Short Zombie Saturday

Colby-Jack wiped the sweat from her eyes for the millionth time as she removed two more crusty loaves from the oven. The morning rush was frenzied and she was doggedly determined to catch up for the lunch rush. Although, judging from the sun, it should’ve started already. She cursed and remembered the rude city watchman who’d told her to clear out a few hours ago. Did he put a sign or something on her door? Better investigate. That son of a…You have the presence of mind to tell someone off one time in a position of power and they-

Bodies littered the street outside her door. Dead eyes open, uncaring, staring into the abyss of the sun. Well this doesn’t seem like it was the watchman’s doing. She waved her hands in someone’s face for a moment, but there was no reaction. His eyes didn’t even twitch. She pulled him bodily away from her shop; she didn’t want to be disrespectful to the dead, but she couldn’t have these people dying all over her livelihood.

Colby-Jack spent a few minutes investigating the streets a few up and a few down from her own. As far as the eye could see, rivers of motionless citizens polluted the pathways, lying face-down and face-up, however they fell she assumed. She retreated back to the store to gather some supplies. If there was a plague after all, then she’d better get to that East church. She wrapped up as much bread as she could comfortably carry and stowed it in a travel bag, then attached leads to Parmesan and Cheddar. The two cats were not pleased to have been awakened, and meowed grumpily.

“Get on with it, you lazies. It’s not like you’ve actually done anything that would necessitate the need for a nap in the first place.” She briskly walked the streets, the two cats keeping pace easily. The streets were devoid of any moving body, so it was relatively easy going.

The further East she got though, the more she found herself being forced to step over the bodies as they grew more and more densely populated on the city streets. “Jeez I bet the rich people probably just all rode carriages, the good for nothing-” Colby’s eyes narrowed. She scanned her surroundings quickly, looking for splashes of color, or at least clean clothes. All the souls surrounding her now were dressed in tatters and smocks, workman’s clothing that was shredded and dirty as sin.

“Ohhhhh.”

She huffed once, turned herself right around, and marched West. “I’ll bet those cheeky bastards are beside themselves right now, sitting around and sipping iced wine or reading a book about working or something. Ugh!” Grumbling to herself more for the noise than any actual anger she felt, she made good time and found herself back at the city center before long. The rich folk were all locked up in a walled section of the city, but surely one of them needed a new baker while everyone was dying in the streets?

“What’s an ankle like you doin’ in a shoe like that, girl!”

Colby stopped short. “Ex..Excuse me?”

An old guy with a smaller pack stood hunched over in the street, examining her footwear.

“Y’got no arch support. Where’s the cushioning? Your shoes ain’t got no sole. Eh HEH HEH!” The old guy rubbed his hands together greedily while he chuckled to himself.

“Ugh, who are you?” Colby-Jack took a few healthy strides, taking care to hide her cats.

“Ol’ Fenton Shoemaester, at your service. I’ve got a 6 at my place with YOUR name on it missy, let me take you home right quick.” Grunting with oldness, Fenton heaved himself to his feet and started leading the way East.

Colby noticed they weren’t actually the only two walking around – she must’ve been more distracted than she realized.

“Uh, thanks Fenton, but no thanks. There’s a bit of a situation happening right now in town, not sure if you’d noticed. Nobody with fancy clothes is lying around so I figured those guys are holed up behind their wall, living the high life. I’m heading that way so I’m afraid I don’t have time for shoes.”

Fenton gasped in reply to her sacrilege and opened his mouth to reply.

“Excuse me”

A sweet voice drifting over the breeze shut his mouth before his reply, however.

“Have either of you seen any of the officials around? I was hoping to get some information that might help the congregation at THE LORD’s church. Everyone is so sick, I’d heard there was a cure.” A young lady in the soft layers of a church’s apprentice approached tentatively.

Fenton’s eyes did some wandering while Colby spoke up. “Nay girl, I’ve not seen anyone coherent until this man here started talking about- GET AWAY FROM THERE!” The baker brandished a baguette, beating the old man’s grubby hands from the poor girls’ feet. “She’s been through enough without a wackjob trying to get her out of her shoes so early in the day, Mr. Shoemaester if you please!”

Fenton guffawed into the quiet streets as he allowed himself to be shooed away. “Now now baker woman, either we’re all going to die, or we’re going to be on our own for some time. It would be nice to have some comfortable shoes either way – wouldn’t it? Make ya feel better. Give you spunk! My place is right on the way to the rich folk, c’mon let’s swing on by and I’ll prove it.”

***

An hour later, the two women sat in his small sitting room atop comfy chairs.

“Old man, I’m a bit taken aback. It’s like walking on air.” Colby paced the room in the new boots, somewhat at a loss. “Did you have to put these giant holes in the sides though? It feels a might chilly to be wearing things like this around.” Glancing to the younger girls’ shoes, she wasn’t surprised to see it cover even less.

“Fenton they’re wonderful, how much do they cost?”

He waved the young lady’s hands from the laces. “Don’t be silly, don’t be silly! It’s the apocolypse, I wouldn’t dream of charging you. These weren’t for sale anyhow, I was just waiting to meet the right feet. What’s your name, anyhow?”

“Tess Prees, from the church of THE LORD by the north wall.”

“Lovely to meet you Tess.” Colby stood and moved to the door. “I was just on my way to make the rich people let me stay with one of them. If the cure is anywhere, it’s going to be holed up with those fools, not distributed to the poor people now conveniently as far away from the wealthy district as they can be. Don’t you agree?”

It did make more sense than the Vitsuata church handing out tens of thousands of antidotes for free. “I suppose you’re right. So you think they’ll listen to us though?”

“I don’t care, that’s where I’m going. Come along if you like.” With that, Colby-Jack whisked out the door, cats in tow.

“Okay sure, might as well try something.” Tess hurried out the door after her.

“Wait for me!” Fenton snatched up the sketchbook under his desk and shoved it into his bag as he rushed after them.

When a little goes a long way

Tina Here!

One of the things I love about my husband is the drive and passion he can have for projects. He wants to clean the room. You can bet your 70’s disco playlist he will get it done. He wants to build a world, Hell, why not build a world, novel, and game based around that world. One of the things that has been hard on both of us has been our weight. He would never say anything to me about it because, well, I am extremely sensitive about it. However, since I was pregnant with Nik we both have grown quite a bit. I saw one of my inspirations on YouTube talk about her own weight loss journey and thought huh, I bet I could do that.

So, Kris and I downloaded Lose it and have been tracking our weight loss for the last 16 days. I haven’t really lost much but I didn’t expect to loose to much. Really, I wanted to have a log of my eating habits for a month to take to my doctor for advice. Well, so far what I have observed is that I very rarely eat over my “allowed” calorie limit. However, I have days were it is bad, just like everyone I am sure.

 

So far this has been more a trial of memory and remembering to log everything. Often times I hand it over to Kris and go, “Does this really look right to you?”

So far it has been telling me I should reach my first weight goal by January next year…. or July… It can’t decide. So I guess we will find out around then.

Shrt Stry Strdy

Tina Here

Well, It is here again. Saturday. Right after Friday. Like clockwork. Can you tell I have nothing much to say today? This post is late because I was working with Pflugerville Pets Alive at their adoption event and was bogged down with the task of playing with 16 puppies. It was so terrible, I loved every minute of it, doing it again next week. With that being said, I did boast a little about my writing so I guess I better put up or shut up.

So today will be a spooky one, since it has been awhile for one of those.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The old wooden floors moaned at the intruder. The shadowy figure paused to listen. No other noises started up, so he continued toward the bedroom. Secure the parents, secure the kids, take the load, get the hell out of town. Simple job, rich family, easy money. The thoughts flowed out of him like a mantra. Really, he should consider himself more of a robin hood type. He was taking back the riches given to this blowhard normally given to the guys who hired him. Not that they would ever take responsibility for hiring him, but that was the norm.

Gliding down the hallway, he stopped at the sound of harsh breathing. His heart raced as he turned his head, fearing the worst. There stood a small boy, no older than 7. His light hair and dark eyes shadowed in darkness. His smile, however, was as bright as day.

Panicking, he almost yelled in surprise. The boy shook his head and smiled, leading the man down the hall. His hand was cold, and clammy. Like he had just washed them after a midnight pee. Did this boy think he was here to play? Why didn’t he alert his parents? The boy pointed to his room with the door slightly open. They continued to the room as the man thought of ways to secure him without alerting the parents.

The boy walked into a room that was decked out with all the latest tech gadgets any young boy dreamt of. He stood over the fish tank near the bed, watching with intensity. The man, true to his profession, searched the room for ways to secure the child. Something to mute his cries, something to hold him still. He had zip ties he could attach after getting him quiet. His eyes wondered the desk littered with game systems, a jar of money, action figures. Comic books covered the bookshelf with abandoned educational books. He spotted a closet that was slightly ajar, a jump rope leaking out the bottom like a forgotten snake. The man smiled as he eyed a basket of laundry with freshly rolled socks on top. Picking both up, he turned back to an empty room. The boy was gone.

Panicking that the boy had gone to wake his parents, he ran out the door, almost bowling over the boy looking up a set of stairs that had been hidden behind a door. The man grasped empty air as the boy dashed silently up the stairs. Swearing at all the saints he remembered, he took off up the stairs. Cursing his luck and this kid. Cresting the stairs, he saw the child looking at a wall. The boy smiled and walked out of sight. As the man gave chase, he stopped short at the edge of the pool of blood. Mother, Father, Sister and Brother all embraced on an old couch in a loving family pose, mussed hair and pajamas worse for wear. Upon further inspection, he saw the father and mother were bound. Sister was leaning on the mother’s shoulder. The boy sat holding a jump rope. The man looked to the jump rope in his own hands only to find a crowbar, dripping with blood.

Dropping the crowbar to the floor, he looked up to find them all staring at him. Smiling like he was a photographer, about to snap a picture. He took a step back into something solid. Turning his head slowly to keep the family in view, he noted the door was now directly behind him. The one from down the stairs. The man whipped back around to find the boy in front of him again, offering the jump rope. The man shook as warm liquid trickled down his leg. He noticed the rope burns around the boy’s neck. Looking back to the family, he saw they were all looking angrily at the boy. He looked backed to the smiling child with the jump rope. Terrified, he found the other family members had now risen, standing much closer, as if coming for the child. The man couldn’t blink, couldn’t move. Suddenly, he felt tight. The boy had his arms wrapped around his waist. The man glanced at the boy’s smiling face, while the boy wrapped the rope around him. His eyes darted to the family, frozen even closer. Reaching for the child, as if to snatch him.

With that, the man was pushed backwards, and just kept falling.

Police lights flashed against the marbled main entrance to the beautiful home. Four body bags were taken out by gurney and loaded up, on their way to the morgue. The police stood by and watched large men in smocks buckling the last latch on the stranger they found hanging over the bodies, speaking gibberish.

“You know, I’m almost keen to believe him.”

“What, that they set him up? That they fought over him? Or that the boy was saving him?”

“Nah, that he was breaking in here to steal stuff, but that they stole from him.” After a sip of coffee, “Seems to me that alive or dead, they stole his sanity.”

Huffy laughter followed as they followed the muzzled and bound perpetrator out of the house.

Fabulous Fun Fictions for…playing

Kris here

With all my talk lately of building Dads ‘n Dragons(notTM) I’ve been reading up on a lot of board games and other tabletop RPG games out there. Both for inspiration or creative techniques around boring stuff, but also because it would, you know, really suck to spend a year making something that already exists. I’m primarily making it for me to play with my local group anyway. But if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing RIGHT dang it! Wait no I take it back oh no I’m my daaaaaad~~~

Right, so I’ve been reading up on all that stuff and I figured it would be a good opportunity for another round of “What weird crap is Kris thrusting onto us this week!” Dearest reader, I only want the best for myself, and for everyone who likes me. So I’ve rounded up a small list of games you can play with your families that I never heard of before playing it with my family (and friends). Non-video games of course, do you think I’m some uncouth heathen? Sheesh!

Dixit  – Dixit is a hilarious game in the right crowds and the art style is so danged cute. Tina and I have played this with grumpy old men, happy not old ladies, and grumpy AND happy young children, and they all think it’s fabulous. You choose a picture, make a tiny story up, and everyone else throws in a card they think matches the story. The non story-tellers then all guess which is the main card, and everyone gets points! The rules are quick and easy so I won’t deliberate too long here, but it’s really good practice for on-the-fly creativity.

Betrayal at House on the Hill  – Holy crap you guys. I’ve probably put a hundred hours into this game and if someone came over to my house right now with a group and asked to play, I would…send them away. I mean jeez I’m not even dressed, it’s practically bedtime. But if someone called and asked if I’d like to play in ten minutes, HELL YEAH I’d zip out like a fly on picnic day. The game is essentially exploring a creepy old mansion for a while until Watson rolls 6 blank dice and starts the haunt. And then Tina wins the haunt. But the process of losing is just so fantastic!

Arkham Horror – I’ll be honest, I freaking love this game, but I play it far less than Betrayal at House on the Hill. The reason being just because it’s quite a bit longer of a game, and it’s a BIT rules intensive to explain sometimes. Also, it’s really only amazing with 4 or more people and our on-hand number of board game players is 3. But seriously it only takes like 90 to 120 minutes most of the time and it’s AMAZING. Not many other board games end my turn just because I’m scared of the scary tongue god. (http://www.arkhamhorrorwiki.com/God_of_the_Bloody_Tongue)

Love Letter  – Alright, that’s probably good with the board games already. Let’s turn to card games! Love Letter is about getting your love letter to the princess. You draw a single card each turn, and whoever has the highest card at the end is the winner! Except there are also things each card does, like the guards will let Tina actually guess the exact card you have in your hand right now it doesn’t matter what turn it is. Yeah you. You’re out. Sorry. Don’t get attached to winning if you’re playing against my wife not that I’m bitter or anything. We don’t actually have Love Letter anymore, but we do have Love Letter Batman. It’s identical, except the princess is the Joker and Robin can protect you against anyone, anywhere.

Munchkin – Munchkin is technically not a board game, because there’s no board! Though we did technically make one, it’s paper and I’m not including that. Most people have probably seen or even played Munchkin, but since it’s Nik’s favorite game to play with us, I figured I’d go ahead and include it in the list. You draw cards to your hand with things like “The Kneepads of Allure” or “The Boots of Butt Kicking” that you can equip to yourself with different bonuses, or curses, and you kick down imaginary doors to a dungeon and fight monsters. Some monsters are nice. The potted plant at level 1 won’t even hurt you, that’s how nice it is. It’s a silly game you can play with basically anyone who can read, and it generally takes about an hour to finish.

We have an animal cage literally brimming with board- and card games, but these are the 5 I find myself playing most often. For better or for worse. Let me know if you guys have any suggestions of your own, we’ll be happy to check ’em out!

Unless you say Settlers of Catan. If you say Settlers of Catan we can’t be friends anymore.

Short story saturdays, Z(ombie) style

Kris here,

Remember that one time a long time ago when I wrote the start of what I wanted to make a little mini-series of? The guy with the friend and he was sick, and his friend, well, ate a guy? Yeah that one. Forget all about it! I mapped out a story pretty far, but I wanted to write a different story instead and since it’s about zombies too, well that’s too much zombie. It doesn’t work in stories like in real life; you can’t swarm a reader with zombie stories to eat their brains.

So here’s a different story don’t even worry about it. I stole found a cool idea for a Pathfinder (TTRPG) game and I went for it! Now I’m going to write about it in a hopefully entertaining manner, though even I’m not 100% sure how the story will go.

_____________________

THUD

Fenton Shoemaester nearly jumped out of his skin as something plowed into the other side of his front door. He hastily stowed the sketchbook full of ankles he’d been rifling through and went to the door.

“Yes?”

Dark rimmed eyes gazed through him, the heavy man on the porch breathing heavily a moment. “Kind sir, I need to buy a pair o’ shoes to wear. Do you have any in hand?” Heaving for air, the ragged stranger wheezed into the front sitting room and sat against the wall.

“Oi lad, sure I can cobble something up for you quick enough, how’s about a week from today?”

Those dark eyes widened in alarm. “Can ye do it any faster? My old pop’s funeral is to be today I’m afraid. Passed sometime overnight-” Stopped briefly by a fit of coughing, he spit blood onto the floor and continued. “He passed sometime overnight I’m ‘fraid, the whole family is in a state just like me. We have to do it while we still have the strength. We can’t just leave him in bed for weeks like old ma!”

Lip curled as he eyed the mess, Fenton thought quickly. “Aye, I suppose you’re about what, a seven? A nine? I bet I’ve something I can use to get rid of you with. That you can use I mean.” The old man perused his storeroom for several long minutes during which he desperately hoped the man survived. Finally, he found the pair. “Here we are good man, I believe these will suit you just fine. I take 2 silver for the pair or if ya only got one leg, you get half off! Ah ha! Ahahaha!”

Blearily the other groped his pockets and fished up two silver coins, not even a courtesy laugh the whole while. Another fit of coughing later and he shut the door with an old pair of shoes in hand. Fenton snatched up an old rag ready to be thrown away from a dusty corner and tossed it at the mess on the floor. “There better be plenty of young ladies needing shoes this season, I swear. This shop will be the death of me!” Growling and grumbling to himself, the old man hurled the filth into the early morning streets to be washed away by the river of people that would break through in a few hours.

Noticing the clothier next door to him was sitting on her porch, Fenton invited himself over and took a quick peek down. Ah, that leather-and-lace affair he’d crafted up for her some years ago. Perfection! “Hello Claudia, little early isn’t it?”

“Ah, Mr. Shoemaester it is good to see you. I sleep warmly in my down blankets these cold nights, but a man come and does not read my ‘go away’ sign. He ask me to make a suit for a pittance by this afternoon! Pshaw I tell him, I have nothing for you here, begone! I think he carries a dark sickness in him and I do not want him infecting the spirits of the lace.”

“Oh yeah that would be a real shame. Lace is hard to make! He came over to buy shoes a few minutes ago too and I felt the same way. I didn’t want him in there taintin’ up the soles ya know.”

Claudia slowly leveled her gaze at Fenton while he guffawed himself right off the porch. “Mr. Shoemaester, it is good that you have such a source of laughter. It is a pity you cannot share this with the rest of us.”

The geezer sauntered back over to his shoe shop wiping a tear from his eye, waving goodbye to his old friend until next time.

 

*********

 

“The LORD hath delivered unto ME… a message, my people! A message for YOU! He doth guide me the righteous path of…RIGHTEOUSNESS I say, to protect all of you! All of you powerful common folk who come into his house. I recognize each of you, let me tell you. I know everyone, and we love each of you dearly. Myself that is, and THE LORD above!”

Tess wiped the droplets of sweat from her brow as she finally finished sweeping the nave. How oddly silent it was today. She paused a moment to listen to the sermon before stepping to the front porch to beat out the broom. She could never fathom how dirty the inside of the church could be after being cleaned once a week. Surely someone must be tracking dust in purposefully?

“Miss, can you help my dear mum? She is unwell!”

She was jerked from her daydream by an older woman standing over an elderly woman laying against the steps to the church. “I worry her time has come, but we weren’t able to reach inside the church in time. Might you help me get her inside?”

Tess took a step down the stairs but halted. She’d been caught up in her reverie a few minutes before and had missed the bodies lying in the streets. Glassy eyed and staring to the heavens, young and old alike sat against the close-knit buildings or just lie uncaring in the streets as far as the eye could see. “Dear woman, I’ll gladly help. I’ll lift her arms and chest, be sure her feet don’t drag or catch on the doorframe.”

Grunting and heaving ensued. The old woman was surprisingly heavy and the two women had trouble just lifting her to the top of the stairs. After a moment, a new voice joined the fray.

“‘Allo madams, might I lend a hand here?”

A strong youth fitted in hard leather and bearing an unlit torch strode in from a side street. He hefted the semi-conscious old woman onto his shoulders easily, setting her inside on a pew near the door.

“Thank you so much for your assistance kind sir.” Tess curtsied and retrieved the broom leaning against the outside of the door.

“My pleasure miss. I’m making the rounds this morning anyway. His Lordship has called for all citizens to make their way to the Eastern church of Vitsuata with all haste. As you’ve noticed, there’s a plague spreading through the city, and the Vitsuata alchemists have devised a cure I’m told. That’s what his Lordship told us all anyway. We’re to gather near the east church to be given the cure. Please inform the Father while I continue my rounds.”

“Of course officer, I’ll let them know right away. Thank you!” Tess escorted the young guard back outside and saw him off, then returned to the marble pulpit at the center inside.

“Dear father, I don’t wish to interrupt you today but I thought you ought to know, -” She delivered the guards’ words to the priest atop the stage and told him her own observations outside earlier.

“So a plague is it? That must be what’s wrong with the crowds today Tess. I was sure of it, not a single cheer for the LORD has been risen today. That hussie of a god Vitsua must be responsible of course, why else would they offer a cure? Bah!” Father Maximus wrung the sweat from his long beard and then used it to wipe his face. “I should have known those good for nothing leeches would cause problems one day, I must obtain an augurie before we leave the safety of our home. Tess, protect our flock!”

With that, the sturdy old man whisked himself to the basement.

Dang it Kris!

Tina here.

Whatever Kris let in to this house got me bit bad. Metaphorically speaking of course. He has chatted my ear off about his rpg and his back and forth on setup and how it works. Last night he gave me a break and picked up a YouTube video by a guy documenting his progress in making his own rpg. Well damn if I didn’t make him pause and start over after fetching my notebook cause I had an idea.

That’s right. I am also making an rpg. However mine is aimed at nerdy families with younger kids. So if your friends are to busy trying out that new beer place in downtown Austin, you can just rope your family into game night in the guise of family time.

Really I know so many parents who are gamers and would love to play something like the established rpgs with their kiddos but the setup and explanations seem a bit daunting to explain to someone who you just finished explaining why you HAVE to wash your hands after you poop.

Now not to get you all hyped but I am excited and after I make a working model I will need a cast of various kinds of kids to be sacrificed to my little game. I promise to return them eventually. So yeah be on the look out for that and if Kris hunts you down to talk about magic vs physical fights, take a deep breath and enjoy the math and science he is about to throw at your face.

Short Story Saturday – Alma 3

Tina Here again with a short story for Saturday.

 

Last time I started off with a telling of my childhood horror. The gateway to my weirdness if you will. Now, I was unsure if I should continue that line or work on something else, and if something else, what? Well Kris suggested that I continue the short story I had started before. Alma. Looking to generate a ‘Doctor Who’ mixed with Sherlock, I wanted a female who knew a lot about a lot of things but she wasn’t quite hip to how the world worked in general. With that I posted two Chapters, loosely called chapters as I just took them to mean single post pages. I think I would like to take this story up again. So, if you haven’t seen 1 and 2, I will link them below then start on 3. I hope you enjoy and I would love any feedback you see fit to share!

 

Alma 1

Alma 2

 

Ro’dan looked around with amazement. The small plain looking doors held behind them a grand amazing place. Pictures, statues, figures and random boxes here and there sprinkled the little library. The room was built with full ceiling to floor bookshelves that seemed to replace the walls and held little knick knacks and stuffed full with books. Ro’dan couldn’t help but spot all the things around the room that just might slip into his pockets. However, he was struck with the feeling of her quick hands and deft strength that had caught him before. Not to mention the odd behavior after making him swear to leave the place whole. He still wasn’t quite sure it mattered but he picked out the 5 small items that he felt might sell quickly and for nice pocket of change. After having marked his targets he switched to become the charming young man just inraptured with this odd mousy girl.

 

Alma strutted into the library and focused her eyes on the far side of the room, making a brisk pace toward the built in fireplace to place an object into a box and lock it with a small key then place it around her neck. She stayed facing the mantel for another moment before she took a breath and turned around. Ro’dan turned his sweet eyes toward her and smiled.

 

“Ah so we got a learned girly here eh? Well how can this poor street boy help ya?” Ro’dan started to walk around the library touching this or that. Picking things up and looking at them then placing them back, careful to make sure they looked just as before he picked them up.

“Oh, well I guess that would be the term used now. Yes, Learned. I am mostly taught by my father and mother but as you see we had no shortage of knowledge at our fingertips. As far as how you can help, I am in need of some more practical application skills.” Alma followed his hands with each object and watched how he looked at them. Ro’dan raised his eyebrows in mock shock. “OH, not in the arts of cutpurse or anything that might fetch legal troubles as such. More in, well,” she paused a moment. “General people skills. You see, I found that my father had plans for me to expand his research and I would love nothing more than to do that, however, as a woman and one that grew up alone for the most part, I am not as skilled in being coy or conventional.” She let out the rest of the breath she had been holding to use as her speech.

 

Ro’dan laughed. “You want a go boy. Someone who can hype you up and teach you how to fool people into trusting you.”

 

Alma shook her head solidly, squeezing her eyes shut as she did, only for a moment. “NO, they get fools to trust, not real people whom I would want to associate with. I need someone who knows of the world to be my experience. I need a partner. So, “ She opened her eyes and smiled, “I would say you are being given a new life choice. I need someone I can trust to look out for me as they would themselves. I need you Ro’dan. I have been watching you for months.”

 

Ro’dan stopped picking things up and looked at her. “Your mental. How did you know what my name was?”

 

Alma smiled, “You took no notice of me in my various looks or costumes. I picked you out from your crew because of your kind heart and choice of targets. Just as I know you would only pick 5 things to take from here because although this office looks rich and full, the rest of my house is sparse and you fear taking too much from me when this is obviously my only care in the world.” Ro’dan’s face watched her carefully as she made her way around the room. Touching the spots that were now void of objects that had once been there.”I even joined your crew for a big job one day. We didn’t talk or anything but I was able to see how you were treated and how other treated you.”

 

Alma walked over to Ro’dan and got uncomfortably close to him, her face smiling into his. “I picked you because I knew that if I could prove myself and earn your trust, you would be loyal to a fault and I would never have to worry.” Alma then slid a small object into his hand and backed away.

 

Ro’dan looked down and opened his hand to reveal a small pearled comb. Tears started to slip out of his eyes. Alma backed away slowly but kept talking. “He said he wasn’t there, but he was. I could feel your guilt at accusing him of such a crime but, you felt in your heart that he was lying to you. I went in search of his things. Something you would never do. I found that, in a hidden hole in his bed, along with other small trinkets that seemed to be long to other women. This was on top.” Alma’s voice lowered and became almost a whisper, “I knew you would never find out unless I told you and even though you had thoughts that he was not telling you something, you would never leave his side again. Even if to protect another girl from harm.”

 

Alma was quiet as she watched Ro’dan grasp the small comb and hold it to his chest, letting the tears fall freely now. He looked up at her with anger in his eyes, not at her, but at the lies he had been told.

 

“You have my attention now miss.”