Once Thea was back, she gave me permission to leave as long as I took the gun. It was a heavy weight under my jacket. Not just physically, either. I was more keenly aware that I didn’t have a permit for it than I had been before; especially within DC. But I felt naked and unsafe without some kind of weapon.
I walked out onto the Mall, down towards the reflecting pool. It reflected the trees, a few geese floating on the water. The geese liked it…a nice, shallow pool surrounded by tasty grass they could help mow. I liked it too. There was something quiet and meaningful about this end of the Mall, the furthest from the Capitol and everything that went on there. Politics, stupid and otherwise.
Or maybe all politics were stupid. I stopped by the pool, regarding my own reflection. Blonde hair, tall, but somewhat more slender than Thea, and it wasn’t just the difference in our ages. For all we had similar coloring, nobody was going to mistake us for sisters. I thought I looked more like Mr. Otter, then put that thought out of my mind.
I wasn’t related to him – and if I was, I was disowning him at my first opportunity. I wasn’t sure, though, exactly why I felt so strongly about it.
Except…and a shadow passed across the sun. I glanced up, but nobody else did. Just a cloud, but it spread chill into me. As if it wasn’t entirely that, or as if it was both that and something else. The firm knowledge that there were monsters out there came back into my mind.
And me without my sword. I somehow felt that would be a more effective weapon if what was up there decided to bother me. The tourists didn’t see it. Literally didn’t. And I couldn’t see it either, I just knew it was there.
A great bird of some kind. Nobody would look up anyway. Bitterly, I knew they’d ignore it even if they could see it. Let it go past their mundane, ordinary lives. Bitter, because I was jealous of that ability.
Instead, I watched the shadow, following it as best I could. It was only a suggestion of a presence, as if it was not quite here. As if it was real but not on…not on our plane of existence.
Maybe it was a ghost. “What are you?” I whispered.
I got no answer.