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"A Childhood"

"'Tis not a life, 'Tis but a piece of childhood thrown away."

Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

Zadar, Hrvatska August 27, 1995

MY PROPER LIFE started and ended when I was six years old, nearing the age of seven, on a Friday in mid August 1995, when my mother, my father, and my brother died. Just like that.

I don't remember the grand explosion of their deaths. I do remember eventually separating myself from that little crowd of people surrounding the charred remains of my parents and brother, that I was too scared gutless to look for by myself; and I suppose there were of course, others dead in the school wreckage too; but I don't remember anything else. I think bawling your eyes out does that – it helps you forget unpleasant details.

When you are six, as I am sure you were once, you should know that at times, even your own small world is too vast and strange to be of comfort; that everything suddenly becomes very frustrating, and that you are lonely.

But you also know that when you are good and ready; ready to love and be loved again; ready to understand and accept the strangeness of your world – you can. You have the softness and warmth of your mother and the protection of your father, and the love of your brother, waiting for you with open arms and soothing kisses. And you are safe. When you are an orphan, as I had surely become, this is not one of your luxuries. You are lonely and alone forevermore, and it doesn't seem like it will ever change. And when you are six, this can all become very overwhelming.

And as I can tell you, the whole circumstance felt like a travesty to me. I was sure that as soon as I stopped this ridiculous blubbing; my only, and favorite auntie, would come find me and sweep me into her arms and tell me that it was just my brilliant, imagination getting the best of me. She always did, and she was always right. But she did not come. And so I wandered.

After a little while of dazed wandering, filled with much whimpering and calls to no one, I came to sit on the sugar, white sanded shores of my lovely beach, and contemplated these inexplicable and tragic affairs to the sea. My small legs were pulled protectively against my naked chest as I rocked back and forth in time to the gentle laps of the tide.

My sobs were returned with no real response; except for the quick little rush and pull of the cool waves that tumbled over my bare toes. All the same, this small gesture was enough comfort to rack my body with fresh tears; which carried me late into that night when the moon and the stars had awakened themselves in the red sky and cast their soft glow upon my bowed head, so that my golden hair was illuminated like a pretty angel's halo.

No one came for me. Soon I became weary of my bawling and found that I had lost my voice. So I collapsed onto the soft, sugar-sand, and closing my swollen eyes; I sent a silent prayer to God, begging him to rid me of my horrid loneliness and my parentless future by tomorrow.

I can assuredly concur, that when I awoke the following morning, neither of my prayers had been answered.

Sincerely,

Mihael Keehl


A/N: Some of you may be familiar with this chapter. I only edited it just a bit. Reviews are welcome, but again this story is entirely for me now. I suppose I should mention that the direction I'm headed with in this first arc will focus on Mihael's childhood and explain some of his future characteristics that no one else seems to bother explaining. I have no idea why; building history for characters like Mihael who have such distinct personalities is so much fun. I want everything about him to be believable and meaningful.

* I wrote this while listening to "About Strange Lands and People" by Robert Schumann.