Author’s Note: I lost the battle on how soon this ended up happening.
Stubborn alien. Stubborn human, too.
The tips of her hair were pink this time, and it hung down her back instead of being kept back in its usual ponytail. He might not have known the woman for her—the black clothes were gone, that strange oversized shirt he’d seen before missing as well, and he did believe that was a dress she wore now. He did not know what made her decide to wear it, but she had called herself eccentric, so perhaps that was it, that was all it was.
She turned around. “Hey. I wasn’t sure you’d come.”
“It was my suggestion. If you do not wish for me to be here, then I can go. You must be expecting someone else.”
She frowned. “Why would you say that?”
“Your clothes. Your hair.”
She grimaced. “Oh, I forgot I was all pink today. I must look ridiculous. It’s just that they didn’t want me coming in to talk art looking like I was about to slit my wrists and join my mom. I tried to settle for something a lot less perky, but they kept saying I’d scare the children. Do you think I’d scare children the way I usually dress?”
“It seems… odd in comparison to some, but less so than others. There was a woman once who had her hair sticking out to the side and she wore this coat that seemed to be made of an animal skin—she made me think she was trying to dress like a lion wearing leopard skin. It was… disturbing.”
“I’ve seen her! She does that a lot. Here, let me show you something,” Luna said, going behind the register and taking out a book, bigger than the ones he had seen before. She opened the book and held it up for him to examine.
“Yes,” he said. “That is a perfect rendition of her. I do not think you lack any talent.”
Luna snapped the book shut, shoving it back down. “I don’t think we should discuss that. You said you didn’t know what art was, anyway. You don’t know what talent is.”
“A man told me art is in the eye of the beholder. So is beauty.”
She looked up, smiling. “Those are some good old clichés that you’ve picked up there, aren’t they? Why don’t you tell me something in your own words? Something you figured out for yourself and not what some man told you? The whole point of knowledge is making it our own, you know.”
“I think your lines are better than those sculptures I was looking at. I think that I hate not being able to touch anything, and I do not know what point or purpose my life can serve if I can never do more than consume or manage my hunger with my curiosity. Perhaps if I did not exist—”
“Don’t say that. You’re not allowed to give into that darkness, either. What about your offer to help me? Your promise? You’re going to see this through, aren’t you?”
He frowned. “Why do you want a monster’s help?”
She sighed, reaching down to pick up her book again, opening it to the back, past several blank pages. “I can’t get it right, there’s something about you that defies being put on paper, but do you see any kind of monster there?”
He could not tell if it was any sort of likeness. He had tried looking in mirrors before, but all he saw was the distortion of time and space, not what was standing before the mirror. “That cannot be me. I am… emptiness, a void, a black hole—what is that word there? Tynan?”
She traced a finger over the mark, doing what he would have done if he hadn’t known it would destroy the paper. “Yeah. It… It means dark in Gaelic, or so the book said. I bet you hate it, though. You wouldn’t want to be named after the darkness.”
“It is what I am. It is… appropriate.”
She smiled at him. He studied the word again, letting his hand get as close to the paper as he dared, memorizing the way she’d written it. He’d forgotten that her hand was there until he felt something sharp, a sting that was almost electrical, and he jerked his hand away, looking over at her in concern.
She lifted her hand, rubbing at her finger and frowning as she examined it. “Do you always do that? Shock people with static?”
He shook his head. “You should be dead or missing that finger or hand, not experiencing a mild discomfort.”
“Does this mean you’re going to run off and disappear again?”