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of all the gin joints

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The world is ending, and Alfred is high, so you are in Taco Bell after midnight.

You don’t yet have the powers that will lead you to lyctorhood, to chasing down and running from Resurrection Beasts. You don’t even know what the word lyctor means. Your brother’s soul is still his own.

Alfred leans on you, loose-limbed and laughing, nothing like the cavalier he will become, with none of the skills you will one day claim as your own.

There’s only two other people in the dining area: a painfully ordinary man who you glance over quickly and his shadow, golden eyes shining in her face. You think the urge to turn back and look at them again is a product of the late hour, of boredom, instead of any real sense of interest in them.

Alfred plunks down in a booth and you go fill up your drinks. Iced tea for him, Sierra Mist for you. Halfway through filling your own cup, the quiet man comes to refill his. Baja Blast, you note.

“Would you like to come sit with me and my Annabelle Lee?” he asks. There’s a joke there, you can feel it. You don’t understand it yet, but you will. Out of the corner of your eye, you see the shadow flutter her fingers at you. You shrug.

“Why not?” You snap lids on your drinks, grab your brother, and sit at their table. You find God in a Taco Bell. He is eating Doritos Locos tacos and has a plan to save the universe. Right then, all you have to do is listen.