Friday, November 2, 2007

Self-Indulgent Post 4: Strung out on Lasers and Slash-back Blazers – Part I

Monday, July 30, 2007 - posted originally -

Self-Indulgent Post 4: Strung out on Lasers and Slash-back Blazers – Part I


It can rain sand. Grains streaming through your hands. Shifting dunes puddling in the palms. Grit congesting the passes between the fingers.

He tried to sweep them away. Futile kicking that only seemed to smear and embed.

"Be still," she warned with what passed as a whisper only because he knew she was capable of much more. She eyed the child suspiciously. Always in movement. Always about to tumble and take them all down with him. Her sixty-two years wore hard. The last five spent with the child have not helped matters at all. She could recall every wrinkle that now populated her once vibrant face. Recall them with experiences of narrow-escapes, near-deaths, and worry. Constant, constant worry.

He stared down at the streaks of sand browning the dark planks that passed as a floor. He felt bad, but only for a brief moment. He snorted and look around. It was a shack after all. What damage was he causing?

She shook her head and rubbed her heavy brown eyes. She slumped over, wrapping the rags that passed as a shawl around her shoulders and over her head. She was tired of watching. The boy was going to do what he wanted. He always did.

"We'll move in two hours. The sun is settling." She raised her head to give him another look. She turned it oddly. "How old are you today, boy?" she asked.

He crawled toward her, his knees scrapping along the floor, dirt tracks behind him. He gently pulled the blanket tighter around her. His long, thin arms encasing her like pale tentacles, clutching the ends of the cloth, urging it to expand to complete the circle. The dimming light in the room caught his face, the eyes glowing fire and blue. His head was hairless, kept closely shaven, allowing for the quick change and the opportunistic disguise.

It might have been frightening. The boy's face. Cold and empty as it was, with the ethereal orbs emitting their own light. His sharp angles told of knowing beyond his youth. He was a man just in a smaller scale.Yet his smile, gentle and emotional, humanized it all. His lips were full and warm. They were the visual proof of life on the inside.

The voice was soft and soothing. No emotion but yet, still, human and loving. "Today?" he asked. He looked down at himself. The small chest. The loose-fitting shirt and pant legs rolled-up, the tightly-cinched make-shift belt keeping him barely decent. His wrists were small and fragile with long effeminate fingers.

His attention returned to her. Her face was smoothing. Relaxing. She would need the full two hours to sleep. The running was aging her too fast. Wearing her down. He placed his palm against her cheek and she pressed into it, eyes closed, smile large.

"I believe I have been twelve today, Ohma," he finally answered. "It is always a good age. A fun age." He paused. He didn't want to lie to her. "I can't be sure, but I think I have been twelve all of today."

She laughed softly. Slipping into sleep. "You always have fun, no matter the age."

Gael sat back, resting down on his elbows, legs stretching long before him. His cuffs hitting half-way below his knees. The room was losing day but be barely noticed. His pupils expanded, taking in what light they could trap. He looked at the mess he had only moments before been dancing in. The sand sparkled in what was now, practically, moonlight.

He did so love being twelve. When this was all done, the "Journey" as Ohma romantically called it, he would go back to twelve for real. Constant fun and no obligations. No one to protect. No considerations for the greater good. No destiny. Just bodily functions to laugh at and rails to be tricked.

But not now. Now he was twenty and while he could be twenty or twelve or one, or any age in between, he needed the strength of his full age. He needed what all his brief tenure permitted him. Because for now, at least, Gael did have people to protect and obligations to consider and a destiny to, well, aim for. Because now, in this moment, they had only ninety minutes to rest in. Ninety minutes before night became solid and they were on the move.

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