Reads: 114

 

“Kai.” I jolt awake and my hand grips the note. “Kai.” Déjà vu rushes through my mind as Matt's hands hold my shoulders. I open my mouth to speak,

I stop.

What is it? I tap. Matt sits beside me,

“I'm sorry I shouted at you yesterday, it's not your fault. I was scared, exhausted and hurting. I will never do it to you again, I promise.” Matt's arms wrap around me and bring me in tight. I pause for a moment, then I let the warmth entangle me. When Matt releases me from his coils I stand up and walk outside. The. Yellow, sun beats down on my face and on my body. I see Alexander kneeling down scribbling on paper while also twisting round with a compass in his hand.

“Good morning!” he calls. I bow my head, he pauses for a moment looking straight at me then carries on.

“Kai!” A hand presses on down on my shoulder. Her voice is weak.

Hey, how's the leg?

“Yeah, it's not bad.” Megan's voice slows, “Not as bad as Ffion's arm at least.”

Hey. Megan's face drops and tears threaten to fall. We'll find a way home. Don't you worry. Megan releases me and slumps gently into Emily's arms. I turn my attention to Alex scribbling and turning on the sand,

“Well?” I keep my voice very quiet so the others can't hear me.

“I think I know.”

“Know what?”

“The way home” his eyes light up as he said it.

“Which way?” the excitement climbs in my voice. Alexander gathers up his things into a pile then bellows out,

“Everyone! I've found the way back to Kirk, follow me.” I watch as he walks triumphantly towards the rising sun. With footsteps following behind me I start after Alexander.

“Are you sure this is the way home?” I ask.

“Yes.” he pauses, “Has Matt talked to you yet?” I turn and look back briefly to see the line of 15 people.

“I don't know. Possibly.”

“Possibly?”

“I can't remember, does it matter?”

“I'd hope it matters.”

“What's this about?”

“Everything.” I don't reply, “It has everything to do with you. Kaiatana.”

“What did you call me?” I say sharply.

“Kaiatana.”

“How do you know that?” Anger presented itself into the conversation.

“How do you think.” He replies with venom rising in his voice.“What are you planning to do when we get back?”

“What do you think.” I'm angry with him. How does he know my real name? My name is Kai, always has been. Always will be.

 

22nd June 114P.R.

 

My name is Alexander. I am 72 years old and survived in the desert for the best part of 54 years. I met you (Kai) yesterday after you survived a train crash and collapsed outside my hut, since then I have learned that you can see. You have a natural instinct for colour and an excitement to learn. In a previous entry you described your view of Kirk and how you came to fear sight.

 

You talked about Kirk being peaceful yet full of noise, you perceived life clicking and ticking around you like a perfect clockwork city, you could read 1,000 Braille words without having to read the Braille and I have seen for myself the love you have for everything around you. However you were afraid of sight, it made you feel amazing yet your parents made you scared of it, scared of blurting it out. Since then instead of a voice all you had was that eery silence is all that fills your ears.

 

That's how I found you. Afraid, helpless and silent but you had to learn to love who you really are and not to fear it. From learning and listening to me you allowed yourself to come to grips with sight and colour, then I as started to love the real you as I would a daughter, you found your voice.

 

But I fear in my mistake of seeking knowledge and trying to learn myself I have mislead you, you seem to have become focused upon Lisé's note which I believe has started to make you cold to those around you. Matt, who has only been trying to protect you, you have turned away; when I asked where he was you have no idea; this morning you bowed your head to me and you haven't once asked about your diary. I fear if you return to Kirk alone with this inward focus you will become separated from those around you.

 

As for the situation now, we are in the desert with 14 other people not including me, you and the camel (Randy). We are heading back in the direction of the train crash, I hope to find and follow the tracks. We have very limited food, enough water to last us for the night and half of tomorrow, we have enough heat to keep us alive if we snuggle together (including Randy) and so far we have had no casualties and no animal attacks although we have only been walking for less than a day.

 

Alex puts down the bouler and the diary then looks over to Kai. She is sat alone, away from the group, facing towards the horizon. He pauses there for a moment wondering if it is the right decision to return to Kirk and what he's going to face when they do return.

 

He stands, watching Kai for a moment longer before turning away, walking over to the shivering huddle of teenagers curling up against Randy. Taking off his cloak he wraps it around as many of the teens as he can before sitting against Randy's warm body himself and closing his eyes.

 

23rd June 114P.R.

 

We have made good progress today, we found a dry river bed and managed to get water. We got to the train tracks and it seems to have calmed nerves in the group and given them both a metaphorical and literal sense of direction. You're keeping your distance from the group, I hear you muttering under your breath and I watch you stare for long periods of time at the horizon. I keep being questioned by Matt about you, asking where you are and why you are acting like this. Then he turns to me, wondering about where I came from and why I seem to unlock something within you that he isn't even aware of. They're all worried about you. Worried and afraid.

 

24th June 114P.R.

 

The water is lasting us but no food is making everyone on edge. I feel like a fight is about to break out at any moment, people just want to lean up against the tracks but the heat would be too much for anyone. The smell also isn't helping as we haven't showered for days, many people are getting headaches and the water rations are too small. You do have your share but you stay secluded. At night you stay staring at the distance just frozen in time, I dread to think of what it will be like when we do reach civilisation again.

 

25th June 114P.R.

 

I can see on the horizon the silhouette of Kirk, surrounded by a cloud of dust. The low lying city stretches out on the horizon but a central structure in the centre is all I can seem to focus on. I haven't stepped one foot back into that city, I could have travelled back so many times, I could have swallowed my guilt and gone home. But it seems to be towering over me, holding me down and reminding me of her.

 

I can almost feel it's blood pumping round it's streets, it's breath on the warm air and it's voice.

 

Just calling out my name.

 

Alexander.

 

I feel sick watching it sit there waiting for me to come crawling back on all fours. The silhouette crushing down on me burying me back into the sand. I did nothing wrong, I just wanted freedom.

 

Alex closes his eyes and pauses for a moment. He leans against Randy and opens them again.

 

You know the only time you can really tell someone the truth is when they're not listening. I watch you night after night sitting there, still as the earth yet as fragile as the air. You remind me of myself, still, calm,

 

Alex smiles.

 

quiet.

 

Although I grew up in a family very different to yours. My parents both worked on the Southerly farms, they would be away for months at a time so most of my childhood was actually spent with my grandma. I fell in love with history, I read lots and lots of books and I read poetry that started to open up my world.

 

I never felt the urge to tell people about my sight, it wasn't normal and I suppose part of that was my grandma becoming slowly deaf. We use to communicate by literature, I would read one of these poems and then I would give them to grandma to try and figure out the meanings within them.

 

In her old age she seemed to lose her knowledge of what sound was, and I never truly knew the knowledge of what sight was.

 

But we managed fine, learning to treasure what we had. I felt safe with her, I felt loved and I suppose cosy is the best word.

 

But then grandma died and I went to live with my uncle and aunt.

 

I went deeper into my books and deeper into the poems wanting to understand every word, I would walk around town looking, watching and listening. People started to avoid me, they saw me as this weird boy who is strangely silent, who spends far too much time trying to “understand things that are not meant to be understood”. I grew weary, I started to feel like a thousand eyes were on me, watching my every move from the library to school to my own home. Alexander, Alexander they whispered, all I wanted to do was discover but the whispers grew louder and louder, Alexander they would say, Alexander!

 

He stopped writing leaving the bouler to roll off the diary.

“Alexander.” Alex repeated and he shook at his own words.

 

He took a breath and felt as if a weight had been taken from his shoulders.

 

So one night, I packed my bags, taking my essentials, my history books, my uncle's knowledge of building houses, and a book of poems that grandma loved. Then I went off into the desert, I just walked and walked building huts to stay in. I've probably built 25 or so huts in these past 54 years, maybe more. I can never remember. Although I always meant to return to Kirk. One day. But there is this overwhelming feeling of something else being out here.

 

Something woven between the threads of our understanding.

 

Something that we missed in our revolution to gain freedom.

 

Something strong that we failed to break apart.

 

And I think we're getting close.


Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.

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