Thursday, February 24, 2011

Remainder, Part II

NOTE: Here's a bit more of the stuff I'm dredging out of my files.

The next day, his mother gone and his siblings sleeping yet again, Theeg poked his whiskers out of the hole and into the sunlight. This he did after carefully surveying the Rubble for any tell-tale tails or whiskers poking out from behind lumps of concrete or from behind the trunks of the taller and thicker weeds poking out of the junk. The smell of purple hung on the breeze like leaves hung on trees. Skunk weed, tiny purple flowers that shot forth a sickly sweet perfume half rose and half rotten mud; sent out in waves thick enough to choke the lungs of those who dared breathe the invisible staining stench. The Lot, as his mother called it, was much bigger than Theeg had expected. Their burrow was roughly at the center of it, next to an odd metal tower, painted red, that poked out of the ground to a height somewhat shorter than the weeds that grew around it. The Two Rivers were there, looking stagnant and muddy in the wide patch of dirt where no weeds seemed to grow. The rivers followed their nearly straight and nearly parallel courses out of sight, in the direction of the Blocks. Another much smaller and less barren path angled towards the southwest, climbing the hills that led towards the Field, where Theeg's father once lived.

The circle of blue grew larger and larger as Theeg edged his way up the tunnel. The Red Tower, the Two Rivers, the field; he knew these from the descriptions and stories he had begged out of mother, as he sat chewing absentmindedly on a nondescript seed and letting crumbs fall out of his open mouth as he listened, wide-eared. The tower and rivers were made by the Boys, she said. Some of the trails were theirs as well, but in recent years, their presence in the area had slowed to a crawl. Odd things about boys, mother said. "Maybe they die, maybe they go off to other places," his mother murmured tiredly one evening, bored at the continual questions her son posed, "they stop coming to this place, and so much the better for us. Disgusting creatures, anyway. They'll never reach the blue."

The blue. Now framed not in a circle, but in a ragged sawtooth of tall Amazonian weeds. The sun's intensity caused Theeg's shadow to cower for protection around his feet. He blinked his black eyes and twitched his whiskers, trying to adjust his senses to a world too large and bright and far-off and interesting to exist outside of his own imagination. He'd never seen the Blue's White before. Odd clingy bits of fluff, like the cottonwood seeds that strayed from the nest lining and stuck themselves to the plywood roof, but thicker. And further away.

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