|Название||Ashes Of The Phoenix|
|Автор произведения||Jane Fade Merrick|
|Жанр||Современная зарубежная литература|
|Издательство||Современная зарубежная литература|
Jane Fade Merrick
ASHES OF THE PHOENIX
Title | Ashes of the Phoenix - The Fade
Author | Jane Fade Merrick
Translated by | Maria Calabretta
Publisher | Tektime
(cc By Nc Nd 3.0) Jane Fade Merrick 2017
The illustration of Nef and Fade arguing is by Debora Ferretti - facebook.com/DebsIllustrazioni
The city traffic, although hectic, to her eyes was just a succession of blurry spots that moved counter-current in slow motion. Her figure, slender and indefinable, was comparable to a branch in the wind, swinging among a thousand others, and was lost to the eyes of those who watched her. She skated quickly through the streets on her shabby rollerblades, in constant flight from reality, aligning her movements to the orchestra of her thoughts.
Everyone knew her but no one knew who she was; she lived a hand-to-mouth existence, she had no family and who knows what had happened for her to end up being a victim of a metropolitan area that mercilessly swallows up the people who donât follow its pace.
There was no way to approach her; she was too hard to follow. She left only a quick red trail in her wake; for that reason she had been given the name âThe Fadeâ.
Like every morning Fade was in a foul mood. While she skated through the streets of her neighbourhood, she tried to think solely about what she would eat for lunch and, above all, how to get her hands on it.
From the first day she had appeared on those streets, she presented herself as a shabby light-skinned girl with worn clothes - who looked as though she had never been kissed by the sun - with long red hair tied in a weird hairstyle.
As though she wanted to recreate a disturbing mythological monster, she regularly consumed cans of hair wax to create a long red arch extending forward from her forehead and two smaller arches protruding from her nape.
To almost everyone she looked really ridiculous with that strange and cumbersome âthingamajigâ on her head, but they also found it useful because it could be seen from a distance, giving them the possibility to switch direction in order to avoid meeting her.
Fade stopped at a small market store and gazed inside the front door. The place was not that great: it was small, dark and full of stuff piled on top of the other without any logical sense.
âItâs perfect,â she thought, and immediately disappeared inside.
âItâs so tight that I can barely fit my hair in itâ she thought while searching for a hidden corner in order to grab some cans of food. As soon as she found it, she began to view the goods with a vague air.
âTuna fish in oil, green olives, shrimp, anchovies... Itâs not exactly the best but Iâll settle for it...â.
Once she was sure that no suspicious floorwalker was around, she grabbed a can of tuna fish and hid it in a pocket of her ragged trousers, the huge black shirt she was wearing did the rest, falling flaringly on her legs to cover any suspicious bulge. Finally, as an experienced street performer, sliding backwards on her rollerblades, she randomly picked up another can and quickly put it in her other pocket, ending her sleek trick by skating up to the cash register, where she would pretended to complain that there was nothing to her liking in the shop.
The precision of her plan, however, was marred by a small detail, so small as not to be seen. Before she finished her turnaround, the girl bumped against something behind her, tumbling to the ground and dropping a bunch of cans and other goods on the floor. The disastrous tumble brought her face to face with the cause of her fall, a stunned child of about twelve years old who stared at her with black and round eyes.
At first she felt the instinct to attack him, but once she took a good look at him, she retraced her steps: something about the child was disturbing and fascinating at the same time.
First of all he had pink hair - âWhich is rather odd for a child,â she thought - cut in a straight bob and furthermore, he was also dressed in a rather bizarre way. He was wearing a sort of miniature lab coat which fell widely over a pair of baggy camouflage pants, and finally, on his head he wore a pair of round goggles with red lenses.
âIs he a cosplayer?â she wondered, trying to remember in which time of year the Comics Exhibition took place in the city and also trying to remember what day, month and year they were in.
The infinity of the moment was interrupted by the shouts of the salesman, for her shirt had risen above her pant pockets, and he clearly saw the can shaped bulges beneath the fabric of her pants, and realized they were stolen goods.
Fade clumsily stood up among the general confusion and the relentless gaze of the child, slipping between the scattered products, ran like hell and disappeared among the streets of the neighbourhood.
When she was sure she was out of danger, she stopped to catch her breath hitting her shoulder on the wall of an alley.
âDamned that stupid brat!â
She looked around again suspiciously and then moved quickly away, again aligning her movements to the orchestra of her thoughts.
The indelible signs of the past
Before returning to the shelter which she had chosen as her home, Fade always took two or three laps of the block to make sure that no one saw her sneak into her âsecret entranceâ, which she then made with astonishing speed.
The secret entrance was nothing more than a rickety door of a dilapidated abandoned building. Once inside, the girl went through a long dimly lit corridor which opened onto a foyer in which four doors appeared. The only door equipped with a big lock nestled crookedly on the handle, was the entrance of the one room apartment she used as her shelter.
Once inside, she made sure to properly close the door by moving a safety bolt. The room was lit only by the lights coming in from the street lamps, but she didnât care much because she was used to moving around in the dark.
With a push of her skates she approached the area turned into a bedroom, with nothing but a mattress thrown on the ground covered with crumpled sheets, and collapsed exhaustedly onto the bed. For a few minutes she stared blankly in front of her, with the usual intent to think of nothing other than strictly necessary things. She decided that it was time to eat.
She pulled the cans out of her pockets, stood up and walked over to what must have been a pretty kitchenette, set them on the shelf and opened a drawer in search of a can opener. Despite the poverty of the means at her disposal, she was accustomed to respect certain basic standards of behaviour. She set a piece of cloth stolen from some store on the counter and on it she placed a dish and cutlery, then she sat on a high stool and ate. She did it slowly, even though the meal was poor and unappetizing.
Usually she got her water by filling some bottles from a fountain a few steps away from home and drank from a glass made out of an empty jar of marmalade. When she finished her meal, she put the dirty dishes in a supermarket basket, along with an empty bottle and prepared to go down to the fountain to wash them and stock up on fresh water.
She was about to leave when she heard two knocks on the door. For a moment she froze; since she lived there no one had ever found her. Holding her breath she put the dishes down quietly and instinctively