“How the hell did you get into this apartment?”
She straightened her posture. He’d already asked that. The girl—almost angrily—bit her lip. “I told you, Odys. You let me in.”
His brow furrowed. “Why don’t I remember?”
She stared at him with those huge eyes—eyes with irises like tiny, glinting pennies at the bottom of two wide, clear wells. “I’m not lying to you. I can’t lie—not to you. There’s a difference, you know, between being invited in and being let in. I was let in, but not necessarily invited. Do listen, Odys, for I’m enervated too.” She put a sensitive hand upon her chest—that bursting chest was the only thing the tiny girl-woman filled in Odissa’s dress.
“How—how did I ‘let’ you in?”
“Well, plainly stated,” she paused. “I was in your pocket.”
He laughed. “What now?”
“The penny—the one that Pepin gave you. I’m the penny.” She gestured to herself with her delicate hand—up and down. Ah, it’s not every day someone tells you they’re coinage. “Your cat tried to eat me, back there. Frisky little thing doesn’t know how to it play cool. I swear, I’ve nothing against cats, as long as they don’t swallow. I’ve been swallowed before—by a dog, see. Not a very pretty way to pass the time, I tell you. Can’t turn humanoid in a dog, no. Not unless you want the damn animal to explode.”
Odys shook his head, trying to understand—a cold sweat formed upon his wrinkled brow—his hair stuck to his face—he couldn’t keep up with her. So he decided to slow her down: “Who—who’s Pepin?”
“Oh, come! I know you’re smarter than that, Odys. He made it very obvious for you. Pepin! Pepin—the man with the umbrella. Pepin—the man whose head exploded. Pepin—the man who set all this”—she gestured to Odys and herself—“up. I suppose he arranged it very nicely, every detail perfect. I should know. He made me enact parts of it, no doubt. It’s always hard to remember first off. I’m still getting used to you. I’m too busy to remember my own past—if I can remember it at all. God only knows what Pepin made me do. And what he made me forget.”
She rubbed her forehead. Her gaze didn’t meet his, though the twinkling eyes noted his reaction.
Odys slouched lower on the door, legs about to give way. This young girl—probably somewhere between seventeen and twenty—was rambling on about things he’d rather not hear. The sad part was that he felt he could believe every word.
Odys looked up through his brown hair. “Why’d his head explode? Was it a bomb? It wasn’t some sort of—of murder was it?”
[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]