anything beyond

The morning after they made the shrine, Bill came over to set up Sophie's account on line so they could put the shrine site up. "Not with a credit card," Sophie said. "Not on your life. I won't have those data hungry buzzards flapping around my site. Not on your life I won't."

"Good God woman. Everybody uses a credit card. You can't help it nowadays." Bill spluttered, spilling his coffee and just missing the keyboard.

"Everyone but me. You find me a way to do this without involving those soul-zapping, identity-thieving vultures or else," Sophie threatened as she wiped it up.

Bill shook his head slowly and spent the next four hours calling ISPs, trying to find one that would take an account without a credit card. He finally found Cheap Internet Service Provider, a Denver based company that still refused credit cards and took checks only--as long as the customer paid for six months in advance. Sophie wrote out a check for five years in advance and then called in Amy to witness it. "I want this in my will," she said. "You pay these guys to keep that site up forever. Or I will find out why."

Sophie waited until Amy was out of the house before turning on the computer and checking the shrine. She pasted pictures of oranges and rice for Yuki and the others until Amy complained that the screen was too sticky to see through. Then she sprinkled salt around the keyboard, carefully sweeping it up before Amy got home.

After two weeks, Sophie noticed that the web images of the photographs were dogeared, as though someone had been folding back the corners to get to the other side. Sophie watched as the creases in the images increased ever so slightly. Then she set her trap.

Sophie took her old, unusable credit cards and pasted them to the computer while Amy was at school. She checked back on them every hour. Sure enough, one of the corners was bent a wee bit, and the holograph of the TransWorld Credit's circling globe was scratched, the kind of scratches that insubstantial fingers would make, scrabbling for their lost identity.

Sophie knew for certain then.

joining the / river's flow / is the only / way to / welcome in / anything beyond / our skin

if there are / other waters / we can not / know them / all we see / in rivers / is their presence

Follow us all: Amy/Anna, Sophie/Yuki, Kit/Richard, minor characters or sift through water leavings and river journeys.