Light Seekers #18 – خفيفة

I’ve never killed anyone before. I’ve killed a few animals, but that’s different. I was hunting for food, to survive. Animals hunt animals all the time. This is different, this is a person. This was a person, now it’s just a pile of flesh and stolen furs. It’s survival, the same as hunting. He was going to kill me. I had to kill him if I wanted to live. I feel a tug as Mask tucks the knife back into it’s holster on my side.

“Look at me,” Mask says. “Just look at me.”

I stare at him in his jacket missing a portion of the shoulder blown away. He steps to the side, trying to block the sorcerer’s corpse from my view. I don’t need to see the physical body. I’ll see it forever, seeing things is just what I do. I’ll forever remember what he was wearing, where he was. I’ll remember the sound of the knife penetrating his skull, the thud as he fell to the ground. I’ll remember the small trail of blood leading down his mask, the slight twitch he gave before it all came to an end. I’ll remember Mask taking the knife and wiping it on the sorcerer’s clothes; the same way he had wiped the knives on the bears fur. This is part of me now.

“Let’s walk,” he starts to pull at me.

“Just leave me behind.”

“I can’t leave a friend behind, especially one that saved my life.”

“You said we weren’t friends.”

“No, you said we weren’t friends. I sparred with you in class, invited you into my home, fed you, clothed you. We might even be family.”

“Well thank you dear brother.”

“Now let’s get out of here.”

“We can’t just leave the body.”

“Someone will come down to get it, just walk with me,” Mask pulls me harder this time around.

10,000 steps never seemed like so few, if I had ever walked up 10,000 steps. Which each step I feel I’ll need 10,000 more just to clear my mind of what just happened.

“What’s your name,” I ask Mask trying to clear my mind.

“Jabez,” he answers bluntly.

“Really? You just had a lie ready to go?”

“No, it’s my real name. You don’t hear me making fun of your name Najar,” I was unaware he knew my name.

“I didn’t make fun of your name. I just thought you were lying. It’s a nice name really.”

“I hate it,” he’s always been blunt but I didn’t expect the coldness of which responded.

“Why do you hate it?”

“It means to be born in pain. I brought my mother pain during my birth. Can you imagine giving your mother so much pain that she names you after it? You’d do anything to apologize to her. It only made sense I’d go on to develop pain magic. Do you believe in a God?”

“I don’t know, I never had much time to think about him, or her, it.”

“Most people don’t. But I believe in God. I do, because that’s the only way that the cruelty of life makes sense. We’re being tested for something, we have to be.”

“What made you bring up all of this?”

“Because you killed a man, and all you wanted to do was bring light to the world so that everyone could see. Now, he won’t be able to see when you do. It’s another of God’s cruel jokes.”

Jabez, his name is Jabez. He’s never been one to start conversations, but he’s talkative all of a sudden. I expected him to be tired, especially now that we’re climbing the stairs. Instead it seems like he’s energized, almost excited. I wish I could borrow some energy from him for the first time. All I’m feeling is fear and anxiety. I’m not sure if it’s because I just killed a man or because I don’t know what’s at this temple. If some guy hanging around at the bottom is willing to kill people, who knows what they might do at the top of the mountain.

“Hey, things aren’t going to go the way you think they will up here,” Jabez starts to talk again.

“What do you mean?”

“You might have an idea of how things are supposed to go, but things don’t go as planned. No matter what happens up there, I need you to trust me.”

“Are you going to tell anyone that I killed that guy?”

“What would lead you to believe I was going to tell anyone?”

“I don’t know, I’m just, freaked out about all of this. Levi is missing, you told me your name, called me a friend and to top it all off I just killed a guy.”

“Let’s take a break,” Jabez stops walking and sits on the stairs.

I sit next to him and take off my mask so I can have some fresh air. It’s funny, this whole mountain is covered with a thin layer of snow except this staircase. The funnier thing is snow. Jabez digs into his bag and pulls out some candy. I’ve never actually seen him eat anything before, but he has to. Maybe he’s a chimera and eats through a hole in his hand or something. He turns one of the knobs on his mask, of course he’d eat through a hole, but why the side. He pulls off the mask and eats handful of candy. His auburn skin contrasts his short but coily fiery red hair. I’ve never seen anyone that looks like him, he would stand out anywhere he went.

“Want some,” he offers me the candy.

“Are you going to kill me?”

“What?”

“You told me your name, and showed me your face.”

“If I die up here, I’d like someone to know who I was.”

“I’ll just take the candy.”

“Good idea.”

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