Edward Mansfield Posted July 30, 2013 Share Posted July 30, 2013 Edward buttoned the last button on his shirt and rolled the shirt sleeves up to his elbows. It was the first time since arriving that he had woken up early - four-thirty a.m. on the dot, though there was no clock to confirm it. It was the first time he'd woken since being rescued and hadn't to shake off confusion regarding where he was or what was real. He knew his history now, knew when he'd been taken and how much of his life had been a lie. Reading through his file had laid the questions and uncertainties to rest - now all that was left was to regroup, and take action. ,, Of course, there wasn't much action to take at four forty-one in the morning, in the jungles of Guatemala. He doubted there was anyone else awake, and seemed to remember that breakfast had usually been brought to him a couple hours later than this, on the mornings he'd noticed it at all. So he'd gotten up, and taken advantage of the morning quiet to utilize the shared restrooms. He relieved himself, and allowed himself a full two minutes longer than the normally allotted seven-minute shower he usually took. The facilities were crude, but welcome. He'd toweled off, and used the full-length mirror they'd somehow acquired and a razor blade he'd found lying about to shave. Then he'd made his way back to his simple room, behind the privacy of his blanket-draped doorway, to dress. ,, He pulled on his shoes and headed out, through the hallway towards the temple's back entrance. He climbed out of the hole in the ground with a bemused smirk - he'd stayed in worse conditions, but never fully underground before, and it amused him a bit to realize there were still new experiences after over a hundred years of living. Once he was outdoors, in the dim light of the jungle dawn, he pulled out his pack of cigarettes and lit one. He had taken a drag or two of it before realizing that he heard something out of place. The jungle was full of strange sounds, especially in the still of the morning, but he was pretty sure that the soft sound of a woman singing wasn’t normally one of them. He made his way down along the wall of the temple, and then circled around towards Lamia’s hut. ,, The smell of baking bread and drying herbs greeted him the moment he rounded the corner of the temple, Lamia’s stone house coming into view across the cleared grounds immediately around the ancient building. She had a large hearth and gathering area with a stone tables and benches enough to seat as many as Edward had seen here and probably half a dozen more with ease. The woman herself was singing softly in a language Edward had never heard before as she went about her own morning routine: getting the fire started from the evening’s embers, starting the cooking for breakfast, checking on the drying herbs, the smoking meats, and the curing leather. Water had already been procured from the stream and set to heat in the stone cauldron, a light broth set to simmer for the afternoon meal. ,, She smiled as she lightly ran her hands over the buckskin leather she’d been carefully tanning over the past week and picked up a small stone jar, scooping out a handful of fat, spices, and other unknown but pungent ingredients. She began to methodically rub the into the leather, giving the buckskin a glossy shine and keeping it supple as it cured. There was a peaceful practiced rhythm to her movements, the song almost an afterthought to add melody to the beat of her actions. It was soothing to watch and Lamia was herself lost in the comforting repetition of a morning routine older than the stone of the temple Edward was standing next to. He stood and watched quietly for a moment as he smoked his cigarette. It was beautiful to him, her morning routine - he could feel the presence of time in it, like the peace one feels when traveling a well-worn road, or the feeling of sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper every morning. Finally he moved closer, clearing his throat softly as he approached in order to get her attention. “Good morning, m’lady. What a delightful surprise - I didn’t expect to find anyone else up this early.” ,, She turned, still smiling, and nodded to him. “Well met this morning, Edward. I seem to usually be the first one to stir, or at least to I do not much see the others until breakfast is being served.” She motioned for him to join her in the gathering area, still methodically massaging the spiced fat into the leather, working her way from one corner to the opposite one. “Does something bring you out so early today?” ,, “This is my usual time to rise. In my virtual prison, and in my true life before that, I was a businessman. It has always been my practice to keep to a strict schedule whenever possible.. I’m not fond of wasted time. Waking up early allowed me to complete my morning duties early enough to...” To see the children off before work. He paused for a moment, as if he were about to say one thing, but then changed it to another. “...start my day off without rushing.” ,, She nodded, though her glance said that she’d caught the dissimulation, but she didn’t press the question. Edward was still mostly a stranger and it wasn’t Lamia’s way to pry. She had learned, over time, that most secrets came to light and that most people confided in the person who never asked the direct question. “I see. For myself, I find it comforting to see a true sunrise and hear the world waking. In my captivity they made a room with walls that appeared like woods or plains or sand and the ocean, and they made the sounds, but it was never the truth.” ,, She took a deep breath of the fresh jungle air and let it out slowly. “I enjoy the truth of these mornings.” ,, He nodded, with a sad smile. “My prison was too real - created by machines hooked in directly to my thoughts. I never knew it was fake until I was free of it. The truth is indeed a precious thing.” His eyes flickered over her space, as he took in everything she was occupied with. ,, “My father used to hunt, but the servants always took care of the details afterward. I’ve never seen anyone tan a hide before. May I?” He motioned to the jar, and she nodded slightly. He picked it up and sniffed it, his nose wrinkling slightly at the smell. “What's in it? How does it work?” Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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