The Sleeper’s Duty

Here’s another story using the DreamWidth Prompts from NaNoWriYe.  This one was a picture prompt.

prompt-2

Madeline looked up at the sun, shining through the branches of a palm tree. Her eyes squinted at the brightness of it. The recent eruptions on the island had left enough dust in the air to give the sky an orange color, even well after sunrise. She heaved a sigh and pulled a book out of her bag. Just as she had begun to read, a shadow fell over her page.

Shading her eyes, Madeline looked up. “Alfred,” she said, nodding.

He frowned at her and glanced over at the pile of sand where Erik and Gretchen were playing. “Awful trusting of you,” he murmured.

Arching her brows, Madeline glanced at the two children. Gretchen was filling her pail with sand, while Erik simply pushed a toy car with large wheels over the uneven surface. She looked back up at Timothy Alfred. “Is there a reason that I should be concerned?” she asked.

Alfred scowled, then, suddenly uncertain. He shrugged. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I just thought… with Gil in Veligrad…” he trailed off.

“We’re hundreds of miles from Berlyn here, Alfred,” Madeline said, turning back to her book. “This place… it’s different from home and I need that right now.” She chewed at the inside of her cheek as Alfred settled down in the sand beside him.

In a soft voice, the other agent said, “You miss him that much?”

Madeline heaved a sigh and closed her book. She shoved it back into her bag and nodded. “None of you seem to understand that I love Gilbert,” she said, deliberately using his full name. He hated being called Gil. “I know why that’s tough to comprehend: he’s quiet and bookish – a science agent, while I’m a field agent. However, he’s a very good husband and a wonderful father. Yes, Alfie, I miss him that much.”

Alfred flinched at the nickname. He hated being called Alfie as much as her husband hated being called Gil. “Right,” he said, his voice soft.

Standing, Madeline caught up her beach bag. “If it worries you that much, keep watch,” she said. Then, she leveled a glare at him. “Just don’t give anyone the wrong impression, Alfred. We’re friends: nothing more.”

“Got it,” Alfred said, as he moved to his feet.

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