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Catching up

**after this chapter, Hatty is taken to Elysia by Dove and Libby***

After dressing in local clothes as Tane had instructed, Brenzel emerged from their bungalow at the edge of the docks, down by ship yards. The suns were high in the sky as Tane showed Brenzel and their team his new ship, almost completed, being readied for the voyage over the Dune Sea. Brenzel had seen sailing ships in her youth, but nothing like this. It was a ship, alright, with sails, ropes going everywhere, and wooden rails, but that is where the similarity ended. It was painted dark green.

At the edge of the dock where they stood, instead of floating on water, the ship rested on thin air, with great beams of iron sticking out on the side facing her, front and back, large round rings that lay flat, crackling with some sort of red energy. This whole contraption, she smiled, remembering Fallon explaining to her what that word meant, this whole contraption looks like it could fall at any moment. None of the girls in their little group seemed to like it, but the men all laughed with Tane, paying close attention as he explained the mechanism in details.

In the last few days since the meeting, Brenzel spent every waking moment with Hatty, catching up on her and 3’s adventures, and sharing more of her own. Hatty told her how difficult it had been seeing her for the first time in 1918 in the war, knowing who she was, but being unable to say anything.

In general

Since Egypt, Brenzel had missed Hatty a lot. Hatty said it was just the nature of seraph hunters that kept relationships on hold for long periods of time. The general rule was that you could not talk about anything that you did, unless the person you spoke with had been a part of it.

For Brenzel, it made her feel like things made more sense. Time was like a river that needed to take its course, making changes could affect the future adversely, sometimes terribly.

“I wanted to tell you about Sam, Brenzel,” Hatty told her as they sat next to each other outside their bungalow under the orange sky. “I almost did, but I knew I couldn’t. It’s hard to watch someone you care about go through bad things. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that the fires we experience are a necessary evil, but they are painful.”

How much is too much?

Brenzel, holding Hatty’s hand, nodded, thinking, how much is too much? “I liked Sam a lot, seeing him dead on the floor, I just wanted revenge, make Hans pay.” Brenzel shuddered, remembering what the dark rage felt like when it exploded.

Hatty turned toward her, lifting her hand to touch her face as she looked intently. “Brenzel, no one knew what you were, not even 3. I’ve only seen him like that once before. Usually he sees everything before it happens, but when it comes to you, he’s practically blind.”

Brenzel’s mind went back the meeting, days before, thinking about the comment that imperfection was actually a good thing.

“What do you think it will be like, with the Haders? They sound scary.” Brenzel wondered out loud.

“Hmmm.” Hatty sat back in her chair, stretching her arms back.

Brenzel looked at her tilting her head to the side, “You look different.”

Her friend smiled. “Did you know that after I was given the nectar I grew two inches and I can see perfectly?”

“Amazing,” Brenzel said. “I ate of that fruit in Elysia, and it definitely made me feel better, but I think the nectar must be more powerful.” Looking at her closely, she commented with a smile, “3 must be pleased, too.”

Hatty giggled. “Yes, he’s really appreciative. They said the nectar from the Fruit of the Tree of Life had never been given to a Edenite before. Alethea told 3 that I might not survive.” Arms spreading and palms up, she smiled broadly, “but I did!”

“Come,” Brenzel said, rising and taking Hatty by the hands, “I’m hungry, let’s go find something to eat.”


As they walked together through the bustling streets, Brenzel said, “I don’t know where anything is here…”

Sniffy deeply, Hatty looked this way and that, saying, “When in doubt follow your nose!”

Brenzel did the same and said, “Oh my god…is that meat?!” her mouth watering.

Enchanted smell

Following the enchanting smell, both friends twisted and turned through stalls and back alleys, the scent enticing Brenzel’s imagination as they progressed. However, she noticed that the quality of the dwellings they passed deteriorated the further they went. And so did the look of the people. She whispered to Hatty, “You see that?” trying not to point obviously to a limping woman that passed by. Hatty nodded. It seemed so few people in the other realms were sick or injured, but many of the people around here seemed to be.

Garbage lined the street as the smell of raw sewage mingled in the air. Ugh, I haven’t smelled that since the village back home, she thought. Yet the smell of roasted meat, the smoky goodness she remembered, was so pungent, it made her stomach growl.

“We must be close,” Hatty whispered as they rounded the bend.

They turned the corner and spied a meat shop. A table, filled with gruff looking men eating and drinking from mugs, confronted them. “They look like Meha,” Brenzel said to Hatty as they approached the shop’s opening. Do you think their Hader’s? Inside, they could see raw meat hanging on hooks, and a big man chopping a chunk of red flesh on a piece of tree trunk with a huge cleaver.

Throwing caution to the wind, Brenzel said, “Greetings sir, we’d like to order some food. . . Please?”

She put on a smile as he looked up at her. He smelled of sweat, as his eyes studied them for a moment. “You have coin?” he asked.

Hatty pulled some coins out of her pocket, handing over the amount he asked for.

“Take a seat, I’ll bring it out in a moment.” He slammed his cleaver into the wood, where it remained upright as he left through a back door, disappearing into bluish smoke.


Taking Hatty’s hand, Brenzel led her to some rickety stools outside of the shop. Brenzel’s mouth watered still, every memory of roasted delight flooding her with tantalizing expectation. Looking at Hatty, she could see she felt the same.

The big man came out the front door with two plates filled with roasted meat, a piece of bread on each, and two small bowls of what looked to be broth. He nodded towards the small table, and Hatty pulled it closer as he set down their food. He produced two forks and knives from his pockets and smiled, showing his crooked, yellow teeth. “Enjoy.”

Not having to hear it twice, they both dug in, Brenzel first to take a bite, feeling the roasted goodness fill her mouth as she moaned. Sex is better, but only slightly, she thought.

Hatty, obviously enraptured, too, said, “This is so good!” cutting off another hunk.

Brenzel had enjoyed meat on the road when she’d ridden her motor bike on Route 66, but nothing even approached the flavor and tenderness delighting her taste buds now.

Hatty stopped chewing, motioning with her eyes to the right. Brenzel, hesitant to stop chewing, followed her friend’s eye movement. The table full of men adjacent to them had stopped talking and was staring at them, plus a group of people who had gathered and were standing behind them.

Brenzel chewed a bit more as she wondered what was the matter.

You have got to try this!

A big man stood, clothes disheveled and hair ratty, slowly moving over towards their seats. As he came closer, his smell, not unlike Meha’s, made itself known. Coming around to where Brenzel sat, he grabbed her piece of bread and the bowl of broth on her plate, dipping one end in it, then offering it to her. Silence held its breath as all looked on. Cautiously, taking the sopping slice from his hand, she put it to her lips, smelling the flavor, then took a bite. “Oh my God,” she exclaimed! “Mmmmm…this is so good!” the salt richness running out her lips a bit. “Hatty, you have got to try this!”

With that, everyone around started laughing and talking, apparently pleased at Brenzel’s approval. The big man smiled, shaking his head, then went back and sat down with his friends, chatting and laughing and pointing to them as he did. No matter, there was still plenty left to eat.

Bren said to Hatty, “Do you have more money?”

Good “Ol BBQ by Whisker Brothers