Spirit Hunger – Chapter 17

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spirit-hunger

Chapter 17

Honi had no classes after lunch. It left him plenty of time to mull over what had happened. He took a little stroll to his favorite place on campus, a small pond providing a home to a family of ducks. As he sat by the edge of the water, the occasional rumble of delivery trucks and the laughter and shouting of kids seemed very far away.

A mother duck with six yellow ducklings in tow gave him the stink-eye. When he didn’t move, she quacked indignantly and led her family around him towards the water. He watched in amusement as the little balls of fluff struggled to keep up with their brown-feathered leader.

Eventually they floated off, the mother gliding elegantly ahead, the babies floundering after her. The water of the pond soon was perfectly calm again and Honi’s mind settled as he stared at the dark surface. He moved into a meditative pose and breathed slowly in and out.

Ring! Ring! Honi jumped. For the love of… He’d picked a shrill, old-fashioned 1940’s ringtone but he’d forgotten to set his phone to silent on campus. He pulled his phone impatiently from his back pocket, grumbling under his breath. After snapping an impatient ‘hello’, he quickly added a somewhat contrite, “oh hey John, what’s up?”

  “Hi Honi, am I catching you at a bad time?” Honi could hear the amusement in his mentor’s voice.

“No, not really,” he sighed. Honi knew that John wasn’t calling to exchange pleasantries, so he waited for the older man to continue.

“So I talked to Dan Whitefir from the Southern Mekui’te reservation. His grandfather died back in the 60s, but Dan remembers some of the stories he told him when he was young.”

John’s voice was far more serious now and Honi listened intently.

“Dan told me what he knew about spirit animals. He confirmed what I already suspected. There’s a fine balance between this world and the spirit world. If that balance is destroyed, both worlds are in danger.” John stopped for a moment and Honi could hear him drink something.

“Sorry, I had a long talk with Dan, my throat is dry,” John explained.

“Sure, no problem. So what’s this got to do with Adi?”

John hesitated again. When he continued, he did it slowly, like he was talking to a frightened animal. “Honi. Are you… Do you like this girl?”

Now it was Honi’s turn to hesitate. He knew he was attracted to Adi. There was something about her, underneath her stubbornness and aggression. Something that drew him, that made him smile when he thought of her. Even now, talking to his mentor, he could feel his mouth curl up. The answer was easy.

“Yes. I like her. She’s special and I’d really like to get to know her better,” he said confidently.

John sighed again, an unhappy sound he couldn’t suppress. “Okay, let’s work with this. You might be able to save her if she returns your feelings.”

Honi blushed a little and quickly interrupted, “I’ve only spoken to her a few times. I have no idea how she feels about me and I’m not going to push her.”

“You may not have a choice. That boy who was killed? Remember I told you about him last time we talked?”

Honi nodded. After a second he realized that John couldn’t see him, so quickly added, “Yeah, I remember.”

“Dan’s grandfather told a story about the spirit animals growing angry if they were ignored by the few chosen who could see them. If that happened, they would eventually attack and… well, I think that’s what happened to the poor kid.”

Honi sniffed in disbelief. If that was true, how come this didn’t happen all the time? As if John could read his thoughts, he continued, “In the olden days, people believed more. Nowadays, with fewer and fewer people able to see them, the spirit animals are more vicious when they finally find somebody with the gift who denies it.”

Honi still listened intently. When John stayed silent for a moment, he asked, “So you believe Adi is one of the few, even though she isn’t Mekui’te? And because she doesn’t believe, the spirit animals are going to attack her eventually?”

They had certainly been acting very strangely over the last few days. Then another thought occurred to him. “John, I can’t tune them out anymore. I see them everywhere and no matter how much I try to control them, the dreams get worse.”

“Do you still dream of her?”

He admitted in a low voice, “A few times? Only the first one was a nightmare though, the others were… not?”

“Well, what were they about?”

Honi felt his ears go hot. How old was John anyways? Did he have to spell it out? When he didn’t say anything, the shaman eventually got it.

“Oh.” He laughed. “It’s like that, is it?”

Honi rolled his eyes. “Yeah, whatever.” He quickly changed the subject. “So what do you want me to do?”

John sounded serious again. “Befriend her. Stay close to her, she’ll need your help soon enough. Waiting for me to come back is only going to waste time you don’t have. And Honi…,” he sighed again, “don’t get too attached. It may already be too late.”

And with those comforting words the shaman hung up, leaving Honi staring at his phone. Images of bleeding eye sockets and a lifeless body swam through his mind for a second before he rubbed his forehead vigorously to get rid of them. He stood up resolutely, eager to find Adi and try yet again to convince her of something most people would consider fairytales and legends.

 

Link to Chapter 1

Link to Chapter 16 

And that’s it!

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