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Duncan: Pyre spends some time talking with Becca in a cafe
Posted by Douglas, Nov 21, 2008. 1623 views. ID = 2026


Posted by Douglas, Nov 21, 2008. 1623 views. ID = 2026
This post was written in 30 minutes.
This post has been awarded 14 stars by 3 readers.
This post is Part 10 of a writing series titled Kindle.

Pyre had not thought this through carefully. "Buying a donut," in human parlance, did not really mean "buying a donut." It meant sitting down together at a cafe table and eating that donut, while sipping slowly at a cup of hot coffee or cocoa, and chatting together for a socially acceptable period of time.

He had never manifested for this many minutes all at once in his entire existence. Nor had he spent so much time talking to one single person.

Project, he reminded himself. Not person. Project.

"So you like jelly donuts, and you prefer tea over coffee. This I know from observation. What I don't know is your name."

The question caught him just as he was swallowing a mouthful of donut, so he couldn't use a full mouth as a cover to stall while he thought of a name. He swallowed twice, then said, "Duncan," hoping that she would not make the obvious donut connection.

"Well, Duncan," she said, extending a hand formally across the table, "My name is Becca."

Pyre stared at the hand for a moment. He almost waited too long; the artist's expression was turning quickly to puzzlement. He grasped her hand and shook it firmly. "Pleased to meet you."

He almost couldn't speak the words; the shock that ran up his arm almost startled him into silence. Certainly, he had touched humans before; on those occasions when he manifested, a casual handshake was often required. But to touch, and to be touched by a project - there was something electrifying about that touch. Something taboo, something almost frightening, and yet, surprisingly pleasant.

Reluctantly, he released her hand and took another sip of tea.

"So, Duncan," Becca asked, "what do you do?"

"Hmm?" This time a mouthful of donut gave him the delay he needed.

"Job. You do have one, right?" She watched him curiously, as though she was beginning to suspect that he was not all there.

"Mm. I'm a student," he lied.


"Community College."

For the next several minutes the two companions - the human and the Kindle - chatted about college life. Fortunately, Pyre had spent enough time following her around the campus that he knew all the buildings, many of the professors, and even some of the inner workings and politics of the school. She told him which classes she liked, which ones she hated, when she hoped to graduate, and then, eventually, the conversation shifted to other topics: her painting, her goals, her family, and her faith.

He listened to her stories, commiserated with her frustrations, laughed when she laughed, and even, when she told him of her father's struggle with cancer, patted her hand gently. Mostly he just let her talk, for fear that, in talking, he would say the wrong thing.

She, for her part, had never before found such an attentive listener.

Far away, on the other side of the city, a ragged old man sat by himself on the edge of a curb, with his toes sticking out into the street, as though daring a car to run them over. He shivered in the cold, then his shivering turned to a tremble, and his eyes rolled about in their sockets. "Jack Jack Jack Jack Jack," he whispered into the cold evening air. "Jack Jack Jack, be nimble."

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 14 stars by 3 readers.
This post is Part 10 of a writing series titled Kindle. The next part of this series can be found here: Manifesting.

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