The door to my new room was already open, hanging off about an inch out from the frame. That meant that my roommate Lumas was there, or that something was incredibly wrong.
What kind of name was Lumas? Definitely not one I’d heard before, maybe they were from another country. I pushed the door open and saw someone whom I presumed was them.
Lumas was standing before one of the bed, just sort of awkwardly staring at it. A giant tee-shirt about three sizes too big reached down to their knees and obscured their shape. It was old and worn, like most of their outfit. And with their hair was shaved to only an inch, I didn’t feel safe making any gender assumption.
I went to the other bed, dropping my bag which had Lumas jumps a little. “Howdy, Partner.” I said, tipping my hat.
“Howdy?” They stared at me, their expression vacant. Then they sighed. “That’s new. Hey.”
“I’m Penny Henry.” I said, grabbing some of my clothes and putting them in the drawers under the bet. The room was quite posh, with large captain-style beds. “What’s your name, Sweetheart?”
They tilted their head just a smidget. “No, its Lumas. Why would you think it’s sweetheart?” On their hand, little darks scales or shells fragments formed but they paid it no mind.
I just had to laugh, surely they were an interesting type. “Just a pet name, Lumas. We’ll be rooming together, so we ought to get along, don’t you say?”
They nodded slowly. “I guess. Still, most people who give me pet names tend to want something else.”
Something else? Lumas seemed sweet, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was odd about them, and I don’t mean them scales.
“All I want is a friend,” I said, “and perhaps a hand reaching taller shelves.” Lumas wasn’t the tallest folks around, but height had never been one of my blessings.
The plates on their hands faded. “I guess. I’m not that much taller than you, though.” Their gaze went down toward my revolvers. The plates came back, but their expression remained blank.
Darn it, what were they thinking? And what did those bits on their hand meant?
“I saw there happens to be pizza downstairs, are you hungry, Sweetheart?”
They shrugged lightly. “I’m fine,” they said, but I could hear their stomach growling.
“Are you alright, ’cause you don’t look mighty fine to me.”
Clearly, they weren’t the trusting type, I’d have to work on that.
They shook their head and sighed. “I’m fine. Just.. you said pizza?”
“That I did.”
They took of their backpack and put it down on the ground, a good feet or two from the bed. Was something wrong with their bed? They seemed fine to me.
“Fine. Let’s grab some then.”
I nodded and opened the door. “After you, sweetheart.”
Their hand scaled up again as they passed through the door. I wanted to ask, but I did not feel like Lumas would be the question answering type. Oh well, what was the harm in trying?
“I don’t meant to pry, but your hand is doing that thing quite often, might I say.”
They stopped, looked at their hand and then shook their head. “Can’t control it all that well. The weapon didn’t exactly come with instructions either.”
That wasn’t much of an answer, it was a weapon? Didn’t look like any kind of weapon I was acquainted with. I let my mind drift back to the sea, asked the hypertech bit of my brain for possible answer, but none came, this wasn’t anything in my repertoire…
“I see.” Was all I could answer. There was already a gathering of folks in the kitchen, Lumas had stopped by the door. “Do you want to mingle or would you rather grab some and find a quiet place to be?”
Their eyes slowly went over everyone. “Don’t really like crowds,” they said after a pause. “What about you? Don’t let me stop you from ‘mingling.’ I’ll be fine on my own.”
“I can meet folks ‘nother time, better get to know you, Sweetheart.”
I’d be lying if I said Lumas hadn’t sparked my curiosity, beside we were going to be rooming together, it was best to get to know them.
“Whatever you say.” They said with yet another shrug.
We went into the kitchen, I scanned the boxes until I found meatlover’s pizza and grabbed a few slices. I gave a few waves to the people in the kitchen but paid them no mind otherwise. Deryn was there, I gave them a wink and a grin before focusing back on Lumas.
Lumas, whom had taken half a pizza and stacked it on a plate. They had quite the appetite it seemed.
“Would you like to sit outside?” I proposed to them. I’d seen patio doors at the back.
Lumas looked around, this time a bit more frantically. “Yeah. Outside is good.” Once again plates formed.
We went out and found that the house had quite the backyard; a wooden deck with tables, chairs and a barbecue, an in-ground pool of good size, and a little cultivated garden further back.
We sat down on the patio and Lumas jumped into their pizza.
“So, sweetheart, what’s your story, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“From another world. Not sure you want to know the rest.”
Now, who in god’s green earth would be satisfied after hearing that? Lumas was a dimensional alien? Maybe that explained much, although they looked human.
“I ain’t met much dimensional traveller folks before.”
“This is the only other dimension I’ve been to, other than sanctuary. Better than mine.”
Sanctuary was the world’s answer to dimensional refugees; a self-sustaining city on another world where there’d never been any humans.
“This is my home world, never left it.” Dimensional travel wasn’t something most people could do, if you were lucky maybe you could get an earth Bet or Gimel visa, but it was expensive and quarantine and decontamination procedures made it inconvenient. “Are you one of them refugees?”
“I guess so. Some group called the Wanderers picked me up.” They said, like they’d announced something boring and mundane, not that they were acquainted with one of the most mysterious figure in all of history.
The wanderer and his namesake group were these strange dimensional explorers, they didn’t belong with the United Nation’s survey corp.
Everything Lumas said was only bringing more questions…
“What brought you to this here school, sweetheart?”
“Trying to control this and maybe to some good.” They said, not quite sure of their words.
“I see, how long has this been a thing?”
“Forty eight days.”
“That sure ain’t much. What’s it do, other than give you odd lookin’ hands when it feels like doing it?”
Lumas closed their hand and a sword appeared in it, it couldn’t quite be described proper. It was black, just black that’s what it was ‘made’ of, and it moved— no, it swirled. Looking at it made my headache.Then it was gone and their hand had a gauntlet, made of that same blackness.
“It’s a weapon. A lot was sacrificed to make it.”
“I see.” I nodded and rubbed my temple.
“Why am I even…” they sighed. “What about you? What do you do?”
I took out my revolvers, making sure to keep them pointed away from Lumas and my finger away from the trigger. I didn’t keep them loaded, but my Pa had always taught me to handle weapons like they were loaded.
“Made these, used ’em on some bad fella home. Got sent here,” I said. “This one’s Vigilance, the one’s Justice.”
I’d gone a little melodramatic naming them, but when you dressed like an old west gunslinger, drama was part of the act.
Lumas’ eyes widened. Small plates once more formed on their hands. “Cool…”
“But you, sweetheart, ain’t got a thing to fear.” I holstered them back. “I only shoot ’em bad people who hurt folks.”
They shook their head. “Been shot before. Wasn’t fun.” They didn’t feel like explaining, just eating more pizza.
“Sorry to hear that.”
“Not saying I expect you to shoot me. Obviously you gotta be halfway decent to want to be a hero.” They sighed. “I’m not good at this…”
“That, you sure ain’t.” I had to laugh at the self-awareness. “But there ain’t anything’ wrong with being’ awkward, sweetheart. Makes ya all the more charming.” I added with a wink.
They raised a brow. “Charming? That’s another new one.”
“Are you doubting’ me sweetheart?”
Darn it, I was back in flirting mode.
They took a bite of pizza, chewing it for a moment. “Hard not to doubt someone you just met.”
“Fair enough, sweetheart,” I said with a smile, “I’ll have to reiterate when we know each other further.”
“Ok. I guess I’ll wait and see then. Who knows, right?” The bits on their hands grew further, into the begining of claws, but then vanished again. Lumas was staring at their hand.
Then there was a knock on the glass door. I turned around and saw someone standing there. They were short, four and a half feet, but didn’t look like a kid, the proportions were wrong, it was more like someone had shrunk down a teenager… Their clothes were ill fitting too, much too large for their size.
I waved at them and they opened the door. “Come on out, hon!”
“Are you Penny?” They asked in a quiet and squeaky voice. “There is something at the door for you.” As they spoke they shrunk another two inches.
“That I am.” I looked at Lumas, making sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this, they were staring too. “I better go check on that, sweetheart.”
I turned around and the new comer let out a squeaky “hi” at them, shrinking another inch before running away. That had been something odd alright. Then again, so was Lumas.
I was starting to think maybe a southern girl with cowgirl fantasies weren’t the oddest thing. I reckoned I might be normal up here in Ravenhold…