Chapter Eleven

Fox Island

Fox Island

Chapter 11

With the morrow came the slow and awful truth that Fox wouldn’t see Arvor ever again. He stood outside the village where the two men often met, pacing back and forth for hours. Every day and every moment, the comrades spent their lives together. And now Fox was abhorrently alone. 

He struggled to understand what it was. The thought tasted like a bruised apple, bland and tasteless, disgustingly worthless. It was asinine, immature, irreverent—imagine a conversation leading to such irreparable damage to a relationship. 

Whatever terrible thing he made Arvor reveal about his village’s beliefs—and what caused a belief to be hidden? A belief should be shouted from the rooftops! It is the soul, the spirit of a man—the thing that he wakes and dies for! 

What belief is in a man that should be hidden or concealed? If it were concealed, is it a belief at all—or the thing another forces one to accept? If he have love for a woman, does not his love come showering out at every opportunity? Only shame, jealousy, hatred, bitterness—these things are the damnable disgraces that a man hides and wishes he hadn’t. A belief is the foundation to the soul, and the soul is the voice of one’s thoughts. Nothing else can escape him but what he believes. Nothing can be concealed but what he is afraid of. 

It weren’t true! Arvor was his brother. The only one that loved him on the island. No conversation could destroy that thing. 

He sought Arvor to apologize and make right his blunder, but an unfamiliar man and woman whom he did not recognize inhabited his hut. When he asked, they did not know of him. 

Fox walked away dumbfounded. His anger gave way to fear. He ran up and down the village streets asking about his friend.

For a week he searched the village to find him. And for a week they denied him. The response was always the same: They never met Arvor. With every hour, day, and night, Fox’s fear became imminent. The island had forgotten Arvor. 

One night, sitting by the fire, he recognized the young nephew of Arvor. The boy was impish and stupid; he never carried the regal and clever qualities of his uncle. Fox came near him, hoping that he could discover Arvor’s absence through the adolescence of the buffoon. The boy listened to his whisper and turned to his mother asking about uncle.  

The mother hushed him and whispered, “He is on the other side of the marshlands.”

Fox was correct in his assumption. Some reason drove Arvor to regret his conversation, and the remorse led him to penitence, and the confession led to his discipline. He wasn’t sure of the penalty or its execution, but he knew that Watano was behind it. 

The thought of it drove Fox mad. He grew tired of the Liberi, with their incessant ignorance of imagination and creativity, weak manner in conflict and controversy, and their diffidence to speak out about any sort of philosophy and belief without becoming like mindless cattle.

He had a friend in Arvor, and figuring they punished him for doing anything other than the mindless propensities of the others drove hatred into him.

Rain began falling on the fire, and soon a large storm erupted. Fox ran under the cover of a pavilion with a group of the villagers. The storm cracked and howled and it reminded him of his ceiba. It had been two months since he was home. Somewhere out there beyond the monolith, bahia fields, marshlands and cenote, lay his kitchen of fruits, vegetables and nuts and a make-shift canoe ready for him to leave this damned place. 

On cue, conjured by every torrential storm before, the booming howl came out of the darkness, screaming and shrill, yet long and dull. 

“What is that sound?” Fox asked a woman next to him. 

Storm.” She responded.

“No, the howl, you imbecile?” Fox responded in his English tongue. 

The woman stared.

Again, the booming cry shook through the village. 

That!” Fox shouted, back in the Liberi language. “What is that sound?”

“I do not hear that sound.” The woman responded.

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