A Gift for Life and Death (pt7)

At a certain point, there was nothing more to come of standing here.

Life hadn’t been certain that it would work, but had remained nonetheless. The grass overgrew, the buds bloomed almost too quickly, the creatures came forth from their slumber to browse. This was one of the places Forgiveness liked to come. Life hadn’t meant to bring so much here, as she had, but she had thought staying here might mean the return of her angel.

As her angel had not returned, Life should have moved on. However, her mind was absent.

She distracted herself in her sowing. Gravitating to the hatching spiders, who swarmed from the sac. Ever present, Life was, even to the cat who was delivering away from the park, on the other side of the city. The recovering human in the hospital, whose body now teamed with the energy it needed in order to eventually walk on their own. This usually took Life’s full attention, unless someone could see her form and address her personally, which no one was. No one saw Life, she wasn’t like her counterpart. She simply was always there.

For being there, she knew her angel must be somewhere. Still that is where her mind dwelt, away from her tasks at hand. More growth, another birth, more health. Her angel usually didn’t spend so much time away from her without checking in. She had no say over where Forgiveness went, she had never claimed to nor did she want such a thing. Forgiveness simply had always told her where they were going. She didn’t know why.

Yet they hadn’t done so this time. They had told her they had something important to do and they would return when they were done. She believed this. Then they had left and Life had not seen them sense. Her angel must have still been busy, with whatever it was that was so important to them. The seed of curiosity had eventually diminished, leaving her with the blossom of loneliness she had never felt before. She was Life. She was connected to all living things. She was never alone.

Despite the fact none of them saw her. None of them knew about her, only what she gave them. Something she had given up true mastery of long before.

Not that anyone needed to know that.

Spears (pt3)

As always at the end of her shift, Azzah began to feel tired. She could just taste the drink from town already, something that always came at the end of their day to quench the thirst that grew at the same rate as the sunlight slanting through the distant forest’s treetops.

They were at a prime location, here in Hirka. The forest lay right down the way, a great expanse of trees for everything the people might need to take from it. In the other direction lay the waters, for anyone who wanted to make the few day trip. Everything within their reach. The only better place to live in the entire land had to be the Emperor’s Lake. Even then, Hirka was better. Azzah might have held a little bias.

“The Lel’ul should be back soon,” Reem said.

Azzah glanced back at the Lel’ul’s private home. Doing his bidding was their top priority and this was what he wanted of them. Defend this strange house. He had told them once that the idea for it came from some far off land. It fascinated Azzah, though she wasn’t sure she would ever want to live in it. It looked to have more space than anyone needed.

“He went to see the emperor, right?” Azzah asked.


“Do you know what it was about?”

Her spear-sister shrugged. “Probably the usual. You know how it is.”

Azzah did, but it didn’t mean she understood. Politics were above her. All she knew was how to fit into the position Reem had led her to. She knew how to be a spearwoman and that was all.

Gio promptly did the stupidest thing and underestimated her.

Tatsu had been waiting a total of a very long time when the other applicants joined her. They all moved about the room, keeping their distance. They looked like soldiers, every single one of them, in one way or another. Not unapproachable, just getting read.

Tatsu scooted over to the closest one with a smile. “Looking forward to today?”

The man eyed her. “More or less.”

“The name’s Tatsu. I heard about the opening yesterday. They told me I should apply, that I’d fit right in. Everyone here for this? I thought there was only one opening!”

“Gio.” Gio rubbed his beard. “Yes and yes. It’s not often one can get promoted into a different branch like this. All our COs recommended us. I don’t believed I’ve seen you before.”

“No. Why do you think I introduced myself?” Tatsu smiled before looking away from him and at the others there. “I wasn’t expecting so many!”

“Are you worried?”

Tatsu frowned, then shook her head. “Not at all. I just wasn’t prepared to leave so many people disappointed.” What she meant couldn’t be misconstrued, not with the tone she used. Gio finally gave her a full once over. She was maybe a little more than half his height and he was about average.

Gio promptly did the stupidest thing and underestimated her.

gives back

My father once told me that the sea always gives back what it takes.

I didn’t believe him when it took my brother. The skies turned black and the winds blew vicious, even on land. I could only imagine what it was like on sea. We would never know, for no one that day returned.

The dark days of storms became my fears, but it was the sea a blamed the most. If it hadn’t been there, it would have been a simple storm. What could happen on land that one couldn’t weather? What could happen on land that we couldn’t stand against?

Why did my brother want to go out to sea?

My father continued to believe that the sea would give him back, but I knew better. I glared out at the sea and knew so much better.

Meanwhile, Mercedes ignored the message

“Reality has been scheduled for regular maintenance…”

That was not what James wanted to hear today. How come every time he went out without Mercedes something had to go wrong?

“…and so is temporarily down.”

“I knew it.” He sighed, shifting his bag over his shoulder. Things looked normal around him, but he knew better than to take that for granted. The elephant who had been watching him over the fence had stopped eating the chocolate leaves for goodness sakes. He never thought he would see that happen. She was still staring at him though, Mercedes thought he was being paranoid.

“Please stand by patiently and it should be back up soon.”

James didn’t move his feet. He really didn’t like having to stand in one place for very long, he hoped this would resolve itself soon.

“Thank you.”

And for some time, James waited for reality to come back.

Because it was supposed to be here by now!

She repeatedly closed her eyes and opened them again, hoping the last time had been a dream. Hoping this time she would see something different.

“Howdy, neighbour.”

She glanced away to see her neighbour’s fifteen year old son, Gabe, can of some flavoured soda in hand. “Good evening.”

“So, uh, I can’t help but notice you’ve been staring at your mailbox for about an hour.”

“Do you know when we get our mail?” She rubbed the bridge of her nose.

He frowned, thinking about it. “Usually in the morning? Ten?”

“Then why is my mailbox empty?”

He leaned against the tree that stood so close to the edge of her property. Technically though, it was still on his parents’. “You didn’t get any mail?”

“No. Not possible.”

She continued to stare at her mailbox. He drank his pop. “Well, goodnight, Ms. Jone.”

“Goodnight, Gabe.”

Your ride’s been delayed

They sat at the end of the pier, feet dangling off the end. Underneath them was the grand drop into vast sands. A red and gold world which stretched out before them. Because of this, they had covered their blue eyes with large leather goggles, protecting them completely. Lips and nose were covered by their green neckerchief.

“The caravan not here yet?”

They didn’t turn around at his words, waving at the empty space ahead of both of them. “Nope.”

He sat down next to them, but didn’t look down. His face was covered similarly. It made them hot to look at him, despite wearing the same things. “They’ll show up soon, Mic.”

They snorted, but didn’t say anything more. There wasn’t a point.

The two friends waited.

Awaiting her death

When grandmother Parvena died, Shachaf hadn’t been there.

Zamir tried not to grind his teeth or pick at his sleeves. Parvena wasn’t asleep, not yet. She breathed slowly. But both age and her recent illness had taken its toll. Everyone knew it would be today or tomorrow. Any moment now. That is why the family was here. That was why what remained of Parvena’s closest friends were here. He felt as though any one of them might go too. A couple were older than his grandmother.

Then he chastised himself for the thought. He was upset because mother was upset. Because Shachaf was not here.

“She wishes to speak to you,” mother said, voice tight.

Zamir didn’t want to talk with his grandmother. She made him uncomfortable in life and near death didn’t help. But it was her final moments and he would not begrudge her whatever she wished now.

Zamir went to speak with her.

Limited edition

The panic on the boy’s face was evident. She could see it whenever she turned around, for the sake of getting to move her feet a little bit. Slowly but surely, the line would move. Slowly but surely, the toy was being sold. The stack of boxes on the counter grew smaller and smaller.

Grew? Probably the wrong word. Shrank. Shank more and more. She felt her heart pounding.

She heard the boy try to remain calm.

At some point she began to count the people left in front of her. She tried to compare that with the boxes left, especially as she saw the employees rummage around behind the counter, removing empty cardboard boxes and beginning to count themselves. Further back in line, people had already begun to disperse. Maybe to find another store where the line wasn’t as long, where people might have forgotten to check first for the release date.

The boy tried not to tug at the money in his hands. He wasn’t old enough to have a wallet. She wondered where his parents were.

There it was. Three people ahead of her. She had waited for this for months. Put enough of her allowance aside. It would soon be hers.

And yet… and yet.

“You can stand in front of me,” she told the boy. Still worried, he didn’t even question it. He darted around her, still trying to remain calm.

It was all worth it though, to see the way his face lit up when he got to the front. When he reached out to hand over his money and was given the prize in return.

Part of her remained disappointed, of course, but in the end, she knew she wouldn’t regret it for the world.