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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 115: Kondor 213
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Brown 231
Kondor was sitting on a sofa in Slade’s home. The strange surroundings he had first seen had resolved to a grassy courtyard surrounded by tall residential buildings. He blamed bleary tear-filled eyes for his initial confusion.
He was no longer weeping, but he was incredibly sad. Whoever said it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved had, he thought, never lost a love. This was intolerable. He had been happy enough before he met her. He had been truly much happier when they were together. Now he thought he would never be happy again.
Slade’s home had apparently been custom built for them. They had a guest room, but no bed in it. Slade said he could order one. However, he thought it probably best long-term if they persuaded the university to build another house. They could certainly afford it, he said, and with Kondor adding to their invention stream, it would be difficult for them to object. Meanwhile, though, one of them could sleep on the couch, and he would order beds for them. These would have to be custom made, so it would take a while.
Zeke was in the shower. That was a luxury they had both missed in their stay in Arabia, but Kondor was in no hurry to do anything. He felt empty, missing the most important part of himself.
Zeke came out with a towel around his waist.
“You know, Shella lives here,” Kondor said.
“Oh, yeah--where are my clothes?” He pulled open his duffel and began with shorts. He was soon dressed.
“Where is our hostess, anyway?” he asked.
“I think they retired to their bedroom. They were apparently resting when we arrived, although they don’t do that much other than teaching a class of swordfighters and advising a bunch of engineering students. Plus inventing new things that were already invented in another world.”
Zeke shrugged. “Well, that’s probably true of everything, isn’t it?”
“I guess,” Kondor sighed. “Somehow, though, it’s different if you’ve been to those other worlds and learned about the inventions there.”
There was a pause, and Zeke filled it. “So, these locals--they really do look like huge birds, don’t they?”
“I haven’t noticed,” Kondor answered, realizing that he had not actually seen any of the parakeet people on his way here. “But,” he continued, “I remember. Yeah, like giant parakeets. Very colorful. Leah would have--” He burst into crying once more.
Zeke, now fully dressed, placed himself on the couch next to Kondor, and rubbed his shoulder.
“Hey, it must be terrible. But she’s all right. You said she told you so.”
That didn’t help. He collapsed away from Zeke onto the arm of the sofa and cried more.
He thought he felt Zeke stand, heard his footsteps on the wood floor. He was alone.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #452: Versers Ready. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: