(Picks up where Second Thoughts left off)
“Between the shadow and the soul, I love
you like a dark thing in secret,” she sang
as flies buzzed around her head, while above,
a boy sat making button hearts to hang.
Sarn crouched down to see what his son had made.
“For the tree,” Ran held a button heart strung
with thread; Sarn took it and with a hug paid
for its creation; hearing what was sung,
and not liking its lyrics, he took his son
into the suite and back to homey things
suited to a child’s ears, only to run
straight into an argument of all things.
Nolo in his Ranger best faced his wife
and son, both looked disappointed by life.
~ ~ ~
Before Sarn could bolt with his son, Nerule,
Nolo’s son, pointed at him. “He can take
us. Sarn’s a grown up. Miren doesn’t have school
so he’ll go too. We can go now and take
the last ferry.” Nerule shot a pleading
look at Sarn to just say yes, no matter
that he had no clue what they were talking
about or where this trip over the water
might end up. One comment caught him off guard.
“Miren doesn’t have school today?” Head shakes
met that question; no teen, did he regard.
“Then where is my brother?” Lots of head shakes,
but still no teenager appeared and that
disturbed Sarn; he’s liable for the brat.
~ ~ ~
Casting about with his magic, Sarn found
his bro heading this way, one more corner…
But the search had caused him to miss a round.
The argument ended with no winner
or not one Sarn could discern. His master
approached the door, which Sarn currently blocked.
Nolo only shook his head in answer.
“Aren’t I on watch tonight?” Sarn asked; Ran balked.
His lil’ head shook and knocked against Sarn’s leg.
The boy had plans for his father tonight.
Probably to do with that tree brooding
in the background in decorative spite.
“Stay here tonight,” Nolo said in passing.
He offered no reason for that change just
his back as he left. With him went his trust.
~ ~ ~
Miren arrived as Nolo fled their sight.
He’d missed another fight but when he asked
he received a head shake about the fight.
Sarn didn’t know what to think about being asked
to stay in, the night off or the fight, yet
he couldn’t forget it either. Nolo didn’t
give him nights off but here he was upset
at not standing his watch. Was there a hint
hidden in that exchange to explain why?
Sarn ran through the conversation again.
He found naught, didn’t give it another try.
Instead his gaze fell on the Christmas tree,
its dark boughs, a clear fake, conjured no glee.
~ ~ ~
The story continues in Shopping with Mages.
~ ~ ~