I suppose I’ve never really looked to the sky much while we were growing up. While Zora moved us from place to place, doing all she could to keep her safe. It mostly worked, until we landed at that man’s place. I didn’t like him from the start but Zora told me it was my childish, young mind. That I wasn’t used to people but that he was good, he was offering us a roof.
I didn’t like him and he broke the trust Zora had put in him by doing unmentionable things to Mira. Thinking back on those faded memories makes my blood boil, it makes me want to find that man and burn him alive from the inside. I know part of this is my temper and I don’t really care. He deserves to be hurt for what he’s done. There’s no saying if he hasn’t molested other children since Mira. It makes me sick.
Mira doesn’t seem to remember much from that time. I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t want to remember it at all if it had happened to me. Though he could just be hiding it really well. I don’t know. I love my brother, he’s the only one I have, he’s the other half of my soul and I want to keep him safe as best as I can.
The other day, we had been just lounging on the roof of the building, listening to the workers just a few feet away from us, working under the glass sort of dome that keeps the pool safe from the weather. Eoghan says it’s a soul-ah-ree-um. I don’t know what that word means.
We were staring up at the sky, watching the clouds go by, appreciating the warm breeze when we saw a little spot go by, up in the distance. Both of us just stared, we sat up, then stood up and watched it seem to float away to then disappear into the clouds. I didn’t know what to think and by the look on Mira’s face he really didn’t know what he had seen either. We ran off, we rounded the protected pool area and its workers and we were down onto the third floor within moments.
At first I thought about banging on Alexis’s and Eoghan’s door but there was a sign. Mira said it said to not disturb unless in case of emergency. I still don’t read French as well as he does, it’s really hard.
We stood there for longer than I thought I could handle, my heart beating wildly in my chest while we both silently wondered who we could ask. What if whatever that thing had been was dangerous? What if it came back?
Finally we took the stairs, almost two at a time and we barged into our apartment but then we came to a stop and stared. Zora was at work. It had slipped my mind and by the looks of things it had slipped Mira’s mind too. Now we stood there, staring at one another, eyes wide, worried and uncertain and we didn’t know what to do.
Times and again we were told to not bother Armin. We had seen him a few times but not enough to really know him. Still, at that very point in time I was sure that the world was about to end, that whatever had been in the sky was out to destroy us. I didn’t even know if he would be home. I knew he worked too, he was out of the house early in the mornings and tended to by back either late at night though lately it had been closer to mid-afternoon.
It was mid afternoon, right? It had to be, or maybe closer to noon, it had been worth a shot.
We tried to calm down, to breathe. We took the stairs slowly that time, not wanting to rush, not wanting anyone to feel as if we were about to bowl them over. We just had to make sure that the world wasn’t ending.
When we stepped to his door, we knocked. Just twice and then we waited. We were shifting left and right on our feet, unable to really keep still though we were quiet, listening. After a few moments we heard the soft sound of slightly shuffled footfalls. When Armin first moved into the apartment, Eoghan told us two things. One, never talk about our gifts around him as he was like us but not like us and two, never talk about the way he walks.
I didn’t understand at first. When I saw him, it dawned on me but all I felt towards him was curiosity. That really was it, I wanted to know more about this strange but kind man. At least I thought he was kind for all the few times I’d ever met him.
He came to the door and blinked at us. I suppose I cannot blame his surprise, we’ve never been here this way before. He canted his head to the side, studied us for a moment and then he stepped aside, letting us in. Carefully we stepped into his apartment but we stayed near the door, together. We let him take us back to wherever he would let us sit.
Finally settled in the living room, both with a glass of water after he’d mentioned something about how we looked like we were about to drop—I’m not sure what he meant—he finally sat down with us and asked us what this visit was about.
We looked at one another a moment, trying hard not to both just start talking at once. It was just one of those things Zora taught us well, we don’t get anywhere if we’re both blabbering at once. Mira nodded at me and I sighed. I looked out the window to our right and Armin followed my gaze a moment.
“We saw something in the sky. It was just floating away! The world could be ending!” My words come out in a soft rush, accent as thick as ever and he looks confused. For one moment I was afraid he didn’t understand what I had just said but he cants his head, stands and slowly walks towards the book shelves that were right behind him.
“Tell me what whatever it was looked like?” There was nothing in his voice that could have made me believe he didn’t believe what I had just told him. I closed my eyes, trying to remember what I had seen but Mira beat me to the answer.
“Like a bird. Just, the wings not moving. It made a sound, it’s hard to explain.”
Armin nodded then, plucked one particular book from his shelves and slowly came back towards us. He set the book down on the low table and pushed it our way. On the cover, the word P-L-A-N-E-S was written. I tried to sound it out in my mind but it didn’t make much sense.
He smiled at us, a warm, almost older-brotherly sort of smile and he opened the book, started telling us about these things that did look a lot like what we had seen in the sky just minutes ago. He was so calm as he explained to us that these things, they’re planes, they take people up in their bellies and they can fly them to anywhere in the world. That they were safe and that the world wasn’t about to end.
“Not at all. They’re safe as can be.”
“Can we borrow the book?” Mira’s voice was quietly curious but genuinely sincere in wanting to borrow the book.
Armin chuckled softly and closed the book before holding it out to us. Mira took it, holding it to his chest as if it were the most precious thing in the world. “Sorry to bother you.”
“It wasn’t a bother, I’d seen you both at the other apartment before Eoghan let me move here, I’m glad I got to speak to you both a little. Bring back the book whenever you’re done with it and I don’t mind letting you borrow other books if you want to learn more.” He didn’t have any questions as to why we didn’t know about planes, as to why we were so curious and seemed to be learning everything as it came. It was a bit of a relief, it was nice.
We excused ourselves, made our way back to his door and then we were back up in our apartment, in Mira’s room to study the book a little more. Planes. Such strange things.