The trees stood as tall as ever. They dwarfed the town. Mi’s true test began here. Perhaps here was where their hidden injury would strike out. Perhaps Fo and Jahan wanted to keep Mi from this. No, Jahan was envious. Mi’s mind came to that conclusion in a moment. Jahan was envious they were better at scouting. Jahan wanted to do it and told everyone Mi’s injuries were worse. Fo played along, continued to play along, because he worried without reason all the time.
Mi climbed, feeling free. Mi climbed, not feeling as their right hand couldn’t grip as tightly as it once did. Mi climbed, not realizing their boots remained on solid ground. Mi climbed, the stump of their left wrist pressing into the bark so hard as to scrape the raw skin.
With a smile, Mi’s mind was above. Where they could look down on the city. Look down on everything. Away from the ground, where somewhere their left hand had fallen.
As they used to, in their mind, they saw themselves above. Mi couldn’t have been happier. They leapt from branch to branch, soaring with grace and poise.
Maybe it was a bad idea to
Offer the mortician a drink.
Rachel insisted it wasn’t alcoholic, but considering that
Girl we should have known better.
Unless the plan was to sneak in to look at the body ourselves,
Except if that was what we wanted, then it was a good idea.
As Jahan and Fo went to get them their stretcher, Mi ran away.
They could run. The most important thing of all – nothing stopped them from pushing their uniform over and running out of their room. They ran down the hallway and stopped at the front door. Peering out, Mi waited until they couldn’t see Jahan and Fo anymore. They waited until the coast was clear. Then they ran out the door and through the streets.
Mi was fast. This had always been true. A scout couldn’t be slow. A scout had to be fast everywhere they ended up. Even when another person noticed Mi, none could catch them. Mi was too fast. With no one expecting them, they could run right down the road and straight out of the city.
Mi almost expected not to make it. That they had some grievous injury they couldn’t recognize and that was why they had been laid up for several months, not allowed to return to the fight. But they made it. Nothing slowed them, other than the slight strain from muscles not recently used. Mi could feel their heart pounding, a good feeling. No one could stop them. They escaped.
The town was so much smaller than the city Malak had gotten used to. It lay at the base of the rolling hills which curved up over the western edge of the town centre. The east of the town lay flatter, eventually descending to the river which lay a mere few miles away. The hills were littered with fir trees, older than the buildings and people that they watched over.
If Malak was the type to consider trees to watch anything. The massive amount of needled leaves had their interest. More interesting than the world that currently surrounded them and Bri. The people of this town that was so small, yet large enough for the citizens to not all know each other.
Some of the trees were younger, covering up the land that had been clearcut perhaps ten years before. A blink of an eye, to Malak. To Malak, all of these trees were young. They had lived longer than anything within this vicinity and the youth of the world held no fascination.
Except for Bri. “Are you paying attention?”
Mi looked out the window. They could see across the street. From ground level, they would not see the trees from here.
“Good,” Jahan said. “Because other than cutting yourself on your dinner knife, or scraping a knee, none of us should see any more blood for some time.”
The world didn’t work like that. Mi knew it well. Yet Jahan’s hands were no longer wrapped. He was freed from what his hands had to do.
Mi wasn’t the same as them. They had scouted. Now they sat in bed, wondering why everyone still treated them as if they were made of glass.
“Fo should ask the doctor if there is a litter to take me to the ceremony.”
Jahan relaxes. “We’ll both go and get it.”
Mi couldn’t care less about the ceremony.
Perhaps an abstract measurement, from one to another
A forgotten method of our past, an imprecise echo
Inward and outward, stability undercover
Niggling in the last place one would think to go
Pandering to the reality that we have seen ourselves below
Arrogant stabs of dull measured laughter
Idiotic for me to attribute humanity like so
No one else could blame me for that, not after
Precarious it makes us all, as from the rafter
Accepting the avoidance as though we must
Imploring it go away, as if our wishes matter
Never allowing for such a failure in trust
Oh, it was here for a reason, so we were told
Oh, hurt comes from the buyer, whom it was sold
The next morning was the first morning that Salma felt like sleeping in. The bed was comfortable, no cool morning draft assault her toes. She took comfort in the laziness for a half and hour before getting dressed. She made her way to the kitchen and, first things first, put the rest of the bread out on a tray on the windowsill for the birds.
After that, she made her own breakfast. More complex than her dinner, Salma enjoyed it more than any meal she had had in a long time. She opened up her luggage and put things back where she had wanted them. Her laundry had to be done again, but that was all right. More laundry detergent would be on her grocery list. This afternoon she would go into town. The cottage would let her, right?
Nothing stopped Salma from hanging her clothes to dry again, fairly certain nothing would get in her way. Nothing had happened at all this morning to upset her. She began to pin up her pants when the line hit the ground. Irritation welled up within her once more. Reaching for the line, birdsong caught her attention. Salma looked in that direction, not seeing the specific birds who chirped along in the sunlight caught branches, but definitely the sunlight which began to shine brightly at the other corner of the house.
An option, certainly. Salma moved her set up to that corner of the house, putting her wash upon the line once more. There was no problem and in a few hours it was dry.
Not the best way of letting her know, but Salma decided they both had a ways to go.
I could get into it, but I think the title of this post speaks for itself. National Novel Writing Month has started today and I literally have no time to focus on anything other than writing. Will it go well? Of course it will! All I need to do is write. It doesn’t matter how much, when it comes down to it. I like having an excuse to write all the time and an environment where people don’t expect anything from me but my best.
Good luck to all participants! And good luck to all people with writer friends out there. Just because you don’t hear from us for a month doesn’t mean we still don’t care about you.