Perched on a rock, a boy soaks in the sun. Teal hair ruffling with the wind, his bracelets rattle, the thin pieces of metal chiming against one another. He can feel it, the call of his land. Even from where he sits, he can feel its sadness, the deprivation of essence…such a pitiful state it’s in. A small part of him feels bad. After all, he was meant to be responsible for it. But in all honesty, he doesn’t feel bad enough. Even though he can hear the land practically sobbing out his name, he still wishes he could go somewhere far, far, away. And he would, if he wasn’t bound by the demands of a being stronger than him. It really was such awful luck.
Perched on his rock, the boy knows the future that awaits him. He doesn’t want to meet it. But he must. So he will. These are the facts. The important ones. The ones that can’t be avoided.
Unable to withstand the pressure of Gerke’s aura on his body, he stands, the sun beating on his shoulders. Bracelets and anklets chiming with the wind, he reluctantly takes a step forward, towards a place something else might have called home. He prefers the term prison. It doesn’t make difference.
Fiddling with the threads of his cushion, there is another boy to this tale. Glancing up at the ventilation trap for what was probably the third time in five minutes, his name is Amanaki. Skin browned by the sun, silver hair braided down his back with rocks and fabric haphazardly weaved in and eyes the color of amethysts, some beings might have called these facts the important ones. For some beings, it’s all about what they can see, the things that can be perceived with the eyes. Sitting slouched on the cushion provided to him, anything looking would have noticed the wheat yellow thread tangled between Amanaki’s fingers, the silent demand in his eyes for the sun to rise faster. Feathers spilling out between loose threads, anything looking would have noticed Amanaki’s wary glances to the man staring at the entrance and his obvious attempt to calm the desperation swelling under his skin.
But for some beings, it’s not about sight at all. It’s about the things they can hear. To such beings, the true facts come from the things that are said…and the things that aren’t. Anything listening would have known that the CouncilMembers surrounding Amanaki looked down on him, thought of him as inferior, a child that would one day grow to be nothing like his father. Anything listening would have realized Amanaki’s exclusion from the conversation (not that the boy minded). They would have known that the things the CouncilMembers discussed were the same, month after month after month. “The crops are failing.” “The chickens managed to escape again.” “The Varian Tribe is better off dead, if you ask me.” It doesn’t matter that no one actually asked. Just like Amanaki. He doesn’t matter, not to them. But they like to talk about him a lot, especially about how wonderful it is to have him in their presence. Anything listening could hear the thinly disguised sneers or sarcastic tones. This is all important too. These are all the true facts to this situation. At least, that is what some will claim.
But I want to try something a little different. Let’s try…both.
Look a litter closer. You can see it right? The threads snapping under Amanaki’s fingers, the blood welling on his skin. But it’s just not that. That’s not all there is to know. Do you see how he pulls on the thread tighter, they way he sharpens the pain, the contorted pleasure and careful control shining in his eyes? Watch as he straightens his back, the feathers brushing the inside of his legs. Do you see what he sees? The three new love bites on CouncilMan Dezydery, the buises on CouncilWoman Cashlin’s wrists, a purple matching the new fabric woven into her hair? Can you see it all, the lies in Amanaki’s eyes, “everything’s all right”, “is it time to go yet?”
Do you hear it, the way CouncilWoman Miniya calls his name?
“Yes CouncilWoman Miniya?”
You can see it, right? Everything is all right, there’s blood dripping down his wrist, little ruby rivers, aren’t they pretty against his skin?
“Have you been able to sense its presence?”
Anything listening would have known that his answer was the same as the last time he was asked and the time before that and really every other time she’s asked. “No, I haven’t.”
You’re watching right? You better not miss a thing. CouncilWoman Miniya’s eyes look so beady right now, narrowed like that with all that disappointment and contempt.
Do you hear that? “What are we - ” The rising voices? “It’s been years - ” How they overlap one another impatiently? “going to do?” The panic? “since it’s been spotted!” The frustration? “It’s probably – “ Desperation. “He’s not – “Accusation “his fault!” Self righteousness. “trying hard enough!” Anger. “We’ll die off at this rate!” Fear.
All of these things are the important things to know. That
is, if you cared. Do you? Just look at that boy, fingers bleeding, bleeding,
another cushion ruined.
Humans are so stupid sometimes. If they just listened, they would have known that the boy doesn’t have the ability to call spirits to him. If they simply listened, they’d know that he could only communicate with other sources of life, not attract them to him. But they don’t. Screaming over each other, forgetting the useless boy, the sun rises higher.
To everything not listening, to everything not looking, there is nothing wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong at all. The meeting is going on smoothly. With conclusive decisions, it will end in a few minutes time. Everything is fine. Or so the Nihaad Tribe thinks.
What a existence these humans lead.