Rise of Glie Chapter 15
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 14: The First Communicator
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 15: Gone Forever
"Do we have any batteries for this thing?" Aware asks about the Washi mask that got fried by the light given to the wall sixteen years before he hatched into Glie.
"It doesn't matter," the trembling Communicator sobs from his face, his tattered wings with sparse grey feathers and jet black skin resting on his shoulders, "Take the frontpiece off the-" he hisses with a jolt of pain, and his right wing twitches at its shoulder, the rest moving like a dry wooden branch, pulling several more feathers.
"Master Shiden?" Aware asks.
"Just the frontpiece, brother," Shiden finishes, "the electronics are fried."
Once he has the front cover of the Washi mask removed, he holds it up to his face and notes, "The horizontal slits will have to do. It isn't much, though."
"Come here," he sobs, "It's getting better at last."
Aware comes to the elder's side, "They look dead," he notes somberly.
"They are dead," Shiden sighs. "Pull them off, then put bandages over the roots. My back will heal eventually."
"How?" Aware says as he lifts one by the tip, watching the feathers fall away from the desicated black skin. "Do I just-"
Shiden notes the haibane's gagging sounds beside him, the splashing sound, the smell of stomach acid, and feels the unimpeded cool breeze over the left side of his back. "I'm scared to look," he confesses.
"It's worse than when they come out," Aware groans, "much worse ... I watched my own with a mirror. Do I have to pull the other one too?"
"Oh, Aware," Shiden sobs, his face still pressed against the garden's dark soil, "Thank you so much."
Shiden feels the other wing, stiff with rigor, lift away from his back, and listens to the rustle as Aware puts them into a bag with trembling hands.
Aware gently bandages the open sores where Shiden's wings were once attached. They hardly bleed.
"It's Thursday, isn't it?" Shiden asks, finally turning his face to his friend.
"Yes, Master," Aware says, "the uh..."
"Toga?" Shiden offers.
"Yes, Master," Aware says, "the Toga visited the far side of the lake two days ago."
"Tuesday," Shiden sighs, "And you've been here since then. Thank you, brother. They always came on Tuesday. "I will try to get there next week. I will try. Visit again tomorrow morning, just in case I'm still stuck on my face. I promise you, brother, I won't keep you as long."
"Master," Aware starts.
"Go!" Shiden squeaks, "they're probably worried sick over you. Go. The worst is over."
"Thank you, Master," Aware says as he rises to his full height for the first time in two days.
"You have nothing to thank me for, brother," Shiden sighs, "I'm hoping to change that next week. See you tomorrow."
"Oh, crap," Kenny moans, "There he is, Keepsie!"
"What?" his wife turns, and the toddler on her lap squeals with delight and claps his hands.
"Aware!" Kenny runs up the road to meet him, slapping his hand on the dazed haibane's arm, "Where the heck have you been? The whole camp was wondering if you wandered off to Fly or something?"
"Oh," Aware moans, "I went into the Temple, and I guess I tried the wrong herb or something. I ... how long?"
"Two whole days," Keepsie sighs, "And you do look a little pale, like you've been chased by ghosts or something. Come on, I picked some some low-bush cranberries. Trust me, they're safer than whatever you tried in there."
"Yeah, I know, Master" Aware shuffles after her, "They'd be perfect in a hot tin pan under a pie crust."
"You read my mind, Master," she smiles, "It's five minutes from coming out of the oven. Hurry, I don't want it to burn."
Aware's making better time than that ... I think.
"Teacher Aware, I didn't think it was that creepy in there," Fushoku says as he traipses into Kenny and Keepsie's somehow parting with his dusty shoes at the door without breaking his stride. He parks at the table and looks Aware right in the eye and asks, "Why won't you tell us what really happened to Teacher Shiden?"
"Do you pee in the bath?" Keepsie asks instantly.
"Mrs. Keepsie!" he whines.
"It's the same sort of question to him," she explains.
"No I don't pee in the bath," Aware says, "Know that instead, Feather Fushoku. And please, no one ever mention the name Shiden in front of me again."
"You better run along," Kenny suggests to the young haibane after putting a slice of the juicy pie on his plate. The kid quickly retreats.
"It's obvious something is heavy on your heart, Haibane Aware," Keepsie says as she sits down with her own slice, setting one in front of the distant ashfeather, "Is there anything we can do to help?"
Aware smiles, "Thanks for the pie, Keepsie." His lonely eyes clearly said "no" to her.
"He really is gone, though?" Kenny asks.
"Gone forever," Aware sobs, "forever."
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 16: Something to Trade