Zanzibar – Part 10
Zanzibar – Part 10
by Keith Channing
Ruth looked at Javelin over her half-glasses. “Care to expand on that? What things do you think that you know now that you didn’t know you knew before your recent adventure?”
“Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?” Javelin half-mumbled apologetically, “But haven’t you ever had someone ask you a question, and you give an answer you didn’t know you knew?”
“Happens all the time, young man. But then, I was taken to the Great Hall shortly after I arrived, and although I never actually saw the Arikatoteshika—”
“You mean N—” Ruth touched her forefinger to Javelin’s lips to stop him mentioning the Curator’s name. “Sorry. You mean the Curator?”
“Yes, Javelin. The Curator. I never saw him, or any other creature, for that matter; but either he or some of his minions—”
Javelin started laughing. “Don’t call them minions, Ruth,” he chuckled, “I’ll see them as those crazy little yellow characters in the films; the ones with the blue overalls and weird visors.”
“Okay. Either he, or some of his acolytes, gave me the gifts of knowledge and understanding. I came back knowing how this place works, and what we have to do to stay in favour with the Curator.”
“So it’s not dumb?”
“Not at all.”
“Okay. Like you, I know how this place works. More than that; I understand how it works. And I understand why it is the way it is, but not the background of why it is like that. Does that make sense?”
“A great deal, Javelin. I see now that the Curator has prepared you to be my helper. We can complement each other.”
“Oh. Okay. You have a nice, kind voice and you’re quite clever for an old person.”
“Not compliment, Javelin; complement. We can work well together, as a team. But thank you, anyway.”
“So what now?” Javelin asked.
“Do you feel up to a bit of amateur detective work?”
“Wow, yeah. What’s the case?”
“For some time now, some items have been disappearing from the Village.”
“Disappearing how? Like Hemi did?”
“We don’t know. We’ve looked everywhere in the area but found nothing. The items; food, clothing, small tools; always disappear overnight, and only on the nights when both moons are full.”
“When’s the next time?”
“Fifteen nights from now, according to my almanac.”
Javelin pondered. He lay back on the couch and joined his hands behind his head. His heavily furled brow showed that there was some serious thinking going on, the expression of pain on his face that it was not an activity with which he was familiar. He shot bolt upright.
“Have you looked in the Settlement?”
“The what?” Ruth asked.
“The Settlement. It’s another place the Curator has here. I can’t picture it, but I’m pretty sure it’s old-fashioned; very old-fashioned. Like the Stone Age or Iron Age settlements they tried to tell us about at school.”
“And people are brought to it; like here?”
“I don’t know!” Javelin cried in frustration, “It’s just a name that I know. It’s like I’d read about it in a book but never seen it; never even seen any pictures of it.”
“But you’re sure it exists?”
“Yeah. Hundred percent”
“Any idea where?”
“No. It’s somewhere out there.” Javelin waved his arm in a half circle.
“Let’s take a break,” Ruth suggested, “I’ve pushed you a bit too hard already.”
“No, I’m fine. Honest.”
“Okay, Javelin. We’ll just talk. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?”
Javelin considered everything she’d said, and everything Jacob had said about her.
“This Freud character. Did you really study under him?”
“No. That was a lie to impress your friends.”
“Why would you want to impress them?”
“Only so they wouldn’t get in the way of what I needed to do.”
“To get you alone for a chat.”
“But you are a head-doctor, right?”
“That was a lie, too. Before I came here I was a parlour-maid, a house servant.”
“Like a minion?” Javelin asked with a cheeky grin.
“But not yellow,” Ruth replied. “Actually, before I was given these gifts, I was a nobody. These gifts have made me valuable to the Village.”
Ruth got up from her stool and wandered around the hut, speaking as she did so. Javelin kept his eyes on her and hung on her every word.
“You seem to know some stuff I don’t know,” she said, “I’d love for you to be able to tell me what information you have. Will you allow me to put you under?”
“Will it hurt?”
“Not at all.”
“And if you manage to pull information out, will I know it as well?”
“I hope you will remember, when you come round, what you saw and said under hypnosis, but I will make detailed notes anyway, and make sure that you know what you have told me. That way, we’ll be able to pool our knowledge, our understanding and our resources.”
“But how do I know I can trust you?”
“You don’t, any more than I know I can trust you.”
This is now a round-robin between Keith Channing and I.
or Jump ahead to Chapter 11