Mikhail was face down on the street, watching Saint Joseph, Sacred Heart, the Virgin rolling around, his jaw numb, trying to put it together. That Pedro guy was just a guy at first, just like a million other guys looking at his stuff like it was contaminated, like it was garbage, there with his girlfriend, it was nothing new, nothing different, and the Pedro guy sniffed like he was the King of Siam, he was better than this shit, and he was walking away, but it looked like he dropped something, Mik thought he'd dropped this paper when he turned to go, but all it said was "LOOK RIGHT," and Mik looked right, lifitng the paper and yelling after the guy, but when this Pedro turned to look back he was Mikhail, he wasn't some random guy anymore, he was Mik, but still Pedro - Mik had heard of people like that, his grandmother told him about people who could shift, but he didn't think he would find one on the street in L.A.
Mik was thinking too slow when the guy just walked quick up to him and now he was on the street, the asphalt pebbles sticking to his face.
He heard the Pedro guy walking away, but the footsteps stopped, and another pair of feet came into view, right in front of Mik. The girlfriend.
She knelt down in front of him and and looked in his face.
She was beautiful. Blue-black skin, long lashes, opening her mouth to yell, red tongue, white teeth, "He's hurt!"
She smelled of lavender. Mikhail closed his eyes and breathed her in. He could lie here forever.
Pedro's feet started moving back in his direction. Mik started to get up, pushing up with his hands, the street rocking underneath him, he could see Pedro now, his bottom half, one hand pulling out of the pocket.
A knife snicking open.
Mik stopped, on his hands and knees.
"Not hurt enough," muttered Pedro, lifting the knife, and Mik raised one arm, trying to get to his feet, but something hot pink flashed in the side of his vision, Pedro falling back onto the street, holding onto his face and howling.
"Come on," the girl helped Mik to his feet, holding a hot pink sandal in her other hand, her breath warm on his face.
"Bitch you bitch you bitch my face" Pedro was howling in the street, Mik looking back at him, prayer candles rolling around, his hands covering his face, the girl pulling him away.
Her hand was warm in his, running down the street, her breath pulling out of her, blocks and blocks before they slowed down enough to talk, their voices coming in harsh around their breath.
"I think so, thank you...?"
"Thank you, Nichelle. I'm - "
"Pedro," she said, brushing his hair from his eyes, "You're Pedro."