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Pariah (ii)

They sit on the edge of a small patio, attached to the body of the dojo and facing the waterfall, the forest above it. The town’s wall, tall stalks of bamboo that has yellowed with age, terminates at the woods’ edge. Kiori dangles his legs in the air, kicks them back and forth with the impatient energy of all children. He looks up at the waterfall, over to the trees and down the road in turn, his attention never remaining in one place for long. His father simply stares straight ahead, feet planted, but knee twitching uneasily.

“You’ve fallen behind in your training, again.”

Kiori’s legs stop moving, then begin again with increased speed and intensity, but his eyes are focused straight down at the stone walkway. They remain there, as though stuck, while his father takes the rare opportunity—his youngest son, listening!—to continue speaking.

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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Writing

 

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Pariah (i)

“Kiori!”

The voice echoes against bamboo walls, audible over the roar of the waterfall that ends just inside their border, at the edge of a thriving forest. Tall stalks of bright green encircle Eiji as he enters deeper into the closest copse, mid-day sun dimmed to stray slivers by the tight canopy. He walks briskly, with purpose, each footfall sure and certain, but almost silent, never heavy. Eiji’s broad shoulders slump, feet stop in place, not for fear of being lost, but of an emotional weariness he can’t shake. He takes one last step forward, branch almost catching on his loose ponytail as he slips under it, and stands erect, scanning the forest with jade eyes.

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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Writing

 

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Gehenna (finale)

The dreams break under the harsh brilliance of the morning sun, but its ire is somewhat deadened, filtered through a palpable aura of contentment that dulls the obvious and blunts the true. Such is the power of human folly, the strength in oblivious disregard for the facts.

Her hand spreads against his chest, fingers running through coiled hair. He breathes deep, smells the tonic in her hair, the oils of her skin weakened by the passage of time, but still remaining in a faint wisp of their former glory. Oil… To anoint royalty, yes? He stifles a laugh, but she feels him shake anyway, raises her head and looks into his softened eyes with hers, likewise healed.

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Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Writing

 

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Gehenna (vii)

He makes his own fire, this night. He doesn’t try to understand why Henya’s father indulges such a whim, cutting deeper into their limited supply of flammable materials, just takes his portion of food and slinks off, hides behind the mules, out of sight and, he hopes, out of mind. Alone with his thoughts, alone with the taste of the tough, sinewy beef, overpowering brine, a small canteen of lukewarm drinking water. There is a single flat, dry cracker; utterly flavorless and wholly unpalatable without the water to wash it down, but it fills in his stomach what the meat alone cannot.

Each item in sequence. Meat, cracker, sip of water. Repeat. The mules bray gently, nervously. A brief wind picks up, but dies down just as suddenly, its appearance pulling at the flames, urging them to dance. The shadows warp and bend on the ground, Uza’s own circling around from behind him, curling back like the hand on a clock before splitting in three directions and returning to a single spire once again as the fire settles down.

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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Writing

 

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Gehenna (vi)

“How many of you were there?”

The question breaks the silence they had kept all morning, a pall almost self-imposed by Henya, though Uza had not objected. He answers in a flat tone, ambiguous; indecipherable.

“Six.”

She pauses in speech, the sound of her regular footsteps and the thin scratch of her clothes as they shift against her flesh filling Uza’s ears. He keeps his pace, but grows tense with anticipation that he can barely check. The reason for his enthusiasm escapes him, though there’s a growing sense of something building within; a warmth entirely unlike the heat of the sun that bears down on his skin, flooding him from within.

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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Writing

 

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Gehenna (v)

The chill night air draws them to the campfire, its light dimming the stars above for its immediacy. They heat small portions, though still more than Uza had eaten in any one sitting for weeks before coming upon them. Had it really been that long? Maybe it was simply that his perception was warped, that he had been so trammeled by the forces of the desert that his ability to mark time had fled along with his name and much of his past.

Some memories, though, remained. A few scattered thoughts that Henya soon made it her cause to uncover.

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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Writing

 

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Gehenna (iv)

“Gai Ben-Hinnom…”

She looks to him, his voice hanging in the stagnant air. They pass through it with their steps, the pack animals braying as the loads shift on their backs; rolled up clothes of tents and carpets, rattling cookware and casks of clean water and preserved meat.

“An interesting name for this place, Henya. Archaic, but lyrical.”

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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Writing

 

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