Chapter 2: Ay Kaly

Cadmus had fifteen more days to go before arriving at 3a. When you came down to it, he wasn’t even sure why he wanted to go to this particular moon; maybe just because it was there, he guessed, and because he could.

Cadmus pulled up his rocker next to the folding table beside the big picture window. He plumped the pillows the way he liked and gazed at the paucity of the solar system. There didn’t seem to be much happening. The constellations and unassociated stars hardly moved. It was like they were holding their breaths. Suddenly he had a memory of when he was a child playing hide-and-seek with the other children and he had held his breath when they passed near him.

There was a calendar fixed to the wall by the window. The days of his trip were crossed off one by one. Cadmus would draw a circle around the date when he woke up and then an X through the date before going to sleep. Dozing off in the middle didn’t count.

Cadmus kept himself fairly busy. He made a checklist of things he should do while awake:

  • Wake up
  • Feed Lonesome
  • Exercise, eliminate, shower, and dress
  • Feed Lonesome
  • Walk Lonesome
  • Draw a circle around today’s date
  • Eat something
  • Brush teeth
  • Check what’s going on outside
  • Check the instruments
  • Feed Lonesome
  • Sit by the window and think
  • Write something, anything, in the diary
  • Feed Lonesome
  • Eat something else
  • Walk Lonesome again
  • Brush teeth
  • Draw an X through today’s date
  • Go to sleep

Lonesome didn’t need a checklist. He was content to follow around whatever Cadmus was doing. Maybe he was following Cadmus’ checklist.

There was a small picture frame on the ledge of the window. In it was a photograph of a young woman next to a younger version of Cadmus. She had thick long black hair, dark brown eyes, pronounced cheek bones, and inviting lips puckered up in a kiss. Every time he looked at her he sighed, “Ay Kaly”.

“Ay Kaly, would that you were with me. You’d love it. You could scarcely contain your happiness as soon as you’d enter a shuttle terminal, any terminal. It never mattered where or where we were going. Just to be going,” he said to himself.

Kalyra was his wife.

Once.

Cadmus opened up his diary, pulled a pencil out of one of his pockets, and wrote the following:

Day 255:

The Warrior’s Other Side

Gentle sweet

Gone already into the night

Halfway across the void.

So far from you

The Warrior wears his scabbard

On the other hip.

Cadmus closed the diary on the ribbon. The Warrior was the name of the constellation he was gazing at.

from Out of Time

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

 

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Filed under Prose, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Stories and Novels, Uncategorized

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