The Gentle Wazeau - Part 2
‘All right, tell me what you've done?’ Demanded Kai when learning-time was over. They were alone in their secret den, a forgotten tiny pimple of a cave that blistered out from the main shaft and twisted in an ‘S’ shape. It hid them from prying eyes and minds.
‘I'm going to the above!’ thought Mal, calm and innocent.
'YOU’RE WHAT?’ scream-thought Kai.
‘Shhh, think quietly, the others’ll receive you. But You heard right, I’m going above.
Kai reached out and touched Mal’s cone for privacy, ‘No, no, you can’t. You mustn't. It’s too dangerous.”
‘Dah, that’s a myth told to keep us here and keep us quiet,‘ Mal’s thoughts were calming, gentle.
‘What’s a myth? And why are you going above?’ Kai’s thoughts were desperate, confused.
“Why? Because I can, and because I want to,’ answered Mal with the same stubbornness Kai had seen throughout their being-time.
‘But you’ll harden up and die. We’ll all die,’ Mal could feel Kai’s desperation.
‘No we won’t. I've already thought about that and I know what to do. And anyway, it’s too late, I’m part of the way there. I’ll be ready to break through to the above in a few segs. The only question is whether you come with me?’ Mal’s cone glowed the deepest purple Kai had ever seen; Kai could see and feel how important the question was to Mal.
‘Lay, you mean you can already tunnel?’ Kai could think of nothing else to do but run away and hide.
Later. Kai had calmed down, but it had taken two half-segments.
‘I've been tunnelling for segs.”
Kai slid from one side of the den to the other in agitation. ‘How did it happen? Where were you? Why didn't you let me know?’ Kai’s cone was pale; questions tumbled out in a jumbled mess.
‘It happened last time you were in detention.’ Kai started to protest, but Mal interrupted, “Yes, I know it was my fault, and I've apologize till I'm grey in the cone. But you really must learn to stay quiet in learning-zone when I'm telling you a joke.” Mal paused and giggle-thought, ‘The Principal does have a cone like a melt-rock, but you shouldn't have laughed out loud. You know the Principal doesn't have a sense of humour.’
‘Then you shouldn't tell me jokes when you know I can’t keep quiet,’ thought Kai and removed its appendage from Mal in annoyance.
Mal reconnected, ‘And that’s exactly why I didn't tell you about the tunnelling until now. Anyway, as I was thinking, I was over by the drink-pool and leaned against the rock-wall. I slid right through it.’ Mal paused again, to let the thought sink in. Mal could feel Kai’s mind freeze in wonder. ‘It just happened.’
‘Granite it was,’ Mal added for emphasis after short pause, “and there I was slap bang in the middle of a slab of it. Scary, I can tell you.’ Mal trembled at the memory; Kai remained silent.
A couple of segs passed before Mal solidified all three of its appendages and connected them directly to the top of Kai’s cone.
‘Lay, Mal,’ Kai’s thoughts trembled at the triple-cone-touch; they had never connected in this sacred, grown-up way before, ‘what’s wrong?’
‘Listen Kai,’ Mal’s deep-thought tone was ominous, thunderous to Kai, ‘you can never tell anyone about this. Do you understand?’
‘Of course I do,’ stiffened Kai, but Mal could sense some reservation in its closest friend.
‘I mean it Kai. If any of the elders find out I’ll be taken from learning-zone to the tunnels for work seg and we won’t ever be able to play again. We’ll be separated.’
Mal could feel Kai’s mind shrink from the thought, ‘No’ it thought-cried, ‘I promise, I’ll never tell, never.’ Kai's cone was almost white with sadness..
Satisfied, Mal removed two of the appendages, but left the third in place as comfort and support for the shaking Kai.
They stayed in that position for a number of mini-segs until Kai’s thoughts calmed and Mal slowly felt able to disengage completely.
‘Why tell me now then?’
Mal’s cone lightened in relief; Kai could never remain quiet for long.
‘ I'm nearly through,’ Mal’s excitement transmitted directly to Kai through the single-cone-touch. Kai could feel excitement tinged with some fear. ‘I need you with me. I couldn't break through to the above without my lay-mate.’
Kai’s whole body darkened with delight, Mal had never expressed such an elder-thought before. Kai didn't know exactly what it meant, but felt the honour and importance of the moment. Kai felt warm all over.
Sensing Kai’s confusion and embarrassment Mal immediately broke contact, and butted fronts with Kai in the solid-friends-forever gesture they had always used. But things had changed between them; a new and deeper elder-bond had formed somehow. Kai would follow Mal to above, no matter what it meant.
Mal was relieved. The redoubtable Kai would be there to protect them both.
They made plans.
End of Part 2