Johnny stepped out of Margarita’s car. He looked at it with interest, it was ’69 Chevy Nova.
“Why a Chevy?” he asked her, as she stepped out the car, putting on a pair of shades.
“It was my dad’s,” she said nostalgically. She ran a finger over the navy blue body work and sat on the bonnet.
Johnny gave her a good look. She was even more attractive without the trench coat. She wore black jeans and knee high leather boots. She paired the jeans with a white camisole and a blue denim shirt. Johnny felt ill-bred next to her; the baggy white shirt he was wearing was still bloody from the stab wound, and his jeans were creased and mud stained.
“You loved your dad, huh Coco Puff?” he said quietly. She lowered the shades and gave him a disparaging look.
Johnny shrugged and said grumpily, “Just tryna make conversation girl.” She smiled and took a step forward, kicking up dust with her shiny heels. A few lizards scurried onto the hot sand, darting their tongues as they searched for some shelter.
“Do you know where we are?” she said, a small smile on her lips. Johnny mopped his brow; the sweat had nothing to do with the heat, he was still slightly feverish from his wound. He leant back on the bonnet and asked where.
“Marshlands.” she called out to the air. “Remember this place?”
Johnny felt a chill run down his spine. He used to play basketball here as a teenager. As he looked around, he saw what used to be. He envisioned the swings; Bella sitting on them in khaki capri shorts, eating an ice lolly. Daniel, the future chief of police, trying to impress her with a slam dunk, always failing hopelessly. Johnny blinked, the once fertile land was a sandy waste land. Not even the mangled remains of the playground were seen. The First Scourge, uprooted all vegetation, burnt all trees. The place that was once so fertile, lay bare.
Margarita looked back at Johnny and approached the car. She leant on the bonnet and ran her hands through her hair. Johnny reached out, daringly, and put his hand on her thigh. He looked earnestly into her eyes and said, “Things have to change, Coco Puff.”
She pushed his hand away.
“Why do you call me Coco Puff,” she laughed.
Johnny gave a bark like laugh, “Fine…Madge.”
“Get in the damn car, Johnny.” she said suddenly, “We have a long journey ahead of us.”
“Where are we going?” he asked, as he climbed into the car.
Madge slammed the door, and turned the key in the ignition. As she put her foot on the accelerator, she said, “To find Matthias.”