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Cicada Days
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((Latanna Beckstead continued from Carry the Fire))

Dinner had been quiet, stately in it's trappings of a state funeral.

It was Wednesday, ten o'two and seventeen something seconds to the dot. Well, that was the inferred time. Latanna’s current watch was a plastic face she normally would have abhorred, but alas, friendship proved the occasional superior of materialism. It had been designed- and was maintained- in part by the ever unfortunate apprentice artisan Olivia Fischer.

Ever unfortunate. Rather unfortunate word choice in light of recent events.

Seconds passed, Latanna uncomfortably aware of each robust click of the gear of the second hand. Olivia’s design had been mostly praiseworthy, only slightly criticism-worthy after the fact. The hand had been calibrated wrongly and adjusting the second hand was a mere tick away from impossible on the Doomsday Clock. Oliva had set the watch eight seconds inferior, over time it had precisely drifted to fifteen. So, it had specifically been Wednesday, ten o’two and thirty two seconds. To the dot.

Latanna recalled how apocalyptically apologetic Olivia had been, in so many equally embarrassing social short-fuses. Latanna had been parts unamused, bemused, amused. Ah, Olivia. Right or left of wrong she found a way to make mountains of molehills and she found a way to succumb to the tyranny of her own majority likewise. Sweet Olivia. Darling Olivia. Poor Olivia. Ever unfortunate…

She’d been on that bus today.

Latanna recalled it with the slight sear of her frontal lobe to a tender char. She’d had the opportunity to say goodbye to Olivia… Bridgette, Emma, Conrad, all the other names she doubtlessly knew but couldn’t seem to recall for reasons unknown and patently absurd. What she did know was that she was a busy girl! It would have been reasonable to forgo the hug by the symbolically bland facade of the bus any other day. She’d been reasonable. She’d sent a text.

Only now did she realize that the texts might never have reached an audience. It was so rare that Latanna pen ineffectual words.

Drumming at the keyboard of her laptop thus frustrated. She didn’t even know the rhythm of the song she tapped. It slowly eroded the waxy enamel of her painted nails against her own conscious will. No, no. She asserted herself. Her keyboard was granted mercy. Latanna sighed and flexed her fingers. The excess energy was conscientiously chased away, and Latanna paid it no further mind. She’d likely burnt out most of that energy having herself a disgustingly embarrassing ‘panic attack’ out in public. Horrid conduct. As if she were the sort to be a person sans control, sans reason. She’d merely had a moment of weakness. No more. Each stroke of a finger from then on was to have purpose.

After all she had a schedule to keep, to the second. Seconds more passed, counted to the second plus fifteen. She paced herself, worked efficiently. Worked as she always did, as if nothing had happened. She had duties, obligations. All God-given.

To the second.

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... but we must pick ourselves up again... · V6 Meanwhile...