I. The Unrequited RaceMonochromatic
Ambris Knot had a strange name.
Well, not a strange name, just one that didn’t sound all that nice or interesting and certainly not one that, according to her editor, would inspire people to pick up her books. Her several archaeological non-fiction books had sold moderately well, but had never been the inspired hits she thought they deserved to be.
You should try fiction, her editor had said after she’d confessed she was frustrated. All these archaeology books, they’re fine and all, they are, but maybe putting them in action is what you need. An adventure novel for young adults! Try it out.
As she made her way towards the library at exactly seven in the morning, wrapped up in a big shawl and a hat that hid her graying hair, Ambris Knot told herself she wasn’t a fiction writer.
Well, to be fair, which her editor often forced her to be, she hadn’t tried it yet. She’d written a few fiction stories back when she was in college several, several, several years ago, but…
As she reached Liberty Plaza, she took a cold breath that might have frosted her heart if the sight of her dear friend hadn’t warmed it first.
There, right by the entrance of the plaza, a much, much younger woman spun her wheelchair around, her brown hair with gray streaks tied up into a ponytail.
“Oh, hey!” the young woman exclaimed upon seeing Ambris. “Missus K!”
“Daring Sun,” greeted Ambris, smiling warmly. “Early as always.”
“Well, yeah,” Daring replied, a grin shining on her face. “We’re racing today, right?”
Ambris’ smile vanished and pushed up her glasses.
“As ever, dear girl, the answer is no,” Ambris replied, striding forwards towards the distant library. “I’m too old to race anybody.”
“Awwww! But it’s good for you! And this will be good practice for when I race my dad at the Olympic Stadium in Braysil!” Daring insisted, wheeling herself to match Ambris’ speed. “Look, Missus K, you’re ancient, I’m in a wheelchair—the playing field is even!” When Ambris rolled her eyes, Daring sped up a little. “Come on! You can do it!”
“You say that about everything, child.”
“Do it! It’ll be the race of the century! Head Librarian versus Star Volunteer!” Without waiting for a reply, Daring wheeled off towards the library. “Daring Sun takes the lead! Will Ambris Knot lose yet again?!”
“How can I lose a race I’m not even participating in?!”