I stalked out of the conference room, frustration boiling inside of me. She was a police officer. A half-decent one, from her records. I’d pulled them up, and they’d all been in order. Li Fang Fen had joined the force in Binghamton about eighteen years ago, and she barely looked like she was out of her 20s. I guess people just didn’t notice these things.
When you reach a certain age, waking up resembles flying a plane. First, there is the awareness of the price that you have paid simply to reach the cockpit. Every night you go to sleep knowing it may be the last time. Waking cannot be taken for granted. Second, there is the preparation. You need to set a trajectory, to plan a course, because without that, your flight may take a terminal direction. And third, there is the pre-flight checklist. Every joint must be checked, every muscle tested, because if any part of your body is not in absolute prime condition, you may crash on takeoff. I went through the movements smoothly, checking for weakness, for tension, and heaved myself up out of the hotel bed.
I remember when the island of Manhattan was first beheld by human eyes. Ten thousand years ago, when the first men crossed the river to visit that island. Like all great cities, it was destined for its place in history. My sisters Gene and Heather had done it, in the ages before there were men. They filled the oceans, they gouged out the lakes, they ripped open the rivers, and these things made it possible for humans to congregate. Where the earth and water mixed, life was in abundance, and humans could be in abundance too. It was my sisters who had brought humans to this place. But it was I who brought the Europeans.
Ryan Harovitch, Chartered Accountant, felt on top of the world as he returned home early. His apartment was in one of the nicest buildings in Stuyvesant Town, a comfortably expansive two bedroom where his girlfriend designed things to sell on Etsy, and his wire-haired terrier pissed on the carpets. He didn’t mind that. It was annoying, but the dog was always happy to see him when he got home, which could make up for an awful lot of urine. He’d triumphantly finished the quarterly tax returns for his best client in the office today, and had shaved another percentage point off of their onerous tax burden. He was going to have a glass of wine, engage in some petting both heavy and light, and enjoy a Sunday off.
“Pardon me,” I said, my voice soft, my eyes downcast. “I am looking for Atina LeRoux.”
Well, there weren’t a whole lot of questions this time around, or votes for that matter; Always a little worrying, but I’ve been getting a lot of new readers, so I soldier ever onwards!
First up, the votes for a short story. Li Xue Zi came in first for this, but Jenny and Heather were close behind. Dean, poor bastard, lags ever behind the others. So I’ll be working on Li Xue Zi’s short story coming up.
Today is the worst day of Pearl’s life. As an immortal embodiment of fire, as one of the four Sisters who stand between this world and the apocalypse wrought by humanity’s own suicidal urges, and as a being who has spent an unquantifiable amount of time in Tartarus, one of the few places that can be called Hell, this is really saying something. But she’s still justified in saying it.