For the record, this chapter kicked my ass. Sorry it’s so late, everything about it was hard lol.
Also, CW: this chapter gets pretty gory because paranormal shenanigans.
The In Between Inn
Mikel checked the radar screen one more time. He hadn’t kept it because he was sentimental—though he was that—he kept it because it was his. Or maybe salvaged.
That was the right word.
He salvaged it because it was his.
His. The word sent a shiver through him. Mikel, who had never thought of himself as particularly selfish, could not summon even an ounce of embarrassment over how good it felt.
You didn’t own things on Sixam 9. Not unless you won. Even royalty respected that rule.
In all his 310 quarks, or 36 planet rotations, Mikel had never won.
Not even once.
Turning to his bureau, he checked the settings on his simray before placing it back in the case. He felt protected at the In Between Inn but he also understood that protection was an illusion.
He flushed as he stared down at the case. He hadn’t ever wanted to use it. But desperate times…
His train of thought was interrupted by a loud banging on his door.
“Mikel! Are you making breakfast or what? We’re starving out here!!” Penny shouted, punctuating each word with a sharp knock.
The radar screen froze. It was impossible to get it to sustain any sort of connection when it was so far away from the rest of the console. He would keep trying though.
Penny banged on the door again. “Seriously. Mikel. For the love of practical magic, what is taking so long?”
She paused and Mikel heard muffled conversation.
“Also, Miko says we’re going to need tech support in about four days!”
He sighed. Though his job had been tech support on Sixam 9, he much preferred cooking.
A good meal made everyone smile and Mikel loved making his friends happy. He loved having friends.
He loved not being alone.
But from each according to his ability and all that.
“Just a minute! I’ll be right down!” he called out.
He could never say no to Penny. Omelettes…she liked omelettes. He’d make them with extra cheese.
Before he left the room, he opened the case one last time, unable to resist double-checking. He breathed a sigh of relief.
The simray was still set to “engage.”