Warning Signs 3

crik-crik. Jimmy turned toward the sound of tearing paper, saw Dan opening the envelope. Instinctively he began walking away, but was stopped when Dan waved at him to remain as he removed the single sheet of folded paper from the envelope, unnfolded, and read.

Jimmy could see writing on both sides of the sheet. The handwriting was small. “Our friend has a lot to say.”

Dan grunted, furrows on his forehead growing. Behind the two men, Double-J and Annie continued their bout. They were the only two team members who remained at practice. The volunteer coach of the fencing team turned the paper over, his eyes scanning rather than reading the words, then handed the paper to Jimmy.

“You should read this.”

Jimmy took the paper reluctantly. “Why’s that?”

Dan’s forefinger flicked the paper, pap. “Read the second sentence.”

Jimmy read the letter, his lips pursing a moment later. “Ain’t that lovely.”

“Annie.” Dan walked past Jimmy as he called to his team captain, at a break in her bout. “A word, please.” She took off her mask, waved a quick salute at Double-J, who returned a perfunctory salute; she took a step towards him before remembering he refused to shake hands after practice bouts. Dan flicked his head back at Jimmy. “Mr. Saunders, I believe you and Double-J were working on head cuts?”

In all his lessons with Double-J, they hadn’t worked with head cuts at all. “Of course!”

“Continue.” Dan placed a hand on Annie’s shoulder, began guiding her away from the makeshift strip.

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