Chapter 17:

Book 1, Ch. 17: The Hunt Begins

ANNO DOMINI ~Allium~ [Beta version]


***THANKS FOR READING!***Bookmark here

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I know that Honeyfeed users are from all over the world, and many of you might not celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, but I'm still gonna wish you a happy one anyway. :DBookmark here

*******Bookmark here

BOOK 1, CHAPTER 17: THE HUNT BEGINSBookmark here

Chris woke up Sunday, the day after meeting Bret for lunch, but didn’t open his eyes. Fully intent on quickly drifting back to sleep, he rolled over to find the appropriate position for sleeping in another hour or so.
Bookmark here

His arm touched something, and he didn’t give it any thought in his half-asleep state until the thing he touched moved on its own. His eyes popped open. Complete wakefulness flooded his body as he threw the blanket off him, exposing his unexpected bedmate. Next to him, Aleph-Naught was curled into a ball and shivering from the sudden lack of a blanket. Slowly, her eyes opened as Chris jumped out of bed.Bookmark here

“You!” Chris snapped. “What are you doing here?”Bookmark here

“Hmm?” Al sat up and yawned, tousling her blonde, shoulder-length hair. “Why are you yelling?”Bookmark here

“Because you’re sleeping in my bed. With me.”Bookmark here

Her face still slightly red and puffy from sleep, Al stared at Chris with disapproval.Bookmark here

“It’s not a big deal,” she said bluntly. “I forgot how most Americans are touchy about sleeping in the same bed with other people.”Bookmark here

“I don’t think it’s just Americans,” Chris replied with a dry chuckle.Bookmark here

“Yeah, whatever,” Al muttered, yawning again. She sat on the edge of Chris’s bed.Bookmark here

“You didn’t answer my question,” he told her firmly. “What are you doing here?”Bookmark here

“Just sleeping,” she replied, standing up and stretching. “You told me I could stay here for a while.”Bookmark here

“But I thought you’d left.”Bookmark here

“No, I’ve been here. You just haven’t seen me.”Bookmark here

Chris gulped.Bookmark here

“You mean … sleeping next to me?”Bookmark here

“Yeah,” Al said, “this is the first time you woke up before I got up.”Bookmark here

With no thoughts to work him through the concept of sleeping next to a girl for the past few nights, Chris blushed a little.Bookmark here

“Hey, don’t get any weird ideas,” she told him. “I’m not gonna sleep on the floor when there’s a perfectly good bed with plenty of room. That’s all.”Bookmark here

Before Chris could think of any sort of vocal reply, a scratching sound came from outside his door. Curious, he stared at the closed door for a moment while wondering what the sound was. After a few seconds, he heard more scratching.Bookmark here

“Are you gonna answer it?” Al asked flatly.Bookmark here

Without a word, Chris walked to the door and opened it. To his fright, a big rat scurried into his room carrying a letter in its mouth.Bookmark here

“A letter!” Al quickly snatched up the ratmail and read it.Bookmark here

“From your organization?” Chris asked.Bookmark here

“It is,” Al nodded while looking at the letter, “and it’s about time.” After reading it, she grinned. “Looks like I’ve been given another task.”Bookmark here

“Does it mention me?” Chris asked.Bookmark here

“Nah, it doesn’t look like it,” Al told him. She placed the letter on Chris’s desk and wrote a response on the back of the page. When she was done, she gave it back to the large rat. The rodent hightailed it out of the room as Chris watched it.Bookmark here

“How … did it get in the house?” he asked. “I hope my parents don’t see it ….”Bookmark here

“Rats are cunning,” Al said matter-of-factly. “Anyway, I gotta go. Business and stuff.” She put on her uniquely-patterned gray hoodie. The look on her face was full of energy and determination.Bookmark here

“What do they want you to do?” Chris was suspicious of Al, especially after learning she had been secretly living with him for the past few days.Bookmark here

Giving it some thought, Al said, “It doesn’t concern you.”Bookmark here

“But I’m still curious.”Bookmark here

“Well,” she sighed, “I can’t say too much without breaking the code of confidentiality, so I’ll just say that I’m looking for somebody else now.”Bookmark here

“Oh, like one of those ‘mortals of significance’ you mentioned the other day?”Bookmark here

Al nodded, saying, “That’s right.” She reached into her hooded sweatshirt pocket and removed her plastic necklace, which she put around her neck.Bookmark here

Chris’s smartphone was on his bedside table. Normally, he’d have it connected to the charger, but the battery’s life hadn’t dropped a single percent since Lavi had “upgraded” it. He looked at the phone, feeling as if he had to take action.Bookmark here

“I’ll come with you,” Chris told Al.Bookmark here

Without an immediate reaction, Al stared at Chris.Bookmark here

“Why?” she asked.Bookmark here

Shrugging, Chris said, “To help. I’m pretty much up to the eyeballs in this situation, aren’t I? To be honest, I really feel like I should be doing something. Playing my part.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah?” Al seemed skeptical. “What do you mean by ‘your part’?”Bookmark here

That was a difficult question to answer.Bookmark here

“Just to help.” Chris knew his reply was insufficient, but it was as close to the truth as his words would allow.Bookmark here

Al was unsure. She didn’t want to blatantly turn down Chris’s offer of assistance, but she couldn’t simply make the decision.Bookmark here

“Actually, it’d be nice to have you come along.” Al spoke softly and genuinely. “I’m only afraid of the repercussions of involving someone without permission from my superiors.”Bookmark here

“I’m already involved, though,” Chris said. “If this is still because of whatever happened with that stolen artifact, then I’m part of it, apparently.”Bookmark here

“I know that,” Al replied curtly. “But if it makes you feel better, then I’ll tell you that you’re already playing your part.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“I’ve been sending my superiors information about you,” Al explained with a mischievous smirk. “They’ve been able to make important decisions based off that information.”Bookmark here

“So, you’ve been spying on me!” Chris blurted. “That doesn’t make me feel better.”Bookmark here

“I’m a scout,” Al said defensively. “Collecting information and other reconnaissance is what I do. I, Aleph-Naught, am doing my job.”Bookmark here

Chris groaned and looked Al directly in the eye, getting close to her.Bookmark here

“Then tell your superiors this,” he said sternly, “that I’m not the kind of person to sit back and let things happen when I strongly feel I can do something.”Bookmark here

Surprised by Chris’s sudden assertiveness, Al smiled and snickered.Bookmark here

“I like your attitude,” she told him. “So be it. I’ll let them know that you came with me.”Bookmark here

“Will they really let you?”Bookmark here

“Maybe, maybe not. That’s why I’ll tell them after the fact.”Bookmark here

Al put her leather moccasins on, then hid herself with her invisibility as she and Chris got ready to leave the house. On their way out, Chris’s dad was carrying a bottle of cough syrup and a cup of water. He was tall like Chris and had the same serial killer eyes, but looked much more intimidating with his thick facial hair and sturdy build.Bookmark here

“Morning, Chris,” he said through his bushy mustache. “Off and roaming so early?”Bookmark here

“Uh, yeah,” Chris told his dad. “I’m meeting someone.”Bookmark here

“Okay,” his dad replied. “Stay out of trouble.”Bookmark here

Chris chuckled, knowing he was probably heading straight into trouble.Bookmark here

“I’ll try, Dad.”Bookmark here

“Your mom isn’t feeling well today,” his dad said. “She developed a bad cough yesterday and she feels a little feverish this morning.”Bookmark here

“Oh, really? Is it the flu?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know, probably. It’s going around. I’m taking this medicine to her to help her rest.”Bookmark here

“Tell her to get well soon,” Chris said.Bookmark here

“Will do.”Bookmark here

When leaving the house with Al, Chris could hear his dad coughing before closing the front door.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

Robbie was in the kitchen having breakfast with his mother. The local news was on the nineteen-inch TV on the counter, turned to NBBC 50 Chicago. As he squirted ketchup onto his scrambled eggs with sliced hotdogs, his attention was focused on the broadcast.Bookmark here

“The number of infected people in Chicago continues to rise,” reporter Jane Pelham announced. She was a woman in her early forties and had been wearing her brown hair in the same moderately voluminous, medium-length, layered style for the last decade. “Health officials are concerned about an unknown disease that is spreading quickly. This morning, over one hundred twenty additional people displaying the hallmark symptoms were admitted to hospitals, bringing the total estimated number of patients with the disease to nearly nine hundred since the disease’s discovery.”Bookmark here

“Wow,” Robbie’s mother gasped as she watched the live broadcast. “Isn’t that something?”Bookmark here

Robbie’s mother was a high-strung lady with a sharp tongue and crass opinions, and she listened intently to the broadcast while turning up the volume with the remote control. Robbie stared at the TV, feeling almost disconnected from the room he was sitting in.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” he replied quietly.Bookmark here

“Samples of the disease have been sent to several medical laboratories for testing,” Jane Pelham continued. “However, the results remain inconclusive as to the nature of the disease, and reports on the details have not yet been released.”Bookmark here

There was a cut to an interview with one of the elderly administrators of a medical laboratory.Bookmark here

“We’ve been performing multiple tests on the samples received,” the white-haired administrator explained, “but there have been … unexpected results.”Bookmark here

“What sort of results did your team reach?” the off-screen interviewer asked.Bookmark here

The lab administrator shook his head and shrugged.Bookmark here

“There are no results,” he said straightforwardly. “All tests are showing that there is something in the samples, but it is definitely not a disease, at least not what we generally consider to be a pathogen or … or …”Bookmark here

“What would you consider it to be, then?” the off-screen interviewer asked.Bookmark here

The administrator blinked his eyes a few times, his face showing hints of fear before saying, “Something to keep a close eye on.”Bookmark here

As the broadcast cut back to Jane Pelham, Robbie looked at his breakfast. The scrambled eggs covered in ketchup looked like brain matter.Bookmark here

“Health officials have stated that the Cook County Medical Laboratory and Research Center located in Norwood Park would be the best facility for the disease’s examination,” Jane Pelham said. “However, Chicago police had confirmed a recent incident involving a break-in at that laboratory between Thursday night and Friday morning. Many files appeared to be stolen, and much of the cutting edge equipment is nonfunctional, despite the lack of physical damage inflicted on said equipment. The whereabouts of the missing lab technicians remain unknown.”Bookmark here

“It’s a damned conspiracy,” Robbie’s mother said, gesturing at the TV. “How else would the top medical lab in the world be attacked right when a crazy disease is spreading? All in the same city!”Bookmark here

Without hesitation, Robbie scarfed down the rest of his bloody-brain-looking breakfast while doing his best to ignore the news. His eggs had gone cold.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

A Polish street vendor was setting up his food cart, preparing to sell his delicious homemade Vienna beef franks for the hungry pedestrians of Chicago. While finishing the layout for the condiments, a young, well-dressed man strolled up to him.Bookmark here

“Good morning!” the vendor greeted with a big smile.Bookmark here

“And good morning to you, as well,” Lavi replied warmly. “I’d like one of your Chicago dogs, please.”Bookmark here

“You got it. First customer of the day!”Bookmark here

“And hopefully the first of many,” Lavi said with a smile.Bookmark here

The vendor handed the Chicago dog to Lavi; a quality, juicy beef hotdog dressed with bright yellow mustard, diced yellow onions, vibrant green sweet pickle relish, luscious tomato wedges, zippy sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt, all nestled into a fresh-baked poppy seed bun.Bookmark here

“Thank you, good sir!” Lavi sang as he handed a twenty-dollar bill to the vendor. “Keep the change.”Bookmark here

“Ah, thank you much.”Bookmark here

The smell of the hotdog made the angel smile as he looked at the Polish vendor.Bookmark here

“This will make a great meal before I start my long day,” he said earnestly.Bookmark here

“You working on a Sunday, too?” the vendor asked, wiping a smudge of yellow mustard off his hand with a rag.Bookmark here

“Every day,” Lavi replied with a grin. “I gotta make sure people are managed correctly,” he glanced down the street that was beginning to get busy, “or it’ll be a big mess.”Bookmark here

“Well, best of luck to you,” the vendor told him. “I hope my homemade frank will give you the motivation you need.”Bookmark here

“It already has.” The angel returned a smile before biting into the hotdog, the casing popping to release warm juices with a succulent snap.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

The small store selling electronics had no cameras in it, and Bret had confirmed that for himself and had shoplifted there twice before. The current third offense was for a cellphone charger. Stealing the item was as easy as stuffing it in his designated shoplifting jeans (loose-fitting and baggy enough to conceal many stolen goods), and then walking out the door.Bookmark here

After making it around the block, Bret ripped open the plastic package for the charger. His next mission was to find an outlet and revive his dead phone, and there were bound to be numerous power outlets littering the city. He had heard “electricity theft” was a real crime, pertaining to “extracting electricity” from outlets in public areas meant for utility workers’ use only … but he didn’t care the least.Bookmark here

Bret had a very important phone call to make, and his lack of sleep and mild hangover made him incredibly bitter, reckless, and desperate. His entire body remembered the sensation of the void surrounding the beast he had encountered the previous night, and that was all the motivation he needed.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

Chris followed Al down a busy street. Without the invisibility, Al was in plain sight with her strange outfit, even though it wasn’t close to being the most outlandish thing some people wore in the city.Bookmark here

“Why don’t you use your invisibility more often?” Chris asked while they were walking.Bookmark here

“Nah, there’s no need to all the time,” she replied, waving her arm and baggy hoodie sleeve. “And the biggest reason is because it’s a difficult spell to keep active at all times. In fact, I can’t use any other magic while I’m invisible.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I think I understand,” Chris said. “It’s like it uses all your bandwidth when active.”Bookmark here

“What the hell is ‘bandwidth’?”Bookmark here

With a chuckle, Chris said, “It’s a first-world term.”Bookmark here

“But yeah,” Al said, “it’s a pretty powerful spell. I made it myself. Pretty good, right?”Bookmark here

“Uh, yeah. So, you use magic, right? Is it really magic, or is that just a term for it?”Bookmark here

Al gave Chris a quizzical look.Bookmark here

“It’s just magic,” she said. “What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“But … what is it, exactly?” Chris asked.Bookmark here

After a group of college students walked by, Al explained.Bookmark here

“It’s just a term to make it easier for ignorant people like you to understand,” she said snobbishly. “The techniques and methods are secrets, and well-guarded by my organization.”
“By the Illuminati?”Bookmark here

“No, we’re not the Illuminati,” she snapped. “Anyway … it’s a secret.”Bookmark here

“I’ve practiced magic tricks for a long time,” Chris said. “I’m pretty good at them.”Bookmark here

Al snorted.Bookmark here

“Yeah, those are just childish illusions. You don’t use real magic.”Bookmark here

Chris stopped walking. When Al looked at him impatiently, he said, “Then what about my powers? You’re telling me that’s not magic, or whatever it is that you use?”Bookmark here

After a moment of silence, Al said, “It’s something different.” She looked at the sky for a few seconds. “Really, I don’t know what your powers are. Or Rodney’s powers.”Bookmark here

“It’s Robbie.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah. But it’s similar to the abilities of nonhumans, which I’ve never seen a person do. People are supposed to require magic to use powers and stuff, but you guys don’t.” She gave Chris a big smile. “I really hit a goldmine when I found you two!”Bookmark here

“You mean when your partner from Saint Baptiste found us.”Bookmark here

“Ugh, whatever. But hey, I’ll give you a good piece of advice.”Bookmark here

“Okay,” Chris said, “advice about what?”Bookmark here

“Your powers.” Al cleared her throat. “It might be different for you, since you don’t use magic, but it might be the same.” She moved close to Chris, making him rather uncomfortable due to the sudden closeness. “When you use your powers in a specific way or purpose, give it a name.”Bookmark here

Chris blinked, looking at Al.Bookmark here

“A name?”Bookmark here

“Yeah.” Al nodded. “You might find yourself doing the same thing more than once with your powers.” When Chris looked lost for words, she added, “Names traditionally were more than just titles. In the olden days, a name signified a lot of stuff: purpose, meaning, ability, and things like that. For magic users, giving our spells a name increases their power and makes them easier to access.”Bookmark here

That explanation made sense to Chris, mildly.Bookmark here

“I think I get it,” he said. “I just need to name my actions.”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s more than that.” Al scratched her head of blonde hair. “The name needs to be … meaningful. If the name doesn’t carry anything, then it won’t work.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean by ‘meaningful’?” Chris asked.Bookmark here

Al sighed.Bookmark here

“You need to go by instinct.”Bookmark here

Remembering the similar conversations with Lavi, Chris noticed a pattern.Bookmark here

“A lot of this stuff has to do with going with your heart or intuitions, it seems,” he said contemplatively.Bookmark here

“That’s right. That’s why it’s hard to teach.”Bookmark here

Chris nodded with a valiant smirk.Bookmark here

“So, I just need to name my attacks and everything.”Bookmark here

“Calling them out while doing them can help a lot,” Al said.Bookmark here

“Like a game from the Tales series or Star Ocean series, right?”Bookmark here

“Like a what?”Bookmark here

“They’re, uh … a type of video game.”Bookmark here

“Meh. Nerd. Stop using pop culture references. It’s cheap and doesn’t work on people who don’t get the reference.”Bookmark here

Vibrations in Chris’s pocket alerted him of his phone, and he checked it to see Excalibur was trying to communicate with him.Bookmark here

“Hey, Excalibur.”Bookmark here

“Christopher, I have detected a signal that matches with one of the two entities from your school the other day.”Bookmark here

That instantly garnered Chris’s full attention.Bookmark here

“You did? Is it the one that disappeared before we could find it?”Bookmark here

“That is correct,” Excalibur told him. “It is unlikely that two separate entities will emit the exact same signal.”Bookmark here

“Who are you talking to?” Al asked curiously.Bookmark here

“I am the Excalibur Artificial Intelligence application for Christopher’s smartphone.”Bookmark here

“I don’t get it,” Al muttered.Bookmark here

“Excalibur is a program on my phone,” Chris explained. “It’s like a personal assistant.”Bookmark here

“Oh, okay.” She still didn’t seem to understand.Bookmark here

“Where is this thing you’re talking about, Excalibur?” Chris asked.Bookmark here

“It is over two miles away,” Excalibur said. “South-southwest.”Bookmark here

“Sounds like an enemy.” Al had a slight smirk on her face.Bookmark here

“There’s a very good chance it is,” Chris told her seriously, “because it has a negative energy, or something.”Bookmark here

“You must also consider the possibility that it is the ‘mortal of significance’ you are looking for, Aleph-Naught,” Excalibur added.Bookmark here

Al was shocked.Bookmark here

“Has it been listening to us the whole time?” she asked, bewildered.Bookmark here

“The whole time,” Chris said with a small grin.Bookmark here

“It knows my name.”Bookmark here

“Anyone who’s had the rundown from Lavi is entered into Excalibur’s database,” Chris said.Bookmark here

“Huh? I don’t know this Lavi person,” Al said.Bookmark here

“Aleph-Naught has not met Lavi,” Excalibur said. “I simply eavesdropped.”Bookmark here

“Eh, that’s creepy.” Al shivered with a look of disgust.Bookmark here

Chris smirked and said, “It sucks to be spied on, doesn’t it?”Bookmark here

Al pouted.Bookmark here

“So, who’s Lavi?” she asked. When Chris hesitated to answer, she said, “Let me guess, it’s a secret.”Bookmark here

“Well, sort of,” Chris said.Bookmark here

“He gets the info on people from your phone, right?”Bookmark here

“That is incorrect,” Excalibur confirmed. “Anyone who learns of Lavi’s true identity is automatically logged into my system, and other methods of entry do exist, although I lack details.”Bookmark here

While tasting the unsavory flavor of that vague explanation, Chris’s phone rang, this time due to an incoming call. He didn’t recognize the number on his caller ID, and he hesitated briefly before answering it.Bookmark here

“Hello?”Bookmark here

“Hey. Is this Chris?”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

“Chris … it’s Bret.”Bookmark here

Chris glanced at Al, who stared at him impatiently.Bookmark here

“Oh, hi,” Chris replied, not knowing how to feel about receiving a call from Bret. Happy probably?Bookmark here

Bret was at a park, he wasn’t sure which one, and was ducked down next to a building with his phone plugged into a utility outlet. He had a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew by his side, more than half empty now, which served as his hydration, rejuvenation, and breakfast.Bookmark here

“There’s something I need to tell you,” Bret said, gripping his phone with the cracked screen. “It’s something really crazy.”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

“It’s some real crazy shit, man.”Bookmark here

“It’s okay, I’m listening.”Bookmark here

Bret took a chug of his soda before speaking.Bookmark here

“I don’t know how to say it, but … I fought a monster last night. I ain’t joking, man.”Bookmark here

Chris held his breath for a second, taking Bret’s words in.Bookmark here

“I believe you.”Bookmark here

Bret laughed.Bookmark here

“How did I know you’d believe something like that?” His vision blurred as he thought about his next words. “Really, man … I think I knew you’d believe me.” He wiped his forehead. He was sweating. “That makes it easy for me to explain, then.” He laughed again, but nothing was funny.Bookmark here

“Where are you right now?” Chris asked. “I’ll meet you. You can tell me about it in person.”Bookmark here

“I don’t know where I am. But I can figure it out. I just wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.” He glanced around, noticing he wasn’t in a park, but a golf course. “Looks like a golf course.”Bookmark here

Chris heard the call waiting sound come from his phone. Excalibur was trying to communicate with him.Bookmark here

“Hold on, Bret. I have another call.”Bookmark here

“Fine. Don’t take too long.”Bookmark here

Switching over the phone call, he listened to what Excalibur had to say.Bookmark here

“I can pinpoint Bret’s location based on his cellphone signal,” Excalibur said. “He is approximately six to seven miles away, west by northwest.”Bookmark here

“Good, I can find him with your help.” He switched back over to Bret’s call. “Hey, you still there?”Bookmark here

“Yeah.”Bookmark here

“If you stay where you are, I can find you.”Bookmark here

“Huh? How you gonna find me?”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll be there as soon as possible.”Bookmark here

Bret sighed.Bookmark here

“Okay. I’ll be here.”Bookmark here

“Alright, I’ll see you then.”Bookmark here

When Chris hung up, Al looked at him.Bookmark here

“You gotta go meet somebody?”Bookmark here

“Looks like it,” Chris replied.Bookmark here

“Tell you what,” Al said, “you go to your friend. I’ll find that other thing your phone told you about.”Bookmark here

“Are you sure?” Chris asked concernedly.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about me,” Al told him confidently. She brandished her ornate yo-yo. The ruby red butterfly-style body was equipped. “I have ways of defending myself!”Bookmark here

Chris nodded and said, “Then I’ll leave it to you.”Bookmark here

“Before we go, can you have Excavator-whatsit give me the coordinates of the target’s location?”Bookmark here

“Yes,” Excalibur replied. “It will take several seconds, but I will attempt to pinpoint the location as accurately as possible from this distance.”Bookmark here

“Excellent,” Al snickered with a grin. “I’m getting stoked.”Bookmark here

Chris was concerned, more for the target’s safety than Al’s.Bookmark here

“I’ll give you my phone number so you can get in touch with me,” he said.Bookmark here

“Don’t bother, I don’t use a phone.” Al rummaged through her gray hoodie pocket and presented two six-sided dice to Chris. They looked slightly misshapen and possibly hand-crafted out of what appeared to be clay or stone. “Take these. They’ll help you locate me.”Bookmark here

Taking the strange dice, Chris examined them closely.Bookmark here

“Okay, but how?” he asked. “How do they work?”Bookmark here

“If you roll them both at the same time, you’ll get a number up to twelve. That number will tell you which direction I’ll be from you.”Bookmark here

“Uh, okay.” Chris could already tell the method would be confusing.Bookmark here

“Twelve is north,” Al explained, “and six is south. East is three and west is nine.” As Chris was trying to piece together the instructions in his head, Al sighed. “Roll them and see.”Bookmark here

When Chris threw the odd dice on the sidewalk, they bounced around for an abnormally long time before coming to a rest. The sum of the shown numbers was seven.Bookmark here

“It says seven.” Al pointed at the dice. “That says right now I’m south of their position, and little to the west, see?”Bookmark here

Chris chuckled as he tried to hide his confusion.Bookmark here

“I … think I understand … I think.”Bookmark here

“Meh, you’ll be fine,” Al said dismissively. “Think of it as a clock, with twelve always to the north.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I think I get it. But what if your location is in the ‘one’ position?”Bookmark here

“Say what?”Bookmark here

“If there are two dice, then it’s impossible to roll a one,” Chris pointed out. “The lowest number I can get is a two.”Bookmark here

The distant gaze in Al’s eyes said it all.Bookmark here

“Uh, that’s a good question. I never thought of that.”Bookmark here

Chris picked up the dice and put them in his pants pocket before saying, “Whatever, are you ready?”Bookmark here

“Yup. Just make sure you get those dice back to me. I don’t want just anybody being able to find me.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, as if anybody’ll know to interpret them that way.”Bookmark here

“Just sayin’. I’ll see ya later.”Bookmark here

“But what if I need to roll a one?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know! Just don’t be in that situation!”Bookmark here

“Okay,” Chris muttered.Bookmark here

With that, the two headed in their separate directions.Bookmark here

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