Damaged Beyond Repair

Bonus Chapter I

Rowan and the Little Lost Girl

Game Over. The game screen flashed.

I kicked the game booth hard and fought battles with the gun clenched beneath my fingers. My instincts told me to smash the screen with it, but I decided against it. The last thing I wanted was for my father to pay for it and feel ashamed because of me. So instead of blowing off the roof and damaging public property, I pressed the red button on the booth for a game restart. Turned out, I'd run out of turns.

I let out a frustrated sigh; my gaming swap card was still loaded with cash and I could swap it again and start over, but then the bored looking dude glaring at me would have to wait again for his turn. I sure as hell knew he'd pound my head through the screen. I didn't have a problem with that, but shit! I didn't want to start a brawl over some stupid game, considering, he would be the one being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance blaring a siren.

"Are you done here?" The guy asked me sharply, he didn't seem too old, probably a year older than me. If I could guess correct, fifteen or maybe sixteen give or take.

I smiled at him despite his unfriendliness. "All yours." I hoisted the gun back in the place and backed away.

I scanned the crowded gaming parlour, and began to feel the nostalgia settle in slowly. I hated crowds like I hated broccoli soup. But what I hated more was accompanying Dwight and Drew when they were obviously having study sessions in the restaurant, one floor down. I didn't see the point in tagging along during their busy weekend but seeing as my choices remained limited, I wasn't up for another round of momma and daddy's drilling about being a bad boy.

Another interesting booth caught my eye at the far end of the parlour; all the other booths were already occupied so I made my way towards it. There were three levels, and annoying little ducks moving in line. I had to basically use the rubber balls to hit them. A game for the brats.

Oh well, I was just killing time anyway. As I swapped the card, the booth came to life and the ducks began quacking and moving. I picked up the little rubber ball from the slot and hit the first duck down, then second, third. I missed a few and didn't even realize when I started to enjoy and have fun. This was better than those bike and shooting games.

I started to pick up another ball from the slot, when a small petite hand reached to it first. A little girl in baby blue sailor dress stared at me with her gooey chestnut eyes. Her hair was the same shade as her eyes, beautiful and striking which were shoulder length. A little stuffed tiger face bag-pack hung on her little shoulders.

I nodded towards the little girl. She smiled, heaving the ball at the ducks in full force, unable to take any one of them down. Then reached for another one and did the same, this time she successfully got a hit. Unfortunately for her, it was the last ball. Her face fell instantly when she reached for the slot and found it empty. She pursed her lips in annoyance.

"Hey, how about we play one more turn?" I asked her.

There was a brilliantine gleam in her eyes as she grinned at me in sheer glee, like I'd suggested we buy an entire chocolate factory.

I swapped the card and the game started again. She was doing a good job with the game, mostly targeting the bottom line. The two at the top were out of her reach. I wondered if she came here often. I wouldn't know if she did, since I didn't live in Ridgewell, it was my first visit in this little quaint town.

The game was over. She continued to stare at the booth and back at me. I knew exactly what she was suggesting.

"You really did a good job, knocking all those ducks down. I couldn't do that myself." I complimented her. I liked teasing little children, mostly if it caused an adorable reaction.

Her nose went higher in triumph. "Yeah. I know, guess it must be the spinach I eat every day." she responded in a serious tone. Her voice was like music to my ears, soft and calm.

"How old are you?" I asked out of curiosity.

"I'm going to be six in two months."

She was just ashamed to admit she was five. I smiled to myself. "You're five."

"And what are you?" she asked. The girl had a smart mouth even for a kid.

"I'm fourteen."

She wriggled her nose, admitting defeat. "Mommy told me not to talk to strangers."

She had too much sass for a five year old.

"Then why are you talking to me?"

She batted her beautiful long lashes. I knew she'd be a babe when she grew up, breaking a million hearts. Such innocence now. "You seem like a nice boy."

"Thanks girly." I said. The last thing I wanted was for her parents to think I'd kidnapped their kid. "It was nice meeting you."

I waved at her and I strode over to another game booth, the one that included guns and cars. I swapped the card and the game started. A few minutes later, when I was in the midst of winning a round, I felt a harsh tug on my denims. The little sailor girl from earlier, pointed at another game booth. "Let's play that."

Clingy little brat, I was going to have a hard time running from this chick. "I'll finish this game fir.."

Game Over. The recording blared.

"Fuck this shit!" I cursed loud enough for her to hear.

Her mouth became a wide O, she clicked her tongue and stared at me in horror. I felt like a culprit all at once. "You said the 'F' word and the 'S' word."

She was acting like I'd suggested we loot a bank.

"I'm sorry." I should have known better than to utter words like that in front of a kid.

"What does it mean?"

That caught me off guard. "What?"

"Fuck?" she asked simply, it almost felt like a sin, coming from her mouth. "What does that word mean?" she shifted from one foot to another, not a trace of discomfort crossing her features.

Kashmira Kamat (KittyKash)

Edited: 17.08.2020

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