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The Other World- Part 12

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River had beads of sweat running down the side of his face as he dropped the million-pound stack of papers on his desk and face planted into his bed. Worst. Day. Ever!

“Better finish that homework before dinner!” Oliver called from the kitchen.

“It’ll take a million years!” River called back.

“Too bad, you chose to stay home last week, you suffer the consequences.”

River groaned loud enough for Oliver to hear and laid his head back on his pillow, staring up at the ceiling of his room. Then his eyes wandered to his open backpack, lying on a stool near his desk. His dad’s book was dangling out. River stood up and peaked out of his room to see his dad also lying on his bed, but he was fast asleep. River, while wondering how it was possible for his dad to be yelling at him one moment, then falling asleep the next, grabbed the book and jumped back on his desk, ignoring his work.

He eyed the page number till he reached the page he left off on at school during his math class. He had a very good memory and refused to use a bookmark. River read for about an hour, not realizing how much he enjoyed the story. He always thought he was a terrible reader, never really interested in fiction. But his dad’s books brought out a side of him he never thought he had.

River was taking every opportunity to read the books, knowing there were a lot more where they came from. His dad told him that not even half of the books had been written. River wondered if his dad would live long enough to finish his series. He reached the end of a chapter that ended in a cliffhanger, but before he could continue, he fell asleep.

                                                                                    —————–

 River woke up to the sound of his dad turning off the shower water. Shoot, he thought, I’m dead. River scrambled to get his stack of papers. He split it in half, pulling one half on his lap and the other on the floor beside him. Right then, Oliver walked out of the bathroom.

He stood in front of River’s room, dumbstruck.

“Is that the homework you’ve finished?” he asked, pointing to the pile beside his bed. River looked up from the stack on his lap, as though just realizing his dad was there.

“Oh, yeah.” he gave an unconvincing yawn. “Been working on it all day.”

A still dazed Oliver just nodded and began to walk to his room. Then he noticed an open copy of his third novel on the bed. It clicked; River was lying. He had been reading the whole time. Oliver felt foolish for believing him in the first place. River never did his homework. But he kept up his act and continued to walk causally into the room.

“I’m impressed.” he said. “You’re finally doing your homework.” River gave him a hurt look. “Thanks dad. I knew you had faith in me.” he said. Oliver chuckled and walked to the edge of his bed.

“Hey! That’s my third book!” he exclaimed. Picking the book up, Oliver flipped through the pages. “Oh, that’s a big rip River.” River looked at him in a confused manner. “I’ll have to tape it up.” Oliver walked out of the room with the un-torn book in his hand.

“You know what, it’s been a while since I read this one, maybe I’ll refresh my memory. I’m getting to old to remember everything, you know.” Oliver bluffed. He chuckled as he left the room, the perfect image of what happened in that book fresh in his mind.

He left behind a now dumbstruck River, who was left with no choice but to do his homework. He could us Brooke’s laptop, but the battery was low. He sighed and started on a math equation. But having missed a whole week, he had absolutely to idea how to solve it.

River groan loud enough for Oliver to hear again. Looks like the worst day ever hasn’t ended yet.

                                                                                          —————–

Dinner was eaten at Oliver’s office with the father and son studying the map of all of Xanila. Oliver, of course, knew the whole map by heart. River was studying it with fascination,

“It’s so big.” he gasped.

“Yeah. It’s like Pangaea. No other continents. Just one big body of land.”

“No.” River shook his head and pointed to a little collection of islands south-east of Xanila.

Oliver tilted his head and looked at these islands with interest. He did remember those islands, but he couldn’t remember what was there. In fact, he couldn’t even remember what they were called. River noticed his dad’s sudden silence. When Oliver looked back up, River gave him a questioning look. Oliver chuckled nervously.

“I just- I don’t really remember those.”

“Oh.” said River, not really understanding why his father was reacting so strangely to not remembering what somethings called. River forgot names all the time.

They continued to looked at the map in silence, wondering where Brooke might be.

                                                                                       ——————

That night River was in his bed, a fully charged laptop from Brooke in front of him. Oliver walked in.

“Put it away buddy, you got school tomorrow.”

“One sec.”

“No, put it away now.”

“Fine.” River mumbled.

When he was putting his laptop away, he asked, “Dad?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re sure you don’t remember the name of those islands?”

“What islands?”

River looked at his dad, but he seemed to be serious.

“The ones on the map, the ones we saw at dinner?”

Oliver looked at his son like he was crazy.

“We were looking at Xanila, there are no islands on Xanila. Goodnight buddy.”

He left behind a dumbfounded River, again.

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