"What's in the account for this key card?" He asked, somewhat warily.
Cass shrugged her shoulders. "I'm not exactly sure. Your father said you'd be able to access the account when you turned eighteen, and that it contained funds. He didn't offer any additional information."
"You never tried to access the account?" Toby asked.
Cass grimaced. "Of course not."
"I just meant out of curiosity." Toby offered.
Cass sighed. "The account is your exclusive property. You've always been the only person who could access the account, and only when you turned eighteen. That key card does not grant access, it signifies a greater level of security. You will likely have to provide additional proof of identity in order to access the account."
"Like an iris scan." Toby mumbled under his breath.
Cass gave him an odd look. "May I ask why you need the funds?"
There was an uncomfortable pause, and then Toby said, "I met a girl." The words sounded awkward the way he said them, and even more so when he continued, "I need to rent an apartment."
Cass nodded slowly. It was strange, how one was never prepared for certain things in life, despite always knowing they were inevitable. She thought back to the girl she saw sitting across from Toby during her lunch errand, with the eyes like pools of quick sand. She looked at Toby where he sat across from her now, realizing how far behind she had been in recognizing his transition to adulthood.
Toby must have spotted the resignation in her expression. Smiling tenderly, he said, "I am not renting out space in a black hole. I plan to rent an apartment right here in Norborne, and still come around for breakfast, if it's not too much trouble."
"You can come around any time you like. The years just came around too quickly." Cass sighed.
Toby dropped his eyes, pulling his wallet out of his jean's pocket to put away the key card. When he opened it, he noticed the other graphene slip still tucked inside, and recalled the inscription on the slip...
'Beware the tet let,
Nevermore! Quoth the raven,
In his shrieking noise'
Looking up at Cass he asked, "Did my father like poetry?"
"Not that I know of, but I wouldn't really have known if he was."
Undeterred, he continued. "He sounds like he was a little eccentric, from what you've said."
"That would be a fair description. Highly intelligent people often come across as eccentric, though."
Toby continued, "You said my mother was from Japan. Did you ever know of her to write haiku poetry, or did either of them have a fondness for Edgar Allen Poe?"
"I don't know. I don't understand what you're asking..."
Toby closed his eyes, thinking how hard it would be to explain. Before he could reply, Cass spoke again.
"Your mother often joked that while normal people played Sudoku or solitaire, your father worked on riddles, and logic proofs. I never knew of your mother to write poetry, but as in your father's case, it isn't something she'd have necessarily shared with me if she had. It's odd that you ask about Poe. I don't recall knowing whether either of them were fans, but I do know your parents visited his grave site."
Toby looked at her intently. "Then they must have been fans."
"Whether or not they were fans of his poetry never came up in conversation." Cass said, a pensive expression on her face. "Your mother was telling me about various trips your parents had taken together. One of the ones she mentioned was a trip they had taken to Baltimore, on business for HomaTech. They traveled with a group of people your father worked with, and took a sightseeing tour of the city as a group one evening. Your mother had mentioned it as being funny, to visit sights like Edgar Allen Poe's grave, with a bunch of engineers and research scientists. That was the only time I heard either of your parents mention Poe."
Cass lowered her eyes. "I understand you being curious about what kind of people your parents were. I often wish I had known your mother longer, and better. Whether or not they were poets, per say, you certainly inherited creativity from them both."
Toby's mind raced. "Did my father know that my mother told you about this trip?"
"He was there when we talked about it. Part of her point in telling the story was for him to hear." Cass sounded bemused. "She loved teasing him about being too smart to live in the real world."
Toby had an array of thoughts in quick succession.
"I think I will go lay down in my room and read for a little while."
YOU ARE READING
A Singular WitnessScience Fiction
Quinn wants to escape her claustrophobic hometown after her father dies unexpectedly from a rare parasitic infection, and an internship filming feed in cities around the world for a software company developing a virtual running game seems like her t...