They’re no damn good. Couple of crack heads is what. I don’t know how I found it in me to do that. Just didn’t give myself time to think I guess.”
They made it to their usual spot and settled in for the day. When the day was over they gathered up their stuff and headed for the soup kitchen. They joined the line, Marcie looking around for Sophie but not seeing her.
“Wonder where that girl is. She said she’d be here.”
Trish was unconcerned and didn’t bother to answer. They got inside and found a table but by the time they finished eating there was still no sign of Sophie. Marcie wasn’t talking as they headed back to the encampment and Trish didn’t know what to say so she kept her mouth shut.
They settled in and lit a fire and made small talk as they counted up the day’s takings. Trish lit them cigarettes and they sat back and smoked in silence. Trish could see Marcie’s eyes darting to the street every couple of minutes. She said nothing. The mood around the encampment was more subdued than usual.
As darkness increased it became clear that Sophie wasn’t going to turn up. Marcie was agitated but maintained her silence. They settled down for the night and Trish was soon snoring but Marcie was a long time getting to sleep.
Before she did she heard the wail of an ambulance going by. It made her uneasy and it was a while longer before she drifted off.
The next morning they woke early and headed for the kitchen. Trish was dreading the scene if Sophie failed to show again. When they got there the line was shorter than usual and there was a buzz going around. It died down when they arrived. Trish took no notice of it but Marcie wondered what was going on.
They sat down and ate, Marcie sensing that some at the neighbouring tables were looking at them. When she’d had enough she went over to one of the tables and asked what was going on.
One of the men coughed and muttered something.
“What was that? Speak up, man, I didn’t catch that.”
“There was a big scene yesterday afternoon. Some of us saw part of it. The cops taped off an area around this alley over by 3rd and Mission. An ambulance came.”
He stopped talking for a minute and seemed embarrassed.
“They brought out a body in a bag.”
Marcie felt her heart sink.
“Did you see the body at all?”
“Um…yeah, as they were zipping it up. It was a young woman. Don’t know who she was.”
Marcie stared for a moment and then went back to where Trish was sitting.
“Girl, you don’t look good. What did that man say?”
“Somebody got offed over at 3rd and Mission yesterday. A woman.”
Trish gulped the rest of her coffee.
“C’mon girl, let’s get out of here.”
She guided Marcie out into the harsh light.
Tomorrow – Part 7 – The End