Feeling every bump and bruise of the last few days as well as the new ones I had just received from the closest friend I’d never met, I climbed slowly to my feet, conscious of making any sudden moves. At least Sunshine was laid out on the grass and wasn’t going anywhere soon. He was breathing, unlike his companion. I was just glad she wasn’t Shady after all.
“Speak quickly!” Shady growled, still looking as if she’d like to clock me one. I couldn’t blame her after all she’d been through, and I’m sure my disappearance hadn’t helped her mood _at all_.
“I’m sorry I- dropped my phone in the canal, and I didn’t have any way of keeping you updated,” I said, feeling more than a little stupid about the whole thing. “But… but it was probably for the best since that way no one could plan an ambush on my ambush?”
“What the hell, woman! You could have at least told me you weren’t a man!” She lowered her axe.
“Um… it never came up?” She rolled her eyes at me, and I just shrugged. I mean, what was I going to say? I didn’t trust her enough to tell her before I decided to come to her place looking for her, and after I lost my phone, it was too late? Real nice… Way to win friends and influence people, genius.
“Alright… I’ll give you the broken sword thing, but you could still be one of them, they could have been watching me even back then.” She raised her weapon again, though mostly to remind me she had it. “Explain Gurkha attack.”
That actually made me smile. Not that someone still couldn’t have been monitoring our private communications, but I wasn‘t about to bring that up. “It’s from the Badass website!” I said, laughing with relief. “No one can stand up to a Gurkha!”
She snorted, but finally lowered her axe to the ground. “I don’t know what the hell you were thinking!” she snarled as she stalked over to where Sunshine lay. He didn’t move, and the woman beside him never would again. “Who the hell is this now?”
The woman was the same height and build as Shady, but her face and head were little more than pulp after Sunshine’s rampage. “Shady, no lie, she looked just like you. I’ve been here for three days watching, and none of your family realized she was a stranger. At first… I thought you were playing games with the whole kidnapping thing, but then I realized her whole aura was off. Sunshine figured it out too, or she just wasn’t as ready to defend herself as you would have been. She may have been some kind of changeling doppelganger fraud, but I couldn’t just let him murder her. She might have had info on where you were.”
“Weren’t you reading my tweets?” she asked, bending low over Sunshine. I’d knocked his mask clean off when I whacked him with the tree branch.
“No phone, remember? And I didn’t have a laptap either… just my craptastic desktop, which I left at home when I stole my sister’s car.” I grinned, hoping to make her laugh, but no dice. She touched Sunshine’s face, looking sad. “You know him?” Despite the dirt and scars and scowl lines, he didn’t look to be any older than Shady.
“Yeah, I- yeah… I’ll tell you later.” She looked towards the house and then to the surrounding trees. “What the Hell are we going to do with him?”
“Got a wheelbarrow?”