The End of the Beginning
A lone figure stood forlornly in front of a circular window in the center of a worn metal wall, slowly tracing symbols with his right forefinger on the outer edge until his name appeared in the fogged pane: Lareth. Impatiently he wiped the window clean with his sleeve as he watched the deluge of rain coming down outside. Though heavy, the rain was not quite falling hard enough to hide the strange shimmer that could be seen between the windblown sheets of water.
Footsteps approached him from behind, but Lareth did not turn. The soft shuffling sound was unmistakable. He did not need to turn to know that the one approaching moved with an undeniable grace, a softness of silk in spite of the simple woven cotton outfit she would be wearing. The faint metallic sound from her feet hitting the floor stopped as she stood behind him off to the right a bit before reaching up with her left hand to rest it gently on his shoulder.
“Won’t you come join us for dinner?”
“Don’t you ever wonder what happens to those who are caught in the rain?”
The hand withdrew from Lareth’s shoulder. He did not have to turn and look to see the tightening around her eyes and mouth as her expression changed to one of pain. He knew that her stance had become tense and unhappy. Her reaction was always the same when those who were caught in the rain were brought up. They all shared it, every last one of them since they knew what the rain meant.
“Lareth, please, you do this every time the rain comes.” The voice wavered with tightly suppressed emotion, raw and painful. “I miss her just as much as you do.”
Lareth winced at the ache in the voice that he cherished so much, a hurt that was as deep if not more so than his own. He turned slowly but surely, his brown eyes meeting with blue ones barely holding back the tears. With a sad smile he reached up with his right hand, gently pushing her soft silken blonde hair back in a gently caress; resting his thumb along her cheek as he cupped the side of her face tenderly.
“I have to know, Saria. I have to understand what happened to Christine.” He paused choking on the thought, on the knowledge of their beautiful six-year-old daughter who had vanished six rains ago.
“Please, Lareth; I don’t want to lose you too.” Saria reached up and took his hand into hers as the tears started to flow.
He pulled his hand free and then reached up with both hands, gently grasping the sides of her face as he kissed her softly, and then with a parting ‘I love you’ he let go. Lareth turned his back on his wife of so many years. A handful of steps, a door opened, and he was gone. Before he could change his mind, he left the huge metal building behind after he spent a moment struggling to shut the door against the wind and the rain.
Even through the downpour of rain he could see the massive metal buildings they now called home. Each one rested on immense metal columns that rose above the ground, connected by ramps and walkways between each structure. Twenty in all, they were a strange sight thrusting up into the gray skies. Lareth fought the wind and rain as he headed towards the fields where they grew food. Within moments he was completely soaked.