Lethe

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Chapter 53

Chapter 53: Facilitation

Hand in hand with Bianca, Sabonis saunters through the sand hills of Dilmun, denuded anew by the Pounders. They find little remaining of his old homestead. The cove is erased. One pear tree, half its branches torn away, is all that remains of the orchard, although new buds are already forming on the twigs.

“No biggie,” says Sabonis. “I’ve rebuilt before. We can rebuild again.”

He spots two sections of post fencing leaned together to form a shelter.

“Someone’s been here,” says Sabonis.

“It was me,” says Bianca. “I came here looking for you.”

“Aw, how sweet. Didya miss me?”

Bianca averts her eyes, shyly.

Sabonis goes over and wiggles the rickety shelter. “Not bad for a start. But this will never hold up in a wind.” He digs a post out of the sand and fits it against the peak of the A-frame, starts lashing it with some scraps of rope to provide extra support.

“I’m not worried,” says Bianca, looking over the sea.

“Me neither. But this is just temporary. We’ll make a nice big hut with a thatched roof, just like before, expect with a bigger porch where we can sit and watch the breakers. You know, there’s no reason we can’t stay here a long time. A real long time. Not forever. I mean, nothing is forever. But … keep our nose clean. Take care of these bodies. These are good bodies they give us, tougher than the crap they issue in that other place.” His eyes linger in Bianca’s, wistfully. “Did I ever tell you about the Prospers, and the little girl they had … the one they named Diamond?

Bianca walks over to a dune where a blue tarpaulin lies half-buried. A catamaran appears around the point, sails full.

“Holy shit,” says Sabonis. “Is that my boat?”

“How many cats do you think exist on Lethe?” says Bianca.

She rises up on her toes and waves out at the craft.

A dreadlocked man at the rudder waves back.

“Well, whataya know,” says Sabonis. “Old Roddie survived the Pounders. You know what? That man deserves that boat. I’m not even gonna try to get it back from him.”

“As if you could, if you wanted,” says Bianca. She drags the tarp away. Clumps of damp sand fill its creases. She digs beneath it, uncovering a staff topped with a bronze head, axe on one side, a bladed hook on the other; and three black cubes dangling from a leather thong.

“What the fuck?” says Sabonis, backing away. “What the Hell are you doing with that thing?”

Bianca’s eyes lose some of their twinkle.

“I forgot to tell you. They’ve made me a Collector.”

“You?”

“Don’t worry,” says Bianca. “It’s not like they’ve gone and put me with Alecto. I’m just a Collector.”

Sweat beads on Sabonis’ brow and slickens his grip on the fencepost.

A thin, calm smile creases Bianca’s lips.

“Bianca, you’re not—?”

“I said, don’t worry,” says Bianca, stepping towards him, the pole ax balanced in her hands. “I’ve come to help you.”
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