Chapter 84: With Every Step, Part II

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

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It was when they had settled down for the night, Lance in a special, rectangular hole that acted as a makeshift bed and Zidane against a tree, that Lance got to thinking.

"You think the past can be changed?"

Zidane looked over to him.

"No," he replied quietly, staring up at the sky. "But I think the future can be hoped for."

"What'd you mean by that?"

He heard Zidane shrug, the fabric of his jacket brushing against the trunk.

"Kazuo used to say, 'Hold everything you can in the most positive of light, even if it's the size of your palm.' So, I think all you can do is hope that the future is better than your past."

Lance looked up to the sky again, feeling the space between his brow furrow.

"Maybe," he replied, and then took a deep breath, both hands rising to his hair. He stretched out his back before asking, "Was he a very spiritual person?"

Zidane hummed a little, nodding. "He was Buddhist," the crossbreed said.

"Are you?"

A long pause greeted him.

"I think, if I had to pick a religion, I'd go with Buddhism." With a smile in his voice, he added, "Think their concept on reincarnation is pretty off, though."

"Really? How so?"

"To Buddhists, it's really rare; the equivalent of a Frisbee floating up from the bottom of the sea and hitting a swimming sea turtle."

"Wow." Lance chitted out a laugh. "That's pretty rare."


"So, do Razaleks or Spiros have a similar view?"

A beat.

"On reincarnation?"

"Yeah. What do they think about it?"

"Most Spiros tend to think there is no life after death; Razaleks have proven otherwise."

Lance sat up. "No shit."

Zidane copied him, stretching out his back and laughing a little before passing a hand through his hair. "Yeah," he replied. "They've made the soul into a physical, seeable thing and tracked it after death."

"That's..." Lance stared. "That's fucking incredible!"

Zidane grinned. "Guess so, huh?"

Guess so, Lance repeated, partially annoyed. Guess my whole mind was just blown.

"What do they do with the souls? Like what's the purpose behind reincarnation science?"

Zidane thought, scratching the back of his neck as he looked to the corner of his vision. "Well," he began, "I think now they're working on picking what lifeform to go into after death."

"So, picking your next body and stuff?"

The crossbreed nodded. "Yeah. That's after the one-hundred-and-fifty-two-year life period."

Lance tsked, partially repeating the number. "That's an insane amount of years."

Zidane bowed forward, running both hands through his hair. "Unfortunately..."

"Unfor..." The question died down, realization gliding into him. Yeah; that made sense, given Zooka's life expectancy...

"How long do Spiros live for?" Lance asked quietly, looking back up again.


"So that's an average of..."

"One-hundred-and-thirty-two," Zidane finished. "I don't want to live that long."

I wouldn't, either, Lance replied silently, raising both brows. He nearly laughed at his own joke, seeing Zidane glance over to him, eyes dark.

The grin on Lance's face fell. "Sorry." He cleared his throat. "I was just thinking of something stupid."

A grin curved one side of Zidane's mouth. "Not unusual."

"Hey," Lance started. "Shut up."

Cal's face flashed in Lance's mind. All the time he'd made that joke, pointing at the person, and all the times Lance had laughed his ass off at the sheer stupidity of it, the comedic timing of the insult.

Zidane laughed, falling back down to the earth bed.

"We got a long day tomorrow," he said, voice coming out from the rectangular hole. "Get some sleep."

Lance nodded, smile still on his face. For the first time in a long while, he was feeling... Hopeful. He was going to make his future a good one.


"Favorite childhood memory. Go."

Lance looked over at Zidane, seeing him glance back with a smile. They both continued walking, taking in the fresh air of Ereithri.

"Oh, I got it!" Lance snapped his fingers. "There was this one time, when I was like eight, when I broke a pot with my skateboard. Tried to do a trick and it slid out too fast, cracking the base. My mom was pissed, but her expression was pretty funny."

"Your mom seems like the type of person who would get angry at that," Zidane commented.

"Yeah," Lance replied, remembering how she'd held the knife upon forgetting him.

They walked in silence for a few moments before Lance looked up again.

"What about you?"

Zidane returned his quietness, walking and shifting the staff along his back. He cleared his throat.

"Probably a time when I was around four. My mom and I were visiting a river, and some fish came up to nibble on our hands. The smile on her face was so... Carefree."

Lance looked up to the sky, the slightest of questions in his voice as he said, "Limitless?"

"Yeah. Limitless. Like nothing could touch her."

"She was a strong woman."

Zidane nodded, and his voice dropped to a murmur.

"She was."

Lance stayed quiet, not knowing what to do next. His first inclination was to bring up Kazuo, but that was another sore subject.

"Favorite adolescent memory," he said with a smile. "So far."

"So far?" Zidane replied, glancing back.

Lance nodded.

The crossbreed turned ahead, and Lance waited. He felt an apprehension build within his chest; some part of himself preparing to feel that shock of warmth upon hearing Zooka's name.

"There was a time a few months ago," he began, "when Zoo and I celebrated the anniversary of Kazuo's death. Third time we did it. He really liked to travel, so each time, we've gone to a favorite spot of his and celebrated our time with him. Her idea."

Lance smiled, feeling his soul expand. "That's wonderful."

"Yeah," Zidane replied. "This third time, we went to a spot in MOCT that he helped build. Had a picnic and stargazed afterwards. It was nice."

Lance nodded, trying to smile past the jealousy twisting his insides. "Yeah, sounds cool."

"What about you?"

"Me?" At his nod, Lance thought back, straining towards the sky. "I think this is pretty damn great so far."

Zidane didn't laugh like Lance expected him to. The human thought back, straining hard past the hurt and the pain of his former life. A life he hoped to get back to.

"There was a show we played," he began, "in a city a few hours away from our hometown. It was pretty packed and fairly wild—people jumping off the balconies and shit. During a breakdown, I walked on the crowd—actually walked on the crowd, with people holding me up by the feet and everything. Felt like some kind of god. Like nothing could touch me in that moment."

"That's awesome."

"Yeah," Lance replied. "Guess it was."

Like quicksand dragging something down, Lance felt his mind and soul pulled into darkness. Thinking about the past again, the life he no longer had. It hurt, to say the least. The longing was more than painful.

Zidane turned to look over his shoulder, his eyes lightening to a sky-blue as he spoke.

"You'll get back there, Lance," Zidane said, looking behind his shoulder to reveal sky-blue eyes. "Hold the future in a hopeful light, remember?"

Lance smiled a little. "Yeah."

They walked for a few more moments until Lance finally spoke.

"I wish I could've met Kazuo."

"Yeah," Zidane replied after a moment. "I do, too."

Silence came between them until Zidane glanced over his shoulder again.

"So tell me about your band."

Lance blinked, momentarily forgetting he even had a band. He swallowed down the regret, looking to the ground.

"Um, we played metal." He watched his feet make pathway marks along the grass. "Carry the Creation played metal."

"I like the name."

"Thanks," Lance said, glancing up. He straightened, rolling his shoulders back as he looked ahead of himself again. "My friend made up the name. It's supposed to signify how no matter what, you carry whatever you create along with you. The mistakes and heartaches, loves and losses. It's part of what you bring to the world."

Zidane hummed. "That's beautiful."

"Yeah," Lance said. "It was a fun gig."

"Is," Zidane corrected kindly. "It still exists, right?"

Lance stared, realization hitting him. "Guess so." He tried to laugh, failing miserably. "I wonder what they think of all the demo tapes we recorded."

"There's an element to memory slating," Zidane began, "where, when faced with a piece of what's been forgotten, the brain fills it in with another explanation. It's possible they could think of your guitar playing as somebody else's."

Like Trent's or something, Lance added, completely interested.

"I wonder what they think of my screaming."

"You screamed?" Zidane glanced back, raising a brow.

"Yeah. Why's that so surprising?"

He shrugged one shoulder. "Just didn't peg you as the type. You're kinda quiet."

Lance nodded. "I've gotten that before."

Zidane paused for a moment. "What style of metal did your band play?"

"Some blend between melodic and deathcore."

"Kinda wide blend."

Lance laughed a little. "Yeah. I think we made it work, though." He looked back to Zidane, picking up his pace a little bit. "Wait, how do you know about subgenres?"

One shoulder shrugged. "I like all types of music."

"Even, like, metal and country and shit?"

Zidane nodded. "Especially shit."

He exchanged a grin with Lance, who ducked his head as he let out a laugh. "Sorry; couldn't resist that one."

Lance grinned, and then another memory came to him.

"I played a few acoustic shows a couple times a week; sometimes solo, sometimes with Trent, a friend of mine." He ran a hand through his hair, feeling tears sting his eyes. "I, uh, tutored, too. This kid who recently moved to our school. Nice guy."

"Sounds like you're really into music."

"Yeah. I am."

A few steps came between the quiet surrounding them. Zidane looked behind his shoulder, speaking softly.

"I hope I get to hear your band someday."

"Yeah," Lance replied. "Same."

They walked in silence after that, each one confined to their own thoughts until they settled down for the night, speaking quietly to one another until sleep pulled one of them away.

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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