on the sink before they had slid down the drain, clogging it.
Only DeeDee could turn her perfectly normal bundle of training material into an abnormal mess for her sister to clean up. Again.
Kiva was sick of all the Squaggleses, and even sicker of cleaning them up, but she didn’t really have a choice. No one besides the two sisters knew that the different shapes DeeDee put together every evening were all called Squaggles, and Kiva planned to keep it that way. Slacking on evening prep-work assigned to help her with Guild Training might earn her extra exercises but wasting perfectly good materials to make an imaginary friend would mark DeeDee as possible Facilitator material.
As good as DeeDee was at creating trouble, however, she was even better at getting out of it. Whenever Aunt Agnes asked what she was doing with that day’s materials, DeeDee would always say she was practicing the Cultivator Knot, or the Erector Barrier Bond, or whatever the Guild-Prep task of the day was. And when Aunt Agnes started locking the door to the basement so that DeeDee wouldn’t disturb their mom during the few hours of sleep their mom was able to get between shifts—DeeDee still managed to sneak down there, somehow, and even come up with a great excuse about where she’d been when asked. She said it so quickly and confidently that sometimes, even Kiva bought it.
As soon as they were alone, however, DeeDee would start whispering secrets to her latest Squaggles and promise that, one
day, they’d all see what she could do. She always seemed to have some secret plan, a plan beyond getting into a Guild, that she never told anyone but Squaggles about.
Kiva looked in the bathroom mirror and wondered what her plan would be if she wasn’t always worried about Selection Day. She searched her face for some clue, some indication that she was more than just the girl “too distracted by nonsense to be selected” that her aunt saw, more than the older daughter who was usually forgotten by her overworked mother, more than the trainee whose Eastern neighborhood address made others in her class chuckle and sneer. She looked in the mirror, but all she saw were the same dark tadpole eyes, nut-colored skin, and Agnes-cut, spiky black hair as always.
She sighed at her reflection, disappointed. What had she expected to see? The fact that other eleventh-cyclers had already been in Guilds for two cycles said it all: Kiva Stone was no one going nowhere with no idea of how to change that.
The sudden boom of the weather report made her jump. Kiva leaned out the window to hear better—even though the Destinators used enormous drums, the beats didn’t always carry clearly to Kiva’s neighborhood, as it was one of the oldest and farthest to the East. She tilted her head up, hoping the forecast would give her hope that this might finally be the day when... no, she sighed as she heard the same rhythmic report as yesterday. It would be another stifling hot, bone dry day, the third... no, the