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Aldous

Aldous puts the book back and walks to the next shelf, then pulls down another. Darren Darya Daryl Dashiell–wrong way. Two shelves back. Three. Ban Barathrum. Closer. Aldaea. Alder. Aldi.

Aniridia.

It’s a misplaced word. Aldous is certain her name should be there: Alejandro comes right afterward. Someone’s been messing with the order of things.

She replaces the slim volume. It’s not a name at all, is it? Greek roots: an, without, and then Iris, rainbow, messenger of the gods. But she never claimed to be getting their mail in the first place.

Aniridia leaves the library, determined and bound.

Aldaea

They’ve been eating Brownout Smorgasboard all day, starting with the ice cream at breakfast and working up to bacon and wilted spinach for a midafternoon repast. The slowly-emptying refrigerator burps and wheezes in time with the pulsing lights. They should be full to bursting. They’re not. They’re still hungry.

Tyrian goes to the grocery and gets more sweaty ice cream on the cheap, while Aldaea rationalizes other things that might spoil. They drink buckets of paint, chew detergent tablets. Old pills by the bottle. Fall jackets. Winter hats.

There will be more, after all. And all it costs is money.

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