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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

Everybody’s Got A Hungry Heart

Val stepped into their room, drying her hair off from the swim. “You know, Jack,” she said, smiling. “All things considered, you did a pretty good job in Salagia.”

“Yeah,” Jack laughed sadly. “I only lost half the team.”

Val clucked her tongue. “And saved all of Salagia, and probably the world. You held your own against demons, elementals and all the natives Salagia could throw at you.”

“You should be a merchant, Val,” Jack smiled. “I almost believe you.”

“Shush,” Val said, putting a finger to his lips. “Tonight’s our time. No more leader, just my Jack.”

“I... I love you, Val,” Jack said.

John Yearlate awoke in a flop sweat, completely disoriented. Where he was didn’t take more than a few seconds of figuring out: it was the house John had built for Tamarissa Cage. When wasn’t much worse. It was the night after the wedding; Tama’s gown was still lying across the far chair.

The real thinker was who John Yearlate was.

“Flark,” he muttered to himself, wondering as he did what the flark “flark” meant. Here John was with everything he was sure he ever wanted: a union card and a wedding coat, a simple existence in a peaceful place with good friends and a woman who loved him. So why was some back recess of his heart choosing now to flood him with memories of another woman and another time?

Jackson, he suspected, would understand this.

John was hit by another wash of deja vu then, but not bittersweet memories of beautiful Val with the sad eyes this time. This time it was more of a premonition, a desperate feeling that he was needed somehow. My friend is in danger. John Yearlate had no idea why he felt this so powerfully, and his rational mind was ready to laugh it off and get back into Tama’s warm bed, if he hadn’t cracked the blinds just then to see Jackson Cage, guitar slung unmistakably over one unsleeved shoulder, disappearing into the Hotel.


The carpenter blinked, his hand still on the front doorknob. “Janey? What are you still doing up?”

The girl’s eyes were dark with an indescribable sorrow. “Are you leaving us, Johnny?”

“No!” John said, stunned. “No, of course not, Janey. I--” John shook his head. Not enough time. “It’s Jackson,” he yelled, over his shoulder. “He’s in trouble. I’ll be back. Tell your mother!”

John Yearlate took off at a run.

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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

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