We Must Go With Courage

A Classic Mosaic Story

by Alyssa G., JoAnn Baca, and Debbie H. Bluerose


PART SIX 

"Vincent? Did you hear me? What's wrong?"

Vincent shook his head, trying to pull himself out of his pain long enough to answer his father's question.

"I'm sorry, Father, I was merely lost in thought." He ducked his head down, using his long hair to shield his face from Father's eyes. "Catherine...she was thinking about me...about us." This last part was said in a gentle whisper, as though the very thought was too precious for ordinary speech.

"I saw her earlier today."

"Catherine? She was here? Below? No one said a word." How could Catherine have been Below and not tried to see him, to get a message to him? Were things even worse between them then he believed?

Father cleared his throat and placed a warm hand on his son's shoulder as he sat down beside him. "Sometimes it's the words that aren't spoken that are the loudest." At Vincent's confused expression, Father smiled and slowly shook his head. "Vincent, I've been observing the two of you for years now! I assure you, I can tell when something's wrong. Come, tell me. Perhaps I can help."

As much as Vincent wanted to find a way to set things right between himself and Catherine, he wasn't sure that he could find the courage to broach this particular topic with his father. "I'm sorry, Father, but I think I need to simply work this out for myself."

"I see." Father rose to stand, a troubled look on his face. "Well, I'll take your afternoon reading group for today, if you'd like. I somehow doubt that you have the clearness of mind required to deal with a roomful of children and the wonders of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.”

Vincent couldn't help smiling at that. The last time he'd read with this particular group, they had asked nearly a dozen questions about little dogs and why they weren't allowed to keep them in the Tunnels. "Thank you, Father...for everything."

"You’re welcome. Oh, and Vincent, when you're feeling up to it, you will have a word with Mouse, won't you?"

"Of course."

"Fine, fine."

Father stopped his exit from the chamber and turned around once more. "Are you certain you don't want to talk?"

"The words are simply not there on this matter. I appreciate your offer, Father, but I cannot speak of it." Vincent lowered his head and busied himself with the candle on the desk.

The expression on Father's face saddened as he turned to walk out.

*             *              *

Mouse was rushing about his chamber, nodding and muttering to himself as he scribbled a list of items he would need. "Big project. Need help Vincent and Catherine." So intent was he upon his work, Mouse didn't notice Vincent step into the frame of the stone doorway. Mouse looked up and almost dropped his pencil when he caught a glimpse of his large friend watching.

"Mouse, what are you doing?" Vincent had learned over the years that it was best to be direct with the tousled-haired boy if you had any hope of getting an answer.

"Surprise! Can't tell!" The lad jutted his chin out to emphasis his point.

Apprehension started to build in Vincent like water pushing against a dam that was bound to break if not diverted. "Mouse, I know you want to help, but this is an issue Catherine and I must deal with."

"Not dealing with it. Crying. Avoiding. Not dealing."

Vincent stopped short on what he was about to say, as Mouse may not have the most elegant of grammar, but he did have a point. "Mouse, could you take a note to Catherine for me?" By having Mouse take the note, the message had a calculated risk of not arriving, but more importantly, it kept the boy busy.

"Me? To Catherine?" His eyes lit up.

"May I borrow a sheet of paper?"

Vincent carefully considered his words.

"Here. Paper. Pen. Sit," Mouse ordered while pushing Vincent into a chair at a nearby table.

"Write letter, Mouse deliver. Fix everything."

"Mouse...some things can't be fixed by words alone." He didn't want Mouse to go Above expecting to ease Catherine's pain, only to be disappointed if things didn't go as planned.

Mouse grinned and shook his head at Vincent. "Already know that. Words...note...just a start." Mouse's voice dropped to a whisper as he put his hand on Vincent's shoulder. "Hardest part. Once start, rest is easier."

Vincent smiled at that, thanked his young friend, and began to write.

 

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