“You’re… barefoot. Did your… flip-flops fall off in the crash? Why didn’t you put on new shoes?”
They’d just stepped off the bus, and Katie could see Frankie’s feet burning against the molten concrete just outside of the entrance to Makoasis.
“You’re gonna hurt yourself! Do you need me to carry you?”
Frankie sized up the front of the park. Sure, the pretty blue scales of the sign were pretty, but there was a small continent’s worth of people headed inside. Frankie was sick and tired of people at this point.
She finally turned to her sister to see her holding out her own shoes.
“We’re going to be in line for a while. Let’s take turns.”
Frankie frowned. “Don’t.”
“What? It’s scorching out here! Frankie, you’ll have third-degree burns!”
“They’re your shoes. You couldn’t last barefoot out here.”
“And you could?”
Frankie wouldn’t say anything else. As her soles sizzled, they stepped into the line of visitors entering the park.
Katie couldn’t stop checking on her sister to make sure she was okay. The apathetic girl wouldn’t go into the shade or even shift her weight to one foot at a time. But on her face, it was clear it was hurting her. Katie didn’t understand. Her eyes began to slide from person to person in the line around her. She spotted a man in the shade with a pair of cheap flip-flops on, just a spot up.
“Save our spot, Frankie.”
She ran up to him and held out a fraction of the money she’d been given by Washington. Frankie watched as her sister pulled out a massive stack of bills from nowhere just to hand to this man. He took some and gratefully gave the girl his shoes, as she then immediately dashed back up to Frankie.
“Here! Wear them! They’re blue, but you like blue, right? I know they’re big, but…”
Frankie sighed. She took the flip-flips.
“Put them on!”
She stepped into the shoes, feeling the relief from the fire on her damaged skin.
“Where’d you get all that cash…?” Frankie asked. Katie gasped.
“Oh no… you saw…”
““Oh no?” What, was I not supposed to know or something?”
“He… President Washington, be told me not to…”
“What’s ol’ Gesus got to say in the matter? You’re the only one with money, I would’ve found out eventually. I was under the impression we were still broke, you know.”
“I… don’t know why he said not to tell you… I guess it’s fine… I’m just- sorry for not letting you know sooner.”
“Geez, don’t apologize. I really don’t care either way.”
Before they knew it, they were at the front of the line. As Katie showed her new card to the employee, Frankie’s eyes were drawn past the layers of security and to the waterpark ahead. Even to her, it was kind of beautiful if you squinted. A gigantic man-made paradise of waterslides, aquariums, and frankly stunning statues and art. But the further her sight drifted downward, the more of them she saw. Heaping hordes of other tourists like her. Loud. Scary. Dangerous. Annoying.
There wasn’t a chance in hell she’d so much as enjoy this- let alone be “healed” by it.
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