Even though it was almost two in the afternoon and she had been up since six, Pet was still in her favorite cowboy pajamas. The room she now used as an office used to be her bedroom before Pet’s grandmother Nana Bert passed away a year earlier. Now it was an office, library and half assed museum of specimens that Pet kept promising herself to organize.
She had been working on her post about the
Sonoma cave all morning and was just putting
the finishing touches on the photo gallery before publishing. She had started
her blog Petra’s
Glyphs at fifteen, less than a year after her parents died, as a way of
grieving. Somehow, making up little
stories about the old rock carvings helped to ease the loss and pain; somehow, Petra thought that maybe
her dad could still see her that way.
Now the blog was very different, there were still some whimsical musings about the origins of certain glyphs, but now her posts focused more on expeditions and research.
had a following of over two hundred thousand people all over the world,
some of then even bona fide academics, and the blog actually made a little
money every month.
She was clicking the publish button just as the front door slammed close announcing Tass home from school for the day. Tass was only taking some courses at
to keep her mother Araceli happy, mostly some pre-nursing stuff because she
thought blood was neat. But Tass had no
real plans for her life just yet, so she worked, went to school occasionally
and followed Pet around on expeditions. City College
They had returned to the cave in
Sonoma two days after finding it with some
proper caving equipment and lights for the camera. Tass had talked her older brother Chuy into
going along with a friend to help haul the explorers back up with the promise
of a big blunt for his help. Chuy was
between gigs at county for now, Pet liked him a lot but the poor guy was doubly
cursed by being both big and lazy. He
found much easier to thug than work for a living, but tried to keep much of it
on the down low for his mother’s sake.
“How was school?” Pet had come out of the office to the kitchen and watched Tass root around for the left over fried chicken. Tass just shrugged from inside the fridge before bringing out the chicken with relieved smile.
They had met after Pet had moved in with Nana Bert, there was no other family so Pet had to change schools and it would have been a traumatic experience if Pet had been paying attention. But her soul was still reeling from the shock of losing her parents, her home, her whole life, so she barely noticed the taunts that came to the new girl. Tass had not gone out of her way to be mean to Pet, but had not been especially friendly either, so Pet had not really seen her that afternoon by the lockers.
But the girl had come to lean against the locker next to Pet’s and gave her a slow once over with skeptical brown eyes. Finally she asked, “Why’d you write PET on all your books instead of Gwendolyn? That’s what all the teachers call you.”
Pet still remembered how the memory of her and her dad exploring abandoned mines in the gold country pressed up on her when asked that question. She did not want to cry in front of this vaguely challenging girl, not at school in particular; and she still remembered the pain of her tight throat when she answered. “Pet…
it’s a…nickname kinda. No one ever
called me Gwendolyn. Not til my parents
The expression did not change in the vaguely challenging girl’s eyes; she was not softened by pity or seemingly poised to mock. Instead, she was quiet for several moments before giving a quick nod and saying, “Gwendolyn does suck. My mother named me for some woman in a movie who was also a cat or something. She won’t let me watch it though. I hate it, my name that is.” With that, she slumped back against the locker and looked almost sorrowful.
Pet looked down at the girl’s books; Nastassja Romero was scrawled down the spine, and recommended an option. “How about Tass?”
The girl jerked up and actually smiled. “Tass? That’s not bad, not chucking bad at all. Okay,” she nodded emphatically once, “you can be my friend.”