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Rehenowa Chapter 10

by KaiaJersaga

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

“Relax,” Ramien whispered softly as he pressed his hoodie into his little bother’s shoulder. “The pain will subside. You just need to try to forget about it, okay?”

Miki lifted his chin slightly and wiped his nose on the back of his hand again, leaving a dark liquid streak on it. He drew in a double breath and stared blindly at the wall from behind the vibrant red cloth covering his eyes.

Ramien dropped the hoodie. Jaith gasped as he stared at the revealed marks crisscrossing Miki’s abused back. The twelve-year-old’s shoulder blade bled down his back, leaving a half-dried rusty streak down running down his back to his waist. Jaith’s eyes lowered, and he stared dumbly down at the bloody sleeves of the hoodie used to absorb the blood from Miki’s nose and bleeding shoulder blade.

“Do you want music?” Ramien questioned as he gently pressed his hand into Miki’s shoulder blade.

Miki’s back tensed into a rigid straight line. He stared out blankly at the wall from behind the red blindfold, his quivering lips conveying the emotions he desperately tried to conceal. He lifted his chin in a stiff nod.

Ramien nodded. Lowering his hand from Miki’s back, the older brother wiped his hand off on his hoodie. His narrow eyes flashed up to Jaith’s face as he stood up.

Jaith met the slitty eyes. He slid his hand across the sofa and enclosed his fingers around Miki’s phone lying beside him. Ramien narrowed his eyes. Jaith lowered his gaze as he stood up and held Miki’s phone out to Ramien.

Ramien shot his arm forward, but Jaith retracted the phone.

“Ramien,” Jaith whispered softly, his eyes fused to the Xiakai boy’s unyielding glare. “I’m not trying to fight, okay, but Miki’s bleeding a lot. I don’t think we should try to handle this on our own.”

Ramien narrowed his eyes and snatched Jaith’s wrist. Prying Miki’s phone from Jaith, Ramien stepped back. “Don’t act like I haven’t noticed,” he shot back.

Jaith lowered his gaze and bit his lip. Pushing his glasses farther up on his nose, Jaith lifted his eyes again. “It looks really serious, Ramien.”

Miki frowned and lifted his blindfolded face fearfully to his older brother’s face as Ramien sat down beside his little brother and unwrapped the earbuds from the phone.

“So, what do you think we should do?” Ramien retorted, flashing an ugly glare over his shoulder. “Call titiqui and ask him to take Miki to the hospital?”

Jaith nervously crossed his arms and lifted his lips into an awkward half-smile. “Yeah,” he admitted after a moment.

Ramien tossed his eyes in a circle as he pressed something on Miki’s phone and handed his little brother his phone. “Don’t play pretty words with me, Jaith Esadowa. Be lucky you have a mom who would take you to the hospital if you broke your fingernail. Not everyone is as fortunate as you.” Ramien’s eyes returned to Miki, breathing unsteadily as he gazed up at his brother from behind the blindfold.

Jaith frowned and lowered his arms to his sides. “If titi-Uncle Leo realized how bad it is, he’d—”

“You learn not to ask too much when you’re in our situation,” Ramien shot back, lifting Jaith’s shirt from beside him and slipping it over Miki’s shoulders. “You ask too much, people turn their back on you. It’s how it goes when you’re relying on people who don’t really care.”

“Uncle Leo does care!” Jaith retorted, starting toward Ramien. “Mom cares. I care. How can you not see that?”

Ramien shook his head, his arms sliding into a crossed position against his chest. “Why was it that when Miki first came here titiqui never mentioned taking Miki to the hospital? He’s bleeding a lot less now than he was when he first came here.”

Jaith frowned. His gaze lowered to the floor. “Titiqui…does care,” he murmured. His gaze drifted to where Miki sat, feeling along the wire of his earbuds for the earpieces. Jaith’s eyes lifted. “He does care.”

Ramien did not respond. Jaith’s gaze wandered back to Miki. His phone lay on the floor. He had slid the earpieces in and was nervously clenching the blue circle pendant to his chest. His other fingers nervously turned the red feather earring in a slow circle.

Lifting the hoodie from the floor, Ramien turned back to Jaith. “Asking for a thousand-dollar ambulance ride is asking a bit too much.”

Jaith nodded distantly as Ramien stepped past him, his attention drifting from Ramien to the live Xiakai performance Miki was listening to. Something instantly struck Jaith as familiar. His eyes scanned the line of Xiakai performers, but it was not them that caught his immediate interest. It was the pentagon.

Below the performer’s feet a giant cement pentagon lay spread out. The three edges behind the performers seemed to point to the end of a cliff. Iridescent water droplets rose behind the pentagon and dotted the edge. Beyond it, a gently slanted rock slope formed the background.

Jaith stepped closer, a different image racing wildly through his mind. A clear creek ran through a valley bordered on one side by a slope of flat stone. Miki sat sobbing at the very edge of it. Above him and across the creek, three jagged edges of a cement pad lay on top of a rocky cliff…edges so large and spread apart that perhaps when viewed from the other side the immense cement structure was in fact…a pentagon.

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62 Reviews

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Stickied -- Thu May 25, 2023 10:11 pm
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KaiaJersaga says...

In case you got confused...I cut this chapter in half. The other half is in editing confinement currently. ;) I will probably post it after Review Day.

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64 Reviews

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Sun May 28, 2023 1:38 am
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Rose wrote a review...

Hey hey Kaia!

Guess who's back to shower you with my bombastically amazing review? That's right, it's me, the self-proclaimed Rose Lover and Bomb extraordinaire! :D I've been eagerly waiting for this chapter, and boy, oh boy, it did not disappoint! Thing, you never cease to amaze and entertain us with your incredible storytelling skills. Now, let's dive into the explosive awesomeness of Chapter 10.

Oh, the tension! The suspense! I was on the edge of my seat, clutching my roses tightly (don't worry, no thorns harmed me). The scene opens with poor Miki, his nose in need of a tissue and his back showcasing crisscrossing marks. My heart went out to poor Miki once again, and I desperately hoped for a glimmer of hope in this dire situation.

But fear not, Ramien comes to the rescue, dropping his hoodie like a knight in shining armor, or should I say, a knight in a stylish hoodie? 'Jai', the ever-observant American with freezing habits, gasps at the sight of Miki's battered back. Oh, the drama! :D Cue the dramatic music, please.

Ramien, the caring and protective older brother, suggests music to ease Miki's pain. But hey, whatever works, right? Miki agrees, his back stiffening like a board, and the blindfold hiding his quivering lips. Talk about a stoic hero in the making! ;-)

Now, things get intense when 'Jai' tries to be the voice of reason, holding Miki's phone hostage. Raimy, not to be outdone, snatches the phone back like a swift ninja. The tension between them could rival the most epic showdowns in cinematic history. I had my popcorn ready (because I ate my chips out of existence :D, waiting for the showdown to escalate into a full-blown battle of words.

But then, the unexpected happens. 'Jai' suggests seeking medical help for poor Miki, and Ramien, with his impressive ability to throw shade, questions the necessity of a thousand-dollar ambulance ride. Oh, the cousins banter! It's like a comedy routine in the middle of this emotional rollercoaster.

And just when you think the tension can't get any higher, 'Jai' starts defending their caretaker, Sweet Uncle Leo. It's like watching a fierce debate show, but with more familial love and concern. Raimy must be really really annoyed by him now.

Amidst the heated exchange, our attention is diverted to Miki, lost in the world of Xiakai performers. And there it is, a pentagon-shaped cement structure with iridescent water droplets and a sloping rock background. 'Jai's mind starts racing, connecting the dots to a clear creek, a sobbing Miki, and a cliff-top cement pentagon. Who knew that geometry could be so thrilling?

Kaia, this chapter had me laughing, gasping, and rooting for our characters. Your ability to create tension, evoke emotions, and inject humor into the story is simply amazing (do share the credit with Thing :D). I can't wait to see what happens next in the upcoming chapters. I'll still have to decide which bombshell ( :D metaphorical, of course... maybe) I'll drop on the next one.

Keep up the fantastic work!


Red Riddle Rose

A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.
— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief