Greetings, Guardians, here's part Twelve of the Journey Home! As usual, if you like it, give it a bump, and I'll get more out soon! Here's part[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/224101901] eleven [/url]if you missed it, or if you're looking for a different part, here's th[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/222615264?showBanned=0&path=0]e table of Contents![/url] Stay classy, Guardians!
“We can’t just leave!”
Alesha could hear Aunt Beatrice pacing. Uncle Tom had told her to go to her room while he and Aunt Bea had a “talk.”
Sometimes Alesha wondered if Uncle Tom understood how thin the walls were.
“Yes we can, Bea.”
“We’ve spent our whole lives here, and that man just expects us to up and go in an instant!” Aunt Beatrice said. “Who does he think he is?”
“I don’t know, Bea,” Tom said. “But he’s right; we can’t hold off that many Fallen. No one can.”
“Oh, but Tom! This place. . . my grandfather built it himself! I’ve never even gone more than fifty feet from the Palisade!”
“Neither have I, Bea. But we have to leave.”
“Our whole lives are here, Tom! We can’t just up and leave them!”
“I know, Bea. But it’s not our lives I’m worried about here.”
“What do you mean?”
Tom sighed. “If it was just you and me, Bea, I’d agree with you. We’ve lived our whole lives on this same plot of land, and by the heavens, we’ve earned a right to it. If it was just us here, I’d say we stay, and Fallen be damned!” He paused. “But it’s not just us. We have Alesha as well. She’s got her whole life ahead of her; she doesn’t deserve to die on this piece of dirt just because her aunt and uncle are too sentimental to leave.” He paused. “I made my brother a promise, Alesha. And I don’t plan on breaking it now.”
Aunt Beatrice paused. “Oh, Tom.”
The two were silent for a little while longer. Then, Aunt Beatrice spoke up again. “Tom, what about Jim?”
Alesha frowned. She didn’t know anybody in the village named “Jim.” Who was he?”
Tom was silent. “I don’t know, Bea,” he said. “Maybe. . . maybe, if this City is as real as they say. . . maybe we can come back. . .” But the voice that Tom used was not the voice of hope; it was the voice of a man who knows that a cause has been lost, but still tells his compatriots warming, white lies.
“Do you think. . . do you think he’ll get lonely?”
“Jim hasn’t had to worry about us for a long time, Bea,” Tom said. “I think he’ll be just fine without us.”
Aunt Beatrice was silent for a moment longer. “I’ll start packing,” she said at last.
“Focus on the food,” Tom said. “I”ll go talk to Alesha.”
Alesha quickly tucked herself into her bed, and pretended to be asleep. Uncle Tom opened the door a second later. “Alesha?” he said. “Are you awake?”
Alesha sat up. “Yes,” she said.
Tom sat down on her bed. “Your mother and I have been talking,” he said. “And, well, we’ve decided we’re going to go to the City with this. . . Erling fellow.”
“We are?” Alesha said, doing her best to sound surprised.
Tom nodded. He took a deep breath, and looked around the room. “You know, we’ll probably never see this place again,” he said. “These walls have been around for far longer than you or I. It’s strange to think that they’ll be gone soon.”
He was silent a moment longer. “Get some sleep,” he said. “I’ll need you to help pack for the journey tomorrow.” He stood up, and prepared to leave the room.
Alesha took a deep breath. “Uncle Tom?” she said. “Who’s Jim?”
Uncle Tom froze in the doorway, and then sighed. “These walls are thinner than I remember, I suppose,” he said. He turned back towards Alesha, and sat down on her bed once more. “Jim. . . he was your cousin. My son.”
Alesha’s eyes widened. Her mouth hung open in shock. “Wha - what happened to him?”
Tom sighed. “He died. Fourteen years ago.” He shook his head. “He was a lot like you, I suppose. Adventurous, daring - he made a point of discovering the area beyond the palisade, going on supply runs.” He smiled. “But he was always back by sundown.” Then, the smile disappeared. “Until, one day, he wasn’t.”
Alesha looked up at Uncle Tom. “What happened?” she asked.
“One day, he didn’t come back,” Tom said. “We searched everywhere for him, but we couldn’t find a thing. A storm blew through that evening - obliterated even the faintest hint of a trail.
“A few days later, he came stumbling through the gates, shivering with pneumonia. He told us that he’d seen some Fallen, and had had to hide. But then, he’d gotten lost in the storm, and. . .” Tom shook his head. “He only lasted a few hours after that. He’s buried behind the village.”
Alesha didn’t know what to say. I had a cousin, she thought.
Tom shook his head. “In any case, get some sleep,” he said. “You’ll be needing it for tomorrow.” And with that, he patted Alesha on the head, and left her room.