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Zanzibar – Part 22

September 21, 2016

Zanzibar – Part 22

by Keith Channing

“Bleugh? That’s not a name,” Javelin said on being told by his erstwhile partner-in-grime how he was now to be addressed.

“Is so,” Wildcat/Bleugh responded. “However, that is not why these units are here and in a form that is visible to your limited senses.”

Javelin frowned, turned to look at Ruth and Jacob, raised his hands and shrugged his shoulders in the universally recognised sign of confusion, bewilderment and mystification. Ruth simply nodded her head once.

“Go on then,” Javelin said, turning back to the three Settlers, “why are you here.”

“We are here, human,” he said, pronouncing the word you-munn, “to advise you strongly to stop entering our realm and stealing our possessions.”

That made Ruth stand up! She strode across the divide between the two groups and spoke. “What makes you think we would do such a thing? What do you even have that we lack?”

“Our information is that each time the two moons are full, humans come from your realm into ours and take valuable possessions.”

“Would you like to search our houses?” Ruth asked, “We can give you free, unfettered access to our village and its outlying communities. You will see that there is nothing here that does not originate here. The Curator provides all we require, there is no need for us to look elsewhere for anything.”

“What are you saying?” the female Settler asked.

“I am saying that no-one from this Village enters your realm to steal from you. Apart from the three of us that you see, none even knows of the existence of your Settlement.”

Jacob, who had made his way to the group, said, “Is this a trick? Are you using this protestation as a diversion, to draw attention from the fact that your people come into the Village under the cover of the two full moons and steal from us?”

“We would not do that,” the woman replied, “and we are insulted that you should think such a thing of us.” She nodded toward her companions. The three turned, picked up from behind them, something that neither Javelin, Jacob nor Ruth could see. They moved their hands over their heads as though pouring invisible water from an invisible jug, and promptly vanished. Jacob ran toward them and reached out to grab one, but they had gone, leaving no sign that they had been there. Even the hard ground showed no foot-marks to hint at their presence. He turned to face Javelin and Ruth.

“What happened there?” he asked.

“They poured water to wash off the point,” Ruth offered, “That’s the only thing that makes sense. What do you think, Javelin?”

“I think we’ve lost Wildcat,” he said, “and without him, none of us can get home. The Arikatoteshika made that very clear.”

“What interests me,” Ruth said, “is that they know about us, but not about the Smoke, and so they accuse us of stealing from them. Most of our people know about the Smoke, but not about the Settlement, so we accuse the Smoke of the thefts. Is it possible that there is yet another group supported by the Arikatoteshika, one that none of us knows about?”

“It’s possible,” Javelin said, “but I didn’t get any feel for that, when I was with the Arikatoteshika. Do we believe that the Great Black Head and the Curator are just different names by which the Arikatoteshika chooses to be known?”

“I think so. Throughout history, it has been quite common for a single Supreme Being to support multiple civilisations, each with its own physical and spiritual environment, with distinct systems of laws and beliefs that are similar, but differ markedly in detail.”

“So how is he known in the Smoke?”

“We don’t know, Javelin. We may never know. No-one has ever come back from the Smoke to tell us.”

“Where does this leave us in regard to the thefts, Ruth?”

“I don’t think it changes anything, Javelin. We can still keep watch on the night the two moons are full. Even if we can do nothing, we shall at least know.”

“Perhaps if we see whoever is taking our stuff,” Jacob said, “we can talk to them, find out what they need and why, and see if we can help in any way.”

“That’s a nice thought, Jacob,” Ruth said, “I should also like very much to establish a dialogue with the people from the Smoke, and with the people from the Settlement. I have a strong feeling that, were we to have open talks with them, we would find that we have more in common than there are things that separate us.”

Javelin frowned. “You’re starting to sound like a liberal vicar now, Ruth,” he said.

“Perhaps, young Javelin, such a person is exactly what this situation needs.”

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, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18Part 19, Part 20, Part 21

or Jump ahead to Part 23


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