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Original: Truths Unseen, 3rd time's not the charm (2/2) - Silver Falling: A writing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Ms. Piggie

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Original: Truths Unseen, 3rd time's not the charm (2/2) [Dec. 31st, 2008|11:56 pm]
Ms. Piggie
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]

Continued from my last entry...

Truths Unseen v3
Part 2/2

On the outside, the house looked as normal as its neighbor, other than the fact that no one lived in it. It wasn't abandoned, as the cliché went. Its owner had simply gone abroad with intentions to return for vacation soon.

The years passed, and the layers of dust thickened, and soon never quite came. So the house stood against rain and sun, and as the neighborhood children grew older, the stories they had made up for fun soon morphed into truth.

The fact was, according to the maid across the way, the house was haunted. The maid herself was from a far-flung province, making her accent heavy but her Sight clear. Fire, she'd said, eerie balls of fire flickered through the house some nights, staining the walls with strange colors. If she peeped just far enough when it was day, she could make out a scramble of drawings through the parted curtains – curtains that were supposed to be closed.

"Curses, all over everything. They corrupt house and any person who go in." The maid explained as she wrung out a pair of jeans she'd been rubbing against a jutted wood slab. "That is why no one goes in to make rob. All those old things – no one stealed them for years. For sure, that house is haunted! Do not go near it or it will stain you too."

Other than the rays of dying sunlight filtering through the windows and flooding the house with orange, Kite didn't see anything else stain-worthy. The walls on the first floor weren't a pristine white, but they were bare of any evil drawings, save for a few paintings of fruit spreads that looked like brains. She wondered who would buy such terrible art, unless the owner himself was an aspiring painter in the way her brother was an aspiring know-it-all. It just didn’t work.

Drop cloths, grayed with dust and time, covered all the furniture. She made a careful walk through, pulling off the cloths one by one, causing hardly any dust to rise up. The maid was right about one thing: they were antiques, although Kite didn't think they were the kind worth stealing. The bamboo bench looked particularly uncomfortable to sit on.

After replacing all the cloths, Kite ventured to the kitchen where ant trails had sprung up. There was the sound of scurrying small bodies and a flash of tail through a gnawed hole. Kite rolled her eyes, holding back a laugh in case she accidentally inhaled any rat germs. This was just another house, as she'd thought, given a bad rep only by years of being alone. That, she could relate to.

A creak reverberated through the ceiling above her. Alert at once, Kite found the stairs and quickly ascended, despite the dimness of sunset and the aging wood. The advantage of creeping through dozens of houses like this one was that she’d learned to move without making a sound.

At the top of the stairs was a short hall. A mirror hung lengthwise on one side, just above a mantle that showcased two smooth bamboo weapons. She grabbed one and turned to the first door on her left. One breath, her hand was on the doorknob, the next, she shoved the door open to an empty room. She moved down two steps and repeated the process on the next door. Another bust. At the end of the hall were two doors. She opened the left first and upon finding nothing, she faced the right.

Raising the stick more awkwardly than she liked, Kite steeled herself. If someone was in the house, they would be in that room. She put her hand on the knob and twisted.

It opened into darkness, all remnants of the sun completely gone. Everything was still. Her eyes adjusted slightly, and she could see shadows of dressers, the bed, the chair, the lamp that came towards her so rapidly that she didn't register it had moved.

Kite froze for a moment, wanting to scream, even silently, but she could not let herself, not when it wasn't real, this looming thing that stood right in front of her, imposing and impossible, reaching out with a luminescent point of color that looked yellow one moment and blue the next, mesmerizing...

Pulling herself back in motion, Kite knocked the point of color away. There was an audible smack of skin on skin, and Kite thrilled in the fact that it had been impossible, that this was a person, and nothing else. He tried to leave, but Kite grabbed his slim wrist and swung him back into the room where he thunked on the floor with a very female, "Ouch."

Kite pointed her stick at the girl and reached for her flashlight. "Who are you?"

Just as she switched on the penlight, the girl knocked the stick out of Kite's hand with a painful kick. Kite dropped the light to grasp her stinging right hand, automatically thinking about how she would explain this to her mother, but she had no time to worry about that as the girl firmly hit the back of Kite's knees and caused Kite to fall backwards onto the bed.

Before she knew it, Kite was pinned there by the very stick she had used. The girl held the pinpoint of color above Kite's head.

"Don't mess with hoodlums if you're not one yourself, poser." The girl said. She had a lilting voice that would have otherwise been pleasant in another situation. "You oughta be taught a lesson for being out past your bedtime." The pinpoint of color wavered. Kite couldn't be sure if it was pointed or not.

"Listen," Kite blurted. "I thought you were someone else. I didn't mean to-"

"Startle a criminal? Too late, baby. You want my name? Why don't I trace it on your forehead?" She drove the pinpoint of color down. Kite watched it come, afraid, yes, but never afraid enough to look away. If she closed her eyes, how could she ever see the chance to stop it?

But there was none, only a clenching somewhere in her, followed by a soft cracking sound. Kite was never the type to freeze but she was immobile now, her fear an empty vacuum that turned in on itself, made her see things.

The stillness crystallized, bloomed outwards, petals of blue swirling gently over her. The blue blanket reacted: it pulled inward towards the spot where the point was headed and scattered, blowing the point away with it. The girl toppled over, sprawled halfway in the dark and halfway in the weak glare of the penlight. She wore scrappy capris with equally grungy sneakers that may have been enviably expensive at one point. A henna tattoo creeped up the girl’s bare ankle and under her capris. A similar tattoo twined around the girl’s wrist and ended in shadow.

Kite barely registered all this as she picked up the penlight and shone it into the girl’s face. The girl did not move to cover it, would only squint into the light, batting her heavily lined eyelashes as she did so. Kite couldn’t tell what she looked like underneath all the make-up, but with it, the girl was striking. Smokey eyes, whirling tattoos down her temples, flawless skin that suggested foundation, brown lipstick just surpassing the actual edge of her lips. The girl would have easily passed as sultry if she didn't look so punk.

Her pupils were pinpoints in the light. "Who are you?" Her tone was different now, hard still but treading on soft, the way one would walk lightly on quicksand.

"That was my question." Kite didn't know why she was being evasive. Actually, she did. Anyone would be wary when attacked by a--

Kite walked over to the other side of the bed where the point had fallen and picked it up.

It was a piece of white chalk.

She turned it over in her left hand while she beamed the light over it with her right. The piece of chalk looked ordinary enough, apart from being unnaturally durable. It shouldn't have survived such a fall in one piece. Kite couldn't understand how this crumbling thing, the powder coming off in her hands at that very moment, could have emitted such an ominous light. The bare floor indicated that this was the only weapon the girl could have used.

Kite drew an uneven line on the wall for good measure, ascertaining it was real. The line came out crisply, looking like liquid paper on the wall but not as drippy. Its luminescence caught onto other lines on the painted wall, flaring from one to the next until the whole room shone.

"What's this, glow-in-the-dark chalk?" Kite said aloud, sweeping the light across the room, revealing pale chalk outlines underneath the glowing colors. They scrawled unattractively on the wall wherever the light hit, but in the dark they were as bright and crisp as paint in daylight.

There was a misshapen circle for that seductive monster with the long, tube-like tongue and hideously short body. A vertical line stood against it, appearing as a human figure with his back turned. An isosceles triangle towered over the scene and into it flowed an ancient script that took the expanse of the room to contain. In dimness, it turned into a tall baliti tree with falling leaves.

There was a dream-like familiarity to the scene that disturbed Kite. The lines started to cease up around her, forming other images of monsters and that same lone figure standing up in front of Kite, always with his back to her.

"What's going on?" Kite choked out, choked because she could barely speak, so constricted were the lines becoming. She coughed.

"You weren't supposed to see that." The girl stood up, dusted herself off irritably. "It was a trap for something else. Now I'll have to redraw it."

The lines closed in further, spinning in her face, so close she could see half of the man's face as he turned to touch a creature while the creature cringed away in pain. His chin set in a way that Kite set hers. The monster changed and the figure stooped with exhaustion. He raised his hand, palm backwards, telling whoever was behind him to stay back but Kite didn't, she came forward because the monster with the tube-like tongue, that now horrific aswang, had caught him in its talons. It extended its tongue down the figure's throat, sucking out the disease, sucking out life until the figure became as stiff and straight as a banana trunk.

Typically, Kite was not one to shout but in her struggle to breathe, it was the only thing she could do. Her husky voice pierced the air, took her out of her stupor enough to allow her to raise the penlight and dispel the lines.

"No!" The girl started forward, non-marking shoes slapping as she dashed over to Kite. "Don't, you'll free the other one-"

Too late. The aswang shrieked into life, flapping furiously around the room. Kite could not believe her eyes, would not, but she jumped to avoid the long sliver of its long tongue that swept near her. Unlike the womanly demon portrayed in the movies, this aswang did not have entrails hanging where its lower half should've been. It had a complete body, though its legs were not proportional to its upper half. They were smaller and shorter, practically useless for walking if the aswang were to land. Most of its legs were hidden in the aswang's long blouse, its tattered red hem giving the illusion of the associated superstitious gore.

The girl cursed. "Give me back my chalk."

Kite handed it over without hesitation. The chalk hardened as soon as it touched the girl's palm. By the time she began drawing, it had re-grown to its original size showing no sign it had been used by Kite. Its tip gave off light, allowing the girl to see what she was drawing though Kite didn't think those pathetic scrawls would do much, not given how much there had been originally.

The aswang darted about the low ceiling, so close that its bat-like wings beat against it. Its chest heaved with effort to keep in flight in such an enclosed space, reflective eyes surveying the two girls on the floor. Kite saw its very human eyebrows lift in recognition of the girl, then lower again in anger. Apparently it knew who had imprisoned it.

The creature swooped down for the other girl, sharp fingers outstretched. The girl saw it coming but continued to draw frantically, etching symbols onto the floor that suggested restraints. They rippled upward, but not enough to do anything but provide a pretty lightshow.

Suddenly everything made sense. That's all this was, an elaborate lightshow and a rabid flying animal. Not a scene from a horror flick, or anything that so shattered her disbelief in the supernatural. Just as suddenly, Kite could move again.

Diving for the bamboo stick, Kite kicked herself back up and swung around just in time to make contact with the animal. It flew backwards, shrieking the whole way. The shrillness hurt her ears, but Kite kept after it, leaping onto the bed and swinging the stick down like a fly swatter but with the sting of softball bat. The animal had to be kept out of the air, so Kite continually swatted it down every time it tried to rise up until all it could do was crawl with its arms, its pitiful legs providing little support.

Meanwhile the lightshow the girl was creating grew brighter. It stretched up off the floor, a shower of shifting, broken lines that resembled one of those fireworks they often set off during the New Year, except without the smoke and noise. It arced as a cage would, leaping for the animal, becoming so intense that Kite had to shield her eyes to avoid being blinded.

It was a long time before she could see anything again. She blinked in the darkness, trying to hasten the adjustment in her vision.

"It got away." The girl said from somewhere beside Kite. The girl sighed. "This is gonna be hell to explain."

Kite sat down on the bed, physically exhausted though her mind was awake. “Then explain it to me first.”

The girl eyed her, said with certainty, “You won’t believe me.”

“I won’t,” Kite acknowledged. “But you can try anyway.”

The girl spun her piece of chalk around her thumb, caught it on the same hand, repeated the action. “All right.” she said after a moment. “You’re going to help me catch them, so you’ll need to know.”

“The animals?”

“Not animals. You know what that was.” The girl said matter-of-factly. She spun the chalk, then bent over to doodle a shape on the floor. It was half a woman, with a long tongue and sharp fingers, eerily familiar. “Even normal people can see it’s an aswang when it’s that close.”

“Normal people never see things that don’t exist.” Kite said. “That thing was a giant bat.”

The girl looked up. The doodle on the floor wiggled, but that was impossible. Trick of light. “You’re not normal, and that wasn’t a bat.”

Kite stood up. “If you’re not going to be straight with me, then never mind. I don’t care what it was. I’m sorry I messed up your trap but I did what I could. I’m going.”

“Not so fast.” The girl was in front of Kite before Kite knew it. She pressed something hard into Kite’s hand. Kite glanced at it. It was a flat disc made of some impossibly hard wood. Her fingers glided over its smooth surface as she turned it over. It was shaped as a certain leaf, but Kite couldn’t remember what kind off the top of her head.

The girl wouldn’t take it back when Kite tried to return it. “That’s yours so you can find me again. You’ll need a lizard.”

“Lizard? What?”

“You let that aswang get away so now you’re going to help me get it back.” The girl’s glare prevented Kite from insisting that aswangs were fictional. This girl was insane.

“Okay…” Kite said doubtfully.

“Remember, you need a lizard. And my name: Rosette. I’m with Bata Bayani.” Rosette slapped Kite’s forearm in greeting. Kite couldn’t help but jump. She was familiar with the Bata Bayani gang from concerned parents and newspaper reports about burglary and vandalism incidents. There were even murder charges. This girl was worse than crazy – she was dangerous.

Kite had no choice but to give her name in return when Rosette pressed her. “Kite. No, Kate.” Kite corrected herself. This girl would want her real name, wouldn’t she?

Except Rosette’s reaction was weird. Her eyes widened almost imperceptibly, and she actually stepped away from Kite. “The Kite?” she murmured to herself. Kite wondered how she could possibly know about her, but Rosette recovered a moment later. “Doesn’t matter, you’re still helping, it’ll just be harder. Meet me when I tell you. If you don’t, I’ll come get you.” Kite didn’t like the edge on the last sentence. “Don’t lose that either.” The girl pointed at the disc. “Coz I’ll be pissed if you do.”

Tempting as it was to purposely irritate this bossy girl, Kite nodded her head. She knew better than to mess with the Bata Bayani.

“And,” Rosette winked at Kite. “This is our secret. Aight?”

Secret? So it wasn’t the Bata Bayani she had to worry about.

With a final wave, Rosette left Kite alone. When the pounding of Rosette’s feet finally stopped, Kite gathered her scattered things. She paused with the bamboo stick, shrugged, and put it into her backpack as well. It wasn’t like the owner was using it.

She headed downstairs and climbed out the window she had snuck in through. Yup. The sky was filled with bright stars. Kite grimaced. She was late, as predicted.


“I can’t believe we’re lost.” Tomas said for the tenth time.

“He’s tricky.” Sala commented. She dragged her feet while they walked and soon enough stopped completely. “I’m getting tired. It’s pointless to keep walking if we’re going round and round like a merry-go-round.” She laughed at the rhyme. Tomas rolled his eyes, then persisted with his previous argument.

“If you’d just take off your clothes like I said we should-“

“I am not taking off my clothes.” Sala said firmly. “Not outside, and not in front of you.”

“I won’t look.” Tomas said, slightly offended. “It’s the only way to break the spell. We need to turn our clothes inside out and wear them like that.”

“Aren’t you forgetting how you need to strike your bolo into the ground?” Sala asked skeptically. “Good luck driving it through the cement.”

“It’s not impossible.”

“You mean, you can do it?” Sala perked at this new tidbit. They really did need to sync up about their abilities. “Do it! Do it!”

Tomas shook his head. “We have to do the clothes first.”

Sala’s enthusiasm died as quickly as it flashed. “No way.”

“Sala, if you can see these demons are real, then the other superstitions are probably true too.”

She crossed her arms and faced him squarely. “You’re leaving something out.”

Ah. Tomas kept a straight face nevertheless. “What?”

“We don’t have everything we need to break the spell. Only sunrise will do that. It can’t be done at night during his peak time.”

His peak time. Tomas exhaled loudly and paced. Sala was right of course, but it irked him beyond measure to think Daro was getting away and they could do nothing about it.

“I know what you’re thinking.” Sala was watching him pace. She’d crouched down to rest, one knee to the ground even though it was dirtying her canvas skirt. “He’s not getting away. We know where he goes to school, we know how to find him again.”

Tomas practically growled. “But we need to take him down now.”

“We don’t even know if it’s really him.”

“He got us lost, didn’t he?”

“That’s because he was defending himself. This is why I didn’t want to confront him so soon…” Sala cocked her head distractedly. Tomas looked around in response. When she spoke again, her voice was lowered to a whisper, projected directly to him so only he could hear, despite him being several paces away from her. “Do you hear someone coming?”

Tomas didn’t, but he scanned the street anyway. Had someone else been tricked into Daro’s curse? Tomas clenched his hand around the handle of his bolo. Had Daro come back?

They waited, Sala still crouched but ready to spring at a moment’s notice, Tomas ready to unsheathe his bolo. Soon, the footsteps became audible. It was an erratic rhythm, sometimes quick and purposeful, sometimes pausing and hesitating. Human. In which case, they couldn’t be seen. Without Tomas having to say anything, Sala pulled shadows over them once more, just as a student appeared around the corner.

Tomas recognized her immediately. It was the same girl they caught Daro trailing after. Gone was the fierce confidence, though, replaced with thoughtfulness. Her earrings glowed as she passed under a lamppost, reminding him of firefly light.

At that moment, the girl halted. Her shadow stretched at a harsh angle in front of her, lifting its head as she raised hers to listen. Her eyes flickered around, alert now, showing no signs of her previous absent mindedness.

Sala’s blanket was normally impenetrable, but Tomas knew she was tired and therefore not as focused. It was all about focus, for the both of them. So they stood very still and concentrated on not being found.

The student brushed away a stray strand from her forehead and peered near the spot they were stopped at, but not quite. Her mouth puckered, her eyes narrowed, and Tomas and Sala held their breaths. Even Tomas was impressed by the intensity on the girl’s round face. He could tell she was all there. So many students were not, their minds always partly on something else, whether it was a crush, or school, or anything equally as trivial. This girl looked like she knew there was more to life, like he did. He wondered what she might say if they ever met.

That was unlikely. She started off again, the angle of her path veering away from them. Tomas relaxed. That was one less complication, at least.

Sala elbowed him. When she’d stood up, he didn’t know. She had always been stealthy like that, from the first moment they met at school. One moment, he had been walking alone, and the next, she was just ahead of him, suggesting he check his pocket where she had placed a message for him. He hadn’t noticed that back then either, but now he understood her nature better, just as she did his.

“Maybe we can follow her out.” Sala was already edging forward.

Tomas nodded his assent. As long as the student did not make contact with them, then she was safely unaffected by Daro’s curse. How she even managed to walk through it was a mystery though, but all Tomas cared about right now was to get out.

The girl began to pass them, eyes unseeing. Sala and Tomas stepped in unison after her.

That was as far as they got. The girl whipped around, her ponytail flicking behind her as she brought out an arnis stick, which had been innocently stuck in her backpack.

“I know you’re there.” The girl’s voice was certain. Tomas thought it suited her very well, even though the arnis stick did not. She didn’t look like the type of girl who got into fights. She was not solid enough to withstand a good push. Nevertheless, they froze. It was possible the student had some 6th sense. Weak, but enough to give her certainty. Most people had it, they just failed to listen to it.

“I’m not in the mood for pranks tonight, so get it over with.” The girl glared impatiently. After another moment, she advanced. There was no mistake in her direction. She was coming straight at them.

Sala made an effort to pull more shadows, but instead of the blanket growing thicker, it started to thin, the layers peeling off one by one.

“What’s going on?” Tomas murmured. The student tilted her head slightly, as if trying to catch what he said.

“I don’t know. They’re slipping away!” The frustration was evident in her voice. Sala physically reached out to add strength to her grip. The shadows bulged between her fingers at first, like wads of dark lace, but even those began to unravel, bit by bit, until the blanket became a fragile veil.

Tomas’ hand was back on his bolo. This girl was obviously responsible for this. Who knew what she was capable of?

“Tomas, don’t.” Sala managed to gasp out. The effort she was making wasn’t the same as it was against Daro’s, but she was spent from that encounter already, he could see.

“Is she safe?” was Tomas’ only question.

The doubt on Sala’s face was all the confirmation he needed. Tomas had his bolo out a second later, just as the veil vanished into air.

In full view, Tomas pointed his weapon at the girl. “Put that down and back off. Now.” Tomas pointed at the girl’s arnis stick.

The girl stood there and stared incredulously. A welcome breeze fiddled with her ponytail causing something in it to glint, like her earrings earlier. How much jewelry did these spoiled Calinaoan students have to wear?

“Since when did you start using bolos? It can’t be real.” The girl raised her arnis stick higher. Her awkward grip on the traditional weapon told Tomas she didn’t know how to use it. “Who put you up to this prank?”

Patiently – as patient as he got, anyway – Tomas repeated, “I said put that down, or I’ll need to help you.”

The student paused, deliberating. “Who’s got the more dangerous weapon?”

Tomas didn’t blink. “I do.”

“Then you put yours down first.”

“That makes no sense.”

“How else can I trust you?”

“This has nothing to do with trust.” Tomas thrust the bolo closer, almost touching it to her arnis stick. “My weapon will win. That’s why you should put yours down first.”

“What he means,” Sala said, catching the student’s attention for the first time. Sala spoke in a smooth tone Tomas recognized. She used it often enough on him when she was trying to influence him. Unfortunately, Tomas was far too strong willed to ever fall too deeply for Sala’s talent.

Sala stepped closer as she spoke, making the girl aware she was outnumbered. The student stiffened but showed no other signs of standing down.

“What he means is that there’s no need for weapons.” Sala was saying. “We don’t need to hurt each other, Kate.”

The girl looked like she was actually falling for it. The hard look in her eyes blurred, the focus replaced with uncertainty. She dropped her weapon fractionally.

Strangely irritated, Tomas knocked the arnis stick out of her hand and kicked it aside, well out of reach. Instantly, the student was alert again, eyes ablaze as they had been the first time he had seen her, talking down to Daro.

“That wasn’t so hard.” Tomas said nonchalantly before she could say anything. He sheathed his bolo.

“You didn’t have to be so rough.” Sala hissed at him.

“She was being slow.” Tomas replied without regret.

“She is right here.” The girl growled.

Sala quickly turned, using her soothing tone. “Kate, we’re sorry for-“

“How do you know my name?” the girl demanded. “Are you the ones spying on me?”

“Isn’t it obvious that it’s Daro?” Tomas replied. Saying the name made him angry all over again. He distastefully spit behind him.

Doubtfully, the student asked, “Daro sent you?”

Sala was between them with a hand on each of their shoulders before either of them noticed. Tomas instantly felt calmer. “Let’s set things straight. Daro did not send us. He did play a trick on us, so now we’re totally lost. And,” Sala pointed at the nametag on the girl’s shirt. “That’s how I know your name.”

Sala said nothing more. Tomas reluctantly waited for the girl’s reaction. Sala had been fairly truthful, only leaving out that they were hunting a supernatural kidnapper, and that their suspect might be her schoolmate.

The girl appraised them, then shrugged. “Figures. Why else would you get my name wrong?” She turned away to pick up her arnis stick. Once it was safely back in her backpack, she added, “You should’ve just said you were lost. I can show you where to go. I know this place.”

Tomas and Sala exchanged looks. Now that she’d seen them, she would be just as lost as they were.

“Things might look different in the dark.” Sala put forward, choosing her words carefully. “Don’t be surprised if you get turned around like us.”

The girl gave Sala a weird look. “What are you talking about? I said I knew this place.”

Sala quieted. “I’m just throwing that out there…”

“City kids.” Tomas heard the girl mutter. She stalked off and they followed, unwilling to let her get further lost without them. Tomas felt responsible for yet another charge. At least Sala was useful. This girl – Kate? – was not.

“What’s your name if it isn’t Kate?” Tomas asked. The situation was awkward. He could see the girl hesitating in choosing her direction, but stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that she was lost. Such a kid.

“Kite.” Remembering what Sala had said earlier, Kite tore off her name tag and pocketed it. Seemingly picking a direction at random, she walked on, squinting the whole while.

“Are you okay?” Sala asked with genuine concern.

“Fine. Things just look a little funny, that’s all.”

“Funny like how?”

“It’s… blurry. But when I look at something directly, it’s not.”

“You don’t need to make excuses.” Tomas said seriously. “Just admit you’re lost.”

Kite glared at him, then pointed ahead. “That’s the main road, isn’t it?”

Sure enough, several blocks down and barely visible, was the main road he and Sala had started off on. Tomas didn’t understand. They should have all been lost until daybreak. How could she see through Daro’s trick so easily? Through Sala’s?

Sala hid her shock better than he did. While he remained motionless in disbelief, Sala was taking Kite’s hand in hers and thanking her profusely. Kite politely allowed this move, though Tomas saw her twitch her hand several times in an attempt to extricate herself. No such luck. Sala had a firm hold and was using it to her advantage.

“I’ve gotta say we’re really glad you came along and helped us out. We could’ve been lost for days.”

“No problem.” Kite replied vaguely. Her eye brows furrowed again, and her steps slowed. Sala’s hand glowed around Kite’s. Tomas corrected himself. Glow was the wrong word. Sala’s skin lightened imperceptibly, the same occurring to Kite’s fingers, then hand, than arm. The hue spread upward, circling around Kite’s neck and trickling into her mouth, her nostrils, her ears, her eyes, until her entire face was softly shining.

Sala continued in her friendly tone, her braces sparkling as she smiled. “I hope you’ll forgive our little quarrel earlier. Tomas can be rude, but if you’d pretend it never happened, I’m sure we could still be friends.”

A film covered Kite’s eyes while Kite worked to move her pale lips. She swallowed, unable to speak while her thoughts were in contradiction to Sala’s words.

“Just forget about it.” Sala encouraged.

Kite blinked, but the film wouldn’t disappear. Tomas was beginning to wonder if she was immune to even Sala’s strongest talent when her voice rang out at last: “I won’t mention it.”

It wasn’t quite the response Sala had wanted, but it was enough to cause the film to evaporate, dust motes into air.

Not the End.

To be continued. Forever!