Chapter 27: Unspoken

“Hey. What’s with him?” the guard asked Judial.

Judial turned from locking the cell where Keenin lay sprawled on the dirt floor.

“What do you mean?” 

“He’s not moving.”

Keenin lay where he had been tossed to the dirt floor of the cell, not bothering to remove the white strip that blindfolded his eyes.

“Oh, that. He understands his place, that’s all.”

The guard reacted to Judial’s unconcern with an expression of worry. It wasn’t right for a young man to behave like that, laying like a corpse. The other captives had cried quietly or mumbled reassuring words to themselves. Judial gave a smug laugh. Keenin knew they were talking about him. He didn’t care. He lay docile in his new cell, not particularly thinking or looking at anything. Sure he could have fought a little harder, but what was the…what was the point.

“Were you expecting reassuring words?” Judial mocked the guard.

Judial eyed Keenin approvingly and Keenin felt the man’s presence creep closer. This closeness intensified as Judial leaned in against the bars of the cell and Keenin felt the whisper of the man’s voice against his ear.

“For our future friendship, I’ll tell you. This is the winning side. Soon we will all be home in that beautiful city beyond the horizon. Wealth will pile at our feet. And no one will ever look down on you. Think about it.”

The bars cracked ever so slightly as Judial moved away.

“Anyways,” he said loudly. “Just stay here until we get you assigned.”

The door of the makeshift jail slammed when Judial left, leaving a ringing in his already aching head. Ya, Keenin thought, because that’s what happened in life, you got reassigned.

Keenin wondered if in his next life he could be an unasuming chicken farmer. Was that an acceptable exchange for breaking free of fate? Probably not. Anything other than this was probably too good from him. The guard looked back to his unresponsive prisoner.

At the last moment, Keenin recalled Dia calling for him. Then he was aware of the cold and dark of his cell. The guard heard the movement and looked over to see that the boy had pulled off the blindfold and was wide awake, his head tilted towards the single window in the wooden jailhouse.

“So she’s gone,” Keenin told himself. “I’m glad she won’t remember me like this.”

The boy set his head back against the bars and closed his eyes.


Chapter 26: Invisible Wounds

Chapter 28: Distant