by Tom Lichtenberg
Copyright 2010 Tom Lichtenberg
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Sapphire and Alex
Sapphire was tall for her age, and strong. She was the terror of the fifth grade dodge ball class, but the star of the volleyball team. She was fearless, bold, and constantly in motion. At night she tossed and turned in her sleep and often wound up on the floor along with her blankets. Life for this girl was non-stop adventure, which is why her friend Alex liked to be around her, even if she didn't know when to stop, which could be a problem sometimes. You never knew what it was going to be next, but it was going to be something, that was for sure.
Alex was also ten, and it seemed like they'd known each other forever. They made an odd couple - he was shorter, thinner, and had long shaggy blond hair. From a distance he looked to be the girl and her the boy, with her height and her jet black hair cut short and straight. He was also quieter and by far the more cautious of the two. Alex liked to study things first, puzzle them out, come to an understanding and then mess around. With Sapphire it was jumping in with both feet first and only then considering the consequences.
Together they'd progressed from sandbox to mud puddles, creek walking and ice skating, tree climbing and skate boarding, and every good thing along the way. Now at ten years old they were ready to branch out, see the world, get out there and be life size, even if they weren't quite yet.
"Now's the time", Sapphire declared, and Alex agreed. They'd already decided on code names. She was to be known as Cipher, and he was to be Aleph. It was perfect. Code names first and then disguises and masks. Or maybe not. Cipher was still deciding about that. As for Aleph, he was poring over his collection of official city bus maps, one from each of the past nine years. He had the idea that if you're out to discover the world, a bus map is a decent place to begin.