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            A wizard is never home. His daughter mans the house, which is more of a library, which is more of a tower, which is more of an obsidian spiral spiking up from the desert wasteland. A twisted thorn insulated with books and places to sleepa day bed, a fold-out couch. From the observatory’s grated floor she hangs paper cranes by strands of synthetic starlight that trickle down the stairwell. Dust particles float like fireflies in the moonglow, each following the tock of a different clock, on a different floor, set to a different time around the world.

            A wizard is never tidy. The gramophone crackles from years of abuse. His daughter cannot compete with the centuries, no matter how much she cleans. Maps of Atlantis and folded pizza slices shoved on the shelves between books on Latin, Greek, CSS coding, and Selkie. Her favorite is The Mystery of Mermaids. If she traces her family line far enough, she has a grandmother who was born of the sea. That is why, when she wakes, her mouth is filled with salt.

            A wizard is never strict. His daughter spends her days reading, studying spells at will and banging the refrigerator back to life. There are no fights. She eats eye of newt for breakfast and Cheetos for dinner. She plays with her cat. Black. Named Snowball. Who is, if nothing else, a good listener.

            A wizard is never in touch. His daughter dreams of the adventures he is having—weaving myth out of thin air—while she pulls on her rubber boots and Ray-Bans for her nightly walk. Her cat runs off to chase a moth. On the radio, the forecast calls for clear skies with a chance of meteor showers. She grabs an umbrella.

            A wizard is always just beyond the horizon. Saving someone else. In another time. In another story.