· Featuring Theli , Meri

A techbro CEO about to lose his once-legendary game studio due to his own bad decisions makes one more even worse decision: to summon demons in an attempt to force them to help him. He gets a lot more than he bargained for.


Arilin Thorferra

While he would never have admitted it to the circle of his most fervent employees helping him light candles and ring bells, Tyler Rand couldn’t believe he’d let it all come to this. Three years ago, he’d been meeting with top VCs in this very conference room. Just three days ago, he’d been sitting across the table from one of the last VCs who’d still give him the time of day. The time of day, but no money.

Now, the table had been moved to the side of the room, along with the chairs. It was a workday afternoon, but heavy drapes had been drawn to keep the sunlight out. Two wide circles had been drawn on the carpeted floor, the outer one a thick layer of coarse salt and the inner one in blue chalk. The five points of a pentagram, also in blue chalk, touched the circle, black candles burning at each point. In the center of the pentagram sat two expensive pewter goblets and a magnum bottle of Malbec so old that dust had etched into the green glass.

Now, it had come to this, this wild, desperate, ridiculous attempt to save Visionary Studios, the legendary game publisher increasingly spoken of in the past tense. They’d led the market for decades, then kept up with it, then…he didn’t know what they’d done wrong. They hadn’t done anything wrong. When he took over four years ago, he guided them into technologies just getting hot—in adopting blockchains for NFT-backed assets, game currencies, you name it. They’d backed both virtual and real-world ticket sales, concerts, even banking. Sure, the way they’d implemented VisionBucks also facilitated money laundering, drug trafficking, and according to the newest round of charges, gun running, but for God’s sake, it wasn’t their fault states hadn’t caught up with reality. The lack of regulation was the whole point.

“Now what?” That was Anya, the admin, glancing from side to side at the dozen others and back at Tyler, too. “There’s nothing—”

“Stay focused!” He clapped his hands twice. Then he clapped again, and again, more rhythmically. Anya looked skeptical, but started clapping along with him. Then everyone else was, too, mostly the engineers who’d been behind him a hundred and ten percent from the start. The kind of workers who’d brought that startup mentality back to this old behemoth of a company, who worked eighty hours a week and loved it.

The kind of workers who would help summon demons.

Part of him was just as skeptical as Anya, though. Yes, in the abstract, he believed in the paranormal, the supernatural, the numinous. But he’d put his faith in engineering. In willpower. In himself. That had been enough to convince them this might work. But he hadn’t felt imposter syndrome this strongly in years. Did he really believe in black magic? What kind of demon was he even trying to summon, other than powerful? Maybe he’d have been better off buying antique Middle Eastern bottles in the hopes of finding a djinn—

The candles all flickered, then flared up impossibly high. They became the only light, and the surrounding darkness had weight, pressure, heat. The flames of the candles twisted into a whirlwind, roaring up to the ceiling. And, at the heart of the whirlwind, a pair of glowing red eyes stared across at them.

Then another pair of glowing red eyes.

Someone—not Anya—stifled a scream.

It took barely a second for the flames to dissipate, the darkness to recede, the candles to return to normal. Standing in the center of the pentagram were a pair of…mouse women.

Not mouse-sized, in any measure. They had human builds, human proportions, even human hair. But they were unquestionably mice. Yet, also, unquestionably demons, complete with horns, claws, and still-glowing eyes. And they towered over the humans, each one standing close to seven feet high. The most disconcerting and uncomfortable part, though, was how incredibly, ridiculously attractive both were. Mice, yes, but with the bodies of world-class swimsuit models. At least if you could find a swimsuit that could contain breasts like those. They weren’t contained by anything now, nor was any other part of the two; they wore only jewelry, and a lot of it. Bracelets, anklets, chokers, earrings.

The demons glanced around the room slowly, curiously, the brimstone glow in their eyes fading to luminous ruby. All the humans, though, gaped, murmuring, in some cases nervously snickering. Abruptly the brunette mouse, the one with the curling ram’s horns, stared directly at the one snickering the loudest.

He swallowed, looking away from her toward Tyler. “Mice? Demon mice? Seriously?”

You summoned us,” the redhead with goat horns murmured. Her voice had the low-toned smokiness of a golden age movie starlet. “We’re as surprised to be on this plane as you are. We haven’t been summoned to an all-human world in…what is it?” She turned to her companion. “A thousand years?”

“About that. We do love humans, though.” The brunette, her voice more Marilyn Monroe than Gloria Swanson, beamed. “So full of yourselves, while being so slow and helpless.”

“And delicious,” the redhead added. Her friend nodded enthusiastically.

The skeptic gave them a wary look. “You eat humans.”

“We like offerings of wine and food.” The brunette indicated the magnum. “Wine.” She blew a kiss at the skeptic. “Food.”

“So.” The redhead sat down and picked up the bottle of wine. “You led this summoning, Tyler Reed.” She drove a claw into the cork, twisted, and pulled it out, then flicked it up into the air. It drove into the ceiling hard enough to stick.

“I…” Tyler ran a hand through his hair. “How…how do you know my name?”

The brunette sat, too, picking up both goblets and holding them as her friend filled them. “We know all your names. We know which of you thinks demon mice are silly–about half of you—and which of you thinks we’re hot—all of you, including those of you thinking ‘no, I don’t,’ because you’re lying to yourself.”

“Although two of you humans are full-blown furries and two of you are furry curious,” the other mouse continued, setting down the wine bottle, “which may explain getting us. Also, the one with the cat fursona into vore and role-reversal? You’re going to die so turned on.” She winked.

A couple of people tittered hollowly. One lanky, freckled engineer stared fixedly at the ground, eyes wide and face red.

“No one will be eaten!” Tyler spoke forcefully, firmly. “You’re bound. I am in control!”

Both mice smirked, then slowly started to grow until their eyes were back at the level they’d been when they were standing. They stretched out their legs, almost to the point where their paws touched the salt circle. “Of course you are,” they both said simultaneously.

Tyler swallowed.

The mice looked at the goblets appraisingly. They looked barely like normal wine glasses in the demons’ large hands now. They each took a sip and nodded to one another in unison, then turned to face Tyler. “Tell us,” both said, “what you want.”

“Get their names,” Anya hissed. “Make sure they’re bound.”

The redhead laughed. “Well, aren’t you the precious little horror film fan, dear.” She lifted her goblet. “I’m Meridoris.”

The brunette lifted hers. “I’m Thelixia. Call us Meri and Theli. Now get to the point, Tyler.”

He gritted his teeth. “My company—our company—is in trouble. I’ve been looking for investors, for people who believe in what I’m trying to do.”

“And what is that?”

“Changing the world.” He spread his hands. “We’re on the verge of transforming from a gaming company to an everything company, and all we need is—”

Meri yawned, loudly and unnervingly widely. The freckled engineer squirmed, looking away again.

Theli sighed. “Tyler, dear, you roped these…” She waved a hand, looking around at the gathered workers. “These…”

“Suckers?” Meri suggested.

“Roped these suckers in to help you bring us here. Whatever pop demonology book you found this spell in surely told you that you’d summon two very powerful, very dangerous beings. Assume you’ve done it. If you just want us to seduce a venture capitalist into opening his checkbook for you, we’re going to be disappointed.”

Meri nodded. “It’d be like rebuilding your entire online game infrastructure just to say you’d put it on a blockhead.”

“I think that’s ‘blockchain.’”


“I don’t want any VC money!” Tyler roared. “Not now!” He ignored the shocked looks the engineers flashed him. “Those short-sighted assholes don’t deserve to make billions off my work! My ideas! What I want is to completely disrupt the Web3 market, to leave the VCs who spurned me in the dust!”

Meri and Theli looked at one another, each one arching a brow, then back at him. “So you want us to do that for you?” Theli said.

“And do you care how we do it?” The points of Meri’s goat horns caught the candlelight in just the right way to glint.

“Tyler!” Anya snapped. “This is an obvious trap!”

Tyler clenched his fists. “No. No, I don’t,” he said to Meri.

“Hmm.” Theli drained her goblet, then set it down. “You may almost have a deal. We’ll need more from you than a nice bottle of wine.”

“You’re not going to tell me you want my soul, do you?” He managed a weak smile.

They both looked straight at him, with no smiles at all.

Tyler licked his suddenly dry lips. “Fine,” he whispered.

“Say it,” they both said together. “Promise us your soul.”

“Tyler,” Anya hissed.

He looked at each of them as he spoke their names. “I promise you my soul, Meridoris. I promise you my soul, Thelixia.”

Their eyes glowed again, and the candles flared for a moment. Then Theli leaned forward. “Now promise us their souls.”

The group broke out with protests, all of them backing away from the circle. “That’s not—” “—I don’t even believe—” “—that isn’t yours to promise, fucker!”

“I promise!” Tyler shrieked.

Shocked silence descended on the room for a moment, broken by Meri’s laughter. “That one was right. Their souls aren’t yours to promise.” She gave Tyler a knowing smirk. “We just wanted to see if you’d do it if you could.”

Tyler swallowed, avoiding meeting anyone else’s eyes.

“Although,” Theli added in a sing-song voice, turning to the skeptic who’d spoken earlier, “I did say I wanted an offering of wine…and food.”

“I’m—uh—” He started walking forward toward, jerkily, as if pulled on strings. “Stop!”

She licked her lips, and just leaned forward.

At the same time, Meri turned to the lanky freckled engineer and snapped her fingers. Light rippled over his form, and he dropped to his knees as fur blossomed across his body, clothes shredding as he grew more muscular. A cat tail curled out of the base of his spine. He let out a gasp of pain that sounded like a feline yowl. As he looked at himself, he let out another gasp. “I’m–I’m Ardal! I’m my fursona!”

“You are, sweetie.” Meri held out a hand for him, and he stood up, taking it and giggling delightedly.

She gave his comparatively little muzzle a kiss, then opened her mouth wide. He froze, staring up at the glistening teeth and tongue.

“How are they doing this!” The engineer being puppet-walked toward Theli’s drooling jaws pinwheeled his arms awkwardly. “If they’re bound, how are they doing—”

Both demons clamped their open jaws down over their prey at the same time. Theli swallowed as twice as fast as Meri, pulling the struggling human down her throat greedily, tilting her head back quickly and letting gravity help pull him down. Meri closed her eyes, working her head down and licking lasciviously over the newly transformed cat as he wiggled and mewed.

“Stop them!” Anya looked between the demons and Tyler. “You have to stop them!”

The skeptic’s feet disappeared between the ram-horned mouse’s lips just as the goat-horned mouse reached the cat’s hips. Being fully swallowed didn’t stop his muffled screaming, which just seemed to amuse Theli as she looked down at her stomach. Ardal’s yelps were muffled, too, with his torso already in Meri’s throat, but as she lifted him off the ground, tongue curled between his legs, he started to jerk suggestively.

Meri moaned around him, even more lewdly than her licks, and a shudder ran down the cat’s body. He didn’t even put up the same futile struggle the human had as she swallowed him the rest of the way.

Theli stood up, licking her lips. “Your offerings were acceptable.” She smirked.

Meri stood, too. “And we accept your offer of your soul, Tyler Reed. As shriveled as it is.”

“We now keep our end of the bargain.” Both mice spoke together again, their eyes glowing. Then, abruptly, they vanished, the candles all going out, too.

Everyone—everyone left—looked around in shock, some glaring accusingly at Tyler. He looked down at the floor. “I did…I did what I had—”

“You tried to sell our souls to actual demons, you narcissistic motherfucker!”

“And you got Karl and Mike fucking eaten!

“What do we do now?” Dave, one of the devops engineers, spread his arms, glaring at Tyler. “Just go home? Forget this all happened and hope some goddamn demon mice bibbidy-bobbidy-boo our way to success?”

“Uh, guys, did you feel that?” Anya glanced around nervously.

“Feel what?”

“I don’t know.” As soon as she spoke, the room’s window rattled, the way it might at a sonic boom. She hurried to the window and pulled back one of the drapes. It looked out from the top floor of Building 3, one of the five-story satellite buildings loosely clustered around the fifteen-story main tower on Visionary Studio’s campus. Her eyes widened, and she staggered back, pointing shakily.

Tyler and the others ran to the window. The mice had appeared again, Theli, the redhead, standing right by Building 1 on the far side of the tower. The five-story roofline didn’t even reach her knee. Meri, at the same impossible scale, strolled slowly away from her across the parking lot, paws crunching multiple cars flat with each step.

“Holy fuck!” That came from the CTO, who’d been silently uncritical of Tyler’s summoning plan until now.

Theli stepped forward, planting one of her paws on the roof of the building, and stomped down, a positively feral grin on her face. The side of the structure crumbled, rubble and office furniture and screaming tech workers cascading down in a waterfall-like avalanche, a cloud of dust rising around her feet. Rasping fire alarms started buzzing in other office buildings, loud enough to be dimly heard from inside their still-intact conference room. Then the fire alarm in their building went off, too.

Anya bolted for the exit door.

As everyone else followed, Tyler stared out the window, up at the immense women as they made a mockery of the square-cube law, as they turned a crisp northern California day into a monster movie horror show. What had he done wrong? The summoning had worked. He had been in control. They’d accepted his offer, made a bargain, agreed to do his bidding, not—not physically destroy the office park.

All right. He’d made crazy plans before and had to make quick course corrections, and he’d always come through. This would be far and away the biggest fix he’d have to pull off in the shortest amount of time, but he could do it. Somehow.

Tyler raced out of the room with his phone in hand. “Hey Siri, what do I do when demon summonings go wrong?” A couple of the other engineers heading for the fire stairs, ones who hadn’t been in the conference room, gave him a quizzical look; he ignored them.

As he reached the bottom of the staircase, his phone chirped cheerfully. “I found this on the web,” Siri replied, showing a list of pages about fantasy books. Fantastic.

He burst out through the fire door into a growing crowd of panicked employees dashing across parking lots and garages and lawns, scrambling into their cars, sprinting toward the edge of campus toward train stations and bus stops. The pavement shook underneath his feet in regular time with Meri’s steps as she walked, watching the ground-level chaos building ahead of her paws with unrestrained glee. Theli, for her part, was finishing her destruction of Building 1, now with high kicks sending walls—and occupants—soaring into the air.

He reached the edge of the parking lot in front of his building and gaped up. What now? Could he catch their attention and—and give them a command?

Taking another deep breath, he raced along the lot’s edge. It had turned into a traffic jam, a thousand drivers trying to leave at once, stuck in the garage, stuck on the exit roads. One of the company’s private buses had managed to reach the bus stop and pick up far too many passengers, only to be trapped in the same jam as the cars. He could hear sirens in the distance getting closer as emergency services began to respond. He waved his arms frantically. “Theli! Meri! Thelixia! Meridoris!”

Once again, both of them spoke simultaneously, but now their voices filled the air like sonic booms. “Yes, Tyler Reed?”

He winced at their use of his name, at the way panicked employees close to him slowed down and stared dumbfounded in his direction. Well, damn them. He had to do what he had to do. “Stop! Stop! Not like this—not—”

Meri looked directly down at him. “You gave us permission to solve your problem our way.” She leaned down, clawed hand wrapping around the bus’s midsection and hauling it into the air. “This is our way.”

Remembering every movie he’d seen before, Tyler mustered his most authoritative voice. “I am your master, and I command you to stop!”

Meri remained motionless for a few seconds, the bus balanced in her hand. He could hear the screams from the passengers trapped inside. Then she gave him a mockingly wounded look. “Surely you wouldn’t deny a hungry mouse, ‘Master.’”

Without waiting for a reply, she tilted her head back and shoved the bus between her jaws front-first. Then she swallowed the entire vehicle down, whole, gulp by gulp, teeth scraping along the roof, neck bulging out in a rectangular shape. The sounds of her eating didn’t quite drown out the sounds of the screams.

“Oh.” Theli’s voice was, comparatively, a soft murmur, but it still rattled vehicle windows. “It’s just so hot when she does that, don’t you think, ‘Master?’ I just can’t…mmm.” She strode toward the campus’s centerpiece tower, still barely up to her chest, and started grinding against it, legs wrapping around it, gargantuan breasts enveloping its top. “Mmmm.” The push and twist of her hips got stronger and wider with each thrust against the building, her back arching, eyes closing in ecstasy. Cracks began running through the structure, chucks of stone and glass starting to fall.

Tyler tried to yell again, but only mustered a hoarse murmur. “I said stop. Please. Stop.”

Meri took a ragged breath, then another one, after she finished downing the bus. She rubbed her stomach. “Oh, poor Master Tyler. It’s too late for that.” She blew him a kiss. “Just enjoy the show.” She strode across the parking lot again, over cars trying to get out, over screaming crowds, through one of the parking garages, to face Theli across the tower.

Then the two demons embraced, pulling their bodies tight against one another, kissing savagely. The tower disintegrated between them, debris raining down across their hips and paws, plumes of dust billowing into the air.

Meri laughed wildly, lifting Theli up high enough to bury her face in the brunette’s chest—and started to fall backward, toward Building 3. Theli laughed, too, holding on.

Everyone, including Tyler, started running blindly, a wave of wailing humanity flowing around, between, over cars, away from thousands of tons of descending supernatural rodent.

The air pressure started the office building crumbling a full half-second before Meri’s exquisite furred rump touched the roof. From the point of impact on, it was as if a line of bombs had gone off, the building not falling down but explosively disintegrating outward. Tyler felt himself lifted off his feet, soaring dangerously through the air a dozen yards, narrowly missing ramming into a streetlight. His fall was broken by landing in a mass of other tumbling humans—and he broke the fall of others behind him, shrieking and covering his head as he was buried in a mass of his employees.

Groaning, ignoring a dozen new unexpected pains, he fought to push coworkers out of the way, to get to the top of the heap. He made it, gasping a breath of choking, dust-filled air. The roar of destruction died down just in time to catch Theli sitting up, massive ram’s horns rising high into the air, moving off the other demon with another ground-rattling thump and starting to lie down next to her companion. “Meri, dear, you’ve had a whole bus full of tech workers. Feed me some.”

“Of course, love.” The goat-horned demoness sat up, too, reaching across her lover toward the pile Tyler lay on top of.

He groaned again, staring up at the huge, clawed hand coming toward him. “No—you—”

The hand came down, closing around dozens of people. Around Tyler. He found himself pressed up against Meri’s palm, unable to move in the crushing heat and dark as she lifted a fistful of

(slow and helpless prey)

people up into the air. “Open wide,” Meri’s voice came in a sing-song.

Light poured in as the mouse’s hand slowly opened. She didn’t let them all fall at once, instead creating a steady stream of screaming workers tumbling down toward the widely parted jaws several stories below. Tyler was at the back of the stream, watching dozens slide down her tongue into the blackness of her throat, some bouncing off her fangs or square teeth, a few falling unheeded off her jaws.

With a shock, he realized the woman who’d been pressed against him, starting to fall now, was Anya. As she fell, she didn’t scream. She just flipped him off with both hands.

Then he started to fall, too. He screamed, tumbling head over heels, the terrible mouse’s muzzle approaching all too quickly—

He stopped in midair, a mere arm’s length from Theli’s muzzle, as she closed her lips under him. “Mmmm.” She tilted her head back and he fell onto her throat ruff. She swallowed hard, again and again, making him hear—feel—her meal.

“Oh, don’t worry, ‘Master.’” Meri didn’t even pretend to hide the contempt in her voice as she said master this time. “We’re not going to kill you.”

“And we’re not done,” Theli said, licking her lips. “There’s still one building standing. Meri, do you want to do the honors?”

“Why, I don’t mind if I do.”

Tyler watched numbly as she rose to her paws, strolling to the one remaining—although hardly intact—office building in the complex, then crouched over it. She rolled her shoulders, letting her breasts demolish walls like two mammoth wrecking balls, hip thrusts smashing down on the building’s other side, breathing faster as she moved back and forth. Finally, she collapsed in the wreckage, panting. “That’s always…so great.”

“It is.” Theli smirked, then picked up Tyler between thumb and forefinger as she sat up. She placed him down on the ground in as close to a rubble-free area as was left.

He glanced from side to side fearfully. Smashed buildings, crumpled cars, hundreds of bodies that might or might not still be alive. He didn’t see any other standing, living beings.

“Oh, yes.” Theli tapped a gigantic claw in front of him. “We still have to leave the VCs who spurned you in the dust, don’t we?”

He sagged. For the first time in God knew how long, he started to cry. “Please. Please don’t. Please—”

Theli snapped her fingers. A series of explosions sounded in the distance, from all directions, thin plumes of smoke rising into the air. “That should do it.”

Meri walked over and held out a hand for Theli. They both stood up, towering over him. He couldn’t bear to raise his eyes over the height of their toes.

“Our side of the bargain is complete, Tyler Reed,” they said together.

“We assure you,” Theli said, “that you will keep yours.”

“And, Tyler.” He didn’t need to look up to see the smirk on Meri’s face. “Now that we’ve helped you successfully pivot your business, you will address both us as ‘Mistress’ when we meet again.”

“But…” he croaked hoarsely. “But…you didn’t…”

They both flickered out of existence with a gale force blast of hot, sulfurous wind.

The sirens in the distance drew closer.

Tyler looked at the light fixture, back at the bedsheet, back toward the barred door. He couldn’t hear anything but the buzz of the hallway fluorescent light, and another inmate crying somewhere a few cells down.

This was the second night they’d left him off suicide watch, the second week after he’d learned to stop talking about what had really happened and to say what the prison psychiatrist wanted to hear. Bombs, insurance money, an elaborate revenge plot. Yes, yes, he was the monster, and he’d displaced his actions onto the absurd fantasy of giant demonic mice. Yes, he understood there was no evidence for that, that none of the survivors reported anything supernatural. Only him.

Sometimes he almost believed he was the mad villain. The state’s case against him was utterly ridiculous—but the reality was, too, wasn’t it?

He pulled the sheet off the cot and started to twist it. It was hardly ideal, but with a little luck—no, a little engineering—he’d be able to get enough height for a proper hanging.

“It’s not going to work,” an all-too familiar voice said from directly behind him.

He went ashen, dropping the sheet and spinning around.

Both demon mice stood there, back to their “mere” nearly seven foot height. Theli pointed at the light, her ram-horned head tilted back slightly. “You’ll black out from asphyxiation, but you won’t break your neck.”

“You…” He trailed off, then balled his fists, voice trembling hoarsely. “You destroyed my life!”

Meri looked down at him, arching a brow. “We did what you asked of us.”

“I asked for you to save my company, not destroy it!”

“No.” Theli put a hand on her hip. “You asked for us to disrupt your company’s market. Perhaps you haven’t been keeping up with the news, but after Visionary Studio’s spectacular collapse, the entire ‘Web3’ nonsense is in complete disarray.”

Meri nodded. “Picking through the figurative rubble of your company has exposed so much wrong with the fundamental concepts that all but the true believers—”

“—who we can only hope will be as delicious as your employees were—”

“—are abandoning their plans, or at least scaling them back to ‘we can say we tried’ deniability levels.”

Tyler felt dizzy, nauseous. “You know damn well that’s not what I meant!”

Theli pouted. “Oh, no, did the demons trick you and do bad things?”

Meri clasped her hands. “Who could possibly have predicted that?”

Theli put a hand on the other mouse’s shoulder. “If only he’d bargained with one of those nice, trustworthy demons.”

The nausea started to be overtaken by anger. “For God’s sake, you killed all those—”

Abruptly their eyes flared red, and their voices boomed as they spoke together. “Be quiet.”

He flinched back involuntarily.

“Don’t insult us by pretending you cared about any of those lives,” Meri thundered.

“You have always and only cared about yourself.” Theli snorted. “About bending others to your will. About control.

He trembled, looking between them, and stumbled to his knees, staring up imploringly. “I don’t…I have nothing left. I don’t control anything.”

“And yet, you still won’t give it up.” Meri gestured at the twisted bedsheet. “So you want to kill yourself. To hang on to one last bit of control.”

“Which is why we won’t let you.”

Tyler stared up at Theli, trembling. “You…but…you want my soul, don’t you?”

She leaned over, lifting her brows and speaking softly. “We’ll take it when we choose. Not you. And you have a mortal punishment to suffer before we take you.”

Meri grinned wickedly. “And then your immortal soul will be fully under our control.”

Theli joined in the grin. “You can’t begin to imagine what’s in store.”

He whimpered.

“Now. How do you address us?” They both leaned over.

He felt the answer they wanted well up inside him, and he tried to close his eyes, fighting to keep it inside. Damn right, it was about control. Will. And his was—his was—compared to theirs, his will was—

He couldn’t close his eyes. He couldn’t look away from them.

Compared to theirs, his will was less than nothing.

“Mistress,” he choked out.

“Say it like you mean it.” Theli stroked his neck with a claw.

“Mistress,” he repeated, tears starting to run down his face. “Mistress.”

Meri caressed his cheek. “Both of us by name.”

“Mistress Meri. Mistress Theli.”

“Better,” Theli said.

Meri smiled. “You’ll have all eternity to practice.”

He whimpered again.

They both leaned down, Meri kissing his left cheek, Theli kissing his right. “See you soon,” they both whispered, and flickered away.