Zero had walked a long way. She relied on a cane to hold herself straight. Her bamboo staff, swung with her stride; step, step, step.
After years of traveling life, wandering here and there, her shoulders felt the weight of time.
Zippy was bright and with the skinny legs of a new born colt. He had just begun his walk. He had yet to be bruised or broken. He had spent years on his mother’s milk, playing by the shore, doing childish things as children do.
It was circumstance that brought the two together. They were headed in the same direction.
Zippy didn’t need a cane. No, that was a long way off for him. He carried a box. It had lights and it clicked. It flashed and radiated, much like the boy himself.
Zippy was adhered to the box, as Zero was to her cane.
Voices announced through the box that there was trouble in their homeland.
Zippy ran to Zero and said, “There’s trouble!” “There’s trouble!”
Zero with her worn out face, wrinkled from years in the sun, looked at the fresh-faced boy, whose excitement was growing with each click and flash.
She sighed a deep breath.
“Leave your box alone. We will be home soon.”
But Zippy was glowing. His eyes were gleaming and he couldn’t be stopped.
Sparks flew from the box and a fire caught in the air.
Zero could feel the pressure of the heat. She could hear the sizzle of her flesh. She flailed and waved her arms.
Zero pleaded, “Stop, you’re fueling the fire. The heat from your box is burning me! Stop! Stop!” The more she moved, the worse the flames. Zippy watched in awe. He enjoyed seeing Zero burn.
Zero remembered the words, DROP AND ROLL-DROP AND ROLL. So, she did.
The fire subsided. Her clothes were burnt. Her skin was scorched.
She looked at her limbs, red and ugly, black and charred. She felt an old familiar pain.
Once again, she sighed. She knew the burns would heal with time. She had many scars to prove it.
The boy traveled back to the Isle of his home, his box still smoldering.
Zero picked up her cane and continued on her journey.