Zeke lifted his glass in a single fluid motion throwing back the last bit of amber snoot like an old sea captain bailing out his sinking vessel, resigned to going down with his ship. Not one to drink much, a few shots would have normally gone straight to his head, especially since sustenance had neither been wanted nor welcomed. Not tonight. The events of the day and the events to come wrapped his mind in a protective coat of impenetrable soberness as if the darkness of reality filtered the alcohol from his bloodstream before it could work its magic of deception and illusion.

Looking out the cove window, Zeke caught sight of a rare three moonrise as a bitter smile marked the memories of better times and he wondered if even the heavens were mocking him now; putting him in his place as if to say, look now little one. The wind whipped and swirled and he could see the white caps in the cove jostling with the shore like school boys shoving and pushing in line. What was would remain but a memory for the morrow and the fortnight and beyond heralded a page not written even in the imaginations of the great Hynerians of letters.

The night air felt heavy with anticipation of rain and hail and the trees outside the estate swayed and bowed in their own melancholy language as if to say we too are innocent of the crime, yet condemned nonetheless. Zeke took a deep breath of the humid heavy air, his short grey hair looking all the shorter in the brisk coil. His white tunic flapped to its own complaint revealing a musculature of one many years inferior and he felt his eyes, so full of liquid protest just a few minutes before, ache in dryness, their essence stolen by a remorseless gale.

Looking to his left, the sway of a single lantern caught his eye and against brute force his ducts succeeded as mother memory squeezed a drop of juice the child could not manage. Although it had been more than a decade, it seemed just yesterday that he had taught Kyra the art of constructing a living lantern. They had gone out night after night in search of the sea-amines, walking up and down the wet beach, hoping that this would be the night the sea would give up its most rare treasure. Sea-amines were native to the area around the cove, glowed, when in harmony or some would say love, with a porphyrous iridescence, and if properly cared for, could be domesticated. When housed inside a living lantern, their magenta radiance illuminated the porch with a slightly pulsing light.

Soon, thought Zeke, what nature had given, she would reclaim. Yet, still, on one small vessel, somewhere beyond the sable turbulence, a heart beat strong and that heart carried the hope and promise of life beyond this catastrophe. Holding the lantern in his hands, as if to calm the life within such as to calm the life without, Zeke closed his eyes and gently kissed the slightly warm shade. As our fates are destined to cleave not, so our spirit lives on beyond the touch of local disturbance. Kyra, wherever you are, we love you. May Janus be with you my dear child.

Categories: Story, Zeke, Kyra, Hyneria