The story begins with Masked – The Fortress (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
Amica sat down next to him on the bed. “Think you’re coming down with something? Or maybe something you ate just didn’t sit right?”
“Probably something I ate,” he mumbled.
She considered this. “Do you want some company in here? I was just about done on the computer anyway. It’s getting late.”
“Company would be nice.”
“Let me just go save the file, I’ll be back.” She left the room, quickly returned, then lay down next to him and began to rub his closer shoulder with her fingertips.
His chest tightened. He searched for something to say. “So… how did your day go?”
“Classes went well. My conversation with Mom, not so well. She’s not happy that we can’t make rent on our own.” She paused. “Didn’t we talk about this before dinner?”
“Guess I forgot.” He began to steel himself for what he suspected would be the most awkward conversation he could have in his lifetime.
“Sounds suspicious,” she teased him. “Do I need to ask you for the password?”
He froze. “Password?”
“So you can prove you’re not a clone sent from the future?” she continued to tease.
From bad to worse. Did Amica and Sean have a running gag about a password, or had Amica just made a one-time joke? John decided to test the second possibility. “There’s a password now?”
She looked at him, mildly curious. “Silly man. There’s been a password for months. Don’t play dumb with me, I know you’re smarter than anyone thinks you are.”
He winced internally, having indeed come to the conclusion from his brief interactions with Sean that the lad might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Maybe he could change the subject and skate by this dilemma. “I didn’t think anyone would catch onto that. Thanks for noticing.”
“You’re welcome sweetheart.” Amica’s tone started to become strident. “Now give me the password before I turn you in to the Clone Police.”
He thought on his feet. “I actually vote that we change the password tonight, to stay one step ahead of the clones. What about we change it to…” He pulled a word from the poster he had seen above the television. “‘Floyd’?”
Amica sniggered. “I knew ‘electro-compimpity’ wouldn’t last long. Too hard to remember. ‘Floyd’ it is.” He thought she sounded mollified. “So I went over to Fortress today after class, like you asked.”
Thank you for reading! In the next installment, John finds out what Amica really thinks of him.
Previous Aum stories include Globe Without Goodbye.
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