Orphic Phantasia

13: A Scientific Investigation

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Chris stood just outside the door. Lysander was inside a closet at the back of the room, pillaging through racks of clothes. Chris gave himself a moment to memorise the room’s layout, then darted through the darkness towards the careless little sociopath.

“I never knew you were such a connoisseur for fashion,” he said, hoping to take the boy by surprise, “but I don’t think it’s your size.” In fact, judging from the cut of the clothes, they belonged to a girl at least a head taller than him.

Lysander glanced over his shoulder with a mumble of discontent. “Hey, who invited you in, shorty?”

“I’m not—” Chris stopped himself before he fell into Lysander’s trap. “Who gave you permission?”

“Angelo,” he replied, and returned his attention to his little treasure hunt.

Chris breathed a sigh of relief. If this wasn’t Lysander’s idea, he wouldn’t have to report it to the Foundation. Chris hated reports. “And what has this got to do with Angelo?” he asked, any concerns replaced with idle curiosity. Angelo Foley was a strange kid, but it was usually Lysander who took the lead in their escapades.

Or the other one. She was never far away. In fact, she was probably watching this whole conversation and supplying a running commentary.

“It’s none of your business,” said Lysander, thrusting more clothes aside. “Although, if you want to be useful, you can go fix the mainframe. Basement door’s locked and I ain’t allowed one of those magic wands of yours, remember?”

Chris didn’t particularly want to help, but he was interested in finding out why the environmental controls were dead. He was about to leave the room when a flash of light lit up the hallway and Lance called his name.

“Dude, I just found Ange. He’s on a mish!”

Lysander’s eternal companion, Angelo Foley, stood at Lance’s side, and even in the gloom of the abandoned house he seemed full of colour and life. He was the sort of person who lived in his own, strange little world, ignorant of the cultural norms about him. From what Chris understood, his parents had spent their lives touring the continent with a theatre troupe, which explained why their son dressed like a character from a mediaeval play. Melodrama was in his blood.

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Cheer up, Chris, it could be worse. He could call you by your real name!