Zanzibar – Part 9
Zanzibar – Part 9
by Lori Carlson
“So there’s a way back to the Village?” Hemi asked.
The First Ones nodded their heads.
Hemi jumped to his feet. “Then we have to go get my friends.”
“I’m afraid not, dear lad.” Ethan bowed his head. “We can’t risk a rescue.”
Hemi slumped back down in his seat. “You won’t even try?”
Ms. Simone placed a hand on Hemi’s arm. “The Curator would know. We can slip in there at night, take a few items and slip back out again, but to stay longer than a few minutes… No, child. That would be too dangerous.”
Nellie scooted her chair closer to Hemi and looked him straight in the eyes. “You don’t understand the ways of things here, Hemi. We are only safe in the Smoke. The Curator doesn’t care about us here, but the Village is his special project. An experiment of some kind. Besides, if your friends haven’t turned up in the Smoke, then they may have already assimilated into the life of the Village.”
Hemi shook his head. “I don’t believe that! They wouldn’t. We are Motorheads. We don’t assim… assim.. what you said.”
Ethan sighed. “We don’t even know what section of the Village they are housed in. They could be anywhere. We can’t risk staying there long enough to find them.”
Suddenly, Hemi sat upright, a big grin splashed across his face. “I know a way. We have a code. It’s just symbols, but if we could put them in one location, maybe they will all gather there and wait for us to return again.”
The First Ones looked back and forth at one another. Finally, Ethan spoke up. “It’s still risky, but it just might work. Show us your code.”
Nellie grabbed a notebook and a pencil and placed it in front of Hemi. He glanced at each of them. Could he trust them? The code was the Motorheads only means of survival. They looked too eager to learn it. Hemi slid the notebook into the center of the table.
“No, I won’t show you the code. Take me with you on the next trip and I will place the symbols there myself.”
Ethan shook his head. “No, lad. Only the three of us ever go into the Village.”
Hemi slammed his fist down on the table. “You lot just want to keep me separated from my mates. First Ones. The Curator. The Smoke. The Village. What is this? Some twisted game of divide and conquer? I bet you’re all in on it together!”
Ms. Simone crossed her hands over her chest and glared at Hemi. “How dare you! You are just an insolent child.”
Ethan patted Ms. Simone on the back. “Now, now, dear. Calm yourself.” He turned his attention to Hemi. “We don’t need to know what the symbols mean. Just write down what you want us to place somewhere and we will do so.”
Hemi leaned back in his chair. He still wasn’t sure he could trust those three, but if he didn’t have to give up the meaning behind the symbols, perhaps it would be okay. He sat upright and pulled the notebook back toward him.
“You have to put them at child level,” Hemi demanded as he scratched out a row of symbols on the paper. “And in this exact order. Do you have something yellow to write them with? We have a special color code too.” Hemi slid the paper into the center of the table.
Nellie picked it up and studied it for a few moments. “I will do the writing since I am the shortest,” she informed the others. “I can make a yellow stain from some of the plants we have.”
“Leave it to us,” Ethan said and stood up. “We should all get some rest. We won’t be traveling to the Village for another fortnight.”
This is now a round-robin between Keith Channing and I.
or Jump ahead to Chapter 10