Announcement: If you've made it all the way here, thank you sooo much!! 💕💕 Means the world to me!
I just finished writing the first draft📝 and I have to say my vision from the start shifted a bit🤔 so I will edit all this first chapters come December to shorten this introduction part🙌🏻
Good news is: You made it all the way into the good juice part now!🙈🙊
So, I hope you love what's to come! 💕
12TH OF JULY
I feel like I’m pacing back and forth inside my mind as I listen to the debate. It’s not that I’m nervous, or that I’m anxious. It’s that for once, I feel a bit biased. Being the mediator, I need to always keep my cool and not side with anybody, but my brother Tu is really getting on my nerves today, and a part of me wants to go against him just because I can.
“We couldn’t do much about it back then, because the girl was gone,” says Tu as he keeps on giving his opinion on the matter. His voice is deep and he sounds angry, but he always sounds angry. “But we know she’s coming back, and I think it’s time we enforce a punishment. I think he should prove that saving her life was worth it.”
Some mumble their agreement, others their discomfort.
“We are all family, and he is our brother,” says Ru shyly, “Can’t we just get along?”
“Family?!” Yells Tu. “We lived together for too long, way too long, but after we all went our separate ways, I think some of us can’t even be considered family any longer. He defied us when he saved that girl! We are not meant to interfere like that, but he's got too soft and did it regardless!”
“I don’t know what ‘too soft’ means coming from you, brother,” says Tawhiri. “You know, considering that before they got separated, you actually suggested killing your own mother and father!”
“To hell with that! Do you always need to bring up the same subject?!” Tu is shaking with rage.
“Yes, I do! I will never forgive you for it!” Shouts Tawhiri as a thunder rumbles in the distance.
“Okay,” I say, finally interceding. “We’re not here to discuss that… again. We are here to decide what to do about our brother.” I need to end this argument, or else we’ll be here forever. There’s only two choices, and I think it might be a tight one. “So, I think we should take a vote.”
Most of my brothers agree with this idea, so I present them with the options.
“You can either vote to just forget about the issue, it's been some time anyways and some believe we should let it go. Or else, as suggested by Tu, we can all decide on a punishment together so it can be proved that our brother's actions were worth it.” I say. “All those in favour of punishing our brother, say ‘ay’”
“Ay!” Screams Tu angrily.
“Ay,” says another voice. “Ay,” joins another one. “Ay,” Whispers a soft voice.
The voices keep on going for what seems like an eternity. I feel like time stretches in front of me as the voices echo in my mind, and I realise that most of my brothers want to punish one of us for what I deemed a noble action.
“Okay, that settles it, there’s more positive than negative votes,” I say finally in a low voice. “Let’s decide on the details of the punishment.”
I wake myself up when I gasp loudly. There’s sweat running down my back, and my heart is racing a little.
It takes me a moment to identify the weird machine-sounding noises around me as I pull the blanket tighter around my neck. My throat feels rough and dry and I hope I wasn’t snoring loudly. I’m lucky enough to have the window seat, as I’ve been having a pretty good sleep curled up against the wall until just a moment ago.
I feel a sting in my right hand, and I look down. I must’ve had a nightmare, cause I can feel the marks of the nails that dug into my palm. That would explain the sweat too. I rub my eyes as I try to remember, but it’s all so blurry. I remember darkness, and maybe fire. I feel like there’s a memory just there, but I can’t concentrate enough to make it into an actual image. I hate that feeling of knowing but not, it happens to me all the time as I try to remember things but I feel like they’re just an inch out of my reach.
“You’re awake,” says Em in a dreamy voice.
I look towards the seat next to mine, and I almost laugh at this little bundle of a blanket-burrito that’s half asleep by my side.
“I am,” I reply in a whisper, “Are you?”
“Yeah, yeah,” she says, ”I kind of am.”
I turn on the screen in front of me, and I open up the navigation map.
“We’re barely halfway there.” I say in a soft voice as I try not to wake anybody else up.
“This was such a stupidly long flight,” Em groans, and then she laughs a little while rubbing her eyes.
“It’s so odd to think that when you’re up here in the middle of nowhere,” I say. “It’s like… I don’t even know what day it is, what time it is. We’re moving against the sun at the moment, so the minutes won’t even be minutes, you know?”
“I have no idea what you're talking about,” says Em, and then she yawns.
“I mean, we’re travelling with time, so technically time is going by faster in this plane. Maybe there’s a way I could calculate how long a minute lasts up here in the air by knowing our speed?” I look at the screen, at the speed displayed there, and I start to think what kind of calculation I will need to figure this out when Emma punches me lightly in the shoulder.
“Don’t you dare do math right now,” she says.
Right, I’m probably too sleepy for that anyways.
“Okay, okay,” I say.
“So when we return, time will go by slower… That’s why we’re departing and arriving pretty much at the same time, right?”
“Exactly. When we go back, we’ll be travelling against the rotation of the Earth. So basically, we’ll be static up in the air as the Earth moves underneath us. We’ll be in an eternal space of nothingness while the time doesn’t actually move for us. It’ll be like being stuck in a moment, pretty much during the whole flight.” I look at Em, and she’s looking at me like I’m losing my mind a little, but I keep going. “It’s just so mind blowing to think how time is such a relative term, you know?” I don’t really wait for an answer. “It’s like the same as when time seems to slow down sometimes, and you feel like you’re watching the world moving in slow motion. But then, there’s times when things happen so fast that you can’t really comprehend what’s going on until it’s all over.”
I look at Em, and she’s just staring at me, silent. I wonder if she’s fallen asleep with her eyes open, it wouldn’t be the first time.
“I just find it pretty fascinating,” I say in a whisper.
“Yeah, it is,” she replies. And with that, her eyelids drop and she starts snoring lightly.
“It’s been decided, there’s nothing we can do about it,” I say as Tawhiri hassles me again about the decision made at the debate earlier on today.
“You can! I know you’re impartial, you’re the mediator... but maybe you can help,” he says. “Give him a warning, a hand, he will have no idea what he’s meant to be doing, and by the time he figures it out, it might be too late.”
“Why do you care?”
“I care about what I might have to do. I care about the consequences of what I might be forced to accomplish when it’s time to move forward with my part of the test. And I care that he is just one simple human, I mean, how can he really prove the girl's worth on his own? We should help him.”
He’s scared he might be the one to hurt the girl. I can understand that much. Tawhiri and I have never understood our brother’s fascination with the girl’s kind, but he’s always had a thing for them, for humans. And him saving her might have been foolish, and stupid, but I don’t think I can agree with it being a threat. He heard a plea, and he listened to it. Does that make him soft? Maybe. But I'm not sure if that's a bad thing anymore.
“What do you suggest?” I say, lowering my voice to a whisper.
“I’m going to try and send a warning, maybe she remembers what happened, but I don’t think she does. So that’s really as much as I can do for now... I can try and help her remember.”
“And what do you want me to do, then?” I ask again.
“I’ll deal with the girl, you deal with our brother. Help him understand what he needs to do. If needed, go there and help him yourself.”
I’m not sure about any of this, and I know I’ll be getting myself into a lot of shit if I'm found helping. But a part of me keeps telling me to do it anyways. To help. To listen to Tawhiri. To fuck with Tu.
“I can’t promise anything,” I finally say. “But if the time comes for me to approach our brother, would you help me? I might not have enough strength to turn on my own. It took three of our brothers to enforce the punishment after all.”
“That’s because he tried to resist the change. But yes, I will. I couldn’t help our parents back then, and I always resented our brother for being the one to push them apart… but I think I'm starting to understand him a little, and I can see he’s trying to make up for it. I think saving that girl was a part of it.” He sounds genuine, and that makes me feel even more guilty about everything that’s about to go down.
“This is going to be interesting.” I conclude.
The guy next to me gets up to go to the toilet, so I use the time to do the same. Sam’s been asleep for a while, so I don’t bother her. I grab my makeup bag from my backpack and get out of the seat.
We’re seated about half way on the plane, and I start walking towards the back. The toilet there is occupied, probably the guy that sits next to me, so I wait while I stand at the back corner where flight attendants gather.
“Do you need anything, darling?” A middle aged flight attendant asks. She’s got a sweet american accent, and she reminds me of one of those pin-up ladies you see in the movies, working at cafés.
“Oh, I’m okay, I just wanted to use the loo, I'm waiting,” I reply.
She bows her head a little and then the guy comes out, so I step into the tiny cubicle.
As I sit down to attend to my needs, I can’t stop the images from another bathroom that run wild around my head.
But then there’s times when things happen so fast that you can’t really comprehend what’s going on until it’s all over.
Sam’s words almost seem like a slap. I flush the toilet and wash my face.
I didn’t tell Sam about what happened, or didn't happen. I always tell her everything, but in this case, I just couldn’t. I keep telling myself I didn’t do anything wrong, but if I didn’t, then why do I feel so guilty about it? Why can’t I just tell my friend about what happened? I feel like it's all my fault, like I provoked the guy or something.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about it during the whole flight, and so much worrying ended up giving me a headache.
I open up my makeup bag, and grab a painkiller from one of the little inside pockets. I pop it in my mouth and swallow, telling myself that I can stop thinking about it now.
A great adventure awaits us, there's no time to be worrying about the past.
Note: I'd love to hear your theories about who you think Rongo is! 💕