“Because”

Pascagoula

Part seventeen of Misplaced Fire

The newly renamed Mount Clements floated above the shipyard where the Singing River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Isabelle and Jason hadn’t intended to bring their mountain to Pascagoula, Mississippi, but they both liked Pascagoula, and they both liked watching tugboats, so it was fine.They were sitting on the jagged edge at the bottom of the mountain, along the seam where they had ripped it out of the earth, with their feet dangling off the edge. Bit of loose dirt were falling off the bottom in chunks, some hitting the water, some falling on buildings, and some falling right on the wheelhouses of ships.

An airplane flew within a couple centimeters of their faces.

The sounds of a workday in the shipyard had stopped. There was no welding and no hammering. It wasn’t for lack of workers because they were all present; Jason and Isabelle could see them standing outside gawking at the mountain. Traffic on the nearby Interstate was hopelessly backed up for the same reason.

They heard Nesrin’s voice saying, “I’m going to give you both more credit than you probably deserve and assume that this wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t high out of your ill-prepared skulls.”

The Jinn Quartette appeared behind them.

Ceylan led with, “Why? Just why?”

Isabelle and Jason answered, “Because we could.”

A steam whistle sounded on the other side of the mountain.

Jason’s eyes lit up. “Cool, we got one with a train.”

Ceylan hissed, “Aztmcoi.”

Jason and Isabelle passed out and toppled to the ground. Thankfully they didn’t role off the mountain.

Ceylan had her hands on her hips and was standing straight as she could. Her head was standing still but her eyes were roving across every part of the scene, lingering for a fraction of a second on specific details and moving on. Her facial expression would have been most appropriate in a tense high stakes poker game. “Sisters Mine, how long do you think it would take to manage a memory bypass on entire population?”

“Long enough that we better get started,” Nesrin said. She turned to Dinah. “You take the mountain and I’ll start on the town?”

“You want the hard job I won’t argue.”

They left.

Ceylan directed her attention to Aravis. “I’ll put the mountain back, Little Doe. Would you round up the soil we’ve lost and bring it along?”

“I will.”

Ceylan was now alone with Isabelle and Jason. She rolled Isabelle onto her back and knelt over her. She reached for Isabelle’s eyes but stopped herself. Damage control came first. She pushed the mountain back to Tennessee and sat it back down. While she waited for Aravis to come with the dirt to pack under it, she returned to Isabelle and held her eyes open. She flashed the green light that let her see into people and the stories around them.

“Let’s see how much of you survived in your heart and your stomach.”

The answer was more than she’d expected. All of his thoughts, feelings, memories, it was all there, but it couldn’t be unlocked without the mind playing an deeply active and focused role. Patanī’s mind had been destroyed, and Isabelle and Jason wouldn’t apply that kind of effort, or be aware that they had the option.

Continued next week

Link to previous installments: https://anindeterminatenumberofnights.blog/category/misplaced-fire/

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