Safi Asks Some Questions

Main Street
This brick-paved, north-south street is in significantly better repair than the roads leading into town. It's nearly impossible to tell what color the original bricks were, or in what pattern they were laid, but someone has made sure that no hole gaped too large without being plugged with something. The roadbed is a patchwork of multicolored bricks, chunks of cinderblock, and large, flat stones. The mere thought of riding a vehicle over the resulting uneven swells is almost physically painful.
Most of the buildings along the street have not fared even this well. In fact, it is clear that much of the brick in the road was scavenged from the more ramshackle structures. Yet there are signs of life: a cafe with a newly painted sign, a clean welcome mat on the library's decrepit porch, a windowbox full of vivid flowers clinging to a crumbling windowsill. The brick-paved road extends less than a quarter mile before disappearing again into grass and chunks of decaying asphalt.
Present: Safi

Safi sits crosslegged on the weathered wood of the dock, palms open on her knees. Her eyes are open, watching the water as the sky darkens.

Sunshine steps out of one of the side alleys along Main Street. She carries a basket, as usual, but from the way she holds it, it seems likely to be empty. She heads first towards the Diner, but the girl sitting on the dock catches her eye, and she turns in that direction.

Safi straightens, and looks over her shoulder. An unguarded smile comes to her face, and she twists further as she stands up, stepping across the planks to the woman. "Hello," she offers.

Sunshine smiles gently at the girl. "Hello, Safi. I thought that was you. How have you been?"

A lifted shoulder serves as her answer, and then Safi says, "You live on the farm?"

Sunshine nods slowly, though the gentle smile remains. "New Moon Farm, yes." The Healer is thoughtful for a beat. "You have, I think, been there?"

"On-ly once," Safi says quietly. "I did not... mm. Meet, any one. From there." A smile comes again, and she ducks her head.

Sunshine sets her basket down, confirming that it's empty. "Ah, I see. Is there something you'd like to tell me, child?" The question is exceedingly gentle, and lacking the usual sense that the asker will be upset if the answer is 'no'.

Safi looks up, her smile intact and a touch rueful. She gives a small shake of her head. "Someone ... told me, the farm people do not hunt."

Sunshine's smile warms a touch. "This is true," she admits. "Most of the people who live at the Farm do not eat flesh. They do not, however, insist that others follow the same path, on other lands."

Safi's brow furrows a little. "It is strange to me." She tips her head slightly. "I am a hunter. Why do you not have meat?"

Sunshine chuckles gently. "See that you do not hunt on the Farm lands, then. The animals on the Farm are our friends and helpers. Would you hunt a friend?"

Something crosses the girl's face, a shadow of sadness. She turns her face away to look out to the water. "No," she murmurs. Then she looks back to the woman, with that grief still written in her eyes. "I undair-stand, I think."

Sunshine doesn't reach out to the girl, but her smile is sympathetic. "I do not hunt, but I have been known to eat meat, myself. Is there something else, child?"

Safi swallows. "I... may-be, can come there some time?" Her tone makes it a question.

Sunshine's smile shows a faint edge of strain. "Of course. Whenever you like. Just remember not to hunt."

Safi blinks. "If it is not good, I will not come," she says quickly. "I do not want to make... people angry." She swallows, awkward as a child caught in the wrong. "I am sorry."

Sunshine's smile eases for a moment. "It is fine, child. I would not say it if it were not. Your presence should not make anyone angry." She glances at the air, and bends to pick up her basket again.

Safi nods carefully. "Then may-be, I come. I bring some-sing for you. Plants that are good."

Sunshine's eyes show that strain again. "Yes, that would be good." She glances at the girl again. "If you need anything, child, please do ask..."

Safi shakes her head minutely, a questioning look in her eyes. "I say somesing wrong?" she asks guardedly.

Sunshine shakes her head, though the strain in her eyes shows through her gentle amusement. "No, child, it is nothing you did."

With a careful nod, Safi takes a step back. "You walk safe, with Gaia," she says quietly.

Sunshine takes an equally careful step back and nods. "Lady guide you, Safi." With that, she turns and hurries along the street towards the Diner.

Safi watches, silent and sharp-eyed, until the woman disappears.

Sunshine disappears into the Diner, reappearing a few moments later and hurrying out of town.