the seventh

September 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

 

kids in woods

There was the house camp—Ben could see the dim lighting at it. Only a
few hundred meters more and he could join the others for the group
meeting.

So far, everything had been fine. Professor Grimm satisfied with good
deal of potential antimicrobial source plants they’d found in the
woods. Tonight they would compile all samples and complete the records
(and maybe do a little roasted-corn-party to celebrate their
achievement), and then went home to the town the next morning.

Ben checked his watch and guessed that they would be the last pair to
arrive at the camp. He and Riki had explored further along the creek,
and went back when the last light vanished from the sky—but he was
pretty sure their findings were worth it.

It was that good—unless a thing with his research partner, Riki. You
could put two very contrary characters in Riki—intellectual power and
superstitious things. In other words, he was a bad companion to do
research in the field—particularly at nights. Other than that, Riki was
a kind boy and—most importantly—had been his neighbor and friend since
senior high. Still, Ben hadn’t quite adjusted to it. It wasn’t because
he scared, it was because he bored.

“Well, it’s weird,” said Riki, for a tenth time since they left the
creek. “It’s weird that I can’t feel anything. It’s usually stronger in
woods or forests.”

Ben shrugged his backpack and muttered something like ‘oh really’ and
didn’t ask further as he knew very well what ‘feeling’ Riki referred
to.

They kept walking, even though Riki didn’t cease watching their
surroundings with his usual poker face despite the strange silence of
the woods or the cool breeze swaying the leaves.

“Maybe,” Riki continued after a while, “it has to do something with my
granny said last month. I haven’t told you about that, have I?”

Ben sighed and kept walking. “I guess so.”

“So let us check these out,” said Riki, as if Ben loved the idea. He
waved his flashlight up to the sky. “It’s day seven of this month,
right?”

“Hm-hm.”

“The seventh month of the year.”

“Yep.”

“And it’s almost seven now,” Riki pointed the light to Ben’s watch.
“And in case you had forgotten, I’m the seventh child in the family—
well, from both my dad and mom’s. That’s the most important point.”

Ben’s step even slowed when he heard the fact. “Really? You have six
siblings? I thought they’re only four.”

Riki shrugged away his interest and said, “Anyway, my granny said that
there would be something unusual happen to the seventh child in the
family—along with other ‘seven’ things.”

“Yeah?”

“I’m 25, it’s also seven if you add the numbers.” Riki frowned to
himself. “Don’t you think it’s weird—all those ‘seven’, and the fact I
can’t feel anything—anything at all—in this woods? I’m wondering if
‘loosing my special ability’ is what Granny meant.”

“Yeah,” Ben yawned and nodded to his own jacket. “You can include this
seven, too. From the last season’s Seven League, remember? And
honestly, I think it’s good for you to have such breaks from ‘seeing’
or ‘feeling’, you know, those kinds.”

Riki came to a halt and pointed the flashlight to the number ‘7’ at
Ben’s jacket. “It should be nothing to do with you,” he said slowly,
“because it’s about me. But… who knows?”

Out of a blue, Ben felt something different. The wind grew cooler so
that he suddenly shivered. He turned to see around. Something caught
his sight over the nearest tree, right behind Riki. Ben turned pale.

“Riki,” he squaked. “Are you sure you can’t feel anything—I mean
anything? Like… this sudden-frosty-air, or… something else.” He stared
at one spot.

Riki shook his head. Ben could see he was grinning. “Nope. But you know
what, I think you’re right. It’s new for me—for not feeling anything
like ‘that.’ And I feel good.”

But Ben didn’t hear clearly anymore because memories flashed in his
head—the particular things Riki usually told him when he ‘saw’
something: the cold air, the weird smell, the wisp of mist—which now
floated behind Riki.

The mist had formed a transparent body, and a hollow face.

 

 

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