Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Epilogue: The Unknown
Previously: Battle weary and bone bruised, Gina was awakened by the voice of Rhema.
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Zack, Gina, and B’frona slept well into the next evening, their healing wounds siphoning every dram of energy left in their bodies. Sh’renn had arisen late that morning and re-stoked the fires against the deepening Season of Wisdom, then checked a dozen times on her adopted brother and the Two Strangers.
Near sundown, Gina ascended to the dream-rich state just below consciousness: Mom had sent her outside to water the flowerbeds. Just as she was beginning to spray the morning glories, she observed something mysterious flitting about. She dropped the hose and moved in closer, expecting to see flower faeries, but then watched in awe as little striped monsters with poisoned swords in their tails moved from flower to flower. She awoke, shouting, “Beezes! Beezes!” Her pleasure passed the moment she moved. Every muscle, every tendon, every cell in her body hurt. So she willed herself back into oblivion.
Zack had been up for half an hour. Strengthened by the smell of baking shrennel bread, he wrapped himself in a blanket and began to move. It hurt to swallow, and each step caused him pain (the Beast’s tentacles had sliced through his sneakers, leaving deep furrows in his feet), yet he managed to drag his cocooned body all the way to the open window. He stared out at a graphite sky full of gestating clouds. I want to be up in the sky with you, Liulah, where there are no arrows or monsters or swords, where we play all the time, and you kiss me, and the rain falls on somebody else…
He thought about the war he’d launched, about Bud’s arrow-pierced knee and the scorn in Sniggle and Noddie’s faces, about the hatred, the hurt, the battered children…and the light passing from Tuber’s eyes. I caused all of that. Then he remembered the kharis tea, and how it had made it possible for him to go on. And yet… I still remember.
Of course, a voice inside him replied. Now what will you do?
“Make it better,” he whispered. His mind flooded with images of broken bodies strewn across blood-splattered fields: pride, cruelty, and madness unleashed. It wasn’t the half-war of the naims, it was a future war, greater than any he’d ever imagined.
What will you do?
“Make it better!” he shouted out the window, across the River Rennou, over the tops of the mighty irontrees.
“I swear by Uol, I will make it better!”
Thoughts: Our life purpose is often revealed to us through our failings.
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