6 Nights of Midnight: 4 – Important People

There’s a gallery on Vine, a narrow but deep storefront under the curator’s apartment, a very small thing pressed against the side of one of the mountains.  The curator, one Joel Sebastian, was born in Midnight and plans to die in Midnight.

The current exhibit showcases the photography of Mileah Warde, who works at The Midnight Sun.  She manages to access inaccessible places.  She sees the angles, the shadow and light, the rooms and people no one’s supposed to see.  They say she’s even been to shoot the prisoner up in The Dungeon, but of course no one believes in such a place.

The exhibit’s titled, “Important People”, and includes portraits of Mrs. Sharpe, first grade teacher; Tristan Collier, electrician, whose wife is both thrilled and disappointed by his inclusion; Mai Xin, street vendor, who speaks not a word of English; Tom Brown, ticket collector at Central Station; and an anonymous homeless man who gets a roll of pennies from the bank every Friday so he can leave the coins in random places, heads up, so the people who find them can have all the luck he never had.

It’s a small gallery, but important people can be seen here and there.  Michael de Luca, whose business is none of yours, makes a purchase.  Mayor Carrington smiles and shakes hands and answers to The Duke.  The Wandering Reverend does not go in, but stands outside a while, nodding and greeting almost everyone by name.

Before the reception ends, Mileah Warde steps outside.  “I have a photo of you, too,” she says.  There is also a snake, or smoke, or an unreal shadow in that picture.

“That was a fear years ago,” he tells her.

“You haven’t changed.”

He smiles.  It’s not a joyful smile.  “You have.”

After a moment, Mileah Warde nods and goes back to her reception without a word.  She ignores the Wandering Reverend for the remainder of the night.  She mingles with guests and politicians and enigmatic strangers and shifty liars and ass kissers and widows and poets and criminals and other important people.

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