The child wore a fox fur about his shoulders. He danced around like he was a Broadway star from the 1920.
“Look at me Marty!” he yelled
Marty looked up with a glint of thought in his eye. How could he make this work to his advantage? He was all about that you know. It was his new thing. He stroked his chin.
“You look like a proper fruit Taylor.” He commented finally concluding that Taylor’s dancing about wildly could not be of any use to him. Taylor laughed. He swung his hips back and forth like he was on a catwalk. He winked at Marty and blew him a kiss.
“This is what a fruit does. I am an actor.” He put a dramatic hand on his forehead. Where had the innocence of childhood gone? Shame on the parents for pushing children to be intellectually perfect. Marty hoped up on stage and put his arm around Taylor’s shoulder.
“As your best friend I’m inclined to tell you that that is indeed still a fruit thing to do. Boys don’t dance around like that. Unless you want it stuck to ya.” Both boys laughed in the elation they had found from the dilapidated theater. For just a small amount of time the destruction of the outside world seemed so far away. Neither of them was diseased. Neither of them was dying.
“We will be like the lost boys and live forever. Then we will find girls and make more boys and tell them what a fruit does or doesn’t do and if they don’t listen we will stick it to them.” Taylor imagined. He could pretend that millions of people existed. He could play that they would want to be around him even if they did exist. We all know they wouldn’t.
“Come on you. That’s enough play. Bring the fur and we will put it with the rest of our treasures.” Marty jumped like a joey past the broken flooring and piles of ceiling that had fallen from disrepair. Taylor followed skillfully, as if his jumps were just a small bit better then Marty’s. He thought that they were at least.
The boys hopped over the aging urban area one foot at a time. The whole thing was a giant game of hopscotch that they could quit playing at any time. With this in mind they were not afraid. The rats scurried between the skips and repeats of movement.
The boys followed each other in systematic circles finally leading to the hole in the earth they called home. Taylor dropped the fox fur on the ground unceremoniously. He twirled in place as if he could not contain his energy. Then he stopped.
“I’m hungry Louis.”
“That’s you Marty!” he continued his hyper fit. He sat upon the floor with his legs crossed and peered friendly at Marty.
“That makes no damn sense Taylor!” the child said trying to figure out the motives of his lunatic friend. He could find no point concluding himself to be insane as well. They were friendly soul mates.
“You looked like a Louis for a moment there, Marty. I can’t help my tongue. It’s as green as my sense of direction. You know I’d be lost without you.” Marty ruffled Taylor’s hair. It was only at moments like this he remembered that he was older then Taylor. It truly was a childish thing to say. He had never been destroyed in a way that kept such inappropriate language glued to his tongue. Eventually he would learn.
“I sure am going to miss you when you’re dead. You’re crazy.”
“I’ll miss you too.” Taylor smiled.
“No you won’t,” Marty insisted, “you’ll be dead. You can’t miss anything when you’re dead. Not even hot chocolate.”
“Well I will. I just will!” Taylor leapt to his feet and clapped with exultation. “When I’m dead I’ll miss you. When I’m dead I’ll miss you!” it became a chant. He could sing a happy little song from it. “When I’m dead I won’t feel a thing, just the dark of no-more-me-ness. I won’t understand it as I do now, but I will sit in my sleep and dream of you. I’ll dance to the thought of you. The only sound forevermore.” He laughed. Then a thought occurred to him.
“I’m still hungry.”
“Yeah let’s eat.” Marty agreed. Marty leaned against the loose soil walls of their house and ran his fingers through the dirt. He scraped the brown coating away revealing the plump white roots of the vegetation above. He snapped them away without much force. Almost instantly his mouth began to water. Taylor squealed with excitement. The filthy tubers were a delicacy among men.
He handed the ones in his left hand to Taylor. He had told himself quite recently that he would only look out for his best interest, and stop feeding Taylor. However when the moment of rejection always came emptiness was created in his gut and he aborted. Something about the little guy gave him hope; not that he remembered what hope meant. He just had it.
The boys feasted on the roots, mud and all. They lavished the minerals gritty against their teeth. Had this been why they were alive so long. Marty had found this place first. He took the loss of his family as a sign that it was time to move on. He did not complain when the wind blew him here. The magical potato plants of salvation had been in his diet ever since.
Taylor was not so lucky. Sick and abandoned by a sicker kind he was left to rot in the vegetation of the urban forest. He was mad when Marty found him. He was mad as he sat with Marty today. He was alive though and this alone seemed to be enough to suggest that it was his personality rather, not the sickness.
Taylor stuffed his mouth in delight. He was a naturally happy boy. The first person Marty had seen since the expulsion of the magically glowing ruin that took his family. The ancients had created it to make power. Marty had always imagined it to be a portal to a different dimension. It was sacred, and like sacred things always have a way of doing, it was no more.
“Love, is a wonderfully thing. A thing I can understand a thing I can look after. Do you know what love is Marty? If I was different would you love me?”
“Different? How Tay? Don’t I love you now?”
“I don’t know Marty. I don’t know very much at all. Or do I? I’m feeling rather inquisitive. I like riddles. Once my mother told me a riddle. I can’t remember it at all, and she never gave me an answer.” Taylor rubbed his thumbs together in thought. This was as deep as it got. Marty figured him to be incredibly shallow.
“Well then how do you know you liked it?” Marty asked a bit annoyed at the whole situation.
“Isn’t that how loving works? Dare I say it is a bit innate in nature? Dare I compare it to a riddle I have long since forgotten or never cared to know? Abandoned, abandoned in the snow, I have felt that cold. I believe you have felt that as well. Once upon a time, too many sunsets to count between then and now.” the boys were silent. Taylor shook off his mature thought patterns and apologized.
“Yeah I know ya’ do it once in a while. It’s no big one.” Marty smiled. “Let’s make our own riddles.”
Taylor became excited. He tried to leap up and ended on the ground again. He was unsteady under his own weight. He grasped his stomach, full from sweet sustenance, as it ached considerably. Marty seeing this began first.
“What is good? Is white, is soft? Is long, is fun, is life?
“A tuber!” Taylor shouted, “Too easy.”
“Fine. Your turn.”
“It’s born of loss, it last forever, though it ages quick and weathers. In the earth under the sun, progressing back into what it once was, before it was it. In the water it will bloom, inflating like a big balloon. It’s made of common rocks and dirt. But alone shock an awe inspired observer.”
“A diamond!” Marty tried.
“Nope,” Taylor lay on the floor silently fighting back the dinner that had served him, “would you like some more hints?” he didn’t wait for an answer.
“All will have one sooner or later. When they have it they will not know. Often moved it comes and goes. Not with legs, though it has those, carried by all nature and man. If held long enough will turn to sand. Made in many types of ways, somehow the result remains the same.” Taylor’s tired head feel to the side. A tuber is a tuber, even if it’s a poison tuber. Marty crawled over to the boy who had been his friends and closed his eyes. It had finally been enough. He wanted to stop feeding him sometimes, but the yearning to see the end pulled at his actions.
“A dead body.” He concluded.
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