by Hydrargentium

“Do you smell smoke?”

Mason sniffed experimentally, his large nostrils flaring above his moustache.

“No. You?”

Arrow rubbed his chin, drew a long breath of the evening sky through his nose, holding it like a fine wine.

“I think so. Hard to tell from where, though.”

“Hmm.” Mason pulled a cellphone from its holster on his belt. “Let me make a phone call.”

Arrow floated a little higher into the wind, trying to get a feel for the currents, to see if the smell got stronger or weaker. After about thirty seconds, he heard Mason finish his call.


“Called a fireman buddy of mine. Says there are no calls in tonight.”

“Weird. Must just be someone’s chimney or something.”

Arrow watched as Mason put the phone back in its pouch. It was the only thing Mason seemed to carry, attached behind his back, on the left side, closer to his hip than his spine.

“Is that some kind of hardened device? Did Larry put it together for you?”

“What, this?” Mason pulled out the phone again. It looked normal enough. “Nah, it’s just a Samsung something-or-other.”

With a flick of the wrist, Mason tossed his phone up to Arrow. Without really thinking about it, Arrow caught it, only realizing after that it ended up right where it would be easiest to catch, in exactly the right position for his hand to grab it.

He looked at it, turning it over in his hand. It had a simple plastic cover on it, and a film of screen protector that held tiny air bubbles in one corner. Still looked normal.

“How do you keep it from getting wrecked? I’ve seen you take some pretty big hits.”

Mason smiled a lop-sided grin.

“Easy. I don’t let it get hit.”