“Arrived at Crystal Towers. Next stop: Dalton Avenue.”

The announcement stirred David and Sakari awake, just in time to see two women board the train. They looked like sisters. Both had golden blonde hair and sapphire blue eyes. One had braided her hair while the other wore a hair clip that held hers up in a bun. The boys were surprised to see them, and they were equally surprised to see the boys.

The woman wearing the hair clip looked up and down the car, confirming that there was no one else onboard the train. “Well, this is awkward,” she whispered to herself.

“Now boarding Red Line to Nielsen Quay. Next stop: Dalton Avenue.”

The woman with braided hair approached David and Sakari, the nervousness of her smile reflected in her eyes. “Um, hello,” she greeted them. “We didn’t think we’d run into anybody on the train. Or that the trains were running at all. Actually, you’re the first people we’ve seen since uh…”

“The weirdness began?” David suggested.

“That’s one way to put it,” the woman wearing the hair clip answered. David noticed the subtle sadness in her eyes and how time-worn her face looked. These are the true hallmarks of adulthood, something her sister lacked, making her the older one.

Wearing a big, friendly smile, Sakari told the women, “Hi. I’m Sakari. This is my friend David.”

“Hello,” David responded on cue.

Something stirred in the back of the older sister’s mind – the feeling that she had met David before. He looked exactly like a boy she met when she was in high school. But David couldn’t be him. It’s been twelve years. That boy has to be a grown man by now.

The woman with braided hair giggled. A genuine smile lifted the freckles spread across her nose and cheeks. “I’m Mia,” she said. “Nice to meet you.”

The woman wearing the hair clip introduced herself with “Cara. Pleasure.”

The recording interrupted, “Now departing for Nielsen Quay. Please stand clear of the doors.”

Mia sat opposite Sakari. Cara walked down the aisle and grabbed onto the pole that stood in the center of their section of seats. Old commuter habits die hard. As the doors closed and the train pulled out of the station, she unzipped her black leather purse and pulled out her cell phone.

“Now headed toward Nielsen Quay. Next stop: Dalton Avenue.”

Sakari noticed it the moment Cara walked past him. His teacher had told him to look for a woman with long hair worn up. You will know it’s her when you find a woman who’s ready for a fight. The longer Sakari stared at her, the more he realized that Cara must have gotten her muscle from some kind of physical training. Kate would probably look a lot like her in the future.

She could be the one. He had to risk it.

Sakari stood and went over to Cara. He grabbed the pole beneath her hand to steady himself. “Guiding needle,” he said soft enough so only Cara could hear him.

Cara looked up from her phone. “Excuse me?”

“The guiding needle leads…” Sakari motioned for Cara to complete the phrase. Her eyes narrowed in confusion. He smiled and repeated the gesture.

At last, she said, “I don’t follow.”

“C’mon. Didn’t Master Phong give you the password? He told you to meet me at least, right?” Sakari cupped his hand around his mouth and whispered, “About the Light of the Dragon.”

Cara locked her phone and slipped it into an outside pocket of her purse. She told him, “I was never told to meet anybody. I don’t know any Master Phong. And this is the first I’ve heard about a dragon light or guiding needle.”

Sakari’s face fell.

“Sorry kid, but I think you’ve got the wrong girl.”

He groaned and sat in a nearby seat.

David giggled. “Didn’t you just say the person you’re looking for is probably in Coldessi Park?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Sakari answered.

Mia perked up at the name. “You’re going to Coldessi Park too?” she asked. “Did you get a weird text telling you to go there?”

“So you got it too,” David observed.

“Yeah. Both of us.”

Cara asked the boys, “Do either of you know who sent it and why?”

Sakari answered, “Nope. That’s what we’re going to find out once we get there.” David noted how quickly Sakari reverted back to his usual chipper self.

“Glad to know we’re all in the same boat,” Mia said.

“Same here,” David agreed.

©2020 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.