The story of a Potential named River. NO RELATION TO FIREFLY CHAR!
That wasn't her birth name. Hell, she hardly remember her birth name after all these years walking the streets. The only thing that triggered it was when she saw a bright shiny piece of copper on the ground. Lucky Penny. That was what her daddy used to call her. She wasn't lucky anymore. She was tarnished and no amount of vinegar and salt was going to rub the grime off of her. She reeked of it. It was caked under her nails, in her hair, sticky between her thighs after nights on the job.
She remembered she gave herself the name when she got to Vegas. She heard the line a thousand times in high school. Right when Showgirls came out. Nobody wants to fuck a Penny. If she was going to make it here, she needed something classy. Something clean. Something that wouldn't remind the Johns of saving their pennies. She wanted the cash to flow. Like a river.
She tried dancing but that wasn't enough to keep up the rent on the crapshack she had stuffed herself into. Or a shitty motel room that was so far off the strip that she had to catch two buses just to make it to prime real estate for the night. Didn't matter cause she was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. Then again, that was before yesterday.
Middle of the day, she was riding one of her married and looking for fun clients halfway to happyland. He answered one of her more discrete ads in the papers. She didn't know anything about him aside from the fact that he was sweating bacon grease and he reeked of body odor and french fries. That was typical. What wasn't typical was the sudden surge she felt and the fact that she probably broke his pelvis. She didn't know what happened. All she heard was his screams of agony and a stream of obscenities.
She got out of there as fast as she could and she ran. She just ran until she was off the strip, past the vacation homes, and heading out where the OG and her apartment were. It wasn't until she collapsed on her moldy, reeking futon that she realized she had run all that way and wasn't out of breath.
She avoided the free clinic. She avoided going to work her turf that night. She had an itch in her that was wholly unfamiliar. She found her hands working busily without her brain knowing. She fashioned the legs of her rickety third hand table into sharp wooden points. She tore the place apart, looking for the rosary her grandmother gave her on her deathbed. Wonder she hadn't pawned it. Her skin was on fire, her body buzzing.
She thought it was drugs.
The next night, when she still felt the tingle, she knew she had to get out. The walls were closing in on her. She moved blindly through the apartment, shoving the widdled down table legs into an oversized purse that usually held sex toys and condoms. She slipped the rosary on and concealed it under her shirt.
She was going out earlier than usual, just as the sun was setting. She didn't take the bus. She ran again. It felt good to feel her blood pumping, heart pounding in her ears. Whatever was happening to her, she liked it.
In the span of one night, her turf, her spot, had been overrun with the other girls. That was bound to happen. When a girl didn't show up, all the others just assumed she was dead. She didn't get a welcome back. Or a hello. Or even a "glad to see you are alive". She got glares and nasty looks. That was okay. She didn't want that spot anymore anyway. She flowed with an odd and new kind of grace.
She let her legs carry her blindly. It wasn't until she heard a voice that she looked around to see where she was. She was in an alley. She might have felt trapped but she didn't. All she felt was a strange tickling in the pit of her stomach.
"Girl like you shouldn't be out here all by yourself at this time of night."
River turned to see who the decidedly male voice belong to. He had stepped right out of the 80s with the bad big band hair that was overcrimped and Aqua Netted to death. He had on tight leather pants and a silk shirt that was undone enough to show off the skull pendant necklace.
"I can handle myself. You want to handle me." She grinned at the man. Her body moved on instinct, hand slipping into her purse. Her fingers curled around the table leg. She gestured with her other hand, using one finger to call him forward.
Oddly, it didn't seem strange to her when his face changed. She didn't think anything of the bumpy ridges in his forehead, the slightly flattened nose, and the lethal fangs tangled up in his smile. And it seemed completely natural when her body moved without thought, to block his attacks and land punches of her own. And when she slammed the stake into his chest, watching his body turn to dust, it felt right.
She could feel the power coursing through her body. Ebbing and flowing through her veins. Cascading into every single pore of her being.