Home > I am Just Junco #5 - Return

I am Just Junco #5 - Return
Author: J.A. Huss

J.A. Huss - I am Just Junco #5 - Return

Return (I am Just Junco #5)
J.A. Huss

sf/fantasy/romance/new adult/young adult




Pillar Seven

It’s weird.

Not having wings, that is. And being dead. Inside this Pillar with my twine.

Especially since she’s not here. But that’s Junco for you. Always doing shit her own way. But at least when she was on Earth before her morph she tried to follow orders. Now? I let out a long breath. Now, she’s not interested in what anyone says. Not Gideon, not Tier, not Lucan, not Caleb, not Sera, not anyone from what I’ve seen.

She just does not give a f**k and that’s bad news for us.

I study the virtual programmed into Pillar Seven so we can connect and finish what we started. It’s the same one she had with Charlie. The old wooden dock. The mountain lake. And the cabin.

I want to go check it out but it feels wrong somehow to be here without her. To see her personal place. So I stand here on the edge of the dock and wait.

The sun never sets. The water never gets rough. The temperature never changes. It’s just total stagnation.

“Who are you?”

I turn abruptly and stare at the child. “Who the f**k are you?” She’s small, maybe eight or nine human years. Brown hair, pink shirt, cut-off denim shorts, and pink flip-flops.

“I asked you first.”

She looks like Junco. If Junco was a sweet kid. I’m doubting Junco was ever sweet and I’ve never been able to picture her as a child even though she’s not much bigger than a child, fully grown.

“I’m a friend of Junco’s. Her twine, in fact, which makes us like twins.”

She snorts at me and crosses her arms over her chest. “I don’t think so, mister. If anyone’s Junco’s twin, it’s me.”

“Fine,” I say as I scratch the stubble on my chin. “You can be the twin. Now tell me who you are.”

She stalks around me in a circle, eyeing me, looking me up and down like she’s studying me. Like I’m a specimen. Her flip-flops smack against her feet with each step and I can’t help it, I laugh.

She disappears.

“Hey!” I look around. I walk back to the cabin, I even go inside. But the child is gone. “Junco!”


“Goddamn it, Junco. What the f**k?”

Was that little girl her? I sigh loudly even though there’s no one to hear me, and then rack my brain trying to remember who the f**k is in the Pillars on either side of me. I just didn’t pay that much attention when the job was being explained. I know who’s in all the Pillars—that piece of shit Kush who I will personally eviscerate if I see him. That damn Charlie, who got Junco pregnant which led to that bout of instability back on Earth before she morphed. And Aren. God, this is like a nightmare of Junco’s ex-boyfriends. Then there’s that little f**k Isec, who almost got her killed on numerous occasions. And my brothers—Braun and Mish.

Yeah, so I can remember all of them—like I said, I know who’s part of the plan. But I need to know who’s on either side of me if I want to connect with someone other than Junco. Who was in charge of Irin’s Pillar? And Moju’s?


This isn’t helping.

I sit down on the dock and then lie back, basking in the fake sunshine and flipping my bare feet through the water—how weird is that? To have feet instead of talons? Being wingless is sorta cool, but I sure hope this isn’t permanent. I miss my old self.

“She’s not answering me.”

I stand up and turn around. The little girl is back.


She wipes her arm across her nose and sniffs loudly. “Junco, dummy. Junco’s supposed to be here and she’s not. So I went up farther and I can feel her, but she’s not answering me. Tier said I have to tell her—”

“Tier? You talked to Tier?”

She sniffs again. “Yes. He said I’m supposed to tell her the Magpie myth because Gideon—”

“Wait the f**k up. OK, let’s start this again. Who the hell are you?”

She stops for a second and squints her eyes. Sizing me up. Or trying to decide if I’m lying. She narrows them a little more and her flat expression turns into a scowl. “Are you trying to intimidate me?” I laugh.

She turns away.

“Wait, hold on there, kid. I’m just trying to get some answers. OK? I’m supposed to meet Junco here, like you, I guess. I’m Isten, her twine. That means we’re connected via consciousness. I can sorta feel her, like you said, but she’s not here. I’m her proxy for the Seventh Pillar, I’m part of the Halo, so if you have more information than that, I need to hear it, OK?”

“Isten.” She says it softly. “The one in her head?”

“Yeah.” I nod. “Yeah, I’m the one in her head. But she’s…” I search for a word to try to describe what Junco is right now. It’s not easy. Describing the twine relationship is never easy, but now I’m in another universe and she’s inside this Pillar but yet not. “She’s missing, like you said. I can’t feel her at all even though I should be able to seek her out and pull her towards me mentally.” Her eyes soften a little and I get a little hopeful. “Tell me who you are. Are you Junco?”

She nods. “I am Junco, but just a little part. I’m HOUSE.”

“HOUSE? The AI from the house in the Rural Republic?”

“Yes, Tier sent me up here. I was dying. Well, my body was sublimating on Earth, it was only meant to last a week or so after deposition, so Tier took me to the Sagitta Building and shot me up into the Pillar. Junco was dissipated.”

I stare hard at her. “Do I look like a f**king chemist or something? Explain that in baby words, OK?”

She grunts. “Inanna made me real, I died, and then Junco and Inanna had a big fight with SEAR knives inside the Pillar and they scattered themselves. Better?”

It’s my turn to grunt now. “So, she f**ked up the whole plan? Great.”

“You’re not very smart, you know. It’s your fault she went crazy in the first place.”

“Yeah? How ya figure that?”

“You left her.”

“That was always part of the plan, HOUSE. I was always gonna die. We’ve all got a Destiny, she’s got hers, and this one’s mine.”

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