Saturday, November 11, 2017

Page 1398

You’re free to give it a go, if you want,’ said Garovel, ‘but let’s not gamble with this poor guy’s life, eh? Because even with how advanced that suit he’s wearing is, I highly doubt it will protect him from the heat rising off that lava over there.

Hector’s mind went to his studies. He’d been meaning to work on temperature manipulation, and Asad and Zeff had even told him to do so on his own as homework, but he’d been neglecting it in favor of practicing other things--other, purportedly more difficult and, in theory, more valuable things.

But now he felt like he’d been slacking.

So while they waited for Zeff to show up, Hector took the opportunity to get in some extra practice.


Zeff was in no mood for any of this, right now. It was all he could do to keep himself from lashing out at any of these people tagging along with him and Axiolis. A handful of Hun’Kui militiamen, along with Diego Redwater, Manuel Delaguna, and one of the non-servant Garza girls whose face he recognized but name escaped him.

He knew they didn’t deserve his ire. He knew that. But he was so frustrated that he could hardly think straight.

Because he’d allowed himself to get separated from his children again. Again.

It just kept happening. In spite of his best efforts, it just kept happening.

After everything... what would Mariana think? She would chastise him, surely. That woman never held back her criticism. And she’d be right, too.

First his parents. Then his cousins. Aunts and uncles. Grandparents and great grandparents. Then Gema. Then Mariana. Then Francisco. Then Emiliana.

And now, even Marcos and Ramira.

It just kept happening.

He couldn’t stop it. No matter what he did.

What a fool and a failure he was. In every way that mattered. A terrible excuse for a father and a husband.

Perhaps this was just meaningless. This struggle. Endless. Fruitless. Doomed to be repeated as he inevitably proved too weak or too stupid in the future, as well. What if this path just kept going and never got any better, regardless of his every effort? Even regardless of how he tried to change or improve?

Was this what going mad felt like?

He wondered if that wouldn’t be for the best. If he went mad, would that not make things easier? He could just let go. Stop caring so much.

Could he choose that? Could he choose to go insane? Because he wanted to. In this moment, he couldn’t imagine a more appealing idea.


That other thought was still there. The one that wouldn’t stop bothering him no matter what. That one that kept telling him it wasn’t about him anymore. It didn’t matter what he wanted. It didn’t matter what would make him happy or sad or anything else.

And choosing to go mad, if such a thing were even possible, would be exactly that. Selfish. It wouldn’t solve anything. It wouldn’t make up for anything. And it certainly wouldn’t help his children.

So, no.

There was no easy way out. Not now. Not ever.

He’d known that all along, really. It was no great epiphany.

Mariana would have been disgusted with him if she knew that he had even been humoring such thoughts.

God, he missed her.

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