More of An Arresting Sunset

“Hoy, Johnny. What’s up?”

Two Outies she didn’t recognize ascended the stairway behind him. Charming raised her hand to shade her eyes to see them better. The first was a slender woman with a blonde ponytail, an earlink, and a bloodless complexion. The second was a man she couldn’t—

—”Miss Venda? Miss Charming Abigail Venda?” the Outie woman asked.

Feeling both crowded and alone on her small rooftop, Charming turned her attention back to Young Johnny. A thought came to mind: all of Song called him Young Johnny because of his dad of course, but his official epithet was Deputy John Boonliang.

Charming folded her arms across her chest and took small step back. Thinking it might give everyone space, dispel her unease and start the whole thing over, she meekly repeated her original greeting, “Hoy, Johnny. What’s up?”

“Charm—”

“—Miss Venda, can you tell us where your parents are?”

“What’s going on, Charma?” Nadia called out from her spot on the roof reminding Charming of the expansive rippling tin and aluminum rooftops behind her. She wanted to run; she wanted to dash away from Young Johnny, the man, and especially that woman. Charming swung her free hand palm back to Nadia to halt her question.

“Why’re you asking ’bout my parents, Johnny. You know they went Out past week.” They hadn’t pinged her in two or three days, but gaps like that weren’t odd until the constable’s man showed up on your roof deck with two strange Outies. Charming stepped forward and used the same crisp voice she used with unruly children. “What happened, Johnny? What happened to my parents?”

Johnny raised his arms outward like he was casting a net. Charming realized she’d rocked back. She felt like a fish about to take a hook. “Nothing. I don’t know. They’re fine I suppose.” Johnny grimaced at his stumbling. “The point is they aren’t here.”

Charming thought he might be asking a question or might be leading her. “They’re not here.” If not for the Outie’s she may have told him she expected them back later tonight. “I don’t expect them back for several.”

“Several days? Several weeks?” The white-faced woman lilted her tone and raised her eyebrows, “Months maybe?”

“Days. Several days, Ma’am. We don’t really do weeks here. Months don’t much matter either.”

“It seems not much—” She slapped the handrail, “—matters on this rag-tag barge.”

“Charming, these Outies want to arrest you. But they—”

“Arrest me? What?”

“What did you say, Young Johnny?”

“Nadia! Please?” Young Johnny called out before she could interupt more. “Charming, these Outies want to arrest you.” He enunciated each word like it was it’s own single word sentence. “But,” His eyes jerked the line to set the hook, “since you’re still seventeen they can’t do that without your parents’ consent.”

“But I’m—”

“—not getting arrested. Since. You’re. Just. Seventeen. We can only detain you. Here on Song. Till your parents return. Until they get back,” Young Johnny gestured to the Outies, “these nice folks can’t take you off Song.”

Charming nodded understanding.

“But why?”

The white woman spoke again. “Mr. Tanjun Peeters is dead.”

Charming turned to Young Johnny. Peeters was an Outie name, but it sounded very familiar. Charming turned to Young Johnny for help.

“Yes, that Peeters. Tanjun Peeters it seems is Jun-Kata’s real name. Was his real name.”

560 words on day 721

This Seemed Longer at the Time

I thought I’d finish this later on Friday, but I didn’t. I even forgot to post it at all. I’m not going to bother to clean it up since I’ll just get caught up needlessly.

Skip the below and read this edit and extend instead: http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110327/more-of-an-arresting-sunset/

Thought I’d run with the portrait monitor scheme today as a fun change of pace. How does it look to you? I thought so.

“Hoy, Johnny. What’s up?”

Two Outies she didn’t recognize ascended the stairway behind him. The first was a slender woman with blonde hair, an earlink, and a bloodless complexion. The second was a man she didn’t—

—”Miss Venda? Miss Charming Abigail Venda?” the Outie woman asked.

Feeling a both crowded and alone on her small rooftop, Charming turned her attention to Young Johnny. All of Song called him Young Johnny because of his dad of course, but his official epithet was Deputy John Boonliang. It worried her she remembered that now.

Charming folded her arms across her chest and took small step back. Thinking it might dispell her unease and start the whole thing over, she meakly repeated her original greeting, “Hoy, Johnny. What’s up?”

“Charm—”

“—Miss Venda, can you tell us where your parents are?”

“What’s going on, Charma?” Nadia called out from her spot on the roof reminding Charming of the expansive rippling tin and aluminum rooftops behind her. She wanted to run; she wanted to dash away from Young Johnny, the man, and especially that woman.

had become a steep slope she might fall into. Though she wanted to back up, that ledge must be close.

“Yeah, Johnny. What’s going on?”

“Miss Venda, are your parents available?”

“My parents? No?” Charming

238 words on day 719

Left or Lived

“I didn’t do this.” Charming would have added ‘Deputy’, but the epithet no longer seemed to apply. Mondroon just stood in the boat staring under the gang and under Charming’s feet. He held himself steady on the easy shuffle of the Benhá by grasping a charred pile with the claw of his hammer. She repeated, “I didn’t do this.”

“You brought it.”

Charming thought about that for a moment. She had brought it. She’d brought Gane; she’d brought Roundmartin; and she’d brought the destruction of her only home. Though Mondroon didn’t know it, she’d probably brought the ruin of [cool named monastery] too—maybe her second home, maybe her last. “I didn’t do that either.”

“Well, it came.” Mondroon glanced up at Charming and then Outward. “And you left.”

“Left or lived?”

Even clinging to the pile, Mondroon’s shrug indicated there was no real difference. Charming hmm’d noncommittally. Another denial would be a waste.

Mondroon looked back to Charming and caught her eye. “Gonna stay? Gonna help?”

No and yes. “That’s not really an invitation is it?”

Mondroon smiled. Maybe the burning of Song had changed everyone Charming thought. Maybe it wasn’t just her. Maybe she could stay. “It isn’t much of one, but we need all kinds.”

The last three words echoed one of the last things Gane said to her before he died and they brought both a painful stone to her throat and a tidal swell of warmth to her chest. Charming stepped a quarter turn to face away from Mondroon and hide her tears, but a sob wracked her body anyway.

Charming put up her hand to ask for a moment. She drew a breath to clear the stone and then another to speak, but walked away instead. Walked Upward over fresh aluminum decking and through the rising skeleton of new construction to the Leaf and to the flit deck she’d just climbed down from.

317 words on day 712