Chapter Ten: Determined to Find Out

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Cass Hamada couldn't help but stare at the rather unusual customer who had settled at the back table. It wasn't that he looked like a tramp or anything, but his clothes were rather unusual. They were Old Victorian and she wondered if he was an actor or something similar.

Whoever he was, he had appeared when her back was turned, then promptly fallen asleep against the wall. There were plenty of people who stepped in to "get away" from the world. He just hadn't ordered anything before dozing off and she didn't want to waste a cup of coffee by just leaving it at his table.

Her attention was diverted by a set of new customers entering the café. They were obviously college students. She could tell. Their hats had college logos on them, though only one said SFIT on it.

Thinking about SFIT, Cass couldn't help but wonder if her nephew was there now. Lately, he'd spent a lot of time there. With his ribs finally healed from that stupid incident with Mr. Krei, she wasn't surprised. She just hoped he wasn't pushing himself too hard.

"Did you see that?" a female customer exclaimed as she pointed out the window. Murmurs of confusion filled the air as patrons tried to figure out what was going on, noses pressed to the glass.

Cass was not without her sense of curiosity, though part of her sighed at the idea of having to clean nose prints from the windows. Despite that thought, she moved to investigate. "What's going on?"

Upon further prodding, the woman who'd spoken out confessed to seeing a man jog down the street on the other side of the road, only to suddenly disappear as if he were a ghost.

The look Cass gave her was disbelieving at best. And when the phenomenon wasn't repeated, even when another pedestrian crossed through the same area, she wrote it off as early morning tiredness. The only other explanation was that her nephew was messing around again.

Determined to find out one way or another, the café owner reached for her phone and dialed Hiro's number.


Hiro groaned as his cell phone rang from across the room. "It's way too early for this," he complained but got up when the tone started over. Someone really wanted to get a hold of him, he supposed.

Stumbling out of bed, Hiro made his way across the floor where his pants sat folded against the wall. His phone was in one of the pockets, where he'd forgotten to take it out the night before. He mentally reminded himself to either put his phone closer or on silent next time. He almost tripped on his hoodie, which had just been thrown on the floor.

Wasabi would have had an aneurysm had he seen that. But the neat freak was still sound asleep, snoring away like a log cutter. It was just as well.

"Hello?" Hiro answered in a groggy voice. "Aunt Cass? Huh? No. Crashed at Fred's place. Am I working on what?" The teen blinked a few times, wondering just what his aunt was talking about. In his semi-sleep state, it made no sense to him. "No. I'll be home later." Much later, he amended. He still felt worn out after yesterday's incidents. He felt lucky the campus was on a week-long break and he could afford to rest.

Saying the appropriate goodbyes, Hiro hung up the phone. He slowly made his way back to the bed. His thoughts caught up with him the moment he reached the mattress, jolting him wide awake. "Wait. What?!"

For the briefest of moments, he wondered if he'd been dreaming. But a quick look at the call log on his phone confirmed that he hadn't. He had really just talked to his aunt and she really had just asked if he'd been working on something... questionable.

What was it his aunt had asked exactly? Was he toying around with some kind of experiment involving making things disappear? Was she talking about teleportation? But how could she know about that unless someone else had made a portal?

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