Today I have a little piece of The Brothers Mala, which I’m going to finish soon (and blog!). I hope you guys like it, and that it whets your appetites. It features Felix Mala, the brother of Aurelius.
When the laundry was done, they went inside and cleaned the house that was already clean. Mommy didn’t talk to Felix, not a lot anyways, just to tell him do this or do that. He wished Aurelius would come home like he did sometimes in the day, come home and smile and maybe play a game with Felix on the draughts board he had made from scrounged-up pieces of wood. He let Felix win sometimes. Felix knew that. But oftener and oftener he didn’t have to let Felix win, and he said he was so proud, and Felix knew he meant it.
Felix went through to the bedroom and sat down on his pallet, all stripped ’cause his blankets were hanging on the line. The wind came in through the open shutters, the wind and the sunshine, and even though it was high summer the little room was sort of cool. Next to him on his bed there was something he never saw before, a toy, a toy cat made out of red-and-black fabric. It had a pattern on it like a draughts board and scratched-up button eyes. He picked it up. It was so soft, shiny on the tail like somebody carried it that way.
He lay back on his pallet and felt the air stir over him, let the Bright Lady shine down on him. The cat was on his bed, but it wasn’t his. And he knew from how the eyes were scratched and the tail was shiny that somebody loved that cat, loved it a lot. He put it on his belly and looked into its eyes and asked it, “Where did you come from?” Of course it didn’t answer. “Who loves you?” he asked it, real quiet.
“Felix!” Mommy yelled. “Who are you talking to?”
“Nobody!” Felix yelled back, and he heard her coming and shoved the cat under his back so she wouldn’t see it.