‘Aha,’ he said, staring at my Linger Maps, tracing down every corner of Osculum I had ever been to.
‘Did you hear what I said?’
For a moment there, Silo was entranced by my little doodles as if they held some kind of secret to life only I knew about. ‘Yeah, yeah. That Kensey bitch bugs me too, but you have to let-‘
‘Did you hear the rest of what I said?’ I interrupted.
‘Nah, I’m just having an off-day,’ he said.
‘Do I wanna know?’
He shook his head and that was enough for me to back off. Then he ran his hand through his matted ponytail and pointed out that my room needed some sprucing up, at which I snorted. It wasn’t that bad, really. It had its … minimalistic charm. And whatever anyone claims, there is no excuse for clutter. From its lonely spot on the wall, my poster of Simbaya the Scorcher winked at me. I shook off yet another hallucination. Those came along quite often recently…
I had to stop myself from overthinking yet another pointless subject. The tides were rolling in and I could do nothing to stop them. And since there was no other way for me to vent my frustration and helplessness, I did my usual visualization where I buried the feelings deep into a hole in the ground. Then I said my mantra three times in my mind. “I am only spirit, this flesh is only mortal.” I cringed at those words sometimes because they sounded fancy-shmancy and naive. Yet, I hadn’t thought of that when I’d picked it out of hundreds to be my life-tune. It sounded wise at the time.
After I finished, I repeated what I’d told Silo earlier, quite abruptly with no preamble. This cost him a deep choke and I had to revive him for the next five minutes by hammering my fists on his back, repeatedly. ‘What-‘ Cough cough. ‘He said what?’
‘He asked me-’
‘Bloody trillion birds of Aspen! He asked you to be his-‘
‘Apprentice,’ I said, feeling the trill of the word against my vocal cords and then its pressure against my ears. It tasted sweet, like melon.
‘Have you told-?’
‘No. Can you imagine their reactions?’
Silo couldn’t drop his eyes from me, doodles forgotten. ‘But you’re going to.’
‘Of course,’ I said without thinking. Without thinking indeed.
‘Can I watch?’
I threw one of the throw-pillows at him but he ducked just in time. For the first time I noticed that the pillow strangely resembled him, which he obviously tried to ignore or didn’t care about. It was a mongoose-like kind of creature with overlong limbs. I think they called it Kakista beyond Osculum (where no interesting creatures dwelled).
When I was about to say that I would not –in a trillion flying monkeys- let him witness my worst nightmare, the door opened wide. I jumped at the too-familiar grating voice of my little brother.
‘Am telling Mom,’ he said and closed it before I could react.