“Let your cheeks be salty only from the ocean spray…” – SEMMANT
The circus was touring the thermal pools then, entertaining fat cats with ailing livers. My girl did not dance there anymore; she’d suddenly grown up and run off with some Romanian officer. I bore her no ill will and wished her the best, for somehow I knew: wings are just not meant to last. As for Simon, he remained true to his top hat with the stars and his tattered black tailcoat. His trade implied a certain erudition, and he knew about the phenomenon of Indigo. Once he heard about me, his ears pricked up. My father took notice, and for the first time he began to think I might finally be of some use. After draining the entire bottle, they decided to make me a whiz kid in the circus. Simon convinced my father that the talent for doing quick calculations, if I was found to possess the ability, was all the rage now and could bring in good money. I think that was his best trick ever.
My dad, now that he was in better spirits, started asking around about how to turn me into a whiz kid as fast as possible. To his misfortune, he crossed paths with an official from Mikulas who was crafty and quick, and who reported my existence to the very top. That set the bureaucratic gears in motion. Highly important people came to see me, and soon my fate was decided. They made my father sign the papers by reminding him of a few of his sins, and a month later I found myself on a ferry crossing the English Channel en route to a special boarding school that had been established by the Crown with funding from one of its less innocuous ministries.
The waves danced below. I was nauseated and understood nothing, only sensing I would never see my parents, my brothers, or my sister again. That’s pretty much how it turned out, which doesn’t bother me at all. I’d just like to know how far that official went in his career – whether he was given a high position, a secretary, or a government car.
That, you could say, was where my childhood ended. I’m not complaining; it usually doesn’t last much longer anyway. The mountains and forested hills were gone from my life and replaced with plains covered in yellowish-gray sand, low, heavy clouds, and the sea breeze.
‘Go catch yourself a fish, throw it to a pelican. Don’t you cry for it, what’s the point? Let your cheeks be salty only from the ocean spray.’ I repeated this nursery rhyme to myself, but it wasn’t me who made it up. I don’t remember who did, and it’s not important. It was one of us from the island, at any rate. One of us from the School…” – SEMMANT
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Winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for Science Fiction