Friday, April 27, 2012

Mai -- episode 2. A serial story

Here's episode two of the serial story, Mai. If you want to catch up, the first episode is here. Got a few comments on teh first episode. Would love to hear what you all think of this one too.

episode 2

Mai watched his nephew walk away, behind the two men in flannel and carrying the crate of guns.

The boy was a hulk. He stood a foot taller than either of the men who’d just bought him. The crate, weighing a few hundred pounds loaded like it was, provided him no challenge. Yun walked away from Mai, across a field and toward the beach where the men’s ship was waiting.

It was a large hulled ship with an open cargo door on the side. Big engines hung off short wings that came out from the side and near the back. The first man, the one who’d been on the left earlier, stepped into the ship first. He took the crate from Jun when the young man approached and promptly dropped it. It hit the ground with a thud and rattle that Mai could hear even though they were a few hundred yards away.

Yun stood outside the ship and watched the two men shove the crate deep into the cargo hold. He hesitated before stepping into the ship himself. Mai heard a faint hiss and the cargo door began to lower. Mai craned his neck and watched until Yun disappeared into the dark behind the closing door.

The engines whined to life then roared. The ship lifted straight up, inched forward and made a graceful turn then blasted over Mai’s head. He watched it disappear into the distance then turned to head up the hill.

It didn’t seem that long ago to Mai that he was walking up the hill carrying a much younger Yun, wrapped in an infant’s robe, his bald head slicked with rain, and sucking on the tip of his uncle’s index finger.

“I don’t know anything about kids,” Mai had told his sister when she put Yun into Mai’s arms.

“You’ll do fine,” she’d insisted. “Besides, we can’t keep him here. It’s not safe anymore. With you on the island is the best place for him. Once the uprising is over we’ll come get him. And we’ll visit. But for now, you take him.”

“You know you can’t visit, Qan. Not if you want him to be kept safe.” Mai looked down at his sleeping nephew. He squirmed in Mai’s arms then settled with his chin tucked into his chest.

“This whole thing won’t last long,” Qan said. “We’re taking ground. Now that I can get out and fight, this whole uprising will be over soon. The emperor will fall.”

Qan reached down and brushed her son’s cheek with the back of her hand. “Just keep my boy safe for a little while. We’ll come get him soon.”

Mai nodded. “I’ll do the best I can.”

“I know you will.”

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