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PART five: diin

Chapter 31: The Other Family

DIIN and her parents searched for the SKIMMA for weeks. They searched every inch of the narrow, muddy streets of their town. They looked through every gutter and dug up pit they came across. They combed through every garbage heap they could. They described the SKIMMA in excruciating detail to everybody whose path intertwined with theirs, but found nothing. DIIN was miserable. Her smile, her appetite, her joy, they all disappeared just as swiftly as her SKIMMA had.

Her parents did everything they could to cheer her up, but nothing helped. They had begun to give up, when, on their way back from work, somebody gave her father directions to a recently constructed hut where the SKIMMA had apparently been sighted, along with a warning about its occupants being “one of them”. Her parents immediately changed course, and made their way to the hut. DIIN anxiously followed. She didn’t understand what the warning had meant. What did the old OSZA mean by that? One of them? One of what? Were they monsters of some kind? Could they have eaten her furry friend?

A tall male OSZA came out of the hut to greet them. A few words which DIIN didn’t understand were exchanged, and a shouting match soon broke out. Her canine friend began to growl, and a screaming female OSZA, with an unusually large belly, came out of the hut and joined the chaos a few minutes later. DIIN stood behind her parents, scared, unable to comprehend why everybody was screaming at each other, unable to understand why a crowd had started to form, and held onto her growling canine companion, until she saw a tiny OSZA just like her, holding what looked like her SKIMMA, pop out for a few seconds from behind the hut’s door. She forgot all about her fear, and ran into the hut after the smiling OSZA. Her canine knew better than to follow her all the way in. It instead stood guard at the hut’s entrance, looking inside and keeping its eyes fixed on her, ready to lunge at the first sign of harm.

DIIN’s parents were too distracted to notice that their daughter had disappeared until fifteen minutes had passed since she’d entered the hut. They looked around nervously when they realized that she wasn’t standing behind them anymore, and heaved a collective sigh of relief when they noticed her canine guarding the hut’s door. They ran into the hut, ignoring the screams of the male and female OSZA they had been arguing with. The screams and shrieks were warnings telling them not to enter the hut, but the dire words meant nothing when compared to the safety of their child.

And so they ran into the tiny structure, followed closely by its inhabitants, and a few curious neighbors, to find DIIN telling her new friend CREFY all about her SKIMMA and their glorious adventures. CREFY and DIIN were too involved in their conversation to notice the shame that swept over the face of every single adult OSZA that had entered the hut. There they were, calling each other thieves and liars, judging and blaming each other without knowing or understanding what the circumstances of the situation were, simply because they belonged to different religions, religions which hadn’t gotten along historically, while their children had figured out what had happened, and happily moved past it all. Apologies were exchanged, dinner was shared, and just like DIIN, her parents left the hut having made new friends.

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