One Cog Short of Paradise: Day Five

Yesterday was really busy!  The internet wasn’t working well at our place and I spent a good proportion of the day underwater, exploring the insane reefs around here and almost getting knocked in the head by a sea turtle.  That said, here’s the next installment of One Cog Short of Paradise!

One Cog Short of Paradise

Saya was very careful not to give any indication that he thought Vivian’s presence knee deep in the surf was strange.  She was crouched down with a concentrated frown, hand in a claw above the water.  A wave came in, splashing over her knees and soaking her dress, then began to run out.  “Aha!” she exclaimed, and her hand plunged in.  She came up again with a triumphant cry.  “I knew it!”

“Knew what?” he asked, eyeing the large starfish in her hand.

Vivian looked fit to jump out of her skin, yipping and backing out of the surf as quickly as possible.  “Well,” she said, “I was makin’ the shelter, see…” she stopped, cleared her throat, and dropped her skirts, then stood up straight.  “Well, a Lady must endeavor to keep clean.”

Saya raised an eyebrow.  “And the starfish was just scrubbing your feet, was it?” he asked, nodding to the hand which still clutched the prize.

“Y-yes!” She appeared panicked for a moment, and then stomped from the waves, stammering.  “It’s the newest fashion in Paris, not that you would know about that!”

“Hm.  We were in Paris only a year ago,” Saya hummed.  “And while they eat snails and tie their corsets too tight, I don’t believe starfish are a luxury they partake in.”  Was it enough?  Would she drop the ruse?

Vivian stared for a moment, but didn’t give in, instead picking up her skirts again and slogging out of the surf.  “Fine.  I was bored.”

“Been in that room a good three weeks with no one to talk to,” Saya mused, nodding.  “I can see that.”

“Exactly!” she said with a satisfied air.  “It’s been a perfect horror.”

Saya considered his next words carefully.  “Must been lookin’ forward to having intelligent conversation with your sister again.”

Vivian stiffened faintly, briefly looking confused, but then nodded.  “Yes, I am.  I’ve missed her terribly.”

“Uh huh.” Saya smiled slowly.  “Vivian?”

“Yes, captain.”

“The count’s daughter has a brother.”


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About Kaitlin

Kaitlin and Michael are co-authors of The Athele Series. They met in summer of 2006 and married in fall of 2009. They both teach English in South Korea. In his free time, Michael writes, plays video games, plays DnD, and idly contemplates world domination. In her free time, Kaitlin writes, runs, dances, and feeds her 'oo-shiny!' complex.

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