Southern Discomfort

A place in the world

Laylah put a brilliant pink blossom into the vase at the base of her favorite statue, the one depicting Raphael, the shining one who heals. Her father had rescued it from a tiny church that had been demolished. “Thank you for watching over me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for your beneficence.” She recited the prayer automatically as she knelt before the collection of statues and icons.

“I do wish that stupid boy hadn’t lost that chunk of concrete. I really wanted to know what caused the explosion at the church.” She frowned, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “Sorry, right. You know what you’re doing. Mysterious ways, got it.” She paused, head tilted as she listened. “What about Mister Collier? What do you mean?” Another pause. “Fine. Patience.” She took a small, smooth stone from her pocket and laid it in front of Briathos. “Please help him in his cause.”

Laylah sighed deeply and sat in quiet thought for some time. “Okay, well, thanks for listening. And thanks for helping me find people who understand.” Her face tinged with pink as she put one last token on the altar, a dollar coin she’d carried since the rally at the church. “Anael, I humbly ask you accept this gift. Please guide me since I have no idea what I’m doing.” Her blush deepened. “He was really …. um. Nice.”

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