From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

The Sweetest Source

The sound they’ve all been waiting for finally comes at night. It’s a melting pot of noise ingredients: howls and claps, cries and stomps. Laughter and shrieks are sprinkled in like cayenne powder.

It isn’t long before the sound crescendos, the pot overboiling with a furor that calls hearts and stomachs.

Deron scrambles to the window, momentarily forgetting his tablet and the buggy application he’s been working on. He pushes a braid against his cheek out of habit, watching the crowd of people returning from their journey. Many are dancing or laughing despite having walked miles to see Enver the Bright. He can make anyone happy.

“Momma, look, they’re back,” Deron says. His mother sighs, sets a folder aside, and joins him at the window. “Can we go out? Pretty please with sprinkles?”

“Okay, honey.” Momma’s brown eyes droop with bags, her voice flat with despondency. Deron hopes seeing the happy people up close will cheer her up.

Outside, the air is thick with Coloradan heat, but fresh. Those returning are smiling like clowns, some dazzling with faces painted carmine or indigo. A choir of voices swells and falls, but Deron is much too short to spot where it’s coming from. He digs a peppermint from his pocket and snacks on it, sometimes pushing it into the gap where his tooth used to be.

“Momma, can we go and see Enver next time?” he asks, seeing kids in the throes of euphoria, spinning and squealing with pure delight. He only feels close to that kind of happiness during Halloween, when he gets a lot of candy.

Momma folds her brown arms across her chest. “I told you, honey, we have to wait until we’re picked. It’s a lottery system,” she explains. Deron feels stupid for always forgetting, but when he sees people coming back from visiting Enver he can’t help getting excited and wishing he can go, too.

If anyone knows the perfect candy to make Momma happy, it’s Enver. Deron hears people talking about him even now, tasty bits and pieces of conversation that he collects like shards of toffee.

“ . . . long walk through that desert, but I’d do it a million times to see Enver!”

“ . . . cars malfunction, horses get confused, so you gotta walk. Walking feels good . . . ”

“ . . . totally at peace with everything now thanks to him . . . ”

Momma’s friend Rabbit elbows through the crowd and greets them with a tip of his homburg hat. They call him Rabbit because of his weird whiskers and because he has a habit of skipping along. Also, when he smiles, his two front teeth gleam starkly against his black lips, seeming so much larger than the rest of his mouth.

Rabbit is always smiling. “I reckon I’ll win this time for sure. I got my lucky rabbit’s foot.”

He undoes his sandals and taps his bare foot on the ground, making Deron giggle. But Momma doesn’t even crack a smile.

“Rabbit, I’ll win this time, too, and I’ll go see Enver and get boatloads of candy, and I’ll gather everyone and give a big speech and share my candy!”

Rabbit grins down at him with unamused eyes. “Any more candy and you’ll be too hyper to talk straight, let alone give a speech.”

Deron pulls at his braids, absentmindedly measuring them, wondering what Rabbit means. As the crowd disperses, the winners of the next journey are handed their confirmations by attendants. They hand one sheet to Rabbit, and he spins in a circle and pats himself on the back.

When they hand Deron his sheet, he nearly chokes on his peppermint.

“Momma, where’s yours?”

Momma purses her lips uneasily. “I didn’t sign up, honey.”

She doesn’t mention anything about her weight or about how difficult it would be for her to make the journey with her health complications. Deron knows already she doesn’t like to talk about that.

“Guess it’s just us guys,” says Rabbit, smiling big. “You brave enough, momma’s boy?”

Deron crunches his peppermint and makes an assured fist at Rabbit, trying not to smile and show his gap.

• • • •

The journey through the desert is long and hot, and Deron’s mouth tastes like old toothpaste. As they march the miles of rock and sand and dust, he wishes for candy.

“Say, kiddo,” Rabbit says one night after making camp. “Wanna play a game for a sweet prize?”

Rabbit shows Deron two cards, one an Ace and one a Jack. “If you choose Jack, you get a piece of candy right now. If you choose Ace, you get candy later.”

Deron grabs the Jack card and surely enough Rabbit gives him a cobalt fruit chew. It feels good in his mouth, oily and cool and blueberry.

“Guess that leaves the Ace card for me,” Rabbit says, smirking, same as always.

After dinner, Deron is preparing for bed when he hears commotion in Rabbit’s tent. He asks if everything is okay, and Rabbit admits he’s having a small celebration.

Deron peeks inside and sees Rabbit building a collection of candy. It’s at least two handfuls worth, and the foil wrappers are shiny as a bucket of gold.

Deron goes to sleep realizing he’d been tricked. The fruit chew leaves a grimy aftertaste in his mouth.

The next day, they reach the encampment of Enver, as given by the signs and the sound of music. Firepits smoke the air with the rich aroma of charred beef and poultry. Immobile robots are stationed among the tents, stiff as statues, LED eyes black and inactive.

The makeshift village is bustling with people who’ve accepted Enver’s power. They smile just as endlessly as Rabbit does, cavorting and singing and joking around. Their tents are arranged in rows, the largest one standing proudly at the head of the others.

Enver soon emerges from the big tent, revolving the wheels on his wheelchair, dark brown face further darkened by shades. His dreads are bundles of knotted ash, his tie-dyed clothes so many colors that Deron can’t identify them all. If they were candy, they would’ve been flavors like orange cream and ginger spice and cool mint.

“Well, look at all these new visitors. I see young ladies, children, fathers; Latinos, Africans, Europeans, Asians. All sizes, shapes, and colors, I love it. Hello, hello, all you beautiful people. In case you’re wondering, I am Enver. Some call me Enver the Bright, but I wouldn’t know about all that.”

He smiles and adjusts his shades risibly.

“So anyway, I know why you’re all here, and I won’t waste your time. If you would like to receive the gift of happiness, all you need do right now is stand up, raise your hand, and come on forward.”

Enver speaks an additional command to the portable computer in his lap, activating the robots. Their eyes bloom with blue light, and they stiffly approach each person raising his or her hand.

Deron remembers the game he played with Rabbit and how he acted too brashly. This time he will wait. He keeps his hand down while Rabbit snickers. The robots locate the others and mimic Enver himself, pressing their thumbs against the foreheads of the hand raisers. The touched people glow with all the colors in Enver’s tie-dyed shirt and hundreds more. They fill with laughter and with light and warmth.

Still, Deron decides to wait. If he only gets one piece of candy, he won’t be able to share any with Momma.

He wants an Ace this time, not a Jack.

Rabbit goes on smiling as usual, but he never raises his hand.

• • • •

The moon is a full silver mint-disc in the sky when Deron feels nudged awake by cold metal fingers.

“Please. Follow. Me.”

Deron obeys. The odd robot creeps stiffly on thin legs, like a heron in water. Something about its movements appear wrong, like its CPU is miscalculating.

“Excuse me, but are there errors in your source code?” Deron asks.

“Yes. But. No. Time. For. Fix. Master. Busy.”

“I can do it, I think.”

Deron plucks a good-sized stick with a pointy end and pries open the robot’s back plate. With its screen exposed, it becomes just another tablet, like he’s been using for years, borrowed from the soup kitchen where Momma works.

He finds the command prompt and accesses the robot’s source code, then he scrutinizes it carefully, the way Momma showed him.

“Be patient as a cat after a mouse, honey,” he reminds himself. Same words Momma always said about coding.

The lines of code scroll on and on slowly, and he breathes in and out. He tugs at his braids, licking the inside of his cheeks for lingering peppermint, but his eyes stay trained on the screen.

Then he spots it: a stray semicolon. “Gotcha.”

He highlights and deletes it, then replaces everything as it had been. The robot tests its hands, its segmented fingers piano-typing while wrist spindles twirl smoothly. It shifts its weight to one foot and then the other, like a ballerina. It pirouettes in finale, earning a shy smile from Deron.

“Thank you. Thank you so very much. Now, follow me.” The robot takes off in brisk yet quiet motion.

In the silvery moonlight, the village is vast with the adjoining darkness. It’s no longer an isolated place, but a ligament of a greater existence. Crickets chirp, a wolf howls, and Deron’s hurried footsteps contribute to the night’s orchestra.

Soon they are beyond the tents and entering Enver’s, a wide, lamp-lit space half-filled with shadows and scattered belongings. Seated in his wheelchair and juggling smooth round lapis lazuli stones, Enver beckons them forward.

“Ah, you’re right on schedule, little one. Thank you much, robot.”

The robot leaves just as briskly as he’d come, and Deron is all alone with the legendary Enver the Bright. He can hardly believe it.

Enver sets the stones aside with care. “Your name is Deron, right? What you think? You like my magic room, Deron?”

He gestures to a wall where endless portals materialize. They are barely large enough for a hand to squeeze inside, but plenty big for a peek. Deron sees worlds of ice and lava, hurtling comets and hordes of furious creatures waging war on them, and planets overgrown with singing forests.

On the other walls there are even more Enver points out.

“You got worlds of fiery rain, worlds of centipede-chiefs and millipede-houngans, worlds of civilized caimans and gharials drinking tea and speaking Swahili, even.”

Deron hunts for one where candy grows on trees and only finds a place where everything is milk-white with icing. It makes his hands feel sticky.

“I come here and look around for inspiration,” says Enver, peering suspiciously at a colorless world that hurts Deron’s eyes. “You see, all of life is like a program or an app. Once you’ve tapped into the Source, you can enjoy all facets of it. These portals are just one example.”

Deron studies a world where robot animals interface with mechanical plants and insects with copper antennas. “Can you go there?”

“Couldn’t tell you. The Source doesn’t permit me the power.”

Deron is surprised to know Enver can’t do everything, but he understands source code restrictions. If life is a program, he knows some parts of the source code are locked and labeled “private.” Like the part that decides how dark his skin is or who Momma is.

“Source code is cool, but so weird sometimes,” he says.

“Thought you might think so. You messed around with my robot’s source code, didn’t you?” Enver smiles amiably and chuckles. “Hey, I’m glad you fixed him. Let’s see if I can’t fetch you a reward.”

Enver wheels himself over to a chest of drawers and begins searching through.

Deron wants to tell him no thanks (like Momma taught him), but he really does want to know what the reward is. Plus, Rabbit said refusing rewards is bad manners.

“I wanted you to come here because I noticed you yesterday. You weren’t raising your hand, which I thought was peculiar,” says Enver. “Ah, here it is. A reward for you.”

He wheels over to Deron with an aluminum-wrapped square and gives it to him. Deron thanks him, his face melting with embarrassment for not raising his hand yesterday. Inside the aluminum is a coal-black block that looks like obsidian and smells like magnolias.

Deron takes a cautious bite, and the juicy flavor rumbles his taste buds. “Sorry for not raising my hand.”

Enver pats him on the shoulder. “That’s quite alright. I thought maybe you were too young to know about delayed gratification, but either way, it’s quite alright. I wanted to ask you why you came all this way. Did somebody tell you I had rare candies and treats?” He crinkles another smile.

Deron pauses in mid-bite and instead rewraps the candy. “No, sir, they didn’t. I came because I always wanted to come. I kept seeing the happy people coming back to town, and I wanted to know how you did that.”

Enver holds out his hands. They are strong and black and sinewy. When he turns them over, they emit all the colors of his tie-dyed shirt, almost as if they colored the shirt themselves.

Soft blue lines and bright yellow lines trace the air and vanish without a sound.

“So this is the only reason? You just wanted to see me touch people and give them a taste of the Source? That’s all there is to it, you know. I’m bound to it now, since I was bestowed the gift. Whenever I decide to, I can give some of it to somebody else. And it always makes them the happiest they’ve ever been.”

Deron tugs at his braid, considering this.

“Can you make Momma happy, too? She couldn’t come. She’s not healthy enough.”

Enver heaves a sigh, and it’s a strange sound coming from a smiling man with magic glowing in his fingertips.

“Momma, huh? I got these powers from my momma. She used to bake banana bread with her magic hands, and you could taste the Source in it. Heavenly. I tried baking it once, but I realized the magic works best when you combine it with something you’re already good at. My momma was good at baking, and I was good with machines, robots and stuff. Mostly the hardware side.”

Enver wheels himself back to the stones and labors to reach down for them. Deron does it for him. “These were hers. She liked stones.”

The smile is still there, but it’s not as strong as before. It wavers. “Anyway, I never really did good at making her happy. Mommas can be hard to please. I would love to help you with yours, but I can’t. Cars, wheelchairs, robots, and even horses just don’t cooperate in the desert. Maybe I’m not meant to leave. Just gotta keep spreading joy forever.”

“Oh. I’m sorry,” Deron says, feeling like a big dummy.

“Parents are programmers, and their kids are programs. So I think it’s up to the programmer to make sure the program is happy. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Deron nods. “But your robots make you happy sometimes, don’t they?”

Enver pauses for reflection, nodding subtly to himself.

He removes his shades and stares at Deron with glowing, iridescent eyes. “How about you carry it back to your momma? I’ll have to give you a whole lot, and you’re already a happy kid, I can tell. Too much happy might make you pure energy.”

“I can do it,” Deron says, but he’s a tattered mess of fear inside.

Enver lays a thumb on Deron’s forehead, and a delicious gravity tethers every fiber of him to the Source.

“Here’s a taste.”

The image of Enver’s glowing eyes swirls into his shirt, and that swirls and blends with everything else in the tent, the world now a milkshake of colors. Enver’s stones seem to vibrate and tinkle lightly.

Deron is activated.

• • • •

The clouds burst with sticky, vanilla rain, and lemon-bright lightning jolts Deron alert to the whirling maelstrom he’s caught in. Thunder beats sweetly and the sucking waters are syrup and gooey on all sides of him.

Deron basks in it, unafraid. Everything feels perfect, like a finished puzzle. Every nerve on his body tingles with charged excitement. There are others floating in the tempestuous confectionery, and Deron can hear their garbled song.

It’s the same whistling in the wind, the same bass from the thunder. He claps, and they clap, and he hums in tune, all the lyrics perfectly known. When he closes his eyes, he sees the lines and lines of code constructing this—constructing existence itself in a programming language he can’t even pronounce but somehow he understands.

Deron floats and paddles through syrup, forgetting his troubles for a time. Forgetting everything except the sweet taste of rain and Momma’s sad expression.

“Don’t worry about me,” says Momma. “Just be happy, honey.”

• • • •

This time it’s Rabbit’s lukewarm hands that thrust Deron into wakefulness. He sits up, still tasting vanilla, cheeks hurting from smiling so much.

“Enver’s doing a meeting. Come on, Sticky Face,” says Rabbit, sneering. Without his hat on, his bald head glistens in the sun like a new penny. “I know he met with you in secret last night. I was watching. How’d you like the volcano candy?”

Deron reaches around instinctually, landing on the aluminum wrapper in his pocket.

“So you really were watching. Enver gave me the touch of the Source.” Deron can still feel the magic trickling through his body.

He climbs up, shoves his feet into his shoes, and follows Rabbit. “Next time I can get more to take back home.”

They join the crowd where Enver addressed them the previous day. Now he lectures about robots and happiness, and the good people are agreeing and encouraging him in a clamor.

“Kid, you forget the part about Enver retiring?” Rabbit asks.

Deron chomps the volcano candy into rumbly, fruity goo. He doesn’t remember Enver saying anything like that last night. He fixes Rabbit with a dubious stare.

“What? It’s true. After he gave you a taste of the Source, he decided he would retire. I’m not kidding.”

Deron doesn’t know what to think anymore. He gulps down the candy too soon, and it pokes his throat. The sun is radiant and strong, but the world suddenly seems devoid of light.

“Which brings me to the end of all this. I will step down, and another will take my place. Even Enver the Bright must allow that.”

The cheers of encouragement fade to the tiniest decibels. Deron grips his braids and holds his breath, trying not to cry.

“So,” Enver continues, wheeling through the crowd. “the one who will replace me is right around here. Each child is capable, just as I was a child when my momma passed it on to me. But you must be ready.”

Rabbit snickers. “Afraid you’d do a bad job?” he asks Deron. “Me too. I can’t believe he won’t pick me instead. How’s a kid like you supposed to spread all that Source by yourself?”

Deron wants to cry, but he just fiddles the empty space between his teeth and thinks happy thoughts. Maybe he will be good at spreading the Source. Maybe that’s his talent. Or maybe he won’t be good but Enver won’t choose him anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Enver wheels through most of the crowd, selecting kids out until Rabbit and Deron are standing alone.

“There is the last one,” Enver says, peering in their direction. “Deron. Will you compete in my tournament to win the Source?”

Deron looks at Rabbit nervously, and the self-doubt sets in. He doesn’t raise his hand, even though the desire is there. The people waiting to applaud fidget restlessly, their mood somber and deflated.

Enver the Bright isn’t defeated. “Robots,” he calls. “Prepare to deliver another round of happiness!”

Everyone cheers as the robots begin disseminating the happy feelings from the Source. Deron takes the opportunity to retreat to his tent to think. He knows in his heart that Rabbit is right. He wouldn’t be a good replacement for Enver. For starters, he isn’t good at anything except eating candy and programming.

Deron stops tugging his braid and reconsiders that last thought. If he uses programming the way Enver does, maybe he can be a good replacement.

He leaves the tent, navigating the wandering happy people. Some reach down to congratulate him or pinch his cheeks. Deron soon stumbles upon the robot he fixed the night before.

“Hello Deron, would you like to see my new dance? I call it ‘the human.’”

“Um, maybe later. I need your help with something important.”

The robot is all too happy to comply with Enver’s possible successor. At Deron’s insistence, he assembles the other robots in a group and brings them all just outside the encampment where the sounds of music and laughter are faint, like puffs of cirrus clouds.

Using the same pointy stick as before, Deron removes their back plates and gets to work. Enver used voice commands so the robots could deliver the Source, but Deron has a better way.

In the robots’ source code, he changes execute_delivery_functions WHEN Enver_voice.wav == TRUE to execute_delivery_functions WHEN scheduled_time == NOW;

“Programming us to deliver on schedule is much more efficient,” one robot says, as Deron reaffixes her back plate.

“Enver was right to choose you for the tournament,” another robot agrees.

Deron is surrounded by them, a host of metal people without hearts or brains. All of them smiling and encouraging him, their LED eyes bright and sparkling blue.

He can do it.

• • • •

The night is dark and clear, coated in glittering, candy-foil stars. Firepits belch smoke into the arid night.

Enver’s competition ground is a mess of tires, ropes, and wooden planks. The robots put it together on short notice, and it looks simple enough. Deron has done obstacle courses before.

Enver wheels himself down the line of participants.

“I gotta be sure my successor can handle the Source. So the rules are simple. You just gotta complete the course three times. Each lap, I’ll give you a little more Source. Everyone get it?”

Deron and the others nod. He looks and spots Rabbit in the crowd, chuckling at him with mocking eyes. He doesn’t think Deron can do it, but Deron will try his best anyway.

When Enver wheels past him again, he touches his shoulder, giving him another electric-lime taste of the Source.

“Go!” Enver shouts, as Deron laughs and runs. He hops in and out the tires, giggling about old jokes that Rabbit said. He shuffles across the narrow wooden bridges, tickled by the hair of other kids rubbing against him. Some fall off, giggling themselves from the Source.

Then Deron is back at the start along with two other kids, one a boy with pink hair, the other a girl in overalls. Enver gives them each more Source.

Now, the obstacles morph, taking on new lives. The tires are chocolate donuts swallowing Deron’s leg sweetly. The bridges sizzle with warm cinnamon. The swinging ropes tantalize as licorice. All around him are candies and snacks, but he can’t pause to partake. He must keep going.

Behind him, the pink-haired boy finally gives in to chew at the licorice rope. That just leaves Deron and the Overalls Girl. She scrambles ahead, focused.

Deron is slow to receive the third touch of Enver. It blasts him into another world like the ones in Enver’s tent. His legs laugh independently, attempting to dance. He forces them to keep walking, crushing jellybean rocks that splatter with goop. Powder-soft eagles swoop and cut past, and he crouches to avoid them.

He thinks of the robots. They believe in him, and so he should believe in himself, too. He crawls to keep moving, passing through a tunnel of slime that emerged from nowhere. Overalls Girl is clinging at the tunnel’s lip, her foot stuck.

Deron’s overjoyed as he helps pry her loose, then the two dash like crazy to reach Enver. It’s just that Deron is a tad faster.

Enver chuckles.

“You did it, Deron. You won.”

Deron can hardly believe it. He looks all around. Everyone is in attendance. Enver is clothed in a lime-green cloak and grinning easily. He wheels himself to Deron like he’s arriving to give another speech, but he doesn’t utter a phoneme.

His hands perch on Deron’s head like gargoyles on a cathedral, heavy and holy. All the world shifts and glows, and Deron tastes peppermint and lavender and melon. He tries to lick the spot where he’s missing a tooth, but his tongue is glued down.

His toes are wiggling in his shoes, laughing. The laughter spreads up his ankles, an infection of humor. He’s laughing all over and laughing out loud. Everything is funny, and laughing feels good. It even tastes good, like strawberry syrup drizzled over the best ice cream. Every sound he makes is another scoop of ice cream he swallows.

His stomach bloats with sweet laughter and with colors and sugars he can’t even imagine. He can feel it beneath his brown skin that suddenly ripples with fields of cinnamon and ginger. The fields are laughing and making spicy jokes.

Deron cackles so hard, he doesn’t realize the ritual is over when Enver takes his heavy hands away. Not even when Enver removes his shades to show dull brown eyes.

But when Enver begins to sob, it reaches Deron through his laughing armor. He doesn’t need to think about it.

He reaches out, still smiling, and touches Enver on his forehead, between the ash-gray snakes of hanging dreads. He holds it there, sensing Enver’s sad feelings about his mom becoming brighter and tinkling like her stones.

Enver’s smile grows broad anew.

Rabbit appears in the crowd, doffing his hat and wiping a thin film of sweat from his brow. Doubt colors his eyes and, for once, he’s not smiling. His smile has been forced, just to hide his doubts. He doesn’t believe in true happiness, doesn’t believe in Deron’s ability.

His eyes declare it all.

Deron raises his hand to Rabbit, the boy no longer burdened by that doubt, his spirit buoyed by invisible wings and tethered to the Source of all. He smiles big enough to show the gap in his teeth, and Rabbit morosely raises his hand back.

“Make me happy. If you can.”

Deron obliges him and leaps, soaring higher than he ever believed possible, his own hand outstretched. He crashes into Rabbit, driving his small hand into that bald, disbelieving head, the brimming colors of the Source spilling and shooting like firecrackers from his fingers.

It doesn’t take long. Rabbit, too, smiles truly.

That leaves just one thing for Deron to do.

• • • •

Deron and Rabbit are the only people who traverse the desert. They leave behind the others, who are all too thrilled to stay with Enver and his robots, at least until the machines run out of Source energy.

Deron has been talking the whole trip.

“And did you see when Enver transferred the Source? I was all like, whoa. My eyes went everywhere and dizzy, and then I felt this crazy tickling. And it was so funny!”

Rabbit grins, and Deron repeats it all again and again.

They enter town, and hardly anyone notices because it’s just the two of them. Deron rushes to the soup kitchen to find Momma, and even hopping skipping Rabbit must exert himself to keep up.

The soup kitchen is in a church, and they find Momma at a table supplying coding pamphlets and small tablets to at-risk teens.

“Hey, everybody excuse me, can I get your attention, pretty please with butterscotch?” Deron yells out.

The normally raucous soup kitchen ambience dies down to a low murmur, and when Momma sees it’s Deron making a racket, she covers her open mouth in shock.

“I just wanted to say I wouldn’t be anything good or sweet like cake if not for my Momma. She taught me all the best stuff. Like she taught me how to code and how to be patient when looking for errors. So she’s really special. And that’s all I wanted to say, thanks everybody!”

Rabbit guffaws wildly. Too hyper to give a serious speech, he’d said. And he was right.

But that doesn’t stop the applause from crashing down on them like cold waves on a summer day.

Deron lurches into action, already knowing what his gifts are. His Momma had taught him programming and helped advance his knowledge of software. He had practiced and studied.

One by one, he touches any tablet he can find. The machines awaken and vibrate, glowing with myriad colors like those staining Deron’s tongue—peppermint red and volcano black and fruit chew blue. With just a touch, he shares the Source with the machines and invigorates them with boundless new potential, leaving them ripe for programming by bright-minded children. His mind floods with the glowing permutations, and he smiles and spins and pirouettes with infectious glee.

Momma is next in his path, and Deron meets her with every intent to finally bestow her with happiness.

He extends his hand with a shameless, gap-toothed smile. Finally, she will glow with all the sweetness that she had always carried with her in her teachings and her embraces. Finally, the beautiful karmic cycle will bless her the way she had blessed the world.

She’s crying.

Her students are coding using the newly supercharged tablets, and she’s crying. Her eyes won’t leave Deron.

And he understands nothing he can retrieve from the Source can elevate her further into bliss. No amount of patience or cat-eyed watching will find errors in her feelings needing correction. Eyes aflame with Source energy, Deron can see it.

Momma’s soul, her essence, is dripping and overflowing with honey. There is no room in her for anything else.

There’s nothing sweeter.

J. L. Jones

J. L. Jones

J. L. Jones is a hobbyist programmer and avid gamer. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Morgan State University. He lives in Maryland where he crafts awful excuses for poetry, watches all kinds of anime, and sometimes plays basketball. On a good day, he might actually write a few words of a story. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Star*Line, Scifaikuest, and Eye to the Telescope. Catch him tweeting away and abusing the powers of GIF on Twitter @Psyscribe. He is currently mashing random keys to create a dark fantasy novel, and it’s surprisingly going well.