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How Was Your Day? - Chapter 9.3

by Querencia


Finnley just stared at Henry. He had not, in fact, come to this conclusion at all. He was still muddling through what little he knew of the antique shop, trying to figure out how everything could fit together. The words "not stationary" echoed around and around in his head.

"Well, perhaps that isn't exactly the best way to put it," Henry reconsidered. "There's only the one shop, and I suppose it stays in place somewhere. But the doors... they open anywhere they're needed. Nearly everywhere." Finnley didn't think this further explanation helped much. His head was hurting a bit. He searched behind him for a chair and fell into it. It wasn't the first strange thing he'd seen here, but still. Couldn't just one thing be normal for once?

Finnley heard the clattering of boots on the stairs before the wild haired woman swept down them, a steaming mug clasped in her hands. She briskly nodded to Henry and Finnley, and he hardly had time to blink before she had whisked out the door. Mr. Vaughn descended the steps much more slowly, as if some fresh weight had been added to his shoulders. He took one look at the pair, and the weight seemed to get heavier.

"Come here and let me get that music box all sorted out for you, Henry," he said, sitting down heavily into the chair behind his desk. It let out a creak of protest. Henry turned around and set the music box in front of him, pulling his wallet from his pocket.

Finnley tuned out of the transaction. Inside, he was a torrent of questions and possibilities. He couldn't think of any way to explain the store, not in all the endless knowledge he'd learned from school and libraries and hard studying. No scientific explanation, at least. It shouldn't have been possible, and yet it was. Then, a single word whispered up from the depths of his mind: magic. That word seemed to cover it all, but what did it truly mean?

Having paid for his fiancé's gift, Henry headed for the door. "I do hope we meet again, Finnley. I'm certain that we will if you continue to frequent this shop; I come back here often, and now, perhaps, more frequently than before." He had already pulled open the door, but he looked back briefly at Finnley, and his eyes were soft. "Take care of yourself, Finnley. Things are changing." Then he left, leaving Finnley in the wake of his words, which seemed to echo the past few weeks of his life. Mr. Vaughn sighed, snapping his attention back to the man.

"I didn't want to tell you any of this at first," he started, then rubbed his face with a rough hand and sighed again. "But I'm an old man, and not nearly as subtle as I used to be. Henry's never been subtle at all. When you came into the shop, I could see it in your eyes- the need. The need for a job, for the money to help your family, for a scrap of normalcy and consistency in your torn up life. I truly wanted to give it to you, but this isn't exactly the right place for any of that.

"The woman who just came in was my sister. She watches things in places I can't always be- this shop is my home." Mr. Vaughn's gaze was a bit unfocused, as if gazing into some past or future that Finnley couldn't discern. "She didn't have good news. Things are stirring, and not just here. Some creatures have been around for centuries, existing in the subconscious and being passed off as a mystery or trick of the mind. You've met at least one of them, I believe, in that Wyoming forest. It's unusual, that forest; I'd almost call it an epicenter- but the point is, there are creatures that have been slumbering for an age, and they begin to awaken."

Finnley stared blankly at Mr. Vaughn, trying hopelessly to process everything he was hearing. Mr. Vaughn had seen these creatures, he knew about them, there were more and they were waking up. And it was a traveling store. He let out a short, incredulous laugh. Of all the things...

Mr. Vaughn pulled himself back to the present and leaned forward. "Look. You can have the job right here and now- I'll pay you twenty dollars an hour and you can work whenever you can; I'd like to have you most weekdays, but we can negotiate. You can pretend that nothing is going on, but whatever to believe, something is going on and this job will never be normal."

The job could still be his. He could do something interesting and make enough money to supplement his mother's pay and support them. He could unravel some of the mysteries that had begun to plague him, but it would mean accepting a great deal of insanity that he hadn't even thought existed before, and some part of him still rebelled every time he thought about these impossibilities.

"There's no way I can ignore the fact that something's happening," Finnley murmured to himself. "Not when Mia and I are already so caught up in it." He locked eyes with Mr. Vaughn and was surprised to find a small piece of himself looking back at him.

"I can come in every day after school except Mondays, and I can work most Saturdays," Finnley declared, but it was more decisive than pompous. "And if you would, sir, I'd like to know some more about all of this business of creatures and moving stores too."

Mr. Vaughn smiled. "I thought you might say that. Be aware, though, that although this information won't be confidential, you shouldn't have a loose tongue. There are some who would abuse such information, so don't share it with anyone unless quite necessary- I understand that your friend Mia would, of course, need to know. Do we have a deal?" He held out his calloused hand, eyes searching through Finnley's soul.

He shook Mr. Vaughn's hand. "We have a deal."


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Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:58 pm
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DarkPandemonium wrote a review...



Hii, Querencia. Pan back again for another review.

"Well, perhaps that isn't exactly the best way to put it," Henry reconsidered. "There's only the one shop, and I suppose it stays in place somewhere. But the doors... they open anywhere they're needed. Nearly everywhere."


Off-topic point, but this idea is NEAT. I need shops like Mr Vaughn's. If I could open my front door and step straight into a supermarket, I'd never be more than twenty feet from a chocolate bar. Or a bookshop. On the other hand, my self restraint would go straight out of the window and I would never not be buying things.

Finnley didn't think this further explanation helped much. His head was hurting a bit. He searched behind him for a chair and fell into it. It wasn't the first strange thing he'd seen here, but still. Couldn't just one thing be normal for once?


I kind of find it strange that Finnley doesn't have more of a visible reaction. Like, there's no nervous laughter, no utterings of 'sorry, what did you say?', no kind of denial or certainty that he's misheard or misunderstood. Maybe it comes from the fact that he's already moderately accustomed to the idea of magic, but it means the shock doesn't quite ring true for me. This is a similar type of issue to what I mentioned about his attitude to Mr Vaughn in previous chapters, and how he seems weirdly unperturbed by him knowing things he shouldn't. I generally feel like you skirt around the mental fallout of uncomfortable revelations or trauma (because Finnley's pretty unaffected by his ordeal in the woods, too). That's probably an early-draft thing, because I know how annoying Feelings™ are to write when you've got PLOT to deal with.

Mr. Vaughn descended the steps much more slowly, as if some fresh weight had been added to his shoulders. He took one look at the pair, and the weight seemed to get heavier.


I like this pair of sentences. It's not massively poetic or monumental or anything, but I often feel that the best sentences rarely are. It's nice. I can picture it.

He couldn't think of any way to explain the store, not in all the endless knowledge he'd learned from school and libraries and hard studying. No scientific explanation, at least. It shouldn't have been possible, and yet it was. Then, a single word whispered up from the depths of his mind: magic.


Would he really be thinking like this? I feel he'd be primed to attribute it to magic from the off, given that it's hardly his first brush with the concept. I doubt he'd spend a moment thinking 'maybe science can explain this!' when he's been seeing what he thought was his sister's ghost for weeks on end. He's had a while to acclimatise to its existence, at the very least.

Instead, I'd maybe expect him to be shocked by how different this type of magic was. So far, he's only really experienced the evil, deceptive side of it - demons in forests and so forth - so his reaction might be more along the lines of 'woah, magic can do this as well?' I'm just spitballing here, because you know Finnley a lot better than I do, but it does strike me as odd for his mind to reach for science.

"The woman who just came in was my sister. She watches things in places I can't always be- this shop is my home." Mr. Vaughn's gaze was a bit unfocused, as if gazing into some past or future that Finnley couldn't discern. "She didn't have good news. Things are stirring, and not just here. Some creatures have been around for centuries, existing in the subconscious and being passed off as a mystery or trick of the mind. You've met at least one of them, I believe, in that Wyoming forest. It's unusual, that forest; I'd almost call it an epicenter- but the point is, there are creatures that have been slumbering for an age, and they begin to awaken."


Interesting interesting interesting. I'm particularly intrigued by him saying 'she watches things in places I can't always be - this shop is my home'. Is Mr Vaughn tied to this shop somehow? Can he not leave it, or at least not stray from it for long? Maybe that's the price for such powerful magic. I wonder.

My brain is kind of making links to Game of Thrones here, but then again 'ancient creatures stirring after hundreds of years asleep' is a pretty common fantasy trope. I have nothing against it, for the record, but I hope that the antagonists are still sufficiently interesting despite adhering to tropes. The problem with universally evil White Walker-like creatures is that they don't really have proper goals outside of wanting to kill and destroy things, which makes them less interesting to me. Either the creatures have to be really, really creepy, or they need to have some essence of humanity to make them interesting. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This was a good chapter! It got sufficiently more interesting in the second half with the revelation that the woman is Mr Vaughn's sister and Finnley's whole predicament is part of a larger issue - I'm a bit surprised Finnley didn't react to the coincidence of it all, to be honest. The one job he managed to land happens to be tied into his exact quest for the truth. I'd be freaking out thinking some strange forces were at work. Which I suppose there might be, if this shop appears for people who need it in some way...

Nevertheless, I am intrigued. I still think it would be good if this juicy reveal came a little later in the story; it would be good to meet Henry before he starts dropping bombshells and telling all, because we don't really get enough time to process his character. It would be good to see Mr Vaughn making more of an attempt to protect Finnley from the glaring lack of normality, as well, because we never really see him do that at present. It's just - BAM, welcome to your new job in the moving shop.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




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Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:56 am
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PrincessInk wrote a review...



20 DOLLARS/HOUR! Wow! That's a lot :)

And initially it was less than ten--Mr. Vaughn sees how much Finnley needs the money; plus, I bet he needs somebody in far-from-normal circumstances. It feels a little unrealistic to me to pay a teen *that* much, but I won't elaborate too much seeing BlueAfrica's review ;)

I was a little taken aback that Finnley wasn't surprised at the paycheck. I mean, come on, 20 bucks an hour is something big and I'm sure he and his mom will be SO excited to learn about it. Just wondering if that is bigger than his mom's own hourly salary? He was pretty calm about it and I thought that perhaps it could be improved by adding a little more emotional impact here.

And yeah, Finnley is definitely going to get a headache from the amount of information stuffed into him. This is a chapter where big revelations are going on. I'm excited to know how Finnley and Henry are going to interact from now on. Henry seems to understand what's going on in this place and maybe he might play a role--small or something--in these mysterious awakenings.

I don't have too much to critique on. I just want to say that I'm excited to figure out what happens next! I'm just spinning around scenarios of them trying to understand why these animals are awakening. So I'll be there next time :D

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Querencia says...


Henry might come back a bit. ;) Finn needs some more friends. XD And yep, I'm fixing up the whole twenty dollars thing to be a bit more realistic haha. I seriously, seriously struggle with knowing how far is too far in terms of pay and all that stuff.



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*eyes bug out of head*

TWENTY DOLLARS AN HOUR? Can I work there? "Supplement his mom's income" more like it's probably more income than his mom even brings in if he works full time. Good God, that's $800/week before taxes. I make barely more than half of that after four years. Holy crap.

*picks eyes up off floor and puts them back in head*

That was a typo, right? Or, I mean, if not, Finnley seriously needs to react there. Twenty dollars an hour??? You're lucky to make that in retail if you're a manager. Here he comes with no job experience whatsoever and previously told he'd make minimum wage, which in Wyoming is like $5.15/hour but outweighed by the federal minimum of $7.25, and now he's making $20. What. What. What.

I'm so enraged that I'm not a fictional character right now.

Okay so there was other stuff going on in this chapter but I honestly can't even get past this $20/hour right now. So I guess my only suggestion, if this is serious, is: reaction!!! Mr. Vaugh charges whatever people want to pay/can afford and said Finnley would make minimum wage - where is this money coming from? IS Mr. Vaughn secretly rich? Do they bring in wealth some way relating to monsters? Also: twenty dollars an hour!!!!!!! We're going to be rich!!!!!!

Like I'm just so completely stuck on that.

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Querencia says...


Mr. Vaughn is totally secretly rich but yeah it probably didn't need to be twenty dollars. XD I wanted it to be more than minimum wage and I was trying to figure out what good wages would really be but since I've still never actually had a paying job I'm struggling here. Maybe twelve dollars is more reasonable?? You know what, I'm honestly so terrible at this kind of thing. :p



BlueAfrica says...


Okay, I can help there! I make $12/hour after four years and several promotions at my job and nearly ten years' work experience in the same business. It would still be an amazing wage for a high schooler with no job experience, even though for me, an adult, it's just kind of "enough to pay the bills and maybe have a bit leftover" (assuming I have no children and live the average life for my state).

A living wage in Wyoming for an adult whose home is one adult/one child would be $21.29/hour for the adult (this assumes the child's not working) according to MIT's living wage calculator (that's only slightly higher than for my state). So if Mom is struggling, she maybe doesn't make this much (so you can see how $20/hour is like a LOT).

Now, federal minimum wage at the moment is only $7.25, so for most high schoolers, that's it - especially just starting off, in a state where the state minimum is actually below the federal. (Some states have a minimum wage higher than the federal, but Wyoming isn't one of them.) Good employers (like Starbucks) might pay a few bucks over minimum, so in a state where the required minimum is the federal $7.25, this employer might pay $9/hour for an entry level position, because they actually care and understand happy workers are good workers. $9/hour is actually pretty good for a high schooler in a midwestern state - that's closer to living wage for one person living alone and working full-time. Obviously he neither lives alone nor works full time, but that probably gives you a better idea.

If Mr. Vaugh wants to be really generous without going totally overboard, my current $12/hour is still kind of pushing it but a lot more believable than $20. Finnley would still be really excited (so would his mom) but without their eyes literally falling out onto the floor!



Querencia says...


Oh my goodness that helped so much!! Thank you. <3 It's kind of like realistic fiction but I'm much better with the fiction part. I've just wanted to explore and it's been a great story to write! I definitely needed the help on the job stuff, though, so thanks. :)



BlueAfrica says...


Any time :)




You cannot have an opponent if you keep saying yes.
— Richard Siken