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Story Excerpts,  The Way of Attrition

Update to Chapter Five of the Way of Attrition

I’m submerged in my novel today, reading it after too long away to get a sense of what is left for me to do. I decided to take a break to post an update to the end of Chapter 5. I literally just did this earlier today so there may be typos.

This happens right after Eyan is given the memory as punishment:


The Council allows us to leave.

<I’m going to find Mara,> I tell Carson. <I’ll meet you at home.>

<All right,> he agrees.

We part ways on the street, him heading toward my house and me toward the one Mara shares with her amari. From the way her amarim greets me, I don’t think she knows I assaulted her daughter, who she tells me is at the park.

I find her walking under the trees with Yhuri. They stop when they seem me approaching.

<Good afternoon,> I say to them both.

They don’t return my greeting. She’s clearly told Yhuri, who rightly shows none of the warmth she did when I went to the hospital to see Carson.

Recognizing that I have no right to ask to speak with her alone, I get to the point. <Mara, I apologize. I was trying to help Carson, who lost hi-> I stop myself with the shake of my head. I sigh. <I didn’t come here to give you excuses. I just wanted to say I’m sorry that I harmed you.>

Mara and Yhuri exchange a glance. Mara looks me in the eyes and nods once in acknowledgment, then grabs Yhuri’s hand and pulls her away.

I watch them leave the park before turning and walking home.

<I was just as responsible as you,> Carson starts as soon as I’m through the front door. <Whatever memory they made you live through, I should as well.>

Facing him, I prepare to disagree but his eyes are serious, his jaw set, and I know he won’t back down. <You’ll have to help with the transfer.>

He nods.

We sit on the couch and I put what was so recently forced on me at the forefront of my thoughts so he can take it. As the scene of the lifeless woman fades, I see sorrow. Gravestones, funerals with masses of black clad mourners, a child’s room, empty forever.

He removes the stabilizer, tossing it rather carelessly onto the coffee table. We don’t speak for many hours. He suffers no attack, though at times I can feel his melancholy, see glimpses of what’s in his head even with no telepathy exchanged between us.

<I want to get a Netflix subscription,> he breaks the lull.

<What?> I reflexively shut my book in surprise.

<You have a dark view of humanity. I’d like to broaden your perspective.>

<By watching Netflix?> I can’t keep my skepticism from bleeding through.

<By watching some of their masterpieces. By reading their great works of literature. My listening to music.>

This is so unexpected I find myself agreeing.

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