“Why a barista?”
Val nearly snorted coffee.
“That’s the question you pick?”
“It was the first thing that sprang to mind.”
“Truthfully, eh?” Val smiled ruefully. “I’m a barista because it’s something I haven’t done before, I like drinking coffee, and it pisses off my father.”
“Pisses off your father that you work as a barista or that you like drinking coffee?”
“That’s a second question. I believe it’s my turn, again.”
“Ask away.” Sand gestured expansively.
“Have you ever killed anyone, or otherwise brought someone to harm through use of magic or force of arms?”
“Not pulling any punches, are we?” Sand raised an eyebrow.
“Saves time and it’ll get my sister off my back, one way or the other.”
“Alright.” Sand set his cup down and clasped his hand together on the table. “No, I have never killed anyone. Not with magic, my bare hands, or by any other means. Harm, that’s something different, especially if you include self-defense. Yeah, I’ve harmed people with magic. That I have to admit, truthfully.”
Val pursed his lips, clearly wanting to ask a follow up question but unable to do so. He gestured for Sand to ask his.
Sand thought carefully before he spoke.
“Do you have any intention of harming me, in any way, be it mystical or mundane?”
“No.” Val answered readily. “Not so long as you intended no harm to me.”
The raven squawked.
“Or Vorinn,” Val amended.
“He can understand us?” Sand asked, looking at the raven.
“That’s another question, but I’ll give it to you, gratis.” Val smiled. “Yes, Vorinn can understand us.”
The raven croaked softly and eyed Sand.
“He’s actually rather eloquent, himself.” Val said.
Vorinn preened. Literally.
“I’ll take your word for it,” Sand said. “I’ve—”
Sand’s phone, sitting on the table in front of him, went into sleep mode. As it did so, the sense of a dreaming mind drew itself across Sand’s senses. Sand blinked.
In that moment, eyes closed, Sand saw. A small mask had appeared, floating over the screen of his phone.
It was looking at him.
Sand opened his eyes.
“Something wrong?” Val had his coffee cup halfway to his lips.
“I think,” Sand said slowly, “my phone may be possessed.”
“Really?” Val looked from Sand, to his phone, and back again.
Vorinn cocked his head at the phone and croaked softly in his throat. Val set his coffee cup back on the table.
“It would seem Vorinn agrees with you.”
All three looked at the phone once more.
“So…” Val wondered, “what are we going to do about that?”
To Be Continued…
Next Time, on Digital Dreaming: “Sleep Mode”
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