Icarus Falls – Part Five

There is an old circus saying that goes, “The day you don’t think about falling, you will fall.”
In 1962, Horvath Ambrus set foot on the Pionir, his family in tow, and twelve creased and grimy notes comprising his former life’s savings, now held snugly in the hands of the ship’s First Mate. Ambrus ushered them gently toward a cabin at the stern, thankful that the last of his fame had managed to secure a place of relative comfort for the long journey. They had left Budapest days earlier, but it was only once he felt the streets of Rijeka beneath him, that Ambrus let the months of worry drift away in the offshore winds. Estzi held two-year old Aurelia close, and Gabor refused to leave his father’s side. Even at six, he was already developing Ambrus’s lithe frame. Konstanz conducted himself as if he were the oldest; taller then Gabor and seemingly less desperate for the comforting presence of his parents, no one would have guessed that he was only five.
They are strange, these things, these reasons that compel us to sacrifice comfort and security, to choose the undiscovered above the familiar. Love is the artisan behind many of these new directions, but greed also drives men to forsake title and stature. So too ambition and survival, which are more closely linked then might be guessed.
Whilst love was certainly a part of it, for Ambrus the reason was as simple as two faces.
Jens and the others had already taken the tent down, leaving Ambrus to collect the last of the ropes. An uneventful week had passed in Tokaj, attendance figures were dwindling and after three long months, he was looking forward to a week’s respite. As he finished with the ropes and went to hook up the last trailer, Ambrus noticed a misshapen figure just beyond the edge of the clearing. Parts of its body seemed to bulge and undulate in unnatural ways, but as it drew closer and the moonlight brighter, Ambrus could see his mistake. This was no shape-shifting creature formed from shadow; this was a small child, a boy, clutching a baby in a threadbare blanket. Ambrus gestured for the boy to approach, close enough for him to lift the blanket and look upon the face of a baby girl. And though they would fade as Aurelia grew older, it was the flecks of purple in those dark, entrancing eyes that first whispered to Ambrus, you will never come home again.
Strange too is the existence of a world where men are heralded for their explorations into unchartered territories, yet entire communities can be victimized for simply being different. In much of Eastern Europe, ‘gypsy’ was just another term for outcast, and in certain areas the hatred ran so deeply, that a young brother and sister may well find themselves orphaned. And when Horvath Ambrus made these two outcasts a part of his family, rather then gifting his legacy to them, it was brother and sister whose tainted heritage became his own.
“Taking your dogs for a walk?” For months Ambrus had tried to ignore the insults, but he knew that they only signified worse was to come. An inexorable ice age, that would snuff them from this earth should they choose to remain.
Standing on the Pionir’s port deck, Ambrus allowed himself to hear the exuberant applause, to feel his body soar through the air. But the applause slowly quietened to the sound of keel through water; there was no audience to thrill, and there may never be again. Under the light of the stars, the ocean seemed as vast as the Carpathians, with no end in sight.
Ambrus was falling, and he hoped to God that the new country would be a net to catch him.

~ by tenmiles on February 20, 2006.

13 Responses to “Icarus Falls – Part Five”

  1. So. “Konstanz”, huh?

    let me know the day you get this published. i’ll make a killing with the translation, i can tell.

  2. A flashback of sorts then? With new and interesting characters; carnies 🙂

    I really like the language you’ve used.

    I’m not too sure about Ambrus’ first line though: “In 1962, Horvath Ambrus set foot on the Pionir, his family in tow, and the twelve creased and grimy notes that were his life’s savings now held snugly in the hands of the ships First Mate”

    It just doesn’t seem right to me, I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it is that the notes that were his suggests that they are still in his possession, whereas the rest of the line says they aren’t?

    Can’t wait to see where this is going.

  3. Yeah, that line bothered me too, but I wasn’t sure if it was just me. Besides, if I wasn’t being hounded into posting the next installment all the time, I’d have more time to edit……… ;~)

    Better? Have to say I’m still not entirely comfortable, but there it is and so it shall stay. I’ll fix it when Anne does the translation…….

  4. Well, if you aren’t going to change it again then I won’t say anything 🙂

    But if you were I might suggest:
    “his former life’s savings passed into the hands of the ship’s First Mate.”

  5. Well, at least now you know I’m fallible………..


  6. So the children are the main reason they have decided to leave their home; his acceptance of them was the point of no return…? Interesting history you’ve painted. As always, looking forward to the next installment. I love the ‘gyspy’ introduction.

  7. Dear Pinocchio on Ice, first off. I LOVE the new look. I love that my comment is white font on black background, which makes me want to write inanities forever. But I’ll refrain. How’s your ankle? Secondly, I was wondering what Fence saw wrong with the Ambrus/notes sentence, but I see that you must have changed it; it sounds fine to me. This is just a great story. Did you realize it would grow to such proportions?, because it’s becoming VERY novelesque, n’est pas? Which makes ME happy. Just keep Konstanz big and handsome, and you’ll keep me reading. I’m happily shallow that way (not that this is in any way a shallow story, so you understand. No, anti-shallow, definitely. =o)

  8. Okay, God, don’t hate me, but I must chime in again on the first line since I opened my big mouth about it before. It doesn’t make sense, in that it sounds like the notes were doing the holding. In other words, it needs to say, “…life’s savings, were now held…” Don’t hate us, okay? We LOVE you. We ADORE you. If we were on another plane of existence, we would all have your babies, okay? Feel free to correct me any old time. Like now. Seriously. You can find something wrong in like two seconds. Go ahead.

    Also, I wasn’t calling you God. MAN. xo

  9. I like the shift in perspective. It’s as if the story is beginning to crystallize.

  10. BLW – point of no return is exactly it. Its not really up to him anymore. He is beyond compelled.

    Kells Bells – So glad you like the new look, and don’t let me be the one to halt your inanities! I do feel like this is becoming more like a novella, I just hope you guys have the patience to read through one! As for that ‘disputed’ line, apparently on another plane of existence, I have a huge grin on my face, so I reckon I can live with an imperfect line……..

    KN – Thanks. I trust you will make sure I don’t stray too far?

  11. I blame Fence for bringing it up in the first place. Don’t tell her I said so, though. I promise I’ll refrain from correcting you in future, unless you try correcting me, in which case your ass is mine. This has nothing to do with any other plane of existence, for the record, so wipe that smile off your face, mister.

    Well, and good afternoon. Where are my manners?

  12. I cleared my head, set aside some time, and read from the beginning. Since this thread has not yet tied into the piece before, I hold the line before really commenting.

    Just letting you know I with you, waiting to see where we go next.

  13. Holy cow. I totally lost the ability to type “I’m.” Maybe I didn’t clear my head as much as I thought for my last comment. Time to go to bed.

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