Chapter 1, page 3

Smiling at the flood of memories, I answered my friend’s question with a warm voice. “Yes, I’m using the glass circle thing.” I remembered that Matt had never really wanted to keep that particular creation, well any of my creations, a secret. In fact, he had come very close to ruining our friendship with that stupid desire. If it weren’t for the fact that I always left him with access to a stunning array of tools I probably would have kept my mouth shut, well I would have tried at any rate. “You haven’t been talking to anyone about any of the tools, have you?”

I squinted my eyes as I sensed Matt’s forthcoming prevarication in his answer, so I quickly added another question. “Not even in an indirect kind of way?”

This time he let mock pain and the barest hint of indignation fill his voice as he answered. “Marcus, you wound me.”

“Don’t give me that!”

“You’ve got to be joking. Don’t push it Marcus.”

I took great pains not to allow too much sternness into my voice, and I think I managed to get just the right blend of inflection. “Matt?” Sometimes I am impressed at what I can do with a single word. Unfortunately it is not a skill I’m terribly good at, but on the rare occasion when I can master it, I am rewarded.

Though, as the seconds began to tick by I had a sinking feeling that my one word enquiry hadn’t been as skilled as I thought. Part of the reason that I had so much trouble with it, at least when dealing with Matt, was because he was older than me. When we first met, our friendship definitely started with my leaning upon both his knowledge and experience. But time went marching on and the nature of our friendship and partnership changed. Using my gift, I started to take on the leadership role, and somehow managed to do that while trying not to wrest anything away from him. I would like to believe this had all been for the best and that Matt would agree with me on this point, but sometimes I had my doubts, like now.

I let out a sigh of relief when he answered me, “No, Marcus I haven’t been talking.” Unlike me, Matt has always been able to guard his secrets, not that I couldn’t but he has never found it difficult to read me. That being said, there are times when I’m certain he is being honest with me and this was one of those times.

Normally he probably wouldn’t have minded my pressing him about his ability to keep a secret, but the circumstance was anything but normal. I had ducked too many of his recent calls. I should have kept that little fact in mind, but I didn’t. Oh well, there really wasn’t much I could do about it now except listen and wait for the other shoe to drop. But that was not what came my way, instead I got a pleasantly offered statement of fact. “You’ve beaten that little fear of yours into my head often enough through the years that it has become one of my own. All your secrets will die with me. And before you have the chance to ask, there is no one in the house, so there’s no chance that anyone is listening in on our conversation.” With a sharp intake of breath Matt paused a moment before adding, “Do you have any idea how hard it was to get this place emptied this time when I haven’t had a successful conversation with you all week long?”

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