I rolled one of the balls on the pool table towards a pocket. â€œElegy, Iâ€™m confused.â€ It stopped just short of going in.
â€œI really hate the conversations we have that begin this way,â€ said Elegy Flynn, the goddess of Fate I traveled through time with. She was lying on the couch in the time-traveling bar we lived in. â€œLetâ€™s play pool instead. I could explain until Iâ€™m blue in the face, and you still wouldnâ€™t get it. You never do.â€
I rolled another ball into the first one. â€œThatâ€™s only because you suck at explaining things. Iâ€™m not stupid.â€
â€œMost people use the cue sticks to hit the balls,â€ said Elegy.
I left the pool table and sat down next to her on the couch. â€œItâ€™s about Tesla.â€
â€œSeriously, Catherine, let it go,â€ said Elegy.
I wasnâ€™t about to let it go. In between saving the world from time paradoxes, this bar could get pretty dull, and I had nothing to do but think. â€œYou changed time, Elegy. You made it so that Tesla stayed alive when he was supposed to die.â€
â€œYes, I did,â€ said Elegy. â€œBut it didnâ€™t really make that much difference anyway.â€
â€œIt must have made some difference. And thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m confused. Because when those different things happened, they should have caused a time paradox.â€
Elegy looked at me as if I were particularly stupid. â€œNo. It happened in the bar, out of time. So there was no paradox.â€
I sighed. â€œI donâ€™t mean the initial change. I mean afterwards, when he was back in his life. All the little things that changed. Why didnâ€™t they cause a paradox?â€
â€œThe little things?â€
â€œYeah,â€ I said. â€œLike the next morning when Tesla woke up, he would have gone and bought coffee or talked to someone that he couldnâ€™t have talked to if he was dead. And that would have been different. Not the way things were supposed to be. So why wasnâ€™t there a paradox then?â€
Elegy got up off the couch. She headed over to the bar. â€œIâ€™m going to have a drink. Do you want one?â€
I followed her. â€œAre you going to answer my question or not?â€
She settled behind the bar. â€œRum runner?â€
â€œItâ€™s a perfectly good question. It makes sense. Why canâ€™t you justâ€”?â€
â€œGoing once, going twice,â€ said Elegy, holding a glass in front of my face.
â€œFine,â€ I said. â€œIâ€™ll have a drink.â€
Elegy filled up my glass with ice. â€œA paradox only happens right after something changes. If one change causes multiple changes, then thereâ€™s still only one paradox. And if the change occurs out of the time stream, then thereâ€™s no paradox at all.â€
I gaped at her. â€œWhy canâ€™t you give explanations that clear all the time?â€
Elegy looked up from pouring liquor into my glass. â€œI do.â€
â€œNo you donâ€™t. Usually, what you say doesnâ€™t make sense, so I keep asking questions until you get pissed at me and tell me Iâ€™ll never be able to understand.â€
â€œUsually, it is a lot for your puny, human mind to take in.â€ She set my rum runner in front of me.
I took a drink and glared at her over the glass. â€œRight. Because lest I ever forget, youâ€™re a goddess, and Iâ€™m not.â€
â€œYouâ€™re catching on.â€ Elegy grinned at me.
Sometimes, I wanted to strangle Elegy. I really did.
Elegy poured herself some wine. â€œSpeaking of paradoxes, one just happened.â€
â€œOoh,â€ I said. â€œDoes that mean we get to pick up a volur?â€
â€œYou know it does,â€ said Elegy.
â€œCan it be Brody?â€ Brody was my boyfriend, even though we were on different timelines and we were experiencing our relationship out of order.
â€œI think not,â€ said Elegy, who was apparently still jealous of Brody picking me and not her. â€œHow about Gabe?â€
Before I could answer, the door to the bar opened, and Gabriel Cyrus came inside. â€œBoy, am I glad to see you guys. The other Fates are completely strange.â€
Elegy winked at him. â€œGood to see you too, Gabe. Want a drink?â€
I rolled my eyes. Apparently, I was going to have to watch Elegy flirt with Gabe. Yuck.
â€œIâ€™d love a beer,â€ said Gabe, settling down on a bar stool. â€œIâ€™ve been stuck in a dry town in the 1930s for two weeks now.â€
â€œComing right up,â€ said Elegy. She grabbed a pint glass and began to fill it from the beer tap.
â€œSo,â€ said Gabe, â€œplease tell me this isnâ€™t another job in a time period with no alcohol.â€
â€œActually, this is an easy one,â€ said Elegy. â€œStandard vendetta job.â€ She set a beer in front of Gabe. â€œGuy in the twenty-third centuryâ€™s gone back four years and killed someone. We actually see this kind of thing quite a bit. Someone decides it would be better if theyâ€™d never met someone, so they kill them in the past.â€
I wrinkled up my nose. â€œThatâ€™s horrible.â€
â€œWell itâ€™s easy enough to stop.â€ She turned to Gabe. â€œYouâ€™re going to want to find Alissa Merrs and get her someplace safe. Guy canâ€™t find her, he canâ€™t kill her. Easy as pie.â€
â€œGot it.â€ Gabe drained his beer glass. â€œWhere can I find Alissa?â€
â€œIâ€™m going to drop you off right as she gets out of a cab. All you need to do is keep her talking. Do not let her go into the nearby alley. Thatâ€™s where the killerâ€™s waiting.â€
Gabe nodded. â€œSounds simple enough. Iâ€™ll do my best.â€
Elegy smiled at him. â€œOh, I know you will.â€ Her voice was throaty and seductive. Eew.
Gabe caught Elegyâ€™s eye and blushed. Oh, gross. Now I was going to have to listen to Elegy having sex later. I thought she moaned loudly just to piss me off.
Gabe left the bar, grinning from ear to ear.
As the door shut after him, I took a long swig of my drink. â€œIf youâ€™re going to fuck him later, can you please keep it down?â€
â€œDonâ€™t be silly,â€ said Elegy.â€ â€œGabe and I are still in the courtship phase. I want to take things slow.â€
I raised my eyebrows. â€œYou? Slow? Since when?â€
â€œSince always. Youâ€™re never seen me in the courtship phase before.â€ Elegy sipped her wine primly.
â€œCourtship? I thought you had orgasms, not relationships.â€
Elegy sniffed. â€œYou donâ€™t understand anything, Catherine.â€
Clearly I didnâ€™t. That was fine with me. I turned my attention back to my rum runner.
But when I saw it, I dropped the glass in shock. It had turned a strange shade of green. And instead of falling to the ground and shattering into a million pieces, the glass went floating into the air. It turned upside down, but the liquid didnâ€™t fall out. â€œElegy?â€ I whispered, staring at it.
The jukebox came on, and it started playing â€œHelter Skelterâ€ by the Beatles. Around us, bar stools started floating into the air.
â€œShit,â€ said Elegy. â€œShit, shit, shit!â€
â€œElegy,â€ I screamed. â€œWhat is going on?â€
â€œShit!â€ Elegy scrambled out from behind the bar and ran to the front door. She hurled it open. â€œGabe, get back in here!â€
I peered up at the various floating things in the bar. â€œElegy,â€ I said in a tiny voice. â€œThis looks like a paradox…â€
â€œNo shit. Really?â€
She was being sarcastic? The bar was falling apart, and she was being sarcastic.
Elegy yanked Gabe back inside and slammed the door after him. Gabeâ€™s eyes were wild and terrified.
â€œWhat happened? Everything went nuts out there.â€ Gabe surveyed the interior of the bar. â€œAnd in here too, apparently.â€
â€œHe killed a different girl,â€ said Elegy. â€œIâ€™ve got to move the bar before the paradox spreads.â€ She squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her fists. Then her eyes popped open. â€œItâ€™s not working. Weâ€™re stuck.â€
â€œWhy does it matter if he killed a different girl?â€ I was clutching the bar, but it was starting to float too.
â€œI donâ€™t have time to explain things to you right now.â€ Elegy glanced around at the chaos in the bar her face full of fear. â€œWe canâ€™t get stuck in the paradox. Weâ€™ll never get out.â€
Gabe staggered forward. â€œBut I stopped the paradox. I kept her out of the alley. Thatâ€™s what you asked me to do.â€
â€œShit,â€ said Elegy. â€œWeâ€™ve got to call in the big guns. Catherine, get inside the beer cooler.â€
â€œGet inside the what?â€
But Elegy was propelling me behind the bar. She opened the door to the refrigerator that contained the beer. â€œEverything in this bar is an illusion except the alcohol. Iâ€™m calling in Fate Central. To save the bar, theyâ€™ll have to scan everything in it. That means you. If they find you, theyâ€™ll kill you. If youâ€™re in here with the beer, they wonâ€™t be able to tell the difference.â€
Well, that sort of made sense. Sort of. â€œBut itâ€™s cold in there.â€
â€œCatherine, do you want to be cold or do you want to be dead?â€
Elegy growled and shoved me into the cooler. She closed me inside. It was dark. It was cold. I shivered and tried to hear what was going on outside.
I couldnâ€™t make out much. I heard muffled crashes and clatters. Something that sounded like an explosion. Elegy screaming. A throaty yell from Gabe.
Then everything got quiet. I could hear voices, but I couldnâ€™t make out what they were saying. It felt like I was in the beer cooler for several eternities. My teeth chattered. I strained to make out something â€“ anything â€“ of what was going on outside. But between the noise of my teeth clattering against each other and the muffling effect of the beer cooler itself, I couldnâ€™t hear a thing. I hugged myself, rubbed my hands together, and did my best to stay warm until they let me out.
Which wasnâ€™t for a while. When Elegy did open the door, I tumbled out, frozen and shivering. Nothing was floating in the bar anymore. Everything was back to normal.
â€œYou okay?â€ said Elegy.
â€œCold,â€ I said.
She thrust a shot of whiskey into my hand. â€œThatâ€™ll warm you up.â€
Actually, Iâ€™d read somewhere that alcohol didnâ€™t actually warm you up, even though it felt like it did. In reality, however, it made you colder. But I took the shot anyway, and it did feel like liquid warmth was burning its way into my stomach. â€œWhat the hell, Elegy?â€
â€œYeah,â€ said Gabe. â€œIâ€™m wondering the same thing. And can I have a shot too?â€
Elegy poured him one, and also one for herself as well. â€œThat was a double paradox. Iâ€™ve heard of them, but Iâ€™ve never experienced one.â€
Gabe took the shot. â€œDid I do something wrong? I did exactly what you asked me to do. At least I tried to.â€
â€œNo, it wasnâ€™t you. It was my fault.â€ Elegy sighed. â€œWeâ€™re lucky I was able to get help. The Fates put up a barrier to stop the spread of the paradox and got us out, but it wonâ€™t last forever. Weâ€™ve got to fix this.â€
â€œYeah, about that,â€ I said. â€œWhy did I have to get in the beer cooler again?â€
â€œI told you. They could detect you in the bar, and I didnâ€™t want them to find you.â€
â€œBut theyâ€™ve talked to you when I was in the bar before. There was that one time, when they came over the TV. All I had to do that time was hide behind the bar.â€
â€œThis was different,â€ said Elegy. â€œWe were falling into the paradox, and the Fates needed to be able to yank the whole bar out. That meant they had to scan everything that was inside it, including you.â€
â€œWhy was there a paradox in the bar anyway?â€ I asked.
â€œI was wrong,â€ said Elegy. â€œI said it was a vendetta. It wasnâ€™t. When the time traveler couldnâ€™t kill Alissa, he killed someone else. It was the killing that was important, not the girl.â€
â€œSo I didnâ€™t stop anything,â€ said Gabe.
â€œYou stopped him from killing Alissa,â€ said Elegy. â€œWhich kind of caused the problem. But itâ€™s not your fault. You had no way of knowing.â€
â€œCaused the problem?â€ Gabe looked as confused as I felt.
Elegy nodded. â€œYou see, we created another paradox. The time traveler was going to kill Alissaâ€”â€
â€œBut we interfered,â€ I said.
â€œWe changed time again,â€ said Gabe. â€œTo something else it wasnâ€™t supposed to be.â€
â€œA double paradox,â€ said Elegy.
â€œAnd thatâ€™s why the bar got all weird.â€ It was making more sense to me now.
â€œBut you said we had to fix it,â€ said Gabe. â€œHow can we do that?â€
Elegy put the whiskey bottle back on the shelf. â€œThere are two points of entry for any paradox. One in the spot in time where time changes, and oneâ€”â€
â€œWhere the time traveler enters the portal,â€ I said.
â€œThatâ€™s right,â€ said Elegy. â€œAnd thatâ€™s where Iâ€™ve just moved the bar to, so saddle up, Gabe.â€
Gabe squared his shoulders. â€œSo Iâ€™ve got to stop this guy from going into the portal.â€ He took a deep breath. â€œWait a second. Letâ€™s go back for a minute. You said it was the killing that was important, not the girl, didnâ€™t you?â€
â€œThatâ€™s what I said,â€ said Elegy.
Gabe grimaced. â€œWhat kind of guy is this?â€
â€œWell,â€ said Elegy, â€œI think we can assume he likes to kill people.â€
â€œUh huh,â€ said Gabe. â€œIâ€™m guessing he probably isnâ€™t going to listen to reason, is he?â€
â€œNo,â€ said Elegy. â€œYour best bet is probably going to be to knock him out.â€
Gabe nodded. â€œDo I get a weapon?â€
Within ten minutes, Gabe hauled Timothy James Fuller into the bar. (Elegy said that was his name.) Fuller was draped over Gabeâ€™s shoulder. Grunting, Gabe brought him over to the couch and dropped him there. The three of us gathered around him, gazing down at his sleeping form. Fuller was not too tall and not too short. He had very short dark hair. He wasnâ€™t particularly muscular. He was thin and trim, however. In short, he looked very normal. It was kind of a let down. As the first crazed killer Iâ€™d ever met, he should have looked scarier, like Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees. Okay, well I guess both of those guys wore masks. I contented myself by imagining that Fuller had a creepy mask somewhere.
â€œDid you have any trouble?â€ asked Elegy.
â€œHardest part was finding something to hit him with.â€ Gabe rotated his shoulders, stretching them. â€œI had to steal a metal baseball bat from his next door neighbor. Donâ€™t worry. I put it back where I got it. Didnâ€™t want to make another paradox. But after that, it was easy. He didnâ€™t see me coming.â€
â€œGood,â€ said Elegy.
â€œWhat do we do with him now?â€ Were we going to simply relinquish him back on the world?
â€œWe wait for him to wake up, obviously,â€ said Elegy.
â€œShould we tie him up or something?â€
Elegy looked at me like I was an enormous idiot. â€œWhy would we do that?â€
â€œBecause heâ€™s a psycho killer.â€
â€œOh, please. Heâ€™s not going to try to hurt any of us. Thatâ€™s not how guys like this operate. Heâ€™d want an area where he could control everything. And I donâ€™t think heâ€™d want three victims to deal with at a time.â€
Maybe Elegy was right. But she didnâ€™t have to be so rude about it. Seriously.
Gabe spoke up. â€œBut after he wakes up, then what? I mean, heâ€™s not going to listen to us if heâ€™s psycho, is he?â€
But Elegy didnâ€™t get the chance to answer, because Fuller sputtered and sat up on the couch. â€œWho you calling a psycho?â€
I was pleased that his voice had a gravelly quality, like Tom Waits or something. It was appropriately creepy.
Elegy pulled up a chair from a nearby table. Honestly, I didnâ€™t even know why those tables were there. There had never been enough people in the bar to use them, except the one time weâ€™d gone to the seventies and picked up all those Studio 54 rejects. â€œHello, Fuller.â€
Fuller was gazing around at his surroundings in confusion. â€œWhere the hell am I? This some kind of bar? How about a drink?â€
Elegy eyed him like he was a disgusting insect. â€œFor you? I donâ€™t think so.â€
And Elegy was usually so free with the liquor.
â€œYou donâ€™t even know me.â€ Fuller sounded bewildered and wounded. â€œWhat you got against me?â€
â€œOh, I know you,â€ said Elegy. â€œI know all about you.â€
â€œIâ€™ve never seen you before in my life.â€ Fuller still sounded confused, like this was all a big misunderstanding. Despite myself, I began to feel sorry for him.
Elegy chuckled. â€œYouâ€™re good. Youâ€™re really very good. But I do know you, Timmy. I know about the little animals you used to torture when you were younger. I know about the girls in the club. And I know about the fact you were planning to use a portal to go back in time to kill again. I know it all.â€
Fuller didnâ€™t even look ruffled. Instead, he seemed even more confused. â€œYou got me mixed up with someone else, lady. I got no idea what youâ€™re talking about.â€
I almost believed him. I wanted to believe him. Maybe Gabe had accidentally got the wrong guy. Maybe this guy was completely innocent. He seemed so sincere.
Elegy threw her head back and laughed. â€œDrop the act, Fuller. Itâ€™s not necessary. Now I think youâ€™re scum. If it were up to me, people like you wouldnâ€™t even exist. But the only thing Iâ€™ve got the power to stop you from doing is messing with time.â€ She gestured at Gabe, me, and herself. â€œWeâ€™re the time police, see? And you canâ€™t go back in time and change things. You just canâ€™t.â€
Fuller was quiet for a few minutes. He gazed into his lap, thinking. When he raised his head, his expression was empty. Finally, he had creepy face to go with his creepy voice. â€œThatâ€™s ridiculous. Thereâ€™s no need for anyone to police time. Iâ€™ve followed the news and the experiments since these portals have been in use. Iâ€™ve studied the history. And thereâ€™s one constant. It doesnâ€™t matter what you do in the past. It doesnâ€™t change history, and it doesnâ€™t affect the present. So if I did want to kill someoneâ€” and Iâ€™m by no means saying I wouldâ€” in the past, it wouldnâ€™t matter.â€
Elegy rolled her eyes and shook her head. â€œYou are a complete idiot, arenâ€™t you? When I tell you weâ€™re the time police, donâ€™t you realize why it is that no one can affect the past?â€
Fuller bared his teeth. â€œNo one calls me an idiot. You sound like an idiot to me. What kind of nutbag goes around claiming to be the time police?â€
Elegy stood up, and she did that thing she did sometimes where she became tall and terrible and intimidating. Glaring down at Fuller, she said, â€œA goddess of Fate, thatâ€™s who.â€
Creepy Elegy usually scared people. Shakespeare, for instance, had been pretty freaked out. Fuller, on the other hand, didnâ€™t seem the least bit affected. â€œYou get crazier and crazier the more you yap.â€ He smiled, but his smile was more like a sneer.
Elegy went for the full effect then. A strong wind suddenly kicked up, blowing her long hair back from her face. Her eyes glow orange. I staggered from the force of it. It knocked Gabe down. He grabbed the edge of the couch to steady himself. I took several steps backward, but the wind stopped before I lost my balance completely.
Fuller stretched his arms out over the back of the couch. He looked over his shoulder. â€œYou got a big fan in here or something?â€
Elegy clenched her teeth, and I braced myself for something even worse. But then Elegy sighed, seeming to decide it wasnâ€™t worth it. She sank back down into her chair. â€œThink what you want. But Iâ€™m telling you that if you try to go back in time and kill any more girls, then youâ€™ll just end up back in this bar. And we can go through that over and over and over again, until you get the message.â€
â€œAny more girls? Youâ€™re talking like I already did it. Maybe I thought about it, but Iâ€™ve never even gotten in a time portal.â€
â€œNo you havenâ€™t.â€ Elegy pointed at Gabe. â€œBut thatâ€™s only because he stopped you.â€
Gabe, who had righted himself, folded his arms over his chest and fixed Fuller with a steely glare.
Fuller was starting to look uneasy. â€œHow did you know about that? I didnâ€™t tell nobody. Unless I let it slip when I was drinking the other night. Someoneâ€™s playing a joke on me.â€
â€œNot a joke,â€ said Elegy. â€œWhat happened is that you did it. And when you change time, it causes a time paradox.â€
Fuller raised his eyebrows.
â€œI got this,â€ I said. â€œSee, if in the future you go back to the past to try to change something, then itâ€™s changed. And so you canâ€™t want to go back to change it. Itâ€™s a nonsensical loop.â€
Fuller made a face. â€œI didnâ€™t want to change nothing. I just wanted to kill somebody without there being any consequences.â€
Elegy glared at me. â€œCatherine, how many times have I told you not to try to explain time paradoxes?â€
â€œWhat? I thought I did a good job that time. It was very concise.â€
Elegyâ€™s nostrils flared as she breathed out a slow breath. She turned back to Fuller. â€œItâ€™s more like this. Time is set. Any deviation from the prescribed path makes the universe wonky. You killed a girl who wasnâ€™t supposed to die. It messed everything up. I canâ€™t let you do that. You wonâ€™t do that.â€
â€œSo youâ€™re saying you got a time machine or something and went right to the point before I got into portal and stopped me from doing it?â€ said Fuller.
Elegy gestured around at the bar. â€œThis is my time machine. And if you ever try it again, Iâ€™ll do the same thing. You cannot go back in time to kill someone who isnâ€™t supposed to die.â€
â€œBecause fateâ€™s already written. Is that it?â€
â€œThatâ€™s right,â€ said Gabe.
â€œHuh.â€ Fuller looked thoughtful.
He moved quickly. None of us were expecting it, least of all me. When he leaped at me, I didnâ€™t have a chance to move. He pulled me to my feet. His arms went around me, like a bear hug, but he was pinning my arms down so that I couldnâ€™t move.
I gasped. I want to struggle, but Fuller was a lot stronger than he looked.
Before I quite knew what happened, Fuller was behind me. One arm wrapped around my body, pulling me tight against him. In the other hand, he had a small, sharp knife. And he was holding it to my throat.
â€œLet her go,â€ roared Elegy.
Fuller only laughed. â€œSo sheâ€™s not supposed to die, is she? If I killed her, will that cause a paradox?â€
Elegy looked livid. â€œDo you have any idea the things that I could do to you, Fuller?â€
â€œBut can you do it before I stick this knife into her neck?â€ I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was grinning. â€œThis isnâ€™t supposed to happen, is it? This isnâ€™t the prescribed path of time. Am I causing a paradox now?â€ He laughed.
â€œLet Catherine go,â€ said Elegy.
â€œWhy isnâ€™t this causing a paradox?â€ Fuller pushed the knife tighter against my throat.
â€œBecause we are out of time. This place isnâ€™t in the regular time stream.â€ Elegy stretched out her hand, her fingers splayed. A bright beam of light emanating from her palm and hit Fuller square in the forehead.
Fuller dropped me. I tumbled to the floor and scrambled away from him as best I could.
Fuller was on his knees, his hand clutching his forehead. He was trembling. â€œWhaâ€”?â€
Elegy towered over him. Her eyes were glowing again, and she glared down at him with an awful look on her face. She reached down and took him by the throat. She lifted him as if he weighed nothing. Fuller clawed at Elegyâ€™s hand, a look of terror on his face. His feet dangled, unable to touch the ground. Fuller seemed very tiny compared to Elegy, who seemed enormous.
â€œYouâ€™re worthless,â€ hissed Elegy. â€œI canâ€™t think of a good reason to keep you alive. More than anything, I want to squeeze your neck, crush it until you canâ€™t breathe.â€ Elegyâ€™s hand tightened.
Fuller sputtered. He tried to speak, but Elegy was squeezing him too tightly.
â€œIt would be so easy. And what do you matter? What do you bring to the earth besides suffering?â€
Gabe was behind me, helping me to my feet. His voice was a whisper. â€œDo you think sheâ€™ll do it?â€
I shook my head, eyes wide. I didnâ€™t know. Iâ€™d long ago given up trying to predict what Elegy would do next.
â€œShould we stop her? I mean, this guy isnâ€™t supposed to die.â€
Elegy had heard us. She turned away from Fuller for a second to look at us. Her eyes stopped glowing. Then she went back to Fuller. She flung him away.
Fuller soared through the air and collided with a table, which broke on impact with his hurtling form. He howled in pain.
Elegy went to him, yanked him up by his collar, and dragged him to the door of the bar. â€œGet out of my sight.â€ Elegy opened door and threw Fuller outside.
But I had noticed that one of Fullerâ€™s arms had been dangling at an unnatural angle. It was almost certainly broken, probably in more than one place.
â€œElegy!â€ boomed out an amplified voice.
We all looked around for the source of the voice, confused. It was coming from one of the televisions in the bar. Fate Central!
Elegy glared at me, and I hit the floor, rolling behind one of the couches and out of sight.
I heard Elegyâ€™s voice. â€œCome to congratulate me on how well I fixed that paradox?â€
The booming voice from the television responded. â€œYou damaged him. He was put back into the world with multiple bone fractures, bruises, and contusions. This is unacceptable, and you know that.â€
â€œUnacceptable? The man is a psychotic killer. Whatever I did was too good for him.â€
â€œYour job is to preserve the thread of time, not to change it. You know this.â€
â€œI stopped that paradox, okay? I did my job.â€
â€œYouâ€™re a loose cannon, Elegy. You need to reign yourself in.â€
I could hear Elegy sigh. â€œAll right sure. Youâ€™re right. I see the error of my ways. It will never happen again.â€ Elegy sounded a little bit sarcastic.
â€œIt had better not.â€
â€œMy word is my bond. Is that all then?â€
â€œNot quite,â€ said Fate Central. â€œWe noticed something strange when we were extracting your praxidikai from the paradox. It seems to be quite a bit larger than it used to be. Any idea why that might be?â€
â€œNope. It shouldnâ€™t be any bigger.â€
â€œAre you aware that both Meurtia and her praxidikai have gone missing?â€
Shit. My boyfriend Brody had killed Meurtia. And Elegy had absorbed her praxidikai to hide that fact. Fate Central must be onto us. What would this mean for Elegy? What would this mean for me?
Elegy was talking. â€œI didnâ€™t think it was even possible for a Fate to go missing. Where could she be?â€
â€œWe were hoping you might know.â€
â€œHow would I know? Iâ€™m stuck in this time traveling prison. I donâ€™t get to see other Fates. I havenâ€™t seen Meurtia since you locked me in this thing.â€
A knowing chuckle from the television. â€œYouâ€™ve always been good at sounding innocent, Elegy. But we know you. We know what youâ€™re capable of. And weâ€™re watching you. Keep that in mind, will you?â€
Elegy snorted. â€œWatch away. Nothing to see here.â€
â€œIf we find youâ€™ve been lying to us…â€
â€œIs there anything else?â€
â€œUntil next time, Elegy.â€
â€œYeah. See ya.â€
I heard the television switched off. It was quiet for several minutes. When I heard Gabe say, â€œWhat was that all about?â€ I decided it was safe to come out.
Elegy was behind the bar, angrily slamming down glasses to mix drinks. She wasnâ€™t answering Gabeâ€™s question, so he turned to me.
I shrugged. â€œTrust me. You donâ€™t want to know.â€ I settled down at the bar stool. I felt like I should say something reassuring to Elegy. â€œItâ€™s going to be okay.â€
â€œWhatever,â€ said Elegy. â€œYou want a drink?â€
â€œLook,â€ I said, â€œwe should just calm down. Everything worked out this time, anyway. And if they knew anythingâ€”â€
â€œLetâ€™s have a drink.â€ Elegy was insistent. â€œA drink makes everything better. Everything.â€
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