Slice Of Cherry

Slice Of Cherry by Dia Reeves Read Free Book Online

Book: Slice Of Cherry by Dia Reeves Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dia Reeves
way upsquare or way downsquare. Anything farther away than that was outside the borders of Portero and therefore of no interest to anyone but outsiders.
    Fancy and Kit jounced along redbrick streets past low, colorful buildings. The docile trees lining the medians had cute little cages around them and nothing in common with their cousins in the wild forests upsquare. The whole town generally smelled pine fresh or, when the wind was right, like freshly baked bread, thanks to the bread factory in the warehouse district. Many days, however, Portero smelled like blood.
    The sisters turned at the light onto Claudine Street and skidded to a stop.
    Claudine Street looked as though it had been unzipped, bricks scattered everywhere. Cars and trucks were flipped over or teetering at weird angles; hard, white water from a burst hydrant swept past the sisters’ tires in a flood.
    The sisters pedaled onto the dry, deserted sidewalk and parked their bikes at the nearest bike rail. Kit took Fancy’shand and led her up the street, deftly maneuvering around the pools of blood on the sidewalk.
    “What do you think did all this?” Fancy asked, clinging to Kit’s hand, passing shop windows where wide-eyed people watched them go by.
    Kit only shrugged. That was the problem with living in Portero—it could have been
anything.
    “Don’t be scared, Fancy Pants. Look.” Kit pointed out the sun-bright green trucks lining the street. “The Mortmaine are here. Whatever it is, they’re already on it.”
    If Porterenes were badass simply for surviving daily life in Portero, the Mortmaine were beyond badass, an elite group of men and women who wore only green, like a uniform, and whose only job was to prevent monsters from swallowing the town whole.
    But just because the Mortmaine were out in force was no reason to be incautious. The sisters hurried into a dress shop midway up the block, a cool oasis with “Summertime Blues” thumping from a hidden speaker. A shopgirl in a slim dress with a mandarin collar stood behind the counter leisurely munching her way through a bag of pork rinds while flipping through
Vogue
.
    “Hey,” Kit called. “What the hell happened outside?”
    “Monster,” said the shopgirl, not looking up from her magazine. “Came up from under the ground. Usual shit.”
    Slightly disappointed that an exciting tale wasn’t to be had, the sisters set themselves to the task of dress hunting, rummaging through the clothes racks for something ruffly and refined enough to pass muster at Cherry Glade. When they’d narrowed it down to two dresses, Kit sought the opinion of the shopgirl.
    “What do you think of us in these?” Kit held up the black seersucker halter dress with white dots for herself and the black lace cotton pinafore for Fancy.
    The shopgirl sucked pork-rind crumbs from her fingers, studying not the dresses but the sisters. “Ain’t y’all those Cordelle girls?”
    The sisters sighed. It had only been a matter of time. “Yeah, we’re those girls. So what?” said Kit.
    “Too bad they don’t still hang people,” said the shopgirl. “That’s what. Y’all’s daddy was purely evil. Lethal injection’s too good for him. After what he did,
hanging’s
too good for him.” She didn’t even say it in a mean way, as though Daddy’s “evilness” were such a foregone conclusion that it didn’t even bear getting upset about.
    Kit took the dresses to the shopgirl, her friendly smile poison red. “Forget hanging,” she said as the shopgirl rang up the dresses. “
I
think they should peel all the skin from Daddy’s body with a fruit knife, fry it, and then
make him eat it
. Like . . . well, like pork rinds.” Kit helped herself to a handful from the bag on the counter. “Think of it! A pound of Guthrie Cordelle flesh, all crispy and delicious. Mm-mmm!”
    The shopgirl turned pale at the sight of Kit’s bared teeth, so pale she was nearly invisible. “Th-that’ll be seventy-eight

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