Orphic Phantasia

46: The Reclusive Writer

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Shelley glanced at her cellular. “About 10am.”

Alonie grumbled and pushed a tangled mass of hair from her face, revealing the blotched streaks of yesterday’s makeup running down her pale cheeks. Slouching further into the sofa, she called upon the apartment A.I to start up one of those innocuous cartoons she was so fond of. This one started its randomised plot with a racist caricature of a pale-faced white man in conversation with a lion-sized crow. With a million possibilities from which to pluck a narrative, Utopia had no need for writers.

Shelley reached for her pen and started tapping it against the table in time to her jittering leg. “Allie,” she mumbled, then repeated herself, louder, until her friend acknowledged her. “Phoenix came over earlier. S—she wanted to talk with you about things.”

With a groan of despair, Alonie sunk into the sofa. “The fun never stops,” she said. “Did you tell her I don’t give a shit?”

“Like that’s ever stopped her,” replied Shelley. And there was little chance of Alonie escaping intense Veritas scrutiny now that it was obvious that she was Emily’s sister — the sister Emily had never mentioned, not even to her closest friends, until the very end of her message. It was so very obvious, in fact, that Shelley was ashamed to have never noticed it before. They were perhaps her closest friends, after all, and yet she had never once thought to question why they shared the same face, the same body, and, beneath Alonie’s crimson contact lenses, the same eyes.

That, and how their constant sniping at one another implied either scorned lovers or bickering siblings — and she couldn’t imagine the former outside of a Lance Algar midnight fantasy (which would now no doubt find a new lease of incestuous life — boys!).

Alonie sighed. “This is what happens when you run away with the faeries,” she said. “I told you that stuff was nothing but trouble.”

If anything, Shelley hoped that Emily had run away with the faeries. Even after all the stories she had heard about them, the Sidhe were surely preferable to the company Emily embraced the last time she did something like this. “Have you looked through any of the files?” she asked.

Alonie pulled herself out of the sofa and dug her fingernails into her arms. “It’s fucking bollocks, that’s what it is,” she snapped, her sudden profanity hitting Shelley like a splash of cold water. “All that crap about—about girls sucking up souls and girls with no souls and reincarnation and—it’s all a load of fucking bollocks! You could write better shit than that, Shell, couldn’t you? You could make it all up on the spot, right?”

Beneath the heat of Alonie’s anger, Shelley felt very small indeed. “I—I dunno,” she said.

It’s hard to think of snarky footnotes when Shelley is doing them for me…