Thursday, February 23, 2017

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learning to burn, part 24

Please begin at the beginning!  And remember... this is my very first draft... strange (usually all caps) notes to myself and all!!!  It'll change as I work through it... once I've finished it!  Since GrA is nine and a half months at this writing (I'm scheduling ahead, doncha know), he still needs me lots.  You know, since I'm a breastfeeding Mama and hoping to make it two years with him.  So... please be patient as the story is very... first-drafty!!!!  lol

“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“You were just talking about her as if in past-tense. Like she'd died or something.”
“Oh no… it's just been so long since I've seen her and I don't really consider her my teacher, currently. You know, since I've been gone so long.”
“How long have you been gone?”
“Well, I'm sure it's over a year now. But I may have lost track of how long somewhere in the middle, so I'm not entirely sure.”
“How did you lose track of time?”
“I don't know. I'm not even sure I did. It's just… it seems like I have memories about things that I can't quite remember. So, I think it's a possibility.”
“Have you asked Binia about it?”
“No. I hadn't even thought to! That could really straighten me out, though. Thanks for the suggestion!”
“Sure. I hope it helps. By the way, I'm really glad you're actually talking to me now. I feel like I'm getting to know you a little.”
“Uhh, well… okay. I mean, you're welcome? I don't know that you'll be glad to know me really well once you get to know me well.”
“Why would you say that?”
“My Mom. She said I was really difficult to live with. So, I guess I kind of assume I'm just generally difficult to get along with.”
“I guess it's possible. I can't imagine it now. I'll let you know if that changes.” Ofonode smiles mischievously and Eminghare returns a smile as she turns away.
Could I tell him? Do I dare share about my people? What would he think? I sure would like to have a real friend. And maybe… just maybe he would understand… at least a little, since he has this burning thing…
“It's been easy to travel with Os. Except for the attacks, of course. It's been so much easier than my life in my village. Basically everyone knew I was really late to flame and I could tell they wondered if I would ever alight. In a way, though, it's been more difficult, too. I mean, I always felt a little worried that I'd start flaming when others were around and then what? How would I explain it away? I don't think everyone would be as cool about it as you are. I think, if it's not too weird to say or for you to hear, you might be my first real friend ever. I mean, I had a couple sorta-friends back home. But I know they wondered about my fire along with everyone else. Is that too weird? I mean, I know we haven't known each other all that long.”
“No. I was just thinking something a little like that. I would like for us to be friends.” They both smile as they look at each other. I won't be okay with just being friends with this girl. Ofonode looks away first, blushing slightly at his thought.
“Ofonode, I'd like to tell you something, but I'm not sure exactly how to go about it. I mean… I've never actually told anyone before.”
Ofonode nods, not daring to speak any interruption.
“Well, my people… we were called peculiar before the surface changes happened and we became as isolated as we are now.”
“Us too! I mean, my people. We were basically ostracized and persecuted. At least, that's what I've been told. We've lived apart so long that I've never experienced it and only the oldest in the village have any memories of it. I was just a baby when my mentor saved our village from the death-bringing quakes that rocked the landmasses.”
“Me, too. I mean, we think of little ones as babies until they are four years among us. So, I was still a baby as we think of time. But in the villages I've lived in as I've traveled, I would have been counted a young child before then.”
Oseratin shivers and moans. Eminghare and Ofonode look at him, both feeling very startled and at least a little bit disappointed.
The fake Binia moans and begins to quake as Oseratin's eyes flutter rapidly. He moans again. The imposter shakes violently once more and then jerks into a sitting position. She is almost sitting in Ofonode's lap. Eminghare feels a wash of jealousy rush through her. Blushing she stands quickly and moves to Oseratin's side.
Os begins to collapse just as she sits beside him. She pulls him toward her and shifts so that his head is cradled in her lap. Eminghare and Ofonode look at each other.
With her eyes still closed, the invader cloaked as Binia says, “He will remain asleep until I am released and on my way. I have won the menspar. He is my prisoner. I will release him when you release me.”
Ofonode looks at Eminghare with alarm and wishes he could speak to her mind the way Ofonode and Binia are able. He sits, thinking hard and staring as if looking with enough focus would enable him to reach into Eminghare's mind to communicate with her. He feels shocked when he hears her voice, though he's watching her face and her lips haven't moved.
'Yes. You can hear me. I was trying to get around to telling you about this. It's one of my gifts. This is one reason I was so hurt by Binia's silence during our travels. I can link with everyone. At least, I've been able to with everyone I've tried. I never could link to Binia… I guess since I thought she was a lizard that probably inhibited me.'
Ofonode sighs and shrugs slightly as he thinks, 'Well, it's not like I told you everything up front. What should be do?'
Eminghare shrugs back, 'I think she's bluffing. Honestly. And even if she's not, I don't think it'll hurt to wait a little while longer to give Os some time to reach out to us… or something. Also, I have a lot more to tell you about my abilities. I just think we need to focus on the situation at hand before I blab more about myself and my people.'
'Okay. You owe me some stories, I'm thinking!'
Eminghare smiles and nods.
The two sit quietly together as the sun moves toward the ground. Both jump a bit when the female invisian speaks, “You are running out of time. I will end your friend if you do not release me before the setting of the sun.”
'It sets so quickly. Should I let her go, Eminghare?' Ofonode reaches out to his friend, hoping she can hear him.
'Yes. I can hear you as long as I keep the connection open. I still think she's bluffing. I don't know exactly why, but it seems like she is the one that can't last. I don't want to kill her or anything, but if that's how this ends because we're trusting Oseratin to make it through and back out, well, I guess that's what's got to happen.'
'Yeah. I agree. It seems like she's desperate. Okay. Eminghare, I have to tell you, I'm feeling really tired. I've been struggling for the last while and just didn't want you to think I'm weak. But I'm not sure I can keep her still until the sun sets.'
'Oh! What can I do to help?'
'I'm not sure you can do anything. I don't feel hungry or thirsty. I'm just getting weak. I've never used my fire for so long. Not by half. And I guess it's starting to get to me. I think I might fall asleep and I'm sure she'll be free to do as she wants then. I must remain conscious to keep her still.'
'Well, if you feel like you're willing to trust me, I might be able to help.'
'If you think you can, I'm willing to let you. I just can't imagine how you could!'
'Okay.' Eminghare gently puts Oseratin's head on the ground and moves to sit behind Ofonode.

He feels her put a hand just over the very top of his head and just as he senses the other at the very base of his back and top of his bum he feels a shock as if a jolt of electricity has run up and down his spine an unknowable number of times. After just a moment of the sensation, Ofonode realizes that his thoughts, only a moment before become increasingly fuzzy the way they do as he drifts off to sleep have cleared and become uncharacteristically crisp and well-defined.
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