O is for Outreach Program

O is for Outreach Program

Avera sat cross legged on the sill of the large bay window in the back corner of the break room. Small, with a few tables and chairs, couch, a counter with a sink and cupboards that lined the wall, and a small ice box in the corner. The window sported a beautiful view of the mountains off in the distance. But more importantly, it was empty. This had everything to do that no one knew it existed, which was all right with her.

As she took another bite of her lunch, her skin prickled down her neck. Avera drooped and set down her lunch on the sill and slid to the floor. She methodically went around the break room, checking under each chair and table, inside the couch, all of the cupboards, ice box and finally her lunch. She took another bite, nothing in the room had changed.

Cautiously, Avera resumed her lunch back at the window staring hard at the entryway, all senses on high alert. A large pattern that filled the room flashed in the back of her mind and slowly began to weave into existence. The faint yellow glow of taint barely registered against the sunlight streaming into the room.

Thirty minutes later, she had finished eating the rest of her meal and finished the pattern. The weave had taken considerable concentration on her part, but she was happy with the results. Now everything was ready she thought as she examined the gossamer weave around the room.

“Ms. Villi, it’s so good to see you again!” A male voice said from behind her.

Avera jumped two feet into the air at the sudden sound. She spun around, gathering the weave from the room and slamming it all towards the intruder. The Weave activated, wrapping around the man until it slid apart around him, crashing into the far wall and bursting into flames.

He was shorter than her by several inches. He wore a top hat and trench coat lined in brilliant zaffre blue. Over his eyes, a pair of goggles that had an array of small transactional engines mounted to the leather strap that held it to his head. The lenses, while frosted over, glowed a pale green.

The man turned, putting his back to her, to inspect the damage on the wall, “Oh, impressive. I see that you are continuing your training. Good, good.”

“Not for your sake, Barfolomew,” Avea snarled as she grabbed her satchel and began another small pattern she could weave quickly.

Bartholomew turned to face her again, “really, you don’t need to make these meetings so difficult.”

“Yes, I do.” The weaving flared, washing out everything into a smear of sunfire white.

Bartholomew sighed, snapping his figures and freezing Avera in place as she tried to escape the room. “I’m not here to ‘get you.’ If I were, we’d have you already.” Avera stuck out her tongue while wiggling the binding weave loose. He examined the half life remains of the sunfire weave she had just activated. “Your patterns are more controlled than last time, and you have gotten better at creating an even weaving. Still could use work, if you only had proper training.”

“I already told you, I refuse!” Avera broke the binding and threw a handful of small caliber multi-colored castors at the Bartholomew from her satchel. She dropped to her hands and knees, panting and dizzy.

A zaffre flash of light forced Avera to look up in time to see the tail end of his weaving that caught her shells in mid-air. His weaving contained sharp, detailed geometric fractal lines of silk, a pattern complicated enough to take hours to unravel and understand. Her weaving paled to super bulky wool with crude shapes and fuzzy patterns in comparison.

“Yes, yes, as you’ve said before. I’m impressed you managed to break that this time.” Bartholomew plucked one of the shells from the air, “This is quite a bit of firepower right here. Did you make these?”

Avera nodded, sweat dripped from her forehead, still working on catching her breath as though she had just run up the side one of the mountains in the distance.

“How long did these take you?”

“About a month… for each.”

“It would be a waste to use them here, then. Not to mention ruining your private and secure break room.” He pulled up one of Avera’s hands with a flick of his wrist causing her to stumble to a kneeling position and placed the shells into her open palm.

“You could wait until you reach the appropriate levels and then they will come for you, whether or not you want to. Or you could join us now and unlock the full potential of your abilities.”

Avera snarled as she sunk back to the floor up against the couch.

Bartholomew stood up, removing the goggles to reveal his unnaturally colored blue eyes and smiled. Avera shuttered. “We’ll be in touch again, Ms. Villi, we do want you to join us and not them.”

“Get out,” Avera grunted, crawling herself up to a wobbly standing position against the couch.

A large rabbit appeared, spotted in the same zaffre as Bartholomew’s taint.

“Hi, Pip, I wondered where you were hiding,” Avera said through several breaths.

“The usual place,” Pip shifted his ears towards the doorway, “I thought you did rather well this time. It was good to see you again.”

“Thanks, Pip.”

“There are several who are already willing to join up with you when you are ready to come, you know.”

“I’m sure. But get out.” Avera reached for a red emergency button. An alarm wailed.

“We’ll see you again soon,” Bartholomew doffed his hat to Avera, and then they both twisted in on themselves into zaffre point of light and vanished.

Avera screamed, kicking the closest table into another table. She wilted onto the couch, shaken and exhausted. She had been having a good day.

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