Fish or cut bait. Astoundingly, Eran would fish.
Stefan had once again offered Eran extra funding for the spring. Eran was starting to think Stefan meant to buy not his silence but his body. Eran wasn’t selling, but as his internship had given him an escape route, he took the money. One semester, no teaching – take four courses, and he’d be ready for his exam.
Eran strongly suspected he would feel differently about continuing once he scheduled the exam. But given his escape route, school felt less like prison. It was good enough for now.
In his carrel, Eran logged in to check the course listings for the spring. The English department was running seminars on the war poets and on postwar modernism. That’d round out his extradepartmental study. As for history – recent European nationalism, and maybe African social history. Maybe he’d even take a fifth class…
He was high off the ground…waving. The familiar sensation of being a passenger. A slim body in impeccable uniform, the hand in leather glove – hadn’t he been this person before?
A crowd generated a roar. The world tilted. The body seemed to know what to do. Eran understood that this had happened before; that it was dangerous, threatening; that the body was an expert. The body handled the reins – they were on horseback – and brought the world back into alignment.
And then the world shook itself into an angle again. The body lost the grip.
They were flying. Eran wondered if he would feel the pain.
He didn’t, but the body did. Shock, white exploded. Eyes wide, sightless. It was like falling into a dead man’s chariot, and being carried forward.
There were helping hands everywhere. Despite them, Eran sensed that the body couldn’t breathe. Was it the wind knocked out of him? Feeling that across the century? The body swayed, hands around for support, and somehow boarded the motor-car. The last duty: wave.
The body waved.
Eran shook it off. Him again? Of all the people to repeat. That was a weird one. Seems as thought it should have meant something.
October 28, 1915: King George V is thrown from his horse while reviewing troops on the Western Front. He fractures his pelvis in two places; the incident may also have contributed to the eventual decline of his health.