It’s coming together. I’m a bit uncertain how things will play out after this point, which is exciting because even I don’t know! This is chapter 6, unedited. You can keep track of my progress HERE.
When Banks came back from the mission, they presented their flags and they were allowed to have lunch. They heard that one groups hadn’t returned yet and they speculated what had happened when they finally arrived, an hour late. Everybody knew then why and they were being taunted and their cheeks turned red. Banks, however, had decided to sit alone, his mind too occupied by the image of the girl. He had seen some girls in his civilian life, he remember Rebecca, who didn’t last more than a couple of weeks. They hadn’t broken up, or anything, hell they hadn’t even formally been together. They had just trailed off once they get to know each other and they realised they didn’t like each other in that way after all. Then there was Marry. She moved away before they could form a relationship and they were still in this exploration phase where everything about the other person is fascinating and sexy… Her leaving hurt the most out of all of them, because it wasn’t sure if it’d work or not. All of these was when he was young and still in school, however. He stopped being around women when school ended, at least he never saw them in that way again. There was something about school that sparked the interest, but adult life, it had another flare to it that he didn’t like, until today. He had always wondered about love on first sight, he wasn’t sure if it even was love, or simply curiously? He was enamoured, that’s for sure and he found himself, as he saw her in his mind’s eye, that she would turn around so that he could see her face. She did, in his mind, but the face was empty. His mind wandered to her hair and her body and he flushed with a soft smile. He heard somebody place their plate on the table and he blinked and he realised he had been staring at his food all along. He looked around, saw that the table was full of people – Hjalmar was sitting across to him. Where did his team go? How long had he been spacing out?
Hjalmar looked at him curiously. “You’re a strange one,” Hjalmar said. “I’ve never seen you space out like that,” leaning back against his chair.
“Is that so,” Banks said and continued eating. Banks could hear jeers from a distant table and he wondered who they were directed to. He noticed Hjalmar was trying his hardest to ignore them.
After a moments pause, Hjalmar said. “What are you hiding?”
Banks almost chocked on a piece of mini carrot. He considered lying but decided against it, it was obvious now and he wasn’t really good at lying on the spot. “It’s that obvious, huh?”
“Man, your cheeks could replace my reading lamp at night they are so red.”
His remarks earned him a couple of chuckles nearby and he knew that the cat was out of the bag. He leaned in over the table and whispered. “I saw a girl, earlier today.”
Hjalmar raised an eyebrow. “A girl? Are you sure?”
They leaned back. “I mean, I think so… But then again, she was so beautiful that I can’t be sure.”
Hjalmar touched his chin. “It would surprise me that any civilians would still live on this island. It sure looked abandoned, to me.”
“Right!” Banks cried and earned some looks. Banks lowered his voice. “I actually saw a house, a big house; maybe a mansion, when we marched her on the first day. It was licking the coast on the north end near the docks. Couldn’t see if it were abandoned or not, though. Too far away.”
Hjalmar shrugged. “Well, not that it’s any concern of us. I’m just worried about her safety.”
“How do you figure?”
“You’re quite naive when you want to, Banks. Mind, we are not all bad people,” he said and glanced at the table over that was as loud as ever, their laughter seeming to be directed at them. “But there are some scumbags.”
Banks looked around the table and realised that they all looked pretty down, trying to ignore the jeers which now only the big guy was casting. It took a moment before he realised what Hjalmar meant and was appalled. “You think they would hurt her?”
“I wouldn’t put it past them,” he said and grit his teeth.
Banks thought about and said. “Well, she was probably imaginary, anyway.”
“If it were you, I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said. Then, tired from not getting a response, the big guy threw a potato, but Hjalmar was ready and it landed on the table with a splash. Banks blinked and asked what had happened. Hjalmar smiled and commented on his perception and said they had been an hour late. They found Banks alone on the table. Blanks blushed. Then they talked about why they were late, that the flag had been hidden, that their part of the island was more difficult than the others. But in the end, there was no excuse and they went their separate ways to their barracks. They had some free time before training this afternoon and Banks decided to read in bed. The friends in the Barracks said they had tried to wake him up from his thoughts but was unable. Banks found that unlikely and figured they left him there for a goof. Not that he was mad. After reading for a a while, there was some commotion as some from the Barracks over surrounded his bed. “Banks, was it?”
“Yes…” Banks said, a bit stunned.
“You saw a lady, I heard. She was beautiful, eh? What did she look like?”
They all looked eager to hear, but Banks didn’t feel like sharing, but as more and more people gathered around him, he felt obligated to talk. He should have figured that there would have been somebody from his table at lunch that heard what he told Hjalmar, or maybe Hjalmar told them? Banks waved away the thought and and he started to describe what he remembered. He described how he hair and skirt billowed in the wind; that he saw the neat contours of her body as the clothes licked her skin. They wanted to know how big her breasts were and her ass was like, but he couldn’t say for sure, because she’d been too far away. When he was out of details, the questions dried off and they went to kill time in another way. Banks laid down to read a book, when he heard. “So you really did see a girl then,” he said, as a statement rather than a question.
“People can think what they want,” Banks snarled.
“Oh, I believe you. A story so sparse with details can only be true.”
It occurred to Banks then that that’s what they had been hoping for, a story, a ridiculous story, but he wasn’t good at making stuff up and hoped that the rumour would settle down from now. Instead of reading, he closed his eyes and saw the girl before his eyes, nurturing the memory like a baby, cherishing it like a piece of treasure. His visions were only broken when he heard unsettling chuckles over his bed. Banks wondered what sort of comedy he was reading.
© Christopher Stamfors