NaNoWriMo: Day 15

Lots of Notes in today’s writing. One, I kept accidentally turning off my laptop, so that was fun. Two, my characters helped me figure out A WHOLE LOT while I was writing, which was distracting on the world count front but excellent on the story front. I was pretty excited about today’s work, because my primary reason for writing this story was the information I’d get from it, so today’s writing was gold.

11.15.13 12:21p

“If it fits on a candle flame, it was probably caused by a very minor death, like a bird or a beetle or something.” Tripp was scanning his shelves, only half looking at what he was seeing.

“Dude, what the fuck are you talking about?” Zig said, looking up from his phone.

“Ifrits are born from the blood of a murder victim,” he tossed back casually, as if it were common knowledge.

“Dude! What the hell?! Rain’s step-father murdered someone?” It took all he had not to run out the door and go rescue her right that second.

“Just something minor, no bigger than a cat, for sure.”

“Wait, how do you murder a cat?”

“Intent dude, it’s all about intent. A little kid accidentally blowing away his best friend cause daddy left his guns lying around isn’t a murderer. Same asshole kid holding a squirrel by the tail and beating it against the side of the house til its brains are all over the brick? Totally a murdered, and a prick, I might add.”

Zig stared at his brother in horror, taking a moment to process all that.

“Dude, sometimes I forget just how fucking weird you really are.”

“Hmm?” he said absently. Zig had been quiet long enough that Tripp had been sucked back into his own thoughts and had forgotten what they were talking about. He abandoned that thought too when he found the book he was looking for. “Here we go, 1001 nights. Lots of good Jinn lore in there.”

“I thought we were looking for an ifrit.”

Tripp gave him a flat look. “We are. Ifriti are Jinn dude.”

“Oh. Right.”

— 12:28 pm 276 words 7 mins

1:16p

 

I don’t know much off the top of my head, but Tripp has some books, we’re gonna go see what we can find, ok?

 

It wasn’t much, but he didn’t wanna leave her hanging. He was probably gonna be married to his phone for the next little bit, just to make sure he answered every question she had as quickly as possible. He wished they could have kept her here, but that would have been a shitty, fey thing to do. He was not a fey, and he wasn’t about to start acting like one now.

Huh. Ok then. She didn’t know why, but it surprised her that he didn’t know everything about everything magic. She felt stupid when she realized it, it’s not like she knew everything about everything from the normal world, why should he know all about magic? But it was kinda cool of him to admit his ignorance, anyways. She felt like she should reward him for it, reinforce the good behavior.

 

That’s cool, take your time. I’m just gonna hang out and play tag with my candle, lol.

He followed Tripp downstairs, trying not to fall over his own feet as he read the text while walking down the stairs. It was actually kind of amazing the Underground didn’t try to trip him, but he wasn’t going to question it. If she felt like behaving, he would just accept it, and be grateful. Maybe she was finally settling, after 8 long years.

 

“She says she’s playing tag with her .candle…” Zig reported dutifully.

1:23 pm 260 words 8 mins

 

2:07 p

Zig waffled with what he should tell Rain. On the one hand, he wanted to tell her to not trust her step-dad any further than she could throw him, but he’d already felt that way, this didn’t change a whole lot. He’d play it cool, try to make sure she was safe, as best he could without knowing where she lived. Damnit. This fucking sucked.

 

“You’re playing hell with my hero complex, kiddo,” he muttered to himself.

 

“Huh,” Tripp asked, not looking up from his book.

 

“Nothing bro, just muttering.”

“k”

 

 

9:23 pm

“Hi!”

 

The little girl sitting the living room coudln’t be more than 13, but looked more like she must be 9 or 10. Hell, maybe even 7. It was hard to tell, and every time Rain looked at her she looked different. Older, younger, something… Maybe it was the way the shadows flickered on her face from the tv.

 

“You wanna play racing with me?” She held out her controller, all big eyes and earnest.

 

“Sure,” Rain said, taking the controller and plopping down to sit cross-legged next to the girl. She picked up her skirts and crawled over to the console, picking up the second controller. She turned to look at Rain over her shoulder and asked, “You ever play Crash Team Racing before?”

 

Rain shook her head, sure that she had at some point but unable to really remember it. The little girl unplugged their controllers, switching them so that Rain would be player 2. Then she crawled back to her space, rearranging her many skits and settling back in on her pillow.

 

There was something surreal about this little china doll, sitting alone in the mostly dark living room, playing on the PlayStation. She was dressed like something out of a horror anime, all ruffles and ribbons, Lolita like. The massive dark circles under her eyes didn’t help.

 

But she scrolled through the menu like any young kid would, and soon She and Rain were playing together, laughing and carrying on about this or that computer player cheating or how hard this particular course was.

 

Seven came in from the back hallway and stood and watched them for a moment. So this was the new girl. Well, she seemed fair enough at racing games, and Del was getting along with her well, so she was alright in Seven’s book.

 

He moved further into the room, making a point of making some noise when he moved so as not to startle the girls. Delphi looked up and waved, then yelped a little when her car went off course.

 

“Hey Delphi,” he said, waving back, though she wasn’t looking anymore. “I see you couldn’t wait til I finished the site maintenance to find someone to play with.” He smiled when Rain turned to look at him, realizing he was someone she didn’t know.

 

“Hey new girl. They call me Seven.”

 

“I’m Rain.”

 

He nodded and moved to go sit on the couch behind them. “I’ll play winner, if that’s ok with you two.”

“We can play Crash Bash- or Mario Party! Pleeeease, can we play Mario Party?”

 

It took Rain a minute to realize the little girl, Delphi, was talking to her. She’d been caught up in staring at the Jack clone. Same creepy white blonde hair, same super skeletal features – though this Seven kid was a bit more fleshed out, not quite as thin. Not as tall either, which made it seem even more like someone had just taken Jack and stretched him out while he was still soft.

 

But Delphi was asking her a question and she tore her gaze away and blinked a bit. “I’m sorry, what?”

 

“Mario Party,” she repeated, bouncing a bit on her seat. “I asked if we could play Mario Party.”

 

“Uhh, sure.”

 

“Yay!” she squealed, leaping up to grab the remote off the tv stand. She fiddled with the inputs a bit until she found the one she wanted, then put the remote back and turned on the Wii. While it was waking up, she took three remotes out of the basket under the television and passed them out to everybody. She settled in on the couch next to Seven, who patted her leg affectionately before moving his arm to the back of the couch.

 

“You’ll want to sit further back than that Miss Rain,” Delphi informed her. “The sensor won’t be able to read you that close.”

 

“Oh, ok.” She got up and took the far end of the couch next to them, simply accepting that this was a thing. Spiders came out of the woodworks and played video games. Whatever.

9:46 pm

11/16/13 9:23 am

 

Raeven moved happily through her space, opening the patio door for her cat, brewing a cup of earl grey, lighting the green candle Leaves. This was all she wanted out of her day. To wake up, roll over and snuggle her beautiful girlfriend, then get up and write. The house was a wreck, she should be cleaning, but instead she took a left over hawaiian roll and broke bread with the morning birds. She left milk from her tea in a saucer for all things that lived beyond Heaven and Hell. She took her tea into the living room and sat down with a smile on her face. Nothing had crashed the night before, the files were all safe. It was time to write.

9:26

Rain awoke the next morning, feeling that the house was utterly empty. It was just something she had come to able to sense lately. That thought made her wonder if it was a magic thing, but in the same way she knew the house was empty, she knew she knew it because it was just a very basic, human thing. Social animals knew when they were alone, and mourned it.

Instead of moping, Rain got up, got dressed, and tossed her laptop into its bag and got ready to head out the door. No sense hanging around here. She was expecting her mother at least to insist on staying home to keep an eye on her baby, but there was no telling what Myles had put into her head, and even worse chance of telling what he was thinking.

…He was thinking about unloading groceries, apparently. He and her mother had pulled up in the driveway shortly after she’d made her way down to the kitchen to grab some orange juice. She thought about retreating right back up the stairs, or sneaking out the front door, but stayed instead, realizing this was a chance to see Myles and her mother together when they didn’t realize she was watching.

At least she assumed they didn’t realize. There was no being positive but Rain had already decided not to second guess herself too much or she’d never actually have any thoughts, just doubts and doubts abut those doubts. Nope, not gonna do it. One “Are you sure?” per thought was her limit.

He came around to open the door for her mother, a silly gesture, but one that made her smile when she took his hand. Her brows had been knit with worry, but he patted her arm and said something to her, and she smiled and nodded and moved toward the trunk with him to gather plastic bags.

Rain, in a strange humor, felt like engaging them, and moved to open the door for them. She wasn’t sure what feeling was gripping her, but she knew it was coming from within, not without, as she suspected a lot of her thoughts from the previous evening had. Now that she knew to look for any signs that her feelings might not be her own, she could spot the difference pretty easily.

“Morning guys,” she said with an almost predatory grin. “What have you two been up to?”

“Picking up stuff for breakfast,” Myles answered cheerily. “Though I guess it’s brunch now, sleepy head.”

“Myles took me driving, to see White Prince Academy again.” [is that really what it’s called? :/]

Rain’s hackles instantly rose. Her mom sounded way too …ok with that. Myles had talked about enrolling her at the beginning of the summer, back when they’d been “talking” about the move. That concession was made way too easily, Rain thought, but she could understand the draw for her mother, after all the hardship of raising Rain alone. But her mother hadn’t seen any reason to pull her from a school Rain loved, so close to her graduating anyways, where Rain had always done well and gotten fabulous grades despite all the trouble they went through. Her mother had been more than relieved that Rain wouldn’t have to get a real job when she’d turned sixteen, though it had been Rain’s idea to do so, to help out. Her mother had insisted the early morning paper route was more than enough, but Rain knew better. Even if her mom wouldn’t accept that they could use the extra income, Rain could just squirrel it away for college, something that her mother couldn’t possibly object to. She knew her grades would stay fine, and it wouldn’t be that hard to get into the community college in town anyways. Then she could keep whatever job she’d get, and keep an eye on her mom, and things would go on with them looking out for each other as they always had.

That picture had gone right the hell out the window, but at least her mom had let Myles enroll her in White Prince.

He’d taken them all three to an open house, let her see the dorms and the archery fields and the pottery kiln and the chemistry lab – anything he could think of that might win Rain over. Because that had been clearly what he’d been trying to do. Rain’s mother made it plain that the choice was up to Rain – it was her education and her emotional and social well-being that would be affect by this, and no one else, so the decision should be completely hers. Rain had hung on to little spark of logic in her mothre’s whirlwind romance, and used that fact to make the choice objectively, rather than out of spite. No matter what she chose, her mother was on her side for this one, and that made it easier to decide based on what she actually wanted, instead of some stupid teenage desire to prove her independence or attempt to exert some control on the situation.

She’d really enjoyed her psychology class the year before.

Maybe if he hadn’t taken so much from her already, but Rain barely saw her mother anymore, only really saw her friends at school, and was already showing her brochures for this or that college a million miles away – Oxford? Really? Why on earth would she go to England? She was a nobody, going to college so she could get a job. This was not what he life was about. Yes, he’d given her the breathing room to figure out what she wanted to be, now that she had some options, but she sure as hell wasn’t gonna be some Ivy League Princess just cause her daddy had the money to say she was. She’d stick it out in public school and see who she was gonna be before all this, if life had dealt her a mom a slightly better hand.

Nope, White Prince had definitely been out.

But here her mom was, saying they’d driven past the campus again, just to see? It wasn’t “on the way” to anything – that’s why it had freakin dorms! Yes, it was technically still in town, and anyone that wanted to drive home at the end of the day could (though honestly most of them probably lived in the posh houses that surrounded the grounds, but whatever- why Myles didn’t just move them into one of those, she’d never know. This had clearly not been his house when they’d moved in, there wasn’t even a tv in the damned living room). It just felt too much like another world, like you’d somehow made a wrong turn and wound up in Stepford or some craziness. The place gave her the heebies, and here her mom was saying they’d just gone for a drive, and happened out there? No way.

“Mom, what the hell? White Prince? You said it was my decision.”

“And it still is sweeite, and you shouldn’t say such words.”

“Mom, you’ve never given a damn about what I say when it’s just us-”

“But its not just us anymore, is it sweetie?” She glanced up at her husband, too much adoration in her eyes. It made Rain snort in spite of herself.

“I’d watch my tone with my mother, if I were you, Brookey.” There was nothing threatening in his tone, just an adult giving some friendly advice to an obviously unruly child. “If you’ll remember, she’s the one who insisted the choice be left up to you. Don’t prove her wrong now.” The “especially after yesterday” hung unspoken in the air between them, and she glared daggers at him as he calmly met her eyes. However, Rain’s mom had disengaged from her husband and was moving towards her daughter with obvious concern in her eyes.

“I just worry about what kind of people you’re going to attract dear. I don’t want you to wind up like me.”

Rain had started to soften, leaning in as her mother reached out to cup her cheek, but that last sentence ruined it, making Rain gasp and turn away in disgust.

“For that last time, mother, I am not going to fall head over heels and get knocked up by some stranger! Stop chaining me to your mistakes anymore than I already am!”

Her eyes widened in horror and she clapped her hands over her mouth to stop the flow of ugly words. Where the hell had that come from? Sure, she and her mom had talked about where she’d come from, how Rain’s mom didn’t really know her dad for very long before he’d died, but left her pregnant with little baby Rain. But the story had never been as ..accusatory as it was now. Bitter. It had always ended with Rain’s mom telling her how happy she was to blessed her little baby girl out of the whole affair, and Rain promising she’d always be careful, and was never going to leave her. This? This had come waaay out of left field.

Rain was so upset with herself for saying such awful things to her mom, she didn’t know what to do with herself. She wanted to stammer about how she didn’t mean it, and wrap her arms around her mom and whisper that she didn’t mean it, that she still loved her and that she didn’t feel trapped or hate her for anything she’d done, but instead she just stood there and stared as her mother backed away, tears filling her eyes until she’d backed into Myles, where she buried her face in his chest and sobbed.

Arms around his wife, Myles stared Rain down, daring her to say something. Keep talking child, prove me right. When all know what a burden you’ve been on her, and now you’ve made her cry.

Rain shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut and throwing her hands over her ears to drown him out. But he wasn’t speaking. It was all just the guilt in her head, pushing down, down until she crouched, trying to escape all the pressure but still it sunk over her, pressing…

She bolted. Her body reacted without her and she ran, sprinting down the driveway and out into the streets with no thought to where she was going. There were no thoughts in her head, other than RUN. She ran and ran until she ran smack into a man, standing in the street. She hit so hard she bounced off, falling to her butt on the street, cutting her hands on the asphalt.

“No, no, no, that won’t do,” he said softly, crouching down. He was wearing a long, black coat that pooled around him when he knelt, making him look like a puddle of pure darkness. His long dark hair was undone, blowing around his face, which was way too tan for this neighborhood. His smile was startlingly white in all the darkness, but Rain found she couldn’t move, no matter how much her brain was still screaming to RUN.

He knelt on the pavement, one hand appearing from the folds of his coat and resting spread fingers on the road. Rain felt a sharp bite in her hands and she jerked them up, only looking away from the strange little man for half a second. As she watched, the blood ran from the scrapes on her hands, down her fingers and off of them, flowing out into the air and toward the man. His hand was covered in blood, tiny rivulets running from up off the street to disappear into the folds of his coat. The blood from her hand flowed to join the rest of it, leaving perfectly clean, pink skin in its wake. She stared at it, until her brain snapped back into gear and she realize the real thing to stare at was rising to his feet.

Fully standing again, he still wasn’t very tall, shorter than Rain but not freakishly small. Just a short, dark man with long hair and a long coat.

In late August.

Who had just sucked her blood up out of the street.

Her first thought was Oh my god, vampires are real? but it was the middle of the day, that was stupid.

“I’m not a vampire, but they’re not bound by sunlight, silly girl. You should come with me, though, before your step-father comes to find you again.”

She blinked at him, staring stupidly. She hadn’t spoken, she knew she hadn’t. She’d stopped herself before anything so silly could come out of her mouth. But he answered her anyways. Could he read minds?

Of course I can, he thought directly into her head. But that really isn’t important right now. We need to get you out of here.

Rain back peddled on the road, scrambling backwards to get away from him. This was just too much, she was too freaked out, too much couldn’t take it-

“Come with me if you want to live,” the man said, in a terrible Arnold accent.

“Rook, knock it off, you ass, you’ve scared the poor girl.”

The voice behind her was all the warning she got before she backed into a pair long, sturdy legs. She blinked up at the new guy, who looked for all the world like some kind of bouncer. Black jeans, black t-shirt, built arms crossed over his built chest, shaved head and angry scowl for the little man across from them. But when he turned to look down at her, his face softened into a smile, brown eyes warm and inviting.

“Lemme give you a hand up, kid,” he said, reaching down for her.

“Damnit Sergi! You spoil all my fun! How many times am I gonna get to say that?” the little man called, stomping his feet.

“Plenty,” Mr. Bouncer called back, still half-bent to help Rain up, “if you don’t get your ass in gear and we lose her again. Stop dickin’ around.” He dropped the tough guy act again and finished helping Rain stand. “He’s not so bad kid, just got a terrible lust for theatrics. Come on,” he said, grasping her hand, “up you go.”

The strength with which he hauled her up left her breathless, and she leaned against him a minute for support. He’d picked her up like you’d pick a t-shirt up off the floor, no sweat. She gave him wide eyes as she looked up at him, brain just unable to keep up with it all.

“Sergio! Stop flirting with the minor and get your shit together, will you?”

Jon shot him an annoyed look, but didn’t call out with Rain leaning on his chest. He didn’t want to spook the girl any further. Her eyes were glassy and she was almost done, just flat done. “Come on kiddo,” he said softly. “Let’s get you home.”

Rain’s legs slid out from under her and Jon scooped her up, but she was already out.

She came to in a soft, warm bed, and for a minute she thought she was just now waking up for the day. But when she reached over for her nightstand to see what time it was, all she found was more bed. And more bed. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she was in the middle of a huge bed, like the size of a normal kid’s whole bedroom. What the fuck?

“Ah, good. You’re awake.”

Rook’s voice slid through both the air and her mind, carrying with it the reinforcement that she was safe, that nothing would harm her, and that she was back where she belonged.

A quiet place in her soul flared to life, and she believed it.

She was home.

Then her rational brain kicked in and she railed against it, against all of it, including the insanely huge bedspread she was trapped underneath.

“Relax, Rain, Just scoot yourself up, it’s much easier than fighting to get to the side of that thing.”

Again, the voice was accompanied by soothing thoughts, and an agreement inside her about how rational what he was saying was. She didn’t give in to the comfort, but she did use his advice to free herself from the blanket. Not feeling quite so trapped, she pulled her knees up to her chest and leaned against the headboard.

“Where am I?”

Rook sighed softly to himself and moved out of the shadows he’d been watching her from. Always with the “where am I?” first. Never any “Oh thank you! You found me! I’ve missed you Rook, where have you been Rook? Why were we parted Rook?” Oh no, none of that. Ah well. Hopefully, this would be the last time he’d have to do this.

“You’re in my bed, in my room, in my bar, which is named after me. I’m Rook.”

She just blinked at him, and he sighed grandly and sat on the edge of the bed, still leaving them several feet apart from each other.

“You’re in the same town your grew up in, not too far from where you used to live, actually. I’m amazed I got it that close this time.” He stopped himself, with a cutting off motion of his hand. “Irrelevant. Hopefully that won’t be an issue ever again. Here, let me get back on track. I’ve done this enough times, I should be better at it by now, but I never seem to be able to remember what I say from century to century. Ah well.”

Her eyes just widened and she hugged her knees closer to herself. This guy was nuts.

“Yes, Rain, he is nuts, but no, he’s not wrong. Here, have some water.”

Jon had felt Rain wake, or rather, had felt Rook’s pleasure that she’d awoken, and had come up to save her from his dramatic little boss. He sat down the edge of the bed next to her, leaning over to pass her a glass of water.

Rain took it and sipped, not knowing where to turn her attention now. Two very strange men, one that was a psycho, one that could bench press her easy, both able to read her mind. She was so fucked.

“No one’s going to fuck you and Jon can’t read your mind, he just knows me that well. Well, he can read your emotional state, but only under the right circumstances, which you are not under currently.”

“Rook,” Jon interrupted, “shut the fuck up for a minute. I know you love to hear yourself talk but have you ever thought about what this is like from her perspective?” He took advantage of Rook’s stunned silence to fill the girl in.

“Look, bullet points of pressing concerns, so you can rest easier. One: You’re free to go at any time, no one is gonna keep you here against you will. Two: We understand your magic and can help you with it more than anyone else can, because it’s tied to ours. So you’re safer here with us than anywhere else you could possibly be, but again, we aren’t gonna keep you here if you want to go, but you’ll probably wanna stick around and hear us out. Three: The how’s and why’s of this is really long story, and not one we’ll keep from you, but for right now it’s not the most important factor. We can’t just scoop you out of the life you’re living and tuck you away somewhere and take all the time to explain – we’ve tried that before, it doesn’t work. Four, and this one is most important – the less your step-dad knows about us, the safer we can keep you. We need to get you home, and fast, before he goes on the war path through low town again and burns Meliki’s to the ground. I’ve already called Zig, he’s on his way to come get you, and he’ll take you back to your house so there’s less for him to trace, ok?”

He paused, trying not to stare at her too expectantly while he let all that sink in.

Damnit Jon, you ruin all my fun, Rook shot at him, sulkily.

Just doing my job, boss man. You’ll thank me for it later.

Rook rolled his eyes and stood, moving back to his shadows.

“Don’t mind Rook,” Jon said, when Rain’s head whipped around to where he was moving. “He’d just got more invested in this than I do. ‘Swhy he can’t seem to remember how to explain everything gently, key details first. He gets kind of overexcited.” A humph came from the shadows, and Jon smiled. “Have Zig give you our cell numbers, and try to memorize at least one of them by heart. Rook should be able to hear you call mentally, if you’re ever in trouble, but better to have more than one means of calling a friend, ya know?”

Rain nodded slowly, taking a bigger draw from her water. This was overwhelming, but again, he brain was adjusting quickly to the new normal. You could only stay on high alert overdrive for so long.

“Her ride’s here,” Rook said softly from the shadows. Jon nodded and rose to his feet, holding out a hand to Rain to help her get out of the huge bed.

“We’ll keep in touch, Rain. Just remember you’ve got lots of places to turn to now, ok? Don’t ever feel like you’re stuck relying on one source for anything.” He gave the shadows a pointed look, which did not respond. He rolled his eyes and walked Rain to the door, holding it open for her to pass though. He continued talking as he led her down the stairs and towards the front door of what was obviously a bar, like Rook had said. “This is your life and your choice, and we’re here to help you do what you want with it. Not everyone else can say that. Just remember,” he said, hand on the front door, “that we let you go, and we didn’t have to.” He opened the door held it for her, nodding to Zig idling outside. “Take care of yourself kid, you can’t count on anyone else to do it for you.”

10:58 am.

3896 words 1 hours, 25 mins

Rook knew how to find her by following the out of place academic.

[NOTE TO SELF: CHANGE WHAT POWER BUTTON DOES ON LAPTOP]

Zig waffled about what to tell Rain while Tripp read. On the one hand, he wanted to tell her to be careful, that her step-dad was a murderer and not to be trusted. But one, that was some heavy shit, and he didn’t want to scare her for no reason and two, how likely was he to hurt her if he wanted her? And three, there was no telling if he created the ifrit or just ensnared it or something. He’d wait for Tripp to tell him something useful.

He paced back and forth at the foot of Tripp’s bed while his brother sat on it and read.

Mmk… It says here most Ifriti are giants, super strong, and can shapeshift… can be killed or captured with magic… are neither good nor evil, like us, they can choose… I dont’ know how much of this gonna apply to her little pet. Maybe the shapeshifting, probably the bit about magic, maybe the good and evil… I guess it depends on how sentient it is? Ask her if it talks.”

Zig nodded and shot Rain a text, which she answered pretty quickly. “She says it purrs, and seems to react to her talking to it, but hasn’t said any words or anything.”

Tripp nodded, closing his book and putting it back on the shelf. “I wouldn’t worry about it too much then. If it’s not smart enough to talk to her, it’s probably not smart enough to spy for her step-dad or anything. At worst he might be able to command it to affect her moods, or distract her, but I don’t think it’s sentient enough to really whisper things in her ear, or tattle on her, or anything of any real consequence. Hell, it might not even be from her dad. If she picked it up outside and brought it home, it’s probably not give enough to trip his wards and be kept out. It might really be from some sick kid with a squirrel.”

Zig gave him a flat look. “I am not telling her that.”

Tripp shrugged. “You don’t have to. What you tell the kid is up to you, I’m just telling you what I think and know.” Tripp left the room, leaving Zig with a what the hell expression on his face. He sighed and stood, going to the door between their rooms and walking the short hall over to his own space. He knew Tripp wouldn’t care if Zig hung out in his room, but he felt weird being in there without him. It just seemed rude somehow.

Zig flopped on his own, much smaller bed and started drafting a text to Rain.

Rain was thoroughly enjoying playing “tag” with her ifrit and answering questions about it for Zig. She’d never had a pet- she wasn’t about to ask her mom to feed another mouth – and he was happy for the company. And the distraction. She didn’t want to chase her thoughts round and round in her head right now. She was happy to just sit and play with her ifrit.

Her phone was quiet for long enough she’d almost forgotten Zig had been texting her, but when she opened this message, it was a super long one.

Your pet is probably harmless, it probably came from the soul of a small animal, so it’s not likely to be much smarter than a house cat or whatever. Larger ifriti, from human souls, could take the form of that human, shape shift in general, and would basically be more like what we think of when we think “Genie”. That’s what ifriti are, a kind of Jinn, but yours I think barely counts as one. Enjoy your pet : )

She smiled, she was glad to know she wasn’t treating some higher being like a play thing. She had thought it had been enjoying their game, and she was happy to have him.

You wanna live on my candle, little boy? Huh? Huh? Do ya?”

The flame popped and rose a little higher, then settle back down and crackled.

Rain giggled. “I’ll take that as a yes then.” She shot Zig a quick text, thanking him for taking the time to answer her questions, to which he answered No prob, anytime : ) She went to playing with her ifrit, till she fell asleep on the desk.

Some time much, much later, she woke again, belly rumbling. It was night now, no one was up as far as she could tell, when she made her way downstairs to the kitchen. She made a sandwich, thinking about nothing while she ate, just sat and stared at the moon through the big French doors. She didn’t know how long she sat that way, but when she felt her eyes start to droop she went back upstairs and climbed into bed, and drempt of nothing.

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