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So I started writing a new story a while back. I've started many but never gotten farther than a few pages. Any feedback you can give will be well appreciated. Let's see how this goes:


“Our Father

“Who art in Heaven

“Hallowed be thy name

“Thy kingdom come

“Thy will be done

“on Earth as it is in Heaven…”

I’d heard enough. Heaven…

I took my ear away from the door--metal, cold. We looked at each other. Paer squeezed my hand. I think we both felt sick right then, but somewhere in me, in that cramped old hallway, I knew what we’d have to do.

We left their house first, if the ancient, frayed thing could be called a house. The busruts didn’t reach this far, so there was a bit of a walk, but the solitude did not give rise to speech. The horror, the shock--floored us, and the cracked-sidewalk footsteps were the only sound as we made our way ever-closer to the smog-wreathed heart of Los Angeles. The view of the deep cloud was unusual, striking, yet lost to me in the breathless wake of that we’d just heard.

I didn’t know about Paer, but I never would have taken them for believers. Eccentric, yes. Oblivious, and the situation with their child was tragic. But they’d always been a pleasant kind of couple. Pet archaics, demeaning as it seemed to think it. Not this. Not insane. The poor kid…

I realized that Paer was leaning over me.

“Del? Del?” Fie was trying to keep the tears from leaking out of fer eyes, of fer voice, but Paer was crying, too. I was sniveling, though, a pit of despair kneeling itself to the broken sidewalk. Around us the silence of the ghost burbs raged.

“Their daughter. Topaz. Zie’ll...zie’ll have to...but what must they tell zer…? Paer, it must be horrible…” Wordless, fie held me, and I leaned on fer until we got to the bus stop.


♀ ∅ ♂


The babysitter we’d hired was supposed to work for another couple of hours, so we decided jointly on our bus in that it’d be best to file the report to the home before we got back.

Okay, so maybe Paer had had to press me. Maybe I’d been...irrational as our bus blurred into the city and I thought about this terrible situation. Maybe I’d gone on almost incoherently about just teaching those people how to see the truth, and people across the aisle in the other row of cushioned seats had stared.

I had, had breathed hard and cried while Paer, cried out, stone-faced now, comforted me, and in murmurs we’d decided that we’d take in Topaz. We invited people in. We loved the people who no one else would love, and one experience like this wasn’t about to stop us, especially as it gave us the chance to help someone else. I could almost feel excited as I thought of another child, another life taken in. The money? We could deal with money.

The Song Rehabilitation home was perched, long and four-story-low, at the edge of the incity. Its main entrance gazed out, facing the vast upward-sloping stone, as if disillusioned with city life and wishing for a better era.

I wasn’t going to laugh hysterically, I told myself as I stepped off the cab we’d gotten and was flooded by the familiar disjointed wash of surrounding adscreens. We were taking care of the kid. That was all.

The lobby of the building tried to be welcoming, plasticarpeted with bright circles that spread and regrouped cheerfully as your foot fell on them. I’d already searched over the place’s site on my eye winter. So had Paer. It seemed legitimate enough, like it really might wake them up in a few months; apparently hundreds had already been cured specifically of Irrational Faith Disorder.

Paer, of course, was first to step forward and address the smiling secretary. Fer voice surprised me in the kind of suppressed anger it held:

“Hello, Mist.”

“Welcome.” The secretary’s finger flicked at her faux-wood desk--everything faux-wood now--performing some unseen communication. “What brings you here?” Paer sighed deeply, shuddering, and I took two strides to stand up beside fer.

“We’ve heard a case of...praying. They are friends of ours and, in light of their evident lack of coherence, we believe it would be best--” The young worker’s face had shaded with concern.

“Oh, of course. How unfortunate. Let me see if I can find the necessary paperwork.”


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