29737 WORDS: LOOK DOWN FOR ANALASIS
The night sky was beautiful. With sequin stars dotted against the charcoal paint, I could see the universe. The city smog did not taint the luminous light of a super moon hanging boldly in the starry sky. It was so beautifully pretty, riding with the wind in such a pretty scene, with the city scape behind me, riding on the meadows and the Mali forests edging closer by the second.
I had never stepped on a horse in my memory but the feeling of the saddle was familiar. It was truly exhilarating and though a part of me knew I should send the duo home, I wanted them to stay. If every night was to be like this, silent thoughts and shouting feelings, I never wanted it to end. It was exhilarating, a feeling I had never felt before, to be in control of my own speed and pace at the same time as being truly uncontrollable.
“Zephina.” I said between breaths.
“Hmm.” She said with a beam upon her face.
“Are we still wanted?”
“No you nephew gave us a pardon. Told the lookers to give up.” She said laying her head back onto a blushing Elias, “I’m tired.”
“I’m.. Sorry…” said Elias, now as red as a tomato.
Zephina roared out in laughter, “Silly, that means you take the front, I’ll sit at the back. And no, I’m not single if you were asking.”
Elias dismounted and took the reign, without another word.
“We can go in the caravan, if you want.. There is space in the back.” I said gesturing to the adjacent rugged cart.
Zephina opened a closed eye. “But this is so much more fun, Amara! STOP BEING SUCH A GRANDMA. JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE 70 SOMMIN.”
“Oi.” I said sending the horse directly into Zephina to give her what I thought would be a light nudge. She rubbed on her arm masking a tearful face. I frowned, it couldn’t have hurt her that much. I opened my mouth to say something, but was cruelly interrupted by the hysterical laughter of my Stranger.
“You fell for that.”
“What is wrong with you?” I asked, in a humenours tone, not expecting anyone to answer.
But Elias spoke, “She stole a chocolate cake from the kitchens and Emrys and consumed it all before we left. Sugar. Too much is bad for you.”
“She didn’t ask you,” she moaned.
I scolded Zephina. She really was a handful. Sometimes she acted older than she was, as if she had seen too much and sometimes she acted like a child. A child. I was about to tell her just that, before I heard the sounds of her light snoring.
We didn’t say a single word for a lifetime. I didn’t want to speak and he obviously didn’t want to listen either. Untill the caravans stopped, we stopped too. He pulled my stranger of the horse and onto the grass and I lay beside her, wide awake.
The sleep never came for me. I didn’t particularly want to sleep. I never did.
The night, and dawn had gone and past. It was just nearing noon when the two awoke and the caravan came for questions.
“M’aam.” Said the trader woman from the caravan, noticing our camp from their own.
“Yes.” I whispered, careful not to wake my grumpy Zephina. Elias sat next to the burning fire with a pot and some soup that smelled delicious. It hadn’t occurred to me that he was such a fine cook.
“You have company,” she said, wrinkles forming on her black skin.
“Yes.” I whispered again, “We have horses and will ride alongside you, if that is not a problem. It is safer than going alone in the highway.”
The trader lowered her head, “You must be wanting the gold back then.”
“Oh. No. No. You may keep that.” I said, she seemed like an honest woman and I wouldn’t want to take away the small fortune I had stolen for her. Elias raised his head and smiled at me and I had no idea why.
The woman scurried off back into the caravan.
“You are just like Ximena. She was rich, yes, spent on useless stuff, yes, but was just as generous. She gave her entire castle in the Ghreer to a homeless man.”
I turned to face him and said sternly, “Elias. I AM NOT HER. How many times do I need to say this? She is not me. I am not her. And please stop comparing me to her.”
He nodded, returning to stirring the pot gently with his strangely small pale hands. I hated how he could stay calm through all of this. Through all of this drama he didn't bat an eye. I wanted him to be angry so I could be angry back. I wanted him to snap and to shout so I didn't look like I was doing this all for nothing. Elias was sommething I didn't want to be reminded of.
So I borrowed some plates from the trader who happily passed them to myself. He poured the soup into the bowls carefully from the pot as I was set with the task of waking Zephina who I was surprised to see, could sleep through all of this.
"Zephina." I said in her ear, shaking her lightly. She snored.
"Zephina!" I repeated with a slightly harder nudge to which she snored again.
Annoyed and allready in a bad mood, I grabbed a handful of dirty rainwater gathered on a scoop in a broken tree and splashed it on her face. She shot up in an instant with a snarl on her face.
"I was awake, you imbecile," she shouted as the birds from the trees scurried away in fear. I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms; her empty threats of violence no longer worked on me. I had developed patience for her.
The days and nights followed as such, in the mornings we woke, ate of what Elias had prepared (he never seemed to sleep), rode on our horses with the caravan and without another word fell into bed. There was nothing much left to say. Of course me and Zephina talked aimlessly through the journeys, about goals and past lives, but there was nothing to say with him. He knew where we had been. I knew where we were going. But we didn't know where we were.
But before we could enter the enclosed magic lands, Zephina talked me into stopping in the Triburmen (LIKE THE NAME? ITS LATIN FOR THREE CITIES)- a city directly in the center of three countries. It was not owned by any king or queen or country. It was literally a no-mans land, a kaleidoscope of different religions and communities as uncle had told me.
"Amara. The Triburmen is truly wonderful! You can find the candles of the Washwers and the clothes from Faechman and the food from the unnamed lands all in one place! We could go to the Resworth palace and the musuem of the broken dolls and the Unassailable bakery (they sell the best chocolate cakes). We MUST go," explained Zephina warming her hands by the fire.
"Aaah," said the trader who was nearby,"You must come. It is a wonderful place. Please. You can meet my husband and children!"
I thought about it. We could stock up on food and resources before entering the magic lands and rest the sores on our backs from riding for so long. (I know squints. FIX THIS ME)
"Yes.But only for one day. We do not have the time."
Zephina immediately jumped up and threw herself upon my kneck. I coughed twice at which point she caught onto my thoughts and left my body in peace. Elias lay on the ground looking at the starry night sky, if I recalled correctly, he had not spoken in over two days.
"Yes, we do not have the time."
-Ok I understand what they mean when you get halfway through and you don't know what to do. Oh well. I'll just do randomly.
-I also think I am running out of words. Words. Words. Come back to me.
-I know I've got some of the key information wrong like the names of the three countries. I actually can't remember. Oh well.
PLUS I'M GONNA SKIP TO A SCENE INSIDE THE CITY BECAUSE THAT IS MORE FUN AND I FEEL THIS IS DRAGGING ON. FIX THIS FUTURE ME.
The days were getting shorter now. It was nearing the winter solicistice and to adjust the lengthy nights, the city of the Tribumerun had lamps across every avenue of every street like stars, the houses were the night and the moon, that was the tower. The tower was the tallest man made building in the area, overlooking the city and the rest of the world. Nothing else exceeded its sheer height, not the trees and I suspected even the clouds were in-superior.
We were at the entrance to the city, at what the trader called ironic name of 'the gateway to life' which infact was simply host to an overflowing graveyard. Perhaps the keepers of the city, keeping the dead visible at the only entrance, wanted to remind that with great life comes the inevitable death.I stroked the black stallion when he neighed at the ghastly sight and signalled for him to follow Zephina who was racing ahead with a frowning Elias as usual.
Just as we were about to exit the graveyard, Zephina stopped abruptly.
"M'aam," said the trader and her caravan behind me.
"Sorry. Just got something in my eye," said Zephina smiling and sending her horse to jump over the graveyard fence.
"Zephina! There is a gate." I scolded.
"Gate's ARE BORING," she said, waving a finger from the other side.
In the end, we parted ways at the gate with the trader woman and her lonely caravan, deciding that it was not the time to meet her husband and children.