Now it’s starting to get interesting. This is the part in which the story begins to talk to me. See whether or not you agree.
- Lem remembered when he was very little, much younger than he was now, before he knew what words meant. He needed the milk of his mother’s breast. He considered how best to capture her attention taking into consideration the limited control he had over his body.
- Lem smiled only when Evanor sang; otherwise, Lem was a rather somber infant. A keen interest would often flash through his watery blue eyes for no good reason at all, as far as normal people were concerned, but Lem only smiled when his mother sang.
- One evening, a month or two later, Thort came home carrying an elongated black bag under his arm. Lem opened the bag, looked at the bow, then at the fiddle, and his eyes flashed keenly. Lem closed his eyes and smiled. Thort grumbled, “There go a month’s wages.” Evanor caught Thort’s hand and nodded toward Lem. “Look at him. He’s never smiled so long. Let’s hang it on the wall where he can look at it whenever he wants.” Thort hammered two pegs into the plaster wall and hung the fiddle and bow from them.
- Thort and Evanor could not afford for Evanor to stay home from work and care for Lem, so Evanor brought Lem to work with her and deposited him at a communal day-care center nearby.
- When Evanor had left, Lem waited expectantly for the children to call him into their group. When that did not happen, he waited for the old woman to give him instructions. When that did not happen, he walked over to some old wooden crates filled with large wooden cubes. Lem built a fortress around himself with the cubes. Sangor got up from his group and walked over to the fortress. Then Sangor pushed one wall of cubes inward and the whole fortress toppled on Lem. Lem put the cubes back in the wooden crate in the same order in which he had found them. Lem rebuilt the fortress as before but there were no wooden cubes. Sangor pushed the invisible wall inward, lost his balance, and fell on the floor, hurting his chin and knee. Sangor rushed at Lem with fists flailing but Lem avoided his blows quickly, easily.
- Thort and Evanor take Lem with them to visit Kivo.
- Lem meets Yani.
- Thort and his family return home to Styg’s farm but the barn door is locked. Thort walks over to Styg’s house and knocks on the door. Styg opens the front door, brandishing a shot-blaster. “You git off my property now or I’ll blast you all, startin with your son and thin yer wife…” Thort shouted at Evanor to take Lem and run for that line of trees they had come through and he would bring their bags and worldly possessions. When his wife and child were safely out of shot-blaster range, Thort turned his back on Styg, picked up the bags in both hands, and started walking slowly toward the tree line. Thort could feel the shot-blaster pointed at his back as he walked away slowly. It was almost physical the way the aiming of it dug into the center of his back, and then it became physical, as Styg’s finger twitched on the trigger. Thort was already half-dead when he heard the blast.
- Lem whirled around at the clap of noise, in time to see his father collapse onto the ground and Styg recharge his weapon. He took Evanor’s hand and shouted into her mind, “Don’t think – just run with me to the trees!” Evanor was in shock and her mind did not work anymore. Lem ordered her legs to run as fast as his, synchronized with his zig-zag motion as they nearly flew across the open field. Shots sang shrilly past their ears and kicked up hot clumps of dirt near their feet. Lem heard Styg recharging his weapon again. They reached the tree line and Evanor almost collapsed, her legs wobbled so much. Lem helped her sit down with her back propped against a boulder behind the tree line, facing away from Styg’s property. Lem whispered in his mother’s ear to wait for him to return. There was something he had to do before they could leave.
- Lem rose slowly, quietly, from behind the boulder and scanned the field looking for Styg. Lem saw him at the edge of the field poking his shot-blaster between some bushes and trees a short distance away. Lem moved behind the tree line towards Styg until he stood in front of him, scarcely two drac-spans distant. “I know yer in there,” he mumbled, “I’ll find you … just you wait’n see.” Suddenly Styg shut up. His shot-blaster began to move upward in short jerking motions until it was pointing at Styg’s own face. Styg heard a child’s voice in the dark night, “Can you feel me inside you?” Styg nodded his head twice. The smell of hatred was replaced by pure fear. Lem explained to Styg, “I am going back to Mother now. We will leave the sector. You are going to stay here until morning with the barrels of the shot-blaster in your mouth and your twitching fingers on the trigger. If you try to move or make a sound before morning, you will pull the trigger and that will be that. You will bury my father before the second moon rises on the eastern horizon.” Lem backed away into the night and returned to his mother.
- Lem and Evanor stop along the way at Kivo’s place to tell them Thort was dead and they were leaving the sector.
- Lem leaves Evanor to join a Rat commune in an uncharted area of the world.
- Lem comes back to visit Evanor and plants a secret message in her mind for Yani.
- Yani tells Kivo she needs to find Lem. Kivo takes her to Evanor where she divulges Lem’s location to Yani.
- Yani goes alone to find Lem.
- The Rat commune accepts Rat refugees from every Sap sector in the world.
Mike Stone, Ra’anana Israel