Adrift: Chapter Twelve

Day Twelve: 1,361 words (16,525 total.)

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Beroel readied the water on the hearth. He was about ready to dive head first inside of it. How could he have lost the book? And where? On the beach? He would never find it now! And even if he did, by that time Omoachel would have forgotten all about it. That was his one chance and it was more finished than a fish stew in a pit of crocodiles. All he could do now was make her a cup of butterfly juice and hope for the best.

He looked out the window. The sun was just coming up. Omo would head off to school and he would train in the yard. He heard footsteps. Talau entered and let out and large yawn. She sat at the table and glanced at Beroel conspicuously. This worried him.

"How is your training coming along?" she asked.

He hesitated, "...well."

She grinned, "Wonderful. I have a new mission for you."

He grimaced, "Mission? I'm barely a warrior yet."

A wooden box lay on the table. Talau opened it and picked up a piece of pork jerky that sat inside and gnawed on it. She offered a piece to Beroel who gladly accepted ripped off a piece with his back teeth. He almost choked on it when he saw Omo enter. Instinctively, he picked up a banana from the table and offered it to her. She yawned and began peeling.

"I wish I didn't have to study dance at school. I'm so awful. There's really no use."

"You've already switched classes five times. There's nothing else they can teach you that you'd enjoy."

"I'll just get an apprenticeship when I'm of age. Maybe I'll study to be a breeder at the pig farms."

Talau patted her niece on that back, "You don't even like the smell of pork; you wouldn't last a day."

"What about a job at the jeweler's?"

"Oh, Omo. You know there's so much competition for those openings."

Beroel burst it, "Why not be a sculptor?"

Omoachel looked at him like his head was replaced with a fruit bat.

Talau cut in, "The water's almost boiled I think."

Beroel poured the water into husks and began to make tea. How was that the wrong thing to say? That was, after all, how he first met her. But there was no sense in over thinking it. Besides, Talau had a 'mission' for him and who knew what that could be. He made the drinks, Omo's with extra everything, and then left for the yard.

He stretched before he began his training. The fisherman would often warm up before a day of work with a regimen of push-ups and stretches. For this training, Beroel doubled the regiment. He gulped down his tea and got to work. Midway through his reps, Talau joined him in the yard.

"Your mission will take place during the night."

Beroel wasn't thrilled about this. He was exhausted. Not just from staying up the night before, but from straight days of hard exercise. Even working at the docks there was downtime, but when Talau was around, she wouldn't let him take a break. He kept doing push-ups while he listened.

"I want you to go into the jungle and bring me a fish-owl feather."

He cocked his head, "I have to climb trees now?"

She laughed, "We don't know what we'll face in the Mainland. Better safe than dead."

He shook his head and continued his exercise, "Are you recruiting again today?"

She hummed to herself, "I suppose so."

"Find Rekas. He works as a hut cook now. He's a little taller than me, lo-"

"No need for descriptions; I'll ask around."

Talau left and entered her hut. Beroel finished his regimen and picked up a spear. He stood from the farthermost point from the flour bags and lunged it. A nice shot! Although, he grew up spearing fish which were much more difficult targets than inanimate objects. This training bored him.

Out of curiosity, he wondered how far he could throw. Standing from the far point again, he lunged the spear. He assumed the thick bushed would blocked it, but it cut right through out of the yard. Beroel was nervous; he didn't want to retrieve to for fear someone would see, but he couldn't just leave it. He peaked out. It was clear. Slowly, he pushed through the bushes and reached for the weapon. He got stuck in the branches, but managed to grasp the spear and pull it back inside the yard. Hopefully no one saw. Beroel returned to push-ups and thought about the missing book.

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Night fell and neither Talau or Omoachel had returned to the hut. Beroel was bored. He boiled a breadfruit for his dinner and sat lazily inside the hut. He thought about the 'mission'. Maybe he'd try to get it done early so he could sleep. It wasn't too late, but it was dark enough that he could hide fairly easy. Beroel decided he'd sneak into the jungle. A warrior had to be stealthy at times, right?

He grabbed his spear and snuck out from the bushes. To avoid the path, he jumped off the plateau and rushed into the palms. Fish-owls nested near the beach so he traveled through the jungle down on the slope of the island. He was on guard for any boars, but hopefully his spear would be enough to protect him.

He heard footsteps behind him. It sounded human. He hid down low by a patch of ferns. The sound stopped. Beroel peaked out from the plants, but saw nothing. Maybe it was nothing? He stood up and continued down the hill, but as he walked he felt something hit him from behind. It tackled him down. He looked up and saw the banker's boy standing over him.

"You've done a good job of avoiding me thus far, but it ends here."

Beroel was confused, "What do you want from me?"

The boy laughed, "I want the honor you stole from me. You took and then tossed it away!"

Beroel was still confused, "I'm not really sure what you mean."

As he tried the stand up, Tuang kicked him back down. Again, he attempted to stand, but the boy pushed him to the grass.

"Okay, I get it. What do you want me to do?"

Tuang reached down for the spear, but Beroel grabbed his arm and slammed him to the ground. The laborer boy kicked the weapon away and they fought hand to hand. They both fought hard, but Beroel managed to get in a hard punch that kept the banker's boy at bay. As he tried to rise, Tuang lunged at him and grabbed his hair. They continued their skirmishing until at last the treasurer's son had the upper hand. He made a quick dash for the spear. He held it at Beroel's face.

"So easily I could end your life right now."

Beroel tried to move, but Tuang stomped down on his chest so he couldn't get up.

"But I will be merciful."

Beroel growled. This kid was crazy. He seriously was trying to kill someone over...well, the laborer boy wasn't quite sure what he was so angry about. He watched as Tuang snapped the spear in half over his knee and then bent down keeping Beroel from moving. He grabbed his head and placed the blade sharp against his cheek.

"But I want everyone to remember what my vengeance looks like."

He cut deep into Beroel's face. The fisherman boy attempted to break away, but it was futile. Tuang was fueled with rage and would not quit. When he finished, the laborers face was bloodied; a gash ran from the bottom of his left cheek to his right eye. The banker's boy stood up and was pleased by his work. His threw the spear down beside the boy and left him there. Beroel could not move. The pain and blood-loss made him dizzy. He laid in the jungle and looked up at the sky. He drifted out of conscienceness as he viewed the nearing new moon.

The End

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