11.7 Chart

by Matt P.

What had begun as a ride and turned in to a lunch, eventually ended up as an all afternoon planning session. Walter’s head spun with the basic primer of Faerie, and the knowledge that he was going to get a little lesson in how to beat up magical creatures. He had even stopped denying magic existed, if only so that he could try to keep everything straight. He was dropped off at home by Morgan, who sped off in a confident and illegal fashion to continue planning with her sister and start making the Scoobie-Doos, or whatever the knives had been called. He had some take out in his hands for his children, balancing drinks in one hand and food bags in the other.

Walter walked in to find a gaggle of teenage girls laying on the floor with a map of town, which he noticed shortly before he stumbled over the increased pile of shoes in front of the door. “Dammit, it’s growing!” Walter grumbled as he stepped over it toward the group it belonged to. “Does it always have to be right in front of the door?” He asked. He paused to check the food bags and drinks, and found them suitably saved by his quick steps.

“Last time it wasn’t a creepy guy broke in, tried to kill you, and disappeared in our closet.” Siobhan said helpfully, kicking her legs on the floor. “Is that Indian?”

“That something we’re talking about a lot in front of our friends?” Walter asked as he made his way over to the kitchen island to set down the food and drink. “Also not exactly true since you were out at a party when that happened.” He looked at the two girls. “I think this is the first time they’ve actually overcome their embarrassment of me to bring you two in to the house. I’m Walter Richards; for my sins, Antigone and Siobhan’s father.” He introduced himself to Lacey and Monica, the half of the gaggle he wasn’t related to. “You must be Lacey and Monica. Can I get you something to drink, have they played good hostess at all?” He asked, with a raised eyebrow to his progeny.

“Given it was their party, and they’ve been involved in all the freakiness that’s happened since?” Antigone answered for her sister. “We decided to clue them in, yes. The whole thing.” She said this last bit almost defiantly, looking at her father as if daring him to contradict her logic—an expression he was more used to on Siobhan than anything else. “And we got them water.”

Walter looked at the two teenage girls, very different on the outside. And yet from the way that his daughters had described them, and what he saw in the pride they had in Antigone’s trust, he sensed a similarity to them beneath the surface. A loyalty, and an honesty. “Good.” Walter said after only a moment of consideration more. “Too many shadows in this town and not enough flashlights; too many secrets and not enough truths. So what do you think?” He asked them, pulling a soda from the fridge and moving to sit at the island and look at them. His tone was neither condescending nor flip but sincerely curious.

“That Kansas City high schools can’t be that bad?” Monica answered first, while Lacey considered it more deeply.

“That a lot of people are in danger and they don’t even know it.” The blond student answered a moment later, after having rolled the thought over in her mind a little bit more.

“Well…” Walter said as he opened the can of soda. “Neither of you are wrong. I’m not sure that I won’t start taking fliers for other school districts. Possibly across the country. Underground.” He sighed. “But you’re also not wrong that people are in danger, and I’m not sure exactly what we can do about it.” He answered honestly.

“Is he always this honest with you?” Monica asked Antigone and Siobhan curiously.

“Price of being kind of an adult.” Walter answered, with that same honestly. “And the cost of truth. If you want to ask the questions, you have to listen to the answers that come. Even if you don’t really want to. And I don’t mind you all thinking of answers, either, as long as you’re doing your best to stay out of trouble. Or violence. Or boys.”

“What about girls?” Lacey asked, making googoo eyes at Siobhan for a moment. Walter considered for a minute, before he shrugged.

“As long as they keep their grades up, then they can stay away from girls too.” He offered equanimously. “Whatevs, as the kids say. So what are you working on here, and what’s it got to do with the craziness that makes up one Border, Kansas?”

“Magic doors.” Siobhan answered, showing her father the map that they were working out.”Apparently they’re all over the city, and we’ve identified a number of them. Antigone almost opened one today at school, and it was…” Siobhan paused to consider her words. “Well, anywhere else I’d say super crazy, but here it only managed to be normally crazy.”

Walter nodded at that, pondering. “You ever heard of any of them being open?” He asked the two Border natives with a raised eyebrow. “Anything we could verify and actually talk to someone about?”

“Nope.” Lacey supplied helpfully, to which Monica nodded in agreement. “It’s all urban legend and friend of a friend. And any time someone runs away there is always a rumor they got swallowed by one of the doors.”

“Do you believe it?” Walter asked.

Lacey and Monica exchanged a look, and then looked down at the map that they made. “Hell yes.” Monica answered.