“She didn’t want you Mags.”
“Why, because she can have a whore…”
The slap that comes is fast, angry and stinging. Ana snarls several choice words at her, trying to move away down the street, Mags snatches at her and Ana yells at her.
“SHE DOESN’T WANT YOU, YOU STUPID BITCH… WHY CAN’T SOMEONE JUST HANG YOU… GET YOU OUT MY LIFE…”
Ana stumbles when she’s pushed, biting Mags hand when she tries to slap a hand over her mouth and pull her into an alleyway, pushing her away and walking, slipping every few steps and forcing Mags to almost snatch at her, Ana pulling away enough to rip the soiled dress, revealing fresh cuts and bruising, Quigley’s mark is gone, the skin there raw and new, Ana clearly having cut into it enough to peel the mark from her.
It’s enough to sober Mags up and when the girl falls it’s Mags up pulls her up, all but carrying her back, noting the girl’s weakened protests. Ana’s drinking has weakened her and Mags knows now she has to stop too. She has to help this girl, somehow.
“Just leave me alone Mags… let me die.”
Mags all but pushes Ana into Nancy’s bed, thankful the woman is busy for once, even if she doesn’t know what with. Ana cries, eventually, the emotions that ran so high drained from her when she speaks.
“Why do you care so much Mags?”
“Because… Quigley doesn’t deserve to win.”
“She killed her. Sold her like she did me… and Nance.”
“You said she thought you…”
“Golden. A chance to smash some golden idol.”
“When did it…”
“I was old enough to know, if you mean that… Sixteen. She has had me for ten years…”
Mags mutters the word.
“Nance… Nance will kill her for that…”
“She’ll try… Let her.”
“And if she…”
“She hurts our Nance… I’ll bleed her my own self.”
Ana mutters the words but Mags believes it, hoping that she won’t need to find out if it’s true.
“What about me?”
“If she gets me…”
“She’ll pay. Nance’ll make her pay.”
“Don’t let them kill her.”
Ana mutters the word.
“You ain’t worth her life.”
Mags half laughs but nods.
“Aye, we’re agreed there.”
She mutters. The angry, hasty words will ricochet years later and Ana… Ana will hate herself.