To make up for the shortness of yesterday’s post (thanks, Dazant), here’s another Following Cyberspace post, and this time, we’re sharing an excerpt! Actually, we’ve got two. That’s all.
The next morning, the sun was cheerful and bright and it promised—so loudly it felt like a threat—that today was a new day, cleansed of yesterday’s problems.
The boys both slept in, so Kivessa decided without them that today was going to be about perfecting their disguises. She started by trimming her hair, which was a completely different kind of challenge than cutting her brothers’ hair had been. Then she went through all of the food they had, looking for something that would make a more substantial breakfast than just the fruit that was all they’d had of late.
She had come up with absolutely nothing and was very frustrated about it when Dazant appeared in the kitchen doorway, with mussed hair and an expression that indicated he wasn’t really awake yet.
“We need breakfast,” Kivessa told him. “I think we need something sugary.”
“Sugary?” Dazant repeated sleepily. He blinked at her, clearly not comprehending. “What are you suggesting?”
“I’m suggesting that while Cev is still asleep, we go get breakfast. Steal some pastries or donuts or something—or better yet, we get some flour and eggs and Cev can help me bake something, assuming the oven here still works.” She gestured at the oven to her left.
Dazant frowned at her, but before he could argue, she said, “Alternatively, we wake Cev up and go steal some breakfast with him.”
His frown deepened. “Why don’t we eat what’s already here?”
“Absolutely not. A good breakfast is essential to…everything.”
“Since when? And how is ‘something sugary’ a good breakfast?” He made quotation marks with his fingers.
Kivessa waved her hand annoyedly at him, then paused, thinking maybe if she explained what she was thinking, he would probably agree with her. She peeked around the doorway to make sure Ceveth hadn’t woken, and he hadn’t. “You do know that the way we start the morning off—which includes breakfast—can affect the entire day. So if we make breakfast a little more special…” She gestured with her hands, struggling to find the words to express what she was thinking.
To her dismay, Dazant frowned deeper even further. “You’re trying to distract him.”
“That didn’t work yesterday. He sat in the corner all evening, ignoring you.”
Kivessa crossed her arms and glared at him, annoyed both that he had to bring that up again, and that he was so immediately against her trying to make things better. “Well, if you have a better idea—”
Dazant peered around the doorway towards Ceveth’s sleeping form. He didn’t say anything for a while, and when Kivessa opened her mouth, he lifted a hand. She rolled her eyes, and obligingly stayed quiet.
Ceveth inhaled, and exhaled again—breathing the slow, measured breaths of sleep.
Finally, Dazant looked at her again. “You’re right; we should do something. Do you really think making breakfast is going to help?”
“I’m not sure what else to do. It won’t hurt to eat something different, at least.”
Ceveth sat down on the floor next to Dazant, mimicking his cross-legged posture. Dazant glanced at him.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Fine,” came the automatic response. Ceveth paused. “Better than I was expecting to be. My nap was okay.”
Dazant looked at the wall again.
Ceveth hesitated. “Are you okay?”
Dazant frowned, like this was a ridiculous question. “I’m fine.”
Both paused, slowly realizing that it was the same answer Ceveth always gave, and it was never true when he said it. Ceveth realized it wasn’t really true when Dazant said it, either.
“Should you nap, too?”
“Okay. Where’s Ki?”
“On the floor, asleep.” Dazant pointed over his shoulder without looking. Ceveth glanced back, and there she was. She wasn’t on the chair like she had been when Ceveth fell asleep, but instead curled up on the floor in front of it. She didn’t really look comfortable. |
Ceveth glanced at Dazant again. His gaze had gone a little spacey, as if he wasn’t really there. His mind was elsewhere.
He startled. “What?”
“You look like you’re going to fall asleep.”
“I’m fine, Cev.”
“You don’t look fine.”
He really didn’t, and it made Ceveth feel uneasy. First there had been their morning in the tunnels, which was already bad enough, but then Kivessa had completely ignored the both of them and now Dazant didn’t look…right. Dazant was always okay. When Ceveth wasn’t, when he had his nightmares and his flashbacks and his panic attacks, Dazant was always okay. He couldn’t not be okay.