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Ari’s Tour
(previous installments)
4A—Ari Nix and How It All Began
4C—Mrs. Jameson and Her African Violets

4B—Jasmine Leit and her Collection of High Heels

Ari’s sickeningly fast spin did not end in the hall. It continued onward, like a ride he couldn’t escape from no matter how many times he insisted the contraption to stop, stop, stop. It was as if he were on some carnival attraction meant to destroy his inner ears and send him puking in the grass afterward. Only, while the world, yes, was a blur of bright light and greyish carpet, his stomach, which technically was lying upon his kitchen floor back in his apartment, seemed to be able to handle the dreadful sensation with ease.

With that revelation, he slowly opened his eyes as he spun, noticing with amusement that both his feet had disappeared within the wall next to the door to 4D. He twisted in the opposite direction of his spin, attempting to roll back the way he’d come. Not to happen, it seemed. Nothing about this would be easy.

He sighed and settled his hands behind his head in acceptance of the inevitable as he glided down the hall at an upward angle that sent him straight into 4B. Jasmine Leit’s apartment. He mused over calling out to her, but decided against it. She didn’t normally complain about the noise from his place, but he’d caught glances from her randomly that spoke louder than any words. And since he could still hear his music playing on, rising and falling with unintelligible words, words he could have sung from heart by now, he didn’t want to push her into a possible confrontation.

She, unlike others in the building, might have the patience of a saint, but Ari didn’t want to see what might happen if that patience snapped.

Her apartment was darker than Mrs. Jameson’s, likely because the moon sank toward the horizon on the opposite side of the building. A glow hung about her living room window though, just enough to see the blue-green décor that dotted her living space and kitchen. The carpet was a beige, same as most of the apartments, and the couch a huge sectional with delicate lace throws laid across its back at measured intervals.

Ari carefully moved his hands back down to his sides as he spun upside down, head toward the floor, feet ghosting through the ceiling. He’d never been in this apartment before. Had never dared to get that close to Jasmine. He’d assumed her place would have been messy, filled with new makeup and outfits and shoes on every surface of every room. Piles of prizes that all went into creating the spotless image she portrayed as soon as she stepped outside.

Instead, she had a clean, well-organized home. No dresses thrown over her couch. No makeup or polish sitting out on the kitchen counter. No shoes littering the entrance way. Ari looked up and snickered. No shoes on the ground at least. For Jasmine had invested in two tall racks that ran vertical along the wall just inside the door. A good three dozen heels of all shapes, sizes and colors were hooked into those racks in absolute precision. Bright pink pumps and leopard print peek toes and even a whole row of scaled high heels.

The scaled ones, all in metallic shades of blue and bronze and gold and red seemed to receive the bulk of her attention, for not only were they on the outermost, easiest to reach rack, but they bore evidence of abuse upon their soles. As Ari floated nearer he reached out automatically in anticipation of examining those scales closer, but his fingers drifted through the heels and straight through the rack.

He grimaced in annoyance. “Invisibility would have been better than this,” he said to himself.

A loud snort startled him from his perusing of Jasmine’s collection of high heels. He twisted his neck to see down the dark hallway where three doorways rather than two cast deeper shadows upon the carpet. That’s right. Jasmine was in a B apartment. An extra room for her then, but with no family or partner to share it with. So what might she do in that room? Not a guest bedroom, surely; she wasn’t the type. An office? But no, her computer sat on the table at the far end of the sectional. So what…

A sudden glee made him grin, a laugh bubbling up inside of him that could only be staunched with two hands slapped over his mouth. Oh, this was perfect. He had access to the entire building. Everyone asleep. No one aware of his presence. As long as he kept quiet, that was.

“I could see everything,” he whispered with an evil chuckle. Another snort, this one louder and followed with heavy snoring. He froze, his body slowly churning through the air as Jasmine’s snoring quieted once more.

As his body leveled out, he began a calculated swimming maneuver. Arm up and over, legs kicking. Head pointed toward Jasmine’s hallway. He thought maybe air would be as easy to move within as water as soon as he focused.

“Oh…whoops.”

He’d thought wrong.

With another sigh, Ari went spinning. “I’m turning into a damn cartoon cat,” he said on a barely controlled chuckle as he cart-wheeled across Jasmine’s living room, upward through her hallway and straight into the ceiling.

Just before his head disappeared into the mess of piping and wood and concrete that he could scarcely see at all, he caught a glimpse of Jasmine’s extra room, the door ajar and beyond dresses and dressers and a vanity with a giant mirror and shelving with bins of which he could only assume were filled with more clothing and accessories. All of it as neat and organized as the rest of her apartment.

“Oh,” he said a moment later with a disappointed pout at the concrete in front of his face. “A treasure room. How boring.”

Tune in on Tuesday, June 13th, for the next installment of Ari’s Tour: The Rooftop Garden and the Terror of Heights.

This is a teaser for my novel Bridle the Unicorn. On sale now for only $0.99.

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