“Then you just left it?” Her brother, Shiloh, was stretched out on the fresh spring grass beside her. It was slightly damp, the dew still lingering, but Devi liked the smell. Whenever she came home, she came home on a spring morning.
“Well, what else was I going to do? We had to …” The hand gesture she made indicated she’d had to leave. She felt a little bit like a failure again even while she was saying it. Seeing her big brother roll his eyes didn’t really help that much.
“What if it had been a child who’d played with it next. Or a dog or something. That was dangerous.” Shiloh smiled at her as he said it, just barely, and his tone made it seem more like he was chastising a toddler than talking to his twenty year old sister, no matter how quietly he asked.
Her eye roll mirrored his, and she dropped her head back to the ground and stared up at the sky, imagining the animals the shapes of the clouds took. She realized that she couldn’t hear birds singing. There was something strange about that.
After a few quiet minutes she answered her brother with a quiet, “It’s strange, with more than just Rook. I’m not used to them yet. It’s different… Harder….I’ll be better next time.”
She felt, more than heard, her brother sigh beside her and settle down the same way that she was. “Sister…”
“Promise,” She said, cutting him off. They’d been speaking Hopi, but this was in English, and the sudden change quieted Shiloh and, after a second, he smiled at her again. Devi laughed and then slowly got to her feet. When he was up too, she hugged him tight. “I have to go. Another party tonight…” Switching back into Hopi was as easy as breathing.
“You and those boys. How does your apartment survive it? See you soon?” Her brother sounded more hopeful than resigned, which she took as a good sign.
“Of course. Love you, Brother.”
“Love you too.”
She let the hug go for another minute, and then Devi pulled herself out of the program. It had been encrypted, armored, hidden, and spoofed, and now that she’d run it she destroyed every trace. It was a habit. When Devi created her family she was overly careful.
Next time, she’d get the birds right.