Traffic Signal

A bright red Traffic signal fallen in the grassBraenne lay prone, lit up in red. Grass itched her legs. Somebody tore a traffic signal loose and swatted her. Red went green. Braenne stood. She cracked her neck, pinched her shoulders, took flight. Braenne in the air was invisible, like an imaginary friend with a daunting left hook. The attacker was strong and able to see quickly. Few creatures could see her when she was flying. Humming birds, insects, rodents. The rare human. Alchemists mostly.

“Dragon!” Braenne said through gritted teeth.

The dragon, a slithering purple ribbon flipping about on the wind, lashed out with her tail. Braenne ducked. The parked car slammed into a tree and crunched to the ground. Forty long feet of scaled ribbon, two razor edges that could slice through steel, Braenne couldn’t outfight a dragon. She kept her distance.

“Do we need to settle a debt?”

The gyrating Celtic knot unraveled and settled onto the grass berm at the center of the road. The Dragon’s flat head turned slightly toward her, curious.

“Your friend Stace can see us. She chases me.” The Dragon said.

“The Alchemist?”

“She really wants to talk.”

“So?” Braenne was confused.

“She asked for me by name. Did you tell her my name?”

“I don’t know your name!” Braenne shouted.

“Misunderstanding. Sorry. Tell her I don’t want to talk.”

“Why don’t you want to talk to me?” Stace said.

The Dragon rushed Stace, body flailing into symmetry that turned her into a moving, ever cutting edge.

Stace raised a hand. “Jeade.”

Jeade froze. “Yes?”

“Rule of names.” Stace says.

“Okay.”

“We gotta talk.”

“Not about Them. It isn’t safe.”

“People are disappearing. Are They doing the killing?”

They don’t kill people. They kill time.”

“Sorry Jeade. I won’t inconvenience you again.”

Jeade knotted up, wriggling into the wind.

Braenne hovered next to Stace. “Time Killers. Sucks to be you.”

“Sure does. Come on. I’ll buy you a beer.”

“Stace? Is this a date?”

“Yes, Braenne. This is a date.”

Braenne swooned. “Oh Goody.”

 

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