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Prisms of Humanity


Sargun II
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Her name was Jennifer. At the age of 15 and during the raid of a camp in Uganda, Evan found the girl hiding inside of a mattress. Her deep eyes reflected a sort of fear and awe that he found in his own eyes. He was stricken by her beauty but did not take her as his own. Instead of killing her on the spot, he smuggled her out of the camp and put her in a refugee camp. When he found out she was two months pregnant, he was stricken with grief (after all, he had just killed her family, even though she didn't know) and sent her small amounts of cash each week in secret.

It was a a little over half a year later when he saw her again, with a healthy baby boy and a young man who decided to take responsibility for the boy while she regained her own health. Evan became the child's godfather. He took the role seriously at first, but when the Fourty Tribes became the Fifty Tribes he was forced to abandon the girl once again.

He kept track of her as he grew up, always concerned with the first person he ever saved the life of. As time grew by he continued to call and check up with her and the boy. It had been close to five years since the last call, however. He needed to pay her a visit.

22:00, Uganda.

Hiley walked steadily through the Ugandan terrain with two Sixty Tribes soldiers. They spoke in a dialect of Swahili for most of the trip. The trio joked around a bit as they walked into an impoverished town with curious, though wary, residents. Evan waved a friendly hand to a few of them, who smiled after taking a glance at his familiar eyes. He asked a few questions and the answers pointed him straight to the hut he wanted to go. He gave the soldiers a night of rest as he pulled up to the hut and knocked on the wooden door.

Edited by Sargun
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Inside came the immediate sound of murmuring, but it was a soft murmur that after the sound of the knock had shaken it, quickly settled into a soft sigh of relief. Moments later the door opened, Jennifer's face was at first a wide smile, her stainless white teeth shown with brilliance, contrasted to her dark skin. Everything about her was in contrast, her brown irises and the pale white of her eyes, her cheerful disposition despite her past and most importantly that Evan Hiley was standing there in front of her like a ghost from the past. Her hand jumped to her mouth in shock as tears welled up in her eyes. Jennifer stood there for a long time, not moving, barely breathing, just looking in awe at the man who stood in front of her. Maybe more so, it was that she didn't know what do to.

"Evan." It was all she knew of International Basic and they were only words that she had picked up in passing. Or words that meant something so important to her, that they made up her inner soul. 'Evan' was one of those words. "Its...its been so long." Now speaking in Swahili. "I missed you, I missed you so much." She latched on to him like a vice, burying her face into his chest; the tears dampening his shirt. "Where have you been? So much has changed."

"Mother?" Said another voice from inside the hut. "Who is there?"

"Adnan. Come here."

Adnan, a thin boy of sixteen walked over from out of the shadows. He was bare chested, with a rough bald head. He looked just like Jennifer, dark with sharp contrasts in his eyes and teeth. But with all the makings of a strong man, world worn and dedicated to his mother. Looking at his proverbial Godfather, the boy immediately bowed his head. "It...it is an honor. A great day to see you again Godfather."

"Won't you please come in? We have much to catch up on." Jennifer said as she beckoned him into the shadows of the hut.

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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Adnan was tall, much like the rest of the people in the camp. They were all tall and all had proud chins, their eyes defying the poverty and helplessness that pervaded the camp. Adnan was representative of their future: strong-willed, respectful, a harsh beginning. He lived through it, though, and that was what impressed Evan the most. Adnan and Jennifer were both tough people who never failed to put things into perspective.

Evan's shirt was thin; he could feel her heart beating as she latched on to him. His right hand was carrying a large pack but his left was free. He embraced her and placed his chin on her head, still tall among tall.

He entered the hut and closed the door behind him, then walked into the familiar setting. While it was a new home, the layout was the same and he had no problem finding a spare spot to place his bag. Evan set it down, opened it up and took out a small, stained wooden idol. He placed the idol in the palm of his hand and closed his fist around it, hiding it from view.

He walked back into what would be called a living room and stayed standing. "Jennifer. Adnan." The 'j' in Jennifer was pronounced like a 'y'. He spoke fluently in Swahili. "The last time I saw you, Adnan, you were the tiniest boy in the whole village. H'tek was larger than you were," he said, referencing a seven-year-old boy who was comparitively taller. "You are even taller than your father now." Evan placed his palm on the backside of Adnan's head and embraced the young man in the way he used to when he was in the Sixty Tribes.

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"Thank you Godfather." The young man smiled as he welcomed Evan's embrace. "I have waited for this day, for you to return. We have all waited for you. Mr. Hiley." He said holding his respect as all young men of the village did. "Are you here to say with us now? Are you here to stay with us?"

Jennifer sighed from across the room. A small red book lay on the only other table in the room. Evan would know the book, but it was a first edition and the pages had yellowed. "No he won't be staying Adnan." She smiled. "I would love if he did, but I know that there are people..." She sighed. "That there is a person that needs your help more than I need your help." Jennifer picked up the book. A Woman's Heart: The Regard for Feminism in the Third World. "Her writing still touches me to this day, but you have a responsibility and that is why you cannot stay." Her voice trembled holding back tears.

"No!" Said Adnan standing up. "Evan! Please!" His formality fading away. "She...no...we...we need you. This village needs you. I need you. Please, you're an inspiration to me. I don't want to see you leave again."

"Adnan!" Jennifer glared. "We all have a destiny, yours is to grow strong and become a man of this village." She looked at Evan. "Yours. Yours is to console those who are lost." She embraced him again. "I have listened to world when I can. You have done great things. You must keep doing great things. For me...and for her."

Adnan turned his head in grief and covered his eyes. It was too saddening to look.

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"Adnan, Jennifer, I did not come here to bring grief," he said softly, wrapping his arms around Jennifer like a father would to a daughter. "I came here because I love you both. My name is cursed; all that I touch shrivels like a leaf in the winter. All except you. I want to help you. I want to help the village."

Evan patted Jennifer and opened his fist to Adnan. "Adnan, look at this idol. When I first met your mother I had lived in Nigeria most of my life. I believed in Ori." He waited for a moment as he set the idol on a shelf. "The Yoruba in Nigeria believe that a man's destiny is predetermined by choices made in heaven. If you are rich, you made the right choices - if you are poor, you must be patient because your choices delayed your success. In the end, if you lead a good life and go to heaven you are rewarded with the ultimate gift. They believe in Ori - most like a guardian angel who accompanies everybody through life. He is both individual and a collective, a personal spirit and a God. Feared by all demons."

The idol was a battered, wooden representation of a strong face. "Your mother was terrified as a deer being stalked by a lion. She called me her Ori - a protector. I am not quite sure that I fit the role, Adnan. I send money and keep the village safe from the other tribes, but the village cannot live off of the contributions from one man. I am an outsider. You are the future here."

Evan paused for a moment again and sighed. "I have come to take you, Adnan."

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Adnan stood proud to his godfather, with a beaming smile on his face. While Jennifer looked at Evan with drops of tears in her eyes. "This...this is an enormous honor Evan, you are too kind to both of us." She turned back and released herself from Evan's grasp as she walked over to Adnan and lay her hands on his shoulders. Throughout the country and indeed the entire world, all young men in someway were given their chance to continue on their right of passage, their transformation from childhood to manhood, the inheritance of responsibility to protect those weaker around them. Jennifer remember all too well those faithful minutes where Evan had been their for her as a small child and that she owed him the world, but now he had come to give her even more hope than she thought possible.

"Adnan. You are going to go with Evan and you are going to make me and this whole village proud. Is that understood. This..." She held back her tears. "This is where you become a man."

"I am ready mother."

She hugged him tightly and turned back to Evan. "He is yours now, take care of him and do not bring him back until he was completed what was set out to do." She closed her eyes. "And Evan, don't you come back until you find what you are looking for either. I read the tabloids to, I'll know when you find it and I'll know when Adnan is a man."

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Evan smiled and laughed on the inside, looking at the two in the hut with pride. "I may not come back for a while, Jennifer," he told her quietly, hugging her tight and protectively. "We may not be back for a while, Jennifer," he corrected himself. Evan lowered his chin onto her head and started humming a slow-paced tune.

I used to hum this to get her to sleep, he reminisced sadly. After a few minutes, he blinked a few times to wipe a tear away from his eyes and let go of Jennifer. Evan walked over to his bag and pulled out several things. First was a briefcase filled with dozens of stacks of cash, each of them a few thousand dollars in twenties. The instructions were simple and written down in Swahili - distribute them to each villager. It should last for a long time. The second was a semiautomatic pistol modified to be illegal in several countries. The third was, predictably, a rather large stockpile of ammo for a pistol. Finally, he pulled out a pack of batteries and a battery recharger.

"Whenever you go into town, protect yourself and recharge the batteries, alright?" Evan sighed in relief that this was over and looked at Jennifer. "He will be going places, Jennifer. In fact, our first stop after we head to Ross Island is Australia - he'll be traveling all around the world."

He walked to the door of the hut and waited for Adnan to say goodbye to his mother.

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Taking the briefcase, with a bit of anxiety to her movements, Jennifer smiled up at Evan and embraced him once more. The tune was enough for the worries of the world to go away, at least for a time. But Adnan standing there, ready to leave, even though she had waited for this moment for a long time it was still the hardest moment of her life. "You be brave now, both of you. There are few journeys in our lives that are not to be prepared for mentally and so I wish you well." Walking over she embraced Adnan once more. "Return home to me a man, make me proud as a mother to have raised you right and learn from the world. Learn from everyone you meet, be kind, be polite, and ask questions. There are wiser than you out there, learn from them."

"Yes Mother. I will."

"Then go and I will see you both in a long time."

As they would leave the village, Jennifer would watch. Her hand clenched on her heart in absolute sadness and feeling at what awaited her two men as they headed out into the wilderness. There, beyond the hills, was a new world, a world of demons and dragons, of vikings and barbarians, of princes and princesses, but most of all there was a world that neither Evan nor Adnan truly knew much about.

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It was an oddly appropriate song for the journey he was on right now. Well, really, it wasn't a song as much as it was a mash-up. Some new TV show combined a few songs and covered it and a radio station was playing it for whatever reason. In any case, the song made him smile as they parked their car in the Japanese airport. The crowded-as-balls airport was difficult to navigate through but it wouldn't be as difficult as the next girl he had to see.

---

Her name was Toyota Honda-Hyundai Mitsubishi. Her parents were, obviously, stoned as hell when they named her but she felt it was a great enough conversation starter. It was one of the reasons he was afraid to ride a Japanese (or Korean) car for fear of memories of riding Toyota (oh yeah, euphemisms up in this !@#$%*) coming back into his mind. Of course, it didn't help that her sister was Kia Daewoo and that she was considerably hotter but he avoided Asian cars in general.

Evan fondly remembered her as almost as big a player as he. It was only when he realized that they had no emotional attachment whatsoever did he give up on her. It was also because he was in trouble with the law and was about to get thrown in jail but he decided not to mention it to her. She was aggressive and he was sure that she would beat his $@! if he ever told her the truth. In any case, he was prepared for the assault.

Hours later (and smelling much better thanks to some strange scent) they arrived at Toyota Honda-Hyundai Mitsubishi's house and knocked.

"I hope she doesn't still use mace."

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