Roadside Attraction


Part fifteen of Misplaced Fire

It was still the early morning hours, the sun just starting to peak over the mountains. They had a long time until it was time for their dinner show. Ceylan and Aravis reasoned that the presence of a crowd meant something had to be open, leading them to walk off in search of whatever it was and leave Dinah and Nesrin to watch Isabelle and Jason.

Nesrin slipped the bracelet properly onto her wrist. Regardless of why they were there, having a crowd gave Nesrin more space to hide the bracelet as she leaned closer and closer to Jason and Isabelle.

She felt herself being watched. Someone sitting inside one of the shop windows had his face firmly aimed at her and showed no signs of averting his gaze. His expression was blank; he may not even have been focused on her, but what he was or wasn’t focused on was of no real consequence. This was irritating, but he posed no more of a threat to her than any of the other randos in the street.

She casually tripped on her own foot and flopped towards her targets.  Dinah caught her arm right above the bracelet and jerked her to feet. Jason and Isabelle had noticed, but rather than try to catch her, they started copying her movements. Isabelle was soon levitating upside down, and Jason floated up to stand on her feet.

Dinah glared at Nesrin. “You’d really extract Uncle Patanī with this many onlookers?”

“I just tripped, alright?”

Isabelle and Jason were trading places in a continuous rotation around each other, gathering more and more people feeling for strings around them, or trying to find magnets in the sidewalk.

Nesrin summoned a sign that said, “Tips,” and a bucket. “You’re right, Sis. Why be jealous and worried when I could focus on the opportunities?” She put the bucket down in front of Jason and Isabelle. “Step right up; come see the Floating Millennials. No machines, no illusions, just the pure power of thought, and if they’re this good at dawn, just imagine how they’ll be after coffee.” She showed Dinah her sideways grin. “Hang around for the thrilling display of pyrotechnical spectacle that concludes the performance.”

The man from the shop window had left his seat. He was now at the shop door, face still blank and pointed at them.

Jason said, “I wish we could take the mountains home with us.”

Isabelle snapped her fingers. “I bet we can now.”

They were gone.

Somewhere a chorus of voices mercifully screamed before Nesrin had to placate her audience. The man in the shop door didn’t move. Nesrin, Dinah, Ceylan, and Aravis converged on a rooftop. A mountain that should definitely have been in the horizon was definitely not in the horizon.


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