Dog Days in Hotlanta – Chapter 41: Nighttime Brood

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I got another e-mail from Karina today. Last night for her time zone, I guess.

For a few hours, I sort of put off even looking at it. I’ve been so busy with the mystery hunting that I wasn’t sure my emotional state could handle whatever she sent. But you know what? I’m at home now, and I’m relaxing before the big day tomorrow—the Summer Festival. R8PR told me to do just that, despite the stress, despite the impending death and destruction if literally anything goes wrong with our plans. Like usual, I guess the robot’s got something up his nonexistent sleeve that might save the day, and also like usual, he’s not letting me in on the details.

So I might as well get this e-mail out of the way now. Even though I’m not sure this qualifies as relaxing, either.

Let’s get on my desktop and open it…


Hi, Morgan.

Sorry I haven’t sent you anything in a while. Some big stuff came up, and I couldn’t use my computer much. It’s not much good news.

My Grandma passed away. The funeral was pretty big, but I didn’t know anyone there. It wasn’t that sad, though. She was really peaceful in the last few days, and she helped me with something very important. I miss her already, but she knew it was her time.

It’s a little too hard to explain, but I’m also not coming back yet. It might be more than a month left. Please don’t be mad at me >_> I probably can’t do school in the fall semester, though. I’ll be behind on school, but maybe we can hang out more when I get back!

I saw your email about Dogsitter. It’s really that good?! Damn, I want to see it, but movies don’t come to Japan for a really long time after the rest of the world. They haven’t even released Spider-Man 5 here yet, believe it or not. That’s another thing we’ve got to do when I get back; another movie night.

I miss you and everyone else a whole lot. Don’t forget about me, please :’)

…And that’s what Karina wrote me.

With all the time delays, with how busy we’ve both apparently been, our email exchanges have been so slow they’re practically nothing. But every time I get one, it feels like my heart’s going to explode with stress. Then when I actually read the thing, it’s perfectly normal.

Maybe I just have an anxiety disorder.

Or, maybe I just feel the overwhelming weight of the things we left unresolved. Why, oh why did I have to tell her I love her? Then why did we have to kiss? Whatever kind of sappy nonsense it was, it’s sort of eaten me up on the inside over time, probably because I don’t even know if I feel that way anymore.

I think Karina and I are the best friends ever, but could we really be more than that? Should we?

Maybe not. Maybe let’s just keep things like they were before they got stupidly complicated. My feelings are so mixed that I can’t even decide if I love myself, let alone if I love her. I can’t actually TELL her that, though, because she’s been overseas all this time and I certainly won’t say “lol let’s just be friends” over the internet; that’s just cruel.

We never dated, but it feels sort of like a breakup anyway, in a bizarre way. A breakup due entirely to my own moodiness. It’s definitely just me overblowing this, though; Karina has a whole life separate from me, and even if we’re best friends, there’s a lot we don’t share. Dating would just close that gap in uncomfortable ways that she probably isn’t willing to let happen.

So, no more thinking about Karina and me and love all in the same span. Unless we are talking about how we both love Genesis Crush.

Still, I care about her so much, and whatever important things are going on in her life, I’m there for her to support her. She’s going through a rough time with her Grandma, and I just hope there’s people in her family that can be there for her.

Part of me wants to send a response that tells the truth about everything going on in my life. I’m wrapped up in two huge mysteries that are BOTH threatening to destroy Atlanta, and somehow it all revolves around J-District. I think she’d get a kick out of hearing about the insane hero stuff I’ve been forced to do, and if she learned the truth about me and Bronco Bill, it’d brighten the rest of her year (and also I would be humiliated to the point of spotaneous coma).

I almost want to type on my keyboard, “Hey, Karina. Guess what? I’m going to the Summer Festival tomorrow in J-District, and I’m taking on the whole Japanese mob. So if you don’t hear from me ever again, just know you were always the coolest kid on the block.” Something like that.

But I could never dream of actually sending that.

Instead, I type the most sincere, least revealing response I can:


Im happy you sent a new message. Dont worry about the other stuff. itll be okay and your too smart to fall behind in school. Sorry to hear about your grandma though.

Ill be at the airport whenever you arrive, even if its like a year from now. you wont be forgotten by this kid here.

See you whenever.

Just a generic nice message that says nothing about my life-risking behaviors, nothing about the Ascendants, and certainly nothing about Anime Attic. That’ll be good enough for now, and I’ll spill the beans on the rest of it when she gets back.

Now, for the rest of this evening, I decide to sleep early.

The Summer Festival is tomorrow, which means I have just about half a day to prevent massive damage to the entire city. That’s at a level of stress so high that I pretty much can’t think about it, or else I’ll have a panic attack.

Better to sleep now, get refreshed for tomorrow, and THEN have the panic attack. That way I’ll be ready to fight when it happens.

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