October 2008 »

"Uh, hey Mark. What are you doing here?" David, in his shock, had barely managed to find something to say that was not as disjointed as his thoughts.

"Hey." Mark paused for a moment to think of a reply to the rest, but David interrupted.

"I had given up looking for you for the day."

"Yeah. This is a bit of a coincidence, but I'm glad you've found me." He looked at his feet for a moment. "Hey, I've got a few errands to run. Want to come along?"

"I was looking forward to..." David's voice trailed off. "Sure. Why not. It isn't every day that I meet up with the friend I've been looking for on a different world than our own."

"So you've figured that out too?"

"Yeah, first night here."

Mark started walking toward Puquykilla and David did the same. "You seem to be alive. How have you been surviving?"

David paused for a moment. He had planned to ask Mark that question first. With a sigh he realized both of them would have to bring the other up to date on what had happened so far.

He started his tale with the trees that had entrapped him the first day they had woken up on the shores of Lake Mayuasiri. There was a lot of explaining to do about Huksonjo and his part in the on-going rebellion.

The noise in the streets continued unabated as they made their way to the shops Mark had selected. The first stop that Mark made was to a dealer of herbs. Dried leaves covered the walls and hung from the ceiling. Some of them were large and others were feathery, almost like fennel. It was here that David learned Mark had picked up a fair amount of Runasimi also. They had been conversing in English, but David was not familiar with the names of the plants Mark requested.

He was surprised by this enough that, when he was finished, Mark had to prod him for more details of what had happened since they had last seen each other. David told about the night he had spent in the prison and then jumped back to tell the story that Sumailla's father had told him about traveling between worlds and how Mallqu had taken an interest in it.

The next two shops were right beside each other so there wasn't much time to talk between them. Mark put in an order for some linen at one and then purchased two small knives from the shop next to it.

David was puzzled and couldn't help but to ask, "What are all of these things for?"

Mark smiled weakly. "I would prefer that you meet Ch'uya first. Really I have another favor to ask you too."


"You've said how tired today has made you," Mark started, but David interjected a quick comment.

"It's fine."

"Maybe, but I would like to stop by a shop on the other side of town before heading back."

"So these other things were necessary but that one is preference? Are you going to offer any explanation? I mean, we can go. You just have me curious."

Mark managed a small laugh and glanced down at the ground. "You have me there. There's a woman in that shop named SaƱi -- it isn't what you think -- she's a slave and doesn't have any real friends in the area. I'd like to stop by and say 'hey.'"

David grinned. "And just what was I supposed to be thinking?"

"You keep trying to convince me that I need to get a girlfriend just once. This isn't that, and I promise her accent is not a factor."

"Sure..." David dragged out the word to make it clear he meant exactly the opposite. "You brought it up. Guilty conscience?"

Mark gave up with another smile. "Fine, think what you will. Just don't make any smart comments while we are there, alright?"

David laughed. It was good to be talking to Mark again and to be able to speak with such perfect ease. He would never take it for granted again. Ever.

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