Phasing through

The door to the cell clanged shut behind her. “I’ve had worse Monday mornings.”

The guard rolled his eyes. “Don’t talk about it.”

He left her there, standing in the dark. She rubbed the back of her sheared head. Not quite intentional, but at least the constant tangles of her previously red curls wouldn’t be a problem for a while.

Especially with how she had managed to lose her hair earlier today. Taking in as much air as her lungs could handle. She walked up to the wall opposite of the cell door. Closing her eyes, she walked forward.

She didn’t open her eyes until she had completely made it through the cement of the building and felt the sun on her freckles once again.

In his blood

“Just like a bobcat. Stalking, then the short chase.”

“There are other predators like that,” Robin replied thoughtfully. “How were we to know?”

Jay shrugged. “There were probably other signs.” In the meantime, they would sit in this cell until the chief came for them. They were likely to wait for a while, the chief didn’t like them very much. Robin thought it was only Jay, but Jay knew Robin was an acquired taste.

“You aren’t really a jay, are you?” Robin asked. “You don’t seem to like eggs that much or have any talent for mimicry.”

Talking about beast blood was new. It caught Jay off guard more than most other topics Robin had surprised him with. Past, Robin referred to occasionally. Family? Neither of them had broached that. He cleared his throat. “No. I didn’t really have anything manifest in me. Nor can I say that there is much avian in my ancestry. The name’s… a coincidence, I suppose.”

Robin nodded, head bobbing up and down. “Me too! I mean, nothing ever showed up. There are plenty of robins in my family. It’s even a family name! Robin, son of Robyn, daughter of Robin… Goes on and on!”

Jay’s lips twitched. “I can only imagine.”

“But I never was much of a robin. You know?”

Jay considered his flighty friend and shook his head. “You… well, you would know best.”

And they waited.

The Meeting

He had been waiting for the facts to go through, sitting in the jail cell. It was true, his license was relatively new and it was the first time he had come to this city. He should have waited years before relocating. But there was a lot of things Jay should have done that he had not. A lot of things he had not done that he should have.

Perhaps he had gotten in over his head already.

Jay was not alone in this cell. There was a smaller man in there too, surprisingly asleep. Jay didn’t know what to make of that. Despite his appearances, the other man had to be comfortable enough to sleep when anyone could be put in here with him. It had not been a busy day, with just the two of them here. Jay watched him warily, hoping he was brought in here for excessive drunkenness or the like. He did not sleep like a drunk man, but the smell in here made it difficult to discern if it was the stranger who smelt of alcohol or simply the last residents who had occupied this space.


The moment Jay hadn’t been looking was when the other man had awoken. Spryly, he swung into a vertical position on the bench, looking over at Jay with eyes not hindered by any sort of sleepiness. “What are you in here for? That’s the question people ask in here, isn’t it?”

Jay revised his opinion. Comfortable enough, or stupid enough. “Being where I didn’t belong,” he replied vaguely. “You?”

“Oh, the same.” The other man nodded. Now that he was awake, it seemed difficult for him to remain completely still. It was either his head or his hands. Shifty had never been meant to be taken so literally. “Apparently you’re supposed to have permission before going into the public museum.”

“What?” His curiosity came from two places. First, the statement itself. Secondly, the fact that the museum was brought up in the conversation, when that was the next place on his list to check out when they let him out of here.

“Well, at two in the morning.”

Jay snorted despite himself. “That goes without saying, I think. Thief?”

“Hey, wait a moment! You can’t judge me!” The man’s protests were definitely not of an innocent man, but even more so not of a malicious one. “You said you were taken in for the same thing!”

“I wasn’t stealing anything.” He wasn’t mentioning his P.I. status. It didn’t seem as common here as it did where he had come from. That was why his license had confused the officers and they had made him wait here while they attempted to sort it all out. “I was just where I didn’t belong.”

“So was I! I just happened to be taking something that didn’t belong to them either. It can’t be stealing if the person you’re taking it from didn’t own it, right?”

Jay didn’t want to go into how a museum might “own” a piece. “How far did you get?” His question came from genuine curiosity and the belief that this strange man might actually answer him. He wouldn’t get any important information, but it would pass his time wasted in here with more entertainment than otherwise.

“In and out. Unfortunately I didn’t have a car or anything to help me move it and I must have tripped an alarm.”

Jay stared at him, jaw nearly slack. “You… got out with it.”

“Only down the block. I was going to take it to- well, that’s a long story, but-”

He wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or not. Jay had the distinct feeling he was missing a very important part of the story that the other man wouldn’t be able to tell him. The other curious thing was that someone caught red handed would have ended up here, with Jay, who hadn’t been proven guilty of anything.

“-the necklace was a fake, I know it,” the man had continued while Jay had not been paying complete attention. “I mean, I don’t really, but I believe Josie, and if they would just look at it, the police anyway, then-”

“The Monsoon Pendant?” Jay asked before he could stop himself.

“Why yes! The very one! See?” That said, the man pulled it out of his pocket.

Jay coughed. “You- ah, excuse me, they didn’t take it from you?”

“Of course they did. This is another one.”

“Who are you, if I may ask?”

The man laughed. “It’s more polite to offer your own name first! But it’s Robin. Family name.”


Perhaps Jay had gotten in deep over his head, but it wasn’t the case. It was in meeting Robin.

Meeting Robin and not ever getting rid of him.