Ka woke suddenly, plunging away from dreams of old floral curtains and too-heavy jewelry, into the real world. Desperately trying to hold on to the wisps of fading fantasy, he squinted his eyes and was surprised to feel a tear squeeze free of his eyelids, falling wet on the bridge of his nose.
The dreams faded like mist in the sun.
A long moment passed before Ka sat, pushing himself up on both arms and arching his back in a satisfying stretch. With a yawn, he hunched forward, exhaling a heavy breath. He could never hold on to the dreams. Something always... snatched them away...
It was warm in the hut today, a change from the cold spring nights of the past few weeks. A welcome change, but one which heralded warmer nights and hotter days, a decidedly less exciting thought. The sweltering heat did wonders for keeping bugs away from Ka, but that was about all the good it ever did. If he could delay summer forever, he would.
But he was only ever a god in his dreams.
"Sa, I want to know what they are. What they're made of."
"Impossible." The old woman hobbled away from the fruit stand, a basket of fresh produce gripped tightly in both arms. She didn't even need to look at Ka to make him feel like she could see his soul. Hear his thoughts.
"But what do you mean by that?"
"Ka, have you ever considered that your questions are horrible ones? You never seem to even understand what you're asking. How do you expect me to answer when your question makes no sense? What do I mean by impossible? I think you can find the answer to that yourself, but I doubt that will help you..." She trailed off as a wake of vultures arced high over the village. The sun glinted on her silver hair as her gaze followed their path.
"It won't help me...?"
"Oh yes, it won't help you."
"Help me what?"
She shook her head, grimacing.
"Ka, you need to listen. To me, and to yourself. Think about what is being said before--"
Ka stopped listening. Every time he tried to ask a question, this happened. She would accuse him of being confusing or asking bad questions, then when he tried to clarify, she took it as evidence of his stupidity-- or sometimes as an insult-- and started preaching about listening, and communication, and other such things.
"--you can't expect to learn a thing if you're busy trying to fit the world inside your mind. It's too big."
She glared, gaze hotter than the morning sun. "No."
They walked in silence past two brown huts, listening to the sounds of the village waking up.
"Ka, your mind is bright and young, and eager. Just like I used to be. But you need to stop trying to understand it. You can't discover yourself by just looking inwards, you must expand your mind by exploring the outside world, doing things you've never done. Experience will change your perceptions-- and your priorities!-- both things you need to improve."
"Sa, what am I supposed to do? Set out on my own, go on a journey to find my fortune, find a princess to save along the way...?"
She looked at him earnestly.
"There's a reason the stories all go that way."
"You're saying I should?"
"I'm saying you shouldn't reject the idea before giving it time to grow."
"You think I would ever consider leaving?"
"Certainly not, you're too stupid for that. You need me to consider it for you."
"Sa, I"m not going to leave the village."
"How do you know that?"
"I know myself."
"You don't." She straightened her back, shifting the basket on her hip. "You don't know yourself yet."
Ka frowned. But he didn't disagree.
Sa looked at him and the wrinkles around her eyes brightened as she smiled.
"You're a good boy. I don't mean to get you down."
"I'm fine." He reassured her.
"Whatever you say. I know how much it can hurt to be told you need to change. Don't think I don't love you."
"I would never think that!" As he said it, several instances flashed through his mind when he wished she would leave the village. A pang of guilt followed quickly on the heels of the memories.
Sa smiled again. "Whatever you say."
Together, they stepped into her hut, ready to arrange the fruit like they always did. The day was warming, but not too warm yet. There was still time to enjoy the distant chill, along with the fresh juices and flavors of the ripe fruits.
Ka could never leave this.
Author Notes: Guys I wrote a 50,000 word novel in the month of May, and I'm exhausted but so glad to be writing something else! Coincidentally, this week I passed 50,000 total views on all my stories, so I wanted to say thanks.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for the reviews.