The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

Zuangeng Kidnapped

One night, they ran into the storm.

Muse said, “What are you doing out here?”

Zuangeng said, “To find out what the commotion is about! The yelling woke me up. What time is it?”

Muse said, “Two in the morning. If you are going to be out here, get your clothes on.”

Zuangeng went to his cabin. He got his clothes, including his shoes and socks on. He exited the cabin. His clothes quickly got soaked. The commotion had died down. The storm had died down. It was still raining; but, the wind was calmer.

The crew were preparing the life boats. Zuangeng found Captain Garaad. He said, “What is going on?”

Captain Garaad said, “We are preparing to go ashore.”

Zuangeng said, “Will the life boats make it over the reef?”

Captain Garaad said, “The water is deep enough. You’ll be with me.”

Zuangeng said, “Who else will be with us?”

Captain Garaad said, “There will be Muse and Bilal. Some of my crew will be with us.”

Zuangeng remained with Captain Garaad. The boats were lowered. Captain Garaad, Zuangeng, Muse, Bilal and two others got in one boat. One man with a lantern sat in the bow. Another man grabbed the oars.

They rowed across the reef into the lagoon. It continued to rain with lightning and thunder. The man with the lanterns at the bows guided the rowers. The water in the lagoon was quieter than in the open ocean. There were still waves; but, not as big.

They reached the sandy shore of a small island.

The men got out of the boats into water. Zuangeng jumped into the water with them. He walked onto the shore. The men pulled the boats onto the shore.

Most of the men and Zuangeng stayed with the boats. Those with lanterns searched for shelter. They found some abandoned houses inland. The houses were surrounded by overgrown grasses and bushes. Some retained their roofs. None of them retained their windows nor doors. The timbers showed signs of decay. The houses with roofs, the men on reconnaissance deemed them suitable for the remainder of the night.

They returned and reported to Captain Garaad. Captain Garaad said, “We shelter in the houses. When it’s daylight, we’ll survey the area.”

They reached the houses. They split among the suitable houses. Captain Garaad retained Zuangeng, Bilal, Muse and one man with a lantern with him. They entered one house. The wood floor was littered with dust, leaves and other debris. The walls were bare wood. The frame of the house was visible. The windows were bare of any glass, not even of shards. The window frames were laying on the floor.

They cleared an area of the floor as best as they could. Zuangeng, even, helped. They laid down and soon were asleep, except Zuangeng. He laid on the floor, still wet as everybody else. He felt a slight chill.

He, eventually, sat up. He surveyed the room. The men were asleep, some snoring. He could not sleep.

He got up on his bare feet. He silently walked to the doorway.

He stopped in the doorway. He turned to look behind him. The men were still sleeping. He turned back to look out. Rain still came down; however, there was no more lightning nor thunder. It was not raining as hard, more like a drizzle.  It was still dark outside. The only light was from the lantern on the floor. He left the lantern behind.

He exited the house. He looked around. He barely saw the houses. The clouds had thinned admitting some moonlight to dimly filter through.

He turned left. He walked through the tall grass. He came across another house. Dim light of a lantern could be seen in the doorway. Nobody was awake. He continued his journey among the houses.

He came to the last house. He looked at it. It was vacant, having no roof. He walked past it.

He continued walking among the grass and shrubs. It stopped raining. It remained overcast. Eventually, it got lighter as the sun had started to rise. He looked into the sky. The clouds were grey except for the red ones on the eastern horizon.

He entered a mahogany forest. He stopped and turned around. He heard a cacophony of voices from the houses. He could not make out any words. A bunch of voices could be heard all at once. He said to himself, “They must have discovered me gone. I need to keep moving lest I be found. Don’t know what they’d do to me if discovered.”

He proceeded to continue his escape.

Captain Garaad was the first to wake up. It was just getting light in the room. He sat up and looked at the men. They were still asleep. He checked on Zuangeng. He, suddenly, sat bolt upright. Zuangeng was not there. He looked around the room. The only sign of Zuangeng was his shoes and socks. He, himself, was nowhere.

Captain Garaad jumped onto his feet. He kicked the men with his bare feet. He screamed, “Wake up, damn idiots! Somebody should have stood watch over Zuangeng! The damn boy is missing!”

Muse said, “What the fuck? He can’t fuckin’ escape! Shokura will have our heads for it!”

Captain Garaad said, “Somebody search the damn house! Everybody else, wake everybody up! Search the houses! That damn boy must be found!”

Muse searched the house. Everybody else, including Captain Garaad, went to the other houses. When everybody was awake, they slipped their shoes on. They went from house to house searching for Zuangeng. They yelled sometimes in unison, sometimes in discordance. They yelled, “Zuangeng! Where the fuck are you!?”, “Damn kid, where the hell is he?!” They yelled other unsavory sentences.

They never did find him. They gathered together. Captain Garaad said, “Since the damn kid is not anywhere around, fan out! Look for any traces of where the hell he went! Look around the edges of this hamlet!”

Everybody went to all the edges, looking for any sign. Shortly, Bilal yelled, “I found his tracks! They are heading east!”

Captain Garaad came to him. He studied the trampled grass. He said, “Sure enough, he did go the fuck east.”

Everybody else gathered around Captain Garaad. They were about to report ‘no trace’ when Captain Garaad said, “We know which way he went! Stay together and follow me!”

They followed the tracks.

Zuangeng turned around. He walked toward the east. He walked among the trees. He jumped over any fallen branches. After about thirty minutes, he changed course. He headed more to the south, toward the shore. He came to the southern edge of the forest. Tall grass extended to the sand.

He exited the forest. He walked through the grass.

The band of men reached the forest. They stopped. Captain Garaad surveyed the forest from the edge. He looked to the south. He said, “Bilal, take half the men into the forest. The rest with me.”

Bilal took half of the men into the forest. He said, “Form groups of three and fan out. Everybody head east.”

They did as they were told. They walked the forest, looking in all directions. They searched for him or any trace of where he went.

Captain Garaad led the rest south along the forest border. They reached the southern forest border. Captain Garaad looked to the east. He thought he saw some movement of grass. The wind was blowing. Now, the clouds were dissipating. The sun was starting to come out. There were patches of sunlight on the grass. He said, “Muse, go into the forest. Find Bilal. Tell him to head south. That must be the kid!”

Muse entered the forest. He headed northeast. He expected to run into Bilal in that direction.

Captain Garaad said, “Everybody, form into groups of three. Spread out and head east. We may catch the damn twerp, yet!”

Zuangeng continued walking through the grass. He thought he heard voices closer than before. They came from his right. He stopped. He turned the direction of the voices. He looked over the tops of the grass. He thought, “That must be them. They’re heading this way.”

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Boy and the Sea Dragon

Chapter Twenty Seven

Cheated

One day, Zuangeng got separated from his buddies. He walked along a street. He started to sing his song about the Serikua.

A man walked by. He heard Zuangeng singing. He stopped to listen. Zuangeng kept walking. Even though the man could not understand the lyrics, he liked the song anyway. He walked after Zuangeng. He caught up with him. He put his right hand on Zuangeng’s left shoulder. Zuangeng stopped. He turned left slightly. He turned his head more. He looked up at the man. The man turned in front of Zuangeng. He pulled some money out of his left front pants pocket. He grabbed Zuangeng’s left hand. He held the hand open, palm up. He deposited the coins into the palm. The coins jingled as they hit each other. Zuangeng looked down at his hand. The man curled Zuangeng’s fingers over the coins. The man complemented Zuangeng, “Zuri imba.”

“Eh?” Zuangeng said. He stood as he watched the man walk off. He opened his hand. He looked at the coins. He had no clue as to their value. He reclosed his hand around them. He continued walking.

He came upon an alley. He entered it. Trash laid on the ground. Trash bins lined the alleyway. He walked through the alley. He rummaged through the trash with his right hand. He looked in the bins. He found a somewhat clean tin can. He picked it up. He dropped the coins into it. He carried the can wherever he went.

He started to stand at street corners. He sang his two songs and some sea chanties when people came by. Sometimes, he would dance, too. The people would stop to listen and watch. They dropped money into his tin can.

Late one afternoon, he ran across a clothing store. He stopped. He entered the store. He looked around. He selected a pair of blue pants, a white short sleeved shirt, a pair of shoes and socks. He walked to the counter. He placed the items on it.

The  clerk rang them up. He spoke Jalapean, “Ambaye kuwa kumi na tano hamsini tisa.”

Zuangeng could not understand what the clerk had just said. He just knew that he needed to pay for the clothing. He knew nothing about the country’s currency. He emptied the can onto the counter. He expected the clerk to count out the required money for him and give the rest back.

The clerk counted the money. Another clerk watched him; but, remained silent. The clerk said, “Ndiyo, kumi na tano hamsini tisa juu alama.”

The clerk took all the money. He gave Zuangeng the clothes and a receipt. Zuangeng disappeared with his purchases.

The observant clerk turned to the first clerk. He said, “You know that that was twenty that he had, not fifteen fifty nine!”

The first clerk said, “Eh. He apparently didn’t know that.”

Zuangeng found a fitting room. He pulled the tags off. He dropped them on the floor. He put the clothes on. He stuffed the receipt in his left front pants pocket. He exited the room and the store.

He continued roaming the streets. Occasionally, he would stand at corners and sing and dance. He would sing his songs and some chanties he knew. People would stop, listen and watch. They could not understand him. He, always, sang in Cingalia, the only language he knew them in. They just liked his singing voice. They would give him some money anyway.

A couple of days later, he ventured into a jewelry store. He walked around looking at the jewelry. He found a men’s necklace he liked. The clerk showed it to him. The chain was silver. A gold dragon with a sapphire for its eye hung from it. Zuangeng decided to buy it. The clerk rang it up. He said, “Ambaye kuwa kuwa thelathini taisini tano.”

A man was standing near Zuangeng. He observed the transaction. Zuangeng put his money on the counter. He expected the clerk to count the money. He expected change back.

The clerk counted the money. He claimed, “Ndiyo wewe wana le sakiki idadi.”

The clerk took the money. He gave Zuangeng the necklace. The clerk went to attend to another customer.

Zuangeng put the necklace on. He started to walk away. The observant man walked up behind Zuangeng. He put his hands on Zuangeng’s shoulders. Zuangeng stopped. The man said, “Hey, kijana! Ja enye mimi.”

Zuangeng felt obliged to go with him. The man led him back to the counter. He beckoned the clerk over. He said to the clerk, “Hey, ke hapo!”

The clerk pointed to himself.

The man said, “Ndiyo ke sir! Ja hapa!”

The clerk came over. He said, “Guni fanye ke (want)?”

The man said, “Ke (cheated) hayu mitato. Ambaye (was) (no) thelathini taisini tano (he) (gave) ke. Ambaye (was) hamsini. Ke wanadeni (some change)!”

“(It) (makes no difference)! (Obviously) (he knows nothing about) fedha,” the clerk retorted.

The man said, “(But), mimi fanya. (Give him his change), (now)! Mimi kowa kuwa (watching) nu (counting)! (If) ke fanya hapana, mimiwa (call) le (police)!”

The clerk counted out the change as the man watched. The man took it. He counted it out. He showed Zuangeng how to count the change. He gave it to Zuangeng. He said, “Huyu kowa ka fedha. Ke hoja kwo jifunza etu fedha.”

Zuangeng bowed his head. He accepted the money. He put it in his pants pocket. He exited the store.

Zuangeng learned the currency. Honest people, even street kids, helped him. He learned how to tell when they tried to cheat him. He picked up on some more words. He still could not really speak the language.

 

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

Zuangeng Kidnapped

One night, they ran into the storm. Muse said, “What are you doing out here?”

Zuangeng said, “To find out what the commotion is about! The yelling woke me up. What time is it?”

Muse said, “Two in the morning. If you are going to be out here, get your clothes on.”

Zuangeng went to his cabin. He got his clothes, including his shoes and socks, on. He exited the cabin. His clothes quickly got soaked. The commotion had died down. The storm had died down. It was still raining; but, the wind was calmer.

The crew were preparing the life boats. Zuangeng found Captain Garaad. He said, “What is going on?”

Captain Garaad said, “We are preparing to go ahore.”

Zuangeng said, “Will the life boats make it over the reef?”

Captain Garaad said, “The water is deep enough. You’ll be with me.”

Zuangeng said, “Who else will be with us?”

Captain Garaad said, “There will be Muse and Bilal. Some of my crew will be with us.”

Zuangeng remained with Captain Garaad. The boats were lowered. Captain Garaad, Zuangeng, Muse, Bilal and two others got in one boat. One man with a lantern sat in the bow. Another man grabbed the oars.

They rowed across the reef into the lagoon. It continued to rain with lightning and thunder. The men with the lanterns at the bows guided the rowers. The water in the lagoon was quieter than in the open ocean. There were still waves; but, not as big.

They reached the sandy shore of a small island.

The men got out of the boats into water. Zuangeng jumped into the water with them. He walked onto the shore. The men pulled the boats onto the shore.

Most of the men and Zuangeng stayed with the boats. Those with lanterns searched for shelter. They found some abandoned houses inland. The houses were surrounded by overgrown grasses and bushes. Some retained their roofs. None of them retained their windows nor doors. The timbers showed signs of decay. The houses with roofs, the men on reconnaissance deemed them suitable for the remainder of the night.

They returned and reported to Captain Garaad. Captain Garaad said, “We shelter in the houses. When it’s daylight, we’ll survey the area.”

They reached the houses. They split among the suitable houses. Captain Garaad retained Zuangeng, Bilal, Muse and one man with a lantern with him. They entered one house. The wood floor was littered dust, leaves and other debris. The walls were bare wood. The frame of the house was visible. The windows were bare of any glass, not even of shards. The window frames were laying on the floor.

They cleared an area of the floor as best as they could. Zuangeng, even, helped. They laid down and soon were asleep, except Zuangeng. He laid on the floor, still wet as everybody else. He felt a slight chill.

He, eventually, sat up. He surveyed the room. The men were asleep, some snoring. He could not sleep. He got up on his bare feet. He silently walked to the doorway.

He stopped in the doorway. He turned to look behind him. The men were still sleeping. He turned back to look out. Rain still came down; however, there was no more lightning nor thunder. It was not raining as hard, more like a drizzle. It was still dark outside. The only light was from the lantern on the floor. He left the lantern behind.

He exited the house. He looked around. He barely saw the houses. The clouds had thinned admitting some moonlight to dimly filter through.

He turned left. He walked through the tall grass. He came across another house. Dim light of a lantern could be seen in the doorway. Nobody was wake. He continued his journey among the houses.

He came to the last house. He looked at it. It was vacant, having no roof. He walked past it.

He continued walking among the grass and shrubs. It stopped raining. It remained overcast. Eventually, it got lighter as the sun had started to rise. He looked into the sky. The clouds were grey except for the red ones on the eastern horizon.

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Boy and the Sea Dragon

Kulathra

Chapter Twenty Six

Meet the Gang

The dragons arrived at Kulathra. Ciyonaung followed behind Xianjeng. They flew over the city. It was a sprawling city. A river running into the ocean split the city. The river’s mouth was lined with docks and ships. The ocean’s shores were sandy. There were people on the shore and in the water. Men worked on the docks.

They landed in the river near some empty docks. Xianjeng said, “I expect it will be days before the Serikua will arrive. I don’t know what you expect to be doing during that time.”

Ciyonaung admitted, “I’m not sure myself. I’ll manage somehow.”

“Do not reveal your ability to transform,” Xianjeng advised. He watched Ciyonaung turn back to Zuangeng.

Zuangeng swam left to the nearest dock. He reached a ladder. He climbed it. Water ran off him. He stood on the dock. He was dripping water. He waved to Xianjeng. Xianjeng waved his wing back. Zuangeng watched him. Xianjeng took off. He flew toward the ocean. He disappeared.

Zuangeng turned around. He walked along the dock inland. No people were around. He turned right. He walked down the road. He ran across some dockworkers working. They had darker skin than him. Their black hair were in tight curls. His sandy blond hair was straight. They wore work clothes. He was naked. They watched him as they worked.

He had been around the harbor with Captain Esiada. He had heard Captain Esiada talk Jalapean with people. He never bothered to learn it. He heard some of the conversations.

He left the docks. He walked into the business district. Clothed people walked around. The children wore clothes, too.

He walked the streets. He came to an alley. He looked down it. Close by, stood three boys and two girls. Two boys wore shorts. One girl wore shorts and a short sleeved shirt. The other two were like him, naked. All of them were bare foot.

The tallest boy sighted Zuangeng first. He had a deep voice, obviously, a teenager. He spoke street Jalapean, “Tazuma guni sisi wana hapa. Hey, mitato, ja hapa!”

“Eh?’ Zuangeng said. He looked at the boy. He turned away. He continued to walk.

The five kids ran after him. They ran in front of him. They turned around to face him. The teen boy put his left hand out, palm outward. He said, “Simama, mitato! Guniwa wa kowa fanya hapa?”

Zuangeng stopped. He looked at the boy. Apparently, he must be the leader. He seemed to want something. Zuangeng said, “Ikala donaka kinala lenagi amia aita lakang.”

The teen boy looked at Zuangeng. He said, “Guni namna mjadala wa ambaye?”

Zuangeng stared at him. He cocked his head to his right. The teen’s shorts legs were torn. His short black hair was tightly curled. His skin was like the dockworkers, dark brown. Zuangeng looked at the other kids. Their clothes were torn as well. Their skins were like the teen’s. One girl was darker than the others. The girls’ black, tightly curled hairs were bushy.

The teen walked to Zuangeng’s right side. He put his left arm around Zuangeng’s shoulders. He turned his head to look at Zuangeng. Zuangeng turned his head to look at the teen. He wondered what the teen was up to. The boy said, “Hey, mitato. Kuwa sharti kowa pya karibu hapa. Kuwa ganda kwa sisitu. Sisiwa onyesha kuwa likamba.”

He put his right hand on his bare chest. He said, “Licha ya haya mamiwa Emelabad. Guniwa kajena?”

Zuangeng could not quite understand what Emelabad had said. By what Emelabad did, he thought the teen had just introduced himself. He put his left hand on his own chest. He merely said, “Zuangeng.”

Emelabad said, not pronouncing his name right, “Haya, Zuangeng. Sisiwa enda kwo pita kita kwala. Fuata etu risasi.”

They walked off. Emelabad kept his arm around Zuangeng’s shoulders. Zuangeng hesitated. He did not know what was happening. The pressure Emelabad was exerting on his shoulders indicated to Zuangeng that Emelabad wanted him to come, too. He walked with them.

They came to a grocery store. They walked around it to an alley. Emelabad steered Zuangeng. They entered it. They walked to the store’s back door. Emelabad made a face of hunger and pleading. He told Zuangeng, “Lini limta funyua limlango, ke haja kwo  tazama namna hayu.”

Zuangeng just looked at him, not comprehending. He repeated, “Ikala donaka kinala lenagi amia aita lakang!”

Emelabad stared at him. Zuangeng tried, “I don’t know what you are saying!”

Emelabad said, “Guni emamoja wazimu mjadala kowa ambaye?”

Zuangeng stared back at him. Emelabad continued, “Usijabi. Ke ambia limtu, ‘Weza mami wana kita kwo la?’ ”

Zuangeng continued staring. He cocked his head to the right. Emelabad removed his arm from Zuangeng’s shoulders. He walked around to Zuangeng’s front. He reached up. He raised the inside corners of Zuangeng’s eyebrows. He lowered the corners of Zuangeng’s mouth. He took Zuangeng’s right arm. He put the arm across Zuangeng’s stomach. He said, “Hapo! Weka ambaye sura nu kewa pita kiasi chakula.”

Zuangeng dropped his arm when Emelabad released it. He lost the facial expression. Emelabad sighed. He said, “Ndiokwonza fuata etu risasi.”

The kids walked to the door. Emelabad knocked on it. Zuangeng stood aside. He watched them. Emelabad and his companions struck the pose.

The door opened. A burly man stood in the doorway. He had dark brown skin. His black hair was tightly curled. This was the typical Jalapean look. Zuangeng kept silent. All the other kids spoke Jalapean, “Can I have somethin’ to eat?”

The man  looked them over. He saw Zuangeng. He spoke Jalapean, “I see you recruited somebody new.”

Emelabad said, “We discovered him today. He talk funny. Now, there is six of us.”

“I’ll be back with some food,” the man said. He disappeared. He came back with some bread, slices of meat, cheese and raw carrots. He handed them to the kids. He walked back in. He closed the door.

They walked off. Zuangeng followed on his own. They found a clear place. They sat down. Zuangeng followed suit. They ate the food. They shared it with Zuangeng.

Zuangeng decided to hang out with them. He learned the names of the other four. He picked up on some of the words they spoke. He followed their leads.

One day, they went to the ocean beach. The one boy took his shorts off. He became naked. Emelabad and the older girl retained their clothes. Zuangeng stood in the sand, looking out over the ocean. He had picked up enough Jalapean to hold a small conversation with Emelabad.

Emelabad walked up to him. He looked at Zuangeng. Zuangeng had a look of longing about him. Emelabad said, still mispronouncing the name, “What’s a matter, Zuangeng?”

Zuangeng said, “I wish I was home.”

Emelabad said, “Where is your home?”

Zuangeng pointed toward the ocean. He said, “Out there.”

Emelabad said, “Well. You’ll kinda be out there. We’re going out to swim.”

They waded out in the water. They swam. Emelabad, the older girl and Zuangeng went out further than the rest.

 

 

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

Zuangeng’s Kidnapping

“We’s run aground!” yelled outside his cabin woke Zuangeng. He opened his eyes. He could not see anything. Light flashing through the three portholes briefly revealed an empty cabin. His clothes laid in a corner. Thunder exploded outside. He laid in his bunk, listening to the Jalapean chaos outside.

“We’s still in da ocean! How’s we aground?”

“It’s a reef, damn moron!”

“Reef’s punch a hole! We’s shipping water! We’s sinking!”

Zuangeng got out of the bunk. He felt the wood floor on his bare feet. A flash of light briefly revealed the cabin’s door. He felt his way to the door. He opened the door. He exited the cabin into strong wind and pouring rain. The wind blew his hair across his face until the rain pasted it to his forehead. Some of his hair hung over his eyes. He became thoroughly soaked quickly.

It was dark. The only lights were lanterns carried by the Jalapean crew. He felt the wet deck under his feet. Lightning flashes revealed the scene. Light reflected off the wet deck. The Jalapean crew scurried about the deck.

The men were dressed whereas he was naked. Their clothes were soaked. He felt water hit and run down his body.

The ship was listing to starboard and stern. He walked to the starboard railing, astern of the paddlewheel housing. He grabbed the railing with both hands. Like everything else outside, it was wet. Light glinted off all the wet surfaces when lightning flashed. Thunder sounded like cannons going off.

He looked over the side. Lightning revealed large waves heading starboard and toward the bow. Some hit the housing spraying Zuangeng. He looked toward the bow. Another bolt of lightning revealed the remains of the ruined paddlewheel. Water was slightly above the axle. Light glinted off the large waves.

“Hey, kid,” came from behind him. He twirled around to face Muse. He brushed his hair from his eyes.

Zuangeng was wondering about the harbor at Mikitaya. He wore a pair of blue pants, white short sleeve shirt and pair of brown shoes. His black hair hung below his shoulder blades. He was alone. His uncle and aunt learned to trust him being alone. He was waiting for the Serikua to arrive.

He grew hungry. He stopped at a café. He entered it. Sitting at a table, looking at him was Muse. Zuangeng looked at him with distaste and loathing. Muse was with four other men.

The only available table was close to Muse’s table. Zuangeng sat facing Muse.

Muse turned to face the men. Bilal said, “Muse, what happened to your face?”

Muse said, “A small damn dragon attacked me, last year.”

Last year, Zuangeng was visiting friends in Kulathra. He had arrived on the Serikua. Captain Esiada let him visit his friends. He wore red shorts and nothing else. He walked the streets with his buddy, Emelabad. Emelabad’s gang was with them.

A Jalapean man approached them. He said, “Is this Zuangeng?”

Zuangeng said, “What if I am?”

The man said, “A mutual friend wants to see you.”

Emelabad said, “Zuangeng, don’t follow him. He is Muse, one of Shokura’s men.”

Zuangeng said, “Leave us alone. Shokura is no friend of mine!”

Zuangeng, Emelabad and gang walked off. Muse followed them. Zuangeng looked back. He said, Emelabad, run! Everybody else run. You guys go ahead. I’m running in a different direction.

Emelabad and his gang took off running. Zuangeng parted with them. He ran to the left. Muse ran after him, leaving Emelabad’s gang alone.

Zuangeng ran across the street, Muse in pursuit. They came to an alley. They entered it. Zuangeng found a large full trash bin. He jumped into it and buried himself.

Muse came to the trash bin. He looked in it. He rummaged through the trash looking for Zuangeng. What he found was a small blue sea dragon.

Ciyonaung felt  the trash on top of him move. He felt some heat on his back. He raised his head and looked at Muse. Muse said, “What a freakin’ hell?”

Ciyonaung snarled and growled at him.

Muse said, “A boy jumped in here. Where’s he?”

Ciyonaung said, growling, “Don’t know who you are talking about!”

Muse pulled his gun out. He pointed it at the dragon’s face.  He said, “Don’t play me, fuckin’ dragon!”

Ciyonaung quickly reared up. He reached out with his right paw. He raked Muse’s nose and cheeks from just below his eyes. He ended at the bottom of Muse’s jaw. There were three bloody gashes in Muse’s face. Ciyonaung spread his wings. He leaped at Muse.

Muse ducked saying, “Damn dragon!”

Ciyonaung glided over Muse. He flew out of the alley and was gone.

Muse looked through the trash again. He never saw Zuangeng until at the café. He said, “I don’t give a fuck about what Shokura said. Next time I see that dragon, I’m gonna kill the damn dragon!”

The waiter came to Zuangeng’s table. He took his order. Bilal knew Cingalia. He heard Zuangeng’s order. He got up and left the table. Ten minutes later, he returned.

Zuangeng got his food. He ate. Soon, he grew tired. His eyes closed and head fell. He was asleep with his head in the food.

He woke to find himself in a cabin empty of everything but the bunk he laid in. He sat up. He found the three portholes. He looked out one of them. The deck and starboard railing come into view. He looked  past the railing. There was water with swells. In the distance, about a mile Zuangeng estimated, was the shore of a Cinga Archipelago island. He looked at himself. He wore the same clothes he had at the café. He was bare footed.

He got out of the bunk. He looked for his shoes and socks. He found them under the bunk. He left them there. He walked out the cabin bare foot.

The sun was shining. Some clouds floated in the sky. A breeze from starboard blew his hair across his face. There was no mast just the deck, stern railing and water.

He turned left. He went around the starboard corner. He met Bilal. Bilal said, “Zuangeng, what are you doing out?”

Zuangeng said, “Getting some air. Besides, the door was not locked.”

Bilal said, “Come with me. We need to see the captain about you.”

Zuangeng followed him. They walked toward the bow. Half way, he noticed a wooden structure. It curved up and down. Zuangeng said, “What is that?”

Bilal said, “That is the housing for a paddlewheel.”

Zuangeng said, “What is a paddlewheel?”

Bilal said, “Come and look for yerself.”

They walked to the railing astern of the housing. They looked over the side. Bilal pointed at the paddlewheel. Zuangeng looked at it. A metal disk was at the center. White wood spokes radiated from it. Three circular metal bands of different diameters were evenly spaced on the spokes. At the end of each spoke was a white wood board extending toward the hull. Close to the hull was the same thing. The whole assembly spun. About a quarter of the paddlewheel was underwater. When the boards astern left the water, water ran off them. Then, water dripped off them. Half of the paddlewheel was covered by the housing. Bilal said, “This is how this ship is propelled. We need to continue.”

They continued toward the bow. They came to a flight of stairs. They climbed the stairs. They reached the top. Before them was a small cabin at the bow edge of the deck. There was a door in the back wall. They walked to the door. Bilal opened the door. They entered  the cabin. There were windows in the front wall. There was the helm with the helmsman standing, holding it. Beside him was Captain Abduwali Garaad. Bilal said, “I caught Zuangeng wondering the deck. We should lock him in his cabin.”

Captain Garaad said, “We are at sea, far from any land. He can’t swim to shore. Let him have free range over the ship. Just watch him!”

Bilal said, “Okay. Hear that, Zuangeng?”

Zuangeng said, “Yes.”

They left the wheelhouse. Zuangeng said, “I’m hungry. Is there anything to eat?”

Bilal said, “I’ll find you something. Come with me.”

He took Zuangeng to the mess. Zuangeng sat at a table while Bilal went into the galley. Bilal returned with a plate of food, a glass of water and silverware. He put them in front of Zuangeng. Zuangeng looked at the food and water. He looked at Bilal. Bilal said, “Don’t worry! It’s not laced. Eat!”

Zuangeng ate. The only thing that happened was he got full. Bilal returned the dishes to the galley. They exited the mess.

Zuangeng roamed the ship, always with Bilal. Sometimes, they stood at the railing looking over the water. Zuangeng’s hair would blow in the wind. Occasionally, he could see it hanging over his eyes. They hardly exchanged words the whole time. Zuangeng would have some meals with Captain Garaad.

 

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Boy and the Sea Dragon

Chapter Twenty Five

Ciyonaung Versus the Storm

One day, they ran into some turbulence. Clouds were in the sky. They were increasing in number. They were getting darker as well.

Xianjeng landed in the rough water. Zuangeng sat up. He looked around. Rough water was all he saw besides the darkening sky. Xianjeng rocked in the water. Xianjeng said, “Looks like we are heading toward a storm. If we run into it, I’ll see what we can do about it. It’s getting almost too rough to fly.”

“If we can, I’d like to fly over the storm. I’ve only seen them from below. I’d like to see one from above!” Zuangeng said.

“I can’t take you over one. The tops of storms are usually over the limit of human endurance,” Xianjeng said.

“I’ll do it as a dragon if I must,” Zuangeng said.

“Alright. We’ll have to see the storm, first. Is the turbulence getting to be too much for you?” Xianjeng said.

“Not yet; but, I’ll let you know if it does,” Zuangeng said.

‘You ought to turn into Ciyonaung so you can experience it as a dragon,” Xianjeng suggested.

“Good idea,” Zuangeng said. He changed into Ciyonaung. He dove into the water.

They took off together. They flew up high. Ciyonaung found out what Xianjeng was talking about. The air was rough. It buffeted his fiercely. It threatened to toss him about. He struggled to maintain control. Xianjeng watched him struggle. He noticed his distress. Xianjeng climbed higher to get out of the turbulence. Ciyonaung followed suit. The turbulence interfered with his climbing. He had trouble gaining altitude. Xianjeng noticed this. He rose up under him.

He assisted Ciyonaung gain altitude. They climbed higher. They saw the storm approaching. They flew ever so much higher. The clouds were dark. They saw the rain and lightning. They climbed into the clouds. All they saw were swirling bands of condensed water. Soon, they were out of the clouds. They climbed above the clouds. They flew into smoother air before they reached the storm.

They flew over the storm. Ciyonaung; however, was tired from the struggle. He remained on Xianjeng’s  back. He folded his wings. He laid down and rested.

After a while, he took off, much rested. He flew out over the clouds. He looked down. He saw the top of the cloud. It was flat and dark. He watched it light up with lightning. The cloud extended to the horizon. He looked up. No clouds existed above the storm. The sun shone down on them.

They flew until they  were clear of the storm. Ciyonaung looked down again. He saw water below. It seemed smooth. They descended to the water. As they approached it, Ciyonaung saw glints of light in the water.

Xianjeng landed in the water. Ciyonaung landed on Xianjeng’s back. He turned back to Zuangeng. He looked at the water. There were gentle swells. There was no land to be seen. The sun shown. Light reflected off the swells. He laid down. He promptly fell asleep. Xianjeng floated. He laid his head on the water. He, also, fell asleep.

Later, they woke up. They looked for something to eat. After eating, Zuangeng said, “What a flight that was! I’m not sure I want to go through that again!”

“If you’re going to be a dragon and fly, you need to get used to it. You need to learn to handle it. We need to be going now.” Xianjeng said. Zuangeng got ready. Xianjeng took off.

They flew over water for days. There was no sight of land. One day, Zuangeng flew as Ciyonaung. The sky was clear. The air was smooth. Sunlight sparkled off the water. He looked at the ocean. He spotted a fleet of five sailing ships. They sailed in the same direction, the dragons were flying. There were two clippers. One clipper had three masts. It was fully rigged. The other had four masts. It was not fully rigged. There were two barks with five masts each. They, too, were not fully rigged. The fifth ship was a fully rigged three masted barquentine. Ciyonaung knew  his ships. He could name the different types in use at the time. They overtook the ships. The ships disappeared behind them.

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Sea Gypsies of Ngoguyon

Everybody got up in the early morning. They got ready. The naked children came into the hallway. They met their father. He was wearing white shoes and pants and a blue shirt. Their father said, “Get some clothes on. We don’t know if he is used to children like that. We’ll eat breakfast on the way.”

The children ran to their rooms. They dressed in short sleeve shirts, shorts, socks and shoes. They came back to the hallway. Their parents were waiting. Their mother wore a dress and shoes. The children chorused, “We’re ready.”

They went out the door. Quenan looked right. The red sun was at the western horizon. Their father closed and locked the door.

They walked left to the ladder on the eastern porch edge. They climbed down the ladder one at a time. It led to the family boat. It was side and long. A cabin was near the bow. The red cabin roof extended close to two feet from the stern. On the roof over the cabin was a white mast holding some rods on top. The cabin and the roof’s eave were painted a light blue. The deck was bare stainless steel. The rail around the gunwale was varnished mahogany imported from Earth. A small crane was near the stern on the port side. The air was still. The water was calm. The boat floated steady.

The father walked onto the bridge. It was in the cabin’s front section. A post supported a seat. Right of the seat was another post that supported a bank of eight toggle switches and a lever. The switches were arranged in three tiers. Three switches were in the front, one in the middle and four at the back. In front of the seat was a black panel with the helm on the back edge. On both sides was a black panel angled back. On the panel’s front edges were glass windows.

He sat in the seat. He went to the top three switches and flipped them forward. All three panels lit up. The left panel was the gps system. It displayed a map of their current location. The middle panel displayed the speed in knots, voltage and amperage. The voltage and amperage were at nominal values. The right panel displayed two frequencies and radio controls.

He stood up. He walked around behind the seat. He walked to the right end of the right panel. He reached for a drawer under the panel. He pulled it out. He pulled out a headset with a mike and earpiece. He put it on with the earpiece in his right ear. He listened to the weather report. Clear weather was reported all the way to their destination. It was all in Sarginese.

Quenan past the cabin to the bow. He untied the painter from that pier. He coiled it on the deck.

Boupha-Kannitha walked to the stern. She did the same thing with the stern painter.

An-Toan Kim and their mother stood beside the port wall of the bridge. They watched the two kids work the painters.

Their father had gone back to the seat. He watched their mother. When Quenan and Boupha-Kannitha were done, their mother gave the all-clear signal.

Their father turned back to his task. He flipped the middle switch and back four switches next to him back. He grabbed the helm and lever. He saw Quenan enter the bridge.

Quenan walked around behind the chair. He walked to the same drawer. He pulled it out. He got his own headset out of it. He put it on with the earpiece in his right ear. He closed the drawer. He stood watching his father.

His father pushed the lever forward about an inch. The boat backed away from the house along the piers. When the boat cleared the porch end, He cranked the helm to the left. The bow swung to face east. He pulled the lever back. He straightened the helm. He flipped the four back switches forward. The boat stopped. He gradually pushed the lever forward. The boat moved forward.

Their mother and the two remaining children walked below deck. Their mother said, “It’s time to prepare breakfast.”

Boupha-Kannitha entered the galley with her mother. She helped her mother cook breakfast. An-Toan Kim entered the mess. He set the table.

Their father turned to the map. He touched the screen in the lower left corner. He said, “Launfrabeng.”

A map of the city appeared. A voice spoke Sarginese, “Is this your destination?”

“Yes,” their father responded in Sarginese. The map returned to their current location. He touched the screen in the lower right corner. The autopilot took control. He turned his head toward Quenan. He said, “Que, time for us to go below for breakfast.”

Quenan nodded his head. His father stood up. They walked off the bridge on the port side. They walked around behind the cabin. A door was in the middle of the back wall. The father opened the door. They walked through the doorway. They walked down a ramp below the deck.

They entered the mess. An-Toan Kim was sitting in his seat, having set the table. Quenan sat next to him. Their father sat at the end to their right. Boupha-Kannitha and their mother entered with the food. There were scrambled local eggs and fruit with baco, milk and coffee imported from Earth.

After they ate, they took the dishes into the galley. Boupha-Kannitha and Quenan loaded them into the dishwasher. Quenan closed the door. The dishwasher automatically started washing.

They entered the lounge. Windows were on both sides. The ceiling provided additional lighting. They sat at a round table. They played games until the alarm sounded.

Quenan and his father walked up on deck. The father entered the bridge. He touched the lower right map screen corner. The autopilot turned off. He sat in the chair. He steered the boat starboard to follow the shoreline.

Quenan walked to the bow. He stood facing it. He watched a reddish pink sandy beach approach. He watched the bow swing starboard. He watched as the shoreline went past. He watched Launfrabeng appear. There were buildings of various heights. Some were quite tall.

The harbor appeared. Piers and docks ran along the shoreline. Boats and ships, some larger than the one he was on, were docked. Cranes were where the larger freighters docked. There were long buildings. Various vehicles moved along the docks. Boats and ships moved about the harbor.

Their father adjusted the frequency on the communications radio. Chatter came on the radio. Quenan listened to it. The chatter was between harbor control and the moving ships. Some were between ships.

A break in the chatter came. Their father spoke Sarginese, “Launfrabeng International Seaport Control. This is Kiribourey Tekai. Requesting permission to dock.”

He was answered in Sarginese, “Kiribourey Tekai, permission is granted. Proceed to Dock Three Twenty Seven. Be adviced, there is a freightliner off your starboard stern.”

Kiribourey looked starboard at the mirror. Quenan walked to the starboard rail. He looked astern. They saw the freightliner. Kiribourey responded, “We are aware of said liner.”

They came to a river’s mouth. Kiribourey steered the boat to port into the river. He watched the liner laboriously turn to port as well. He pulled the lever back. The boat slowed to a safe speed. They went upriver.

Quenan turned back to face the bow. He walked up to the bow’s tip. He put both hands on the railing. He stood watch. Docks on both sides went by. Other boats and ships plied the river. Some were harbor patrol boats.

He looked on both sides of the river. He spotted the designated dock. He turned to see his father. He raised his right arm. He pointed starboard at the dock. Kiribourey looked where his son was pointing. He saw the dock. He nodded. Quenan lowered his arm. He turned back to his watch.

Kiribourey got on the intercom to the lounge. He spoke Sarginese, “Boupha to your post.”

He steered to the dock. When they were close, he steered the boat to point directly at the slot. He pulled the lever back, slowing the boat tremendously. Boupha-Kannitha came on deck. She walked to the stern. Kiribourey eased the boat into the slot.

Two men and a gangplank were waiting on the port dock. Kiribourey pulled the lever all the way back. He flipped the middle switch forward, cutting power to the motors.

Quenan and Boupha-Kannitha threw their painters to the dock. The dockworkers caught them. They pulled the boat into position. They tied the boat to the dock. Boupha- Kannitha and Quenan walked to the middle of the port rail. She opened a gate. He helped the dockworkers set the gangplank in place.

Kiribourey flipped the front switches, shutting off the panels. Quenan walked  onto the bridge. With his father, he put up his headset.

They walked off the bridge. They joined Boupha-Kannitha. An-Toan Kim and his mother came up and joined them.

They walked onto the gangplank. Kiribourey paused to close the gate. They walked across across to the dock.

They walked to the office that serviced that section of the harbor. They entered the office. Kiribourey walked up to a counter. A clerk stood behind it. She had brown skin and black shoulder length hair. She wore a short sleeve white uniform shirt. On each sleeve was the national seal. Above the left pocket was the harbor insignia. A gold tag with her name was on the pocket. Kiribourey pulled out his bank card form his right pants pocket. He handed it to her. She took it. She slid it through a card reader. It credited the fees to his account. She handed the card back. He put it in his shirt pocket.

Their mother called for a taxi from the office. They exited the office. The autonomous taxi was waiting for them. They got in. Kiribourey sat in the left front seat. His wife sat in the right front seat. The kids sat in the back seat. Kiribourey took his card out. He put it into a slot in the dashboard. The taxi spoke Sarginese, “Your destination?”

He said to the taxi, “Launfrabeng Interstellar Spaceport.”

The taxi took them to the terminal. The taxi credited his account. The card popped out of the slot. He took the card and pocketed it. They got out of the taxi. The taxi left.

They walked to the terminal entrance. A pair of doors slid open. They entered the building. They encountered a kiosk. It was a box slightly taller than Kiribourey. It was silvery from the floor up to his chest. It changed to black up to his forehead. The rest was silvery again. Kiribourey walked up to it. The black turned white with a sequence of black bent lines and dots. The sequence was in rows down the screen. The lines scrolled up. At the bottom was a line that did not move. The scrolling lines were a list of incoming and outgoing flights. Kiribourey touched the screen on the lower left corner to select incoming flights. The list changed. Kiribourey found the flight he needed. He touched the screen at that line. It stopped scrolling. All other flights disappeared. His flight centered on the screen. He studied it.

They turned right. They walked along the terminal’s corridor. Other people walked in the corridor, some with luggage. The Tekais stopped at a shop. Kiribourey entered the shop. The rest waited outside. Kiribourey picked up an adequately sized white card and a black ink marker. He walked to a counter. He handed the items and his card to the clerk. The clerk rang up the items and credited his account. Kiribourey took his purchase and card. He rejoined his family.

They arrived at the gate. They walked into the waiting area. They sat in the seats. Quenan sat next to his father. The flight had not arrived yet.

Kiribourey took the card he had purchased. He laid it across his lap. He took the marker in his right hand. He pulled the cap off. He wrote on the card. Quenan looked over and watched. Kiribourey was using a script the children rarely see. The other two got up. They walked  over to watch.

Maximillian Walker was of average height. He had light brown skin and brown hair. He wore a white short sleeve shirt, black pants and shoes. He had come to the city on business. He was waiting for the shuttle to the station. He knew only English. He was sitting close to the family. He heard Quenan speak Sarginese. He said, “Apa kedang?”

Kiribourey spoke Sarginese, “It says ‘Jonathon Seville’. That’s who we are picking up.”

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Boy and the Sea Dragon

Chapter Twenty Four

More Serikua News

 

The sun was just peeping over the horizon the nest day. Xianjeng woke up. He turned his head to look at the boy. He nudged Zuangeng awake with his left front paw. He said, “Time to wake up, sleepy head.”

Zuangeng raised his head. He twisted to look at Xianjeng. He yawned and said, “It’s awfully early.”

Xianjeng said, “We need to go as soon as possible. We have days of traveling to do. You need to get used to getting up early.”

Zuangeng said, “Last night, I dreamt of a song about the Serikua. Want to hear it?”

Xianjeng said, “I would love to.”

Zuangeng sang it in Cingalia. When he was done, Xianjeng said, “That was beautiful. I must remember it. Don’t you forget it, either.”

Zuangeng said, “I’ll try not to.”

Xianjeng said, “I’ll help you to memorize it. But now, we need to find something to eat. After that, we need to be on our way. Climb in my back.”

Zuangeng climbed on Xianjeng’s back. Xianjeng took to the air. They flew for days. They stopped to eat. Zuangeng turned himself into Ciyonaung when necessary. They practiced the song during the breaks.

When they reached the island, Zuangeng was Ciyonaung.

They flew low over the city. Ciyonaung looked down. He was searching for a house. Xianjeng watched him.

Ciyonaung found that house. They passed it so Ciyonaung circled back around.  He flew lower down the street. He landed close to the house. The street was devoid of people. He transformed back to Zuangeng. Xianjeng landed behind him. He walked up to Zuangeng.

Zuangeng looked at the house. The windows were dark, curtains drawn closed. He turned to Xianjeng. He said, “This is where I stayed all the time I was here. This is where I learned the spells.”

He turned back to the house. He walked up the walkway to the door. Xianjeng stayed back.

Zuangeng knocked on the door. He waited for a while. There was no answer. He knocked again. Still, there was no answer. He walked back to Xianjeng. He said, “Apparently, nobody is home. There is a shop we need to go to. Let’s go there, next.”

“You’ll have to show me the way,” Xianjeng said.

Zuangeng transformed back into Ciyonaung. They launched themselves into the air. Ciyonaung flew ahead of Xianjeng. They flew low over the houses. They flew to the business district.

Ciyonaung found the street the shop was on. He landed with Xianjeng not far behind. He looked around. Some people stood around. They watched them.

Ciyonaung walked into the alley. Nobody was there. Xianjeng blocked the entrance. Ciyonaung transformed back to Zuangeng. Xianjeng made way. Zuangeng left the alley.

The people recognized Zuangeng. Their expressions turned from curiosity to hostility. They made no move, though. They knew that the dragon with him protected him. Zuangeng looked at Xianjeng. Xianjeng was looking at them, a warning snarl on his face.

Zuangeng turned his attention to the shop. He walked to it. He tried the door. It was locked. He returned to Xianjeng. He said, “The shop appears to be closed, today. Let’s walk down to the harbor. It’s not far from here.”

“Lead the way,” Xianjeng said.

Zuangeng led the way to the harbor. He remained human. They walked the streets. They came to the harbor road. They walked up and down the road. Zuangeng looked at the ships. He looked for the Serikua. Some ships were familiar. Most ships were unknown to him. There was no Serikua.

He tried asking some dock workers. Some knew nothing about the ship. At least, they claimed to know nothing. Other workers turned a deaf ear to him, refusing to speak to him.

They walked up the road further. They came to the docks of personal boats. They walked passed them. Zuangeng looked at the boats. The Von Davildaa’s boat was gone. Zuangeng said, “We need to find the Von Davildaas. They are the family I stayed with. They may know about the Serikua. When we find them, I don’t know whether to stay with them. The Serikus may show up.”

Xianjeng said, “I advice you to leave. You are not well liked here. Apparently, you are not welcome here.”

“I know of three who like me. I can’t locate them,” Zuangeng commented.

“Hop on my back. We’ll leave,” Xianjeng said. He laid on his belly. Zuangeng climbed on. Xianjeng took off. He flew over the ocean.

Xianjeng spotted a boat. It had a single one piece mast with a boom behind it. Attached to the boom and mast was a triangular sail. In front of the mast was a single triangular jib. There was no bowsprit. The boat was leaning. Three men leaned back on the upward side. Two of them held sheets. The back one held the tiller. Zuangeng saw them, too. The men and the boat looked familiar. He nudged Xianjeng to land.

Gunthar and his two sons were in the family sailboat. Gunthar sat at the stern. He held the tiller and boom sheet. Petra sat at the bow. He held the jib sheet. Hans sat in the middle. He enjoyed the ride.

A shadow crossed over them. They looked up to see a dragon fly over. Petra pointed to it. He said, “That looks like the dragon that took Zuangeng.”

“Drop the sheets,” Gunthar said. They did. The boat went upright as the sails lost the wind. They flapped in the wind. The Von Davildaas sat upright.

They watched as the dragon landed on the water. Water sprayed as the dragon glided on the surface. It stopped. Someone was on its back. That person stood up on the back. He started to look familiar. He was the right height, build and skin and hair colors. They watched him dive into the water.

Zuangeng stood on Xianjeng’s back. He reached up to his head. He felt all over his head. He realized that he was missing his goggles. He had not missed them until now. He said, “I don’t have my goggles. I need them to swim. The sea water hurts my eyes.”

Xianjeng said, “You will need to swim with your eyes closed.”

Zuangeng faced the sailboat. It had stopped. He watched the sails flapping. He closed his eyes. He dove into the water. He surfaced. He shook his head. Water sprayed off his hair. He opened his eyes. They were gentle swells; but, nothing to interfere with his vision. He still faced the boat. He closed his eyes again. He breast-stroke toward the boat.

He felt the boat. He grabbed the gunwale. He felt some hands grab his wrists. He lifted his head and shook it. He opened his eyes. He found the hands belonged to Petra and Hans. He pulled himself up. Water ran down his body and off his hair. They helped him into the boat. He sat beside Hans. He spoke their language, “Hi, guys.”

“Well, hello, Zuangeng,” they chorused.

“Are you here to stay,” Gunthar asked.

Zuangeng said, “Well, no. I’m mainly here for information. Do you know anything about the Serikua? Was it here?’

Gunthar said, “It was. It left days ago.”

“Do you know where it is heading to next,” Zuangeng asked.

“No. Esiada never said. I never asked,” Gunthar said.

“I think I know the next port of call,” Zuangeng said.

“Esiada is looking for you, now. He thought you were dead. I told him about you. He has your goggles,” Gunthar said.

“I want to get back to the ship, thank you,” Zuangeng said.

“If you ever decide to come back, you are welcome to stay with us,” Gunthar said.

“Thank you. I’ll remember that. I need to go,” Zuangeng said.

“Good luck in your search,” Gunthar said.

“Thank you, again. Maybe some day, we’ll meet again,” Zuangeng said.

He closed his eyes. He back flipped into the water. When he resurfaced, he shook his head, again. Water sprayed from his wet hair. He opened his eyes. They exchanged waves. He turned to face Xianjeng. He closed his eyes, again. He breast-stroked to the dragon. He climbed onto the dragon’s back. He said, “Xianjeng, the Serikua was here. It’s gone now.”

“Any idea as to where it is heading to next,” Xianjeng asked.

Zuangeng said, “Yes! The next port of call is usually ‘Kulathra’. It is a major harbor city on the island of Jalapea.”

“I don’t know where it is,” Xianjeng said.

“It is about eighty days by clipper in that direction,” Zuangeng said. He pointed to their right.

“We can cover that distance in less time by flying in the air,” Xianjeng said, looking in that direction.

Zuangeng laid down on his stomach. He secured himself as best as he could.

Xianjeng took off. He flew in the direction indicated. He flew over the sailboat. The Von Davildaas continued their trip.

Xianjeng and Zuangeng flew for days. They stopped only to rest and eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Sea Gypsies of Ngoguyon

Two boys and a girl were riding in an outrigger canoe. The hull’s exterior and the bow and stern decks were blue. The hull’s interior, the two outriggers and the beams were white.

It was a nice day for the trip. They felt a gentle breeze coming off the shore. It was sunny with a few white cirrus clouds in the blue sky. Light dappled off gentle swells in the greenish blue water.

The oldest boy sat in the center of boat’s stern. His legs were partly outstretched and spread in front of him. He wielded a two bladed oar in both hands. The oar was white with a yellow blade at each end. He had a steady rhythm of dipping the left blade into the water, pulling it back, lifting it out, dipping the right blade on the water and repeating the motion. When each blade left the water, water ran off the blade. Then, it dripped off. He had no need to watch his paddling.

He was looking toward the boat’s bow. His sister sat at the middle’s starboard, facing him. Her legs were placed similar to his. Her waist length hair had streaks of dark brown. Some of it fell down her chest and stomach. The rest fell down her back.

Their brother, the youngest, sat at the bow’s port. His hair fell to his shoulders.

His brother and sister faced him. His hair fell below his shoulders.

They had brown skin and naturally straight black hair. Their bangs grew to their eyebrows. They wore no clothes and were barefooted.

His brother and sister looked beyond the stern. The boat left three wakes behind it.

They turned their heads to starboard. He kept looking straight ahead, concentrating on his task.

The starboard outrigger sliced through the greenish blue water. It generated ripples that migrated out from it in the water. The outrigger was at the edge of about a yard of pinkish water. Water lapped the edge of a beach of a pink on the verge of being red sand. The beach extended about fifty yards inland. It ended at green grass, then shrubs. A tree forest extended inland from the shrubs.

Ahead of them, the shoreline curved to the right. They followed the shoreline around the curve.

The girl quickly turned her head to her older brother. She excitedly spoke Sarginese, the only language they knew, “Look to the shore, Que!”

Both turned their heads shoreward. Quenan kept paddling.

A herd of animals walked along the shore. They were covered in blue fur from their shoulders to their noses. The rest of their bodies was bare purple skin. An upward curving short brownish white tusk stuck out of each lower jaw side. Two horizontal white tusks stuck out of the lower jaw front. They used the horizontal tusks to dig for shellfish in the wet sand. The three children watched them for a while.

Quenan turned his attention back to the task at hand in time. Directly in front of them, two grey fins, a dorsal and the tail tip, stuck out of the greenish blue water near the pinkish water.

He frantically back paddled, blades loudly smacking the water, water spraying into the air, to stop the boat.

The other two heard the ruckus. They quickly turned to look at him. His sister said, “What’s the problem, Que?”

“Look behind you! There’s a Lamtasaur,” Quenan answered.

The boat stopped and drifted away from the shore. Quenan laid the oar across his lap. The boat gently rocked in the swells.

The grey head and neck of the Lamtasaur rose out of the water. Water ran off, then, dripped. The neck was easily longer than four feet. The Lamtasaur turned its head toward the shore. It opened its mouth, showing rows of sharp brownish white teeth.

The head went down fast toward the animals. One of them froze with the left front paw in the air. It held its head up and cocked to the right. Its mouth was open. Its left eye looked up as death came. The Lamtasaur grabbed the hapless creature. The doomed animal let out a loud screeching squeal. The rest of the herd scrambled for the safety of the shrubs.

The Lamtasaur picked the animal up fast, tossing it into the water. The animal landed in the greenish blue water with a large splash and loud smack. It tried to swim toward the shore. The water turned red around the animal.

The Lamtasaur grabbed the animal in its mouth again. Its head and neck submerged. The fins disappeared. The bloody water thinned.

Quenan resumed rowing. He dipped one blade in the water after the other in rapid succession. The boat picked up speed.

He had been rowing boats since he was four years old. They considered him an expert, able to run a boat fast and maneuver it with ease.

They reached a river that emptied into the sea. The sandy beach and pink water narrowed on the opposite river bank. It ended at some bluish grey rock cliffs. They rose about five hundred feet at the highest out of the greenish blue water into the air.

Quenan turned the boat starboard into the river’s mouth. He rowed upriver into the forest. Trees grew on both river banks. He went upriver until it became too shallow for the boat. The river continued inland. The trees were about two feet from the river bank.

He steered the boat starboard. The bow hit the riverbed close to the bank. The girl turned to port. She jumped into the water with a splash. The water was crystal clear. The bluish grey gravel bed was easily seen.

She held the boat with both hands. Her younger brother jumped into the water with her.

Quenan put the oar into the starboard bracket. He jumped into the water on that side.

Quenan and his sister waded to the bow beam. Quenan held on the gunwale with his left hand. His sister held it with her right hand. She waded to the other side of her younger brother. All three grabbed the beam. They lifted the bow by the beam. They pushed the bow further onto the shore. This prevented the boat from going anywhere.

They stepped over the beam onto the narrow, bluish grey graveled bank. Twigs and leaves from the trees littered it.

Quenan walked around the bow to join his siblings. He was the tallest. They walked around the port outrigger.

They waded into the river. They swam and played in the water. They played their version of Marco Polo. They splashed each other, laughing.

After several hours of swimming and frolicking,  it started to darken. Quenan looked at the eastern sky above the trees. The sun had disappeared below the trees. He said, “Boupha, An, it’s time to go.”

They swam to the port outrigger. They waded onto the bank. They walked around the outrigger. Quenan stayed on the port side. An-Toan Kim walked to the bow. Boupha-Kannitha walked around him to the starboard side. Quenan and Boupha-Kannita grabbed and lifted the beam. An-Toan Kim laid his hands of the bow. All three pushed the boat into the river.

Quenan stood knee high in water. Boupha-Kannitha was half way up her thighs in water. An-Toan Kim was up to his hips in water. Boupha-Kannitha and Quenan held onto the beam.

An-Toan Kim waded starboard to the beam. Holding onto the beam with the left hand and the right hand on top of the bow, he jumped onto the bow. He laid on his stomach. He got on his hands and knees. He crawled to his seat. He sat facing the bow.

Boupha-Kannitha ducked under the beam. She waded to the hull. She held onto the gunwale with her right hand. She waded to the middle. She got into the boat. She sat facing the bow in her seat.

Quenan held onto the beam as he waded to the hull. When he got to the bow, he put his left hand on the bow. He pushed the bow to point downriver. He was half way up his thighs in water.

He ducked under the beam. Holding onto the gunwale with both hands, he waded to the stern beam. Using the beam and gunwale, he jumped. He climbed into the boat. He sat facing the bow in his seat. The boat lazily floated downriver.

He grabbed the oar out of its bracket. Quenan rowed the boat downstream to the river’s mouth. They left the mouth. Water extended to the horizon. Quenan steered the boat to port. The boat faced the east. The yellow sun was near the eastern horizon.

He rowed the boat along the shoreline. They watched the sun sink to the horizon. About a mile past the curve, the sandy shore narrowed. They approached some bluish grey cliffs rising high out of the water. The sun was red and halg way below the horizon. It was getting darker.

The sun was gone by the time they reached the cliffs. Thousands of stars appeared. A light shone low in the cliffs. As they approached, the light dissolved into their home. The one story house nestled in the cliffs. Light shone in the windows. Light revealed a porch extending over the water. It was lit above and underneath. Light glinted off the water under and around it. Piers and two boats were visible. The first boat was tied to two piers under the porch. Its mast and boom laid across the boat’s length. The second boat was bigger. It was tied to two piers on the other side of the porch.

They came to the porch. An-Toan Kim grabbed the bow painter in his right hand. Quenan maneuvered the boat along side of the porch. The starboard outrigger went between two piers. He secured the oar in its bracket. He grabbed the stern painter in his right hand.

An-Toan Kim and Quenan stood up. They tied the boat to their respective piers.

An-Toan Kim stepped onto the bow. He turned  right to face a ladder going up to the porch. A shelf was at the base of the ladder. He stepped onto it. He grabbed the ladder’s rungs. He climbed the ladder to the porch. He grabbed a rail on each side at the top. He stepped on the porch. He swung aside to the right. He waited for the others.

He looked up at the western sky. A single white full moon had appeared over the horizon. The sky was full of thousands of stars.

His sister came up followed by his brother. All three faced east. Light came from two holes in the porch. Light shone along the roof’s eave. It was just bright enough to reveal the entire porch.

They walked to the varnished reddish brown wood front door. Quenan opened it. They entered a hallway. The floor was greenish blue carpet. The walls were white. The ceiling was glowing white, providing the light.

A man stood in the hallway. Like the children, he had brown skin and short black naturally straight hair. He wore black shoes, white socks, shorts and a short sleeve shirt. He stood five feet ten inches tall. Quenan stood five feet eight inches tall. The man spoke Sarginese, “There, the three of you are! It’s close to suppertime. Go and wash your hands and faces!”

“Yes, Dad,” all three chorused.

They walked to the back of the house. Lights came on along their path.

They entered the bathroom. The light came on. The floor was pale blue tile. Some of the house was carved into the cliff. The walls and tub were bluish grey rock. The tub was on the far wall. It was a combination of bath and shower. A blue shower curtain with fish hung from the ceiling at one end of the tub.

The children turned left. They came to a cabinet carved in the wall. The front was bluish grey varnished wood. Two doors were in the middle. Two drawers were on each side. The top was blue speckled marble-like stone. A sink was carved in the top. There was a gold faucet at the back. They ran their hands under the faucet. Nice warm water wetted their hands. They put one hand under the soap dispenser. Pink soap ran onto their hands. They rubbed their hands together, turning the soap into lather. They washed their hands. They rinsed them of. They washed and rinsed their faces. They went to the opposite wall. They stood before air vents in the wall. Warm, drying air came out. They dried their hands and faces. They exited together.

They entered the dining room. The floor was white marble tile. A rectangular red wood table stood in the middle. A chair was at each end. Three chairs were on the side opposite of the children. A chandelier hung over the table.

A robot was seting silverware around the plates. Glasses were behind the plates. The robot finished setting the table. It glanced up, spotting the children. It spoke Sarginese, “Evening, lady and gentlemen. Please, be seated. Dinner will be served shortly.”

The children sat in their respective chairs. The robot exited to the kitchen.

The robot and their parents came in with trays of food. They set the dishes on the table. The robot exited with the trays.

Their mother was like them. Her hair fell just below her shoulders. She wore a short sleeve shirt, pants and sandals. She sat in the chair on their left. Their father sat to their right. They filled their plates and ate.

The table conversation was all in Sarginese. Their mother said to the children, “How was your trip?”

“It was wonderful,” Quenan said.

“We saw a herd of Pecalaur on the shore,” Boupha-Kannitha said.

“We watched a Lamtasaur catch one,” An-Toan Kim said.

“That’s fascinating. Tomorrow, I need to go into Launfrabeng. There is someone coming to stay with us for a while. I need to pick him up,” their father said.

“May I go,” Quenan asked.

“Me, too,” the other two children said, one at a time.

“Yes. You need to meet him anyway. All of us will go. You will need to go to bed early tonight. We need to leave early tomorrow morning,” their father said.

“Yea,” all three children chorused in unison.

Later, the children showered. They brushed their teeth. They went to their bedrooms. They liked sleeping naked.

Boupha-Kannitha entered her bedroom. The floor was  salmon, her favorite color, carpet. Her queen sized bed was on the far wall. It was covered with a salmon bed cover. The walls were painted salmon. A red wood desk and dresser stood on the left wall. A red wood vanity stood on the right wall. Two reddish brown wood doors were in the right wall. She walked to her bed. She pulled the cover back. The sheets were white. The pillow case was salmon.

Quenan entered his bedroom. The floor was navy blue, his favorite color, carpet. His king sized bed was on the left wall. It was covered with a navy blue bed cover with various boats and ships printed on it. The walls were painted navy blue. Pictures and diagrams of bots and ships decorated them. A red wood desk and dresser stood on the far wall. A few models of ships laid on the dresser top. Two reddish brown wood doors were in the right wall. On the wall with the entry door, shelves lined it to the left. A few books laid on a couple of them. Other shelves contained more models of ships and boats. He walked to his bed. He pulled the cover back. The sheets were white. The pillow case was navy blue with boats printed on it.

An-Toan Kim entered his bedroom. His room was similar to Quenan’s. The carpet, walls and bed cover were purple, his favorite color. He walked to his bed. He pulled the cover back. The sheets were white. The pillow case was purple.

Their bedroom ceilings glowed providing adequate light. They crawled into their beds. They laid down. The ceilings dimmed until the rooms were dark. They provided dim light so they would not be in total darkness. Quenan’s, however, had points of light in the patterns of the local stars. There was a circle of light like the moon. They slept.

 

 

The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Boy and the Sea Dragon

Chapter Twenty Three

Zuangeng meets Ziolanzik

Days later, Xianjeng and Zuangeng arrived at the dragon lord’s island. They landed on the shore above the cave entrance. They rested in silence for a while. Eventually, Xianjeng said, “Zuangeng, we are going to meet the grandest sea dragon of all. He is the ruler of the sea dragons. I expect you to be courteous and respectful in his presence. When you greet him, bow. Do not speak unless he bids you to. When you leave, bow again.”

“Why,” Zuangeng had to ask.

Xianjeng said, “Because, you represent humans to him. He is a lord. He is due the respect entitled to his rank in life. You do pay your king the respect he deserves.”

Zuangeng said, “No! I have never met nor seen him except in pictures. I have never been on my home island long enough to.”

“Well, do it for me, okay, Zuangeng,” Xianjeng asked.

Xianjeng said, “It is good that you know transformation. Other wise, we would need to find another entrance. The only entrance to his palace is deep underwater. It would do to turn into a dragon for this trip.”

“Okay,” Zuangeng said.

He turned himself into Ciyonaung. He said, “I am ready to meet your king.”

They walked to the cliff’s edge. They leaped off the cliff. They fell head first. They plunged into the water. Fountains of water rose into the air where they hit.

They flew deep under water. Everything developed a bluish or greenish tinge, Ciyonaung noticed.

They came to the entrance. Ciyonaung let Xianjeng go first and lead the way. They reached the tunnel’s end. Ciyonaung found himself in the air of a seemingly lightless cave. His eyes glowed, lighting part of the chamber and the lower part of Xianjeng. He noticed that the floor was covered in bioluminescent algae. His eyes adjusted to the dim light from the algae.

“Welcome, dragons! State your business,” a voice came from their right.

“Eh!” Ciyonaung said, startled by the voice whose source he could not see.

“What was that,” Ciyonaung asked. He turned his head to the right.

“That was a cave elf,” Xianjeng said.

The voice said, “That is correct. I am a greeter of visitors. Now, please, dim your eyes.”

Ciyonaung dimmed the lights from his eyes. He spotted the white creature. He said, “We are here to see the lord as requested. Surely, he is expecting us.”

“You must be the one he was expecting to bring a human,” the cave elf said to Xianjeng.

The elf continued, “I can’t tell you dragons apart. Anyway, you bring another dragon instead. It’s a rather, unusually, small one at that.”

Xianjeng said, “This is not a typical dragon, elf! Now, lead us to his chamber!”

“Okay, follow me,” the elf despondently said.

They followed the elf to the tunnel to the next chamber. The elf said, “Wait here.”

They waited. The elf walked down the tunnel. Xianjeng said softly, “Turn yourself back. He is expecting you as a human.”

“Okay,” Ciyonaung said. He transformed himself to Zuangeng. His eyes readjusted to the dim light. He looked around to see the vista before him. He felt the moisture of the air. He became moist from the condensation. He could dimly see Xianjeng. Mostly, he saw the dragon’s eyes and lighted, gleaming, muzzle.

“Remember what I said, courtesy and respect,” Xianjeng softly said.

“Yes, sir,” Zuangeng said.

The elf came to the curtain. He rang the bell. Another elf’s head appeared. The new elf said, “What is it?”

The cave elf said, “Got two dragons here to see Lord Ziolanzik. One is rather small for one, even for a baby.”

The other elf said, “Wait here. I shall inform the lord.”

He disappeared. He found Ziolanik in another chamber. Ziolanzik looked down at the elf. The elf said, “My lord, I have been informed that there are two dragons. They sek an audience with you.”

Ziolanzik said, “I shall have audience with them. I will see what they want.”

“Yes, sir,” the elf said. The elf bowed and straightened. He walked back to the curtains. Ziolanzik walked to his usual spot.

The elf poked his head through the curtains. He said, “The lord shall see them, now.”

The cave elf walked back to the dragons. He found only one dragon and a human child. He said, startled, “Eh! So you did bring the expected human. Enter.”

The elf walked off. Xianjeng and Zuangeng turned to face the tunnel. Xianjeng’s eyes glowed brighter. They lit up the tunnel entrance. He said to Zuangeng, “You go first.”

“Thank you,” Zuangeng said. He entered the tunnel followed by Xianjeng. They came to the curtains. Zuangeng stopped. Xianjeng stuck his head through them. He stopped to let Zuangeng through. Zuangeng was blinded by the intense light. He held his hands up in front of his face. He closed his eyes and turned his head right. He tried opening his eyes several times until his eyes adjusted to the light. He put his hands down and kept his eyes open. He walked into the new chamber. Xianjeng entered it.

Zuangeng faced the new dragon. He observed Xianjeng bow to the dragon. He imitated Xianjeng. He looked back at the dragon. Ziolanzik looked him over. He finally said, “So, you did bring the human child I have heard about.”

Xianjeng said, “Yes, sire. This is he.”

Ziolanzik had a strange feeling about Zuangeng. He felt as if he knew the child. This was the first time he had seen the boy. He said to the boy, “Young man, what name do you go by?”

Xianjeng nudged Zuangeng to answer. Zuangeng said, “Zuangeng. It is the only name I know.”

Ziolanzik said, “Zuangeng, how do you know this dragon?”

Again, after prompting, Zuangeng said, “I know him by the name of Xianjeng.”

“Xianjeng, then. I will call him by that name. His true name is powerful. It must not be known to others that cannot be trusted. I heard that Xianjeng brought another smaller dragon with him. Where is this dragon? I do not see it,” Ziolanzik said.

“You are looking at it. I was that dragon,” Zuangeng said.

Ziolanzik looked at Xianjeng. He said, “Is this true, Xianjeng?”

“Yes, my lord,” Xianjeng said.

Ziolanzik said, “So, Zuangeng already knows magic. He is much too young to know magic. How much do you know, Zuangeng?”

“Only the transformation spells, sire,” Zuangeng said.

“Let that be all the magic you know until you come of age,” Ziolanzik said, looking at Zuangeng as if expecting a reply.

“Yes, sire,” Zuangeng said.

Suddenly, Ziolanzik exclaimed, “This must be the young Warlock… Warlock…”

Then he raised his head high. He looked up. He raised his folded wings up and slightly spread. He loudly and sternly said, “No, No! I must not speak his name!”

He softly said, “He is much too young to know his name!”

He looked back at a startled Zuangeng. He folded his wings. He said, “Few must know it. Only those that can be most trusted should know it.”

Ziolanzik continued, “In due time, when you are of age, when you know what is at stake, you will know your true name, Zuangeng. You must not gove it out to anyone. It is a powerful name. Those you trust most will know it. You, like your mother, can call me, ‘Alexia’. Yes, Zuangeng, I knew your mother before your birth.”

Years ago, Ziolanzik lived on Cinga. He was not a lord then. He lived in a cave by the ocean. The cave was at the base of a grey cliff. The only access was a strip of sand. It was only wide enough for a single fat human to walk on.

One day, Mikela came to the cave. She was pregnant with Zuangeng. She came to visit the dragon. She arrived at the cave’s mouth. She peered in. Ziolanzik laid near the mouth. He was yellow, not yet gold. He held his head up. He gazed out over the ocean.

He spied Mikela peering in. He said “Greetings, Mikela. Please , come in and sit a spell.”

Mikela entered the cave. She sat on a large, flat rock. It was near the cave’s mouth and Ziolanzik’s left front paw. She said, “Greetings, Alexia.”

They talked for a while. Ziolanzik eventually said, “I see you are with child. Thought of a name for the child, yet?”

Mikela confessed, “Yes, I am with a child. I have several names depending on the sex of the child.”

“Would you be willing to tell me the names,” Ziolanzik asked.

Mikela answered, “There are only two people I trust to know the names. I have known them for many years. You happen to be one of them. The only other person I trust is a sea captain. You must not tell anybody. You must not tell the child until it reaches the proper age.”

“They will be safe with me,” Ziolanzik answered her.

“I will tell you, then. For I know I can trust you, Alexia,” Mikela said. She stood up. She looked around. She checked the outside. No one else was around. She walked to Ziolanzik. He lowered his head so she could reach his ear. She stood beside his head. He cocked his head to the left. Her mouth was close to his ear. She used a voice so soft that nobody, except Ziolanzik, could hear her. She told him the chosen names.

Ziolanzik turned to Xianjeng. He said, “Xianjeng, you must return Zuangeng to his people and home. I hear you are looking for a ship called the ‘Serikua’.”

Xianjeng said, “Yes, sire. It is Zuangeng’s home. He claims it is the only home he had ever known.”

“Is this true,” Ziolanzik asked of Zuangeng.

Zuangeng said, “It was. I got swept off during a storm. Xianjeng rescued me. He left me on an island of strangers and an unknown language. I got to know a family. They took me in. They treated me like one of them. When I left, I was told, it was my home if I returned. So, now, I have two homes if the ‘Serikua’ hasn’t sunk.”

“I have received news that the ‘Serikua’ still floats. I was told that it made port, where I do not know,” Ziolanzik said. Zuangeng grew a smile of hope.

“Xianjeng, you must return Zuangeng to the ship. I charge you with his care and protection until he comes of age,” Ziolanzik continued.

“Yes, sire,” Xianjeng said.

“You are dismissed. Return him home,” Ziolanzik said.

Xianjeng and Zuangeng bowed to Ziolanzik. They exited the chamber. Zuangeng transformed into Ciyonaung again. They exited the tunnel into the dimly lit chamber. They were greted by the same elf. The elf said, “I see you two dragons are leaving. What happened to the child that was with you?”

Xianjeng said, “That is none of your concern. Just take us to the exit.”

Te elf continued, “I was wondering about the small dragon. I see it has returned.”

Xianjeng repeated, “That, also, is none of your concern. Just take us to the exit.”

The elf felt chastised. It said, “Very well, then. Follow me.”

The elf led them to the exit tunnel. They exited the cave.

They flew up to the surface. They headed toward the shore to the right of the cliffs. They walked up on a sandy shore. Water ran off their bodies. The cliffs were within sight.

Ciyonaung turned into Zuangeng. He was still wet. Xianjeng said, “We need to find the Serikua. Any ideas as to where to look, Zuangeng?”

“The last time I know, we were heading to was where you left me. I don’t know ir they are still there,” Zuangeng said.

“We’ll go there and find out,” Xianjeng said.

He looked at the sun. It was close to the western horizon. He said, “It’s getting latoe. We’ll spend the night here. We’ll start early tomorrow.”

They spent the night on the shore. Zuangeng slept with his head on Xianjeng’s left front paw. He dreamed of the Serikua. He dreamed of the good times he had on the ship. He dreamed of the crew. He dreamed of the games they used to play.

He dreamed of a song about the Serikua. It ran through his mind many times. He sang it aloud in his sleep. Xianjeng slept as well. He woke up whenever Zuangeng sang. He listened.

Later, Zuangeng woke up with the song running through his head. He looked up into the night sky. Not a cloud was in the sky. He saw thousands of stars. There was a quarter moon. He fell back to sleep, as well as Xianjeng.