Cynosure, Hypocrisy, Rapacity, Inferiority, Scintilla of Scrupulosity
‘CYNOSURE lies in the depth of one’s mind and THE HYPOCRISY in one’s words. THE RAPACITY created from the thoughts and actions of a person makes him demure, innocent, and blameless. BUT IN INFERIORITY, one’s feelings and emotions are quite passionate and judicious. IN a sense, one should take heed and understand THE SCINTILLA OF SCRUPULOSITY.’
The wind blew lightly into the faces of the trees. The silence of silences occurred. A silent breeze, more silent than the silence. It looked as if those trees found their rest, finally. Then a rattle of footsteps could be slightly heard. Simon, Edward and Peter were forbidden to cross the small forest.
‘Don’t ya understood, Pete? She’s interested in me.’
‘Doubt it, Eddie. How’d ya know?’
‘Simple. She uses her seductive eyes and I use my seductive pose.’
‘What’d ya think, Sie?’
‘I – I – I donno.’
‘Worry not, Eddie. Sie ain’t gonna understand.’
‘Sh – Sh – Sure Viv’s go-gonna like ya, Ed-Eddie?’
‘Why not, Sie? Vivian loves me. I know. Right, Pete?’
‘L-L-Look, P-Pete and Ed-Eddie. A-A-Ain’t that A-A-Ethan I see?’
On a bank of a tree laid a boy about their age with the back of his head against a sharp rock and his new clothes drenched and ragged. His arm was bleeding in droplets. This forlorn boy had his eyes closed as if sleeping a deceased sleep. ‘Yeah. I’s him,’ said Edward. ‘Whyn’t leave’im alone, eh?’ The three blokes approached him. Simon bent down and touched his neck. A weak pulse he felt. Abruptly, his fingers started shivering. ‘But what’s he doin’ere?’ said Peter. ‘Ain’t it simple, Pete?’ replied Edward. ‘He’s dead.’ Peter gave a glance at Ethan’s face and said, ‘Kinda doubt it, Eddie.’ Simon looked at the forlorn, injured boy, realising how lifeless he looked. The three of them just stared at him. Simon slowly stood up. The Great Silence appeared and rested. Nothing moved. No-one moved. Wh-Wh-What a-a m-mas-s-sacr-cre, thought Simon. Moments passed. Pandemonium stayed. Then Edward’s face went expressionless when the boy’s fingers made a slight movement. ‘He n-n-needs ’e-’e-’elp,’ stammered Simon.
‘What! are ya crasy, Sie?’
‘He’s right, Eddie.’
‘Ya keep yar mouth shut. He’s a dead man.’
‘D-D-Don’t ya s-see he-he’s bl-bl-bleeding?’
‘I ain’t sure, Sie. What’re we gonna do?’
‘Well, I ain’t gonna stand ’ere and feel my head run out ta blood. Com’on, ya blokes. I’m leavin’.’
‘Hey, wait for me, Eddie. Ya comin’, Sie?’
Edward dragged Peter away. ‘Let’s get away, Pete before The Laws sees us,’ he murmured. Simon was alone with the listless Ethan. A light, soft wind blew between them. Slowly, very slowly, Simon sat down next to him. His face was filled with shock and fright. As speechless as he was, he lowered his eyes to gaze at Ethan’s face. The lump widened in Simon’s throat. It only took a few moments before Simon looked slightly heavenward and closed his eyes. Two leaves fell to rest on top of his head. Simon slept abruptly.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Edward and Peter arrived at the Hut unnoticed. ‘The Laws must’ve had their break,’ whispered Edward. They rushed inside and closed the door. Edward sighed. ‘See? Pete, I knew they ain’t gonna find us.’ Peter said, ‘But what about Sie?’ Doubt was written on Peter’s face. ‘Simon?’ asked a voice behind Edward. ‘Where’s he, Eddie and Pete?’ Edward turned round to face Mrs. Braw. ‘Oh, Ma. I donno where he is,’ he nudged at Peter. ‘He might be in The Land Escape.’ Mrs. Braw gave Peter a suspicious look. ‘Ya sure Eddie’s saying the truth about my son?’ Not a-gain, thought Peter. I’ve had this many times be-fore. I hate lyin’. He shrugged. ‘Eddie’s right.’ Mrs. Braw flapped her arms out in annoyance. ‘He knows quite well that it’s forbidden to cross The Land Escape.’ Edward and Peter made no response. After a few moments, Peter suggested that they should look for him. Just then, a girl entered in. Edward smiled.
‘Hello, Eddie and Pete.’
‘Viv, we’re gonna look for Sie. Ya comin’?’
‘Yeah, sure, Pete. Where’s he?’
‘In The Land Escape.’
‘What! It’s forbidden to go there.’
Haven’t I heard that before? thought Edward angrily.
‘Should we go and look for him?’
‘Why not, Pete?’
‘But Viv, it’s dangerous for you.’
Vivian ignored Edward and followed Peter outside. One of The Laws stopped them. ‘Hey!’ he said in a gruff voice. ‘What’re ya doin’ere bargin’ in?’ Edward said nothing. Let’em have it, thought Edward. In a grave, brave tone, Peter replied, ‘We’re lookin’ for a boy in The Land Escape.’ Edward quickly put in, ‘Com’on, ya blokes. Sie’ll show up soon.’ A severe look was given to Edward by Peter. He pleaded, ‘This is a matter between life and death.’ The man still blocked their path. ‘A rule is a rule, folks,’ said he rudely. ‘The Laws’re ’ere to keep it and you folks also, neh?’ Mrs. Braw, Peter and Vivian wore disappointing faces. Edward curled an arm around Vivian and led her back to The Hut.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ethan slowly opened his eyes. He saw nothing but blackness. He rose up his hand to touch his aching head. He rose the same hand in front of his face … but couldn’t see it. Instantly, questions appeared on his mind: What happened? Why am I blind? How long was I unconscious? What happened then? He knew he had no answers. He sighed. A moment later, Ethan realised how weak he was. Then he heard movement. Water was dabbed on his severe injured head which made his eyesight a lot better. Ethan blinked twice again. Ethan shivered terribly. A thick cloth was wrapped round him which made him quite warm. He looked up and spotted Simon looking down at him with a smile on his face. ‘A-A-Ethan?’ he said. “Ar-Are ya o-o-o.k.?’ Ethan smiled, too. In a weak voice, he replied, ‘Quite.’ That was the most inaudible and weakest voice he had ever heard. Simon kept his tender smile in place. Good to have a stammerer next to you than an inhumane, senseless person like Edward …… Then a thought hit Ethan. Edward? Edward! It was him! Without thinking or feeling any pain, Ethan stood up. ‘Wh-Where’re ya g-g-goin’, A-Ethan?’ said Simon surprised. ‘I’ve got to find Mr. Zad, Simon.’ Simon said, ‘Ya’re n-not hea-hea-healthy, y-yet, A-Ethan. W-Why lo-lookin’ for Ed-Ed-Eddie’s d-d-dad?’ Ethan shook his head and sat down on a rock. His legs felt like rubber. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me,’ said Ethan, suddenly. Simon shrugged. ‘W-W-Why n-not I c-c-carry ya, A-A-Ethan,’ he suggested. ‘I no that ya c-c-can’t w-w-walk v-v-very w-well.’ Ethan looked at the ground. The blood on his arm had already dried up. The same pandemonium weighed on him. What happened? Ethan tried to remember. He looked at Simon. ‘If I fall, could you help me up?’ he said. ‘I’ll-I’ll tr-tr-try, A-Ethan,’ replied Simon with a grin.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
‘Com’on, Viv. Reason for a little bit.’
‘What happens if your best friend got lost like that, Eddie?’
‘But let’s not come ta that now. I wanna no if ya’re ready for a date with me.’
Doubt was written on Vivian’s face. ‘I ain’t sure, Eddie.’
‘Com’on, Viv. Just tha too of us. The rest ain’t gonna interrupt.’
The conversation was slightly ‘interrupted’ when Peter rushed inside. ‘Listen, Viv,’ said Peter hastily. ‘Come outside. There’s somethin’ important The Laws wanna tell’s.’ Instantly, she stood up and walked outside. Peter followed her. Ohh, those people! Edward had an angry thought. He slowly stood up and slowly walked toward the closed door. Tentativeness washed all over him. He turned the door-handle and slightly pushed the door open. ‘Well, hell-o, Eddie,’ greeted his father, Mr. Zad. ‘Ya’re talking ta Viv I suppose.’ He nudged at him. Before Edward could reply, Mr. Zad pushed him back inside and whispered, ‘Eddie, as I was comin’ back from the ABC Side town, I saw a sign called “Crossing High Road In Spiral Section”. Does that mean anythin’ ta ya, son?’ Edward was feigning bewilderment. ‘I donno, dad,’ he lied. ‘I’s new ta me. But did ya cross The Land Escape?’ His father shrugged. ‘Accidently but say, how’re ya and Viv goin’?’ No response. Edward heard voices outside.
‘O. K., folks. We’ll let too people follow us three. Got that?’
‘I and Viv can go. Ya’ll have ta stay, Ma.’
‘I ain’t gonna stay till I see my Simon.’
‘But Mrs. Braw, worryin’ ain’t gonna ’elp.’
‘Viv’s right, Ma.’
A few silences.
‘Pete, I’m worried about Ethan. Where’s he?’
‘Eh – Eh,’ Peter hesitated. ‘In The Land Escape.’
Ohh no, thought Edward desperately. Pete, why did ya say that ta her?
Mr. Zad’s voice got Edward out of his reverie. ‘By the way, Eddie,’ he hissed in a proud tone. ‘I got rid of ’im. No need ta worry. I’s taken care of.’ Edward turned to face his father. He held a look of incredulity. ‘WHAT!’ he yelped. ‘Why did ya do that?’ Mr. Zad quickly covered his mouth to keep him from shouting further. ‘What’s tha mattar with ya, Eddie?’ hissed his father in a surprised tone. ‘I thought we planned it ta-gethar, son.’ Edward looked away, nearly in tears. He ran away from his aching grasp, away from The Hut, passed The stunned Laws and into The Land Escape.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Three men from The Laws, Vivian and Peter already found Simon and Ethan. Vivian was even surprised to find Ethan drenched. She bent down and kissed him. ‘You’ll be o.k., Ethan.’ Her eyes were filled with tenderness and affection. Ethan smiled and caressed her cheek. The three men, Simon and Peter were glad to see the two of them together. Quite suddenly, Peter and Simon spotted Edward running past them. ‘Eddie!’ shouted Peter. ‘Stop in yar tracks.’ Edward obeyed. His eyes glared at Ethan and Vivian and for one fresh moment, the realisation struck him. What a fool I was, Edward regretted. His eyes burst into tears and he ran away again. ‘I’m goin’ after ’im,’ suggested Peter. ‘I’ll-I’ll f-follow ya, P-Pete,’ said Simon and caught up with him. Edward felt lame. He reached the end of The Land Escape and fell flat on his stomach. To regain his equilibrium, he went to a kneeling position. He looked up and spotted the sign.
CROSSING HIGH ROAD
‘CHRISS’, whispered Edward frantically, pointing to it and letting tears well down his cheeks. Peter and Simon reached him and carried him back to The Hut. Edward felt lame and weak. A fierce, torrid wind of tornado drove the tree in their wildest dreams.