The Lightsby Narratorway
Terra and Gau: The Learning Lights
Terra and Gau: The Learning Lights
Chapter 9 - Those Who Remain
Katarin's reaction to the sight of Gau holding her child and leaping off of the cliff was a very strange sight to behold had anyone been paying attention. Oddly enough she was far too far away to actually know that the bundle of what was, from her vantage point, nothing more than a piece of cloth, was her child, but she did.
Duane had done the best he could to restrain her while they waited for Terra to come back with Jonathan. But when she heard the roar and the sound of the pursuit following behind the schoolhouse (towards their house, and her child) he could restrain her no longer. With a desperate twist of her body, she loosed herself from her husband and rushed to the trapdoor. The stairs descent was too slow for her and she jumped to the floor below. She landed hard and it took the wind out of her, but she didn't stop. She heard Duane yell at the kids to stay there and somewhere deep in the back of her mind she was thinking, "He really shouldn't talk to kids like that, I'd never let him talk to Jonathan that way." She was out the door gasping for lost breath and ran so fast, she had to grasp the edge of the building to make the turn round the corner. She wasn't even aware of Terra slouched against the side of the schoolhouse, blood covering her left side and flowing around the edges of her mouth. All she saw was her child being thrown off a cliff.
Duane stumbled down the stairs and almost fell face first onto the floor. As he ran to the door, he heard the children clambering down after. He told them to stay up there, but he took no heed of their disobedience. He was afraid, afraid for his wife, afraid for his son, and afraid for Terra. He found that he was even afraid for Gau, though he honestly did not really know the boy. Everything was falling apart, but he was gonna do his damnedest to keep things together for as long as he could. As he turned the corner to the side of the house he saw Katarin on her knees screaming and Terra slouched against the wall. Her eyes were closed and she was covered in blood.
Duane was a seventeen-year-old boy. A teenage child thrust into the role of provider, father, and protector of the future of his entire culture. To have a family at his age, while rather young, was acceptable and not uncommon, and he was quite capable of the role of husband and father. But he was not just a husband, not just a father. In one swift stroke, he had become the eldest native member of Molbiz and now played the role of elder. To get this far and achieve his accomplishments was more than anyone could ever imagine. Those scattered few around the world who knew of the destruction of the town, if they saw it now, would not believe their own eyes. He was a very intelligent, very strong, and very capable boy. But as he gazed at Katarin screaming, Terra bleeding, and the children crying and this intelligent, strong and very capable boy did not know what to do. So he stood there and waited for the answer to come.
"Wake up! Please wake up Terra! Please!"
The voice of one of the children snapped him out of his trance. It gave him his direction and with a final glance at his wife, he pushed his was to Terra. She was leaning forward like a puppet without strings, her head bowed down and titled slightly to the right so that her face was hidden. A stream of blood trailed from her chin. Duane picked up her head, her eyes were closed, and he couldn't tell if she was alive.
"Terra! Terra!," Duane tried to wake her up. She was asleep, just asleep, she had to be asleep. She had to. "Terra! Wake up! Terra!"
He put her right arm around her shoulder (he knew as soon as he saw her that her left shoulder or arm was broken) and as gently as he could, lifted her and picked her up off the ground. He looked up and saw Katarin, there on ground, alone. He turned away with no feelings of guilt. This was something he had to do, that he was meant to do. Katarin needed to be alone, he couldn't help even if he was there for her. It was hard to explain but the feeling of purpose was absolute and he turned away, about to take Terra into the schoolhouse.
"Hey, what's that?"
Duane turned. It was Timothy. He was staring out towards the sea, and the children all gasped as they saw what he saw. Gau was walking towards them very slowly, he seemed to drag one of his legs behind him. He was a solid dust brown color. In his left arm was Jonathan, naked with his blanket nowhere to be seen, but he not a speck of dust was on him. Gau was now close enough for Duane to see him clearly. His eyes were different, he looked as someone who had found salvation in the middle of the desert. But he was crying softly, two dark lines painted on his face from the eyes to the edge of his chin. Duane stood mesmerized by the look, and watched silently as he walked straight up to Katarin whose head was buried in her hands. She had not realized he was there.
Katarin was struggling with the realization that her child was dead. The love she showed for him, it was like nothing she had ever experienced in her life, save that one moment, that one instant, when she and her beloved were one. But this was different, softer, but just as intense and powerful and would overwhelm her whenever she stared into his bright eyes. She would lose herself in her love for him, losing sense of time and place. And then she'd feel a hand on her shoulder and there would be her husband looking down at her and their child, smiling. Those moments, they were so precious, and they would never happen again.
Katarin was not Terra, she did not hold the burden of responsibility. She did not feel the same need to persevere, and so had no shield against the torment and torture. All the dark feelings of loss, anger, fear, guilt, sorrow swept through her and left her empty. She was too afraid to do anything but fall down and waste away. There was nothing else.
A gentle, but firm hand grasped her shoulder and she lifted her head to the voice. Gau was standing over her smiling. And in his arms, crying softly, was Jonathan. She didn't say anything or make a sound, she just stood up and gently took her child into her arms. Jonathan stopped crying immediately. She looked at him, and then at Gau. He looked at her and she perceived in his eyes the feelings of love and happiness. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. Gau just nodded his head and walked on.
Gau turned to Duane still standing there with Terra in his arms. The children were huddled all around him. They looked at Gau with wonder in their eyes, but they were no longer afraid of him. He walked up to Duane and looked down at Terra. The blood had dried and dust particles gathered over the dark red lines and made them shine and sparkle in the sun. Terra looked like she was sleeping and her face seem to glitter as if surrounded by small crystals.
"She's dead." Duane looked down at her.
Gau put his hand on her forehead, slowly passed it over her face and down to a chain around her neck that was attached to a pendant. He never noticed it before. He looked up at Duane.
He stared back blankly and his voice was very soft and distant, "I don't know. She's had it for as long as I knew her. I may have asked her once, where it came from, but I don't remember an answer." Duane stared at Terra for a time unknown. Gau stared at the pendant, held gently in his hand, deep in thought. A sudden gust of wind passed and Gau turned around and Duane lifted his head. There Katarin stood, holding her son in her arms, asleep. She looked at Gau and then directly at Duane. Her face was dirty with dust and tears, but her face had a look of determination and her eyes had a light in them.
"What do we do now?"