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Vi's Roadside Manner

(Excerpt from an as yet untitled work...something random)

Copyright ©  T.A. Miles 

Summer’s end provided a rich view of rolling patchwork green beneath indecisive blue skies, a breeze softly scented with late bloomers, and a consistent chorus of insects inspired by the day’s steadily rising warmth. The breeze would have been more effective if the vehicle were in motion, but it remained persistently, obstinately idle. The passing by of a bicycle made that abundantly clear, as did the less focused passage of a large dragonfly. It was actually a contest as to which was moving quicker; the dragonfly or the stout elder sitting stiffly upright on his own wheeled contraption.

Vi’ae watched the competition from his slump against the passenger door, his long slender arms folded beneath his narrow chin. The elder’s steel wheels squeaked and strained beneath his weight, but he kept moving forward diligently. He even afforded a glance and a nod in Vi’ae’s direction, tipping his hat. Vi’ae’s lips lifted along the corners in return since it required little effort on his part to do so.

“Madam,” the elder mumbled in greeting, and Vi’ae’s mouth shifted downward again. He sighed to himself and thought about cursing his fae parentage, but let it go when something mechanical erupted at the front of the vehicle, sending a small black shroud into the air.

“That didn’t work,” a gawky, youngish man in an oil-spotted shirt said. He made the notation as if some conspiracy of others had been responsible for the failure. 

The man’s sister -- sturdier, if not taller than him -- frowned and pressed herself further into the front seat, putting her trousered leg on the rim of the door. She leaned her chin against her fist and glared at the horizon. “This is taking too long.”

“Astella,” her brother said while he cranked some part or another of the automobile with a wrench. “I love you dearly.”

Astella scarcely glanced at him. “Lose yourself somewhere, Edran,” she muttered.

Vi’ae let his face slide more onto his arms and decided to ignore them, looking to see that the bicyclist was making headway now. A strand of blond hair slipped into his view and he closed his eyes, lulled by the heat and stillness to nap. He did so briefly before being awakened by another explosion, this one accompanied by the shudder and grumble of the engine.

“And we’re on our way again,” Edran announced, opening the vehicle door and shoving his suit jacket aside as he seated himself behind the wheel.

“That only set us back half an hour,” Astella said, sighing peevishly while she straightened in her seat again.

“Better half an hour than half a day,” was Edran’s response as he accelerated away from the side of the road.

The comment warranted the same lazy smile the nameless elder had gotten, and he lifted his shoulders before he leaned his head back on the seat. “Is this trip going to be as long as the last one?”

“I rather doubt it,” Edran said.

At the same time Astella said, “Could be longer.”

Vi’ae lifted his head again and looked at both of them, then sunk down a little more in his seat, which almost gave him no place for his legs. Riding passenger in Edran’s contraption was a combination of too short in the seat category and too long in his category, which rendered the situation drastically shy of comfortable.

“Should be adventurous, at any rate, Vi,” Edran offered after a while. “Always is.”

“Whenever isn’t it?” Vi’ae agreed, and didn’t look forward to it.

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