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  • Writer's pictureJohn Simons

RinthCon Day 4 - Villain

“And why did you name her Villain?” Ahbet asked. He sat on the stone floor with his knees drawn up to his chest. Next to him sat Oisin, the dog’s owner. Oisin was at that point in life where he could be seen as a man or a boy depending on the culture’s expectations. Ahbet had not made up his own mind which world Oisin inhabited.

“She’s an evil mastermind,” Oisin said.

Ahbet could see Villain across the aisle. The gray dog with the curly fur sat primly next to a booth that sold holographic items that could be ported into virtual realities. Her tongue hung out of her open mouth as she looked around at the crowds passing by. She did not seem to recognize Ahbet and Oisin spying on her.

“She does not look like an evil mastermind,” said Ahbet.

Oisin was a wiry, fair skinned person with red hair who wore a plain blue shirt with khaki shorts. He stuck his legs out and pointed to his feet where one foot was clad with a shoe and a sock and the other with just a shoe. “She ate one and left the other,” he said, “And as soon as you wash your hands, she comes up behind you and sticks her wet nose into your palm. She has many plots like this.”

“This is your idea of evil?”

“Dog evil,” said Oisin, “It’s different from human evil.”

Ahbet decided Oisin still resided in the world of children. He stood up and dusted himself off. “She’s just a dog. All I need is to get the crystal, and she doesn’t even have it in her mouth right now.”

“I told you she thinks it’s a toy. She set it down so you’ll come to get it. She’s taunting you because she wants you to chase her. You’ll be playing into her game.”

“You give her too much credit,” said Ahbet, “And that crystal is no toy; it’s a unique supercomputer of unknown origin.”

“Sounds like a toy for a scientist.”

Ahbet gave the boy a glare and then made his way through the flow of people in the aisle. Villain seemed to be looking away, but always kept one eye on him. Ahbet was not concerned; he had a secret weapon. From his pocket he withdrew a piece of pork jerky.

He had been looking for the dog and chasing her since the con began. He knew how close she would let him approach before running off. Ahbet stopped and broke off a piece of the jerky. He tossed it at Villain’s paws. She sniffed the piece and licked it up.

“That’s right,” coaxed Ahbet, “This is what you want!” He tossed the jerky down the aisle to the left. Villain’s eyes followed the treat as it flew and bounced. Ahbet took a tentative step toward the crystal and Villain’s gaze snapped back to him. She bounced to her feet, lowered herself into a playful stance, and lunged for the crystal.

Ahbet scrambled after her. She ran in the opposite direction from the jerky. Ahbet tried to catch up but she was more nimble navigating the crowd than he was. She doubled back the other direction, passing just out of Ahbet’s reach. Villain gave him a look over her shoulder as she passed him by. She ran until she reached the jerky, then set down the crystal and gobbled down the treat. Ahbet had been drawn too far away to catch her before she was done.

Villain sat waiting until Ahbet had nearly reached her, then she grabbed the crystal and ran off, disappearing into the crowd. The scientist stood forlornly in the aisle, breathing heavily from sprinting.

Oisin sauntered up to him. “Dog evil,” said the boy.

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