Some Random Prose

So this bit of story comes from the fifth chapter of mine, right after my story gets to the main setting. This is the part where it really starts to connect to the big conflict. I hope you enjoy it!

“Once they were out of earshot of the others, Nikiani stopped and turned to Nico. “Okay,” she said. “What is it?”

Nico didn’t look her in the eye, but that didn’t surprise her. He never looked anyone in the eye.

He had a peculiar ability. He could see about people – their past, their likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, who they were, and sometimes even who they were going to be. It was something that he said he hated. When he saw people he got too close for his liking. He understood too much. And, he said, it was a violation of privacy.

“Something’s happening,” he said in Fankaloa. Everyone resorted to the native language to discuss island matters. “You can feel it, can’t you?”

Nikiani hesitated, biting her lip. “Yeah,” she said, replying in the same language. “I can. But I don’t know what it is – it’s too weak for me to sense completely. All I can tell is that it’s not good. And it’s getting stronger.”

She shivered. The rising sense of unease carried with it a sort of chill. It wasn’t a physical one; this chill made her spirit feel cold. She had a bad feeling about it all.

“Can any of the others sense it yet?” asked Nico.

Nikiani shook her head. “But they will soon. Whatever it is, it’s getting stronger, and with that it’ll be easier to sense. Right now all I can feel is a little prickle. I’ve got a feeling that when it’s stronger it’s going to make me feel a lot worse. You can sense it too, then?”

“I don’t have to look darkness in the eye to tell what it wants,” Nico said, shaking his head. “And I can’t reign in my abilities entirely. I can feel the dark coming.”

Nikiani grimaced. “You’re encouraging,” she said, trying to sound dry. It didn’t come out that way. Of course, the shiver that went through her then didn’t help.

“I’m sorry,” Nico said. He pulled his blanket off his shoulders and held it out. “If it’ll help,” he said, “you can use this.”

With effort, Nikiani shook her head. “It won’t,” she said. “But I appreciate the offer. How’re you holding up?”

“Well enough,” Nico said shortly. He pulled the blanket around his shoulders like he was suddenly cold. “There are plenty of fish and the land’s doing well. As of yet, the darkness is too weak to affect the natural world.”

“Just the supernatural and freaky,” Nikiani said, trying to joke.

It worked, a little bit. The corners of Nico’s mouth twitched in a partial smile. He changed the subject then: “What do you think of the new Peacekeepers?”

Nikiani sensed an edge beneath his casual tone. She looked at him suspiciously but said, “They seem all right. They’re nice, at least, and they seem to love the islands. I don’t know how they’ll handle trouble, but it’s not like they’ll have to deal with much here. Why?”

Nico looked over towards the nama’ea, where Nikiani’s parents, Aiene, and the two new Peacekeepers still stood. Then, without looking back to Nikiani, he said, “It’s not an accident that they’re here now, when the darkness is rising.”

Nikiani bit her lip and looked over at the nama’ea, too. “Are you sure?” she asked. “I mean, Dad was the only Peacekeeper in this entire province. And the others are peaceful enough now that the Confederacy could spare a couple for us out here. It might just be a coincidence.”

“It’s not, Nikiani,” Nico said. He rolled his eyes. “You’re aliakeanu – you of all people should know that nothing is a coincidence, especially here. They’re here for a reason. We all are. And I’ve got a feeling that the reason is closely twined with the darkness. Too close for my liking.”

Nikiani shivered again. “The next meeting at Aliakeanu Kea is tomorrow night,” she said. “Do you think I ought to bring it up?”

“I don’t think so,” Nico replied. “Not unless one of the others says something. If darkness is coming, everyone’s going to need all the peace they can get before it arrives.”

“Ugh,” Nikiani said.

Nico nodded.

“I guess there’s nothing we can do for now, then,” Nikiani said with a sigh. “We’ll just have to keep watch and pray that nothing bad comes of this.”

“I’ll keep my eyes open,” Nico said. His mouth twisted ever so slightly. “Who knows, this ability could come in handy for once.”

Nikiani looked at him sympathetically. “Nico,” she said, laying a hand on his shoulder, “I’m sorry. If I could help, I would.”

“Please don’t touch me,” Nico said in a voice much huskier than his usual early adolescent timbre. He looked away. “I don’t need anybody else’s emotions right now. You’d better get back to the nama’ea,” he said, shifting tone abruptly. “They’re waiting on you to leave.”

For a second, Nikiani stood there, hand pulled back. Nico didn’t notice her gaze. He stared out over the ocean, arms folded under the blanket, fishing pole leaning up against him. Then Nikiani whispered, “I’m sorry,” and turned away.

She did her best to bring her usual cheer back to her face.

Her family and friends were waiting for her.”

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