The whimbrel splashed across the shore; its legs elevated it away from the water, giving it more freedom than the sandpipers that ran to and fro. Asmeret kept their binoculars trained on it, only lowering them when the shfft shfft of sand warned them of someone’s approach. They stretched and smoothed their feathers.
“Hey Az,” Cat greeted. He handed them a sandwich before sitting down on the beach towel laid out in front of their tent.
“Thanks,” Asmeret said.
“Seen anything interesting?”
“Just the usual transients. But it’s still nice to watch them.”
Cat nodded in earnest. “It’s good to get out. You know, I still think it’d be simple to have someone from the Society take you into the forest. To see those woodpeckers.”
“The red-cockadeds?” Christ, he wasn’t wasting any time bringing this up.
“Yes! Witches do jobs like that all the time.” He took his own sandwich out of the bag and unwrapped the foil. “I could go with you, if that’d make it less scary.”
“No.” Asmeret’s voice was stern. They couldn’t just waltz into fae territory- having another fae protect them was a moot point. The desire to see bobwhites and woodpeckers and the desire to not see any monsters played a violent tug of war in their chest. Plus, Cat’s promise of comfort was dubious. They guessed he probably didn’t even put on enough sunscreen during his train ride to Grand Shore. “I’d rather stay here. Close to the city, ok?”
At least like this–looking out over the lapping waves and infinite horizon–they could pretend that there weren’t overpriced condos sitting a few hundred feet behind them.
Kata's editor, C.K., is in town for the week! I'm excited to hang out with her, we havent seen each-other since 2020.
I wanted to announce 2 things: First, I'm going to be an artist at Othercon for the third year in a row! Registration is open until August 6th. Second, I'm participating in Aimee Cozza's sci-fi/fantasy coloring book zine! I've actually already finished my piece and I'm super excited for this. I'll be sure to let you know when the Kickstarter launches. Oh, and I'm still open for commissions.
The whimbrel image is referenced from here. This site was a big help when I was trying to figure out what local bird to draw.