A story of Stranded World for the April 2015 Theme – this is more the beginning of a story (possibly a novel) than a stand-alone tale, and introduces a new character.
The sun was out and, therefore, so were the students.
They sprawled across the quad, some of them making an attempt at reading, but many of them soaking up the first real warmth of spring without any concern for academics.
Isaac was out, too, skipping Sociology 101. He wandered aimlessly through the quad, following the most interesting Strands.
Everyone had Strands, everyone. They made up every connection, every place people rubbed together with each other or with things, every stressor and every happy moment. Many people had very boring Strands straight and smooth and direct, and, because it was in his nature to Tangle things up, Isaac liked to reach into those Strands and add a little chaos.
“Let me guess.” A pretty girl, not someone he recognized from Freshman seminar, sidled up to him. “Art major, minoring in Theatre.”
Isaac smiled. “Math Major, minoring in poly sci.”
He was going to have to find either a new look or a new major soon; the O-face of surprise was getting less and less exciting.
“Hrrm. And you…” She was wearing short-shorts and a thin tank top, carrying a kindle, with a very big backpack. “Education, minor in… Nutrition.”
Now THAT was a fun one. Her mouth opened up and she squeaked. “You’re awesome. How did you do that?”
“Elementary, my dear Watson.” He tapped the air three inches from her nose. “For one, you have that harried look only education majors can truly manage. It’s practice, I suppose, for when you have all those little students wandering aroun-”
Something was wrong with her Strands. She had plain, direct Strands, and he’d been just about to tangle up the three closest to her roommate and best friend.
But there was a knot tied up in something very close to her heart, and, hidden in the knot, at least two cut ends.
“—wandering around making a mess of your life.” Isaac managed a smile at her, and tangled up a couple things just to muddy the trail. “I’m sorry, I do believe I’m going to be late to class.”
He hared off before she could notice that, at twenty minutes after the hour, he was already unforgivably late to any class he might have.
Tanglers made messes of people’s lives, it was true, but Knotters bound them up, played puppets with them. And Snippers… Snippers were just plain evil.
On a campus this size, there might be one or two other Strand-Workers. Isaac had to find them, and he had to do so while making sure they weren’t the Snipper.
School had just gotten interesting.