Chapter Nine, Part Three: Two Years' TimeMature

His father, tall and dusty, is telling him something about when they immigrated here... 

But they would- they were grateful to be there. 

“...the Other,” Jack hears him say, “... the Other brought us here to keep us safe, but we have to go back... we have to save him now; he’s not the Other anymore and he needs us. Please...” 

“But I need you,” Jack hears himself say, as a younger Jack slumped and clutching younger fists and clapping them open again on dusted nut brown hair greyless and slightly bleached by long hours under alien suns. 

“Gray needs you more... a travelling physician made our golden wedding rings, you remember? We gave them back to him, like he asked. And he never asks. So, we have to go... we have to go so we can be there for the man who gave you to us... because we couldn’t... because of what was taken...” 

His parents trail off, echoes now, no longer vibrant. No longer present and breathing in the shadow of the old barn-ship. 

He blinks back tears that blast his skin like seething embers, trying to see through the sudden uptwist of dust. 

Though her body is absent from the scene, the trace of his mother’s fingers remains along his strong chin as she guides his face toward a shadow sitting behind her in the dark, swaying softly in a creaking rocker. 

The End

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