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   Chapter 30 Where Flish went wrong

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12260

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

The next day Daniel tried to think of something constructive to do. Something that would take his mind off the ghosts that were haunting him, and growing into obsessions. He had to get away from the monsters that made him feel powerless. Useless.

He was aware that the problem was inside his head, so, he deducted, he should try and fill that head with other things. But what?

In an impulse he picked up his hydger to call Tomlin. Maybe his friend had an idea. Or a job. He flipped the device open. The sound the cover made triggered something with him; it made him think of a remark Huajo had made about Flish. Flish, the mythical figure that the fat man had compared him to.

Yes, that could be something. Why shouldn't he find out more about this mythical character Flish? He was here, on this planet, so he could just as well learn a bit more about it in his time off. Clelem had made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with Daniel anymore. Huajo had other things on his mind also, so what else was there to do?

As Daniel had plenty of time, he was making quite a fuss about his attire. He laughed at himself, ridiculing himself about it. He recalled how Rhonda and he had laughed these clothes, so long ago on star base. Rhonda. Where would she be now...

After assuring everything was in order, he went out. In the elevator he met a few people that were living in the same building. He had never had much contact with them, but whenever they met, they exchanged social politenesses.

Once outside, Daniel made his way to the library. It was an ancient place, with books equally ancient, many of them even older. The smell of old leather, fading ink and yellow paper greeted him as he entered the large hall. He had been there a few times before, and Daniel had learnt to appreciate the scent and the feel of the heavy books.

One of the librarians helped him find his way around the mythological section, where he pulled a few books from shelves. "Here you go, sir. These volumes should get you started nicely."

Daniel hauled the books to an available table and hoped the thud they made did not get him thrown out. Nobody seemed to mind, though. He opened the first book and started going through the index, locating the only chapter on Flish quickly.

As he was slowly progressing through the chapter, the book was written in the planet's own language, someone sat down opposite him at the table. He was almost through a paragraph, so he did not want to look up. That would mean losing track of the tale, and it was fascinating in that Flish had been a boatsman. Also Daniel did not want to lose the battle with the language.

When finally he peeked over, he saw senator Sygra Dirrit ko Asac sitting at the table. "Oh. Senator. Good morning."

"Good morning to you, Mr... Zachaiis?" The thin man already had his face set for apology.

"Zacharias, but you were close, " Daniel smiled. "Such a nice surprise."

The senator nodded. "The pleasure is mine, sir. I was not aware that you were interested in that mythology."

Daniel grinned and told him what he had heard about Flish from Huajo.

"Ah. I see. Yes, Mr. Zacharias, in that light I can see how people can arrive at that idea." Sygra smiled.

"Do you know more about Flish?" Daniel asked.

"Not very much. It is not my... philosophy. Mine is not so related to things of the water."

Daniel had never given religion much thought. Not for himself, and not here on the planet. Now he understood that he had been neglecting something. Ignoring something, to say the very least.

Sygra took the seat next to Daniel and looked over the page he had been reading.

As the senat

s give it a shot."

"Great. Now come, say hello to the family, join us for dinner and try to put your worries aside, at least for the evening."

After dinner, the children had been sent to bed, Daniel asked Tomlin and his wife Nadinka about Flish.

Tomlin laughed. "Good grief, Daniel, what are you getting yourself into? Becoming a real sailor here, including their beliefs?"

Nadinka wasn't so loud. "Do accept my apology for my husband's rudeness, Daniel. I think it is admirable for you to venture out and learn about the different religions and belief systems on our planet."

Tomlin looked at his wife. "I am sorry, my dear Nadinka. I forgot myself."

Nadinka smiled at him. "As you do so often. Daniel, how did you learn about Flish?"

Daniel told her that he had met Huajo Dogom ko Tzuy, who had mentioned the figure, and how he had met the senator in the library who had explained more about Flish.

"You know senator Dirrit ko Asac?" Tomlin and Nadinka were amazed. "You do get around, Daniel."

"Seigner Dogom ko Tzuy is a good man, " Nadinka added. "He knows the senator very well, they are both doing many good things for their communities."

"Yes, " Tomlin added, "just too bad about the rumours."

"What rumours?" Daniel asked.

"Maybe we should not-" Tomlin frowned at Nadinka.

"We should, Tomlin. You see, Daniel, there are rumours that the senator is... rather weak when it comes to resisting certain substances."

Something crawled around in Daniel's stomach. "Substances?" He was not sure if he wanted to hear this.

"Drugs, Daniel. Not the heavy stuff, but still." Tomlin sighed. "Of course, they are only rumours. For all we know they are only brought into the world by people who want to harm him. That's often how it goes with public figures, right?"

"Yes, that is true." Daniel remembered the funny smell which he had dismissed as a bad cologne earlier that day.

"He is a great man, Daniel, and I almost envy you for knowing him personally, " Tomlin said. He picked up the bottle with local cognac. "Care for another?"

"No, thank you Tomlin. Really, I should be getting back."

"Okay, Daniel, suit yourself. You can sleep here if you want. We have plenty of space, " Tomlin said, but Daniel wanted to go home, to his own little part of the planet.

Tomlin and Nadinka waited in the door of the reception building until Daniel's carriage was out of view, taken up by the darkness.

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