Francine usually avoided baggage claim, especially after an international flight arrived. The palpable, cranky energy that rolled off the living as they watched other people’s luggage bump down the ramp was enough to put her on edge for days. She ignored the red flags her brain flung out and held her ground, waiting. Again.
Hours passed. When even the security guards were dozing in their uncomfortable chairs, the baggage conveyor belt’s fogged plastic flaps parted to admit an abandoned duffel. An ethereal shape draped itself over it, quickly apparent as a diaphanous, boy-sized human that leaped off the carousel and ran to Francine. “You’re back!”