Oddly enough, the first time he’d been summoned to this world had been the least overwhelming. There had been a lot of time to consider why that was, but finding the answer wasn’t easy. Emil had come to only one conclusion: this world was getting worse.
“I don’t know why you insist on watching the news all the time,” Cassie muttered. She stuffed the extra-large t-shirt she claimed passed as pajamas into her bag. She didn’t pause to listen to the newscaster’s voice.
“A young boy went missing this morning. His mother says he’d been playing in the backyard when he disappeared…”
“It’s good to know what’s going on in the world,” Emil said. He caught Cassie’s eye and softly raised his eyebrows. Or what eyebrows he had, anyway. His fox-like form never did allow for much facial expression.
Humans had always had their vices. Slavery. War. Infidelity. Torture. However, in the past, Emil had found that people had largely been kind to each other. If someone needed help, they could find it.
By no means could he say his job had always been easier because of it. That all depended on who summoned him. None of his masters were looking for a conscience when they opened his box, but they were all looking for something. Riches, sometimes, or a solution to a problem. A second chance. There had been some masters who didn’t truly need him; they’d been able to do what was right all on their own. Then there had been others—people who rarely, if at all, listened to Emil’s advice.
Cassie, like most of his masters, fell somewhere in the middle.
She glanced toward the TV, then shook her head. She turned her back on it and slipped into the small bathroom.
Emil held in the sigh that rose in his chest. The first rule of his kind was to show as little emotion as possible. A conscience wasn’t meant to get angry or flustered. It just helped its master find the right thing to do. So Emil reined himself back in and focused on the TV.
“The small community is still reeling from this weekend’s shooting, which killed three students and…”
“I just need to finish packing, then we can go,” Cassie called from the bathroom.
Emil nodded, fully aware that she couldn’t see him. It didn’t matter much; she knew he agreed. He’d been the one to convince her in the first place.
It was his first real, big accomplishment with Cassie, convincing her to go home. He hoped there would be more to come.
Cassie was young, with a long life ahead of her. Emil would be with her until it ended. He had no choice in that. He would do his best to make sure she did good. Maybe he could even convince her to help others do the same.
“The victim remembers little of her assailant. She told police he wore a mask and gloves, exposing only…”
“Almost done,” Cassie said as she walked out of the bathroom. She dropped a few bottles and a toothbrush into her bag, then turned to scan the room. “What’s missing?”
Emil watched her. He waited quietly as she finished picking up the few items she’d unpacked the night before. When she was finished, she zipped the bag closed and sighed. “Okay,” she said, “it’s time to go.”
“The news isn’t over yet,” Emil said. He turned to face the TV, but kept half an eye on Cassie.
“Of course it’s not over. This is an all-day news channel.”
“It repeats the same stories every hour.”
Cassie stared at him for another moment. Then she shrugged and dropped herself down to sit beside him. “So, what’s going on in the world?”
Emil smiled inside, but refrained from answering.
“The bomb landed near a civilian hospital. Officials estimate…”
Yes, Cassie had the potential to do a lot of good in this world. And a lot of good was exactly what this world needed.