Excerpt from “Rehya’s Journey” my work in progress
On the far wall is a dark red sofa, with a couple of gold cushions on it. There’s a picture of a city above it, glittering with lights. She wonders if that is what America looks like. She’s seen pictures of cities before, at the schoolhouse, but finds it hard to believe people actually live inside those big concrete things. What were they called again? Skyscrapers. That’s right.
She looks down and finds she is standing on, not a hard mud floor like her own, but a tasselled rug decorated with many swirly patterns. This hut is certainly different to the others she’s seen. Araz’s family must be rich. But not that rich or they wouldn’t still be living in a mud hut at all.
She looks up now and notices there’s a ceiling, not just thatch straight on the roof. There are no holes in it, though in one corner there is a stain. She imagines the space between the ceiling and the thatch would be a great place for rats to live.
“Hey Dad,” Araz yells, in a not entirely friendly way. “I found us a guide.”
Arazynto’s father appears from the next room. “You need to stop shouting so loud. You know I was only in the next room.”
“Sometimes you’re a little deaf,” Araz replies.
His father looks angry. “Arazynto -”
“Anyways, Father, I found us a guide,” he says again, pulling Rehya forward. “She used to attend the school, until… anyway…” he looks uncomfortable. “She’s asking $1000.”
The man glances at her indifferently. “Huh. A girl.”
“Yep, a girl.” Araz glares at his father, as if to say “What’s your problem?”
The man runs his hands through his hair once, and Rehya notices it’s quite a bit more grey than it should be. He looks slightly more like a grandfather than someone young enough to be Araz’s dad. “$1000, huh, not bad.”
He goes to the next room and returns quickly with a stack of pale green notes. He shoves them at Rehya. “Here.”
To Araz he says, “When do you leave?”
“Dunno. Haven’t decided yet.” He glances at Rehya. “We need to go get the others and tell them it’s all done and paid for.”
“Wish you didn’t have to take your stupid friends with you,” Araz’s father grumps. “Costs more.”
“Ha, too bad,” laughs Araz. He plucks the money out of Rehya’s hand. She’s still staring at it. “I’ll take care of that,” he grins, shoving it into his pocket.
Storm clouds surge up into his father’s eyes. Rehya can tell he doesn’t trust his son with the money. She looks from one to the other. Araz is nearly as tall as his father, but with dark olive skin like Sabirna’s, and black hair. His father, glowering opposite, has white skin and wrinkles around his mouth. They don’t look much like each other.
“I’ll give the money to the girl when we get back to her house so she has somewhere to hide it,” Araz explains, and Rehya realises he is more logical than she’d thought. “She’s got no pockets. Anyways, she’d get robbed. Me,” he grins, “can take care of the nutters no probs.”
His father is silent, but gives a grudging nod and stalks back into the next room. Araz is out of the house again like a shot. He doesn’t bother to untie the bike. “Lets walk,” he says, briskly striding out ahead. Rehya follows anxiously, hoping he will end up giving her the money. Her hopes are pinned on it.
“Ah ha ha ha, how I hate my father,” Araz sighs, not looking very bitter at all, compared to his harsh words. He actually smiles a little but his eyes are far away.
Rehya follows him quietly.
“Do you know that word?” Araz asks suddenly. “Hate.”
“Hate?” Rehya asks.
“Hate.” His face turns suddenly very evil and he stops, grabbing her shoulders. He glares into her eyes. “I hate you,” he breathes. Rehya is frozen to the spot in fear for a second, but he lets go before she can react. Now he’s smiling again, laughing at her fear. “Hate. That’s what it means.”
Rehya lets out a breath of relief. She’s learnt a new word. Hate. The taste of the word makes her squirm. Araz really hates his father? The man just gave him $1000 in cash and it’s now in his pocket. Money though, doesn’t make somebody love you, Rehya knows that.
Extremely unedited and written quickly, for nanowrimo of course, but should do as a blog post today anyway. Hope you liked it. 🙂 I’m at 40k now and want to hit 50k by the end of November (only two days to go! aaaa!! I spent 11 days not writing a thing, see. Now I’m gonna try catch up.)
‘Til next time