Jaycee’s eyes burned upon exiting the bar. He put his hood up to combat the piercing wind that violently flew by. Even in the warm spring months, they had always known the world above to be cooler. The saying “the closer to hell, the warmer you are; the closer to heaven, the colder you become” was now a proven fact.
Before him, the girl who had yet to give her name walked ahead like someone had lit a fire underneath her. Sure, they had a deadline, but it was the devil’s hour, so what could they get done that couldn’t wait until morning?
He began to question his sanity when he thought of asking that group for help as being a good idea. Nothing was free in life, even he realized that. But, when one is desperate enough, they’ll do anything.
"Hey, hurry it up over there. I don’t have all day. You do want to get off this floating city, right?” The brat—her new name—turned her head to glare at him, movements reminiscent of an owl: all seeing and very annoying.
Jaycee sighed, unable to find the words to snap back. His clothes stunk and his body ached. Prison did not give him an optimistic outlook on life, nor did it help the sharp pain in his rear from sleeping on the floor.
The girl led them through the city’s winding paths. He felt the cement on his feet through his worn-out boots, mentally noting that he would need to buy a new pair before long. Around him, houses of various sizes lined the walkways, bright lights shining onto the grass below. Green was such a rare color where he came from that he almost confused it with fake grass.
After what felt like an hour passed, Jaycee opened his mouth to complain when he ran right into the brat’s back. She scrunched her eyebrows, but oddly enough, nothing more. The next words she spoke did little to relieve him of the growing, throbbing ache behind his eyes.
“I picked the lock on this house earlier, and no one was here. They have food, a place to sleep, and weapons. I think it belongs to a blacksmith.” She kicked the door open, and Jaycee winced as it slammed into the wall, a loud thump following it. “Make yourself at home!”
Not only did she seem like a nut job, but now he could add a thief to his growing list of complaints. Whoever hired her had to count her as a liability, right?
“Uh, thanks,” said Jaycee. The sarcasm in his voice was impossible to miss, but the brat didn’t notice. Instead, she made herself comfy, hands already holding an apple from the table. A loud crunch followed.
He glanced around the house. The aroma of fresh flowers clung to his nose, though still a more pleasant scent compared to the bar from earlier.
“Now is the time to grab a weapon and get some rest,” she said. Her mouth was full, but that didn’t stop the girl from chatting away. “If you ask me, you need it. When did you last sleep, anyway? Those dark circles under your eyes are huge.”
Jaycee took a deep breath and counted to three before turning his body. There was a bed tucked off in the corner and a short sword leaning against the wall near it. The fluffy brown blanket looked heavenly, and he imagined himself passing out as soon as his head hit the pillow. After all, sleep was his favorite pastime.
As his companion muttered off about some nonsense, he slipped under the covers and turned over, eyes closing almost immediately. Briefly, he contemplated what the hell he got himself into. While he was desperate to go home, the risk of being on a wanted poster for the rest of his life didn’t sit well with him.
Thinking about it now was pointless. He had already decided. With that final thought, he lost himself in the world of dreams.