Unlike most stories that I write, which take place just after or just before an event, this is a retelling of one of the moments from this past Dystopia Rising event. Dear goodness, this stuff was good.


When they go to repair the morgue, all the Psions are going to be quarantined to the bar and away from the morgue. You’re considered a Psion for this. If any Psion leaves, it is going to be considered endangering the town and they will be executed.

The bar was nearly empty. Most everyone was by the morgue or in triage. Both places the unborn pharmacist were not allowed near at the moment. Despite the fact that she could stop people from dying, if that’s what they wanted. She could be a first step before they went to doctors for their injury, a quick fix to keep them alive until the doctors could get to them. She could help, if only they would let her.

There were about ten people total in the bar. The young half breed doctor. The dragon. The new female bar tender. The bone hat bar owner. The blue ridges. A few others.

There was a scream echoing from the skinless skeleton creature that entered the doorway. She grabbed her head from the pain of the scream.

“BONEHEADS” someone shouted as one or two launched themselves after the undead visitor.

Another scream.

“If they keep coming, we may have to spray down the door.” The bone hat walked with authority across the room. “It has to be a last resort. It’ll hurt She if we do.” He pointed with his gun towards her as she backed into a corner away from the newest Bonehead entering the room. “Someone protect She.”

There was another scream.

Her knees gave out from under her as she collapsed to the floor in a moment of agonizing pain. Her head hit the ground.


A deep breath and her body relaxed. She could feel them, the ancestors. Reaching out. Brushing against her fingertips. They were ready for her. A euphoric calm washed over her body. Everything was going to be alright.

“She? Can you hear me? Say something?” a voice cut through, disrupting the peace and calm.

She closed her eyes and shifted. No need to worry about the gunfire and screams. No need to worry about the frantic running of feet across the bar room floor. Focus on the peace.

“She? Talk to me. Tell me if you can feel this.”

Why wouldn’t that voice go away? Leave her be. Let her go to her true family. She wasn’t suffering, go to someone who was.

The euphoria began to fade. The sounds of the running feet and the weapons hitting hard against the bone of their attackers became louder. The voice became clearer.

“She are you okay? Stay with me.”

She sat up. The half breed doctor had been kneeling next to her.

Something was wrong. The room was… different.

“She,” someone called out, “Get away from the door.”

Then it hit her.

The smell.

It emanated through the room from the door to the building. It caught in her throat. She gagged and hurriedly made her way to the bar, opposite from the doorway. She had to get as far away from that smell as She could. Oh God, it wouldn’t go away.

The Unborn glanced around the room. Everyone was walking as if it were all fine. Most everyone had relaxed a bit knowing that they were safer. No one else seemed to notice that the room had such a putrid and unavoidable smell overpowering it.

They had sprayed the door.

The colonial came running through the door. Screaming for help. Who could save people? She stood on the stage screaming, trying to hand out supplies for people to bring to triage to help save lives.

The Unborn tried to make her way over. She gagged. She had to back up. She couldn’t get over there.

The colonial screamed again. “If you can save people, get over here now!”

The Unborn tried again. Struggling to get closer. Each step closer to the door and the smell got worse. Each step closer to the door was more difficult. She stopped and gagged again before backing up quickly. She tried calling to the colonial, getting her attention, but the colonial was focused and opening her mouth almost made the smell worse.

She had to get away.

The Unborn backed up again to the bar corner.

She had been told, the only way she could leave quarantine was if it had become too dangerous in the bar. They had tried to keep the bar safe, but in doing so, prevented her from leaving the bar even if it became dangerous.

They had succeeded in their quarantine.

The pharmacist could no longer go to help anyone. She could no longer try to show the town that she wanted to be a friend and not the enemy. She was under quarantine and confined to the corner of the bar, away from everyone.

Just like she had always been kept away from everyone on the caravan.

Maybe the town wasn’t that different from the caravan.

Quarantine the monster.

If something attacks, it’ll kill her while everyone else gets away.

The Unborn sat down on the bar stool of the empty bar and sighed.

Maybe the ancestors were right.

Do not use them to replace us, your true family.

They are not one of us.


Scrap Ring


It’s interesting writing Dystopia Rising pieces now. Like, it used to be so easy because they were always Jeanie pieces except for one or two. Now, I have two characters. That two head spaces to inhabit (on top of my own) and when I go to sit down and write, I actually have to find the appropriate head space. Just interesting to me. That said, if you haven’t already done so, seriously, check out Dystopia Rising by the amazing people at Eschaton Media. I know I’m always raving about their work but it is seriously good. And it is also important to note that while Jeanie is my own character, the others in the piece are from the other players in this world and borrowed with permission and their guidance in writing the scene.


Jeanie glanced down at the mug of tea in front of her. It was just tea. There was no mother’s milk infused into the mug. She wouldn’t be able to get high off it. And with the remains of the feeder disease, drinking mother’s milk tea would probably be a bad idea. No, plain tea. Something to soothe the stomach that currently could barely keep down any food of any kind.

Calloused hands gently grabbed the fancy fucking mug and lifted the hot drink to her lips.

Of course Natasha had pretty fucking mugs.

The Pure Blood sat on the other side of the table, waiting. Not in that snotty Pure Blood way. Natasha had some how proven herself the outlier. She didn’t fit into the data set. It was infuriating.

But it also meant that she could be counted on.

Evolution is fucking hard sometimes.

“So, I have this necklace I wear.” Jeanie’s hand instinctively went up to grab the necklace. She wrapped her fingers in all the scrap ring pieces hooked to it. “I never take it off.” Jeanie pulled her brother’s hat off and then pulled the necklace up and over her head. She stared at the pieces that were on the necklace.

Natasha nodded in understanding.

“I remember when Hayven had the near grave. A lot of us were figuring out what thing we had that was most us. And for me, it was this. This necklace. It’s me. It’s my life.”

Natasha carefully sipped from a mug and quietly asked. “I’d love to hear the story. But, don’t feel like you have to.”

Jeanie shook her head. “No, I have to.” She turned her face to look over at the wall and not the Pure Blood in front of her. “I always tell people that because the gravemind is incapable of independent thought, anything you experience, you created it yourself.” Jeanie looked back to Natasha. “People say the gravemind lies and manipulates, but that’s just not true. It can’t. Everything we experience is something we already thought of but maybe didn’t want to admit. Or maybe it’s all the things we’re afraid of. If anything, death is the way we can see ourselves as we truly our. It is our best tool of evolution.”

“Use it as a tool, but not your only tool.” Natasha took a sip of her tea. She put the mug down and her eyes widened with realization. “You died again?”

Jeanie nodded. “When you all came back from Devil’s Den. You guys found me in the trap that the Thrill Kills had left for you. After you guys all left, during the fight, one of the Thrill Kills tortured me. I died. And when I came back, I didn’t want to keep living anymore.”

“You have so many things to live for,” Natasha commented, “You have Caleb. You have Charles. You have science and radiation.”

Jeanie nodded. “I know that now. Charles and Caleb both fought to remind me that. But, I also learned where I was most stagnant. I learned about how much I hate myself and hate being an Iron Slave and hate who I am.”

“I wish I could show you how incredible you are. You’re the most intelligent person I know,” Natasha said softly.

“Hold on… I’m not done…” Jeanie sighed and took a deep breath. “Knowing where I’m stagnant means I know what steps I need to take in my evolution.”

Natasha nodded.

“So, my necklace.” Jeanie looked down to the scraps in her hand and first separated a spool of wire from the bunch. “This is sodder. It’s used in welding. In Motor City, I worked an assembly line. I welded and smelted and that was it. This is what I was.” Jeanie let the spool of sodder slide down the chain and pulled another scrap piece into her hand. It said “CRAFTSMAN” on it. “I was raised by an Iron I called Big Sis. She gave me this. She said it’s what I would become, instead of just a tool on the assembly line.”

Once again, she let the piece slide down the chain and pulled another piece into her hand. This was a jumble of scrap rings all bound together. She went quiet for a moment. “These… These are my freedom… These are what’s left over from how I got out of Motor City… There was a caravan heading to the Aysea to trade Irons. I told them I was reinforcing the rig. I welded these scrap rings underneath the caravan bottom. I tied myself to them so that I could get away. No one saw my glow among the glow of the cargo walking around the caravan.”

Jeanie paused and pulled a single scrap ring off the bundle. She let the necklace drop into her lap and lifted the single scrap ring. She sighed a moment.

“I gave one to Caleb because around him I feel free. I did that awhile ago. He had dropped it. You found it and put it on.”

Natasha smiled a moment. “I figured if I wore it, it would be on display so that the person who really owned it would find it.”

“You are a Pure Blood and you were wearing my freedom…”

Natasha’s eyes widened a moment. “I never meant to hurt you by that.”

Jeanie closed her eyes. “I know… That’s not what I’m saying. I am trying to point out that I give them to people who I feel free around. I just gave one to Charles. It’s hard for me to feel free around Pure Bloods.”

Natasha closed her eyes. Her face was hurt. “I know. And I will not stop trying to change that.”

“I know…” Jeanie dropped her hands and looked down to the scrap ring. “I’ve been talking to Caleb a lot about this. And, I know it’s hard for me, but I… I trust… you… And I know that you’re… trying… to help… me…” She twirled the ring in her hands a moment. “I can go to you if something about my freedom is in danger and you’ll take care of it. And while it hurt… a lot… when I saw you wear it before… I know that you’ll take care of my freedom when I need it.”

Jeanie took a deep breath. “Here.” She held the scrap ring out in her hand.

Natasha looked over to the ring a moment and then up to Jeanie. Her eyes began to fill with tears.

“I give them to people I know will take care of me. To remind me of things I need in order to evolve when I see the other people with them. It’s okay to wear it when I give it to you because then it means you help me not you took my freedom from me.”

The tears slid down Natasha’s cheeks. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Will you take it?”

“Of course!” Natasha grabbed the scrap ring and slid it onto her finger. “I will look for a perfect place to put this so it won’t get lost.”

Jeanie nodded and sipped the mug from her tea.

“I’m glad you trust me.”

“It’s hard… but yeah…”

“I know it’s hard, but hopefully it’ll keep getting easier.” Natasha’s hand brushed the tears from her cheek.

Jeanie shrugged and looked down at her mug of tea. Caleb had said this would show growth on her evolutionary path. She knew it was the right thing to do. She hadn’t said a single lie or hidden anything from Natasha this time. She still felt so uncomfortable about it though.

Jeanie grabbed her necklace and put it back on before standing up.

“I’m going to the bar to get a drink,” she muttered before turning and leaving Natasha, the tears, and the fancy as fuck tea set.

The Decision


Guys and gals! I’m back with another Dystopia Rising piece based on the events of the past game I went to. As always, my character is the main character in this piece (in this case, an Unborn known most commonly as She) but the world is the creation of the people at Eschaton Media and the other characters are the creations of the other amazing players who partake in this world. Anything said by the other characters are things they actually said at this past game. Gotta make sure to give credit to all the amazing people who were involved in my writing this story, even if that was them creating a bad ass character for me to have bad ass memories from game with.


“You know, I’m being merciful keeping you alive and all. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

She undid the knot that held the bag to her belt. Green hands carefully opened the bag and let the herb slide out of the bag and onto the table. With practiced hands, she carefully tore the herb into small pieces that she piled in front of her on the table.

“The best you can hope for is that you never develop your curse and you keep from dragging anyone down with you.”

She carefully slid her fingertips through the pile, trying to make sure that all of the pieces were of similar sizes. Any that were too big were pulled from the pile and torn smaller. Any stems from the herb were pulled out of the pile and tossed aside.

“But if the curse develops anyway, you’ll be ready. You know the tenants, Rahab. You know how to combat the undead and give others their second chance. If the curse develops, you will be ready to join the students of the blind.”

She slid the herb from the table into her left hand. Practiced fingers pulled the lid off part of the still and dropped them to the bottom of the container. Then she brushed her hands against her skirt, removing any remaining herb bits from her palm.

“It won’t save you though. As the abomination that you are, there is nothing you can do to keep from being damned.”

She sighed and stood, grabbing the empty bottle that was with her. She walked over to the pot of boiling water in the fire place and began to ladle some of the water into her bottle. This would then be poured into the still with the herb, now that the whole piece was free of the toxins that filled water these days. Not that it would bother her to just use the water plain from the river, but for whatever reason that makes the rest of the people in town sick and it wasn’t something she wanted to do. So, pre-boil the water she would.

A few bottles of water were poured into the still and then the lid placed over it. She carefully arranged the kindling and wood underneath it before grabbing her flint and steel to light the pile under the still. Though, there was a part of her that felt it would be easier if the Ancestors had gifted… or cursed… her with the ability to produce fire from her fingers, not that she had ever actually seen anyone do that, but it would be very helpful at this moment.

And now, the worst part of brewing.


Waiting with the thoughts and memories that were plaguing her at the moment.

“If you develop psionics and don’t know it, we’ll work it out,” the Rainbow man waved his hands in the air, “But if you ever knowingly use those powers, even for good, you will be put to death. That is the law.”

She looked down at her green hands, the purple lines snacking across her wrists and up her forearms. No one else in town had such visible veins. Except for the One Who Bleeds Red, White, and Blue, but that wasn’t the purple that made everyone know she was from the Ancestors and not just another half breed. It was part of what made everyone fear that she was a witch, even if she was never gifted… or cursed with those abilities by the ancestors.

“Mom, what if she ends up losing control because she ended up with a power she didn’t know she had?”

“Then,” the Dead One threw his hands up, “we’ll address that when it happens. Not much else we can do.”

She glanced around the room a moment. It was empty. There was no one she could frighten by fully revealing that she was from the Ancestors. She sighed with a bit of relief and unwound the scarf from her head before pulling the gauze wrapping off her white eyes. It was nice when she had a chance to take it off.

“Those who are gifted, and it can be a gift, will be offered an opportunity to be a part of the Students of the Blind.” The Minster General paused and looked around, matching eyes with every psion in the room that he knew, “Now, while we would hope that you would consider joining the Fallow Hope, we know that many of you are very firm believers in your own faith and we will not ask you to leave that when you join.”

Those of the town who had begun to accept her had all made it very clear that the things she experienced on the caravan, by the hands of the Fallow Hope, were wrong. Even the Colonel had said that they were sorry for what the Fallow had said to her and done when they had tried once before to prepare her for the students of the blind.

“If you are a psion,” the Old Man shook his head as he spoke, “and the Minister General here will vouch for your position within the students of the blind, we can work something out.”

Only now, the fear of her gift… or curse… whatever it was called… the fear of it developing without any ability to control it meant She had a decision to make.

“I don’t like it,” the White Haired Pocket muttered, looking over to the Unborn, “I don’t like any of it. The new law or this new offer. What if something goes wrong?”

Her white haired friend was right. What if something goes wrong?

She could take comfort in the protection that her new family and friends would try to provide, but without anyone to try and help her learn to control any power that might develop, She would likely be put to death.

She could join the students of the blind, become the weapon that the caravan had always told her she would be. She could be required to leave her family and return to the pain of her past.

She sighed and carefully opened the tap at the bottom of the still and poured the Snake Oil into the bottle. Carefully, not to miss a drop. Especially when the brew could save her sister or one of her new friends. Especially when the current feelings about psions could possibly mean war with the Fallow Hope.

She carefully screwed the lid onto the bottle and slipped it into her bag. She made sure all her things were gathered and the still cleaned for the Red Worker who owned it. Her white haired friend’s words ringing in her mind.

“I don’t like it.”

“Neither does She.”



It’s another Dystopia Rising story. This one is about my new character She and not about Jeanie. If you have yet to check out Dystopia Rising, you seriously should. It’s utterly amazing stuff from the amazing people at Eschaton Media.


Spin the spindle. Let the fibers twist together into the thread above the dangling wooden dowel. Grab the dowel and wrap the fine thread around it. Repeat the process.

Spinning yarn. It was simple and beautiful. And mindless enough that She didn’t have to think about all the things confusing Her. It was easier to understand.

She glanced up and looked around at the currently empty room. Over on the bar was the record player, quiet and with no disc spinning and revealing messages of the Kings. Her mom had started to tell her about his kings and the great union. It sounded so much like the great whole and seemed to make so much sense. She would have to ask the true believer priest who usually sat at the record player about them. She’d also have to ask Her mom to tell more.


It was almost a strange concept. She vaguely remembered having a mom before the caravan had come to take Her away. Her mom had begun to teach her about the requirements of brewing for the elders. Mom had explained that it is very important to share the knowledge of the generations past with the ones to come. She never could ask Her mom what that had meant. And now, now She had a new mom. And a sister.

The dead one was kind and made sure to guide Her when She was worried or confused. The smiling girl was sweet and didn’t seem to judge Her at all. They were both kind. Was it the right decision to join the neighborhood and join with them? She hoped so. They were trying to help Her and guide Her.

But they weren’t the only ones.

There was the white haired pocket. That one was always trying to make sure She was safe. That one wanted Her to feel like She belonged here. It was strange to have a pocket that would get so bothered by understanding the things that She thought, but still stand up for Her and defend Her. She liked the white haired pocket.

There was also the tea commies. They were generally helpful and always got so angry at the thought of someone hurting Her in any way. Even the loud visiting doctor and the priest at the record both respected Her and treated Her and Her thoughts as though they were very okay.

It was strange that there was anyone who wanted Her around. She was used to all the many in town who were afraid of Her or didn’t want Her to exist. But to realize that many wanted Her around and were willing to protect Her.

Could it be that She might have found a place to belong again? Could it be that She might have found a place where She could one day feel like She was allowed to be herself?

She shook her head. It was too much think about right now. No, spin the spindle. Work the strands of fiber into workable yarn. That was easier to understand right now.



This piece is based on the events of the last Dystopia Rising game I went to. Dystopia Rising is a Post Apocalyptic Zombie game put out by the amazing people at Eschaton Media. This story is about my original character, Rahab.


She sat in the grass staring at the town around her. Everyone was bustling and busy preparing for their trip to Devil’s Den. Even the scarf quartermaster had asked her to join. Offered to baptize her into the faith.

She looked through the threads of the mask over her eyes and down at her green skinned hands. Purple colored veins snaking up her arms. She was so confused. The things she had learned while in this necropolis were nothing like the teachings of that one who led the caravan. She could still hear that one preaching to her.

As an abomination, you can never be baptized. You will always be damned. The most you can hope for is that you don’t drag anyone down with you.

Weren’t all the Fallow Hope like that?

I don’t think you’re damned, Rahab. If you ever want to be baptized, find someone who can write a letter to me and I will find you a priest.

It’s not my place to decide if you’re damned.

Except the Fallow Hope that were up and visiting the Grove. They had both welcomed the possibility of Rahab’s entry into the faith. It almost felt strange. Just as strange as the town’s acceptance of the tribal traditions she had held on to. The one who led the caravan could not get her to stop addressing her history as the ancestors. This town needed a moment to understand what she was referring to when she discussed the ancestors, but they did not get angry with her for addressing “the gravemind” in this manner. Whether or not someone felt it was a good thing or a bad thing did not matter. Everyone who passed on joined it. Her family was from it. The one who had driven the caravan was angered by the term, but here, once they understood, they did not question.

The one who led the caravan made it very clear that she was an abomination. The ancestors’ gifts of the mind were a sin. Her very existence was a sin. But the only one in this town who even came close to agreeing with that was the town Graverobber.

You’re not supposed to exist. You’re an abomination.

Was he a Fallow Hope like the caravan? Was he a Fallow Hope like the quartermaster and the Colonial? Was he something else?

She had come to this necropolis to try and understand her place and maybe find the caravan who had been taking care of her. The caravan was not here. And the people here seemed to be okay with the things her tribe had once spoken on.

Should she try to remember the things she had been taught as a child? Was that a sin? Was she damned or not?

Her visit had only brought more questions. She would have to ask them when everyone returned from their trip to theĀ  Devil’s Den.

I Wish


This is a short story based upon the events of a recent Dystopia Rising game. Dystopia Rising is a Live Action Roleplaying game run by the company Eschaton Media. They are amazing and you should check them out. They also have a tabletop game for the world too. Anyway, the world is owned and run by them. The characters in here are my own and the character of a good friend of mine. It took me awhile to write, but I finally have it down. Please enjoy.


The Iron sat quietly at the steps of the double tap. It was supposed to be cold. It was always cold after X-mas. This year, however, Jeanie had left her coat and scarf down at the lakefront cabin where she was staying.

Jeanie’s gaze wandered over to her hands. She stared at them for a moment before slowly pulling the worn gloves off.

Her hands were worn with age. For a young woman, it was clear that she had worked with her hands her whole life. Scars from old burns, time working at forges. Her palms were covered in thick callouses. The Iron flipped her hands over. The knuckles were thick and calloused. On her left hand was a scar from where she had once been branded.

“Fucking confederates,” she muttered, balling her left hand into a fist.

Her gaze wandered up to the trees, past the CBGB (or whatever they were calling it now), over to the path and then the trees beyond it. Her gaze stopped. She swallowed a moment and shook her head before quickly looking down, back to her hands.

“No!” She reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt from the ground at her feet, just below the concrete step. She frantically began to rub it into her hands, scrubbing away at… something…

And then she stopped. Brushed her hands off. Stood up.

Without a second thought, she quickly made her way down towards the path. Her steps faltered just outside CBGB, but only for a moment. Then she just hurried along. She didn’t stop to say hi to everyone crafting right outside the Kennel. She didn’t stop to talk to the Merican’s in the radio tower field. Nor did she wave to Antigone, Stew, and… not Antigone (Jeanie could never remember the girl’s name). She just hurried along.

She made her way down to the field at GDI. She walked past the building that used to be her home, back when Doc Thomas was around. Back when she had been given the Thomas family name. The building had not felt like home in awhile.

She hurried her way over to the Sainthood church. On the left side of the building, the brush had been cleared away. There were still remnants of the burial mound. The ground had been frozen, so you could still see what had happened.

Jeanie screamed, slammed her fist into the wall. She sighed. Shook her head and turned to sit, leaning against the side of the building.

“I miss you.” The Iron pat the ground where Caleb was buried underneath her. “I wish you weren’t gone. Yossarian said you’re not really gone. Just in some train station or something listening to us talk about you. It was a good story but I don’t like the part about the train station.”

Jeanie shook her head and sat in silence for a little bit.

She looked over at her old home.

She glanced over at the scarecrow.

Her gaze wandered to the ground she sat on.

“I never did tell you the story of my name.”

Jeanie looked up at the sky.

“Jeanie Thomas. That’s my name. Well, now it is. But, you knew the number part. The Thomas part is easy. Doc Thomas adopted me. I’m his daughter now. So I get a family name.

“Is that the March part? Did you get adopted by a family named March?”

Jeanie shrugged.

“That’s not the important part. The important part is the story behind Jeanie.

“I told you about the Iron Works. About Big Sis.” Jeanie paused and chuckled. “You were there when I asked the slavers from the Aysea if they knew of her. Too bad we couldn’t remember Emily’s number. Too bad we couldn’t find her together. I know you wanted to do that.

“Back at the Iron Works, before she was sold, Big Sis used to tell me this story. It was interesting and her stories helped me stay out of trouble. This was my favorite. That’s why I remember it.

“There is this big dessert. Out around Vegasia. Oddfellow told me about it out there. Its alot of sand everywhere. And its really really hot. I don’t know what Lone Star was like, but maybe it was hot like Lone Star. I know that Iron Works got really hot during the summer by the forges of the assembly lines. Anyway, Vegasia is run by a group of people called the Rat Pack. At least, that is what I was told in the story.

“There is a guy that lives there named Aladdin. And not the King’s Court Aladdin who hangs out with Doctor House all the time. I asked him. He said he doesn’t know anything about the story so it can’t be him. Then again he thought I was named after a song of the court.

“Anyway, his name is Aladdin and he doesn’t get along with the Rat Pack very well. He would keep getting in trouble from them and it made him unhappy. So he would go out to the dessert and not deal with them and then come back at night.

“One day, he went out into the dessert and it is super hot and dry out there. He gets very thirsty and he forgot to bring his water. I think he brought water. I mean I know fish fuck in it and all but it helped me when I was working at a forge in the hot summer. Maybe it helped him. Anyway, he finds a bottle of hooch. And he’s thirsty so he opens it and goes to drink from it. But inside is no hooch. Inside is a guy named Genie.

“I don’t really know how he fits inside the bottle of hooch. Maybe he’s a remnant and that’s his thing. Or maybe he’s a free radical and he evolved to fit in the bottle! That would be really cool. But anyway, he lives in the bottle. The problem is that he has to help whoever owns the bottle and he can only go wherever his bottle is. Almost like he was a slave…”

Jeanie paused.

“Like us.”

She took a deep breath before continuing. “But he and Aladdin were friends and they helped each other out. Genie liked helping people out. He even helped Aladdin not be hated by the Rat Pack anymore. Aladdin was so happy that he found a way to make it so that Genie could do what he wanted and go where he wanted and not worry about the bottle anymore.

“He made Genie free.”

Jeanie stopped talking. She had tears sliding down her cheeks.

“I wanted to be like the genie in the story. I wanted to be free but I had to stay in the Iron Works. I got to Hayven and I met you. And you… you helped me.

“You helped me not be afraid of slavers and the Iron Works coming for me. You helped me calm down after the Confederacy took us and chained us up and branded us. You always made everything better.”

Jeanie shook her head. “I wanted to be like genie but I’m not. I’m not as good as genie. You are. You are the best person I ever knew. You helped everyone. I wish I could be as good as you, but I’m not. I’m not that good at all.”

Jeanie looked down at the ground underneath her. She didn’t stop the tears from sliding down her cheeks.

“I wish I could be like you.”

Jeanie sighed.

“I wish.”