Mark was silent. It was Saturday morning now. Billy had not come back. It was probably accurate that he wouldn’t come back but Francine had been sure he would. Still, it didn’t matter. At no point in the night did the void reappear and as soon as Mark vanished around nine at night, they had closed the library and gone home. Francine said they weren’t going to the movies this morning. Some things had come up. She was sitting on her chair by the entrance behind her computer which only she could see. Francine had been on the internet all day, looking for answers to dimensional problems that she was finding. She said that something about the dimensions that Mark had mentioned to her didn’t seem right and she was investigating it online to see if she came up with similar problems. So far, she’d found nothing is what she told Keya but Keya suspected that Francine kept certain things secret from her. It wasn’t because Mark kept telling Keya not to trust Francine but because certain things at home didn’t make sense, either.
Francine would put the milk cap back on the milk but then, if Keya were to use the milk, she’d go and take the cap off. Then, she’d leave a trail of books to her room, all blue and Keya would follow it, only to find that when she looked back, all the books were gone. Also, there was a sort of magic to what happened in the morning. Usually, Keya and Francine would sit and have breakfast in a small table in a corner of the small apartment. At around seven in the morning, all the spoons would begin to float up toward the ceiling, a phenomenon that Francine explained as Dimensional Instability but why were they floating up? Then, they would all fall everywhere making clanging noises, and Keya would be forced to pick them up. Didn’t dimensional whatever mean that it had to do with dimensions? Yet, there were no voids.
As Mark thought, Keya kicked the machine. Another chocolate dropped. She was at eight before Mark spoke to her. “You’re bothered by something.”
“I think she’s a witch,” Keya whispered at him.
“Oh,” Mark said, “Nothing new, really. You have to understand that there’s good ones, though. That’s the trick, anyways. It doesn’t mean you can trust them, only that you can trust they won’t make a knife float in through your back while you’re not looking. People who deal with magic are always somewhat strange.”
“Like you?” Keya asked, “Because you act strange sometimes.”
“It’s because I know too much,” Mark said, “Or know too little. Yet, I think you’re more worried about the fat boy.”
“Oh,” Keya said, looking back at the chocolates, “I haven’t thought of him lately. Although, he promised he’d be here.”
“Not yet noon, is it?”
“No,” Keya said, “But you’d think he’d be on time. I mean, this is important.”
“Only the true traveler can save this library, girl. You think he is the true traveler? He isn’t even trained by the council.”
“I thought you said the council was corrupted.”
“Yes, but they give good training. I was trained there myself, that’s how I found out all their tricks to make innocent people criminals for them. The travelers steal and the council profits.”
“I think Billy is more than you think,” Keya said, smiling a little. Another chocolate dropped.
“Watch it now, if you leave that door propped open, you’ll have Francine upset with you for setting off the fire alarm.”
“You know about the fire alarm?”
“Yea,” Mark said, “I set it off every day for fifteen days, when I first started appearing here. The thought of losing Wendy forever was….somewhat upsetting for me. That woman kept insisting I stop doing that. She has spirit for a witch but, ugh, such disrespect for others.”
“I don’t think you know her like I do. She treated me good when I had nothing.”
“You still have nothing,” Mark said.
“No,” Keya said, “Now I have the library and a pen and a notebook.”
“Love to write, don’t you?”
“I finished reading Tests in Time,” Keya said, sadly.
“But before I ask, I have another question.”
“Shoot kid, you got five minutes before that woman comes here with the tea.”
“How is it you can kick the machine?”
“The machine is magic, so a semi-ghost like me, a limbo traveler, you could say, can interact with it as though it were real. If it were a normal vending machine, I could not touch it.”
“But you can touch the tea,” Keya said, pointing a finger at him.
“Yes,” Mark said, smiling, “And what part of Francine is a witch doesn’t add up to magic, to you?”
“Oh, my god!” Keya said, stunned, “The tea is magical tea!”
“It took you long enough, child,” Francine said, from behind her, stunning them both.
“I, well,” Keya said, blushing, “I mean, I thought you were a nice per–?”
“No need girl. I don’t mind my talent, just don’t put a demoralizing name behind it. I’m not a witch. I’m practiced in magic. And that should be the end of it. As for your little discussion about it with this one, please don’t refer to him for information on the subject. He may know about dimensions but his knowledge of witches is minimal. Here’s your tea and don’t try and snatch it from me or I’ll send you back to your coma.”
Mark took the tea cup and plate from her carefully. He had a frown on his face. “Too hot, too hot!”
“That was for telling her I was a witch!”
Mark yelled after her, “She figured it out on her own, woman!” He set the tea cup down beside him, some of it spilling. He blew on his fingers, although in reality, Mark had explained to her that he didn’t feel things like normal people did. “Still,” Mark said, smiling after Francine, “You have to admire the trick.”
Keya was still a bit shaken. “She couldn’t have just told me?”
“No,” Mark said, “That’s not her way. She’s like a real-life teacher in that way. She likes to test your deductive reasoning, which is more than a school will do for you.”
“She still could have told me.”