“Did you read that Steven died recently?” asked Yarrow.
“I saw that,” said Rose, eyeing Thorn speculatively. “I was wondering if someone decided to snip his lifeline.”
Thorn glared at her. “Why would I let him off so easily?”
“Besides, that would be breaking the rules,” said Yarrow.
“Can’t have that, can we?” Rose almost sounded disappointed.
Sheila opened the office door. “Burning the midnight oil yet again? Didn’t I hired assistants for you so you didn’t have to work so late?”
Thorn said without looking up from her monitor, “You know better than anyone that there are some things you just have to do yourself.”
“Would you like a slice of pizza?” asked Rose.
” Sheila sat down in a chair. She was holding a small package wrapped in brown paper. “I’ve got an interesting story for you.”
Something in her tone caught their attention. All three set aside their work. Rose said, “Do tell.”
“A few years ago, I had an unexpected reunion with an old high school friend. Steven was always a little strange, I suppose. I’d run into him here and there over the years but we had drifted apart, as people do. I was a little surprised by his request that night we had drinks. He asked me to hold onto this for him. He said it was part of a little joke he was playing with some friends; a scavenger hunt of sorts. He swore it was nothing illegal, just a little prank. I saw no harm in participating.” She held up the package. “I took it home, threw it in a drawer, and thought nothing more of it. Then Steven died a couple of months ago. Imagine my surprise when he attorney delivered a letter in which Steven asked me to deliver this to you three.” She looked them over speculatively. “I didn’t know you knew Steven.”
Thorn simply said, “We’ve done business.”
“Just the one time, mind you,” added Rose.
“You did say he was strange,” said Yarrow.
“Hmm.” Sheila tossed the package to Rose. “I don’t suppose you’ll let me in on the little joke.”
Rose quickly wove a tale as she opened the package. “It has to do with payment. He always liked to get the most for his money and then some.”
“A real penny pincher,” added Thorn.
Rose set aside the brown paper. She opened the plain white cardboard box. Sitting on a piece of cotton batting was a pile of red, white, and black dust. She tipped the box slightly so the others could see. “Our final payment. Dust.”
“I don’t get it,” said Sheila.
Yarrow smiled sweetly. “He really didn’t have much of a sense of humor.”
“No. I suppose not.” Sheila stood up. “I’d best be getting home.”
After she was gone, Thorn turned to Rose. “Did you know they went to high school together?”
“What? Me? No.” Rose scowled at her. “As if I’d withhold information like that.”
“I didn’t know either,” added Yarrow.
Before her sisters could start arguing yet again, Yarrow said, “All’s well that ends well. To the next project then?”
Rose and Thorn glared at each other for a moment then turned back to their work. Yarrow typed out streams of code in binary. Rose gathered those threads and wove them through forums, bbs sites, and hidden messages across the Internet. Tantalizing suggestions appeared in articles about the likes of Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Thomas J. Watson, Nolan Bushnell, and others. Thorn trimmed away the details, keeping them from staying too long on any one site and thus preventing the slow from following their trail of breadcrumbs. Faerie tales popped up about weaver elves living hidden among us, who could make or break your fortune.
Rose remarked, “She will be here very soon.”
“Very well, thread for a dream.” Yarrow spun thread made of binary code.
“Cloth woven for a vision.” Rose wove the thread into a pattern of trust and creation, black and white on a field of red.
“Cut to length for manifestation.” Thorn took the cloth from the 3-D printer, measured it, and trimmed it. She bound the ends with finality and clarity.
A knock at the door. Rose opened it. “Yes?”
A dark-skinned woman in her early twenties stood there. “I’m seeking the gianes.”
“We’ve been expecting you, Asha. Come in and tell us your vision.”
Yarrow is quoting from The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Project Gutenberg Etext, Copyright 1990-1993, World Library, Inc.
Rose is quoting from The Seventh Octave : The Early Writings of Saul Williams, Moore Black Press, New York, New York, 1998′
Thorn quotes from Sappho : One Hundred Lyrics by Bliss Carman, Project Gutenberg EBook, May 2004
Copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved