The letter took a very long time to reach them. Sent out with the best of those who could travel in this new world, it still had to find its way to someone who refused to stay still. Who couldn’t stay still. When they arrived at the inn though, having doubled back, the letter was waiting for her.
Saoirse opened it with a nail and read it fast. Then her pace slowed.
“I can’t believe they managed to send news all the way from home to here.”
Toiréasa’s words had faded into the background, despite how she stood near Saoirse’s shoulder. “Of course my father wouldn’t do that. Or failed to.”
“My cousin is dead.” From injuries sustained in the new environment. Because he couldn’t hunt as well on his own, more like.
Toiréasa’s attitude dwindled. She made a sound, like the slight exhalation of air.
Eventually, they got their room.
There is something about how you are everywhere I look. At breakfast in the morning, it’s like I can see your face shaped amongst the trees. In transit, I look up at a reflection, a flash of you behind me. During the day I can hear your voice dampened in the background, just out of understanding. At night I close my eyes and expect to open them with you right above me.
Stop that. Just stop it. It’s really starting to creep me out.
This something is revulsion, most likely. I understand what our parents agreed upon in our youth. I do still think kindly upon our friendship as we grew up. But this is ridiculous. Is it because I am inheriting the spaceship? I know you always wanted it more than I did, but the fact it was my grandfather’s isn’t my fault. I have no control over my ancestors. Or my inheritance. Or yours.
I control me. And you control you. I hope. I know you are sensible enough to understand this message. I can only hope you are still sensible enough to heed it.
Stop this foolish behavior and maybe we can return to some semblance of normalcy.
At least, our form of normalcy.
I miss it.
Salimah had hung it on her wall, making it the only such framed work in her abode.
The rest of the art were symbols of her belief, the only things she had ever needed. Images and items she used for displays to the other devout. Things she had missed during her travels, that returning to she had been glad to know were saved from the calamities which had ravaged so many other places.
This, however, she framed. Her first letter from abroad that she needed to see at all times.
She kept many others. Those who had thanked her for her services, her healing, her faith. Each note of gratitude meant the world to her and she kept each within her collection. She read through them on a regular basis, a reminder that her position was not only for her own sake.
This had nothing to do with that. This letter did not thank her at all. It spoke of building and friends. It asked what she was doing. It threw forward the question of when to see her again.
It told her more letters like this would be coming.
Salimah smiled when she looked at it, Roland’s handwriting clear from a distance.
Even far away, her faith had told her that her friends were always with her.
Now there was something physical that said the same.