Raging Alone 11: Drunk

Desòchu sighed as he sat on the couch in the living area of the cave. He toyed with an empty mug trying to decide if he wanted to get up and refresh his water or let it sit. There was not else to do at the moment, his friends were getting drunk again but he couldn’t find an adult to watch his brother to join them. With a groan, he set down the mug.

He was hoping to spend some time with Nikogāmi before they headed back home in the morning. The other three were already joining in a private celebration and Desòchu wanted to more than a few hours almost a week ago to enjoy before the overwhelming pressure to watch his brother mounted.

On the floor in front of him, Rutejìmo looked up. His bright green eyes looked just a bit too large as he held up a brightly colored ball almost above his head. “Sochu play? Play boll?”

Desòchu winced at his brother’s words. He didn’t inflect anything which made everything a muddled mass of noise. He sighed and shook his head. “No, I don’t want to play.”

“Boll?”

Desòchu waved his hand abruptly toward his brother. “No.”

“Oh,” said Rutejìmo as his eyes shimmered with fresh tears.

With a groan, Desòchu turned his head as the high-pitched wail echoed off the walls.

It took almost a minute for his brother to calm down. As soon as the cries stopped, the questions resumed. “Play boll? Play?”

“Just shut up.”

“Play?”

Desòchu turned on his brother. He yelled back. “Stop!”

Rutejìmo froze, his eyes growing wide. Then he fell back as the tears ran down his cheeks. The ball rolled away, bouncing against the other couch.

“Just… play by yourself.”

Sobbing, Rutejìmo rolled on his hands and knees and crawled over to his ball. His cries scraped against Desòchu’s thoughts but soon quieted as he rolled the ball forward.

Desòchu watched as the bright red sphere bounced on the wall.

Rutejìmo giggled and crawled after it.

“Simple pleasures.”

A grumble and low, hacking cough alerted Desòchu that his father was home. He turned and watched as his father whipped the entrance blanket aside and staggered inside.

Hikòru’s hair was wild and hung to one side. With sand and rocks still clinging to his left side, it was obvious that he had fallen. He leaned to the side for a moment and made a half-hearted attempted to straighten the entrance blanket before he turned back.

Their eyes caught.

“What you looking at, boy?” Hikòru’s slurred voice and red-rimmed eyes told Desòchu that his father had been drinking for some time.

Guilt flooded Desòchu, he knew he shouldn’t ask his father to watch Rutejìmo while drunk. But the allure of spending one more night of frivolity was difficult to resist. He cleared his throat. “I was hoping you could watch Jìmo tonight.”

Hikòru stopped and leaned against the wall. “What? Why?”

“It’s just for tonight. The Nikogāmi are heading home tomorrow and I want to… spend time with them and Nèku, Mènyo, and Ríshi. It shouldn’t be—”

Hikòru spat. The saliva struck the wall before dribbling down.

Gulping, Desòchu held up his hand palm up, as if he was begging. “Please, Papa?”

“Why would I give a flying shit into Chobìre’s skull if you go out?”

Rutejìmo’s head lifted up and he smiled. “Papa!”

With both hands, he grabbed the couch and pulled himself to his feet. Turning around, he swayed for a second before toddling toward the entrance. “Papa home!”

Hikòru’s head ducked down as he watched Rutejìmo approach. Then he reached out with one foot and gently shoved the child to the side before staggering past.

Rutejìmo tumbled to the ground. He sniffed and rolled over to get on his knees. With outstretched fingers, he grabbed the embroidered blanket at the entrance and pulled himself up again. One of the rings that kept it in place made a ping noise as it snapped. Turning around, he followed after his father. “Papa papa papa papa.”

Hikòru went straight for his customary spot on the couch and dropped into it. As he did, his foot caught Rutejìmo who had caught up to him.

The child tumbled back, a surprised look on his face.

The older man made no effort to look at what he had done before he slumped back. “The spinning will stop soon. Then I’ll get another drink.”

Desòchu fought with his desires. It was only an hour or so. Rutejìmo should be okay, he knew it. He gulped and then sat up straighter. “Papa?”

“What? Go, just go and have fun.”

“A-Are you going to be okay with Jìmo?”

Hikòru’s face darkened at the shortened name. It was too close to Desòchu’s mother.

“I-I mean, Rutejìmo.” Inwardly, Desòchu berated himself for slipping up. He may have just ruined his chance to enjoy the night.

Hikòru groaned and patted the couch.

Knowing that he was looking for a fresh bottle of bichìru, Desòchu got up and headed into his father’s room. Hikòru had brought a supply with him when he came back from Wamifuko City. He was getting low, which meant he would be leaving soon. Despite the room being dark, Desòchu went straight for the dresser that kept his father’s alcohol. There was only two bottles left of the fermented cactus wine. He grabbed one and returned to set it down next to his father.

Hikòru grunted.

Desòchu returned to his seat. He had to wait for his father to take a swig from the drink before he asked his question. “Are you okay with Rutejìmo?”

His father focused on him, his red-rimmed eyes almost hiding the green. Then he closed his head and slumped his head back. “Whatever. I don’t care anymore.”

“Play boll?” Rutejìmo stood in the center of the room, holding his ball above his head as he looked back and forth between his father and brother.

Desòchu glanced at his brother a moment.

“Sochu? Play boll?”

“Just… play by yourself.” He grabbed his mug and hurried to his room. Only a few hours, then he’ll come back. Rutejìmo will be fine with his father, Desòchu knew it.

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