Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day Seven-Ninety-Eight: Family Meeting

Huddled beside his mother’s chair, watching her issue commands to her crew, Fynn watched the landscape whiz by through the front viewport of the Sky Bitch. The gentle swish of colour beneath the ship did not, as it usually did, improve the boy’s mood.

“There’s a clanking beneath the deck,” Libby barked to Donovan, her deck chief. “What’s that clanking? I can feel it right through m’damn boots.”

Fynn could feel it, too. He suspected it was something to do with the Sky Bitch’s starboard rotor. It was not operating at full efficiency. He was too large to effectively enter engineering these days, however, so he couldn’t do anything about it.

“Might be rhino control, captain,” Donovan hypothesized. He was a tall, skinny man with a friendly, officious air. “The big guy was having digestive problems yesterday. I’ll send Morris down to have a look at ‘im.”

It’s the rotors, Fynn thought. One or the other. He’s wrong.

“Get to it, then,” Libby commanded. She smoothed the crisp folds of her uniform. It was a funny habit she’d picked up shortly after decreeing herself captain and dressing like she was in the military. “Check the gear boxes for the rotors, too. Kinda think they might be fuckin’ up.”

Offering a passable imitation of a salute and receiving a passable imitation in return, Donovan clomped off of the command deck. Fynn watched him go, waving a little as Donovan passed, but the deck chief didn’t see the big hand swivelling in his direction. Fynn sighed and gave up.

Fynn had grown up on the move. Born to one transport, he’d now found himself living on another. Moving on the ground or moving in the air didn’t really matter; all that mattered was the roaming lifestyle. Fynn found his nomadic existence more than satisfactory, having long enjoyed the experience of moving from town to town, field to field, danger to danger. He’d seldom known any great dissatisfaction, content to remain at the sides of his parents.

But that was before he’d discovered his green eyes. That was before he’d discovered his father’s green eyes. And, now, there was another set of green eyes on the ship, one to whom he was intimately connected.

A hand dropped onto Fynn’s head, tousling his mass of curls. He smiled, recognizing the gruff warmth beneath the glove. “Hey, mom.”

“Kiddo.” Libby learned forward to stare Fynn in the face. She didn’t have to stoop, as he was sitting level to her, despite being seated on the floor. “You’ve become one big fucker, ya know that? I’m gonna need a ladder to keep doin’ this, sooner ’n later.”

Fynn offered her a little smile, but even he didn’t find it terribly convincing. “Heh. Yeah.”

Libby frowned, scratching her chin. “What’s the matter, boy? Look like you mucked up ’n ate a heap of dog poo insteada the morning’s slop. I dunno which’d be worse, but…”

Fynn laughed, but he dropped his eyes to the deck plates. “Aw, nuthin’. I’m just feelin’ a bit woozy, I guess. Been a while since we flew anywheres. Those zombie guys kept us in one place for too long.”

Libby winced. “Yeah. Bastards, the lot of ‘em. ‘course, I’d rather be there than where we’re goin’.”

It was no secret that Libby disapproved of their current destination. She and Dragomir had staged a barely-civil disagreement on the command deck earlier that day, Libby straining hard to maintain an even tone, and when they’d ‘retired’ to her quarters the shouting match between the two was so loud that they may as well have just remained on the deck. It took Pagan’s intervention to calm them down, and now they were far from one another, Libby up here, Dragomir somewhere below-deck.

Fynn didn’t like it when his parents weren’t getting along. He pretty much hated it, in fact.

Standing to full height and stretching, his knuckles scraping the glass ceiling quite easily, Fynn forced a smile. He suddenly found he didn’t want to talk to his mother. “I’m gonna go sit ’n my room, mom. That okay?”

Libby scratched her chin. “Sure. Watch your head. You sure you’re okay, kid?”

Fynn cracked his knuckles. “Um, yeah. Just, y’know… maybe… nervous.”

Libby nodded her head, a slow, sage-like movement of understanding. “Ah. Yeah. Gotcha. War, ’n all that shit. Sure, go, go, get some sleep or somethin’. We won’t be there ’til tomorrow, this rate.”

“Yeah.” Fynn leaned over and kissed his mother on the head. He was almost twice her height. “Love you.”

“You, too, tall boy.” Libby hugged her son’s torso, then went back to yelling at her crew.

Crouching low, Fynn exited the command deck and made his way towards the living quarters, knocking his head off the Sky Bitch’s light fixtures as he went. It was a common enough occurrence that Fynn erected a small, magical shield around his head, one so slight and weak that no one could see its greenish aura. It protected his noggin, and no more.

Fynn did not go to his cabin, however. He went to a different cabin instead.

Fynn’s father was standing in the corridor as Fynn approached. Dragomir was slumped against a wall, his diary skittering about at his feet. He was staring at one of the doors with an expression of such fixed intensity that Fynn almost rethought his plan. He knew he would be in trouble enough if his mother discovered his intentions, hence his rather pitiful explanation of nervousness. The prospect of combat did not make Fynn nervous.

Despite Fynn’s clunking presence in the corridor, Dragomir didn’t seem to notice his son until Fynn announced himself. The diary ran over to greet Fynn with a flopped hug against his leg. “Hey, dad.”

Dragomir jumped. “Ah! Oh! Um… hi… shit, Fynn, you nearly made me fly outta my skin. Don’t do that.”

“Sorry.” Picking up the diary so he wouldn’t squash it flat against the deck, Fynn seated himself beside his father. The curving corridors, built especially for his massive body, made sitting relatively comfortable. He pointed at the door Dragomir was watching. “Is… is, um…?”

Letting out a deep breath, Dragomir nodded. “Yeah. She’s… she’s in there. Hasn’t come out since we took off.”

Fynn joined Dragomir in staring at the sloping wooden door. Despite Fynn’s size, he felt vaguely intimidated by the door, as if it was somehow darker than everything else on the Sky Bitch. He understood, of course, that it was not so much the door’s fault, but the fault of the girl on the other side, the young woman with the silvery ponytail and unflinching green eyes. 

“You… gonna knock…?” Fynn asked, eying his father. “I mean, like… she’s probably… maybe…”

Dragomir shook his head. “I… well, I tried. Couple minutes ago, I tried. She didn’t answer. Not sure if I should just go in, or… y’know. Like, what if she’s… changing…?”

Based on what little he knew of his sister, Fynn suspected she would not be changing - and even if she was, she wouldn’t give a shit if someone walked in on her. They’d be greeted with the same level of hostility as any other situation. “Yeah. I… guess I get that.”

They continued to watch the door, now silent. The relentless pumping of the engines that filled the hull seemed somehow quieter here, dulled by the presence of the very moment. Only the diary appeared eager to fill the hallway with noise, nudging up against Dragomir’s elbow and thrusting a dried quill at him with its curling tail. It almost always had a quill with it, these days.

“Maybe you should write in this little guy,” Fynn eventually said, pointing at the diary. “He kinda wants it.”

Dragomir chuckled, though without humour. “Yeah. I’ve noticed. Maybe later.”

“You used to write all the time,” Fynn pointed out. “What happened to that?”

Dragomir turned to the diary. It was standing on Fynn’s arm, its expression cheerful yet vaguely annoyed. It continued to jab Dragomir with the soft end of the quill, doggedly determined to have its way. Fynn suspected that the diary did this whenever it had the chance, and he pitied it. Without Dragomir’s daily entries, it must have been feeling quite incomplete.

“Maybe…” Dragomir reached out, grabbed the diary, and gently pulled the quill from its tail. He pocketed the feather. “Maybe later.”

“That’s… that’s not an answer, dad,” Fynn said, swallowing.

Taking another quick glance at the door, Dragomir looked sideways at his son. “You wanna talk to her?”

Fynn nodded.

“I… don’t recommend it,” Dragomir admitted, though a smile tugged at his lips. “She kinda sucks at talking.”

“I still wanna try,” Fynn pressed.

Shaking his head, Dragomir walked away. Fynn considered asking his father to stay, to join him in knocking on Eve’s door, but the thought of Dragomir’s wild romp through the midnight streets of Pubton sealed Fynn’s lips. He watched his father disappear down the corridor, noticing a lithe, athletic swagger in Dragomir’s steps that was not there when Fynn was born. It had only manifested itself since Dragomir’s return from the desert.

What did you learn out there, dad? Fynn thought, dispelling the Non barrier from around his head. Was it somethin’ about me? Is that why you never look me in the eye anymore?

Fynn knocked.

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