8 - Sergio, We Need To Talk

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The Narrator

The night was calm. The smell of the trees and flowers nearby wafted through the air. The air was crisp, and the sky was clear. Kirt sat on a log by the fire, staring into its flames. The flames were leaping as if they were the ones being burnt. The flickering of the campfire reflected off Heinrich's keen eyes, which were focused on the popping flame.

The last lights of the capsules on the bus were turned off, except for those inhabited by Mr. Gallagher and Ms. Seagale. Heinrich rubbed his palms as he continued to stare into the fire and exhaled. Sergio was washing some utensils. Water was burbling down the sink in the kitchen of the cabin opposite from the bus' main door.

A fly came by and sat on Heinrich's right arm as he sat by the fire. Heinrich was too focused on observing the leaping flames of the fire, listening to the cracking and popping of the burning wood that fuelled that fire. The fly was laying eggs while he stared into the fire, thinking of his past. He remembered the night when his parents died due to a fire in their cabin in Wyoming when he was a baby. The firefighters could rescue him, but they failed to save his mother and father. They burned to death. Their cries rang through his ears.

A sharp "thud" startled and frightened Heinrich, who jumped immediately and stood up. His mind returned to the present.

The fly, disturbed by the movement, flew away and in desperation towards the fire, getting burned in the process.

Heinrich stood panting and sweating.

Sergio stood in front of Heinrich with a spear stabbed into the ground.

"You've got to be careful. It's a bushmaster," said Sergio.

Kirt looked at where the spear had stabbed into. It was a snake that was coiled to strike Kirt's leg.

"One bite from even a baby snake of this species could kill you," said Sergio as he twirled the snake into a nest with the same spear he had used to stab it, without even taking the spear off.

Kirt had calmed down and said, "Thank you, Sergio. I was just.... just... nevermind."

Sergio wanted to ask Kirt what he was going to say, but looking at Kirt being disturbed, he just said, "I'll throw this away." Sergio took the snake away and disappeared into the forest.

After wishing the girls goodnight, Ms. Seagale walked through the aisle. She thought of the events today and the jokes that she encountered. She smiled as she unlatched and opened her capsule, simultaneously thinking of her day. She noticed something on her bed and her thoughts melted away as she went to grab it.

Mr. Gallagher had just tucked himself in bed and turned his light off. As he lay on his bed, he looked through the window. Mr. Gallagher observed the trees, gently swaying with the movement of the wind. He tossed himself to the other side and was reading the instructions on the capsule door when ...

Dok. Dok.

He heard a knock on his door.

"Who's it?" he asked.

"Seagale," replied the person on the other side of the door.

Mr. Gallagher woke up, turned on the lights, and unlatched the door.

**************

Meanwhile, the students from Doha near La Abuela De Princesa Irene enjoyed the calm after a session of heavy rain. Shifaly left her bed and opened the door to the terrace to spend some time alone there. As soon as she opened the door, she felt a cold, wet breeze blow across her face.

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