Day 15 – Chapter 10 – Marin – 03

            We brought the water back to the fire after Tala calmed down and wiped her eyes.  I couldn’t blame her for her fear, though I wondered how long we were going to keep it quiet, who we were going to keep it a secret from.  I knew that a secret in a community this small wouldn’t last long, even if I didn’t have any plans to tell anyone without her consent.
            God, she was pregnant.  How we were all going to handle that?  It wasn’t just about her, after all, it was about all of us, about us as a community.  Eight months or so, and then we’d have an infant to care for on top of all of us.
            Maybe it wasn’t worth worrying about.  A lot could happen in eight months.
            Carolyn was sitting with little Angie by the fire, and the small girl waved to Tala and I as we brought the water.  I looked around for Matt, who’d been here when we’d left.  Carolyn caught me looking and grinned.
            “He’s with Stasia.  She said there’s eggs—finally.  He got excited and had to see for himself.”
            Tala sighed happily.  “Finally something other than toast.”
            I laughed as I set the buckets of water off to one side, to be rotated in for sterilization in whatever fashion my brother and some of the other boys had engineered two weeks ago.  We’d gotten rain buckets set up, but the storms had tapered off the past few days so we hadn’t gotten to test them much.  That, at least, had given J.T. and Drew time to actually get back to testing for wells with Tala’s help.  We needed one of those fast, so we could stop hauling water up and down from the river and sterilizing it.
            “The rest still sleeping?”  I asked as I dried my hands on the seat of my jeans.
            “Mostly.  A few are up and moving, but most everyone’s catching a few extra minutes of sleep.”
            Angie tugged on Carolyn’s sleeve.  “Miss Carolyn?”
            I smothered a smile as I turned around to get a few mugs for tea out of the bin we kept them in.  The kettle was already on—that was either Matt or Carolyn’s doing.  Cute kid.  Polite, too.
            “Why does Miss Marin have three eyes?”
            I froze, throat closing.  What the hell?  I turned slowly, looking at Angie strangely.  She was looking up at Carolyn, perfectly innocent.  Tala had frozen, too, as she was about to sit down on the other side of Angie.
            Carolyn’s eyes flicked to me before she looked back at Angie, tone carefully neutral.  “What do you mean, Angie?”
            “She has three eyes!  Can’t you see them?  Just like you have all of those fairies with the sparkly dragonfly wings and the butterfly wings around you all the time.”
            I suppressed a shiver.  She can already see things?  Some kind of prescience, or just basic sight beyond the norm?  “Where is it, Angie?”  I asked quietly, curious even though I was starting to feel sick to my stomach.
            She looked up at me and pointed to the center of her forehead, just above her brow-line.  “Right here.  It’s all silvery most of the time.”  She paused for a minute, tilting her head to one side.  “Mr. Thom has it, too, but he looks different.”
            Shit.  And this in front of Tala, who’s pretty well clueless.  What the hell am I going to do, going to say?  The kid’s seeing real things, I can’t tell her she’s imagining them.
            “Angie?”  Tala said quietly as she slowly sat down.  “When you saw the shadow man you told Miss Kellin about, what did he look like?  Did he look like Miss Marin’s eye, or like me?”
            Her nose wrinkled a little.  “He looked real, but not like you.  I could see through his coat, like it was made of really dark smoke.  And he was big and scary and dark and mean.  It was hard to see his face because there was all this black moving around him all the time.  I think he was trying to hide from us, but he wanted something from Paul.  He wanted Paul to help him, but Paul said no.  The man got mad, but he left.”  She shifted a little uncomfortably.  “I told Miss Kellin this already.”
            But Kellin didn’t tell me.  This ward thing must really have her spooked since she apparently forgot.  I frowned.
            Angie looked up at me and gasped a little.  “You’re not angry at me, are you, Miss Marin?”
            “No, no, I’m not angry at you, Angie.”  I shook my head quickly.  “Not at all.  I’m just surprised, that’s all.”  I tried to keep my smile gentle.  “Not everyone can see things like you do, Angie.”
            She drew her knees up against her chest.  “Paul used to tell me that all the time.  He couldn’t see them, either.  Can he see them now?”
            I frowned again.  Good question.  Kellin wasn’t back for me to ask, so all I could do was shrug.  “I’m not sure, Angie.  Maybe.”
            “Can you see like I do?”
            I shook my head.  “No…most of us see a little different, but that’s okay.  But maybe you shouldn’t talk about it too much.  Some people might get a little scared.”
            “Why?”
            Her innocence broke my heart.  Briefly, I thanked every power that was or might have been that I’d been a little older than this when I first started becoming aware that there was a world beyond normal sight.  I reached out and brushed her hair back from her face.  “Because some people are afraid of things they can’t see.”
            “Like monsters under the bed?”  She asked, eyes big and round.
            I laughed, nodding.  “Right.  Like monsters under the bed.”
            “They weren’t really monsters.  Just dust bunnies,” Angie said, nodding sagely.  I almost laughed again.
            “Right.  But you were afraid of them anyway, right?”
            She paused, then nodded.  “Yeah, I was.  Until I knew what they were.”  Understanding dawned in her eyes.  “Oh!  I get it.”
            Thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Thank you, whoever’s out there, for making her as bright and as sharp as this.  I hoped, going forward, we’d be so lucky.

 


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4 Responses to Day 15 – Chapter 10 – Marin – 03

  1. Kids just say the damnedest things…

    Now, a blurb you don’t have to read if you don’t want to. Skip to the next bold line if you don’t want to read me waxing a little philosophical.

    This entry went up on September 12, 2011, ten years and one day after terrorist attacks destroyed the promise of a bright and happy future for an entire generation and then some. I was a part of that generation: I was eighteen years old and a sophomore in college when it happened, on the phone with a friend when the second tower hit, then again with friends when the second tower collapsed. Anyone who tells you that it had no impact on their lives is lying (or simply hasn’t realized all the small ways their life has been irrevocably changed). The greatest impact of the tragedy for me, personally, has been on my writing.

    The Genesis page for Awakenings describes this in brief–if September 11 had never occurred, Awakenings very likely would not exist, especially not in the form it does today. In the original story, meant to be a lead-in to a print serial, Marin Astoris has a vision of a mushroom cloud, rising beyond the campus clock tower, out in the direction of Lake Michigan. I had planned for everything to go downhill from there. Thank god for the editors at the paper for not running that original tale.

    End personal waxing about 9/11.

    Ten years later, I’m more interested in what nature can do to destroy us, and what we’ve done to destroy nature. Awakenings is in part about balancing the scales, both between mankind and nature, but also about what might be out there, lurking just beyond our sight. This scene with Angie expresses a particular belief within some areas of society that children are more receptive to the unseen world, that somewhere along the line, most lose the ability to see/sense things because they’re constantly told that certain things aren’t real.

    Clearly, Marin believes this and doesn’t want to play into that same trap in the new and dangerous world they’re living in.

    It seems that Chapter 10 will be ending with the end of September, unless something new rattles loose in my brain. Wednesday’s entry is a Carolyn and Marin scene…as it happens, they’ve got a few things to talk about.

    Happy reading.

  2. Seraph says:

    Angie’s innocence is kinda cute. You’ve approached her pretty well and she seems a good character to add to the mix, so I look forward to seeing how you play that in future. Also, since I haven’t commented for a while: sucks to be Tala, but maybe it won’t in the future? There’s a lot you can do with a pregnancy story, and perhaps what starts with despair could be the first ‘green shoots’ of hope? I guess time will tell.

    • I really like her, but it’s hard to write a ten-year-old, since my view of them has a tendency to be a little skewed (I’m not regularly exposed to children of that age).

      Tala’s story will be pretty interesting, I think, especially in light of things that are about to happen and that will probably happen before her child(ren) is(are) born. We’ll see how she speaks to me.

  3. samaelninetails says:

    wow – i really wasnt prepped for lil angie’s innocent question! nicely done, erin – its all still great to read, keep it up!

    samael

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