Adrift: Chapter Seven

Day Six: 1,333 words (9,812 total)

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Tuang thrusted his fist into Beroel's face, sending him back a few steps. He sent out another punch, this one the laborer boy blocked. The crowd did not intervene and they seemed almost amused. Beroel tried to strike back, but Tuang was quick and relentless. At last, the shaman raised their hands high and the crowd held the boys back. Tuang struggled and attempted with every ounce of strength to break through and destroy the smechér that stole his chance at glory. Little did he know, Beroel would gladly trade destinies.

The banker's boy was dragged back to his home as his parents followed, covering their faces. Some villagers gawked and gossiped, but soon the glamor of the festival became too great and the scene was long forgotten. Laborers brought out large stone chairs for the shaman to sit. A line formed, and the villagers waited anxiously as their fortunes were read. While some waited, the drums and dancing persisted, and the awning was once again fully stocked with succulent treats. For most, this was a glorious day.

Omoachel waited in line for her fortune. Her stomach growled, but she did not wish to loose her place. The crowd bustled, but she noticed a familiar face and squealed for joy. Omo ran out of the line to hug her aunt.

"I didn't think you'd attend!" she exclaimed with a wide grin.

Talau massaged her head, "I didn't think I would either. I was curious how the storm was progressing." She looked out into the ominous clouds.

"But the tortoise we'll shield us! On the beach, it was still standing."

The chieftess was skeptical, "How much of it?"

"Not one flower out of place! The spir-"

Talau laughed, "Enough being silly, Omo. Let's get something to eat."

But before Omoachel could protest, the crowd got silent. Everyone looked towards the shaman who had their hands raised high. They, in unison looked to the Chief.

"Chief Talau, watched by the python and bear, approach."

All eyes turned to the chieftess, whom took no hesitation to reach the shaman. She stood in front the middle shaman, gazing intently into his eyes. Omo, inched behind, worried why the shaman would call upon her aunt.

"Your destiny is dark." His words were sharp.

Unamused, she replied, "I'm aware."

Some villagers were appalled by her lack of respect, but were too fearful to speak.

The shaman continued, "But you will face things that you do not know. And you will fail."

Her eyes narrowed, "I will determine my fate by my own doing."

"You will. In the rubble."

Talau could see in their faces that their message was over. She became heated as she stomped away towards the awning. Omoachel followed not far behind.

"Aunt Talau!"

But her calls went unanswered.

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Beroel lay in the ocean, floating on his back, drifting wherever the waves took him. He watched the black clouds filled with electricity on their way. He would be there soon, out in the water, at the mercy of the storm. The more he studied it, the more his death seem imminent. He wished the waves would take him away to the Mainland. He was weary of this place and tired of being a 'slave'. Maybe the laborers weren't called slaves, but to him, it sure felt like it.

He watched as Rekas swam out to him. The boy spoke to him and there was sorrow in his eyes, but Beroel could not hear. He kept his ears under the water and ignored his friend's words. Rekas, however, wouldn't give up. He pulled Beroel up from the water.

"Listen to me!"

Beroel was silent.

"I'm trying to apologize, at least hear me out."

The dreaded boy was confused, "For what? This isn't for fault."

Rekas had guilt on his face, "I prayed for you. I prayed everyday for the spirits to choose you. And-"

Beroel stopped him, "It doesn't matter. I don't believe in spirits or fate or destiny. The shaman chose four people to die, plain and simple. They wanted blood and they got it."

Rekas sighed, "No. Ber, the spirits chose you because they knew you deserved a chance."

"A chance to die!? You're not helping!" 

Beroel tried to swim away, but his friend grabbed onto him, "A chance to test your faith."

He ripped his arm away, "Well, I fail already because I have none!"

He swam away towards the shore leaving Rekas out in the ocean. The fisherboy waded in the water. 

"Be the tortoise, Beroel." He said to himself.

---

Tuang smashed a large vase that decorated the family room. Mesaul had long since left the home and went back to the festival to mingle and to smooth any 'confusion' about his son's actions earlier. Imangel, sat on the bench in tears as her son ravaged the home. Their laborers were sent out for the day, as Tuang had attempted to attack them as well.

"It's not fair!" He screamed, more pottery shattering, "Today was my day! It was my turn to earn my totem!"

His mother spoke quiet, "Our family has many totems, dear. And there will be another chan-"

"That's not good enough! The spirits have mocked me through those withered old shaman! I could take on them all!"

The woman sobbed, "Baby, why are you doing this? This isn't like you."

"Baby? 'Like me'? You think I'm weak too? You're holding me back!"

Tuang rushed towards the door. Imangel attempted to stop him, but she was sent falling back by his force. She lay in her tears as her son ran off. The boy ran swift down the pathway towards the square. By this time, the winds have grown stronger, the sky darker, and the thunder was growing. He cared for none of this. He was as the swordfish and would cut through anything, even an insolent laborer boy. When he got to the square, he searched.

"Tuang!" the chubby girl yelled.

He had no time for anyone else and ignored her. But she stood in front of him.

"What are you doing back? My dad said they locked you away for fighting in front of the shaman."

He growled, "You're father's a butcher. What would he know besides what's inside a pigs b-"

"I get it!" She folded her arms, "If your looking for that laborer boy he went out towards the beach."

Tuang smiled, "Finally, someone who has something of use to say."

She giggled and returned a smile. He took off towards the beach and she followed closely behind. The wind was wicked and Sechelei was greatly distressed as her dress and hair blew wildly. The thunder crashed and she held onto Tuang's arm. They first went to the docks. 

"Laborer! Where is this 'Beroel'? I must speak to him."

Rekas sat on the edge of the dock as the wind blew his hair and waves crashed into his feet, "What is it you need to say to him?"

Tuang scoffed, "Have you no matters? I'll see to it you get a good lashing for that!"

Rekas shrugged.

This only made Tuang angrier, "Where is Beroel?"

Rekas's attention was on the storm, "Does it even matter?"

Tuang saw the spear by the docks. He picked it up and lunged for Rekas. 

"What are you doing?" Sechelei screamed.

Before Tuang could reach the boy, he had already jumped into the water and swam off. The banker's boy tried to leap in after him, but the girl stopped him.

"Are you crazy? You'll kill him!"

He slapped her, "He's a filthy smechér! And you may as well be one too."

She held her face as she watched him chase after the boy from the shore. He was gaining on him and raised the spear above his head, ready to hoist. But before it could leave his fingertips he heard the beating of the drums. He stopped. He turned towards the southern pathway and grinned. The trial was about to begin.

The End

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