3 min read

Everybody’s Real Sorry

Now you, Dear Reader, are all caught up and know as much as I do.

Previously: The flashback to the sword heist comes to a grim end. The sisters fail to heist the sword, and take it out on each other by being as hurtful as possible. Mina abandons Batya to her fate. Donna the Magic Cow is thoroughly tranquilized and falls over.

— 44 —

Anyway, where were we?

Oh, right. It’s today. Tonight. A year later. Batya in bed, Mina on the floor. Mina’s room. Couriers’ quarters. Hawthorne Grain HQ, off Malus Pier. Bottom of Garra Bay. Fort Hook. The Salty Abyss. Planet Earth.

“What’d you do?” Mina asks. She looks, Bat is pleased to note, like a beaten dog expecting another beating.

“Hollered,” Bat says. “Then got tossed in the Folly clink for a couple days.”

“How was that?”

“Not bad. Better than juvie. The food was actually pretty good. Lots of cheese.”

“They let you out on good behavior?”

“They got tired of me hollering. Then I went back to our office and burned it down.”

“I figured that was you. Then you got a dumbass loan for your taco truck.”

“Mulitas. Then my truck got killed, then you kidnapped me, now we’re all caught up except for one thing.”

“All right then, go ahead and apologize for what you said.”

Bat’s laugh is harsh and flat. “I’m not gonna apologize for saying true truths.”

“You could at least feel bad.”

“I do feel bad. But here’s what I don’t feel. I don’t feel bad for breaking the only rule that matters. Because I didn’t and I never would. That’s what you did.”

Mina rubs a finger along three parallel cuts on her forearm. “You were hateful,” she says. “And, I mean…you did flub the job.”

Bat lies back down against the karate-chopped pillows, stares at the rivets running along the curved steel ceiling. “I’d say I got unlucky. But sure, I’ll take responsibility. I’m a grown ass woman. I did some soul searching and I am now, you know, enlightened. Wise.”

Mina’s laugh is smooth and silvery. “Yes.”

“But jobs go south. Stupid shit, like, transpires. All the time. And what we do is we eat it or we lam it or we, I dunno, we make hay. But whatever happens, we do it together.”


“You’ve never walked without taking me with. Not ever.”

“I said I was—”

“Shut up. I know you’re sorry. I’m sorry, too. Everybody’s real sorry. But you need to know there’s this thing now. There’s this thing between us that wasn’t there before. And I don’t know if it’ll go away.”

Mina wipes her eyes, gets up. “Let me in there, my back hurts.”

Bat shoves over to the far side of the bed, lifts up the signal flag quilt. Mina kills the nightstand lamp and slides in.

They’re quiet for a while. As she does every night, Bat tries to remember her song from the music box. She catches a wisp of it but then her sister interrupts:

“You were right about the Itch. She’s been chatty.”

“I’ll shut her up,” Bat says, about to drift off. “Love you, Mina.”

“I love you, too.”

“Don’t ever ditch me again.”

“I won’t.”

“Because I will find you,” Bat murmurs, mostly asleep. “And I will pluck out your heart and show it to your severed head.”

“I know, little Batya,” Mina whispers. “I know.”


This has been Chapter 44 of Chokeville, a novel by Josh Fireland.

Next upThe Depth Charge