Uncover a Lifetime of Lies in this Fantasy Adventure!
On day one, Charlie Damuzi and her mute twin brother Tirigan are blissfully unaware of the dangerous world they live in. They may be aliens living on Earth after the extinction of humans, but to Charlie, life is pretty mundane.
On day two, the Damuzi family is ripped apart by a family secret that forces the twins to flee the only home they’ve ever known.
Determined to find a way to reunite their family, Charlie and Tirigan travel to uncharted territory in search of their salvation.
But that’s just Charlie’s side of the story.
In the future, forty days from when we first meet the Damuzi twins, Tirigan is on the move. His destination is unknown, as are the people he’s surrounded himself with, but his mission is still the same. Keep his sister safe and reunite their family.
However, as Tirigan attempts to navigate the complex bonds he’s formed with his companions, he’s forced to confront the one thing in life he has yet to fully understand.
Family. Deception. Power. Destruction.
It all begins on day one.
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Chapter Five: Inexperience Does Not Erase Validity, written from Tirigan’s perspective.
Forty days in the future.
Disorientation. Blurred consciousness. Awake. Moving. My body undulates without overt force. I’m still in Kor’s vehicle. Traveling at high speed, over one-hundred and seventy kilometers per hour. Crash likely. The power of seven Téssera surrounds me. Crash less likely.
Approximately 40 degrees and rising. Uncomfortably warm. It radiates from the right side of my face and neck. I’m leaning against something. Not something, someone. My arm is against flesh, warm and slightly damp. Sweat. Head is resting on something hard. The junction of the clavicle and humerus, covered in cotton. Pleasant. The material is soft, smells of grass and lavender soap. My neck is in an uncomfortable position. The fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae have been over-extended for a prolonged period of time. Sore.
I shift. There is movement beside me.
“Sorry,” Avias says with some embarrassment. My head was on his shoulder. That is embarrassing. No. Not embarrassing. Intimate.
I open my eyes and ignore the moment passing between us.
Open mind: Avias.
I didn’t intend to use you for a pillow. Apologies.
Avias’ cheeks are slightly red. Blushing. More intimacy. I look away. Avias’ pink cheeks aren’t very interesting.
“It’s all right,” Avias says aloud. “I’m glad you were able to sleep.”
I was tired. Of course I slept. I do not say this. I have been told that pointing out what should be obvious is rude. Ask a question instead.
Open Mind: Avias.
Did you sleep?
His facial muscles are slack. There is an absence of red eyes. His eyelids are weighted. Breath slightly sour. He slept.
“Yes, some,” Avias replies. His eyes try to engage mine. Be polite. I hold eye contact for five not entirely unpleasant seconds, and then avert them to the window.
Brown. Nothing of substance to focus on. Desert. The road is black concrete with cracks and holes. The car swerves smoothly to avoid the most offending fissures. Car movement much too practiced for Charlie to be driving. Oleander.
Oleander’s eyes are on the road, heavy and blinking excessively. Fatigued. Driving for an extended period of time. Kor is beside him in the passenger seat, awake and reading a book. I can’t make out the words, they’re too far away, but the balance of probabilities would suggest the words to be useful for our mission.
Charlie is beside me, head resting awkwardly on the window. Asleep. Her neck will be sore when she wakes up. I ponder waking or repositioning her, but waking her up would disturb her sleep cycle, perhaps make it difficult for her to fall back asleep. Her inevitable sour mood stops me. I do not wake her.
Open mind: Avias.
Oleander needs a break.
Avias turns his attention to Oleander. His eyes search his friends face. Avias’ head nods once. He agrees with my assessment. “Ollie, I’ll take over. You should sleep.”
Sharp pressure in my lower abdomen. Full bladder. I need to urinate.
“Yeah, okay,” Oleander replies. He nods as he yawns. “Thanks, mate.”
Oleander pulls the car over and I follow Avias out of the car.
My intention must be obvious. No one stops me when I walk several meters away from the car to gain privacy. My sister would say several šēpusi away, but the Anunnaki measurement system is terribly archaic. The metric system is far more logical.
There are heavy footsteps behind me. Male. Could be Oleander, definitely not Avias. The footsteps stop three meters behind me and approximately one meter to my left. Then, there is a gentle scrape of dirt under steel-plated boots. Trepidation. Another second, then the unmistakable sound of liquid hitting dirt from a distance. Steady, strong, lasting approximately twenty-one seconds. A nervous voice that has yet to become familiar.
“Sittin’ in a car this long, my legs feel like butter.”
I affix the fly of my pants, and then angle my body to acknowledge Calor, while still providing him privacy.
“Yes. It is confining,” I say aloud. Irritating. It still sounds foreign. I do not like the sound of my external voice.
“This thing we’re doing-” Calor stops talking and thinks on his next words longer than necessary. “I need you to know that I’m not going to let anything happen to Avias. No matter what happens.”
I don’t know how to respond. I know that he doesn’t mean he wouldn’t let anything at all happen to Avias, because that would be impossible. Avias exists in a world that will require action and reaction from him. Breathing, digesting, brain function, hormone production, smiling, seeing, existing. Many things will happen to Avias. Calor must mean something more specific. Within the context of our present circumstances, the Fotián must mean he won’t let anything negative happen to Avias. On this, I can agree.
“Neither will I,” I reply less than a second after his comment.
When he turns towards me, Calor’s eyes divert to the ground, and his hands push into the pockets of his denim. His face actively tries to hide something. It’s futile. The boy’s transparency rivals that of glass.
“You have your priorities and I have mine. Charlie is your sister, she’s always going to come first.”
I nod instantly. “Yes, she will.”
“Right,” Calor replies, taking a calculated step forward. “And I’m saying that Avias is my first priority. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep him safe. You understand that?”
I narrow my eyes at the young man and try to decipher the motivation behind his statement. We will all do what we can to keep each other safe, but Calor has taken it upon himself to specifically point out his devotion to Avias’ safety in particular. I can conclude that he cares deeply for Avias and yet, they only bicker, and show no outward signs of affection. Interesting. Interesting? Yes, interesting.
Emotions are complex and absolute. They are interwoven into every behavior and motivation. They are inevitable, they are incredibly powerful for some, but they are not especially interesting. Too many people experience emotions for them to be at all thought provoking.
However, I find this exchange compelling.
“You are not friends,” I finally say. The statement is a fact, but I find myself curious as to Calor’s response anyway.
Blood rushes to his cheeks. He looks down at the dirt, his hands turning into fists in his pockets. Embarrassment, guilt, anger.
“No. We never were.” Calor’s voice is much quieter than it was before. I can barely hear it through a light Eastern breeze. He uses the toe of his shoe to draw a small line in the sand. Typically, metaphors are lost on me, but I am cognizant enough to see the one Calor is offering me now. “You two seem… close.”
In proximity? Not at the moment. Earlier in the car- No. Calor is referencing emotional attachment. Intimacy. How very boring of him.
“He is my friend.” The statement feels odd on my tongue, but inexperience does not erase validity.
Indie Gantz grew up in Northern Virginia and received her Psychology degree at George Mason University. Despite her passion and curiosity for the human mind,
Indie left her chosen field of study to finally give voice to the many imagined minds she has created.
Indie lives with her family in North Carolina. She spends her days drinking tea and clacking keys.
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