The eighth installment of The Crossing, a story in flash fiction. The story so far can be found here – The Crossing
In the days before we escaped there was no such thing as hope. Each day was the same, yesterday blended in today and no one dared think of tomorrow. Here in a quiet suburb life was gentler and not a desperate scrap for survival. There was time to think, time to learn and time to observe. Most evenings I would sit out on the garden veranda with Arina doing homework or reading. She was sat in her rocking chair her knitting needles clicking as wool seemed to weave itself together.
Tonight we were sat out and Gai and Loban were chatting over beer in the garden. I was reading yet another book – Arina had noted that now I could read I was keeping the library in business with my constant demand for books. I sipped my soft drink and looked over at the two men. Maybe there was a sense of curiousness to my demeanour or maybe I sighed I don’t know.
I went back to my book and was soon engrossed. I did not notice Arina stop knitting and go into the house. I simply felt her touch my arm and hand me a bottle of beer. ‘You are coming of age, Kip’ she said ‘you need to start joining in their conversations.’ I wanted to do that. I wanted to show them I was old enough to be part of their world even if I was not educated enough
I took the beer and muttered some sort of thank you. I did not move, however, and just sipped the sharp, bitter liquid. Gai caught my expression as I tasted the beer and burst into a deep belly laugh which earned him a scolding from Arina. I just ran inside to our room feeling ashamed.
I could hear them talking but refused to listen. Instead I started throwing my few possessions into a bag. I scribbled a note to Arina and left it on the table. I felt alone and dejected as I slipped silently out the door. I had no idea where I was going, but I was going anyway.
I had walked about 300 yards when I heard Arina scream. ‘You go find him right now.’ I assumed she was yelling at Gai and quickened my pace before cutting into a footpath through the fields. I heard Gai’s feet crunch past on the street and I continued into the woods. They would be a good cover for the night,
© JG Farmer 2014