the witnesses
George the Eraser, and Arlia the Diviner
Yokko Hartanto

The Witnesses

This is a stitch of “The Tests”, an unbound story. Write the story with us.

The fifth Inherited in three weeks; that has to be some kind of record. George paced the hotel room, mentally processing all the different “magicks” he had sealed. He had never seen such unique talents among the young in all of his time as an Eraser. Eraser, such a peculiar name. The “magick” is never removed or stolen, but merely blocked by a complex mental barrier, so hidden and obscure that it was nearly impossible to ever break through the barrier, especially one placed by George.

There was a story, a legend more like, of a man, a well-renown chemist, that the most veteran Eraser was sent for. The Eraser successfully sealed his “magick” only to find himself caught in a nightmare, a never-ending hell built in his own psyche. The Eraser was found, crazy, babbling about being wary of the West, and other nonsense. He was locked up, secured in isolation in the depths of The Order’s dungeon, a myth all but forgotten. It was a story told to any rookie Eraser to scare them silly, but it could only be just that, a story…

“There is a father, and some neighbors.” Arlia’s voice pulled George back to reality. “Seems like they will be gathering tomorrow. It’s our only real chance, so the casualties won’t be too bad.”

Arlia had awaken from her trance-like state, and stored her water bottle. Why did she choose a water bottle as her Totem? George never thought to ask.

“How many neighbors?” The fewer the better, George thought, recalling the exhausting task of having to wipe the memories of the neighbors at a block party. Weren’t they there to seal the woman able to move granite? What was her name, Susan, Maureen? Maybe it was… His thoughts were interrupted by his yawning partner.

“Only two this time. Older, mid thirties. No adverse effects.” Arlia stretched out, relaxing as her work had been done.

“But no mother?” George had to cover all of his bases.

Arlia took a second, scrunching up her face, thinking back to what she had seen.

“No, not that I could tell. There was something fuzzy, like maybe she had existed, but died or left or somethin’.” Being one of the best Diviners in The Order, Arlia’s reassurance was always good enough for George. Besides, a fuzzy divination happens every now and again. Confident in their abilities, George decided it was time to catch some shut-eye.

“Alright. Time to rest. I’ll flip the lights.”

Tomorrow would come early and they would need to be prepared and rested, as the first rule of Eraser protocol: Always be ready for anything.

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