Before Landing (-5535): Hush
Summary: How To Throw Away A Child In Three Easy Steps
Date: 28/May/2016
Related: None

~15 Years Prior — Village of Coesbur

She liked it the best when Piri held her. Piri’s arms were warm and strong and soft, just like mother’s arms even if Piri smelled not at all like her mother. It was Piri’s hands that gently lifted her out of bed early that morning, even before the pre-dawn birds began their songs. Rinnan was still a wisp who hadn’t hit the growth spurt that landed her at 5’7” then — ‘runty’ as Veks would say—so she was all small limbs and a bedheady halo of dark hair. And tired, so very tired.

Rinnan listed to one side slightly in the chair she was placed in, blinking dully through her sleepy haze as Piri lifted the night shift off her body and replaced it with a warmer dark tunic and a leather cord for a belt. There was a cold chill to the air even with the fireplace crackling and she let out a small, disconsolate whine to be placed back in the warm bed, next to Vek’s sister. The whine threatened to spill over into real tears at the injustice of being rudely awakened at this hour when all the other kids were allowed to stay warm in bed and asleep. Averting disaster, Piri bundled her back into her arms. It wasn’t the bed but it was warm enough and soon, Rinnan was dozing against Piri’s warm, strong shoulder.

“It’s okay,” said Piri, in a low volume, whisper of a reassurance. The back end of the utterance was caught up in a tiny stumbling catch. “You’re alright,” said Piri, an artificial hardness now present even under the slight singsong softness.

The sound of the hut door opening and closing and then the sound of three pairs of feet moving over the ground were hazy, unimportant details. The small cocoon of the blanket that she was wrapped in and the heat of Piri’s shoulder as she carried Rinnan was enough. The adults spoke to each other in cautious, uncertain tones as they walked the short distance through the village until they were at the junction where the village ended and the road to Polis began.

“Should I take her or do you want to put her on the wagon?”

The question belonged to an unfamiliar male voice. Not Veks. Not Stad. Not anyone in the small catalogue of familiar male voices of authority in the village. It was the unfamiliar large hands that Rinnan could feel on her torso through the blanket that jolted her awake. In the darkness, the man’s face was mostly obscure save for the jaunting profile of his handlebar mustache when he spoke.

Awake and jolted upright in pure, stiff panic, instantly Rinnan began to cry. She was rigid in Piri’s arms as her tears shifted into a keening, terrified pitch. Her small arms shot out and wrapped themselves around Piri’s neck. The strange man’s hands were starting to pull. Rinnan started to sob, pleading and begging. A river of protesting, confused, grieving pleading and begging as she went rigid against the coaxing pull from the other way.


Ibem’s hands were on her face, pushing her dark bangs away from the contorted flush of her skin. She was trying to coax and comfort her, offering reassurances and instructions to behave for the man with the wagon. Stad’s strong, rough hands gently pulled Rinnan’s hands apart. She came loose from Piri’s embrace and the four adults lifted Rinnan, dead weight and wailing, into the wagon. Her spine was a rigid arc as she was tied to the wagon’s load to prevent her from bouncing out if it hit too hard a rut. Her hands kept reaching for Piri’s hands or shoulder but Piri wouldn’t reach back. In the low light, she could only see the outline of their faces but their stiff, stricken quality was evident even as they talked to the man with the wagon. Rinnan’s hands tried to puzzle out the rough cord holding her safely in the wagon, trying to wiggle out from underneath the snare but it was too dark, her hands were too cold, and the moment too bewildering, as she coughed and sputtered through the hysterical, still begging panic.

The wagon pressed downward as the man climbed into the front and with a jolt forward, it began its rattling press to Polis. Soon, the three adults left standing in the road became nothing but the suggestion of an outline until Coesbur was no longer in sight.

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