Saturday, March 24, 2018

Page 1629

((Triple Saturday -- Page 3 of 3))
Of course, it was only a pretend war. A game. Not like the real war that was raging in the south and the northeast.

“Think we’ll ever see them again?” said Steven one day, while they were lounging around a hole that they had recently dug out for themselves as a hiding spot. He had stopped wanting to be called Peter a month ago, nor did he want to go back to Jonah. And rather than quarrel with him over something that they didn’t really care about, Parson and Damian merely went with it. Besides, it made for an extra means of confusing people in the village, which was always a plus. “Our fathers, I mean. Think they’ll ever come back?”

“Of course they will,” said Damian. “Why wouldn’t they?”

Steven scoffed. “Idiot. Don’t you know what war is? It’s where people die. Lots of people.”

“I know that. But they’re not gonna die.”

“How do you know?”

“He doesn’t,” said Parson. “He’s just being optimalistic.”

“Do you even know what that word means?” said Damian.

“Do you?” said Parson.

Damian folded his arms. “You shouldn’t use words you don’t know the meaning of. It makes you look stupid.”

“Shut up. You don’t know anything.”

“My mother says the war is going great for our side,” said Damian. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

“Hmph,” Parson huffed. “As if she would tell you the truth.”

“You callin’ my mother a liar?!”

“No, I’m callin’ YOU a baby!”

And they fought again, but it didn’t have the same kind of genuine anger behind it that it used to. They were both content to let it end in a draw. Steven tried to get them to shake hands. They both just slapped him instead for trying to order them around.

Not long after that, tragedy arrived and hit them like a ton of bricks.

Stefol passed away. The Miles family dog had simply grown too old.

The Trio didn’t know how to react. This was their first experience with such things.

But they were sad. That much, they knew. Even Damian, who’d been bitten not that long ago. They’d all gotten to know Stefol much better in the recent months, Parson included. The old dog had seemed fuller with life during that time than Parson ever recalled before.

Then, at his mother’s recommendation, Parson decided to make a memorial for Stefol. The other two members of the Trio joined him.

Alas, it was a task which would never see completion.

“Hey, what’s that?” said Steven, pointing toward the horizon.

Parson saw what he meant. Smoke in the distance.

“A fire?” said Damian. He sat atop a tall boulder that they’d been trying unsuccessfully to roll up a hill for the past day or so. They hadn’t been exactly certain what they were going to do with it if they ever managed to actually get it up there, but it had seemed like it would make a good fixture for Stefol’s memorial.

Soon, they caught sight of a rider as well--a lone man on horseback crossing over the hills and coming toward Trintol. He was slumped forward in the saddle, not riding properly at all.

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