Summary: Another little Tyr thing. Feedback: heck yeah.
That which does not kill me makes me stronger---Friedrich Nietzsche
The boy is dying.
I can smell it on him--the fear and the anticipation, the uncertainty and the pain, dread laced with the barest whiff of hope. He smells of death, as surely as Dylan Hunt reeks of idealism, and the purple girl, power. As surely as Bolivar oozed cunning. But there is still a chance; I don't yet sense acceptance. Despair, yes. It drives him to foolish acts and moments of martyrdom--these are a poor idea, but better than acceptance. If his wild leaps of logic fall tragically short, there's something admirable in the trying. Seamus Harper rarely lands on his feet, but is a master at getting up and scrambling away in the nick of time.
We have an unspoken agreement, he and I. On the day of acceptance, I won't save him. Only he can do that.
That day is coming, even with half the larvae gone. I see what the others can't, or won't--the coming horror that they try to ward off with pep talks and medication and indulgent scolding. I see the dusky look of pain, the hand suddenly placed on the abdomen. These resonate louder than a scream of agony, and convey more meaning than his endless stream of words ever will. They imply a winding down, and speak of the body's longing to curl into its natural state, the shape of a jagged lightning bolt. As we were in the womb, we will be at the end: curled, floating, helpless.
I know. I've been there.
Harper's foolishness nearly condemned us both to a watery grave. I can still taste the salt; bitter and cloying like my own weakness. Tyr Anasazi meeting death flat on his back, shamed into the act by the platitudes of a Wayist! I don't know why I did it--maybe it was for the boy, because he fought well when the world ship came in the shape of sun. He listened to my words, and heeded them, even as magog beat down the door, his worst fear realized, his nightmares coming for us.
There is fire in your blood! Now, use it!
There is no honor in death, only in fighting against it, tooth and claw. Still, there is something…valiant…in Harper's struggle, in his unabashed, blithering terror. It seems that with so little time left, he doesn't waste a moment being inauthentic. He constantly reminds us the eggs are there, as if we might forget and abandon him to his fate. I've heard him talk to the eggs, just as I've heard Trance composing poems to her lost tail.
I look up from my book as he gingerly sits down. I move my feet so he has room.
We are silent for a moment, looking out at the stars. It's hard to imagine something so beautiful as this universe birthed the magog.
"Is it very bad?" I ask.
"Is it unbearable?" I hold my breath, not yet ready for acceptance.
He shakes his shaggy blonde head. "No."
That's my boy.