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Thread: Him and Her

  1. #1
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    Him and Her

    ~1~

    He had found Her on an ordinary afternoon in a cave on the outskirts of town. Well, to say that He found Her may be a bit ambiguous; it is more reasonable to say that He had heard Her in the cave. He never actually laid eyes upon Her, though out of pity He wished He could.
    It had been a rather ordinary afternoon, early morning frost still clinging fast to the rocky path and sparse vegetation surrounding the area. He had wandered out of town on that day seeking escape from His brother who had been pestering Him on some matter or another, He had not remembered which. The rugged path which lead from His town to the cave was one that was not too steep, but pitted enough to warrant a little cautious restrain on the part of the stroller. Fortunately for Him, He had traveled this road many times now and knew its terrain. He never traveled far from town, just far enough to momentarily escape and collect His thoughts. There was a cave near the end of His selected route in which He sometimes rested for lack of cheery alternatives; sometimes the winds outside were bone-chillingly brutal, requiring Him to take refuge (although when it was not cold, the cliff edge offered a lovely view of an even smaller town down the mountain, and the vista was exceptionally beautiful in the evenings).

    It was on this day particular that He chose to venture in to the cave, not because of the cold but because He felt like taking a nap in the sheltered location. The cave floor was earthier than the path outside, padding the room nicely. Strange fungi also grew here, and though their main notable property was that they glowed in the dark of the cave, He had earlier discovered that they were also spongy if one desired to sit or, in His case today, needed a pillow. Selecting a particularly large outcrop of fungi near the back wall of the cave, He rested His head upon the makeshift pillow and stared up at the cave ceiling. It's not as if He hated His brother or anything that brought Him on these excursions; in fact, He loved his brother fiercely. The two were living together near the heart of their quiet town and while His brother would certainly win points in the 'Charming' section of a talent contest, He was positive that His brother would not be able to support himself properly without His guidance. This wasn't to say that He didn't believe in His brother's ultimate dream of joining the Guard, He just didn't think it would happen anytime soon, especially without a supporting hand. Sure, His brother had a friend in the Guard already, but that didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. And personally, He didn't believe for a moment that He Himself could live without His brother either; His brother was the reason He was firmly grounded to the earth and not off somewhere fighting some war or aiding the King in some menial task. There was never a dull moment living with His brother, nor could His brother fail to put a smile on His face.

    And yet, He needed time to Himself sometimes, away from His brother. His brother understood too, though He wasn't sure if it was a feigned understanding or not. It didn't matter though- His brother cared and that was enough for Him. So, He found Himself now reflecting upon all of this while looking at the ceiling. Even if He had wanted to leave everything behind, there was really nowhere else to go. Beyond His usual rocky trail lay some ruins of the old Kingdom, but there wasn't much there: only long past memories at this point. On the other side of His town was a trail that lead to the mountains, and beyond there, the greater Kingdom itself, though that was far off. He didn't know anyone well enough in the greater Kingdom to allow him anything more than a cardboard box outside someone's business. And though their King was nice, He had no ties there to land a position nor the inclination to seek that route altogether. He was perfectly satisfied with His life in the town, sharing experiences with His dear brother. He was ... perfectly ... hap...py ...-

    He must have only closed His eyes for a moment when He heard it; the sound of soft weeping stirred Him from His light sleep. Perhaps what had startled Him at the time was how close the sound had been to his head though He had felt no presence there before. Even after the weeping had started, He could not locate whoever was making the noise. He was quite sure He was alone in the cave, or had He been mistaken? A quiet survey of the cave provided no evidence of the sort as to another being in the immediate room with Him. But He could still make out the soft sobbing; it was most prevalent near where His head had been moments before on the pillow of fungi.
    Curious now, he stood before the fungi. Surely his pillow wasn't the source of the crying. He would feel just dreadful if He had made some fungus cry; a gasping sob to the right drew His eyes away from the slightly squished glowing mushrooms to the cave's back wall. He placed his hand on the wall only to find that this wall did not have the feel of the surrounding rock of the cavern- while it certainly was rock, this section of the wall seemed to be filed down or else was once flat in comparison. He rasped his knuckles on this portion of the wall only to find that the rock was also hollow or else was a false-
    But He realized a moment too late what He had done. His rasp was stronger than intended and reverberated around the cave and into whatever room seemed to be on the other side of the wall.

    The sobbing abruptly stopped. "Who's there?"
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  2. #2
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    Re: Him and Her

    ~2~

    She wiped Her eyes quickly as she stared at the wall behind Her. She had thought this wall marked the end of an unfinished tunnel, a place of all places in the ruins where She may find refuge from Herself, but She hadn't anticipated that this corridor held another secret. Upon examining the wall now, She found that it was remarkably smooth unlike the rest of the passage, perhaps metal or just smoothed rock. Was this meant to be a door to whatever room lay behind, or was this path sealed over? What really mattered to Her at the moment though was the knocking that She had heard coming from the wall. She again wiped tears from Her eyes and repeated Her question.
    "Who is there?"

    A voice replied from the other side, quavering slightly as if uncertain. "Dishes."

    This response surprised her; at the very least, She had been expecting a name or nothing. Instead, a noun ... or an absurdly odd name. "Dishes who?" She asked, now confused. The voice responded.

    "Dishes a very bad joke." At this, She let out a giggle despite Herself. The joke itself was bad, but perhaps it was the mood She was in at the time that made Her feel as if it was the funniest thing She had ever heard. Her giggle slowly turned into a fit of laughter, ringing through the tunnel and surely the cave on the other side of the wall. Her current disposition most likely gave way to this fit of hysterics, sad quickly giving way to joy. As if pleased, the person from behind the wall was also chuckling as if pleased with the execution and reception of His joke.
    It was several minutes before She calmed down, but the voice on the other side of the wall continued.

    "What do you call a fish with no eyes?" She just couldn't contain Herself now. Her giggles of anticipation were all He needed to continue. "A fsh!" She was crying now, but not as before. She laughed so hard it hurt, but it felt good to Her to laugh again. It had been a long time since She had found reason to laugh, even if this reason was nothing more than a dumb joke.

    It took a good ten minutes before She regained control of herself again. The voice on the other side of the wall did not follow up with another joke, however, so She decided to talk.
    "Who are you?" Her voice sounded flat against the wall's surface, against which She was now leaning.
    The voice on the other side sounded after a short pause. "It doesn't matter who I am. I am me and no one else." For the record, She did not recognize His voice, but She had the vaguest idea that He would recognize Her's.
    She mulled his response over in Her mind carefully. Did He mean to remain nameless as well as faceless? Not that it really mattered; She appreciated his humor in the face of Her grief. "Well, thank you, whoever you are. Thank you for cheering me up."
    "Hey, no problem. It's hard for me to see someone have a bad time."

    She talked to Him for an hour after that, mostly listening to more of His jokes and laughing alongside Him. Eventually, She had to wish Him farewell as He needed to get back to His brother. "I can come back tomorrow if you'd like. My brother has me on guard duty at the exit of the ruins, so if you don't feel like coming out, we can still meet there at the doors." She agreed to this and listen to Him leave the cave. Tomorrow He would be back, and She would have no more tears.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Him and Her

    ~3~

    He came to the ruin's exit the next day as promised. Guard duty was a generally boring duty for Him, but His brother signed the two of them up for the task, supposedly to make him look better to the king's guard. It was their job to alert the guard if anyone actually came out of the ruins and if possible to apprehend them for the King. While He understood that this job was fairly important to the kingdom as a whole, He didn't really feel great need to take the job seriously. He and His brother were being paid in peanuts, so he didn't necessarily feel like taking real action in the event of a sighting. Besides the point however, it had been a long time since anyone had exited the ruins making the job seem almost pointless now. Truthfully, the last time someone had exited the ruins, He had watched them pass right by His sentry post and pulled a few strings so that His brother didn't see them either. He hadn't heard what happened after that though, but He assumed that whoever had come through the ruins had been taken by the King as this was as things seemed to go.

    But now, He was in front of the gate and wasn't thinking about his dull duties. Today He had brought a book with Him full of His jokes; this book would surely entertain Her for hours and keep Him from running out of jokes, not that He thought that was possible. He sat in front of the gate in the freshly fallen snow. The cold didn't affect Him, but He did wish that it would just not snow for once. Unlikely though; as long as He had lived in town, He had never seen it not snow: perpetually winter.

    He opened His book to an appropriate page and rasped his knuckles on the large doors behind Him. To His delight, Her familiar voice answered, cheerful.
    "Who is there?"
    "Iva."
    "Iva who?"
    "Iva sore hand from knocking!" A chorus of slightly muffled guffaws sounded through the door to His delight. Beaming, He flipped through the book and continued on.

    He continued His joke rampage through several pages of jokes ranging from long drawn out puns to a rather clever joke about how a chicken crossed a road just to get to the other side. Although He though He might have heard the occasional sniffle or two from behind the gate, He was never asked to stop. As a matter of fact, He was never asked anything by Her; besides Her punctual laughter, She never said a word. He didn't mind though. The laughter She provided was far more than anything else He had had in the past at His post. This break from the norm was far more than He could ask from His life, and He had an inkling that this was soon going to become a tradition. His suspicion became reality when finally, after a chorus of tongue-twisters, She asked Him is He would be back tomorrow.
    "Sure I will. I've been assigned to be here every day, though now I have a real reason to come back." He heard Her shift slightly inside.
    "I'm glad. I enjoy our time together."

    He left Her with some words of parting and headed back into town. Somewhere in the back of His mind, He thought He recognized Her voice but couldn't put a figure it. Not that it mattered greatly to Him. In fact, in a way He preferred Her disembodied voice without knowing who She really was. It was just nice for Her to be there, appreciating his brand of humor. But now, He would have to put up with His brother, who distinctly hated His jokes.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Him and Her

    ~4~

    Her daily sessions beside Him comforted Her more than anything else could. While Her time alone in the ruins of the old kingdom was good for its own reasons, having a personal connection to someone else was soothing. She did not like to think of why She chose to be alone, as She could easily at any time exit the ruins and be with Her mysterious friend, but She understood deeply that She still had a mission to fulfill. But it was lonely all the same. It had been so long since another had walked through the ruins that She thought her loneliness may be eternal, but whoever was on the other side of the door made Her feel suddenly appreciated and happy.

    She listened to Him come and go for a week, always arriving to the gate before He did, always waiting for the distinct sound of His knocking to kick off a new joke. She never had anything to add to His jokes, but one day inspiration struck Her. After a string of puns He provided, She tentatively knocked on the door. The action, She supposed, was surprising as She heard Him knock over something that sounded like a jar or a bottle.
    "Who's there?" His voice came through the gate. She imagined Him with a big, goofy grin on His face.
    "Old lady," She posed, trying to contain a laugh.
    "Old lady who?"
    "Oh! I did not know you could yodel!" She heard Him laughing outside, laughing as if this were the funniest joke He had heard all His life. She blushed, imagining that a Man like this surely would have heard some pretty funny material already.
    He laughed for a good long while, finally stopping because He had winded Himself. "Heh, that's a pretty good one." She was thrilled to hear this. On any other day, She would have been sure that and joke She made was bound to be ridiculed. But not today.
    "Th-thank you!"

    She listened to His jokes for another hour, occasionally interjecting Her own jokes to more laughter from both parties, before He left for the evening. Picking Herself up, She left as well to go back to Her small abode. It wasn't much, but it was home for Her. Located not far from the ruin's exit, She had set up Her house specifically to intercept anyone exiting the ruins; it was impossible to leave the ruins without going through Her house. She had made a vow before coming to the ruins that She would try to assist all those coming through whether they wanted it or didn't know they needed it. She knew that anyone who left the safety of the ruins would eventually get taken by the king. It was Her self-proclaimed job to help those who passed along their way or to deter those passing. So far, She had deterred none but intended on continuing her mission. However, it had been a long time since She had helped the last one to pass through. She was starting to wonder if any more would pass.

    It did happen, though. Someone did pass through to her on the next day. Not long after She had left Him, someone passed through the ruins. They were weary from travel, so She offered Her bed and Her food and Her comfort. They accepted, but would not be convinced to turn back or to stay. She watched this stranger fall asleep and contemplated what to do. This stranger was not like the others who had passed through, though she could not figure out why. She felt strongly connected to this person even though they had just met. Perhaps she saw a bit of Her own son in him. Whatever the case, She felt compelled to let Him know in some manner. Making sure She left food out for the stranger upon his awaking, She left her house for the exit gate. There She waited until the all too familiar sound of knocking rang out in the cavernous hall.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Him and Her

    He must have only closed His eyes for a moment when He heard it; the sound of soft weeping stirred Him from His light sleep. Perhaps what had startled Him at the time was how close the sound had been to his head though He had felt no presence there before. Even after the weeping had started, He could not locate whoever was making the noise. He was quite sure He was alone in the cave, or had He been mistaken? A quiet survey of the cave provided no evidence of the sort as to another being in the immediate room with Him. But He could still make out the soft sobbing; it was most prevalent near where His head had been moments before on the pillow of fungi.
    Last edited by germany; September 18th, 2016 at 03:17 PM.

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