“Ok, Marina,” said Maite as she and Kepa walked back to their mysterious new friend, hand in hand. “What now?”
“Are you going to help me?” asked Marina warily.
“Bai, noski!” answered Kepa, the excitement clear in his voice. “Tell us what we need to do.”
“Eskerrik asko!” replied Marina, a smile dancing on her lips. “I hoped I could count on you two. And, to be honest, I don’t know what I’d do if you’d said no.”
Buber’s Basque Story is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!
“Come back and ask again?” said Maite. “How do we know you haven’t asked us a hundred times already, if we would just forget if you were here before?”
“Yeah, like that movie, Groundhog Day!” exclaimed Kepa. “Maybe you’ve been here trying to get us to say yes, asking us in a million different ways until you got it just right and we said yes.”
“I think getting you out of that baserri and away from that television alone will be worth it,” muttered Maite.
“I guess you wouldn’t know,” answered Marina with a shrug. “All you can do is trust me.” As if to emphasize the point, she held out the two zatiak that were still floating above the palm of each hand.
Kepa looked at Maite, the excitement beaming from his eyes, as he reached out for the zatiak in Marina’s left hand. Maite reached out to grab his hand. “Elkarrekin,” she said. “Together.”
Kepa nodded as he held Maite’s hand. “Elkarrekin.”
Together, they reached out with their free hand and each grabbed one of the zatiak in unison. They both suddenly went rigid as light poured from the zatiak into their hands and down their arms, coursing along their blood vessels as it weaved around their bones, through their muscles, and throughout their bodies. They both glowed as the light infused each of them. They each let out a silent scream, the light bursting forth from their eyes, their ears, and their open mouths. Marina looked away, shielding her eyes, as they became literal bodies of light, brighter than the afternoon sun that hung above them. Maite watched as Kepa mouthed “Ederra. Beautiful.” The intensity of the light grew exponentially until, with a flash, it was gone. Maite and Kepa stood there, looking like they had before, but with a strange new twinkle in their eyes. Both of their faces were flush with wonder and excitement.
“That was amazing,” Kepa said in a whisper. “I think I saw where and when all of the zatiak are, but only briefly.”
“I saw it too,” said Maite, her voice barely audible. “I didn’t really believe…” she began as her voice trailed off.
Maite looked at her free hand, the one that had picked up the zatiak. It was empty. “Non?” she asked. “Where?”
“It is inside of you now, part of you,” replied Marina. “Its power is your power. And, what better way of hiding it from de Lancre, than to hide it within yourselves.”
Maite just shook her head. “It’s all so incredible…”
Marina smiled. “I know it is a lot, and I appreciate the trust you placed in me. There is still a lot to learn, but for the moment, it is time to rest. Head back down to the town. I think you both could use a bit of txikiteo. I suspect Ainhoa and your other friends will be waiting for you.” Marina winked at them.