The Torcher’s Tale
By Leonard C Suskin
So I learned. I got to the schoolroom early, before Ged and any of the Aleph. I stayed late, after they’d all left. I listened to the teacher but watched Ged and the other Aleph-ya, As I look back across the years, I mark these few weeks as the time my speech picked up the formal, florid cadence of the literature and poetry taught to the Roi’s schoolchildren. Back at our temporary home I avoided Mhari; it was hard to forgive her for taking Ged’s side over mine.
Finally, on one late afternoon, I returned to the courtyard within the great building we occupied to find the pavilion taken down, all the tents folded up and loaded onto camels and our family ready to move. Mhari handed baby Grobi to one of her sister-wives when she saw me. “Lohr, I’ve not seen you since our last talk. There’s something you should see before we leave here.”
Mhari lead me through the house. Piles of straw, and the lingering smell of unwashed bodies lingered through the hallways. We walked down the corridor and through a simple wooden door into a small chamber. A wooden bedframe with coarse ropes stretched across it stood under an unglazed window. Mhari closed the door behind us. My ears burned. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to avoid you. Are you mad?”
Mhari shook her head and pointed at a shallow series of curved scratches near the bottom of the doorframe. “Aleph-ya writing, Lohr. Did you learn about it in the Roi’s school?”
I shook my head. A burning ache sloshed from side to side inside it.
“I know a few of their letters. This is a ‘G’, an ‘e’, and a ‘d’.” The burning in my head flared. “That’s right, Lohr. This was Ged’s home. The Roi took it from him to give to us.”
I dizzily walked out without answering her.
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I'm a full-time AV professional, full-time husband, and full-time father. In between these full-times, I like to scribble pretty words.
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