Finding a Friend

Image: coffee mug.  Text: Orsinius had never drunk coffee before.

Finding A Friend

Short story by Iris Carden

Orsinius Wishlet was walking down a busy city street, when he heard a voice call out, “Orsinius? Is that you? Orsinius Wishlet?”

He turned to see a human woman running toward him. Other humans had stopped to see what the yelling was about. Humans could see him? All humans could see him? So much had changed recently, that he couldn’t find the energy to be surprised.

“Do you remember me?” The woman asked as she approached, “Ariana Sutton, well, I was Jones for about five minutes, but I’ve gone back to my own name.” She leaned in and whispered, “The woman who as stuck in the interim.”

Orsinius now remembered her. It had not really been that long ago, but so much had happened since then. He had found her trapped in the interim, the time between the tick and the tock, between moments, unable to get out.

“I didn’t get the chance to thank you,” she said. “If you hadn’t brought the scary lady with the wings to save me, I guess I would still be there.”

Orsinius thought she would be dead by now, given that she had been stuck in a frozen moment of time.

“Can I buy you a coffee?” She asked

Orsinius had never drunk coffee before, but was willing to try. So he agreed.

The woman led him to a coffee shop, and since he didn’t know anything about coffee she bought for both of them.

Orsinius tried very hard to think of an appropriate thing to say to this human who was really the only human he’d ever actually spoken to. “I am sorry about your sister,” he said.

“So am I,” she said. “But I guess she’d broken some kind of magical law. Even though I didn’t know magic had laws, and she probably didn’t either, she definitely knew what she was doing was wrong. It was a shock to see…” Ariana shuddered.

“Yes, it was,” Orsinius agreed, remembering that terrible sword.

“I do miss her, you know, even though she had an affair with my husband, well he’s not my husband now, and tried to lock me away in time for ever. Even so, she was still my sister.”

Orsinius nodded. He understood. He missed his cousin Augustus, even thought he’d had to threaten Augustus with that very same fate Ariana’s sister had suffered.

“I’m still so incredibly grateful to you,” Ariana continued. “If there’s every anything I can do for you. I know I’m only human, and you’re this amazing magical creature, but if there is anything I can do, please just ask.”

Orsinius had a thought. There was something he could ask. He said, “When we met, I was a thief. I was there to steal things when I met you. Since then I have stopped being a thief.” He thought of that flashing sword again. He went on. “But I don’t know how to not be a thief. I have found some food in rubbish bins, but I am very hungry. Can you tell me how humans get food?”

When their coffees arrived, Ariana ordered a meal for herself, and invited Orsinius to choose what he wanted. “I’m buying,” she said.

Once the waitress was out of earshot, Ariana said, “Well, first you need a job.”

“A job?” Orsinius was sure he didn’t have one of those in his collection.

“A job is when you do something someone else wants done, and they give you money for it.”

“I know what money is.” Orsinius said, “I have some in my collection. Some of it is very pretty.”

“Well, you use the money to go to a shop and buy food.”

“A job will give me money and money will give me food,” Orsinius summarised. “How do I find this job?”

“I can help you there,” Ariana said. “I’m a hairdresser. I can give you a job sweeping up hair and making coffee for my customers.”

“I don’t know how to do those things,” Orsinius admitted, sadly. “I really don’t know how to do anything except steal things.”

“It’s OK. I’ll teach you. And I’ll teach you how to do your shopping and buy your food and everything else you need.”

The waitress brought their meals.

While they ate, Ariana asked, “Orsinius, back in the interim, you said something about being not quite real, or not really existing or something similar, and being surprised I could see you. But now, everyone seems to be able to see you. The waitress just put your plate in front of you without seeming to think anything was odd. Do you think, maybe, you’ve become or are becoming more real?”

Orsinius thought. “A lot of strange things have been happening to me lately,” he said. “I stopped being a thief. Someone very important asked me to do an important thing. I even stood up to my cousin Augustus. These are things I never would have imagined would happen. So perhaps another strange thing is happening as well. Perhaps I am becoming real.”

“How very exciting,” Ariana said, “and being real will definitely help you with the whole working and buying your own food and things. I’m sure everything is going to work out for you Orsinius, and I will help you with anything I can. I owe you everything.”

A strange thought began to form in Orsinius’ mind. “Ariana, are we friends?” He asked.

“Orsinius,” she answered, “you’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”

Orsinius sighed. He had a job. He was going to buy food for himself and not steal it. He had a friend, when he’d never had a friend before. The friend was human, but he was sure she still counted. And he was becoming real.


Orsinius Wishlet Stories

Lost and Found was originally a one-off story, until the day I had the idea for A Wish Come True. After that, Orsinius and the world built around him just kept coming back to me.


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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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