Thursday, May 23, 2013
Tempest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler
Between Iris’s abduction and not being able to have a proper swim, the following week was pure, unadulterated hell. I’d learned from the investigation in Boston that real-life detective work consisted mostly of sitting around, sorting through things you’d sorted through a thousand times before, and hoping that some new detail would pop up to catch your eye. In the meantime, you sent out feelers so that other people would sort through their stuff, looking for something, anything, new on their end. While all this paper shuffling was going on, the only thing you could do was sit and stew.
Stewing had been bad enough when the victims were merely names on files. Stewing when I knew it was Iris’s life at stake was a torture unlike any I’d ever known.
Anyan, luckily, had more feelers than a millipede. He’d called everyone, and I mean everyone, he’d ever known. He’d even borrowed Terk to send messages to beings so old and powerful they eschewed modern technology. He mustered the forces of both the Alfar power structure and the networks of halflings that stretched across the Borderlands.
Finally, however, even he had to sit down and wait like the rest of us. And I couldn’t even blow off steam with my usual, stress-reducing swims. Instead, I had to scamper about in the shallows like a child under the watchful eye of Nell or Anyan. It was humiliating. Other than that, I spent the week calling Anyan every five minutes to see if there was news about Iris; thinking around all the issues that went along with my mother’s death, including how I was going to tell my father and trying to figure out how to deal with my own, strange grief; and worrying about everything and everyone till I would physically panic and then force myself to come down from that panic… usually by lobbing badly aimed mage balls at things.
The one thing I wasn’t doing, however, was sleeping. And so, eight days after Iris was kidnapped, I stood like a zombie behind the counter of Read It and Weep. I wasn’t, yet, trying to eat people’s brains, but I did look like the walking dead. There were huge bags under my eyes from over a week spent half sleeping on our crappy couch. Between my nightmares about Iris, my lack of a good swim, and the lumpy cushions, I hadn’t had a decent night’s rest since returning to Rockabill.
Tracy was back at my house, still believing they’d been exiled from their own home due to a really difficult-to-fix gas leak. Grizzie, meanwhile, was puttering around the shop behind me, singing Lady Gaga. My tall friend was wearing pink skintight jeans that were dusted with glitter, a purple tube top, and a long-sleeved, fake-fur Bandolero jacket a slightly darker pink than the jeans. So her current sound track fit her wardrobe, really.
“You look like shit, honey,” Griz said, for the fifth time that day, as she moved me aside to dust the counter in front of me.
“Thanks. ’Preciate it.”
“It’s only true. You look like you haven’t slept since you got back. We should get you a blow-up mattress or something. Miss Carol can fill it with all her hot air, and you can finally get some shut-eye.”
I grinned. Having Miss Carol and Grizzie in the same house was like unleashing Archie Bunker on Al Bundy. I thought our walls were going to turn indigo from the blue streaks the two women swore.
“Yeah, well, I’m glad you’re all here. I’ll have lots of time to sleep soon.”
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