Two years later, she saw him again


She looked up and the most handsome man she had ever met. He wasn’t perfect by any means. His wavy blond hair had been brushed back, but there was a lock of hair that curled up right at the top of his head. Dark freckles ran over his cheeks and nose, the bottom of the frame for his amber eyes. His stomach came forth a little, he wasn’t in his prime. He was also just as tall as she was, with wide shoulders.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Sorry, but… were you waiting for me?”

Confusion caused her to speak before she could consider what that meant. “No?”

He nodded. “Right. Sorry for bothering you.”

She watched him walk to the other side of the street. Blind date, maybe?

She should have said yes, she realized. Instead, she watched him go.

Circumventing the mentor

Vidvan spread the papers out in front of them. Hauke and Kya gave each other sidelong glances. The old man was a great teacher, even because of his eccentricities, but it was unknown when they would arise. They didn’t know if it had to do with old age or if he had always been like this. Vidvan had been old as long as either of them had known him.

“Your accounts have some holes in them,” he scolded the both.

“Holes?” Hauke asked.

“You didn’t give us all that many guidelines,” Kya reminded him.

Hauke picked up his papers and tried to gleam Vidvan’s questions through his scrawled handwriting. It required more translation than anything. It was hard to imagine that he got more out of Vidvan’s handwriting than Kya did.

“How could I when I had nothing to start with?” Vidvan asked. “But we’ll fix that now.”

Kya tended to keep her face passive, but she still shot Hauke a look that almost pled for assistance. Hauke considered helping her and how doing so might save him from any of Vidvan’s rants. “Yes. Why don’t we go over it all together? Kya might help me recall something I missed, as well as your comments.”

Vidvan looked pleased at the suggestion. “Yes, yes, excellent.” He pulled out even more papers, beginning his notation. “Shall we begin with yours, Hauke?”

You owe me, Hauke shot over at Kya. “Very well, Vidvan.”

Hauke couldn’t tell if Kya agreed with him or not.

The mystery of a name

“What’s the dragon’s name?” Ling asked Kun one day. Kun chuckled, but before he could say anything Jin spoke up.

“Idiot. You don’t name a dragon.”

Ling pat the dragon on the head. No one told him to stop and the dragon appeared to like it, so he kept going. “Why not?”


As usual, Jin was very helpful. Kun looked up from the dragon’s scales as he cleaned them. “There is much power within a name. A type of magic that dragons are more close to than the rest of us.”

Ling frowned. “Don’t dragons get names?”

“Of course they do,” Jin said. “So why give them another one?”

Something about that didn’t seem right to Ling, who thought names were important. “Can you tell us your name?” he asked the dragon.

“Idiot!” Ling winced, almost as though Jin’s words actually slapped him. “You don’t ask a dragon for their name.”

Ling looked over at Kun, who smiled at him. “I don’t doubt that one day the dragon will tell you, Ling.”

Something about that didn’t make sense to Ling, who thought the dragon should tell him now. Or at least Kun.

Then Shui showed up. “Hey guys, I-”

The dragon closed the barn door. Kun stifled a laugh. Even Jin smirked.

“What the hell, man!” Shui shouted from outside.

If there was one person the dragon wouldn’t tell, Ling decided, it was probably Shui.

The officials suck at the things we’re good at

“Here you are Jay! I wrote us an advertisement!”

Jay wasn’t sure what to prepare for. Either it would be hilarious or genius, knowing Robin’s work. Or even both, but he wasn’t certain he could stand for it. He took the paper and peered down at it. “We can’t use this.”

“Why not?”

’Solve all the mysteries the officials can’t’? The cops will hate us.”

Robin wasn’t perturbed. “They already dislike you, Jay.”

Jay shut his eyes and put the paper down. “Trivialities.”

“You’re always saying that we need more exposure!”

He was always saying that. “Not like this. Let’s… reword it a little bit. It’s a good… first draft.”

That cheered Robin up immediately. “Of course it is! I’m glad you like it.”

Well, he would like it much better when he was certain it wasn’t going to step on the toes of the officials they already had to work around.

A conversation I overheard once in college

“I didn’t understand, is the homework due next time?”

The hallway was filled with students. The man standing next to the woman was obviously who she was addressing. The girl, watching nearby, tried not to listen. Yet there was something happening here that made her furious almost before it happened.

“We’re going over it next time,” the man said to the woman, “but we’re not turning it in.”

And then it came.

“So I don’t have to do shit.”

The girl ground her teeth.

“Just take it home,” the man said. “Look it over a bit maybe. Yeah.”

The girl shut her eyes and tried not to beat herself in the head with her textbook.

Everyone has had days like this (though hopefully not really)

The eggs began to multiply.

That would have been fine, if they had come from chickens. But every time James opened the refrigerator there was another one. He blinked and closed the door again, careful to move some of the snails from the door frame to the counter. “Mercedes!”

She didn’t answer. Probably wasn’t home. Leaving James to deal with this himself. It wasn’t as if he had been busy. He had only been washing the dimes with mint so that they would stop being so dirty. As long as that was finished before the end of the day, it didn’t matter when it was done. Sometimes he was forgetful. It happened. Before the end of the day. The sound of them in the sink probably wouldn’t let him forget.

Now, the number of eggs.

James took them all out of the refrigerator and decided to make enough omelet for Mercedes to have too when she got back. That was easy enough and all was done before too long. He ate some, it was delicious. The snails had some too.

The the sound from the fridge brought back his disillusionment.

He opened it up for the last time, for more eggs to tumble out.

James sighed. Mercedes would murder him for this.

P.S. Really, what the hell is your problem

Dear Pylene,

There is something about how you are everywhere I look. At breakfast in the morning, it’s like I can see your face shaped amongst the trees. In transit, I look up at a reflection, a flash of you behind me. During the day I can hear your voice dampened in the background, just out of understanding. At night I close my eyes and expect to open them with you right above me.

Stop that. Just stop it. It’s really starting to creep me out.

This something is revulsion, most likely. I understand what our parents agreed upon in our youth. I do still think kindly upon our friendship as we grew up. But this is ridiculous. Is it because I am inheriting the spaceship? I know you always wanted it more than I did, but the fact it was my grandfather’s isn’t my fault. I have no control over my ancestors. Or my inheritance. Or yours.

I control me. And you control you. I hope. I know you are sensible enough to understand this message. I can only hope you are still sensible enough to heed it.

Stop this foolish behavior and maybe we can return to some semblance of normalcy.

At least, our form of normalcy.

I miss it.

Your friend,


The letter

Salimah had hung it on her wall, making it the only such framed work in her abode.

The rest of the art were symbols of her belief, the only things she had ever needed. Images and items she used for displays to the other devout. Things she had missed during her travels, that returning to she had been glad to know were saved from the calamities which had ravaged so many other places.

This, however, she framed. Her first letter from abroad that she needed to see at all times.

She kept many others. Those who had thanked her for her services, her healing, her faith. Each note of gratitude meant the world to her and she kept each within her collection. She read through them on a regular basis, a reminder that her position was not only for her own sake.

This had nothing to do with that. This letter did not thank her at all. It spoke of building and friends. It asked what she was doing. It threw forward the question of when to see her again.

It told her more letters like this would be coming.

Salimah smiled when she looked at it, Roland’s handwriting clear from a distance.

Even far away, her faith had told her that her friends were always with her.

Now there was something physical that said the same.