I fully expect to spend some time finishing a story I owe Big (another Broken Mirror exercise that, ironically, got its inspiration from a premise we decided not to do a few years ago for our Dunesteef contest), and maybe get started on a story that's not yet in my head, and that's kind of exciting to me.
In the meantime, I posted these few paragraphs and scheduled the post to drop while I'm out camping, so I didn't lose a day, since I've been sitting here working on this story the past hour instead of editing Abbie's audiobook (which I worked on two hours ago anyway) or one of the other audiobooks I haven't been working on. One of them is the sixth E.C. Tubb "Dumarest of Terra" book, which I'm now so overdue on, I wouldn't be surprised if I get fired from the whole series. I'm not even sure that would bother me, since I've barely made enough on the first five books to buy a single meal for myself and everyone who reads this blog, as long as we went to a fast food restaurant that had a dollar menu.
I dunno. I'm sure I'd feel bad if I got replaced on that series, but there may not be an army of people lining up to take over those books at the fantastic rate of absolutely nothing up front. But I digress.
“There’s a movie theater on the opposite side. Should we see what’s playing?”
“I . . .” began Tanissa, but just closed her mouth and went with it. It would seem that arguing with Brekkyn Mannion was a fruitless endeavor. Her mind went back to the odd way she had said, “I have a way with people” on the bus ride over. It had sounded like an oft-repeated mantra, and Tanissa was proved right when, at the movie theater, they also got in for free.
They stepped into the lobby, checked the showtimes. Brekkyn asked if she dared go see that stupid-looking horror film about bad dreams that came true.
“It’s rated R,” Tanissa confided. You had to be seventeen to see one of those, or with someone who was old enough to be a parent.
“Do you wanna see it or not?”
Tanissa had to admit that she didn’t.
“Too chicken, huh? Okay, you pick.”
Tanissa picked a comedy that Brekkyn immediately nixed (so much for freedom of choice), but did agree when she suggested the animated spider family musical that had recently come out.
“I’ll pay you back,” Tanissa said, but the girl didn’t head for the box office. Instead she walked straight up to the usher tearing tickets and sang once again. Tanissa hung back, listening. It sounded like the same tune as before, and maybe it was in German, but it really seemed like just funny noises. Brekkyn sounded alright when she sang, not quite pretty, but she definitely had a unique talent. The usher smiled pleasantly, and told them, “Theater 3, on your right.”
When the older girl said to her, “Okay, what’s going on,” all she got was that rehearsed, “I’ve got a way with people” answer.
They watched the movie (which was scary, but dumb), and about halfway through,
the girl had left Tanissa alone to go get Icees.
“Did you pay for these?” she asked when Brekkyn returned with two large Icees and a tub of popcorn on a tray.
“Shh, no talking,” the girl said, plopping herself down next to her.
She kept going over the song in her head, the strange singing in the strange tongue, and especially the strange effect it seemed to have on people. Tanissa vowed to ask her about it if she did it again, and sure enough, she sang to get them a free bus ride home, even asking the bus driver (who was a woman this time) to drop them off in front of their building rather than the bus stop.
The bus was pulling away, and Tanissa grabbed the younger girl’s arm. “Okay, what’s with the singing?”
“Singing? I don’t know what you mean,” she lied, rather badly.
“Is it some kind of trick?” Tanissa asked, more willing to believe it was an elaborate prank than something . . . more profound.
Brekkyn shrugged. “Remember how I said I can talk to fish and you so rudely said I couldn’t?”
Tanissa didn’t remember being the rude one, but she said, “Uh huh” anyway.
“It’s mermaid language.”
“What is it really? Russian?”
“Why would people obey me if I spoke Russian?”
“Why would they obey mermaid language?” Tanissa shot back.
The pale girl sighed. “Alright, you asked for it.” And once again, she began to sing.