The morning was quiet. Liliana and Felix grabbed big bowls of cereal while Destiny nibbled on a granola bar. They had a late start, the humans had slept in and were still in their sleep clothes. They only had an hour till ten, and it took twenty minutes to get to the shop. But nobody seemed to be in a hurry.
Eventually Liliana got dressed in her usual professional attire, a baby pink blazer over a black blouse and skirt. But this time she didn’t have her hair up, she wore it down and straight. It reached just below her shoulders, her highlights were more noticeable. Lili was very pretty, but it was the confidence in her walk that finished the look.
Felix was in his usual jeans and hoodie, with light brown hair that had been combed but was now tussled from his always moving fingers.
Destiny had black slacks and a silver top, borrowed from Liliana of course. Her flaming hair was down in its usual style, mostly straight but slightly wavy, and her bangs had been swept to her left side.
Work was usual. The shop wasn’t too crowded, a few customers scrambling for last minute gifts. But they were all gone by two. A truck came with more inventory from Virginia that they had to move into the empty places. The past few days had been fairly busy; the shelves were beginning to look a little empty. Liliana had a blast unloading the truck and fawning over all the donations the received. Destiny and Felix pretended to listen to the ‘interesting’ history about this marble table or that clay unicorn.
Eventually the day was over and the three sat around the table, eating scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast. True to his word Felix had fulfilled his promise and made them breakfast for dinner.
“Everything okay Red? You seem… of today.” Felix curiously watched his friend between forkfuls of egg.
He had a valid point. All day the Fate had been quiet, doing her job but not going out of her way to talk to a customer. Even now she hardly picked at her meal. Last night had been a wakeup call. All this time she was taking it easy, living in the simple human life. But she was more than human, she shouldn’t be indulging in these fantasies. She had a job to do. And those she was close to could get hurt. Like Liliana and Felix for example. She couldn’t keep doing this, she had to tell them. She would have to tell her sisters eventually too, but one thing at a time.
Destiny took a deep breath and pushed her untouched plate away. “I haven’t known the two of you very long, but —”
Felix held up a hand, silencing her. “Well of course we are honored by this, and we love you too. But it is too soon for a marriage proposal. And Lili is my sister, that makes this a little complicated.”
Destiny smiled, at least she could always count on Felix to make her smile. “I have something to tell you.”
Felix’s smile was wiped from his face, he seemed to notice how serious this was. Liliana leaned forward, staring eagerly.
Destiny bit her lip, this was harder than she had thought. Letting out a long breath she decided to get the worst of it out of the way. “I’m not human, like you are.”
“So… What? Are you an alien?” Felix asked curiously, moving closer and poking her on the cheek. “Or maybe a robot? If so you are remarkable. Your skin almost seems real.”
“That’s because it is real skin Felix.” Liliana glanced to Destiny nervously, grabbing her brother’s arm and pulling him to the other side of the room.
They started whispering quickly, and though the Fate couldn’t hear she had a pretty decent idea of what they were saying. Liliana was probably second-guessing her decision to allow someone they didn’t know stay in the house. She probably thought Destiny was crazy and off her meds. Felix on the other hand looked intrigued, like he wanted to know more.
Destiny had enough of this, they weren’t getting anywhere. She rolled her eyes and walked over to them. “I’m perfectly sane. I think. I’m just not like you.”
Liliana’s eyes widened with slight fear of being so close to a crazy person. “You sure look human —”
“I’m an Infinity. I have a human body, of course, called a Rouhk. but my true form is an essence, an Abbaxa.”
Liliana nodded slowly, clearly just playing along in fear of Destiny actually being psycho and possibly pulling out a gun if they didn’t believe her. “Well, sounds like a fun story. Bye now, thanks for stopping by.”
Destiny shook her head; she couldn’t lose her friends this far into the game. She could only think of one way to convince them she was telling the truth. “Grab your coats, it’s snowing outside.”
The siblings gave Destiny the same confused look, but without question they eventually followed orders. Once they were both bundled up, Destiny grabbed each of their arms. She abandoned her Rouhk, letting her purple Abbaxa shine for the humans to see her for what she was. And then they had disappeared from the home, landing on the roof of Old Stuff.
After a moment of watching their bewildered faces Destiny lit the fire pit, they should be warm when learning such important news. The Fate took a seat in one of the snow covered lawn chairs, gesturing for the humans to do the same. Once they were all settled in, Destiny put her body back on.
“S-so you really aren’t human?”
“That’s like, kinda cool actually.”
Liliana swatted at her brother gently. “Do you ever take anything seriously?”
He paused a moment to think. “Chicken wings. I am very serious about only eating the best chicken wings.”
Liliana rolled her eyes at her brother and turned her attention back to Destiny. The human came prepared, a notebook and colored pens. “So tell us then. You said you were a, what, Infinity? Explain.”
Felix wiped the snow off the other end of the chair and sat down, cuddling with his sister. “Tell us a story Red!”
Destiny couldn’t help but smile at Felix, he always tried to make things comfortable for everyone around. His childlike eagerness for a story almost made Destiny forget about the way Liliana’s piercing blue eyes were fixated on her. “So you guys are humans. You live to be about seventy-five or so, give or take a few years depending on heath things. I’m an Infinity, we usually never die. We exist from the moment we are created until forever. And then there are the Creators, they have been around long before any of us. The Divine Provenance controls the sky and order; she is my Creator. The Luminary Virtuoso controls the water and creativity. The Compelling Annihilator is fire and truth. And The Tranquil Sovereign is the earth and family.”
Destiny continued to tell them all about her world until several pages of Liliana’s journal were colorfully filled in. She told about Concepts and Infinities and Creators, jobs and names and how essence’s worked. She told them about her Test of Classification, how she was there when Liliana and Felix were reunited. She told them about her sisters, how Chad was actually Chance, and the goofy guy at the shop was an Infinity named Lust. And she told them about the pipe, how it could possibly be a weapon and needed to be destroyed.
“Any questions?” Destiny took a deep breath, finally finishing her explanation. They hadn’t interrupted once, Liliana scribbled notes and Felix listened intently. As Destiny had given more details, Liliana seemed more willing to believe what she was hearing, she even looked a little excited.
Liliana raised her hand, big surprise there. “Yeah, so how does this dimension thing work? Are there points in space that we can’t see or —”
“May I?” Destiny grabbed for the notebook and a pen. Then she proceeded to draw a circle. And then four more circles on top of the original, one on top, bottom, left, and right. In each circle she drew in the symbol of the corresponding dimension.
“This one is earth?” Liliana asked, slightly unsure, pointing to the one in the center that held them all together.
Destiny nodded, a proud smile hinting on her lips. Her human friend was catching on quickly. “Yes, good. And the one on the right is Òrìsà for Infinities. The bottom is Ineôcâ for you humans. And the one on the left is for the Creators, Crëwr. All the dimensions exist in the same place, on top of one another.”
“What’s that one?” Felix pointed to the one on top that had yet to be named.
Destiny bit her lip, she didn’t exactly have an answer for that one. Demise believed in something Speculation had said, something more powerful than the Creators. “That one is just a myth, it doesn’t even have a name. Not many Infinities believe in it.
“This is crazy.” Felix shook his head, disbelievingly. Unlike his sister, Felix seemed to grow warier as Destiny explained her world. “How are you taking this so well Lili? This stuff doesn’t exist. Fate, Coincidence, Sin, it’s all just ideas humans made up.”
“Wow, thank you so much for believing in me. I’m sure your boyfriend Lust will love to hear that.” Destiny rolled her eyes, sarcasm laced in her tone.
“I didn’t mean it like that Red. It’s just… a lot to take in is all. Not every day you find out your best friend is some ancient all powerful… being.” Felix tried in vain to defend himself, rubbing his hands together near the fire.
Out of nowhere Liliana busted out laughing. Destiny and Felix slowly turned their heads to the shop owner, each wearing identical questioning looks. Eventually Liliana calmed down and noticed the stares. “Sorry. It’s just you are super old Destiny. And we are sitting on top of Old Stuff. I find it ironic is all. We could be selling you down there.”
Destiny giggled and rolled her eyes. At least one of the humans was keeping a cool head about this. Felix on the other hand looked abashed at his sister’s statement. “Oh my gosh Lili, I’m fairly sure that’s, like, illegal. And it objectifies our dear friend. Not cool.”
Destiny waved it off like it was nothing. Felix was sweet and he had a point, but the Fate knew Liliana didn’t mean it like that.
Liliana squealed and clapped her hands together in delight. “This is wonderful! I knew there had to be something to look forward to, something more than the same old boring human life.”
Destiny sighed in relief, they weren’t mad at her from keeping what she was a secret. “As exciting as this may be for you two, I have to ask you a favor.”
“Anything for you Red, you know that. What are friends for?”
“The next few days, I will be busy with my job. I need you two to stay out of it, don’t put yourself in danger.”
Liliana and Felix glanced back and forth to each other before they turned back to Destiny. They spoke together, Liliana sounding a little deflated. “Done.”
Destiny sighed in relief, glad that her friends would be safe. She grabbed them by the arm and transported them back home. It was nighttime and it had begun snowing again, and the humans had begun to shiver. Destiny was fine at the moment; she wasn’t too cold. But she knew that would change soon. The more time she spent with Chance and his brothers, the more the Nexxis would grow.
“One more thing, if that’s okay.”
“Sure Destiny, what do you need from us?” Liliana flipped to a new page of her notebook to make a note.
Destiny bit her lip and thought how to best phrase it. She was already asking too much of them and they were already too involved in this. “We need a place to stay. With the way Òrìsà works, we can’t exactly just head over to each other’s homes to meet up. Would it be possible for us to use Old Stuff for a place to get together? It’ll be before the shop opens so we won’t get in the way of work. We just need a place to meet.”
Liliana smiled and scribbled something in the corner of the paper. “Of course. And don’t be afraid to take them home either. My house is your house.”
The humans went to bed soon after, tomorrow was a Wednesday and they had work in the morning. Though Destiny wasn’t sure how much sleep they got considering all the new information bouncing around their heads. Most likely Liliana was sitting in her room with her lights on, studying her color coated notes. She liked to be prepared and probably wanted to keep up with conversations Destiny had with the other Fates and Coincidences.
Well, time to tell everyone where to meet tomorrow morning to get the gang together. Hopefully everyone would agree. And hopefully they could all get this over with and get along for the most part.
Destiny headed home and called out to her sister’s first. They were the challenge, as far as convincing anyways. The Coincidences would be harder to find but hopefully they would jump on board easily enough. The Fate walked through the hedge maze, finding her way through the bushes easily enough. She walked to the center of the maze and into the gazebo, taking a seat on one of the benches while she waited.
Fortune arrived first, not much of a surprise seeing as she was the overachiever of the family. Demise showed up soon after, materializing in the center of the shaded gazebo.
“You called?” Fortune asked with a raise of her eyebrow.
“I knew you’d miss me sooner or later.” Demise chuckled and gave each of her sisters a one armed hug.
Destiny glanced at her sisters, both eagerly listening. Best to get it over with. “Ziarre was here. She said something about Nexxis.”
“What?” Fortunes hands balled into fists and she shook her head fiercely.
“Tell us everything little sibling.” Demise guided Destiny to the bench until they were both seated.
Destiny told her sisters the short story of how Ziarre showed up half crazed and cursed her. She mentioned briefly about the human’s knowledge of her true identity. The more she talked the angrier Fortune seemed to get, pacing around and cursing out the Creator.
Destiny took out the pipe, showing it to her sisters. “Hey remember this? You know how you feel a special connection to it? Well Chance and Karma feel it too. I’m not sure about Luck, but it would make sense if he did.”
Demise leaned in close, whispering loudly in her raspy voice. “You found out what it is and how to use it?”
Destiny shook her head. “No. But I did meet up with Sloth from the Sin Concept. He knows someone who does know. And I think I need all the help I can get.”
Fortune sighed and Demise stood up, walking around in circles. Destiny could hear the faint static buzzing in her head, she knew her sisters were talking to each other. What made it frustrating was they weren’t giving any indication of which direction they were leaning. Well, they hadn’t bailed yet, that was a good sign.
Destiny groaned and stood up, walking to the entrance of the gazebo. “Okay help me or don’t, but I would like it if you could talk out loud so I know what you are thinking.”
“Well I’m in, I told ya you weren’t alone sis.” Demise turned to her little sister, ruffling up her hair, making her red bangs go all askew.
Fortune huffed and looked uneasy. “But what about the list? Someone has to stay and do our job. The humans rely on us.”
Destiny shrugged and started playing with her hands. “Well it won’t take too long, maybe a few days? We can catch up on work later.”
“But the Coincidence’s will be there? I don’t like it Destiny, they are the ones who started this whole thing. Having them around will only make the Nexxis worse.”
Demise groaned and whipped around to face the eldest Fate. “Oh come on Fortune. This is so much more important than that one kid passing his history exam, tests almost always have retakes. And so what if that little girl gets a bunny instead of a kitten? Little things can wait. This is the big picture. This is what we were made to do.”
“Thank you.” Destiny smiled at Demise, she could always count on her sister to have her back. This conversation was over, she had won. “Meet me on top of the shop I had my Test of Classification. See you then.”
Destiny had no idea how to go about finding the Coincidences. She could always try the sketchy place where she had seen Chance, but here was no guarantee he would be there again. The way they treated him didn’t sound as if he was a regular. But Karma was a carefree fun type, maybe she could try an arcade of someplace.
It was late at night and most places were closed with the lights off. The only thing that succeeded in doing was making the giant mouse head even more terrifying than it was in light. This was the seventy third Chuck E. Cheese’s that she had been to so far tonight, all the others were empty.
After a quick glance she found him at some spider game where you had to clock the glowing spider with your foot. He jumped up and cheered when lots of tickets came out. So far he didn’t seem to notice her arrival. She walked up behind him quietly and poked him on the shoulder.
“Holy cannoli guacamole!” He spun around, dropping all his tickets and tokens in the process. “Wowzer Des, didn’t even here you come in. Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
Destiny chuckled and brought a hand up to cover her smile. “Wasn’t expecting you to be so jumpy.”
Karma got all flustered and bent down to pick up his stuff. “It’s a dangerous world out there. Gotta be cautious.”
“Just came to deliver a message, then you can get back to your gaming.”
“No need to rush off, I’m almost done here. I just need another fifty tickets till I can get my prize. Been here all night saving up for the piano mat. It’s music for your feet!”
Destiny raised an eyebrow and shook her head at him. Karma was equal parts impossible and adorable. “Whatever makes you happy. Anyways I was thinking we should get your Concept and mine together before we get an answer from Sloth. Tell your brothers to meet me and my sisters on top of Old Stuff Thursday morning. Chance knows where that’s at.”
Karma lead them over to the skeeball game and began playing. It would have been easy to cheat, just walk up to the side and stick the balls in the right hole. But he played honestly, it was more fun that way. Most of the balls made it in the forty or fifty hole anyways. “Got it. See you then Des. And I’ll let you borrow my piano mat anytime you want.”
“Bye Karma.” Destiny rolled her eyes, she was way too old for a piano mat, but it was a nice gesture. She walked away and disappeared, going back to Liliana’s basement.