Riley smoothed her hands across the uncreased sheet of paper laid out on the counter in front of her. The young stage magician wasn't exactly sure where she stood - she was in Alaska for work - as the building she was in had been another in the line of empty at night and good enough for her.
It was a restaurant and the counter she had spread paper and pen about was attached to a kitchen that more than met the requirements for how she kept herself comfortable in her migrant state. As soon as she had snapped through the walls illusory light had brightened the room and she'd set about preparing and then devouring the groceries she had bought for herself earlier in the day.
Shredded apple had cooked decently with the ground beef as she made a couple of tacos in which she recognized them by that august name - but many others would probably quarrel with more than just one of the decision she had made in making them.
Cooking was easy though and always went quicker with a head and nod towards adventure.
Riley grunted as she stared at the paper and ran two fingers from her cheek bone down her cheek and back around in a small circle. It was a stupid thing wanting to be able to write a letter and finding yourself constantly unable to do so. It was an old fashioned task that was easy and just as easy in its impossibility.
Leaning down against the counter the magician slowly rotated her arm down and picked up her pen. Staring at the thing she just let her grip loosen from around it and it slid down until the point juttered down on the paper below her.
The tiny spec left behind when Riley moved her arm again - something so faint it couldn't even be a blot - settled exasperation down against the short, be-cloaked woman. The cloak she was wearing shivered and then drew back off Riley's shoulders as she still stood staring at the paper for her letter.
An inky shadow of a hand reached out and rest its fingers above where the stage magician was once more gripping the pen in preparation to write. Turning her head to look over her shoulder Riley was looking at an exact silhouette - the Phantom - of herself.
When she had been young the Phantom Mantle had only served her as a singular thing - her mantle and cloak. In the last year though she had come to have a greater grasp of the Phantom itself and now just as easily as she could place it about her as her mantle it could draw up her as its.
It had no expressions - no face - and she had never heard it speak but it knew all of her habits and mannerisms so completely that conversation came easy between the two.
"I should be the one to write." Riley stated with her head still craned over her shoulder and a wan smile braving itself on her face. The Phantom withdrew its hand and took a few steps back - squaring its shoulders and most of its arms disappearing as it crossed them in front of its chest.
With a sigh, Riley spun around so she was leaning with her back now against the counter instead of her arms. "Yes. I should visit too. But, that's just... just-" The stage magician looked down and exhaled out heavily before turning her gaze back up to the phantom across from her. "-not right now."
Her Phantom brought its arms up and folded them behind its head as it leaned against the wall and while it couldn't be made out from the inky, mess of a mass that was the inside of the Phantom's silhouette Riley knew it nodded.
Turning her back and leaning her elbows down against the counter once more Riley retook her vigil against the paper before her. Knowing that the Phantom was behind her - knowing it was her - allowed the magician to retake to a quiet comfort that she had not had when it only served as her mantle.
Still. Minutes passed.
Riley shifted her jaw back and forth. She closed her eyes. She bit down against her lip. The young woman cycling through a variety of motions as the page in front of her remained blank.
Pushing so her feet slid out further from the counter Riley brought herself lower and closer to the face of the counter. The tension the position ran across her muscles broke her thoughts away from what her letter should be.
"How should I start it-" Riley held herself in her position but closed her eyes as she spoke. "-Watson?"
The Phantom made no sound when it moved, but Riley knew it would come to take the pen from her grasp. It would write quickly - she always did and it used her hand. The stage magician could feel it as her Phantom uncurled itself from where it had been positioned around her to write on the paper beneath her.
Opening her eyes Riley read what had been written:
Closing her eyes again Riley swallowed against a dry mouth. Cold knotted and writheded just beneath her ribs and nausea was a spike to her head and stomach. The young woman shook her head - small and sad.
"Let's get some rest."
The warm folds of her mantle brushed around her as the Phantom collapsed and wrapped itself around the magician's body. When she opened her eyes again she was alone and the pen and paper were gone.
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