MAN AND ANDRO

Scene 17A  1560 4D

Inkurisar, his hunger and thirst finally addressed, sat beside Viantos Garr, a Gellin screening officer, in a small, root-ceilinged interview chamber in Fornonck. Facing them, Guinban and Piotras answered the officer’s many questions well into the night. Viantos finally said to Guinban, “I’ve heard your story from a lot of men and women, and it holds up well. You’re welcome here.” He turned to Piotras. “Your tale has some holes in it. Let’s get a little deeper before I go any further with this.”

Inkurisar leaned closer, listening. I hope my bringing him here doesn’t cause trouble. I did the best I could.

Viantos opened his mouth slightly, and from him came a lasting, layered musical chord with notes as high as silver and beyond. Shock ran through Inkurisar. He’s andro himself! Guinban’s eyes widened, his hands splaying on his knees in amazement. Viantos looked at them. “I’m asking him details about the Hounds who were chasing him. I’m using anjive speech to make my questions clearer to him.”

Breaking in, Guinban blurted, “You’re … andro? Yourself?”

Viantos smiled. “Half and half. That’s one reason why I’m out here and not under the City’s thumb getting chased and killed. All right, Piotras. You can share with them. They’ve both seen a lot. Inku here can confirm that. Let them hear too.”

In everyday speech, Piotras started, his words coming slowly and haltingly at first, gradually turning smoother and more settled.

“My master had much anger in him. It consumed him. When his drug business started to fail, he got violent with me, beating me every day.” Trembling, Piotras shrugged off his wrap, exposing his back with long grooved scars running from shoulders across to hips. “He used a blade. Once I almost died. When I recovered, he came again with the knife, and something tripped in me, and the next moment I saw him lying on the floor, red human blood everywhere, his knife in my hand, and this surprised look on his face. ‘You…’ he said, and he stiffened, his eyes rolled, and he was no more.” Now Piotras was shivering uncontrollably.

Guinban put an arm around him, comforting. “He got like this just after we… met. He almost killed me, but he stopped, thank heaven.”

Viantos nodded. “Piotras, I understand. When did the Hounds come for you?”

“It was the next day. When he didn’t appear at his business, his associates guessed – they’d seen this with him before, except that he’d ordered the Hounds himself. This time they must have realized that he’d waited too long.”

Viantos. “Tell me your master’s name.”

Piotras told him, and he nodded again. “Oh, yes. I know all about him from the past.” A slight shudder. “Did you actually see the Hounds when they came?”

“Only for a moment, down the passageway as I looked out. I would have missed them if I didn’t know how silently they can move. A man and a woman. Like panthers, and incredibly fast. I slipped out the back way and found an airshaft – it cut my scent – and I got to the surface as fast as I could. A long climb – maybe 300 levels. I found a stream up topside, followed it away from the City. Guinban has told you the rest.”

“So they’re still chasing you.”

“I’m afraid they are. They don’t stop.”

“Oh, I know. I know.” And Viantos shivered, his eyes fixed on a far-off place.

 

Next scene.

 

Last Updated Friday, June 21 2024 @ 02:28 pm  13 Hits   
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