A Sparkling in the Sand II: Magic Boogaloo

R. W. Haynes learns that he needs to choose his wishes of Altair more carefully in spectacular fashion

The eastern area of the United States stretches from east of the Mississippi River to the Atlantic, covering all states between.
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R.W.Haynes
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Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:19 pm

Richard listened closely to Altair as she softly sang, the melody slow and bittersweet, rising and lowering. Like when she told her story yesterday, he closed his eyes, and began to imagine the world that she had described a few short days ago to him and Thomas, though it seemed like almost a lifetime away. He saw the shimmering oasis, the towering palaces rising above the sand, the flooding of the Nile bringing the desert to life.

He began to rub his right thumb across the back of her left hand, as his hand held her's close on him, keeping rhythm with the words coming from her mouth. He didn't really understand the words, but he could understand the sentiment behind them. In several ways, music was universal, couldn't be restricted by the words that they were originally written in. Thinking back on it, he was sure that Altair hadn't really heard the words of Red River Valley, she heard his voice trying to comfort her the best he could. And he guessed that's what meant the most.

As she finished, Richard slowly reopened his eyes, and thanked Altair softly, "Thank you for sharing that with me."
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Altair Tahir
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Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:52 pm

The ebb and flow of a sound depended on who it came from. There was a talent to learning how to flow through notes. How to transition between them either sharply or softly depending on what the song demanded. Richard was right in his account of it. Music was universal. One did not need to understand the words to know what the melody portrayed. It was the reason that opera translated so well even in other languages. It did not hurt that there was expression and movement to aid in its portrayal. She had only her voice now as she closed her eyes and leaned back her head when she was finished.

“You’re very welcome,” her English had improved much since the few days she had known him. Getting accustomed to a language was part of what was necessary in her line of work. Not that she had chosen it. Falling into a short silence it was not uncomfortable just there as the two relaxed around one another. Neither felt the need to fill everything with words especially when they were comfortable in such a manner.

Eventually she would ask of him, “What will you do when I am gone?”

A rather hard question to answer and one that brought about the reality of their situation her gaze was situated out the window. She wished not for him to suffer. She wished him to find another love and happiness in this life. To have children he could tell stories to and to have a woman in the same cabin she had him in.
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R.W.Haynes
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Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:16 pm

Richard sighed deeply when she asked what he would do when she was gone. He was tempted to say that she was never going to leave him, that he would find a way to free her yet, that they would live together in happiness forever. That these little moments of comfortable silence, the tender caresses through his brown hair, would never leave.

But, he knew it would be a wasted phrase, a wasted lie. They both knew that this would end eventually, despite the ragings of either party. It hurt as he acknowledged it, but he knew it had to be so. He wanted to rage against fate, a fate so cruel to give the love of a lifetime, only to rip it away. But, it would be wasted breath and actions against an uncaring, unfeeling entity.

Finally, he quietly answered her, “I don’t have an idea. I haven’t given it much thought, I’ve been wanting to focus on this rather than when we do get separated.” He paused, a thought entering his mind from the morning after their first beautiful night together. He had asked her to name the Dun, though she declined. If she was going to leave, he wanted a rememberance of her, so he asked again, “You remember how I don’t have a name for the Dun? What would you name him?”
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Altair Tahir
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Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:18 pm

Fate had a nasty way of participating in the lives of those chosen. He had no idea what he might do but she knew what she would do. She would move on, slowly, lose herself in the others she served and find no pleasure in it. It would take time to lose his memory and yet she would never lose it completely. Seeing his face in strangers til the end of time just as she occasionally still saw others.

Her eyes were still closed but when she answered him she would choose to open them, she had already spoken on this subject but he sought an answer and to refuse him would be something she could not do, “Tahir.”

She had never told him her last name, nor that she really had one, and therefore he would not recognize it. Still if he were to name it such it would give her something to hold onto for in the short time they spent together the horse would be something that remained. He would have it then after she was gone if only for a little while and she wished for him to only hold on that long.
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R.W.Haynes
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Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:36 am

Richard looked up to Altair, and repeated the name, "Tahir. It's a pretty name, near as much as yours." The Missouri accent tinted the ancient name, but it didn't diminish it in any way. He didn't stumble over it like he did with Altair's name when they first met, he had grown accustomed to having to shape his mouth over the strange syllables. He had the same struggles with French and Spanish, but he had persevered.

He closed his eyes again for a few minutes, caught somewhere between dozing and wakefulness, the rocking of the train, the comfort in her lap causing him to begin drifting off. Caught in this state, he was reminded of the ever necessary second wish. It seemed nowhere he ran to would fully escape the overhanging menace of the lamp. Thinking back on Altair's words, he pondered about what he should use it for.

Finally, he remembered the economy passengers. There was barely any heating in those cars, with nothing more than a wood stove in the corner. He felt bad for them, and didn't want them to, or have to ride back in similar conditions. Then he began to think about what they would have to return home to, the multitude of various conditions. He said to Altair, throwing meaning into the words, "I wish that everyone in economy has enough money to get by. Not a fortune, but let their wallets never be empty of legal United States cash."
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Altair Tahir
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Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:45 am

"It is my last," she informed him without putting much stock into the meaning behind it. He had complimented it as well as spoke it correctly without prompting. Of course the name was easier to pronounce than her first and he had become accustomed to some of the words she had spoken over the short time they had spent.

Lost in his own considerations she had naught to say to fill the silence. It fell between them again like the break of the ocean on the shore. The tide drawing back before rising again each wave breaking on the edge of the sea and rolling over the sand.

Then he said the weighty words that would condemn them to one last wish left. She would have pressed him soon enough, the lamp required it, but his selflessness at the expense of what was left did not surprise her. He could have wished it for one person but he had taken to all of them and perhaps it had been at her expression before when she had given sympathy to their plight and the ways of this world.

"A comfortable life without true need by their own hand and by the design of fate. They shall live with that which has not been given to them thus far," there was no magic wand to wave, no rush of smoke or excitement in his wish, just a gentle comfort as her words rang true. The power surged though her but it did not change who she was or how she reacted it only dispersed as quickly as it had come and a collective sigh of relief was borne to each passenger. This was not an easy or a quick wish to grant but with time all of them would manage in this life like they had not before.
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R.W.Haynes
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Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:40 pm

Richard looked up to Altair, half expecting some grand show of his wish being granted. He hadn't seen the first one being granted for obvious reasons, being trapped under ice and all, but when he saw no change in her features, he wasn't sure if his wish hadn't been granted without backlash. But, the comfort in her words reminded him that it had, so he closed his eyes again.

After a while, he realized they probably ought to get to bed, instead of just napping on their bench. Slowly, he extracted himself from Altair, giving her a soft kiss as he got up. He softly pulled her along, so he could fold out the compartment bed from its position in the wall. Richard slipped out of most his clothes, save his underwear, before sliding under the sheets, and waited for Altair to join him.
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Altair Tahir
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Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:08 pm

Magic was sometimes subtle and sometimes not and more often than not. In this case it was but a wave of the hand and changes that would occur over time. Her only reassurance to him would be to make sure that she told him that they would be taken care of.

He slipped from his clothing and she switched a slip like dress in the same black as most of her clothing. Stepping up with him she crawled under the covers and curled against him her back to his chest. Pulling his arm around her waist she held him close. Breathing in his scent deeply she had pulled her hair around her shoulder to keep it out of his face. They had a whirlwind romance and every moment they had to touch one another they had taken it. The somber mood that came between them now at the consideration of the future had relaxed the intense want between them. Slipping off into a light sleep as the night set upon them she had fought it as long as possible. Just to listen to him breath and feel his heartbeat along the edge of his wrist where her thumb rested.
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R.W.Haynes
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:00 am

Richard had shifted closer to Altair as she climbed under the covers, feeling the same desires to touch as her as she felt for him. He softly kissed the nape of her neck as she pulled her hair forward, and nestled his face against the back of her neck, breathing in her beautiful fragrance of jasmine as he slipped off into the land of blissful dreams.

Quiet dreams danced through his mind as the train continued south and west, moving along the main line west, until they hit the the rail yard in North Platte in the pre-dawn hours. Then they were sent on the tracks that would take them through Colorado and into Arizona. As they climbed higher in elevation as they moved towards the Rockies, the winter conditions became more and more evident. The cowcatcher on the train served as a makeshift snow plow, throwing waves of white powder upwards, the barely rising sun causing the world to glow with even more radiance as the light bounced off the gleaming snow.

Richard was woken up early from the light emanating from the window, but remained still until he was sure Altair was stirring too. As she came to life as well, he gave her a slow kiss on the nape of her neck, but remained silent otherwise, letting the calming quiet rule between them.
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Altair Tahir
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:50 pm

She had woken before him but remained still until he kissed her neck her cheeks rising slightly as she smiled into it. The snow outside had fallen fresh and clean painting the landscape in shades of grey and white. The trees were covered in ice which drew down the branches but they sparkled like crystals while the sun rose in the distance. Watching it all as they passed by she had never seen so much in such a short period of time. White to green and white again as they rose into the mountains and into the thinner air. It almost hurt her eyes to look at the brilliance of it and yet she did not look away.

“It looks so beautiful from here but I know if we were to step out there the wind would be frigid and the ground cold,” sighing she drew his arm up to her chin his fingers curled over as she kissed the edges of his knuckles, “But you would keep me warm.”
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