crumbs on the floor
tiny paws, tiny mouths
patient and afraid
thudding and whining
along comes the dog
tamed and shameless
but well fed
beware the cat
No one is at home.
This is not a surprise.
No one is ever at home.
The girl–“it might be better if we don’t know each other’s names yet”–looks around curiously. He wonders what she sees, if she can spot the details of his life as easily as she could perceive him in a crowd.
“Please come in,” he says, toeing off his shoes and placing them neatly in the cubby by the door.
“Ah, please excuse me,” she responds by reflex, and doing the same with her own shoes.
“My house,” he says, inanely, as he guides her to the dining room, “You said somewhere private would be better. Would you like tea?”
“If it’s not any trouble,” she says, looking at him–and what a surprise that is every time–expression confused and nearly concerned, “I thought maybe you’d bring me to an empty park or something like that, not your house.”
He shrugs, kettle heating, preparing two cups.
“You’re overly trusting,” she chides, and perhaps, in a way, she’s right.
It’d be more accurate to say he’s desperate.
at the heart
of every wish
is a lack
Over cups of steaming tea, the girl tells him about impossibilities. Powers beyond human capability sealed away within every human on the planet.
He thinks maybe she is playing a cruel trick–he her gullible audience–until she actually shows him.
It costs him one hundred yen, but she gives the sliced halves of the coin right back.
“Mine are Lightning Flames,” she explains, fingernail sparking bright green.
The expression on his face must speak for itself, because she continues, “Yeah, I’m not sure why they’re called that. There’s a kind called Rain too and it basically acts just like water does. Really, the only type which has a name that makes sense is the Sun Flames.”
“And you think I have these Flames, too?” he asks, hopeful but doubting. He’s only ever been a shadow–or maybe a lens if he’s being generous–to someone else’s light.
Again that expression of pity and guilt flickers over her face. She hesitates.
“… not yet.”
the absence of pleasure
the absence of pain
relief and recovery
salt copper heat
which is stronger?
which is true?
“I need to consult with the others,” she says, firm in her denial, “I don’t know how much is safe to tell you yet. There’s the very real risk that if I tell you more–”
“–you’ll have to kill me?” he interrupts, disappointed and snide because of it.
Her silence is rebuke and confirmation both, enough that he stops. Remember the coin, his blood seems to sing, how easily she split the metal as if paper.
The sound of her putting on her shoes is simultaneously ominous and reassuring.
“My card,” she says, which jars him out of his fear. “I know, right? What kind of teenager has business cards–how pretentious,” she rolls her eyes as she holds out the card.
Ivory card stock with rich green letters providing an email address and phone number. No name, though, only a strange crest at the top and a lightning bolt below that.
“There are dangerous secrets in this world,” she warns, “but if you decide you really want to know or if you need my help… if you think the knowledge is worth the danger. Then you’ll know how to reach me.”
He takes the card.
She leaves, still nameless to him.
The card goes into a desk drawer, forgotten for almost two years.