Shade Page 1

An unexpected visitor arrives on Bai Li's doorstep.
Another installment in the Cressia universe. This has no particular connection to Doorstop chronologically.

Suddenly, Bai Li stared at a hazy patch of moonlight on a splotch of color that she only recognized as her bedroom wall from rote practice. Something reverberated through the frame of her skinny house--a dull, rhythmic pounding, trembling in the ropes that held her hammock to the walls and nudging her awake. She groaned and swiped her long, charcoal hair out of her eyes, racking her sleep-addled brain for an explanation. Could it be an earthquake? No, Jesiid never got earthquakes, and lightning didn't pound like that. The noise suddenly ceased, then started back up again, and a thought clicked--the front door. She kicked the blankets onto the floor and heaved her pudgy frame out of the hammock, snatching her bathrobe off the dresser as she left her room. 

"I'm coming, I'm coming," she said, slipping her robe over her shoulders to ward off the autumn air that bit through the walls. She fumbled with the latch and opened the door a crack, just enough to see the dimly-lit smear of color standing on her front porch. Her thumb instinctively thumped against the bridge of her nose to adjust her glasses, but they were nowhere on her face. "Who are you?"

The smear said, "It's Graghn."

Bai Li asked, the last few words seeping through a yawn, "Hm? Weren't you out of town?"

"Yeah, I just came back," Graghn said. "Did I wake you up? Sorry."

"No, I was wide awake at two in the morning," she said.

"It's actually five, and that's why I'm here. I need a favor from you before sunrise."

The End

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