READ FROM THE BEGINNING: The First Page
“How did Mageform go?” Estelle asked him.
“Great! I think. It was quick, easy, and I have the rest of the day to myself. Tomorrow I do a Growing for them, in the Garden of Sense. Makes sense.” He quaked that he actually said that, it was a bad joke from his days of study here.
Estelle laughed however, she must not have heard it yet. Or she was sparing him the embarrassment of a terrible joke, it still washed over him, the embarrass. She didn’t seem to notice that though.
Storack’s was a small place, two tables, long line, quick service. It was a personal place, and Branch was sure that had been the point of it’s form. Storack was a personal guy. He got to know everyone that came through his shop. The oddest thing about it was, that he really cared. Not just cared about the money, or the renown. No, he really cared. Branch found him to be an anomaly, an enigmatic force of servitude, placed in a small shop that fell into the ocean of markets that filled the bustling corridors of Clarity. Even the line, how it made you stand, felt close, comfortable. The jovial background conversation that constantly ran from Storack to the next customer filled any small corner that tried to hide uncomfort.
“How did you find this place?” Branch said to Estelle.
She smiled, it was a smile of precious remembrance. “I used to come here with my parents, we lived here for a few years. We would come here at the end of every week, I still remember the first time I tried one of the butterscotched shakes, I don’t think I’ll ever forget how delicious it was! I like coming here any time I’m in town. Reminds me of spending time with my parents.” She looked at him, “What about you?”
Branch laughed, he could see it. Especially because he so vividly recalled the way he felt and how it had tasted, the first time he had one. “I used to sneak out of class, one day I accidently ran in here. I’ve been coming back ever since. Storack knew what we were doing, but, you know. He doesn’t just let you come into his store, he welcomes you, accepts you in. Besides, best drinks around.”
They shared a laugh, and before long were walking from Storack’s back into the busy and bright streets of Clarity. Branch had actually decided to get one of the butterscotch drinks, citing inspiration from Estelle’s story.