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“Dating?” Janae sputtered. “That’s not–that’s– I don’t have to answer that.” Her face grew redder and she squared her shoulders.

Her mother gave her a Look. “Is that what we’re saying these days?”

“He’s my familiar! I can’t help it that I inherited a humanoid specter out of everyone else in that stupid class.”

“Oh, so now it’s stupid? Careful, you might hurt its feelings.”

“I don’t believe this!” Janae threw her hands up in the air. “It’s not what you think! He’s just–useful. that’s all.” 

“What do I think?”  Her mother countered. “My thoughts apparently don’t count. ”

“Ugh–really?” Janae stormed out of the halfway house, her dark, glowering familiar floating after her. She brushed past Regis and headed down the gravel driveway.

The tension in the room lifted by several degrees, as the pressing aura of the shadow elemental faded in time to each step Janae moved further away from the house.

Regis hovered at the front door, before offering a tilt of his head and retreating. He’d give both of them some privacy. There had to be something else he could fix while he was outside.

Her mother rubbed her arms, absently. She was glad Regis had left. There weren’t any actual words she could spare for him, bless his young, troubled soul. She shivered, as a sharp coolness filtered over her. “Don’t give me that,” she muttered, half-aloud.

The shadow on the wall slithered across the floor to appear on the opposite wall, now in full sight. “It’s your fault. You’re the one that said you couldn’t be corporeal for longer than two decades. I told you it would cause problems.”

“It’s your fault. You’re the one that said you couldn’t be corporeal for longer than two decades. I told you it would cause problems.” She listened for a moment and scoffed. “Can’t hear you, darling–because she is definitely your daughter.”

(c) S. Harricharan

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