No, thank you
“No, thank you. I think it might be better raw.”
“If you say so.” Tal contently gnaws on his prize.
“My mother always used to cook my food when I was a child. We would make all sorts of things with the river water and a burning fire.”
“Really?” You ask with a mouth filled of meat. The concept of cooking as a family is a rather unusual context, given the situation. It certainly makes one wonder about the nature of family – even out in this new world, do many of these people cook? If they came from your world, why not, right? But, coming from such an industrial earth where mass-produced food was delivered directly to your doorstep if you could pay for it out of your mass-produced wallet, (which was also sold to you by a mass-produced salesman–) earning your food from scratch (let alone cooking it) Is the kind of thing you will have to do on your own, or risk starving again.
Comparing your world to Tal’s, you add “In my world, if you’re hungry, you could just order take-out.”
“Who’s Take-out?” He asks you with curiosity.
“Not who,” you explain, “Take out is… when you go to a restaurant, and the people there give you the food and you take it elsewhere.”
“Wait a minute,” he says rather skeptically. “Where you are from, people will just feed you if you go to this rest-a-rant? What’s the catch?”
“you have to pay them with cash, they won’t feed you for free.”
“And how do you get this cash?”
“you work for it.” You answer rather plainly.
“What kind of work do you do for cash?” he asks, rather intrigued.
At first it seemed impressive that Tal knows how to be an animal so instinctively, but at the same time, he knows very little about what lies beyond this universe of magical costumes and shape-shifting people. He understands the game better than anyone else you know, but what does he understand about life on earth, having been born here?
You two spend the rest of the evening talking, and enjoying each other’s company, he picks your brain about life on earth, and you learn more of his past – the journeys he went through riding bountiful fields as a mare, soaring through the skies as a majestic falcon, the week he spent begging for bread as a duck in a city of monkeys, followed by the slow, hopeless death of Sardine Tal as he was digested in the belly of a whale, he spoke of many of his forms, at both his highest and lowest. All in a prayer that he might find his mother again, in whatever form she might be wearing now.
“If you had any idea what you were doing as a tigress, I’d have guessed that you might even be her.” He said rather bluntly. And after a much-deserved bonk on the head it was much easier to laugh it off. He suddenly looked you in the eye, and your eyes met – not as a challenge, but in the sense of connection. He closed his eyes and blinked at you with contentment, and you blinked in return.
“Wanna go for a swim?” he finally asks
Written by PrinceZahn on 31 October 2017
We can swim?