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Zanzibar – Part 13

August 17, 2016

Zanzibar – Part 13

by Keith Channing

Leaving Ruth’s house, Javelin took a few deep breaths, ran his fingers through his hair, held his young body erect and made his way to the square, where he found the rest of the Motorheads in a huddle. Jacob was a few yards from them, talking with some of the other Villagers.

“What’s happening?” Javelin asked as he approached his friends.

“Comet’s in a pretty bad way, mate,” Rambler replied. “Hemi being missing still has really got to her.” He pulled Javelin to one side and whispered, “You know she’s got a thing for Hemi, don’t you?”

“I know,” Javelin replied, “I think I’ve suspected something for a while—”

“We all have—”

“But I know now. I know she has feelings for Hemi, and I’ve got an idea they’re pretty strong.”

“Who told you?”

“Nobody told me, Rambler. I just know stuff. Don’t ask me how, though. I just do.”

“Since you met the Curator?”


“So what do we do about Comet?”

“Nothing. Just follow my lead, mate. That’s a suggestion, not an order, by the way,” Javelin added, looking skyward. The two returned to the group. All eyes turned expectantly to Javelin.

“The two moons are supposed to be full in three nights’ time,” he said, “We should have a plan.”

“What for?” Cobra asked.

“Coz it’s better than not having one. Look. I’m going to talk with Jacob and the others. If we can find out what sort of stuff goes missing, we can leave something so we’ll know if it’s people from the Smoke that are doing it. Ruth seems to think it is.”

“I’d like to leave a note for Hemi,” Comet said.

“What’s the point of that?” Mustang asked.

Comet burst into tears. “If he never comes back, Hemi’ll never know how much I love him.”

Jacob strode across from the other group. “I understand how you feel, Comet, but I don’t think that leaving a note is such a good idea.”

“Why not?” she asked, “What’s wrong with it?”

“Think about it. If it is people from the Smoke stealing from us, we don’t know what effect it would have on Hemi, if the others there have that sort of information. If it’s not, then we don’t know who it is, and we don’t want them to have anything they could use against us or Hemi.”

“Well I want to send him a note,” Comet screamed, “and I’m gonna tell him how much I love him.”

“Please, Comet,” Javelin pleaded.

“No, Jav. Stuff you, stuff this place, and stuff the bloody Curator.”

Comet disappeared.

“What the— Not Comet, please,” Javelin said, looking up again.

“This is what I was afraid of,” Jacob said. “I just didn’t know who would be next to give in to their feelings. Any idea where she’s gone?”

“The Smoke,” Javelin replied, “though not to the cave system where Hemi is now.”

“What cave system?”

“Dunno. I just know there’s a cave system. Hemi is in it and Comet aint.”

“This is not good,” Jacob said, “We need to go back to Ruth. Probably best if the rest of you stay here; Javelin and I will be back as quick as we can. Coming?”

Jacob trotted off toward Ruth’s house, Javelin following close behind.

“You’re back soon,” Ruth said as she saw the pair approach her door. Jacob and Javelin followed her into the room where, only recently, Javelin had been in a trance.

“Comet’s gone,” the young gang member said.

“I know,” Ruth replied.

“She’s in the Smoke.”

“But not with Hemi. I expect they’ll meet soon, though.”

“We need to talk about the next full moons,” Jacob said. “If stuff goes missing this time…”

“We’ll talk about it afterwards, Jacob,” Ruth said firmly, “and only if anything is taken.”

“What sort of stuff do they usually take?” Javelin asked.

“It varies,” Jacob replied, “It must be stuff they can’t get where they are. Some food – fruit and veg – but some empty boxes, too. Always metal, not wooden.”

“Can you leave some metal boxes out? Mustang’ll paint a design on them.”


“Yeah. A man on horseback, throwing a spear at a big cat that’s attacking a snake, while a man with a backpack walking toward a distant house with a domed roof looks up at a shooting star that’s fading away.”

“Very clever, young man,” Ruth said, “I’m impressed. But won’t the Curator see what’s going on?”

“I’m hoping so,” Javelin replied. “This should tell him that I’m serious about wanting us all to go home.”

“Am I missing something here?” Jacob asked.

Ruth laughed. “I should say so, Jacob, but I’m sure you’ll work it out with a bit of thought. Bravo, Javelin, bravo. Brilliant plan.”

“Does that mean I can do it?”

“One hundred percent yes, lad. Get to it now.” Javelin gave a whoop and ran to leave the house. “Aren’t you forgetting something?” Ruth asked.


“Boxes, paints, brushes…”

“Oh yeah.”

“Go on,” Jacob said, “I’ll get them to Mustang.”

Javelin made his way back to the group. He found them still in shock at Comet’s disappearance, but when they heard his plan, and understood the meaning behind the design, they were all immediately on board and keen to get started.

This is now a round-robin between Keith Channing and I.

If you missed a chapter, click to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12

or Jump ahead to Part 14

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