Fiction LGBTQ+

*The next book in my series. See bio for order*

Arpina had a problem, and it was being caused by the two people she had come to love as family. Dana was moping around the office, and Robin was being too professional. They had gotten into a fight, and Arpina didn’t know why. Fortunately for Arpina, she knew how to sneak around from her time on Isla de Abundancia, and she knew how to solve mysteries from Robin’s lessons. It only took a few hours of digging to find the Project Songbird file folder. Arpina scoffed at how easy it was. 

“You’d think that such master investigators would be better at hiding things.” Arpina muttered as she settled against Dana’s bed, flipping through the papers. Robin’s neat handwriting made up several notes, with Dana’s sloppy scrawl in the margins. The graphs were circled and written over, and there was a photo of a woman who looked awfully like Dana. Then Arpina squinted at the shorter man in the picture. He may have been younger, but Arpina knew the calculating look in his eyes.

“The Regent.” She whispered, looking around the room as if he would materialize. The man who had killed her parents and raised her as his own stared at her impassively from the photo in her hand. She flipped it over.

Greg, Lizzie, and Virgil: Project Songbird

Was the Regent Greg or Virgil? If she went in order of people, that meant the Regent was Virgil. Somehow the name fit him. 

“Alright, Arpina.” She took a deep breath, “Let’s work through this. The Regent was part of a secret project. From what it looks like, it was a psychic experiment. This could explain why Dana was getting psychic interference from the palace. Something obviously went wrong because he traded his lab coat for a crown and started murdering people.” 

The front door opened, and Arpina shoved the folder under the bed. She tucked the picture into her pocket and slipped out of Dana’s room unnoticed.


It wasn’t until a week later that Arpina’s investigation picked up again. It started with the white envelope addressed to her. Dana had handed it off without a word, slumped over at the kitchen table.

“I’ll be at the office all day if you need me.” Robin said, pouring herself a mug of coffee, “Have a good day at school.”

“Have a good day at work.” Arpina countered, knowing Robin would not have a good day at work. 

“Watch the snark.” Robin shot back, walking past Dana as if she wasn’t there. Dana shivered and let out a long-suffering sigh. Arpina picked up her backpack and took the letter with her. She opened it on her way to school, familiar handwriting meeting her eyes.

Dana and Robin don’t understand yet. Meet me at three in the park.

Arpina was torn between crumpling the letter up and following the instructions. She decided to go to the park after school. If the Regent was there, perhaps he could give her some answers. She wasn’t scared of him. 

That was a lie, she was terrified.

Still, when school was over, she made her way to the park. Without his mask, the Regent looked less like an imposing ruler and more like he did in the photo. Of course, there were more lines in his face from age, and there was something in Virgil’s eyes that the Regent didn’t have. Arpina stared at him.

He’s missing the life in his eyes.

“I didn’t invite you here for you to watch me, you know.” The Regent said, patting the bench next to him. Arpina slowly sat down.

“How are you?” He asked lamely.

Arpina raised an eyebrow, “Why do you care? You killed my parents.”

“Are you still on about that? I did what I had to do. It was necessary for my plans, which you and those morons ruined.”

“Robin and Dana are better people than you will ever be.” Arpina crossed her arms, “I’d rather stay with them for a short time than live a hundred years with you, Virgil.”

The Regent took a deep breath. There was a vein on his forehead that seemed to be popping out.

“Do not call me by that name, child.”

“Virgil.” Arpina repeated, “Virgil, Virgil, Virgil! What are you going to do about it?”

She had learned this tactic from her fellow students. The Regent was obviously not prepared for it.

“I raised you better than this. You were a princess.” 

“And now I am an amature detective and I’m loved. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

Arpina handed the letter to the Regent, “You’ll explain this now.”

He sighed, running a hand through his hair.

“Dana is… special. More special than she realizes. That’s why I did everything on Isla de Abundancia. Project Songbird was a machine we built to enhance psychic power. There was an accident, and my lab partners were killed in the blast. Unfortunately, they thought it best to bring their newborn to the lab, and she absorbed the energy from the explosion. Project Songbird is no longer a what, it’s a who.”

“It’s Dana.” Arpina nodded, “Of course. Why didn’t you keep her with you if she was so special?”

“I was consumed with grief. She reminded me of Lizzie, and I couldn’t bear to have her around.”

Arpina frowned, running the possibilities through her head. If Greg and Lizzie were the lovers in this situation, the Regent could have been an admirer of Lizzie’s from afar. He looked a little too much like her, however.

“You’re her brother. You’re Lizzie’s brother and Dana is your niece.” 

The Regent looked surprised for a second. Then his expression became guarded.

“I practically gave you that conclusion. You still have a long way to go if you want to become a private investigator.”

“I’ll scream.” Arpina threatened. If the Regent insisted on being difficult, Arpina could be too.

“You’re just a regular little hoodlum, aren’t you?” The Regent tilted his head, “Here’s the thing. Dana doesn’t understand how powerful she is, and Robin? Well, Robin likes to think that this is a mystery for her to solve, but if she continues to investigate, she’ll draw attention to herself and not in a good way.”

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” Arpina asked. He could be lying to her about everything, just like he used to on Isla de Abundancia.

“You don’t.” The Regent said, standing up, “I’m just warning you of what’s to come. You may not be my daughter, but I grew rather fond of you before your betrayal.” 

With that, the Regent walked away. Arpina sat on the bench, staring dumbly at his retreating figure. Whether or not he was telling the truth, Arpina had to share what she had learned with Robin and Dana.


Arpina threw the door open and raced into the apartment. Dana was nowhere to be seen, but Robin was in her room.

“Robin, I might have-”

“Where have you been?” Robin demanded, “You didn’t come home from school and I started to get worried!”

“I was in the park-”

“Why didn’t you tell me where you were going?”

Arpina grit her teeth, “I’ve got the answers to your stupid Project Songbird conspiracy, so can you please stop fighting with everyone in this apartment and listen to me?”

Perhaps she was more like the Regent than she thought. The way she snapped at Robin reminded her of his discipline methods. Robin stared at her in shock before slowly sitting down on her bed.

“How do you know that name?”

“I won’t talk until Dana gets here. Where is she?”

“I don’t know.”

Arpina sighed. This was going to be harder than she thought. 

July 08, 2021 16:24

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Kyler Mattoon
16:46 Jul 28, 2021

NEED MORE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER!!!!!!! Love this story so much!!


Kathleen M.
19:48 Jul 28, 2021

I'm glad you're enjoying it so far! We're beginning to get some truths revealed, but there's still a lot that the characters don't understand :)


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