Epilogue: Tofu

Dawn is beautiful over the city.

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David’s new life is tiring, but only about as tiring as farming.

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Day and night he busks for tips in the streets of San Myshuno.

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Tofu is with him, of course… mostly.

It’s thanks to her that he’s out of Newcrest. She saved Edda Spence from drowning and became a national hero. Tours, speeches, ribbons presented by Dr. Spence himself and a slightly older Edda… Tofu got the royal treatment, and David got to give it to her.

All good things must come to an end, though. As Tofu got older, she got sick, and it became clear that Newcrest didn’t have the facilities to take care of her. So it was that the two of them were shipped out to the little town of Brindleton Bay and the pet hospital there, and so it was that Tofu died outside of Newcrest’s control.

So David left.

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What else could he do? He took the urn with Tofu’s ashes and his guitar, and he ran.

The dawn is beautiful over San Myshuno, because it’s free.

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Chapter 5: But Not in Newcrest

David doesn’t believe in accidents anymore.

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After spending months consoling his brother Elui after their mom Kinley’s death, David is pretty sure that Kinley’s little “pool ladder accident” was a setup.

He’s also pretty sure that his “purple dreams” are no accident. They always start with him being alone, but then a purple toddler appears and turns into Elui. They happen often enough… what could they mean? Elui is his brother, right?

But if Elui isn’t his brother… what does that mean about all of their little daily interactions? All the times their hands brush, all the times their eyes meet– there’s no explaining that if they aren’t brothers. That’s just how brothers are… or at least that’s how they are. They are normal. Definitely.

It all comes to a head, of course.

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Elui starts it. “Time is short,” he says.

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“So I have to do this now.”

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Suddenly, it all makes sense. They’re not brothers. They never have been.

“Show me,” David says.

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And there he is. The purple toddler, all grown up. E lui. More than just a name.

It doesn’t matter.

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“But it does,” he says, Elui Kahn, lui. “Because I have to leave.”

Why, says David without saying it. Why can’t you stay? You’ve always been here.

“But I haven’t.” The images are coming so fast. A crash, stars, burning. Time and space. “I haven’t happened yet. I have to go make sure that I do.” Such strange words. E bizoo in’i E. I am the clone of myself.

“But what does it mean?”

“It means that I must exist in order to have existed. I come from the future and the past, from all times and no time. I stayed for you, but if I don’t leave soon bad things will happen. There will never have been a me.”

“Stay.”

Forget.

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And so he leaves, lui Elui Kahn, to cause himself to be, to donate the genetic sample that he will be cloned from.

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And David will not forget.

Chapter 3: Harvest

They made it.

Somehow, Kinley pulled them all through. Even she doesn’t know how she did it.

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She’s grateful every day that the boys have school now. She’s got time to cook and clean instead of just reacting to whatever happens.

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And then, somehow, this happened.

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The boys dragged her home and named her Tofu, and now it’s Kinley’s job to feed the dog and walk the dog and…

Well, it is nice not being the only girl in the house anymore…

But they are getting that flea-mop spayed!

 

Chapter 2: New

Well, wouldja look at that.

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After all these years of waiting, Kinley’s application for running water went through. No more washing dishes in the tub!

They also have a generator. Lights! Fire sprinklers! An honest-to-goodness generator!

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Kinley can’t hate the toddlers anymore, not when they’ve brought such lasting bounty. On the other hand, this stuff barely makes up for all the extra work. The family often spends their days cold, hungry, filthy, and tired.

The stall out back where they sell extra things is empty. There’s been no time to scavenge; harvest season is coming soon, and the boys have almost grown out of their clothes.

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In reality, all the new things have changed nothing. Their lives are hard. Kinley has barely any time between the carrots and the kids.

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Pumping water for a toddler bath is a common chore- one Kinley ofter barely has the energy to do.

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Only her goal of reaching the harvest season keeps her moving. She prays to the Watcher and Patron both that the children will be old enough to help.

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Despite her noble goals, the woodworking table stands unused. There’s just no time.

Will they make it?

Chapter 1: E Lui

Kinley Kahn surveyed her new charges with something approaching disgust. Planting season was coming on; how could anyone possibly think she had time to take care of children!

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She followed the toddlers into the old brick house and sighed. She had been provided with a small stipend upon being told that she was to be a mother, but it was barely enough to fund the purchase of a small plastic toilet for potty training and a pack of flashcards. She silently prayed to the Watcher that she could get the kids out of diapers quickly, then quickly threw in a prayer to the Patron to the same effect. Thoughts are probably private, but you never know who’s watching.

Looking over by her bed, she realized that the oil lamp on the floor would have to go, or at least be elevated. The lamps elsewhere were on cheap foldout tables, and all the other lights were modern battery-powered lamps, but this one wasn’t. It was a shame- the light by her bed was nice. Maybe if she found some raw lumber, she could test her rusty woodworking skills and make a nightstand.

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A crash brought the toddlers back to her attention, One of them had found his way into her pots and pans. She sighed. Both of them would need shoes, and one was wearing nothing but a diaper.

After a short battle, she managed to wrestle the naked toddler into a pair of cargo pants and a tiny grey hoodie. She felt a little glad for once that she hadn’t managed to sell her baby clothes.

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Kinley sighed again. Time to get to work. She set one toddler on the potty and got out the pack of flashcards. “Colors,” she said. “See-oh-el-oh-ar-ess. Colors.”

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“Momokwe?” the toddler said, eyes hopeful.

“No, colors. Look, kid, if you’re going to be difficult this is not going to work out. Say it with me. Col-ors.”

“Col-ors,” said the toddler.

“That’s right. Not bad, uh… damm, you little brats don’t have names, do you?” Kinley suddenly realized that she was in charge – and she didn’t like it.

“Well, let’s see. You, over there. Yeah, you kid. You can be David, after Dad. And you…” She looked back to the toddler on the floor in front of her.

“E lui!” the toddler chirped.

“Elui. Yeah, Elui. That’s a good name for you.”

Kinley stood up and looked around.

“Well, David and Elui, welcome to the family.”

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