Keep the Faith

Baby Girl, Baby Girl

The dingy bar of a twenty-four hour diner smelt faintly of vomit and rotten peanuts. The bartender mopped the fingerprint stained surface with an old rag with the poise of a robot, dutifully ignoring the single man sat before it, taking swigs from an amber beer bottle in forced silence. Lights flickering at a headache-inducing speed, the black-haired man ducked his head lower and lower until his nose nearly met the bar. His fraying denim jacket, beaten and patched, hung off of his shoulders as if they were a coat hanger.

The ancient radio playing in the background was nothing but static and the odd line of Queen.


Bells sounded from somewhere vaguely behind him, preceding the tired voices of a man and a woman, most probably younger than him. He would not turn around; his curiosity would not get the best of him and his alcohol laced mind. And so dulled hazel eyes continued to stare at the yellow-brown concoction in his hand, the lines underneath his arms and slightly exposed wrists twisting and turning, bringing glorious hemoglobin to his body from no where. Magic, magic, magic.

He had none.

A pair of footsteps tapped upon the worn hardwood flooring. The bartender looked up with a somewhat sour expression, “No kids allowed back here.”

“My wife just just needs to use the bathroom,” was the reply of the younger man.

The bartender huffed and nodded his head to the hallway by the counter. “Last door on the left. First stall's kind of... messy. Damn kid won't clean it for the love'a him.”

The click of small heels came closer for a moment, and he felt his body tense, only to have them disappear behind a door. He took another swig of his beer, ears pricked upwards in blatant interest as he mentally stabbed himself again and again and again.

“You wouldn't happen to have any coffee, would you?” His accent wasn't local, his politeness was too forced.

The bartender threw down his rag and went about pouring the dirt brown beverage into a mug, grabbing a number of aged sugar cubes and placing them harshly in front of the man, a pockmarked spoon beside it. He muttered “Five bucks” before going back to his fruitless labor. The man placed three of the cubes into the steaming drink and sipped, the expression on his face that of mild disgust and pain; the coffee had boiled his tongue.

A quiet yawn issued from underneath him, the man with the cheap beer in his hands, and a tug of his pant leg forced him to look down. Messy, dirty blonde curls cascaded around a little girl's baby face, chocolate eyes peering up at him in extreme interest. She smiled, showing minuscule teeth similar to his own, and asked, “'Scuse me? Um... who's that?” The baby girl pointed behind him, behind his shoulder and he glanced tiredly.

“I don't see anything.” His voice was croaky, not his own.

Baby Girl shook her head insistently. “She's old and smilin' and she's got a halo like an angel. Is she an angel?”

“I don't know. Are you playing a joke on me?”

“No!” exclaimed Baby Girl in a tone of hushed frustration. “She's behind you!”

“What's her name, then?”

A moment of silence. She focused on the spot in question. “She said that you called her Helena sometimes.”

His heart stopped its incessant beating and he nearly broke the bottle. The freezing shivers that ran up his spine made him visibly tremble; tears began to well up in his eyes as the word “Helena” echoed upon the confines of his fogged up brain. He set down the alcohol and looked at the girl more clearly, eyes widened and face falling. “How did you know that?” he whispered.

“She told me.” Innocence, defense. “And now she's sayin' something else, Gerard.”

His name. His hands found his knees and squeezed tightly, nails biting into the flesh underneath his jeans. He whispered, “What's she saying?”

Baby Girl grinned. “She loves you. Move on. She'll always be there with you.”

Before he could reply with tears, the man at the middle of the bar got up, walked over, and scooped up Baby Girl with a smile. He nodded once at Gerard with an implied goodbye as his wife walked over. He placed a five dollar bill on the counter and turned on his heels, walking out. Baby Girl smiled dreamily at him, waving good night as Gerard stared, dumbfounded.

The cold shivers never stopped.
♠ ♠ ♠
Started this a while ago. Deleted it.
Started again. Liked it.
Originally written as a KTF. I still think it is.