It was only when my sister, who on her way out, touched my shoulder that I come back to reality and m hearing was restored. The sounds of my mother were filling the corridor as she pleaded with Ivor.
“He is too young. You made a promise....there is no way he can survive more than five minutes in there. You promised!!" she said as she folded her hands as a gesture of pleading. Ivor maintained his composure and spoke getting close to my mom and speaking into her ear. I could not hear a word but then once he completed his speech he now spoke seeming to address me. “The time has come, the time the voule faces his match in the Quike! I’ve been long waiting for this day!" he said as he cast a dirty look at me.
I was now furious and really wanted to lunge at the leader and strangle him right there but I remained cool and spoke, my hands balled up in anger. “Leader Ivor. why tonight I have barely enough time to prepare, why even the Zelia? I never even confessed for the fight..." my anger suddenly subsided as I thought of the Quike and the dangers it held. I felt my expression drastically changed and I felt scared and feeble, like last evening when I first found the coffin. “Leader, I do not even know who I’m facing...I will do any other punishment you order me to do..please not the Zelia." I said and my vision got blurry as I broke down to my knees on the verge of crying.
In almost an instant the leader swept across the door, into our house swiftly closing it without even looking behind for which I was glad he did because I really did not want to cry in front of the Gurzal gang and the hundred other villagers who had gathered in the narrow corridor. His dull yellow eyes on his long face stared keenly at me as got to one knee and extended his long thin green hand and grabbed my chin with his long thick fingers forcing me to look into his eyes. I thought I saw some kind of sympathy in those dull eyes, but his words seemed harsh,like always.
“Boy! You have been unknowingly preparing all your life for this event. You were going to face it some time or the other and I was going to ensure that happened. So better now than later. As far as your other questions you will find out soon when you are in the Quike tonight at nine and that is final." I now upon hearing this broke into a full-fledged river as I cried and my sister and mother came to confront me placing their ars around me.
The leader now his back against me spoke. “Wipe up boy, I don’t want my contestant crying in front of the whole village." and threw a handkerchief behind his back. I ignored it and took the one offered by my mother. I wiped up and the leader reached his hand to open the door when I asked the one thought now remaining in my new fresh mind. “Can you release my father from prison...so that he can help me practice fighting” I added the last bit quickly trying to salvage some advantage from the inevitable situation I was going to face.
The leader froze his hand one and on the handle of the door. It was hard to judge is face and I thought he would downright kill my idea but his answer shocked me. “Herof Yale will be present to help you with your practicing." I was suddenly glad that my father might at least see the light of day outside the prison which warmed my heart, but the back of my mind was thinking how Ivor even remembered my father’s name after so many years.
He now hastily opened the door and exited our house once again closing it behind him, once again reliving me from public shame from everyone outside my house.
Time had flown away during this confrontation and I now looked back at the clock and it was six. It suddenly struck me that today might be the last day I lived and so every hour counted.