Chapter 8:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

The two brothers met at their usual lunch spot in the cafeteria. Both were carrying hearts held with heavy burdens. It was obvious to each other, but didn't know what to say. Prayer came and went without chatting to delay it. Kothur was the first to speak up. He felt he should as the older one, but really he couldn’t take the tension in the air anymore.

“I’ve been told they want to me take over the principal role after Mr. Dunnock retires.” He said without much emotion, hoping Reohn wouldn't press him for more details. 

Reohn blinked in surprise; his eyes wide in disbelief. “That’s never happened before. They always pick old veterans for the role.”

“I know.” Kothur didn’t appreciate him stating the obvious. It wasn’t helping his ire at the situation. “They are picking one of my students to be a test subject for the new dael soul project. If it’s a success, they’ll use that to my credibility for the position.”

Reohn’s expression turned serious, his brows furrowed. He sounded irate. “They’re trying to make you take responsibility for Fehram’s actions. Guess they just couldn’t let it go after so many years.”

“I thought that might be it as well a bit after he told me.” Kothur took another bite of his food. He knew Reohn got upset whenever Fehram was brought up and didn’t want to get all emotional about it now. It was best to just let things go their course and follow the flow.

Reohn, on the other hand, was furious. “That’s not fair. I was promised you would be able to live out a peaceful life with any job you picked.”

“I know.” Kothur plainly stated again. “I don’t think it’s your fault. I was always living on borrowed time at this job anyway. I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. I’ll be fine.” He wished his brother wouldn’t get so upset about things he had no control over.

“If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it!” Reohn said something so idealistic at him.

He looked away. What was his other choice? Refused the offer and get fired? His only job experience so far is a school teacher and all schools are government controlled. He would have to try to eke out a life without government help out there and possibly get murdered. Not to mention he wouldn't be able to see Reohn anymore.

For the sake of peace, Kothur decided to change the topic. “Well, I think being principal will be easier than your job. I don’t know how you can stand all of the attention every day. Not to mention the pressure. Aren’t you even nervous for that interview later?”

Reohn suddenly looked uncomfortable. How out of character for him. He looked away before stuttering out his next sentence. “They want me to announce my marriage during the interview.”

It was Kothur’s turn to stare in disbelief. “You’re getting married? Why didn’t you tell me?” He looked genuinely hurt even with only one eye.

Reohn's face was red with embarrassment and anxiety. “Don’t look at me like that, man! It’s not like I knew either! I just found out a few minutes ago, ok?”

“Wow, that’s intense.” He didn’t think the higher-ups would go so far as to arrange a marriage just for him to keep up appearances. That seemed to violate a human right or something. What else would they be willing to do? “Did they tell you who you are getting married to, at least?”

“Actually, I think you know her. She’s a teacher like you. Her name’s Sibelle.”

Kothur had to hold back his laughter. “I think I know why they picked her. She has a thing for you. She’s always talking about you in between classes. You know, she was mysteriously absent today.”

Reohn hid his face in his palms. His voice coming out muffled. “They probably told her before me... This is the worst... I don’t know anything about her...” Poor guy does have it worse than me, Kothur admitted to himself.

“Getting married would mean she can’t work as a teacher anymore either. She has to be a housewife. They are probably setting up a house for you guys somewhere.” Kothur leaned over to pat his depressed little brother on the shoulder.

“You know, if you don’t want to do it, don’t.” Kothur said with dripping irony that Reohn did not appreciate.

Reohn was sitting in a well-lit room across from another man in a nice suit. He was trying his best to look professional and well-mannered with his back straight against the chair. This was very important. There were two large cameras facing them. The time was late afternoon on a normal weekday in the middle of fall. The national broadcast was just about to start.

The interviewer was a young man that liked to talk with his hands. “Thank you for your time today, Mr. Corvus. I know you are a busy man. Anything you’d like to say before we begin?”

“Well, actually Mr. Passerel, I want to start off by announcing my recent engagement. I’ll be a married man soon.” Reohn tried not to look too embarrassed.

“Oh, congratulations! That’s wonderful news. When are you planning on having the wedding?”

“Yes, thank you. We were thinking of holding it by the end of the year.” He was glad to get that out of the way first.

“Alright. I think we will start off with the question that everyone wants to hear more about. Tell us about how you became your country’s number one hero.”

Reohn answered with gusto. “Of course. It’s a question I still get asked often after five years. There I was in a foreign country as a boy fresh out of school. It was so dark I could hardly see anything, but I knew someone was out there. I had heard something from around base. They had already gotten one of our own and I was worried I would be next.”

“That’s downright terrifying.” The man leaned in closer.

“It certainly was. I was all alone with only my gun. Dael technology wasn’t as advanced back then so it wouldn’t be a sure shot. I hid behind a tree for cover and waited for a good shot. I got them as soon as I saw him. Luck happened to be on my side is all. They said they were going to launch a big sneak attack on us and I prevented it.”

“Wow, you saved your fellow soldiers and then they surrendered not long after that. You’re so humble about it, too.” The man smiled at him.

Reohn wore a proud smile back. He was used to telling this story. It was all made up, just a well-rehearsed fabrication. In fact, he was so good that he's practically convinced himself it was the honest truth. There were parts that were true, of course, and parts that weren’t. It was what made for a realistic lie. There were only two people alive that knew what actually happened that day.