Better than gold

When she followed the tail to the ground, she found shattered glass shards of every colour. With a frown, she looked around. No one else was here. Satisfied, she picked a few up.

“Do you believe in leprechauns?” Her voice carried enough to be heard in the radio at her belt, though she didn’t speak loudly.

The voice on the other end sighed. “I believe how you spell it is stupid.”

Not likely to get an actual response from Control, she gathered up the rainbow’s loot.

A new beginning for some, continuation for others

They all knew what had come to pass when the mountaintop lit itself aflame.

Amina and Ayako even rose their heads from where they slept to look out toward the skies, before returning to their slumber. Kasey watched them, then looked up herself. It was an event she had been awaiting for a long time. She grabbed her shoes and that grabbed the hounds’ attentions again.

“Time to see him.”

The three of them climbed the mountain with a practiced motion that showed their experience with the journey. Amina and Ayako didn’t spend too much time sniffing around, wasting energy. They knew Kasey would be going all the way to the top. They were prepared.

Kasey would be, as ever, the first one to tire. She would not give up though, she would not slow down. The mountain remained the same hurdle it had always been. The fire had long since died, Kasey watched the sky grow dark without the flames to lighten it.

When they reached the top, they saw the phoenix, grooming itself anew. With a sigh, Kasey sat down with Amina. Ayako ran over to her friend, born anew.

It was how a phoenix lived. Kasey lay on her back and soaked up the warmth of the ground.

A sound of success

One by one, the people began to add to the sound.

At first she only heard the silence of the masses. The breathing, the whispers, noises which couldn’t be obscured. They were all in the distance.

Then came the sharp sound of two hands coming together. And another. And more. The volume grew until the entire auditorium vibrated with the applause. From the balcony to the pit, the proof of a job well done.

She stood up from the bench, feeling the strings at her fingers replaced by the smooth wood of the frame. The head of the column keeping the triangular instrument upright. She rested it on its stand.

She took a bow.

More investment than shown

She fed the beast raw meat, because as far as Toiréasa was concerned, the Gévaudan hound was like a dog. At least, in some ways. There were few similarities she would actually make, but when it came to parts of the care of the hound, she treated the bitch like any other dog.

“Why didn’t you name her?” Saoirse asked her, watching the beast tear into the food with a look of disinterest. Saoirse was the only one Toiréasa had known to show no fear around the canine. Simply caution.

Toiréasa shrugged. “I don’t know. She comes when I whistle. If she didn’t, that’d be fine. I’m not sure why she follows me.”

Saoirse smirked. “Good taste?”

They watched the beast lick all of the juices from the ground and break through the rest of the bone with those teeth.

The subconscious understands

Dahlia waited, rubbing her arms. At the very least, even when moving was tiring, it was warmer than sitting. Now everything became colder and colder.

When the next group passed, one of the older men made her stand up. “He’s gone, darlin’. Let’s go.”

Dahlia left her father and all of his baggage behind her. This left her with nothing. Nothing but where all of the small ragtag groups of people ended up.

Castlehaven.

Habits well-formed

Leondra started her reps as she did every morning.

The process was one her sister had made her start when she was twelve. At the time, Leondra was simply copying her, because that was what she did back then. It was a phase that took her a few years to escape, but fortunately her sister had several habits during this time which were very good for a young girl to develop.

She would stretch every muscle in the same order. Then she would hit the floor. Push-ups were very important. Keeping the back straight, fists to the floor, full extension of the arm. Her arms were very important, her wrists as well. Leondra couldn’t afford for fatigue there when she was holding a gun still for a long time.

Up, then down, then up again. Leondra kept her mind clear during this time. It was almost too important, to start her day like this when she was at home. A part of her routine.

Kept her close to her sister, so far away.

She moved on from the push-ups and through the rest of the exercises. Then she would call her sister, to remind her to keep up with it.

Science projects aren’t what they used to be

When he promised his sister he would help her with her science project, he’d been expecting something different.

“I’ve collected all of these crystals to power my snow machine,” she told him, matter-of-fact.

“Snow machine?” She showed him the passage in her textbook that covered the runes required. He frowned, picking it up to look it over. Elementary school had really changed since he was there.

“Where’d you get all the crystals?”

“In the bat fields.”

He sighed. “You know mum will be upset to know you were in the bat fields.”

“It’s why there’re so many crystals there!”

Well, while he wasn’t magically minded, he was okay with engineering. “Okay then. I’ll help you put the shell together, but I’ll leave the runes and crystals to you. Most important.”

“Okay!”

The real question was why she wanted to make a snow machine, but he would ask her about that later.

Hiding the path of reconciliation

It was the first gift my son had given me that I felt came from a genuine place. One that suggested he had thought about my feelings at all.

I knew he would have liked to be anywhere but in the room when I opened it. I would have preferred that as well. If it weren’t for the rest of his family, the rest of mine, we would have done ourselves a favour. But he had missed his opportunity to drop it off without even my realization and if I left this room holding it, people would know.

We had tried to make this less of a spectacle than everyone else appeared to feel it was.

I drifted my fingers across the book’s surface. Yes, he had to have spent as long deciding on this as I had spent deciding on his gift.

“Thank you.”

He rubbed the back of his head, not looking anywhere near me. That was fine, I’d struggled to look in his direction in the first place. This made it easier. “Ah, it was nothing.”

Another gap bridged.

Life at retail

“I’d like to register a complaint.”

As a customer service representative, she was ready to handle this. “Yes, of course. What seems to be the trouble?”

The man pointed over at the closest wall in the store. “That girl refuses to sell me coffee.”
She made a mental note of the time. “I’m sorry to hear that sir. It is nine thirty and our coffee kiosk closes at nine.”

“She’s still there. I need coffee. Where’s a manager?”

The barista was still there because she was cleaning. The rep remained calm, deciding not to point at her name tag which stated her name and the fact she was a manager. “I’m a manager, sir. I’m sorry, but after nine our barista cannot make anymore coffee. If you come back between-”

She saw the moment he was going to start repeating himself, even more loudly, the moment before he began to do it. From over his shoulder, she saw the barista looking back at her. The barista tilted her head to the side, tongue lolling out.

The rep tried not to laugh and focused on what should have been a rare complaint.