Part Fifteen of The Unseen Sea
The fish that crawled out of the sea was ancient by the time LUCA, the EarthLife, came down from the trees, and, much later, began eating flesh that was no longer raw, but cooked on the magic of fire–a gift from the sky.
Within the tribe, the eyes marked for change watched and became conscious of… others.
As vivid as the original creation of the separated life, back in the beginning, where only the dark eyes could now reach it, the standing creature with two arms and two legs rose in the circle of the hunt’s celebration flames and realised that they were others; that they were as it was, but that there was something in him that they didn’t have – the me.
The me watched them as they watched him separate – his actions now guided by something different than the Earthlife mind of the tribe. The group seemed aware that something special had happened. They gathered together on the other side of the fire, wondering what this tall child of theirs, with the strange look in his black eyes, would do next…
Tall he was, and strong, but not the tallest. The huddled tribe drew its breath as the intense eyes of solitary Darkchild surveyed them through the haze of flame. Then he moved swiftly, picking up the spear and leaping, directly, across the fire to land at the feet of the startled Treereach, the gentle giant whose flailing arms did nothing to fend off the brutal thrust from below…
Maria looks at the messenger from the Foreign Office. He is sipping his tea and shivering, presumably in memory of the foul weather through which he has just travelled to get to her.
They had once worked together. He had been seconded as her research assistant–his diplomatic knowledge had been excellent–and had kept in touch over the years. But, her upward path had been meteoric, whereas he, despite coming from a well-heeled family, seemed resigned to wallow in Civil Service obscurity, gazing, during their annual meetings, at her, lovingly, while she paraded her achievements before him…
Not that she had done that for a while–and now looked back with some pain at her former self’s behaviour. She cringed with shame at the memory of the younger Maria. Haughty, crushing, ball-breaking… but eternally under the baleful eyes of the inner critic, hated voice from its perfect depths…
Graham had changed all that.
Gentle, mighty Graham, who could hold the world’s worries on his broad shoulders… and its truth in his eyes; absorbing the blows and making peace between warring factions where none seemed possible. Graham the young and brilliant doctor, advancing rapidly to become one of the country’s most respected eye surgeons…
Graham who was now missing… somewhere in the Middle East.
“There was a sighting of him in Syria, last week…” says the tense Jason, watching the woman he adores, hating the pain his words must inevitably bring. His voice lowers to a near-whisper, adding, “Near the town of Al Bukamal.”
Maria has her back to Jason, dismissively. She is checking that her father has not been too disturbed by the intrusion. He’s just gone into the bathroom to have his evening shower. The family have become used to intrusion, these last two months… But now her body stiffens and she turns to look at the man from the Foreign Office. “Al Bukamal? Isn’t that near the Iraq border?”
Jason sighs, lowering his head in a way he would never do in the London office. He nods, letting the words out in a sigh. “Yes.”
“And no contact since?” The QC is back–in full pursuit.
“Why would he do that? He didn’t have time for politics of any persuasion! He was the least radical person I ever met!”
Jason handles it gently. “Was?” In any other situation, he would pounce on the mistake.
Maria puts her hand to her throat. It’s an unconscious gesture that she thought had been left behind in her teens. She blinks away the moment, knowing that it has revealed to their visitor how close she is to the edge.
“It’s okay,” says Jason, dismissing the moment with a brief shake of his head, and as embarrassed as she is at the mistake. Maria Singleton QC does not make mistakes…
We don’t make mistakes, says the voice of perfection, deep inside. Mistakes are for those who don’t try hard enough.
Inside Jason Rowbrook, there rages a small war. The unattainable woman he adores more than life stands before him, close to tears. He’d get up to put his arm around her, but he knows she doesn’t deem him worthy of such gestures, and besides, what would he do after that? Have another cup of tea?
Grandad Lucca steps from his shower, clutching the thick, pre-warmed bath towel around him, and listens to the silence in the rest of the house. You can tell a lot about what’s going on from the world of the silences…
End Part Fifteen
The Unseen Sea is an innovative, serialised introduction to the magical enneagram.
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