“I can’t help you,” said Raz. “You aren’t looking for something he’s gotten into. You have to look into what he’s getting out of.”
Zamir tried not to grit his teeth. “What are you implying?”
“That note addressed to you? You know why he left then.” Zamir shook his head, while Raz wheezed out some more laughter. “You’re just bein’ stubborn. Like him. I see the resemblance.”
“Is this all the help you’re going to be?”
Raz pulled his cigarette out and jabbed it in Zamir’s direction. “I’ve been helping you all day! Getting in the way of my own job, you know? He’s left you, get it? No one else up and outed with him. You’re like a bird that can’t fly, jumping off a cliff. Recognize you’re grounded.”
He wouldn’t protest out loud. He couldn’t. Zamir refused to sound like a child to this homeless man who probably conned enough money out of people to have a home if he had bothered.
Dropping the cigarette, Raz put it out with his heel. “I’ll miss Shachaf. Good guy. Hope he finds better.”
And Raz left him with the truth. Shachaf had left by his own volition.
Zamir refused. He had to have been blackmailed. Coerced. Something.
There was nothing left for him to find.
The walls of the bar had long since been marked by the consumers, those who stayed and those who left. The boy stared at some of the gouges and asked the bartender why he didn’t repair them.
The bartender’s best customer laughed and responded instead. “Because that’s when Ku over there proposed to her wife. The fight beforehand sort of preempted it. Good memories.”
The boy didn’t understand that and said so.
“Eh, you’d have had to have been there. But I could tell you all about it anyway, if you’d li-”
He almost missed it, looking away, but at the corner of his eye he saw the bartender shaking his head. The customer paused, then shrugged.
“Nah. Maybe when you’re older.”
The boy was older than he was a minute ago. He said that too.
The customer laughed. “You’ve really got a keeper here, keep.”
Confused, the boy looked at the bartender, catching his smile.
The the boy and the bartender looked away from each other, embarrassed.
Entering a new city was always hard. Especially the bigger the city was. Especially the less the entrance had been planned.
She dropped down, next to a very stunned woman, who stared at her with her mouth slightly agape. She dusted off her jeans. “Where am I?”
The woman continued to stare, then made some motions with her hands. She stared at the native for a few moments. Eventually, some of the shock wore off for the woman to then point at a sign.
“Oh. All the way here?”
There were a few more motions before she realized the woman was indeed trying to talk, but it was only sign language.
The witch sighed. “I… sorry, I didn’t prepare my translator spell for languages without vocal. That was short sighted of me.”
The woman looked confused again, but the witch had other things to do, so she headed off.
I have not failed.
Though the amount of times I have found something that does not work hasn’t reached a thousand yet, it certainly nears an embarrassing number. My patron, and my friend, remains patient.
Then again, I don’t believe he ever thought I would succeed. He simply knew I wanted to try, wanted to pretend he was also trying, and therefore placed this burden upon me.
There is a stir of something in the back of my soul. It almost feels like emotion.
On the other hand, I have a new blueprint. What I build today cannot be like the others.
Even if it simply finds another way that doesn’t work. Even if it…
Failure. Even I disgust me.
Desperately, everyone pretends that there is something
accidental about the desire for the dark.
Really? One can’t delve into the
knowledge without the consideration of guilt,
culminating from a world that believes
humiliation has a place? Well, then it’s
a good thing that I’ve long since decided
no one who nay-says those thoughts has a
chance of mattering in the beliefs
everyone who remains open minded will allow.
Where there’s smoke, there’s usually something smoking. Most people considered that to be fire, but Vidvan was certain it could be otherwise.
“If someone can conjure fire from what appears to be nothing but energy, couldn’t they conjure the effects of fire without the fire?”
His teacher looked down at him. “Explain.” She had the type of face that probably should have had spectacles. Vidvan thought she squinted a little too much.
“If the process is that fire creates earth, creates ash, then…”
He had it. He’d had it. Then it was gone. The idea had been brilliant. And he knew that it had been, if he hadn’t somehow lost the threads of his thought. He had to find it again.
After all, where there was smoke…
She couldn’t help it. She reached out an poked him.
At first, he might not have noticed. Then Dahlia was extremely aware of how much he had noticed. He looked down on her, the tall and sturdy form he had, despite having no blood rushing through his veins. He had been cold.
And she had poked him. Dahlia’s blood decided to decorate the insides of her cheeks.
“Did you need something?” he asked. Kindly, maybe.
Dahlia’s mouth worked around air. Then she nodded.
“Don’t be shy.”
He probably didn’t mean that like she acted he did. Even she knew that. But she reached out and poked the undead man once more.
Raz gave him a look. It was one that suggested he would have risen an eyebrow, had he a brow to raise. “Listen,” he lisped, “if I gave a fuck about my lungs, I wouldn’t be living in the city. We’re already in it, why not complete the journey?”
That confused Zamir, though he didn’t say anything. Shachaf didn’t usually hang out with nihilists. Nor did it seem like one would help with a missing person’s report. “Consider my opinion shut.”
“Like this case?” Raz blew out smoke. Thankfully he aimed it in a direction other than Zamir’s face. “Something you’re not telling me, Vest?”
Zamir couldn’t imagine what, until he could. The paper that sat in his wallet. The reason he had started looking in the first place, long before he might have if his brother hadn’t left him a message.
But even those three words were personal. He wouldn’t share them with Raz.
“Look. If you give a fuck about this search, you would lay it straight. Come this far, yeah?”
It was true, he had. Zamir steeled himself and presented the note.
Thank you. Goodbye.
They kicked open the bay door, for it to slam back in on their face. They swore, using words that weren’t really repeatable in polite company. Or impolite company. Maybe racist company.
“What did I say about that language?”
“Don’t act like my grandma.” They tried again, a little more carefully, managing to keep the door open so as to escape the ship. They paused, long enough to help their companion out.
She reluctantly took their hand, but then stood on top of their broken ship as they took stock of their surroundings. There was no other way of saying it. They were stranded.
“Nose goes,” they said, placing a finger on their nose.
“Don’t you act like my dad.”
They climbed off of their ship and went to explore the new world.
It is a strange problem to have, accidentally running the razor over the back of a nail.
She wasn’t sure how she accomplished it, where the razor nicked two oddly shaped grooves into the back of the nail of her pointer finger. If it weren’t for the feeling of it catching that hardness for a split second, it would have been impossible to notice. Only knowledge of the moment made her remember, running her thumb over the marks, bothering to be on her mind.
Only close inspection would show the scratches. One was longer than the other, but both followed the same path. An interesting mark that wouldn’t last very long, eventually growing out, eventually being cut off.
If only she could remember how she did it, to keep from doing it in the future.