Today’s ficlet is from “Quietus, Quintets Demise,” and inspired by today’s “Wiggle Your Toes Day.”
(another snippet from the same project can be found here.)
Royce Roberts hadn’t felt his toes in decades. Then again, he hadn’t felt much in the way of temperatures, textures or pain from the waist down, either. He wasn’t bitter about it, nor shackled to the path of “what if’s” and “maybe’s” that paralleled the “could have,” “should have,” and “would have” trails. That was Danny’s occasional detour, bearing a burden that wasn’t his because Royce, the eldest, said so.
No, he let the lie-ridden life that emerged in his absence keep its presence: folks assuming he drowned in drink and deserved the destruction of his limbs. As far as Royce was concerned, his legs- and the so-called honor of the one he fought to protect by fighting in his place – vanished the same day ‘Cary Joyce’ did.
He didn’t lament losing out on chaperoning Gail’s dances; watching from the sidelines as Danny was caught in the middle once more. He didn’t lament losing the days where he could dig his toes in the sand or walk through the yard carefree. Despite Danny’s best efforts, some things were lost.
No, Royce kept his stance as guardian to his siblings first, sentry to society second; eyes focused on the future, with its darkening skies and flashes of sanity amid the thundering madness.