The Sugar of the Earth – part 17


What had become of them? Zgija wondered as she looked over the lagoon, her ship drifting away from the dock. She could not see where the party had taken place but a strange haze hung heavily about that quarter of town like a storm cloud seen from a distance, its effect pouring down in a pillar of gloom. There shone something that was not light. Even as she sailed away a kind of atmospheric rash spread through town progressing slowly outwards form the party site.


Zgija cautiously unspooled the memory of Mrs. Hinj’s story; she rolled the names Mathalia and Methany over her tongue; she pictured their house, that observatory, that listening station, that hidden library and she knew she had find it.


Zgija had come to the island where the Starhenge shone as a last beacon. Being a child of the islands she had never seen the mainland and knew only the horror stories of what it had become. She knew she was adaptive. She knew she would last longer. She knew the tide of change that rewrote the mainland would cross the seas and remake the islands as well. On that island, beneath the Starhenge, where The Introduction – that incursion site – balanced high up on the interior hills, there she might find an avenue of escape.


‘Mathalia’, Zigija said again slowly. The low waters sounded softly against the hull of her ship. ‘Methany’. What had become of them?


Mrs. Hinj had told that the twins went up to The Introduction carrying with them Words they had sieved from secret sources. Poor intoxicated Mrs. Hinj had tried to pronounce one in play to further flavor her tale. Perhaps her husband, the vanished Dantho Hinj, himself a casualty of The Introduction had learned some half-knowledge of the events, had told his wife some of it all. Mrs. Hinj’s pronunciation had been on point.


Zgija maneuvered her ship out into the wide lagoons keeping it inside the motu that punctuated the outer barrier of the island, then steered east to curve along the coast. With her spyglass, the observatory of the twins should be able to be seen from the water.


Next to Zgija on deck was the book she had picked up from the street where the fellow who had carried her away from the party and the man that had been attacking him had fled deeper into that damaged town. Them too, she wondered, what had become of them?






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