by Marren Seiny
This is the first in a series of stories titled "The Misfits"
| She woke up not really knowing who or where she was. Slowly, a few things started to come back to her. Her name (Jolene) and her age (13) were the first things that snapped into her brain while it scanned all of it's memory banks to answer questions that popped up. After that though, things started to get a bit hazy. She knew that she had to have a family but no memories of a mom, dad or siblings sprang forth from her unconscious mind to make a clear picture. Try as she might, there were no recollections that she could fathom of any family member. The place that she was in did nothing to spark a memory or jump start her brain into remembering anything either. Come to think of it, She had no clue as to where exactly she was. The room that she was currently in didn't look like anything that she had ever seen before. There were pieces of 2x4 nailed across all of the windows, through which a slight breeze could be felt... betraying the fact that glass panes on the other side were surely broken. The temperature in the room seemed to be comfortable enough. Definitley not too warm. Perhaps a little on the cooler side, but not too cool. There was no light except what peeked through the nailed up windows but even that was enough for her to make out some details. The room she was in had some run down furniture spread throughout which looked to be a poorly kept bedroom. From her vantage point in the corner on top of a worn down mattress, she could tell that the room unoccupied, sans for herself. The door into and out of the room was on the wall caddy-corner to where she now sat. She could see a faint light coming from the hallway as it cast long shadows onto the wall just beyond the room she was in. Slowly, she crept up to the doorway and peeked around the corner. a quick scan revealed that no one seemed to be around her but there was a long hallway leading to a descending staircase immediatly turning left out of the doorway and that seemed to be the only direction that she could head. Was she on the second floor? If so, was someone waiting for her to come down to the first floor? The layout of this building didn't seem to be familiar to Jolene as far as she could remember.What if she had been kidnapped? No... that didn't seem likely. Anybody kidnapping her probably would have tied her up or would have otherwise incapcitated her by locking her in a cell or some sort of small room with a guard nearby. She decided to make her way down the stairs to see if maybe she could recognize something that could jog her memory and help her remember more about herself and quietly tip-toed down the stairs as gentle and light as she possibly could. Just as she reached the last step, landing her foot as softly as humanly possible, wood underfoot gave a heaving sigh that creaked with loudest moan of old wooden stair that seemed super intent on letting the world know its disdain for having to work so hard at trying to keep her weight held up she had ever heard before. She held her breath for what seemed to be a hundred hours, waiting for something to come barraging around the corner at any second, ready to stop her by any means necessary. However, it never came. No scary monster or lumbering man to impede her progress. Instead, a kind and welcoming voice... that seemed to know who she was.
"Miss Jolene, is'n that you?" she heard and kind, baritone voice question from just beyond another doorway just to her left. Not sure whether or not to respond, she hesitated, to which the owner of the voice to the advantage to Address her again. "Miss Jolene, I promise you that, I'm not bein' here to hurt ya. I'm actually bein' here ta help'n ya." the man responded. Still unsure of what to do but having no better option, she walked through the door into what appeared to be a kitchen. Sitting at a bright yellow, round, plastic table sat a man dressed in the most ridiculous outfit she could imagine. A bright and welcoming smile sat between an raggedy old top hat, with a flopping top piece, and a pair of old denim coveralls with a black stripe down each side,covered by brown, worn out jacket. The shoes on his feet looked like a pair of black and white ballroom dance shoes with all of the classiness danced right out of them. His face seemed to be a week or two removed from its last shave but, nevertheless looked long and proud. He had a strong chin and long nose... but no so long that it didn't fit his face. Over all, he looked like a man that had lived a fairly hard life but had come out the other side still kind natured and smiling. Without missing a beat, he jumped up from his chair, extended his hand to Jolene, and swiftly made his way across the room to introduce himself. Before she could even make an attempt to decline his offer, her hand was in his,shaking firmly while a smile formed across his scraggly face and words, again started to flow out from his mouth... "My name is bein' Crawford, Miss, and I sure am happy to be seein ya awake and about. I thought for sure that you would be asleep for at least another day or two but seems like you can take a spell as good as you give 'em." he said. "Wait a minute..." thought Jolene. None of what he just said made much sense,as far as she could tell. "What did he mean by taking and giving spells? He expected me to be out AT LEAST another few days?! Who the hell is this man, and what in the hell is going on here?!" She thought to herself. Before she could actually so much as make a sound, he again spoke to her... "Based off the look on your face and the defensive posture that you have taken to, I have a lot of explaining to do." He smiled and then sighed before adding "I had been hopin' that it wouldn't come to this, but they said ya might have josseled a couple of memoried loose like and would need a little talking to. If'n ya would like, let's sit down in them there chairs n I can get ta tellin' what ya need." He said as he pulled out a chair at the round, yellow table for both of them.
It turned out, There was a lot that Jolene needed to know to get caught up on exactly what was going on. As it would so happen, Even the things that she clearly remembered about herself... mainly, her name and age... were not certainties as she had originally thought when waking up from what Crawford thought for sure was some sort of "magic-induced" coma that she had slipped into because she had been pummeled across the head with three-tiered submission spell. As a matter of fact, prior to her being knocked out, she had been on some sort of mission. What kind of mission, Crawford wasn't sure of. They had only met a few days prior to that and Jolene hadn't been really privy to share too much about herself with Crawford. He explained that she had met him at an auction in a "world adjacent to the one that we're in now." and that she had saved him from what would have surely been a life filled with "hard labor and intense beatings". For what reason, he had no clue, but she did look "Wicked cool... like a... ninja thief... almost, and had cast a darkness spell right after casting a blinding spell to confuse everyone else in the room before casting an elsewhere spell, through which the two of them jumped, which landed them into the very room they sat in right now." Crawford also explained that after they had jumped through the spell and landed here, she immediately, began to search the house to find any articles of clothing that she could use to create a new disguises for them. "All I know," he said "is that you kept saying that we needed a different look before we set out to find something called the dummy." According to Crawford, this confused him too because he had never heard of any kind of dummy... except himself... people had always called him a dummy for being a little too trusting of strangers, but look where it got him!... anyways, She had insisted that they go to this thing called a clothing store and get a few change of clothes. Apparently, in this world, there are places that sell you just clothes, pre-made and tailored to certain standards that allow most of the people of this world to have an abundance of well-fitting clothes just stacked away in closets just in case. It also happened that while they were on their way out of said store, they were attacked by a lady that called herself "The Witch of the White Plains" and said that she would be taking Jolene with her. Jolene had managed to shoot off a couple of binding spells at the said witch and had almost gotten within striking range. That's when the witch broke one of the bindings, conjured up a submission spell, and shot it three times at Jolene's head, landing a solid blow each time and knocking her unconscious. "That's when I did the only thing I could be thinking at the time and rendered a last two spell... Basically, this spell, lets me conjure the last two spells I saw you do... so I bound the witch and jumped us back here. I laid you upstairs and then came down here to keep guard over ya. "We been here ever' since." Explained Crawford.