Tethered (March 2019, Week 3, Day 3)

“Green sky, blue ground, and air you can see – this isn’t home and I don’t think it will ever feel right. It’s where I am, for better or for worse, and at least the air tastes good.” Elkart took a large bite off the food bar and chewed noisily while staring at the small image in the screen. He’d piped in at two, on time as always. He lingered over the bite, catching the small bits that made a bid for escape with a finger or his tongue just in time to avoid missing a morsel. The clock in the corner of the screen counted up, logging the duration of the session.

“I don’t plan on staying forever. Even though it’s clear going back isn’t an option there’s nothing keeping me from going forward.”

The face in the screen came closer and fully into focus. “Do you have plans to go forward, Elkar? Interesting.”

Elkar pulled back from the screen and gave his food bar a longing look before answering. “Well, that’s not entirely true. She’s a something, a someone, keeping me here.” 

The face on the screen became blurry and small again before saying, “I see. Do continue.”

Elkar chose to have another bite from the bar instead of answering right away. He only got one bar a day and was far more interested in it than in this required session. As long as he chewed with his mouth open, the taste of the bar mixed in with the taste of the air and, together, they gave just enough of a reminder of home to be enjoyable. 

“Look, she doesn’t see it that way, of course. She thinks I could pick up and go whenever and that I’m still here because here is where I want to be.”

The face on the screen came close enough to only be one large eye, staring at Elkar. “This someone, is she from here?”

The last of the food bar gave Elkar time to find the words to answer. Honesty was, of course, required, and he didn’t want to lose any of the privelages he’d worked so hard to get. The eye was still there, filling up the screen, demanding an answer. The clock showed that there was too much time still remaining for him to avoid the question.

After gulping down the last of the bar, Elkar put his eye up to the screen as well. “She’s never known anything other than here, and I haven’t told her about the tether. Can we move on?”

The blink of the eye on the screen made Elkar cringe even though he knew the lashes weren’t really about to brush his own eyeball. The face in the screen had pulled back so it was fully visible from hairline to chin. Elkar waited for the face to speak.

“Yes, Elkar, we can. We seem to have strayed from the primary topic. I wouldn’t want you to think we’re interested in that part of your life, anyway.”

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