My Ranking Points
Gabe looked up, surprised. “Oh,” he said, glancing down at the machine. “Well, uh,” he flushed, rubbing the back of his neck. “It is- was- for my little sister. It plays music, see?” He turned a **** and a beautiful yet mournful waltz began to play. As it did so, a mettalic nightingale, with pristinely black feathers painstakingly edged in sliver, began to flutter its wings and open its beak as if it were singing. It sat atop an ornate silver pedestal, which concealed the mechanics of the thing, though they were visible if Gabe dismantled it. Suddenly, the nightingale stopped moving as the song continued, and Gabe swore as the music slowed down. He dismantled it and fiddled with it once more.
“It’s pretty,” Abria said. “But why did you use the past tense?” she added, cocking her head.
“What? Oh,” Gabe said, looking up. “I’m a Reader, didn’t you know that?” Abria shook her head. “Well, it means I won’t be seeing my family anytime soon, if ever again.” He tried to conceal his anger, to no avail. Normally working with machines calmed him down, but he felt just as wound-up as the music box.
“What is your sister’s name?” Abria asked gently, worry in her eyes.
Gabe looked at her again. “Kay,” he said, “Short for Katherine. My dad loved King Arthur’s legend.” He sighed, looking down at the music box once more. He screwed something in and put the box gently back together.
“Kay loves to dance. So, I made this for her. It’s her favorite song. I never did finish it in time- but I found it in my jacket pocket when I came here. A bit banged up, but not unfixable.”
He wound the thing up again, and the music streamed out, the nightingale singing. “Well, what do you know?” he said, smiling wryly. “It works.”