by Sherrie Cronin
Published by Cinnabar Press
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
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A clairvoyant young woman finds her visions of the future to be a nuisance, until she discovers that she is hardly unique. An entire group of seers has learned how to profit from their knowledge in ways that Ariel has never considered. Another group is obsessed with using their talents to understand a dark future they cannot ignore.An alliance with either crowd looks dangerous, given that they both seem a little crazy. There is no possible way to help them both. Worse yet, each group is convinced that Ariel is more than a potential asset; she’s the one thing that they must have in order to succeed.
He was arriving Friday morning, and Ariel found herself looking forward to the visit. It was nice to be dealing with at least one uncomplicated man, and better yet one who she was growing to admire and genuinely want to help. So she was particularly dismayed when she walked into the office that Thursday morning in mid-August and found a huge bouquet of lilies and white roses and Japanese anemone and amaryllis all lavishly adorned with white baby’s breath occupying half her desk. Now what?
She touched the flowers and found herself with a quick premory of a young florist’s happiness at receiving lavish praise for his fine work at an upcoming local wedding. Never mind. She reached for the card instead.
“Can’t stop thinking about you,” it said. Her first fear was that the flowers were from Baldur, and then it occurred to her that it would be even worse if they were a make-up gift from Siarnaq. However, she was even sadder when she saw that the card was signed “Mikkel”. Damn. Her one simple relationship had just gone complicated.
Before the day was out every guy in the office walked by and made some snide remark about the flowers and unwelcome guesses about the identity, and particularly the intentions, of their sender. Ariel endured the comments stoically and refused to satisfy anyone’s curiosity as she spent the rest of the day irritated.
Damn him. Why did he have to go and do something like this? Now she dreaded Mikkel’s visit.
She had offered to pick him up at the airport, and he gave her a funny look the next morning as he got in her car and she refused to look at him as she gave him a cold hello.
“Did I do something wrong?” he asked.
“That was totally unnecessary,” she snipped. “And embarrassing and inappropriate.”
Out came the story of the showy white flowers. The ensuing ride to the office was filled with Mikkel’s discomfort that someone would do that in his name and Ariel’s disbelief of his denial and Mikkel’s irritation at Ariel’s lack of trust in his word and her irritation at his… Ariel stopped. She realized that she was annoyed at having been embarrassed, but clearly she was upset with the wrong person.
“So who did send the flowers?” they both asked in unison and then laughed.
“Who wants me to hate you?” she asked.
“Who wants you to like me?” he countered. “I get why it was embarrassing, but guys generally do send flowers because they want to be liked, you know.”
They ran through the names of everyone they could think of, including Eoin, Baldur, and Cillian, but neither of them could think of a plausible reason for such odd and expensive behavior.
3 autographed paperback copies of y1 (a related tale of the adventures of Ariel’s shape shifting brother)