Cracked

Ram Dass stared out a rain-streaked window. Not because the scenery was particularly interesting, (in fact it was particularly boring) but because the grey light of the early English dawn drew his eyes more the dreary, dark carriage interior.

The carriage's other occupant, Mr. Carrisford, was silent. As usual. The old man, wrapped in countless furs (bought by his despised wealth) sat huddled in a grotesquely inhuman pose on the opposite seat. Ram Dass shook his head forlornly. Poor, poor Sahib.

English countryside trundled by with all the appeal of a filthy alleyway. Unlike his brother, Ram Dass had no wish to leave India. But, unlike his brother, he was the Lascar of a sickly English gentleman. His impartial features crumbled momentarily at the thought of his family; a lonely, home sick expression flitting across his eternally serene face.

His impeccable self control reasserted, Ram Dass forced himself to noticed the heather, the grass and the mud the went by. The carriage was not going fast, he could run faster if he wanted to, and anything even remotely unusual jumped out at him. But these were few and far between. You can only study heather for so long before you know it off by heart.

Even the sky here was different. Stonily, Ram Dass pushed the thought aside, only to have a barrage of more depressing ones take its place. Here in this country no one would speak his language, no one would practice his religion, wear his clothes or eat his food. No one would greet him when he came home, for indeed he was quite homeless here in the muddy country. What he would give to hear just one person speak his dear language, just once. But ah well, Ram Dass stared out the window idly, it would never happen.

*~*

Sara knelt, with practiced silence, with her head tilted to the left, and watched Melchisedec run off with the few remaining crumbs. As the rat scurried back to his family in the wall, Sara rose with an easy grace and went to her little window. The sun was sinking with its usual rainbow of gold and scarlet.

The sun down and darkness creeping in through the open window, Sara turned to face the attic window across the alley. Once again she wondered if anyone would ever come to live in that attic. The window was so, so close.

With an abrupt jerk, Sara snapped her window shut. The person whom she longed to move into that attic wouldn't. That person was dead. Dead, a thousand miles away in a country she hadn't seen in over two years. Dead, along with a life that could never be hers again. She knew her father would never come back.