My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Phoenix: Chapter 24 (Xavier)

I couldn’t sleep.

Mark did snore like a bear. I hadn’t noticed it in the hotel room, but I noticed it now. Those cabins were like amphitheaters. Man.

I left the cabin. No real reason to lay awake with a running chainsaw in the room, anyway.

It was nighttime. Before it just seemed dark, and I didn’t notice it. But since I was supposed to be in bed, this was special.

The sun was on the other side of the Earth.

The moon was visible because the sun wasn’t outshining it.

The moon always seemed like an oddball to me in our plot of space. I mean, if it were sentient, it would be lonely. We don’t have any other moons, and our only other satellites are big chunks of metal we sent into space ourselves. And then… just the Sun, a few planets, and some space junk.

Even if you go by what we see… well, we just see some stars, and some planets, and half the time the sun is making the moon invisible.

That was kind of how I felt right now.

I leaned up against a convenient tree, knowing that I was probably the first human to do so in a long time. Somehow, I had a suspicion that the Epselans had hired the Agency—or some mages, anyway—to make sure that none of the non-magical people got in. Amazing that I did.

How in the world did I end up with these guys? I wondered. I mean, look at what I had for talent. I can talk to horses with wings and do magic in real emergencies. Whoopee. I could fit in with normal people.

I mean, I knew Key was human, at least, but she had some sort of magic going on. She used computers like a third arm—not to mention what she did with robots. She could mess with software and hardware, and you’d know if she’d touched something because it would be working better.

And Mark was an Epselan. He wasn’t a mage, but he was an Epselan, and Phoebe had told me that he was great at martial arts. I mean…

Then there was Phoebe. She was a magical mess, but she made it all work. She was an Epselan, a magical animal, a mage, and a teenager—which is when a mage’s magic is most unstable—and she still thought clearly, still acted normal, still could do magic. She wasn’t in control of the ability to look human and her animalina was taking her over, but that didn’t mean she was going to take crap from the Agency. That earned my respect. Even though she almost killed herself (and maybe Key) in the process, she probably also saved both their lives by taking a risk.

And she was… nice. She was a nice person. Cool. Not too full of herself… well, comparatively.

By now I was sitting in the tree, so when Phoebe came out and laid down in the grass, still carrying a blanket over herself, it was a while before she spotted me.

“Oh, hi,” she said. “So Mark really does snore?”

Despite how tired I was, I started laughing. “Uh, yeah.”

“How bad is it?”

“Think poorly trained violinist,” I said.

Now Phoebe started laughing.

“It’s nice out here, isn’t it,” she said.

“Yeah, you have a blanket,” I pointed out.

“And wings,” she said. “Are you cold?”

“Yeah, but you don’t need to”—

But she wrapped the blanket around both of us, and one wing as well. Her feathers really were soft.

“Do you know what you’re looking at?” she asked, nodding at the sky.

“Light years and light years of stars?”

“I meant constellations,” she said. “Do you know any? I knew a few back in Colorado, but I think they’re different here.”

“Yeah, a little,” I said. “You can see more stars here.” I started pointing them out. The Hydra, a long line of stars cutting across the sky; Cygnus, the swan; Canis Major, the big dog. It seemed to cliché to stand in an empty area with a pretty girl, stargazing, but that was what she wanted to do.

Then both of us got tired and went in.

I slept better after that.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 at 11:27 pm and is filed under Phoenix. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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