The University of Magic was plunged into chaos.
At the break of dawn, the night guard found several bodies from the mortuary dispersed in the hallway. As if the macabre spectacle wasn't enough, the guard found himself contaminated by an eerie miasma, an otherworldly presence that seemed to hang in the air.
Fortunately, his colleague called the police to equalize him, but soon, they faced another issue: bodies walking around the hallway speaking incomprehensible words. So, Mr. Soleil, Abannak, Shire, and Ajal were called right away to deal with the crisis that led to all departments closing temporarily so that the energies could settle.
It was very early in the morning and Addai heard the news as soon as the subway train started moving. The wagon was cramped, it was hot, a smelly man stood beside him, someone started singing out of nowhere… and Addai asked himself how he could have that much rotten luck.
He wanted to go back home… oh, he wanted to... but the next ride to his neighborhood would take some considerable time to come to the station near the university.
Hopping off the subway, he then sat on the nearest bench, grumbling and resigned that he wasted the morning anyway. The station was neither too dark nor too bright, illuminated by the rays of sunlight that insisted on entering through the glass roof - a too-beautiful morning wasted.
Removing his professor's coat and stowing it in his bag, Addai discovered that Umbra did the favor of putting a dead, dry cockroach inside it.
"Umbra..." Addai sighed and the cat appeared beside him, "how many times did I told you to not put any more surprises in my bag?!" he protested, shivering as his finger touched the dry cockroach's legs.
"Meow," Umbra meowed and bit Addai’s hand.
"Don't bite me either!" Addai argued, and the cat sat on his lap. "Ah… I came for nothing," he sighed while cuddling the cat's ears and back.
Umbra took a black, texturized notebook out of Addai's bag with her mouth, and he caressed her head in praise. Of course she left holes in it, but her owner paid no mind - in fact, he was used to having his books and notebooks bitten and nibbled by her.
"You had a brilliant idea," he chuckled, opening the notebook. "Do you want to be my model this time?" he rummaged through his bag to find his pencil case.
“Meown,” Umbra rested beside her owner, purring as he caressed her back and ears with his spare hand.
"Maybe next time? Alright, then," he laughed.
Taking a pencil out of the bag, Addai let the item run on the once white page, dusting new gray colors on it. Thumbs up, thumbs down, he pictured the perspective of the station, benches and their textures, outdoors and the very few people distracted with their own lives. A line here, a line there, some crooked lines, and others were quite straight. With a smudge on the corner and a smudge on the center, the pencil traveled through the page that carried more and more of the gray color than ever, already shaping the piece of view he was seeing and, still thumbs up and down - measuring distance and spaces - he kept letting the pencil travel and sometimes stumble.
The station was as quiet as ever. The few people had already taken their respective trains to their destination, and Addai was left practically alone if it wasn't for a tall woman appear and sat right where he was starting to fill in the blanks and messy lines.
He decided to add her to the drawing, but her face was too hard to tell what she was like, so he just sketched what he considered a default one. Meanwhile, Umbra's fur bristled, and she took a defensive stance, emitting a low growl from deep within her throat.
"What's up?" Addai caressed Umbra's head. "Did you see something interesting?"
But before Addai could look at the woman's face again, or try to, she had vanished. People have things to do, so maybe she had given up on taking the metro and headed somewhere else. Umbra looked at her owner and meowed, touching his thigh.
"Ok, you can come back into my shadow. I know you're tired," he chuckled, and Umbra vanished, incorporating herself into Addai's shadow.
As Addai placed the notebook back into the bag, a person rushed off the latest metro train, gasping for air as they caught their breath. Then, the person checked their phone and appeared to be grieving as they whined and grumbled endlessly.
“I don’t believe it! No wonder the teleportation arrays were locked!” the person fumed.
“Hey, I told you to not shove your cell phone in your ass,” Addai called, and the person looked at him very annoyed.
"You too? Great, at least I won't be bitter alone," the person sat beside Addai.
“Good morning, Mine,” Addai bowed.
“Bad morning,” Mine grumbled and yawned, visibly fatigued.
"I won't be carrying you home, princess,” Addai teased.
“As if I needed your help,” Mine retorted.
Ten minutes later. Nothing.
Thirty minutes later. Nothing.
Forty minutes later… a subway finally pulled into the station!! But it wasn't their ride.
One hour later. Still nothing.
Meanwhile, Mine and Addai shared a few snacks they brought to eat during the morning once the hunger of a no breakfast started kicking in. The air was still and silent at the station, and the only sound that could be heard was the occasional rustle of leaves in the warm breeze.
“It’s so quiet that it’s making me sleepier…” Mine yawned again.
“Stop contaminating me with your yawns,” Addai grumbled and yawned.
"I got an idea," Mine rummaged in his bag, taking his wireless headphones. “Here, take one,” he handed one of the sides to Addai, who took it after yawning once again.
A soft tune started playing, making them sluggish. ~yawn~ Bad choice.
Mine chose another one, a groovy and agitated one. A good choice after a brief heart attack.
“I chose the place,” Mine voiced after some time.
“What?” Addai asked, confused.
“Duh, the place for us to go for a stroll,” Mine chuckled. "You better sharpen your dancing skills because we'll go to the Spring Goddess fair!” he cheered.
“And what does it have to do with my dancing skills?” Addai crossed arms, raising an eyebrow.
“Because I like it,” Mine replied enthusiastically. "There's always fantastic music there, and sometimes they give prizes to the best dancers so... that's why I'm determined to get you to dance with me, even if your coordination is abysmal.”
“Abysmal…” Addai echoed, in a huff. “I still see no reason for your delusional motivation."
“I’ve never seen such a terrible dancer before, and it feels like a sin to not teach you that,” Mine grinned, his tone unabashed. "And maybe this way you'll find yourself someone, like… maybe enchant a good, beautiful woman so you’ll have someone to dance with. See? It's not a waste,” he said, but his eyes seemed a bit blue and so his tone.
A terrible silence lifted.
Mine didn't dare to say anything anymore and wondered if that offended Addai somehow. As he kept munching the thoughts over and over, a kind of weightiness started hitting his head by noticing that Addai didn't even smile or chuckle as he did at the café the other day when they talked about the girls sitting near their table.
When Mine was about to apologize for what he had said, Addai spoke first. “Why can’t it be you?” he voiced, looking pensive.
“You’ll get tired of me, that’s why,” Mine chuckled weakly.
But what Mine didn't expect was Addai's quick and firm reply.