Chapter 3: Violets and Black Axes

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Tamesis stepped outside of their condo and breathed in the chilly morning air. The sky was clear, for now. Dark clouds hung on the horizon. Something for them to deal with later. She fastened her long coat and snuggled into her scarf.

Devon locked the door behind them and pulled on her gloves. She adjusted her leather jacket and grabbed her sunglasses. It was bright out. Bright meant seizures.

"Does the sun have to come out every day?" she mumbled.

"What's that?" said Tamesis.

"Nothing. Breakfast?"

Later that morning the two women strolled hand in hand through downtown, enjoying the shady trees and sounds of children playing in the park. Devon finished off a sweet bun while Tamesis carried their bag of spoils from the Farmer's Market.

Devon licked the icing off her fingers. "So I had a creepy customer the other night."

"Yeah?" Tamesis glanced over at her, then added. "Again? Pin-Prick still scheduling time with you?"

"New guy. And Pin-Prick wasn't so bad. I'd just shove the needles through the top layer. Besides, he ended up paying for my EEG. This asshole, though. Man." Devon sucked air in through her teeth and shook her head. "He wanted to see me bleed. And not like that like any other pervert. Oh no, this guy wanted me to slice my skin open and watch it drip off my fingers."

She glanced over at Tamesis, who stared at her jaw-dropped. Devon chuckled and rolled her neck. "We needed the money to go out today but I told him no, and he seemed to respect that. Ended up saying we could just 'get to know each other' first in private-chat and I could see about making up some theater blood tonight since he paid in advance."

Tamesis shook her head, appalled. "Some people truly have the weirdest fetishes." She gave Devon's hand a gentle squeeze. "I'm glad he respects your boundaries at least. That, and he actually paid. I still remember some of those early clients you had..." She shook her head and sighed. "Anything that would cheer you up? We could have a picnic in the park, or we can come back a bit later and fly a kite like in that one dream—that is, if the weather stays nice."

Devon laughed. "I should leave the fan on more often. We might fly more. But, yeah. Yeah, that sounds good, babe."

They walked in silence. A gentle breeze played with Tamesis' curly blue hair. A group of children paused their chalk-drawing to stare at her as if she were a water fairy in her long skirt, gauzy blouse, and long, dark purple coat with embroidered lace trim. Tamesis looked down at her empty wrist where the purple sugilite bracelet used to hang.

Devon nudged her in the side. "Hey," she said gently. "You've been avoiding talking about that dream. Normally you tell me all about them."

Tamesis looked down and started to rub her left thumb. "It's just..." She shook her head, not knowing where to start.

The new age shop "Neverland" was across the street now. Devon lead them to a bench under a fading ash tree and took a seat. She pulled out her cigarette pack and slapped it against the palm of her hand as a few bright yellow leaves fell around them. She pulled out a cigarette and placed it between her lips, then reconsidered and put it back with a dark violet lipstick stain. She sighed. Tamesis still hadn't said anything more.

"That bad, huh?"

"I... I was just playing around really. Testing out some new stuff, see what I could do. And then suddenly this old man appears. I never expected to see anyone there as I was in my own little place, you know? Anyway, he said he was looking for someone, but he got distracted when he saw me."

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