Chapter 23: Shattered, Part I

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 527

Lance looked away from the chime, stare going to his left, where a door was opening. It moved down instead of to the side, rotating into the floor as the male Spiro moving through stepped into the home. They were heavy steps, emitting a darkness that not even the chime's light sound could alleviate.

Standing, Kyrene smiled, clasping her hands together.

"I'm so happy you're home!" she said. "How was your day?"

In a flurry of wind, the male Spiro's disguise vanished; tail disappearing, body lengthening and hair growing longer. A face with dark facial hair turned in their direction, deep eyes immediately training on Zidane.

The man gave no answer; only a silence that cut to the very core of Lance's soul. Onyx eyes continued to scowl, their aim at Zidane. The crossbreed folded inwards, becoming even smaller than before. Lance could only stare, recognizing the eyes in front of him. There was no doubt that this man was Orah, Zidane's father.

That deep stare drew away, natural scowl continuing to hold a tiredness as the Razalek moved forward, passing behind the wall that separated Kyrene and Zidane's room from the entrance area.

Not knowing what to do, Lance sat down, becoming close to eye-level with Zidane as he stared down at the floor. There was so much in those few seconds, walls of hatred and misdirected anger that years of arguing with Lisa didn't even come close to. This was something Lance couldn't help alleviate. Once again, he was inside a memory written in stone.

"I'm sorry," was the only thing he could give.

Zidane didn't respond at first; he remained by the window, Adelah and Kyrene paused where they were. And then the crossbreed shrugged.

"It happens," he said.

He looked away, towards the opposite end of the room, and then his stare shifted over to his right. Going towards the tap with the basin below.

"I think it was around this age, when I was five, that I started to understand what I was to him."

Which was what?

Lance simply looked up from the floor, head continuing to hang low, watching Zidane draw himself a little higher. The crossbreed's eyes closed, head lifting back, and with small twitches beneath his eyelids, Lance realized tears were being fought away.

Lance felt himself become a little more broken, a little more weaker.

The sound of the chime faded, trees overtaking walls, and grass overtaking plain earth. Lance got to his feet, thoughts capturing his focus as he stood beneath the shade of a tree, a river materializing in front of him. What Zidane went through in his life... All the heartache and pain, loss and lovelessness... Lance couldn't come close to sympathizing.

He could only offer his presence in return.

Sensing something was about to start, Lance looked up, seeing Zidane across the river, sitting against a tree. It reminded Lance of the very first memory shown, but his posture was much more open. Legs were crossed and folded inward, posture straight as if he were in school.

His mother appeared beside him, relaxing against the trunk with a smile adoring her face. Lance followed her stare to the river, seeing Orah and Adelah fade in along with the sounds of rushing water.

Adelah's hand swept through the water, sprinkling drops into the air.

"Try again, Adelah," Orah's voice, speaking with a tenderness that nearly made his words sound foreign. They were touched with an immense amount of kindness. Patience. Qualities that didn't match his appearance.

The action was repeated, and as soon as her hand passed her chest, a fish hopped out of the water. The shape was strange; a large red oval with long whiskers running out of its face and back. As soon as its scythe-like tail dove back into the water, Adelah frowned.

"Try again," Orah said once more. "Focus not on the hand technique but on the force of your breath."

With her frustration fading away, Adelah nodded. She drew her hand back down to her side, knuckles and fingertips brushing along the water's surface. Though from this angle he could not see it, Lance sensed Orah smile.

"My child," he said. "Please relax."

Adelah smiled, back straightening and chin tilting. Her eyes closed, a calm breath moving through her. Seconds ticked on, moments that only the river filled.

Then a splash— before Lance could see what it was, Adelah's arm had swiped the air again, a quick breath escaping her. Blood erupted from the fish, neither having time to land back in the water before Orah's hand extended, catching the corpse and levitating the blood in mid-air.

"This"—The blood whirled itself into a tight ball, speeding towards the grass behind them and disappearing back into the dirt—"can go back to the Inner-Earth."

"And with the fish?" Adelah asked, the excitement in her voice telling Lance she already knew the answer.

Orah smiled, one knee coming to the river's bed. The calm water barely met his torso, something he paid no mind to as he extended the fish to his daughter. Continuing to stand on the rock beneath her, Adelah grinned, hands coming to her face in glee. Orah placed a hand to the fish's corpse, palm nearly covering the entire cut.

"First, we honor."

Adelah placed her small hand right besides Orah's, and in unison their thumbs moved inwards. Stroking once, giving the same motion Kyrene had given Zidane before they had crossed the main street. There were words in that motion, and Lance finally found the right ones.

"It will be okay."

"You're close," Zidane said, speaking into Lance's mind. "It's actually called Rejen. Means 'to honor inside the sky'. Highest display of honor someone can show."

Rejen, Lance repeated, trying to memorize the word.

The stillness hung over the river, Orah and Adelah's thumbs retracing the paths they had taken as smiles were exchanged. Then Orah turned to his wife, beaming as he spoke.

"And now we have dinner!"

Kyrene's smile spread into a grin as Adelah caught her attention again. Lance looked over to the girl, brow furrowing into a glare as he watched her hand flow along with the small waves it was sending out.

The pride in Orah's voice was unavoidable. "You've been practicing!"

"Yeah?" Adelah returned, grin evident. Her hand curled, bringing a wave towards her. "You think I got it, Daddy?"

"Oh, yes you do, my girl!" He stepped forward, scooping her up in his hands.

Adelah's arms waved in the air, laughter almost screaming from her. With a slight "feh", Lance shifted his weight, shoulder leaning against the bark of the three. He continued to be immersed in its shade, listening to the happiness and pride in their laughter as his stare rose to the opposite side of the river. Watching Kyrene lean close to her son, speaking in a whisper that reached out to Lance.

"Someday," she said, "you'll be able to do that, too." She bowed towards him, forehead touching the top of his hair. "All of it, my light."

Zidane's eyes had closed at her voice, as if he were savoring the words. He stayed there, embraced in her words and in her touch, as the surrounding family members faded. The ruptures in the water smoothed out into an even current, the voices and the laughter hanging before vanishing as well. With the forest silent, Zidane pulled himself upright.

Deep blue eyes rose from the river, meeting Lance's.

"I just wanted to check," he said, "see if there's anything I can answer before we move on."

"Uh, well, yeah," Lance said. His stare dropped to his feet, mind digging up a question that had been gnawing at his brain ever since he had been introduce to Zidane's father. He looked back up, head motioning towards the river that was now empty. "How's it possible that... Orah is even here? Like, I guess I get the thing with what's-his-face, Yittek, 'cause of the race, but why here? Why in this—territory?"

Submitted: November 19, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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