Milo

Nani figured it must’ve been late, because the moon was especially bright and the chill night air descended like mist unto the vacant streets. Inaudible as it was, the sound of emptiness permiated into the night sky, swallowed up by the moon like ritual sacrifice. She was completely alone, except for the light ruffling sound of paper drifting in the wind. The burden of complete solitude brushed against her naggingly and begged for sleep.
In this haze of loneliness, the days events had dissolved into nothingness. The importance was clear, but the details hid in the farther reaches of her mind. Gooseflesh-like a rude and uninvited houseguest-presented itself on her skin. Where was she?
She passed the old general store for the fifth time, the bright Lilikoi tree for the sixth. She could almost taste the pungent tanginess, and the brightening citrus smell radiating from each fruit. The new sidewalk glowed against her feet, as the feeling of helplessness slowly overcame her.
The Madam was sure to punish Nani. She had been late three times this month and it was something that seemed to anger the Madam the most. She envisioned it now, The Madam’s pulpy white face brimming with a burgundy colour and a furious disposition, as her pure French accent blurted out profane words of contempt.
Nani attended St. Martha’s, an still-life orphanage painted in black and white. It was a small building on Koa St, that stood beside basking in a shimmering view of the Hawaiin Bay. The property was in ruins. The walls were peeling off by the day, the air-dusty and dry-was in moderation at best, and the eighteenth century beds felt like there were sewn together with spiders legs. The only thing keeping Nani there was her was the quiet morning hours that she arose, alone, picking mangos from the tree directly outside and nibbling on the lush taste as the first cool breeze began to pick up from the shoreline at sunrise.
She stumbled into the Honolulu marketplace, a loud and colorful place used to exchange useful commodity’s and purchase new ones. It struck her that the very ground she was walking would’ve been ablaze with strangers and strange noises if it weren’t for the clock saying “AM” and not “PM”. She remember many an afternoon spent here, clutching the hands of two beings far taller than she, as they swung her body into the air, their firm grip holding tight each time the procedure endured. The nostalgia awoke her.
Her walk had taken her farther away from the Pacific Ocean then she had ever been alone. With a bit of apprehension in ever step, she walked through the marketplace without making a sound. The marketplace had always reminded her of the Middle Eastern Bazaar’s those same figures had told her about many years ago in the few minutes before night began. She lay, quiet and snug, in a large blue bed, and a woman, no older than 25, would tell her tales that strung along with them immediate wonder and interest. The lively and enticing Bazaar’s where not alone among the wonders she spoke of. She spoke of towering Pyramids that brought color and energy to the desert, and puzzlingly beautiful rock formations that lay waste to an ancient civilization under the streets of a bustling metropolis. She spoke of towers of pizza acting as fossils to a once aristocratic and cultured society, and the ruins to a city that shimmered in gold, with its commerce and culture. The words seemed to have a certain swaying presence with Nani, seeing as she believed them no matter how incredulous they seemed. It was the woman’s soothing voice, along with the words that played Lullabies on the strings of Nani’s heart. She remembered being asleep within minutes of a single tale.
There was no denying the thickness of the night now, for the darkness was palpable in her fingers. She came out on the other end of the marketplace with more hope, and a sense that something good would come out of the bad, but that would go away quickly. An alien noise sprang up from the distant forest. Nani’s casual face dropped to a frown of pure fear, Her posture, too, became shaky and abnormal as she started to head back into the market place. But as soon as she stumbled into the empty Market, the noise pierced the air again, this time from the other side. She ran in the direction she had been heading in before, hearing the same fierce wail several times, as she sprinted through the night, dazed and confused.
Suddenly, Nani was off the ground. She was flying through the air, though she distinctly felt something rough against her body. Plants, leaves, and all native flora were spinning all around her, some smacking her in the face as she descended from wherever she fell. All she could see was a vivid streaks of green and brown illuminated by the blurry moon. At one point, she hit a rock and dropped down further, this time feeling flighty and inhumane, like a soul drifting down to hell. Her ribcage was searing and her eyes were burning in the fierce wind. She landed in a green bush, unable to regain herself or remember where she was. Grass, leaves, and splotches of dirt were strewn across her body and she still felt a stinging pain in her left eye. She was so covered in them that, as she finally picked her cumbersome body up from Bush she had landed in, she looked like a human thorn bush. Nani brushed the dirt off her yellow dress and worked her way out of the entanglement.
The noise again. Like a stab in the heart. Nani tripped over herself and landed on the rugged brown Earth. This time the noise was all around her, slowly closing in. Could this night get any worse? Two eyes appeared under the shadow of the bushes, yes it could. And suddenly, as Nani gave up all hope of returning hope in one piece, the creature emerged from the shadows.
Tackling her on to the grown, the short creature started to lick her face, often pausing to smile and drool. Nani screamed madly until she caught on, it wasn’t a murderer, it was a dog! The very poster-boy of domestication. A surge of relief swept through her, and she started to massage the dogs back. It was thin and agile, with a strong body to protect it. The dog was white as snow, with small brown eyes that reflected the color from the moon in their colorblind vision. Its ears pointed up like two wide radio antenna’s (The Madam forbade them at St. Martha but the children would often sneak into her quarters and use hers) and its tongue dribbled limply, like a boneless arm. Nani spent a few minutes with it near the bush, then began to work on finding a way out of the forest.
As she worked on finding her way out, grasping the dog (which she had now named Milo) by a lock of his white hair, the depressing memories of the two figures with firm grips and enticing stories seemed to fade along with any trace of her disorientation and tiredness. The sun was slowly beginning to rise on what would become the morning of December 7th 1941. It was promising to be a very good day for Nani, incomparable by any in her entire life. She had met a new friend-something that didn’t come easy to her. Milo chewed the remains of Mango’s and Lilokai’s to spread a clear path. Gradually rising light seeped through the end of the underbrush, the brighter it got, the closer they were to man-walked land.
At this moment, it seemed that they would end up on one of the vacant beaches, a few of them lay right near Pearl Harbor. Finally all of the light soaked through the atmosphere, and all traces of darkness were left behind them. It was now that Nani noticed the silver tag hanging from Milo’s neck. “Hawaiin Poi” it ran, in an an engraved Arial font. Thats strange, she thought, while Milo chewed up the last few Mango bushes, Hawaiin Poi’s had been announced extinct just a few years ago. Well, perhaps this one one of the surviving ones, said the second voice in her brain, and they both agreed. Milo swallowed a Mango vine into bits, and the final way was paved onto the beach.
Nani fell headfirst into the golden sand, feeling as though all her energy had been stolen from her. It had been a full night. She remembered it now. Nani had gotten in a spat with The Madam and had sworn that she would “never return to that place again”. After nightfall she left her belongings, and climbed out the bedroom window, the cool night air awaiting her. All she had in her pocket was a few of the old coins, and the new American “paper money”. The American idea of money had seemed ridiculous to her since she was a little girl and had just found out about it, and furthermore, they were hard to find in the small town she grew up in. She had migrated with the two figures from her daydreams, from a small, uneducated town, which was filled with a mixture of Kauwa and Makainana men, who still followed the Kapu rigidly. There-Nani had not even known that the country was under in the process of creating new rulership.
Milo lay down body-up on the beach, waiting to be tickled mad. Nani replied to his request, and he made brief dog-giggle noises. America’s annexing of Hawaii was something that Nani had not really been old enough to care about. She remembered the two figures though, they seemed to be very upset over it and rarely spent any time at home. They left in the morning fresh and anew, and they came home dirty and tired, sometimes reeking of blood. Nani thought that this was unfair, and would throw fits and tantrums all day long, waiting, with tears constantly in her eyes, for the two figures to return. Then, one day, they didn’t. And the babysitter dropped her off at St. Martha’s. It was only now-when the sun was up, beating against their bodies, that she realized her parents had died.
Suddenly, Milo arose with a mad look in his eyes. He pressed his feet into the sand and fixtured his face towards the sky, worried about something there. Nani tried to calm him down by scratching him but he didn’t respond. He just in the sand like a white statue, watching, and waiting. Then, he started to run towards the blue sea, with Nani chasing afterwards.
“MILO!” she screamed, worried he might get hurt. At the shore, he stopped for a brief minute and pulled back, but then he ran full ahead and started to swim the blue mass that spread out along the beach. Nani followed after him, jumping into the blue and paddling madly towards his direction. The water was mind-numbingly cold, and it was hard for Nani to make any movements without sending a gelid sting down her spinal chord, but she pressed on. Milo was still ahead, doggy paddling his way to wherever he was going.
They swam for what felt like lifetimes, the waves rising and falling each time Nani took a breath. Soon she couldn’t feel the sand, and soon after that she couldn’t feel the tips of the surface, after that, she couldn’t feel anything, including her body. They were swimming in Pearl Harbor, pulling there bodies through the water, exerting every muscle they every built, and every piece of energy they ever gained. They were quite near the boats, and it was now that Nani noticed the planes circling overhead. It occurred to her that this was a large Army base, Arial and Naval alike.
Milo hit the back of a large vessel, and clamored to be pulled up. A tall man, with a Naval Hat, uniform and badges, and a face that looked it was made for war, came to the edge of the ship, screaming “Lookie here! it’s a friggin kid! and her damn dog, too!” which he barley pronounced correctly because of the large Tobacco cylinder jutting out from his teeth. Nani had finally, became parallel with Milo, and she watched above as the Sailors came to the side of the ship to marvel at the “kid” and the “damn dog, too”.
Milo would not stop barking. That same man with the cigarette began to scream back at the top of his lungs, with the same pulpy red expression The Madam would hold in times of anger. One of the nicer men let a ladder down and Nani, trying with all her might to carry Milo, came up it with a look of pure embarrassment. The sailors all stared at her, demanding an answer as to why she swam to their ship. It was a large, white vessel, and all the men looked the same. Tall, war automatons with a thing for tobacco, and some sort of alcohol stimulant, as one of the seamen proved by saying that Nani and Milo were “Aliens”. The younger sailor put a dry towel over Nani and one over Milo, something they were grateful for.
“Well, what are you waiting for? What are you doing here?” One of them said, having finally thrown their American Cigarette into the clean, untouched Hawaiin ocean. Nani stumbled on her words, and failed to answer quickly because Milo began the barking at the sky again. She managed to get out one letter:
“I-
And then the world exploded.
No more was there a surface beneath her feet. No more could she feel her body. No more could she cry out for help. She remembered plunging headfirst into the ocean, and softly sinking, at peace with everything, after all, who was there to worry about her? She drifted through the ocean and listened to the Explosions In The Sky, the fire gradually growing in the scene above her.
Milo was gone. Her parents were gone. Her possessions were gone, and just like them, she would be gone, too. The last thing she could remember was a long sleep tugging at her eyelids, and so, as the battle raged above her, she closed her eyes, one last time. It was true that she made a friend that day. But she had also made an enemy.

Milo

TwoHeadedBoy

Joined August 2008

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

Mr. S said we had to write about a Puppy for that week’s writing club, and this is my take on the “prompt”

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