by Kat Heckenbach -
Gavin stood next to the wizard—gotta stop thinking that…he says he don’t mind, but if I slip up and say it out there he could get busted—who wiped his hand on his already smudged lab coat. Thick, black bangs hung in his eyes as he peered into a bubbling test tube. And he keeps tellin’ me I need a haircut.
The table in front of them was covered with odd-looking equipment that whispered with ticks and whirs. Shiny steel and tarnished brass competed for dominance between modern technology and—what’s that word Ave told me once…oh, yeah—Victorian.
“Dr. Spiner, tell me again why you use this old stuff? It looks archaic.”
The man peeked out from behind his bangs and gave the strange smile he always did when Gavin used words for older people.
“Newer isn’t always better, son. Especially when you’re studying things of such antiquity.” The wiz—scientist winked and looked back at the table, then reached for a spindly metal contraption without further explanation.
Antiquity was the kind of word no one but Ave would use when speaking to him, at least not without patting him on the head and giving him a dumbed-down definition. But Dr. Spiner had trusted him to understand. Gavin bit his lip to stop the grin that wanted to push his cheeks out with pride.
And then, as he climbed onto a stool for a better view, he realized Dr. Spiner had used another word no one had ever spoken to him before. A word that made his eyes burn pleasantly with tears.