As Bailey passed by the mouth of an alley, a bright flash of color and light caught her attention. The most beautiful music she’d ever heard filled her mind and lured her out of the sunlight. She was so focused on the light that she didn’t see the raggedy woman lounging in an old refrigerator box.
“Hey, watch where you’re going,” the woman protested as the mesmerized teen bumped into the box.
“I’m sorry,” Bailey said, jolted back to reality by the woman’s harsh voice. “I was just…”
“You were chasing something special, weren’t you, girl?” the woman said with a wheezy chuckle. The wrinkles in her pale face twisted like a road map on her skin as she smiled. “Old Aya, she always knows when someone comes chasing one of them.”
“Them?” Bailey asked.
Aya held up her hand. The light Bailey was following fluttered down and settled just above the old woman’s palm. It darted here and there above the old homeless woman’s hand. It looked like she wanted to fly off but was held by something.“Interesting little thing, isn’t she?”
“What is she?” Bailey asked.
Aya smiled, showing a distinct lack of proper dental hygiene. “She’s a Glitter Wisp.” She extended her dirt covered hand. “Watch.” Aya closed her fingers around the light. It went out, and the music stopped. A moment later, Aya opened her hand again.
A piece of faceted yellow topaz glittered on her palm. Bailey’s eyes narrowed. “This is one of those stupid sleight of hand things, isn’t it?” she asked suspiciously. “My mom told me that there were a lot of street people who would try and beg money off of me with these kinds of tricks.”
“Your mom sounds like a sensible woman,” Aya said with a snort. “This is what happens when you catch a Glitter Wisp. It’s how they protect themselves. Otherwise the poor dears would be pecked to death by magpies and crows.” Bailey heard a rustling sound. She looked up, and saw a bunch of crows staring down at her. Aya set the crystal down on the edge of her box. “Watch.”