A Magical Short Story: Fluid by Abigail Stewart

A Magical Short Story: Fluid by Abigail Stewart



Everything started the day Mo threw herself off the ferry.

She hadn’t really meant to, in fact, it hadn’t been her intention at all. She had just got to wondering what would happen if she did. Her thoughts drifted like a bobbing lure: the cool enclosure of the ocean’s embrace, the peaceful expanse of nothingness beneath its surface. What would it be like to return to the womb?

In the end, it turned out to be easier than she thought.

The day itself was perfectly grey, a low ceiling of clouds spread across the sky like thick oatmeal, the water rippled ever so slightly as the ferry pushed itself across the sound, pulling a cape of sea foam behind it. The sluggish boat would not noticeably disrupt the quiet waters but Mo suspected a subtle wake probably created enough camouflage to mask her body’s entrance into the foamy current.

The morning began like any other, Mo boarded alongside the long line of bikers, walkers, cars. Everyone rushing, bumping, talking, competing over who was in more of a hurry to get where they were going. A mother dragged her protesting child behind her, a man boarded already shouting on his cell phone. The car engines died as they came aboard, but the music, the AM stations, the morning shows, remained a cacophonic background soundscape. The ferry workers shouted instructions from above deck to bottom deck to shore.

Mo usually took a seat among the morning commuters and read her book or stared out at the horizon without much on her mind, she tried to will her mind to emulate the emptiness of the horizon. That morning she sat, listening to the noise, until suddenly she found she wasn’t sitting anymore.

The ferry took off, its engine struggling to steer them into the open expanse of water.

Mo reached the railing, she leaned over, watching the shore disappear, watching her distorted reflection ripple back at her. She closed her eyes.

Then, in one smooth motion, she pitched herself over the ferry’s side railing in a graceful backward arc that would later be remarked upon by those present.

As her body hit the water, the sudden absence of sound became deafening. No longer could she hear the ferry’s motor, the child crying on the top deck, the man talking pointlessly into his cell phone. She felt purified, baptized, by the noiselessness. She held her eyes open and her mouth closed and let her body limply succumb to the gentle drift. Under water, the world seemed more solid, like she was suspended in Jell-o.

The grey sun retreated slowly, until it became a pinpoint above her. She smiled. She felt her heartbeat calm, slow; she closed her eyes. Succumb, would have been Mo’s final thought.

A second splash shattered her reverie, breaking the invisible barrier.

An arm around her waist, unwanted, unasked for. She tried to pull away, but the arm was stronger.

They surfaced together: a gasping man, a woman taking a petulant breath as though through a straw.

“I’ve got her!” he called out.

The ferry had thrown out a line, a life preserver. Everything was bright and loud again.

Mo felt momentarily angry that this stranger would be revered as a hero, sharing this story at cocktail parties until the day he died, posting about it on Facebook. All he’d done was drag her back into a place that she no longer belonged.

She would have come up on her own, she wanted to assure him. Eventually. Probably.

A woman was crying, now why on earth was she crying? Mo stared blankly at her until the woman, uncomfortable, looked away.

Someone put a blanket around her shoulder.

“We’ll have the ambulance meet us on the other side of the sound,” someone said.

She sighed, feeling thwarted without quite understanding why.


Image by cloudlynx from Pixabay


Sunlight filtered through gauzy, slightly yellowed window dressings and the entire room gleamed with an uncomfortable, otherworldly brightness. The faint smell of antiseptic lingered in the air as olfactory proof someone else had been there, if only for a moment.

Outside, the hallway bustled with life, conversation.

Inside, it was as silent as a tomb.

Consciousness loomed on the periphery of her eyesight, her brain. Mo knew she wasn’t at home, not with all this insufferable light.

A nurse entered the room.

Of course, the hospital. She remembered.

She tried to sit up, pull the shades. Her arms jerked backward, they were strapped to the metal bars of the hospital bed. She tugged against the restraints once more to make sure. Yes, still shackled.

“Maureen, don’t struggle. Do you need something?” The nurse had a honeysuckle voice and luminous, slightly greying hair. The window also illuminated her from behind, casting a halo rather than a shadow. She beamed down at Mo, transmitting a look of calm that Mo didn’t trust.

“I could use a glass of juice,” she replied. “I feel a little faint.”

Partly, she simply wanted the woman to leave. And partly, she actually really wanted some juice. So far she had been brought grape, orange, and apple and she was curious as to whether there was another flavor she was potentially missing out on.

“Sure, hun.” The nurse disappeared. On her way out, she pulled the shade down.

Some time passed. Mo gradually developed an itch above her armpit. She wiggled about in the bed before finally, begrudgingly, pressing the call button.

A plump redheaded woman entered. “Can I help you?”

“I have an itch,” Mo mumbled.

The nurse assisted her in its alleviation.

“Anything else?”

“I had asked the grey haired nurse for some juice, but she never came back.”

“What grey haired nurse?”

“The one who was in my room when I woke up.”

“Darling, no one has been in your room all morning. I’m the only nurse assigned to you and I’ve been at the stand outside your door all day answering phones.”

“I’m certain I asked someone for juice,” Mo insisted.

“Are you?” the new nurse cocked an inquiring eyebrow.

Mo considered how the consequences of a strapped-in patient on suicide watch insisting that she’d seen a juice-offering apparition.

“Maybe it was a dream,” Mo conceded. “I haven’t slept well here. Could I please have some juice?”

The nurse, seemingly appeased, nodded.

She brought back grape again.




People at the hospital immediately blamed her boyfriend. Did he break up with you? Did he cheat on you? What did he do to you? But it wasn’t that at all. In fact, Mo’s boyfriend was perfectly nice. He showed up at the hospital filled with concern. He brought flowers. Luckily, the restraints had been removed by that point.

“Are you alright?” he asked. His eyes darted around the hospital room, unable to rest on her pale face, her blue eyes, the color of water.

“Yes,” Mo responded. She dared him to look at her with all the effort of her tired brain. Look at me, look at me.

He looked out the window instead.

“I just wanted to check on you, to make sure…,” his voice trailed off, a gap remained where he wanted to insert his own concerns and insecurities.

There was a long pause where neither of them spoke.

“I think we should break up,” Mo finally said.

She wasn’t quite sure whether she’d said it with the intention of actually breaking up or if she just wanted his undivided attention. Either way, she got both wishes.

His head snapped to her. This time he didn’t look away, didn’t blink. He took in her body, thin under the hospital gown, thinner than he remembered. Though it was true, they hadn’t touched in some time. How did she look so much less substantial here?

“Is that what you want?” he asked.

“Yes,” she confirmed, albeit softly. “I think it’s for the best.”

“Alright, Mo. Alright.” He spoke measuredly, as though to a child.

Am I being childish, she wondered.

He had already picked up his bag, was walking toward the door. The sunlight from the window made it seem very surreal, as though she was watching a movie rather than experiencing it.

“Goodbye,” he said at the door. “I hope you get the help you need.”

She didn’t respond.

He disappeared.

She began to cry.

The grey haired nurse appeared from outside the door to comfort her. “There, there. It will be okay.”

Mo whimpered a little. “Will it?”

Her arms felt like home and Mo allowed herself to cry unselfconsciously until her eyes became weak from the tears and the bright light and existing. She finally slept.




The hospital sent her home on a Sunday, after the mandatory holding period, with instructions to return for psychological care.

They insisted she sit in a wheelchair, insisted they push her to the door.

“Do you have anyone to pick you up?”



“They’re dead.”

“Boyfriend? Girlfriend?”

“We broke up.”

The orderly just nodded and pushed the wheelchair out the front doors. Dazed, Mo smelled the damp earth and heady scent of eucalyptus. Someone had once told her it smelled like cat pee. She had always liked the smell before that. Now she could only think about cat pee.

She used her cell phone to summon a car, then immediately fell asleep and woke with a start to a man she did not know telling her, “You’re home.”

Her studio apartment was dark and smelled of forgotten trash, her fern looked dead, the pile of laundry that needed to be washed was still sitting next to her closet door. Nothing had moved. No one had noted her absence.

Her bed, pushed into the corner closest to the window with a sweeping view of the alleyway, smelled feral. A deep, earthy human scent. Mo felt herself pulled toward the unwashed sheets, the rumpled blanket, the slightly stained pillows. Her head nestled so gently there, remembering where it belonged. As she passed from consciousness into sleep, she heard a soft voice humming from somewhere. Everything was peaceful again.

Time passed, her cell phone buzzed. Again, she awoke in a seemingly unfamiliar place, expecting, this time, the lurid white of her hospital room, the comforting croon of the older nurse. Mo realized now she’d never asked her name.

The buzzing was a text message from her boss at the magazine Eat Well, Be Well, where she worked as a freelance writer: We heard. Take all the time you need. But, if you could submit that restaurant review by Tuesday, it would be really helpful.

She had been heading into the office the day of the ferry ride to discuss some new article pitches. Perhaps they knew, perhaps they didn’t. There was really no other reason for her to have been on the ferry.

Mo rubbed her eyes and scanned the dim room to find her laptop, charging on the kitchen table as always. A silent comfort.

In her periphery, she caught a subtle movement near the foot of her bed. Her head jerked in that direction. Nothing. Naturally, her eyes were readjusting, Mo assured herself. She was definitely not seeing things.

The movement again, in the kitchen this time. Her head darted, but seemed to just miss it.

“Just submit the article, you need to get out of bed,” a voice, clear and lilting, cut through the dark apartment.

There was no more movement, no more sound. The article was done, she just needed to press send, and the money would be helpful. Her inner voice was reasonable at least, she decided, pulling her laptop with her into the pile of blankets.

She re-read the article, it was good. She replied to the text message, Sending it now, composed a rough email, attached the document, then collapsed under the crushing weight of that singular task.

Food wasn’t at the forefront of her mind, but the article, coupled with a gentle nagging from a source she couldn’t quite pinpoint inside herself seemed to be urging her toward the mostly empty fridge. She pan fried some tofu, added it to noodles, dressed it all generously with soy sauce.

At some point, Mo assumed the day had transformed itself into an inky darkness and was slightly dismayed to discover that it was, at best, twilight. She didn’t check her phone again, just pulled back the curtains and ate slowly, observing the setting sun.

The sunset, the noodles, even the inner voice. Everything felt more tangible than it had in the weeks prior.




Mo slept and woke, feeding herself when she had the energy. Until one morning the soft humming again permeated her dreamscape. Her hand emerged from the nest of sheets and pillows in an attempt to silence a nonexistent phone alarm. When that failed, her head emerged, her eyes opened.

The song was a familiar one that she couldn’t quite place, something she may have heard in her youth. The lilting voice filled her entire apartment, along with the sunlight bouncing happily in from the alleyway, casting thin stripes on the floor.

When had she opened the windows? She remembered tying the curtains shut last night.

“Hello?” Mo called out.

No response, though the singing stopped.

She got out of bed and made a cursory inspection of her one room abode. Nothing amiss.

“Disembodied voices could at least take out the trash,” she muttered.

A soft, tinkling laughter filled her ears.

“Okay, this is getting a little too weird,” she announced, hoping no one would respond.

They didn’t.

Conveniently, it did appear she had woken up right on time to meet with her psychologist. It was her first time going back to the hospital, and she did not relish it.

The hallways were the same, filled with people hurtling toward death, or wrongly assuming they were. It smelled of the same antiseptic, which made Mo a tad nostalgic for late night reruns of bad sitcoms in her uncomfortable bed.

She passed the nurse’s station on her way to the psychologist’s office. The redhaired nurse was bent over a chart, clutching a fancy coffee as though it were a life preserver.

“Hello,” Mo greeted her.

The redhaired nurse’s eyes looked at her, unknowing, unfocused.

“I was in your ward a few days ago, that room,” Mo indicated. “I never caught your name.”

“Oh, yes! I didn’t recognize you at first,” she exclaimed, a little too enthusiastically. Mo wasn’t sure she remembered her at all. “My name’s Andrea.”

“Well, Andrea, I just wanted to say thank you for helping me out.” She ventured forward to her real question more carefully, “And, if I could, I would also like to thank the older nurse who was working. I think I cried to her a few too many times.”

“There’s not an older nurse on rotation here. Everyone, right now, is under forty. I remember you asking about this before. Who do you think you saw?” Andrea’s eyebrows furrowed into a scrutinizing gaze.

“I’m not sure, maybe I’m confused. Anyway, I have to go meet with the doctor. Thanks again!” Mo hurried off down the hallway, the sound of her shoes echoing painfully against the blank, soundless walls, Andrea’s judgement following close on her heels.

The psychologist’s office was a haven free of florescent lighting and Mo had settled into a comfortable chair he proffered. His desk was decorated with photographs of a happy, smiling family in various locales.

Mo imagined their vacations:

“Look, dad! I think I see a lion in the clouds!”

“What do you think that signifies?”

Followed by banal dinner conversation about their day, punctuated with mediocre sex.

“Not too loud, the kids will hear.”

Basic questions were asked of her, Mo answered succinctly. The psychologist did not prod or pry, she suspected in order to earn her trust, in turn she did not tell him about the nurse, the singing, the voice. She wanted to hold out for a while and see what he might trade.

Instead, she said she felt better. They discussed medication, further monitoring, talking to a therapist. She distractedly agreed to do her research.

Plans were made. Life goes on.



The streets outside the hospital smelled of rain, metallic, a promise of swaddling the world in moisture. It drizzled somewhat on Mo’s walk home, nothing satisfactory, just a slight dampening of her hair. She could have taken the bus, but with nothing more important monopolizing her afternoon, she chose instead to amble.

When one ambles, one discovers, Mo philosophized to herself.

She stopped in a bar, one she’d never been to before, and ordered a light beer with a side of garlic fries. The grease layered itself on her fingers, which she then smeared on the pint glass, a residue of pleasure. Often, she felt a great sense of independence when she took herself out somewhere. Many people seemed afraid to be alone in restaurants, movie theaters, but Mo didn’t mind. She felt stronger meeting people’s inquiring gazes without the accompaniment of a partner or a book. And no one was there to judge that she ate fries for her early dinner.

Above the bar a flat screen TV played some sort of sport event. The colors were garish against the dark wood and dim lighting of the bar itself. The fries were decadent in the very specific way that bar food can be sometimes.

She realized she was enjoying herself and ordered another beer.

It was dark when she exited the bar and continued her amble, slightly more disoriented than before.

Mo passed another bar, a sushi restaurant, a store that seemed to sell sewing machines, a coffeeshop. She knew this block, she was almost home.

A neon sign, bleeding crimson onto the sidewalk, caught her eye. “Palm-reading, Fortunes, Tarot,” it read. She’d passed here before, hadn’t she?

Mo had never been an ardent adherent to the astrological calendar like some of the people she knew. “Ugh, Mercury is in retrograde again,” meant absolutely nothing to her. And yet, something about the existence of psychics had always intrigued her. They had been around since biblical times — seers, oracles, chart makers. The stars, a constant place to look for guidance, whether you were a ship captain or a social media influencer.

Something compelled Mo forward, an urgent whisper. Tucked into the side of an alleyway, the threshold of the storefront was adorned with hanging plants.

“Why not,” she conceded aloud to no one. This week had already been appropriately strange. Maybe she could find some sort of assistance here that went beyond the hospital, the physical.

She pushed open the door.

The parlor was not at all what Mo had imagined. What had she imagined? This place, though, was charmingly cluttered with a variety of knickknacks and oddities, almost like a museum. There were dried flowers in old bottles of varying shades, blue, green, clear, amber. Books were strewn about, as though the reader had left in a hurry with something more important to do. Plants crowded on the ledge by the small window, leaning upwards for light. A red shadow cast itself under the door from the neon sign outside lending an otherworldly accent. At the center of the room there was a table, covered in a sheer black cloth. No crystal ball, though Mo had rather expected one. Behind it, a crimson curtain, disguising the entrance to somewhere else entirely.

This was a mistake, Mo decided, feeling as though she’d trespassed into someone’s home, deciding in that moment to leave.

The scarlet curtain rustled, then parted to reveal a woman of indeterminate age. Her hair was dyed a vivid violet and her loose, black, floor length dress disguised any invitation to determine other features.

“I’d say ‘I knew you were coming,’ but you don’t seem like type to find that humorous,” she smiled. “I’m Aurora.”

“Of course you are,” Mo smiled back.

“And you?”

“Maureen.” She stated her full name without hesitation or reason.

“What brings you to my establishment this evening, Maureen?”

Aurora had seated herself at the table, her arms were covered in bracelets, some metal, some looked to be discarded leather straps covered in beads. She placed her hands on the table, folded them. Waited.

“I think I am having hallucinations,” Mo blurted out, before plopping herself down in the chair opposite the psychic. Over the course of twenty minutes, she told Aurora everything she’d hidden from the psychologist, starting with the ferry ride. “And now, I am wondering if the nurse was even real. Did I imagine her?”

Aurora hadn’t moved, her hands were still folded, only her face betrayed that she had been listening — nodding occasionally, raising an eyebrow.

“I see. Would it help you to know that the experiences you’ve been having are not unique to you?”

Mo wasn’t sure if she felt disappointment or deep relief.

“Your attempt to drown yourself opened your psyche to the spirit realm. Oftentimes this happens, it can be disconcerting initially. Particularly if the spirits feel thwarted that you didn’t join them, but it’s more likely they may feel closer to you because they understand your plight.”

“I don’t think I really wanted to die,” Mo said.

“And maybe they sense that,” Aurora added, then continued. “A near drowning is fluid, almost peaceful, as you described. That moment between life and what lies beyond opened your consciousness, then snapped it shut again. The voices, the singing, it’s a siren song inviting you back. So you need to be wary, but one might perceive it as a gift. A purpose.”

Mo asked, “Is that what happened to you? Is that why you know about it?”

“No, my empathic abilities are based on my reading of people. I have a limited connection to the spirit realm that must be coaxed.”

“How can I talk to them?” Mo asked. “Or do they just talk to me?”

“If you want to speak to the spirits, I can guide you. But it can be frightening, particularly if one is not used to it. You’re in a fragile state, and I don’t want to push you.”

“I feel like someone has been trying to reach me, and I want to know. I have to know.”

Aurora didn’t respond.

“I’m not afraid. And I will come back, I won’t stay,” Mo assured her.

Aurora stared at her for a long time. Slowly, she stood.

“I believe you.”

The eye contact didn’t break though. Mo took in her dramatic eyeliner, carefully plucked brows, and allowed Aurora to read whatever it was that Mo had to offer.

“Alright, follow me.”




There was a hallway, a small kitchen, then another room. The room at the back was more like a cupboard, without any of the airiness of the entry parlor. It was windowless, black, with two cushions on the floor and an altar between them. The altar held all manner of things, crystals, herbs, tarot cards, a tea set.

Aurora sat, Mo followed suit.

A candle was lit, sage burnt, words murmured. “An offering to the spirit realm, to let them know we come in peace,” Aurora explained. “You will travel at your own pace, I will remain grounded here. You must remember, if you go with them, you can’t come back.”

Mo nodded.

“Take my hands,” Aurora instructed.

They clasped hands over the alter, the smoke from the incense and sage rising dimly in the candlelit space between their arms, an open embrace of the intangible.

“Close your eyes, breathe, and they will come to you.”

Mo did as she was told. She breathed deeply, filling her senses with darkness, incense, and the feeling of the cushion under her tailbone, the feeling of her hands gently held in Aurora’s own.

Just as she was ready to dismiss the whole endeavor as a very bad, two beer decision, the singing started. It was the same crystal voice that she had heard in her apartment, like the delicate sound of glass breaking.

“Follow it,” came Aurora’s whispered instructions.

Mo let her consciousness go deeper, breathing slowly, allowing herself to float freely with the voice to whatever space it determined. She opened her eyes.

Mo found herself still in the tiny room, still swathed in darkness and candlelight. She began to wonder if Aurora had a smoke detector. Across from her was more darkness, then a transparent flicker which grew in solidity before her eyes. Soon, the spirit, for it could only be that, of the nurse at the hospital appeared before her. The woman smiled beatifically at Mo.

“You found me,” she laughed. It had always been her laugh.

“I did,” Mo acknowledged. “Where are we?”

“Somewhere in between.”

“Like purgatory?”

“Something like that.”

“Why can I see you?”

“You’re in a trance right now, but I heard you calling me.”

“What did you want from me?”

“I sought you out in the hospital. I recognized the water in you because it’s in me too.”

Mo understood.

“When you came back, I wanted to watch out for you.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s time for you to go now.”

“But I’ve hardly seen anything here at all.”

“There will be other opportunities. I imagine we will meet again.”

The figure began to flicker.

“Wait, what’s your name?” Mo cried out.

She smiled again, “Juana,” then disappeared.




Aurora was sitting across from her on the cushion when Mo snapped back into reality. The candle had melted down to nubs, the sage no longer smoked, the room felt oddly cold.

A blanket was wrapped around her shoulders.

“The passage can be chilly,” Aurora offered. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

“I think so. But I also feel like I understand less than before.”

“It will be easier next time.”

“Next time?”

“There will definitely be a next time.”

Mo shook the blanket off her shoulders, “What do I owe you?”

Aurora waved her hand dismissively, the bracelets made a hollow sound as they clacked together. “I don’t charge fellow seekers.”

Mo just nodded, gathered her things, and walked directly toward the door.

“See you soon, Maureen!”

She did not respond.

It had to be close to midnight now, she thought, as she plowed toward her apartment, head down, still shivering.

Her apartment welcomed her with open arms and Mo discarded her sage scented jacket for the open embrace of her bed.

That night she dreamed of standing on a tower, overlooking the entire city. Lights blinked on and off in some sort of cryptic Morse code she was unable to decipher. Yet it felt essential the she understand it.

“You’ll figure it out,” a young girl was standing beside her. Mo recognized her as a girl she attended elementary school with years ago, but hadn’t thought about in some time.

“I just don’t know what it means…”

“Sometimes it doesn’t mean much at all.”

Mo turned again to ask the girl what she meant, but no one was there.

She woke up to late morning sun and a text from her editor: Any thoughts on urban foraging? Interest high, need an article.


Image by Joan A Brown from Pixabay


Mo decided to go for a walk. It started with the intention to get coffee and a buttery croissant from the stand around the corner and evolved, instead, into a proper amble which directed her right back to Aurora’s front door.

She hadn’t yet decided what she wanted to do, when the door opened invitingly and Aurora stood in the sunlight smiling at her. She wore another black caftan, this time adorned with silver all-seeing eyes and a different assortment of bracelets. Her parlor was cozy, quiet.

“I just put on a pot of tea, would you like some?”

Mo nodded silently, allowed herself to be ushered inside, sat down. She felt something brush against her calf and, startled, looked down to find a pewter grey cat nestled beneath the chair. Of course there’s a cat, she mused.

Aurora returned with two cups. “I hope you like lavender and chamomile. I’m glad you came back. I know the first step into the unknown can be frightening, but it can also be empowering.”

“I wasn’t frightened,” Mo countered, accepting her tea.


“Yes, still.”

They sat, sipping the tea, not talking.

“I’m curious…,” Mo began.

“I figured,” Aurora countered, producing several books from underneath the table. “I marked the pages I think would be most helpful to your journey. Also, if you let me guide you, I think your ability to communicate with the beyond will produce different effects than my own. Each seeker finds their own way to speak and discover truth, but I too am curious about what you may discover.”

They sat on the floor, talked, played with the cat, read, asked questions, listened. Mo realized this was the first time she had felt happy in some time. The sun set, the red glow of her sign created an enduring false sunset.

Someone entered. An old woman, she looked unsure, like a newborn foal.

“Welcome,” Aurora beamed, rising from the floor in a fluid motion. Mo rose too, more unsteadily, they had been sitting for a while. The cat stirred in the chair, acknowledging none of them.

Mo pressed herself against the wall. Trying to be invisible, while the woman told Aurora why she’d come.

Mo heard the humming, what she’d determined to be some sort of summons. She shushed it, for now. She’d learned a few shushing techniques.

As the late summer evolved into autumn, Mo found herself constantly at Aurora’s door. She wrote in the morning for her magazine, then spent the afternoons ensconced in the fairly occult world of spiritual seeking. They worked together, Mo helped Aurora prepare for readings, Aurora explained crystal healing, Mo began giving her own, startlingly accurate, Tarot readings. She also learned to travel from here to there and back again, safely. Aurora was always waiting with a blanket and tea.

One day, in early winter, a soft powder of snow lay upon the ground. Mo put on her winter boots and walked to Aurora’s, noting with pleasure the crunching sensation underfoot. She felt alive as the cold air filled her lungs.

Oddly, the sign at Aurora’s was turned off. In all her time visiting, it had never been off before. She entered, hesitatingly, but immediately noticed something was different. There was no smell of tea and incense, no candles, no music, no padding of Aurora’s bare feet across the wooden floor.

The cat slept on the chair with a note pinned to her collar:

Please take care of the shop and feed Fig. I had to go for a while, to find something. You understand.

Xo – A.

Strangely, Mo found she did understand.

She unpinned the note, turned on the sign, and walked to the kitchenette in the back. She put on the tea kettle. The door opened in her wake almost immediately.

Mo found herself rustling out from behind the curtain to face a nervous looking young man.

“Welcome,” she said, before sitting across from the table and folding her hands into place.