Vidvan knew who Tavesh was long before he met him. His Master had taken in the soldiers who had returned victorious from their protection of the borderland. A large feast was put on for their celebration, along with the honor of being allowed within their Master’s walls.
The soldiers all knew what honor they had been given. Their captain was given such a seat of honor, next to the Master. Vidvan sat near enough to listen as the captain gave the story of their defence.
“I recommend to you Tavesh,” the captain said to Vidvan’s Master, gesturing with his glass at a soldier halfway down the table. “His technique and quick wits is equal to giving me a company twice as large.”
“Is that so?” The Master sounded amused.
Vidvan looked. Average height and weight, Tavesh’s body must have belied the muscle that the captain’s praise suggested. His auburn hair was shoulder length, but barely kept from being mussed by a piece of leather keeping it back. His brow was broad, skin olive and marked a few obvious places, with clear blue eyes.
“He requires a bit more experience, but I promise to you he will become one of your most staunch defenders, my lord. On that you have my word.”
Vidvan returned his gaze to his plate, trying to ignore the lump in his throat.
Tavesh never looked up.
It came to be that his favourite part of the day was going down to the orphanage. Or when some of the kids came up to see him. It made him feel a little bad, because his favourite part of the day used to be the time he spent with Fletcher. And he used to feel guilty when that had superseded how much he liked spending time with his mother.
Unlike with his mother though, he could tell Fletcher this without feeling too bad about being honest.
Fletcher laughed. “Don’t feel bad about that. It is good that you have found other children your age to spend time with.”
“But that means I’m spending less time with you.”
“I still see you every day.” Fletcher spread out an arm, gesturing at the map covering the table. “We still discuss. You still learn. One must balance what they do. You still do enjoy our time together?”
“Then what is the problem?” He laughed again. “Though next time you invite them to one of our lessons, let me know beforehand. Preparing for more than just you requires a bit more thought on my part.”
In that moment, he couldn’t be more content with life. “Okay, Fletcher. Thank you.”
He went to go see Winter.
Some places looked the same as others. This city was one of them. It was as if Zamir hadn’t left home at all.
With time to wait until his meeting with the police chief, Zamir decided to wait outside rather than stand around in the station. Not too far away from that building was a playground, full of children. Not too far from that was a field, with many young adults kicking around a ball.
Well, back home the police station he frequented was not near so much activity. Maybe this called for a better city. Or maybe it called for the necessity of such places to be nearby so much authority. He considered the possibility.
When he turned back, he saw someone being taken into the station.
It was not who he was looking for. But he was someone he knew. Straightening his collar, Zamir returned to the station.
“I’m not scared of ghosts,” she told him.
He didn’t say anything, just flashed the light around erratically.
She felt her stomach clench each time something she could once see suddenly disappeared into shadow. “Don’t do that!”
“M-Move the light like that. I can’t see anything when you do that.”
He steadied the light. The cave lit up, allowing her to see more than before. She relaxed. Then she realized she had been gripping his arm tightly. Mouth shut, yet twitching, she pried her fingers loose and returned them to her side.
“Let’s get going.”
Taking a deep breath, she nodded. Side by side, they entered the tunnel.
With a light thud, the bottle hit the table.
“Nooooooooo…” she crooned, quickly scooping up the bottle using only her fingertips. It was too late though, as the sticky brown substance began to march onward across the desk.
Erratic, she tried to find a place to put the bottle down so as to begin to move other things out of the way in time. She proceeded to place the sticky bottle on a magazine to get her action figures out of the way.
“Noooooooo…” Having moved them out of the way, she flailed over to grab some paper towels, tissues, napkins. Whatever it was she had around her desk that could help ebb the outgoing tide. She had to reach a little further from her chair and her coat sleeve knocked the bottle right over again.
She shrieked. When her father knocked on her door to ask what was wrong, she could only continue to dab up spilled soda.
The wall had been there forever. That was what the two of them assumed, considering how old it looked and that it had been there for both of their collective memories.
They had never met before though. Not until that day when the wall was going to be torn down. They stood there as the demolition crew began to take it down. Not brick by brick, as it had to have gone up. In large swatches, knocking the bricks apart, swirling up the dust from particles and the ground once the bricks had fallen.
The group was still tearing down the wall when enough of the dust cleared. She saw those green eyes on the other side of the wall. Eyes that had been just as interested in the destruction until also being able to see beyond the barrier.
She waved at the girl with the green eyes.
The girl waved back.
Hidden within the most apparent
sight, clouding out the mind from
veracity that all wish to become-
hidden for good. This abhorrent
disguise is not enough transparent.
While hurting all who come,
insistent upon the painful thrum
of distorted words vital to hunt inherent.
Yet then, at the end of all days
there comes the moment when
stripping off the skin is air
and truth comes forth like a blaze.
The moment has passed and then
Reality blooms forth from everywhere.
Gingaopu. Picking it up was a reminder that he would likely never get a chance to bite into one again. Vidvan prepared himself to appreciate it to his fullest extent.
In texture and shape it was like a tangerine, but beyond that there was no comparing it to anything. There was a savory quality that usually only came in meat, combined with a faint sweetness that reminded Vidvan of a pie. A meat pie. Yet so much better.
“What do you think?”
“I could see someone building up a wealthy empire simply to have more ready access to this.”
His Master laughed again. “That goes a little far, but we appear to share a similar taste! I am glad you enjoy it, Vidvan.”
“It would be a crime to eat something after this.”
“Until the taste fades! You understand it well!”
Only after this exchange did Vidvan realize the room had froze around them. He had missed the point when they were not alone, that other people had watched in abject wonder that their Master had shared his gingaopu.
He straightened his robes and returned to work.
“Look what I’ve found!”
The Baron’s son held up some sort of insect. Dahlia wasn’t bothered by it, though it didn’t interest her too much. Winter looked disturbed, though all she did was frown. Summer gasped, gripping at her sister’s skirts. The gasp was high pitched though. That was more likely to make Dahlia wince.
Golden looked outwardly disturbed. “That’s gross. Put that down.”
“I’m not hurting it.”
“But I will if you don’t get it away from me.”
“I think it would be happier on the ground,” Winter added, pushing some of her hair out of her eyes.
The Baron’s son frowned, but then walked off with it to put it somewhere else. Dahlia got up and followed after, to watch as he put it back on a plant. “Why do you like bugs so much?” Dahlia asked.
“I like a lot of things. But showing people fish is harder to do.”
“This is the fishing capital of… well, everywhere.”
That was true. “Could you show me fish?”
She wasn’t sure what made her ask, but he smiled and Dahlia decided she didn’t really mind having asked.
It was not the first airplane Zamir had ever embarked. But it was the first time no one had come to see him off. It had always seemed, no matter the time, no matter if he had said anything at all, that Shachaf had the ability of finding out when Zamir was leaving.
Zamir kept looking back over his shoulder.
He forced himself to look forward. That would be where he would find Shachaf, after all.
The rest of our family might be difficult, I might be difficult, but that doesn’t give you the right to be difficult!
No one to say goodbye to meant no hesitation in entering the gate.