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The Girl Who Believed Tomorrow

"Yes, I know. Sybil just called about her niece missing, and Jenna called Brigitte about her errant grandchild. So we're all briefed up now. And keeping an eye out for her."

A glow came in through the front door window, about the time a thump landed on that small front porch.

"Wait - let me call you back. I think I might have some news..."

I signed off through the green pendant transceiver hanging around my neck. And walked across the main room to the door.

It swung open ahead of me. On its own.

There was a smallish girl there who took a couple of short steps inside. Wearing an off-white muslin blouse and well-worn jeans. Sturdy socks and boots down below that. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail under a bluejeans ball cap on her head. Covered with a visible glow all over. Like a light bulb shining behind her.

She raised the bill of her cap with one hand and looked at me through deep gray eyes. "Hello, Grampa Joe. Mind if I come in?"

I had to smile. The phrase 'better to ask forgiveness than permission' ran thick in our family.

"You're more than welcome here, Olivia."

She wasn't surprised to hear her name. "I suppose the word of my escape has preceded me."

My smile widened. "'Worried sick' comes to mind."

Olivia shrugged. "Mind if I sit down?" And then a chair scooted across to meet her outstretched hand, while that glow diminished - slightly...


At least I wasn't leaning on the table when Olivia shifted us to this molten-magma planet. My chair was still there, although she seems to like doing her “work” standing up.

The heat was intense, though.

“Hey, Grampa, look at this...” She made a volcano bloom and explode. Looked interesting, since having exploding gases do their thing when the atmosphere of the planet is all exploding gases, well that's a trick to watch.

“Pretty good, kid. And the point of us being here is...?”

Olivia looked over from her waving hands and frowned at me. “Just getting the hang of this stuff. Fire used to make me anxious.”

I nodded. “Like having some snakes around to get over your fear of them?”

She smiled back and then waved her hand toward the surface below us. That started building a molten arch that tried to leap out of the planet's gravity. Of course, it only ended up thinning out, collapsing on itself – that then fell back with splashing tidal waves.

The grin on her face widened out from ear to ear.

I sighed.

That got her attention.

“Bored, Grampa?”

“Slightly. I mean I enjoy being here with you, but is there a point to all this besides making magma pies?”

- - - -

The heat disappeared and now we were orbiting some yellow-dwarf sun, above and out of the atmosphere of a blue-green planet below us, very similar to Earth. The reflected light here was more natural, if still dark. But gave her face a more healthy color, somewhat.

Olivia now had her own bentwood caboose chair back, and sitting in it. “OK, I guess you've got a point. I did come to see you, to learn how to fix my skills.”

“Your skills look fine. By 'fix', do you mean squash or evaporate or disappear?”

Olivia nodded, serious now...

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