A university campus. Mid-September. Spacious lawns and wooded paths in harmony. The heat of summer begins to taper away, leading to pleasant, sleepy afternoons not-yet-burdened by the responsibility of classwork. Young couples sit under trees. Slacklines span between different trees. Students perpetually traverse the sidewalks, each individual one having a purpose, but as a collective, having none. An onlooker would comment, “This is way it should look. This is college.”
Across the lawn from a party of four with a Frisbee, an onlooker comments from a park bench. Wearing an indigo hoodie and wrinkled jeans, she does a good job of blending in with the crowd for being someone who doesn’t belong there. Her gaze on the group is intent, and through a means that would take longer to explain than it’s worth, replaced instead with the catch-all word “magic”, she can hear their every word as clear as if they were sitting on the graffitied bench next to her.
“Them again?” says another woman sitting on the graffitied bench next to her, who had not been there a moment ago but automatically presents the feeling to anyone who looks at her that she’s always been there. A pair of contacts give her irises a violet hue to match her blouse, and combined with overly-blonde and overly-hairsprayed hair, she gives off the vibes of a girl who’s trying too hard.
“Her again,” Indigo clarifies, looking in particular at one of the female Frisbee-ers in loose clothes and a black sunhat.
“Oh, pshaw, that old chick again?” Violet answers dismissively, flicking her hand. “I’ve told you, like, a million times, she’s not her.”
Indigo rolls her eyes. “And I’ve told you each of those one million times, I never thought it was her.”
“And I’ve told you she’s not her Ripple, either.”
“I’m not convinced of that.”
“Indie, have you even studied my Ripple? Yes, they have to look the same, but it’s not about personality; it’s about subconscious potential. If she were Blink’s Ripple, she wouldn’t be normal enough to be tossing a Frisbee with friends. Trust me; it’s not her.”
“Vi,” she replies, sighing, “why do you think I’m watching that girl out there?”
Purple-eyes places a dainty hand over her heart, faking offense. “Well, obviously it’s because you don’t trust me, Indie! I swear, it just breaks my heart to see someone like you doubting someone like me.”
Indigo doesn’t respond immediately, or directly, opting to continue watching the flight of the Frisbee and the young adults throwing it. So light-hearted they look; so unhindered by the real world. So oblivious to so many truths, if they would just open their eyes. A curious species, humans: the more they know, the less they believe in.
“She’s looking for us, Violet,” Indigo replies as she glances at the clocktower in the distance. “She has no idea what she’s looking for, or where, but she is looking for us, and it’s only a matter of time before she finds out how to see us. I can throw her off for as long as you want me to, but it’s only delaying the inevitable, and I want to know what your plan is when that happens.”
“Oh Indie; this is what I love about you.” Violet leans hard into her associate’s shoulder and wraps her arms around her affectionately. “Always overthinking things so I don’t have to!
“The feeling is mutual, I’m sure,” she deadpans back sarcastically, offering up no resistance as Violet bats at her hoodie’s tie-strings like a cat.
“What makes you think she’ll see us?” Violet wonders out loud. “You just said she has no idea what she’s looking for.”
“Just because she doesn’t know what we look like doesn’t mean she won’t know who we are when she sees us. You saw how quickly she ferreted out the other one, and she didn’t even have an aura.”
“Oh please, she wasn’t even trying to be subtle about it; she wanted to be found. Misery loves company, anyways.”
“Which, again, begs the question of my theory.”
“Indie, the chances of two Ripples in the same place, let alone three—“
“Are not zero, and even if they were you know very well that it could happen given what we’ve been doing. And if they are, and if they ever talk about it to each other…” She sighs, looking down at her perfectly human-looking hands. “…If they are, we owe them an explanation.”
The whizzing of the Frisbee continues, slowly drifting away as the friends endlessly reposition themselves for catches. Indigo looks at them: perfectly normal people with perfectly normal quirks, paranoid about perfectly normal things and dreaming about perfectly normal things to dream about. If one of them were abnormal, she’d have just as much of a way of knowing as not. Just as the wispy girl in the sunhat has no clue the answer to the question she keeps asking herself is right as the base of the hill, Indigo has no clue what question the wispy girl even in, let alone if she’s an answer to any of them. She might know more than the young lady in the broad scope of things, but in her experience, the more one knows, the more one realizes that they truly know nothing at all.
“No, we don’t, Indigo,” Violet answers, breaking the silence between them as she turns Indigo’s face to look at her. “We haven’t done anything to them, and they haven’t done anything for us; just because we know a secret they don’t know doesn’t mean we have a responsibility to give them so much as a bowl of rice, let alone answers. Let them be, Indie, trust me; let them be. It’s not worth getting involved in their lives for an ‘if’, and it’s not even a very big if in my opinion.”
Violet stretches her arms behind her back and yawns, getting up off the bench. “I’m gonna hit the campus coffee house; the couches looked comfortable there. Meet me there when you’re done asking what if, all right?”
“Don’t fall asleep before I get there, Vi,” Indigo responds nonchalantly. The blonde leaves, once again making the surrounding area feel like she was never even there. The remaining woman folds her hands under her chin, thinking…
“Please, child,” she whispers as she watches the distant girl walk back with her group to parts unseen. “Please, don’t look for me. You don’t want to know what’s in my world. Please, just stay with yours. Stay with your dreams and your fantasies; stay with your guesses of a magical world. I guarantee you you’d end up disappointed with the real fantasy. We have the same problems you do.”