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CHAPTER 1

Pomegranate

She hung suspended in mid-air over his king-sized bed. His clamorous snoring commanded none of her attention, because a bright red pomegranate, resting in her tiny hands, distracted every wattage of her mind-power. Hovering wouldn’t exactly describe her anti-gravity properties. She swayed in the air without effort, ducking and tailing from time to time like a gentle summer breeze, lifting her white robe as if it was a fluffy dandelion seed. But the room had no breeze, and a floral spring wind would have brought welcome relief to the stale and stagnant air that had been recirculated in that room for the past four decades—possibly even longer. However, the past meant nothing to her as she obsessed over the pomegranate, eventually exerting great force on the fruit—great force for such a small tyke as herself—and splitting the skin to reveal the plump arils of juice bursting from within. She bit into the fruit with the vigor of a Viking warrior enjoying his first home-cooked meal after returning from a journey of plunder and slaughter. She slurped and sloshed through the blood-red pods, squirting crimson juice all over her flowing white gown. The stains took hold of the fabric, dotting it like splatters from a murder weapon. She chuckled at the mess, but the stains vanished just as quickly as they had appeared. This ritual repeated itself each time she placed her small face into the pomegranate and sucked out more arils.

How long she had been coming here, hovering over his bed, eating her fruit, was not easy to say. Even she couldn’t precisely recall. Nor did she care. It might have been two days or twenty years. It was all the same to her, as long as she had something to eat, especially something as delicious and vibrant as a pomegranate. When all the fruit had been sucked from the seeds, she would sneak into his closet and throw away the inedible parts. A pile of rotten fruit peels lay out of sight under the row of double-breasted suits and high collared, button-down shirts. She thought it strange how he never cleaned his closet.

As his snoring gained greater force, she continued twirling in the air above him, bored that her stock of fruit had dwindled.

Why he had never seen her or had never awoken during one of her midnight eating sessions was a question that she frequently asked herself. It was bound to happen. There is a limit even on blindness, and he wasn’t blind in the slightest. He had a piercing eyesight that saw more than most. Surely her loud slurping had reached his ear a time or two. He had keen hearing, able to decipher with pin-point accuracy any cavalier conversation in the office which lowered productivity. But for some reason, he didn’t once hear her sitting directly above him, eating like a spoiled toddler in a high chair who ended up with more food on the floor than on the tray in front of her. This peculiar circumstance served as an illustration for her entire organization, teaching every one of them that a person can have good eyesight and hearing yet be completely blind and deaf. Briefings had been held about this man. Copious charts and analyses revealed that the small one wasted her time with him night after night. But perhaps that’s why she chose him in the first place—knowing that if action ever did occur, it would be action that didn’t matter, and that was all that mattered to her.

Why this particular night was different is still not known. Liken it to a doctor unable to predict when, or even if, a patient will awake from a coma. But sometimes the unexpected happens and the dead live again for no particular reason. And so in the middle of that night, at the height of his REM, without explanation, he opened his eyes. She sat above him licking her fingers. He shut his eyes quickly and with trepidation tried again. There she sat, a white little ball of movement, a childish face with tiny hands stained with red. She giggled at herself and sung her favorite song in a soft mellow tone:

 

“Bonnie sun, like the golden hair of my childhood. Bonnie sun,

you should never fear your childhood.”

 

As she danced in the air on the wings of the melody, her eyes caught the movement of an eyelid below. She glanced again.

“Oh dear,” she said, looking once more. His pupils drilled a hole right through her in an unexpected fashion. She had spent so much time in his room that she sometimes forgot whose room it was. But there he was, looking at her in the dead of the night. He didn’t move or blink. He seemed as paralyzed as she felt. She put her tiny finger over her lips and tried to think of something to say, but her tiny brain was blank, so she decided to keep singing.

 

“Bonnie sun, like the golden hair of my childhood. Bonnie sun,

you should never fear your childhood.”

 

His hand moved toward the lamp in a jerked fashion one inch at a time.

“Oh dear. I shouldn’t be here. Do you think I should be here? I shouldn’t be here. I have to go ask someone what to do. I have to go.” She smiled at him as his hand rested on the light switch. “Bonnie sun. Bye.”

The light flicked on, but the room was empty, except for a single confused old man.

***

The telephone woke him from his sleep. He gasped and glanced upward at the ceiling, convinced that he would witness the extraordinary. The flat, white surface stared back unresponsive. He reached for the receiver.

“Hello,” he growled.

“Dad. Where are you? We’re supposed to have breakfast,” said the voice on the other end.

“Oh,” he grimaced and looked over at the digital clock which read nine-fifteen. He had never slept in past seven or eight in his life. He rubbed his face and reached for his glasses on the night stand. “Ah—”

“Were you still sleeping?”

“Can’t a man get a good night’s sleep around here?” he snapped.

“Well, sure, but I’ve never known you to—”

“What do you want?”

“What about breakfast?” she asked.

“I didn’t want to have breakfast anyways.”

“I know that, Dad.”

“I gotta go.”

“When am I going to see you?”

“I don’t know.”

He hung up the phone in an abrupt manner, put a large, fluffy, monogrammed bath robe around his gaunt body and walked over to the closet. He sifted through his rack of shirts but stopped and leaned in closer, sniffing one of them. He repeated the action and looked both directions while patting his row of business intimidation wear. His eyes trailed along the bottom edge of his wool suits until he noticed a red triangle jutting out from under the clothing. He dipped his head and paused for a moment, staring blankly at the floor.

“Vivian! Vivian!” He yelled repeatedly. “Vivian!”

Within seconds, a dark-haired woman in a classic black and white maid uniform entered the room in a panic.

“Yes, Mr. Frick.”

“What is this? Look at this. How did this get here?”

She came up alongside him in the entranceway of the closet and leaned down.

“I don’t know, Mr. Frick.”

“When is the last time you cleaned my closet?”

“Yesterday, Mr. Frick. I don’t know what happened here.”

“Have you been eating in my closet?” he asked with a harsh tone of a prosecuting attorney.

“Of course not, Mr. Frick.”

“Clean this up right away and if I ever see a mess like this again in my closet, I’ll notify your agency, and you’ll be out of a job.”

“Yes, Mr. Frick.”

Vivian ran out of the room to retrieve a plastic garbage bag. Frick stood by his bed, still in his robe, and turned once again towards the spot of the ceiling over his bed. Vivian rushed in and knelt down under his suits.

“I just can’t understand how this happened, Mr. Frick. I just don’t know.”

“Never bring it up again.”

“Yes, Mr. Frick.” She leaned over and scooped dozens of pomegranate skins into the plastic bag.

Frick remained unmoved—a man too old to believe.

CHAPTER 2

Birthday

At nine fifty-five, Frick stepped off the elevator into his consulting firm’s headquarters. Penny, his assistant, rose from her chair to greet him, a rare event since he usually arrived at the office by seven, an entire hour before her began work.

“Mr. Frick. Is everything all right?”

“Of course. Right is an attitude. My attitude.”

He walked past her emphasizing his disdain of chitchat.

“Mr. Jameson is here for your ten o’clock appointment.”

“That bastard? Why did you let him in here?”

“You asked me to schedule this meeting last week, sir.”

“Well, cancel it!”

“I can’t, sir. He’s waiting.”

“In the conference room?”

“Yes, sir.”

“All right. Put my case inside. I’ll make quick work of this.”

Penny took the briefcase out of his hand and turned to take it into the lavish office behind her. As he turned down the long corridor towards the conference room, he noticed that all the desks were empty. “Where is everyone? Is this a holiday?” He growled in the usual surly way that assured everyone of his tip-top normal mood. His growls could send the bravest hearts fleeing in the opposite direction even on his most gregarious of days. He flung open the conference room door, preparing to blast Jameson with his patented strong-arm tactics, when a collective chorus of “Happy birthday, Mr. Frick,” came ringing from the gaggle of employees surrounding the conference table.

“What is this?” he said.

“Happy seventy-second birthday!”

“You think this is some excuse for not working?”

The table had a three-tiered cake with the numbers 7-2 in a gaudy display on top of the frosting. Ruthy peeked out from behind the door, and he let out another gruff expression and deliberately liberal eye-roll.

“Dad, don’t get angry at them,” said Ruthy. “This was my idea. I wanted to surprise you.”

“It would be more of a surprise if these employees actually did some work.”

“Oh, stop it. You’re acting like a cranky old man.”

“I’ve never pretended to be anything but.”

She walked over to him, took him by the sleeve, and led him to the table. The employees’ faces displayed forced smiles painted on masks of uncertainty.

“I haven’t celebrated my birthday since …”

“Since Mom and I organized your 50th birthday party. That was twenty-two years ago. Don’t you think it’s time?” she asked.

“It’s time for you to go, so all these nitwits can get back to work.”

“Stop it, Dad.”

Birthday joy fled in the opposite direction of the old man’s face. “That’s sugar, isn’t it? I don’t even like sugar.”

“Dad, you’ve always had a sweet tooth.”

“Not anymore.”

“Why do you have to be so contrary?”

“This is my office. You shouldn’t be here,” said the old man. “Now I understand the breakfast ruse.”

“Yes, a plan to let us decorate. But who would have known this would be the one day in your life that you overslept.”

“I didn’t oversleep,” he yelled.

The employees edged back from the table as if it was contaminated with the Frick virus for which the only known symptom was a terrible mood. As the minutes clicked off the clock, it became more and more obvious that they would not have any cake to taste that morning. Penny arrived from behind him with his morning cup of coffee, spiked with a nip of Southern Comfort. That was their little secret. Ruthy continued to try and calm the nerves of the old man, but he was in a particularly foul temper.

“At least cut the cake, Dad.”

“Would that satisfy everyone enough to either get back to work or leave?”

Everyone nodded cautiously, unsure if the question was rhetorical. The sight of the old man wielding a knife would have been enough for half the room to offer their letters of resignation if he had raised it any higher.

“Penny!”

“Yes, sir?”

“My coffee.”

“Right here, sir.” He reached out for the mug and took a swig. “Careful, sir. It’s hot.”

“Does everyone think I’ve lost all sense of feeling? Like I have no receptors left in my brain to tell me if something is hot?”

“Dad, stop being so mean to her.”

“This isn’t mean. She blatantly lied to me by telling me that Jameson was waiting in this room. I should fire here.”

“Just cut the cake, Dad.”

He grumbled a few more lines and stepped forward with the large carving knife. He inserted the tip directly in the center of the cake and pushed downward until the knife tip hit the cake pan. He pushed down the handle, creating the first clean cut. He repeated the procedure several times, all the while mouthing a mumbled mess of words which unmasked any displeasure which wasn’t yet obvious.

“Do you want me to pull out the first piece,” asked his daughter.

“I got it.” He slid the knife sideways underneath a single piece and lifted it onto a plate that one of his employees held out for him. Everyone let loose a half-hearted cheer and several disjointed claps rang out additional approval.

“What’s that?”

“What, Dad?”

“That streak of red in the middle.”

“Oh, I had them put a layer of pomegranate syrup in the middle. I know how much you love pomegranates.”

“I hate pomegranates.” He lifted the knife and viciously stabbed the cake several times, belting out staccato curses with each downward motion, ripping the cake in pieces as the pomegranate syrup seeped out onto the table like slow-moving lava. This volcano had erupted, and everyone jumped back a step in case the maniacal cake attack was a mere precursor to a more macabre scene which would end up on the six o’clock news.

“Dad, what is wrong with you?”

“I hate pomegranates. So everyone out of here. Out!”

“Dad!”

“You too! Out. No cake for anyone.”

“They went to a lot of trouble for this.”

“Really. Well, if they want it so badly, they can have it.” He took his hand and slid the cake off the table and onto the floor. “Out! If you want to remain in my employ, out!”

“Dad!” Ruthy’s voice had risen to that of a scolding. “You are the most selfish—”

“I never asked for this. Leave! I don’t want to see you.”

Ruthy stood a few inches from his face. Her lips tightened, and her eyes glared through the glossy tears which formed in the corners. “How could you? You’re a …”

“I’m a mean son-of-a-bitch. Haven’t you figured that out yet? Get out!” He yelled those last words with a force somewhat extreme, even for a man like him.

Ruthy didn’t say another word. She lifted her hand in time to catch the full-on cry which soon followed. She turned and exited the room. All the employees dispersed through the door, tales between their legs, as the old man focused on the lone piece of cake sitting on the platter. Penny stood behind him and waited. He pulled out one of the chairs and sat down in front of the pomegranate cake.

“Penny. More coffee. Double shot. No, make it triple.”

“Yes, Mr. Frick.”

“I’m going to eat my breakfast in peace.”

As she exited, he picked up one of the plastic forks and dug into the piece of cake. He put it in his mouth and chewed slowly, savoring all the flavors.

“Mmmm,” he confirmed. “I do like pomegranate.”

Penny returned with his second cup of coffee. “How is the cake, sir?”

“Delicious.”

“Would you like me to send a gift and card of appreciation to your daughter?”

“Yes, please.”

“Will there be anything else, sir?”

“Yes, tell the cleaning staff that there is a terrible accident on the conference room floor. You know I cannot tolerate messes, so this kind of shoddy cleaning will have to improve.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll tell them.”

“Good.”

He sipped his coffee and ate his cake in the peaceful surroundings of the empty conference room. His mind did not stray far from his strange dream and the inexplicable arrival of pomegranate peels in his closet.

CHAPTER 3

Tropical Island

Frick arrived home at seven-thirty. Vivian greeted him at the door, and he nodded no more or less than usual and walked silently through the living room, past the kitchen and into his bedroom suite in the back of his condominium. As he opened his closet door, his mind compelled him to check once again, so he crouched down on all fours just to make sure. He searched and smelled the carpet but found nothing.

“Everything all right, Mr. Frick?” asked Vivian, as she poked her head inside the open door frame. He grunted an unintelligible reply. “I cleaned the carpet in your closet, sir. It should be as good as new.”

“So, it was here then.”

“What, sir?”

“The stack of pomegranate skins. I didn’t imagine them, did I?”

“No, sir. You didn’t imagine them. I just can’t understand how they got there.”

“Don’t do it again, Vivian.”

“Yes, sir. Dinner will be ready shortly.”

He lingered a minute longer on the floor, changing the direction of the carpet threads with the flow of his hand like a distrait child. The only item which lured him away from the carpet was the barren ceiling. He laid down on his bed and gazed heavenward to inspect it further.

***

Dinner arrived, and Frick sat alone at his oval, oak table with a steak and baked potato in front of him. Vivian worked alone in the kitchen. She uncorked a bottle of wine and set a large glass in front of him. He carved the meat and paid little attention to her actions.

“Sir?”

“Yes.” He glanced upward.

“If it pleases you, I made a special cupcake today for dessert.”

“Why?”

“It’s your birthday.”

“Oh.”

“Would you like it?”

“Yes. I haven’t had cake today.”

“Very good, sir. I’ll bring it out after you finish.”

“Vivian?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you have any pomegranate syrup?”

“No, sir, but I could boil some now.”

“Yes, I would like it with my cake.”

“Very well.”

She returned to the kitchen and strained the seeds from three ripe pomegranates. As she readied the sauce pan with water and sugar, a strange sound floated through the air—a foreign humming, somewhat resembling a melody. She leaned out from the edge of the kitchen to listen.

“Did you say something, sir?”

“No.”

“Sorry,” she added. “I must be hearing things.”

She doubled back to her sauce but heard it again, this time louder and with words. Words were coming out of Mr. Frick’s mouth. They weren’t impatient words or insults. They were melodic, and she couldn’t help but think that they sounded somewhat like music. She peeked from the edge of the kitchen wall to see him sitting back in his chair. He held a piece of meat on a fork out in front of him and swung it back and forth in the air like an symphonic conductor. He hummed and sang, bobbing his head in a goofy manner, a trait previously never tolerated in that house. She let out a gasp in disbelief, directing his attention towards her. She ducked behind the pillar, but it was too late.

“Vivian!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Come here.”

She acquiesced with her head tilted towards the ground, caught in the act of looking upon Frick as he looked foolish.

“How long have you worked for me?”

“Fifteen years, sir.”

“How many years have I been singing that song?”

“That song?”

“Yes. I can’t remember when I started singing it or where it even came from.”

“I couldn’t rightly say.”

“Come now. You’ve been here fifteen years. Surely you know.”

“Could you sing it again? Maybe it will help me remember.”

He placed his fork on his plate, and sat up straight in his chair. “Bonnie sun, like the golden hair of my childhood. Bonnie sun, you should never fear your childhood.” He waited for a reply with an expectant air of a schoolboy waiting to find out his semester’s grade.

“That is the first time I’ve ever heard that song, sir.”

“First time? Nonsense. I sing it all the time.”

“I don’t remember it, sir.”

“Listen again: Bonnie sun, like the golden hair of my childhood. Bonnie sun, you should never fear your childhood. Well?”

“Sorry, sir. I better get back to your pomegranate syrup. It’s probably boiling by now.”

She bee-lined out of the dinning room and wondered if the old man had finally lost his grip on reality, especially in light of the pile of pomegranate skins he left in his own closet.

***

Frick went to bed around ten o’clock, but the ceiling played a game of stare-down with him for nearly two hours until it finally relented and allowed him to doze off. Once the snoring began, she felt confident enough to re-appear above his bed, spinning in circles, throwing in the occasional back flip, all the while chuckling at the unaware snorer. He had had a big day, his first glimpse at his new reality, even if it was only a few measly pomegranate skins. She sang for a while and ate and did all the little tasks which pleased her. She felt no need to change her routine just because of a small crossover. That was ultimately why she was here, wasn’t it? Not everyone saw it that way. She had been forewarned about Frick as being too old, too crotchety, too demanding. But she saw no other way, at least while he still remained, so she kept to her plan, and that meant more pomegranates, naturally.

“Where would I be if I wasn’t here?” she asked herself with a little giggle inserted between each word. “The two places I long for most are the Scottish Highlands and a tropical beach. With lots of pomegranates. I do hope they grow on the beach. And maybe some mangoes.”

She never minded him. She used the time to create lyrical poems and ponder the universe unknown to humans. She had been warned that a case such as Frick’s could become insignificant, even trivial, but she didn’t care for bureaucratic assessments, because she had the most industrious of minds when it came to self-fulfillment. Trivial men only gave her more time to enjoy herself. She couldn’t even recall how long she had been coming there. That’s actually a question of little consequence for someone like her. Time passes linear for the huddled masses, but for someone like herself, it might as well have been 1917 for all she cared. That didn’t mean she kept a slip-shod schedule. Not at all. She was regimental in being there for his every sleeping moment while spending his every waking moment in her familiar Scottish hollow. She played him better than any client he ever swindled, and she knew firsthand that there had been many.

In keeping with her nightly routine, she grabbed a pomegranate out of the air and ripped it open. She flung the peels through the closed closet door, and they landed in their normal spot under his suit jackets. She sucked out the juice with great intensity, and the excess drops stained her gown as usual. Her mouth danced busily through the fruit when she happened to glance down and saw one of the arils fall right out of her circumference and hit Frick directly on the forehead. Her eyes lit wide as she saw the red dot sitting on his skin, not unlike that of an Indian woman at Deepavali or a person who had been shot in the head with a small caliber hand gun.

“Oh dear,” she said out loud.

Her hand shook and the pomegranate sacs seeped through her tiny grip. Another one fell, followed by several more, dotting red pock marks on Frick’s face—each one closer to awakening him out of his slumber. She panicked, but it was too late. Every single pomegranate sac slipped through her hands and hit in succession, covering Frick’s face with bursting red bubbles of juice. He gasped out of his sleep, rubbing his face while looking straight up at the ceiling.

“Ahhh!” he screamed.

“Ahhh! she screamed.

Frick lay flat on his back peering through the darkness at a tiny figure hanging in the air, partially illuminated by a glow-in-the-dark white gown, who covered her eyes with her two petite hands. She cracked open her fingers to peek below at the old man with red pomegranate pocks. She did the only thing she was trained to do.

“Ahhhh!”

“Ahhhh!” he followed suit.

They both glared at each other and repeated the same words at the same precise moment, “This is not real.”

“Ahhhh!”

“Ahhhh!”

Frick snorted and sat up in his bed. He lunged upward trying to reach the little white ball, but she dipped and darted in random directions with no perceivable pattern. Her movements made him scream again, and his scream made her scream again. The scream-off may have continued indefinitely if she hadn’t noticed the slow turning of the bedroom door knob—the maid making an inquiry into Frick’s sanity, and with doubtful results. So she did what they told her never to do. She said it out loud, not knowing if she would regret it or not. She couldn’t very well be caught hanging precariously in thin air above an old man.

“Deserted tropical island!” she proclaimed the first place that popped into her little mind.

She had no idea it would be that easy. But it was.

***

Frick flailed in the wind like he was free-falling off a cliff. The air whipped past him, and he gasped for breath, but his cheeks dimpled inward at the force of the air flying around him, preventing him from allowing any significant air into his lungs. His heart pounded and nearly stopped cold when his body smacked against a firm surface which stopped the movement. He lay on his back, frightened to open his eyes. He felt a strange sensation on his palms and finger. He moved them slightly and squeezed small wet granules through his fingertips. Sand. He knew it was sand, though he hadn’t experienced it like this in nearly sixty years. His perceptions intensified. Every second the sounds magnified. He sensed every faint breeze and could feel an insect cutting a trail over his arm. His ears listened to the ocean rising and falling, and the cawing of a bird overhead. A vulture, perhaps. All perceptions sharpened with acute vividness, so vivid in fact that he convinced himself that he must be in a dream, and he only need to concentrate on keeping his eyes closed to make it all go away. The seconds ticked on, and his consciousness marveled at the authentic ocean waves. He congratulated his mind for the ability to feel dreams in all dimensions, when an uneasy feeling crept upon him. No matter how many times he tried to feel his bed covers, it still felt like sand. He refused to open his eyes. He believed that the pomegranates existed in the make-believe playland of his imagination with the creature above him nothing but an illusion from a poorly digested piece of steak. However, the feeling in the pit of his stomach knew better. It sensed it. A reckoning of time approached where he would have to face the new reality that yelled at his fingertips from the top of a sandy beach. He would have been content to remain in the state of denial for quite a long time, but when she started the singing, he knew he was lost. Somewhere. Forgotten. Gone. Inexplicably abandoned.

 

“Bonnie sun, like the golden hair of my childhood. Bonnie sun,

you should never fear your childhood.”

 

The tune sounded new and familiar all at once. The image of the little nymph haunted his mind. He never believed in anything he couldn’t see, but how could he contradict that which he could see?

Be brave, he thought to himself. You’ve lived your entire life not taking anything from anyone. You are not afraid of a little white fairy.

She sang beautifully, and the words confused him. He oscillated between the confident, self-made millionaire and the little child of twelve who was once afraid of a big ocean wave dragging him out to sea. He paused. Breathed. Paused again, until finally convincing himself that someone of his stature should not be afraid of anything; so he opened his eyes—to the same reality that he dismissed in his bedroom: a tiny person in a white robe hovering over top of him.

“Ahhhh!” he screamed.

“Ahhhh!” she screamed.

He sat up, palms sunken into the sand, and looked around. The azure ocean lay flat and calm in front of him, and a lazy stretch of fine white sand spanned out in both directions. He turned his head to see a small tropical forest at his back. He screamed again because it seemed the prudent choice. She descended and sat in the air near him but still out of arms’ reach. His eyes set their gaze upon the strange creature. She had the face of an adolescent, young and smooth, with a smile and a giggle which overflowed with every breath. Her gown flowed long so as to hide her legs, if indeed she had them. She had a calm and gentle demeanor, which eased Frick’s pounding heart.

“What … who?” were the first intelligible words that his mouth released. Of course, she couldn’t decide which to answer, so she ignored both. “Am I alive?” he asked.

She giggled. “Do you feel alive?”

“I can’t tell.”

“Then you most certainly are not,” she said. “I feel most alive when I’m singing. Though I only know one song.”

“Who are you?”

She didn’t answer, only laughed. “Do you mind if I eat a pomegranate?”

“Are you real or am I hallucinating?”

She laughed hysterically at that question. “I could ask you the same question. You’ve lived your life like a fictitious person.”

“So you’re fictitious?”

“No, silly,” she answered. “You are.”

“No, I’m the most real person on earth. I always say what needs to be said.”

“Ha. Not what needs to be said. What you need to say. There’s a big difference, silly.” She twirled in the air a few times. “Does anyone else call you silly? Because that’s what you are. And funny. You’re funny and silly.”

“Where are we?”

“Hmmm. As far as I can tell, this is an uncharted, deserted island in the South Pacific. You are the first human ever to be here. Congratulations.”

The landscape surrounding him gave no indications that she was lying. “And who are you?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve never had to introduce myself to anyone, let alone someone like you.”

“What do you mean ‘someone like you?’”

She fell headlong into another hysterical laugh. “Oh,” she said, “you don’t have much insight into your own soul, do you?”

“Stop talking to me. When do I wake up from this?”

“Wake up? I don’t think you’re sleeping. You need a bed for that. I should know. I’ve seen your bed many times.”

“What do I do?” asked Frick. “How do I get back to my normal life?”

“Hmmm, I don’t know. I’ve never done this. Perhaps your life will never be normal again.” She paused to allow a flying insect to swoosh by. “Besides, did you actually have a normal life to get back to? You are most abnormal.”

“What are you? Some kind of fairy?”

She put her nose in the air at such a treacherous comment and looked away until he began to soften his harsh stance. “A fairy? You think fairies exist? You are foolish. They were right.”

“Who was right?”

“They. Didn’t you hear me say ‘they?’”

He reached out to grab her, but she flew in the opposite direction. “It’s not likely you’ll ever catch me.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Me, want? What could I possibly want from you? I already have a beautiful white gown and an endless supply of pomegranates.”

“Then why am I here?” He whined in a childish manner, surprised at the tenseness in his chest which mimicked a faint hint of desperation if not fear.

“You think this is about me? It’s not. It’s never been about me, or even you. It couldn’t be about us. Could it?”

“You’re speaking nonsense,” yelled Frick.

“Well, I think it proper to speak nonsense to a nonsensical person.”

“I mean it! I want some answers.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Mark W Sasse is a novelist and award-winning playwright. He has taught English, history, and theatre arts overseas for more than two decades. Originally from western PA, he has lived in Vietnam and Malaysia, and he currently resides in Saudi Arabia. His vast travels have peppered his writings with exotic locations and unexpected twists and turns. He has published five novels and is excited to release his first series entitled The Forgotten Child Trilogy.


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