Liz swam through the reef. Spotting a strange light, she approached a cavern. She looked back. Will the others worry? She continued onward. Something jumped out! It was just a school of fish. She squeezed her way through the tight entrance coming into an open space large enough for a few cruise ships. She looked to her right, spotting the source of a blue light. An arch stood, larger than the one in Mississippi. Liz swam closer. There were glyphs on it. They were unlike the ones she has seen in history class. Some were obscured by gunk. She reached a hand out to wipe it off. Then a blast sent her back and into the dark. *********************************************************************
Liz woke up gasping her breath in a cold sweat. She slowed her breathing to a steady beat and ran her hand over her head. It was finally starting grow back. That was all a year ago and in the past. She slid out of bed and began to prepare for the day ahead.
An hour later, Liz stood outside the café. Peoples’ looks were still strange. Looks of pity and whispers of “poor thing.”
She pulled her hood up, tightening the strings as she stepped into the café and made her way to the counter. “One Americano and one croissant, please,” she said to the barista, “Mark it for M.E.S.” She payed and sat at a table near the corner window.
She leaned against her hand and began drifting, Mornings are so inconvenient…
"Hello? Hello, Miss,” said a voice snapping her back from dream land. The face of a boy, at least fifteen, faced her when she turned. “Hi, I was wondering if you could direct me to the ferry leaving for the Estrella Arch?” Liz felt the color drain from her face. “Are you ok? I’m I being an inconvenience? Its ok if you don’t want to help.”
“N—no. It’s okay. Let me see your map. You have one on your phone, right?”
“It can do that?” said the boy activating a device on his wrist, a list of apps projected out in front of him, “And here I thought they sold out at the airport.”
“They probably did. Hey, why don’t you have private mode activated?”
“You don’t want people to see who you're calling or texting. Nor do you want them to see what you're watching or reading. Private mode keeps your business private, you know!”
“Really? So advanced…”
“You’ve never owned a phone before this one, have you?” The boy shook his head, “This is going to take a while… Let’s start with Private Mode.”
“M.E.S, your Americano and croissant are ready,” said the barista, “Again M.E.S., order is ready at the counter.”
“Right after I grab my breakfast…”
“And that is the best route to take by the sub if you want to make the noon trip to Arch Island,” said Liz a couple hours later, “You probably should start heading to the station. Come to think of it, I have to be heading out, too… Well, see you around.”
“Oh, wait I didn’t catch your name…”
“Oh… well, I’m Liz.”
“But the barista called out M-E-S. Aren’t those your initials?”
“Liz is short for Elizabeth, my middle name…”
“So, what’s your full name?”
“Does it matter? Were not likely to run into each other again…”
“I would like to be your friend! That’s why I want to know…”
“A friend…” Liz’s felt liquid gather on her lower eye lid.
“Ar—Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. It’s just…”
“It’s nothing. Just some allergies. Marian.”
“Marian Elizabeth Starrsmark. That’s my name. I would like to be friends too.”
Hanski Kalteherz. Thank you for being my friend, thought Liz as she turned off her phone and lowered her wrist. She lowered her hoodie, ran her hands through her hair, and looked into the cloudy sky, as she walked through the bustling city.