As soon as I sit down, I know that I will not even try to write another letter. Coming down the path toward me is the same boy from the family I met this morning. I cannot escape from them.
“Oh,” he says when he is near, ”it’s you.”
“Were you expecting someone else?” I ask.
“Yeah, that other guy. With the white hair.”
“Right. Is he here?”
He frowns at me, then turns to walk back the way he came.
“Hey,” I call after him, “what did you want?”
“My dad wanted to give him a message.” He looks back at me warily, as if trying to decide whether telling the wrong guy is worth not having to run around town trying to find the right one. I’m curious, so I make the decision easy for him.
“I’ll tell him if you want. I need to go find him anyway.”
He shrugs. He has better things to do than relay messages.
“The Speaker is coming. That’s all.”
He doesn’t know what he’s saying, he can’t know. I stare at him for a second too long, trying to make sense of what he has told me. I find nothing in his face, only brown eyes that are becoming slightly more uncomfortable with each moment I spend in silence, my eyes on him. I want to ask questions, there are things I need to know, but I can’t risk distressing the boy and losing any chance to speak with his father. Isiore, who are you and what do you know?
“Thanks,” I finally tell the boy. I have already forgotten his name. I consider another moment, then ask, “Can you ask your father to come down here during lunch tomorrow? Koso will want to talk with him.”
He nods, then starts back toward town. I watch as he goes. He walks sensibly for awhile, then trots in a boy’s manner, bouncing on the gravel. I’d barely noticed him this morning, but something about him seems different. I wonder if he is another young Koso, another body shifter.