Monthly Archives: November 2012

Strange, Blue Neighbors, Part 1

Light’s flashed in bright bursts on a pale blue screen, causing the tall, brown haired man to jerk awake. He yawned broadly, as he scratched his neck, squinting at the screen. “Huh.” He tapped the screen once. “Lights, ko, lights!” The whole area lit up.  The walls were massive windows looking out into the void of space, and surrounding the man was panels, after panels of graphs, numbers, and dials. At a tiny space at the very back was a small skinny door.

He shoved against the console and bounced out of his chair.  He flattened his eyebrows in a pointed glare at the screen in front of him. “You better not be lying, you piece of worthless junk.” He shook his fist at the main window of the craft.

The man stumbled backwards over his chair to the door, hitting a round, glossy, red button. “Everyone up. I found a huge load of limonite, and we gotta get to work.”

He banged on the small door. It popped open revealing a huge line of bunk beds.

A red haired woman stuck out from one the bunks. “Do you have to be so loud? We haven’t even landed yet, Girgis.”

“Aren’t you excited, I’m excited.” Girgis responded with a big flashy grin.

She rolled her eyes. “You’re just happy our pay isn’t going to go to waste.”

“Maybe!” He shouted as he barreled down the hallway toward the back. He slammed on the panel next to the much larger door that snapped open.

A flood of groans was in response to all the light flooding the room.  A few small pillows were tossed his way.

He rushed inside, as the door shut behind him. It was large, and mostly empty with equipment strapped to the sides. “Soon, sweetheart you’ll be full of beautiful ore.” He jogged over to a blue panel and started to punch in landing coordinates. He slammed on another red button. “Landing procedure initiated, get yourselves ready. We’ll be down in half a day. I’m going to go hit the sack, so I’ll be out of your hair.  Jin take over.”

He ambled over to right side, pushed a narrow door open.  It lead to a cramped room with just enough room for a narrow bed, toilet, and basin. “And when I wake up, we’ll be planet side.”

With a few deft movements, he folded his covers back.  He stripped down throwing his clothes in a scattered pile around his room.  He dashed his face with water, and grinned.  “Planet side, sweetheart, planet side. Aren’t those the most beautiful words, you have ever heard?”  He cocked his head to the side as if listening to the ship.  He chuckled, and wrapped himself up in bed, and was soon snoring.

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Gulla, The Rebel

A hand snapped over the side of a ventilation shaft. Then, a second one. A grunt was followed up by a young woman up with severe eyes, and brown skin. “Ugh, this hurts.” She mumbled under her breath. With a heave, she pulled herself into the shaft. She leaned up against the wall clutching a dagger shoved into her side. “She told me it would hurt, and she was not lying.”

She dug around in her tall black boots, and pulled out a slim tube. She clicked the back-end showering light onto her side. She chewed on her lip for several hard bites. Her nose twitched once. “I should have asked whether or not I should pull it out. Can I get out with it in me?” She chewed on her lip some more. “I think I can.”

She shoved the flashlight back into her boots, and started to crawl. She sang a quiet song punctuated with a curse word or two. A faint blood trail followed behind her. Each foot scrap, and ding made her wince. “I wish I wasn’t so loud.” Her voice just above a whisper. Several more feet before the tunnel began to lighten. She increased her speed a bit, it got brighter and brighter.

At last, she was facing the outside, her face staring up at the glistening spires, and shooting up from shattered remains of the old city. She let out a holler. She shifted to face downward and grimaced. The drop was several feet high. “Ko.” She cursed in a mild tone.

A loud chink made her jump sideways, and her eyes close as her face paled. She leaned out the tunnel to see a massive hook and rope. A figured climbed up it with skill. The woman smiled when she recognized who it was. “Hey, Amaria.”

“Stuff it, you are late to the rendezvous.” Amaria, looked very young, her face unlined with the round, soft features of someone not quite mature. Her eyes, in contrast, were mature, and far-seeing.

The older woman grunted. “I went on a mission. I didn’t go out to buy a new dress.”

Gulla.” Amaria voice was girlish and high, but there was a hint of danger in it. “You wanted to lead a rebellion, get used to the fact people will worry about where you are. Come on, jump on and let’s go.”

Gulla’s twitched her lips. “I might need help.”

Amaria’s narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

“I got stabbed.”

“You got stabbed?” Amaria’s black brows shot up underneath her massive pile of bangs.

She shot her a sideways grin. “You adorable, when you’re shocked.”

Young girl ignored her, and twisted close to the wall. She grabbed her arm. “This is going to hurt.” She yanked her out of the shaft, and swung her over to the wall.

Gulla let out a cry, which she cut off by biting the inside of her cheek.

Amaria glanced down, and shouted. “You didn’t pull the knife out. What is wrong with you?”

She clung to the rope for several minutes. “I wasn’t sure if it would be better to leave it in or not.”

“Unbelievable.” Amaria shimmied down the rope. Her eyes level with the knife. She pressed one hand against Gulla’s side. “It does not hurt, you feel fine. The wound is not bleeding.” She repeated the phrase over and over a minute. She took her hand off Gulla’s side and placed it on the hilt of the knife. “Hold on to the rope tight.”

Gulla’s eyes were squeezed shut, and she gave a terse nod.

With a quick rip, Amaria pulled the knife out and let it fall. “I can’t believe you. You are genetically superior being, you are not immortal.”

She opened one eye. “I’m young and foolish.” Her face was white with tension, but she managed a smile.

“No need to tell me. I’ll climb under you. I’ll catch you if you slip and fall.”

Gulla twisted so her legs and arms were wrapped around the rope. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, as always, friend.” Amaria moved down the rope her eyes on Gulla as they made a slow pace down to the ground.

 

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People of the Sky, Part 3

I followed the Priest of Jirth. People watched us standing by the side of the road, whispering. The sight made my spine tingle, again. Their eyes were all filled with panic. I looked back at the Pirest of Jirth, and the panic began to overwhelm me. In order to preserve my sanity, I ripped my gaze away. Some of the villagers tried to approach me, but I waved them off.

Priest of Jirth stopped and turned to me. Its black eyes peered at me. “The Einlari are worried. You must speak to one of them. Einlari might panic when you are gone.”

The blood drained from my face, I felt cold and flushed at once. “Gone?”

It looked at with one eye, then the other. “Yes. Gone. You are Teacher of Einlari. You will go with us, and become an Ambassador of Jirth. You will fly with us, to our home.”

My feet moved me back from the Priest of Jirth. “I don’t want to be gone. These are my people, my responsibility.”

“In this matter, Teacher of Einlari, you have no choice.” Priest of Jirth eyes shined on me.

I straightened my back. “You don’t get to dictate how I serve my people. I don’t even know what you are.”

Priest of Jirth twisted oddly, a shock of fear hit me, it’s loose robe fluttered around in. “How will you stop Priest of Jirth? If I must, I will bring Warrior of Jirth to force you to come.”

I couldn’t believe what was happening. A creature, I did not even fully understand what it was, came to my village. And, now it was demanding I leave. A small part of my mind was terrified, willing to do whatever it wanted. But, the iron will surfaced, I would not take this quietly. “No. If I start making a fuss, the villagers will attack. You’ll have to kill us all. And, if that happens I’ll never be your ‘Ambassador of Jirth’. “

“Teacher of Einlari, you do not wish to do this. I will prevail.” The yellow skin blushed deep red, and its spots turned deep purple. “Our world is amazing. You will learn, and see things you could never imagine. It is more important for you to leave, then stay.”

“And who will take care of them? Who will guide them? You have scared everyone here.” I jerked my arm out motioning at the growing group of people watching our exchange.

“Yes.” Priest of Jirth looked at them. “These are the first people to not attack us. We have travelled to many different places here. You are the difference. You are important.”

I reeled back, shock making my whole body shake. “You mean,” I swallowed hard. “Everywhere else you went, you were attacked. Why?”

It turned back to me. “They feared. They feared more than you. Why did you not attack?”

I sat back on my heel and considered why I didn’t. Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I was scared. They terrified me to my core. It was strange, foreign, and when it spoke to me it felt as my world was falling apart. Yet, I had always longed for places I had only heard about. As much as it disturbed me, part of me longed to know more.

“You are a riddle I can’t solve.”

It bobbed its head at me. “Yes. I understand you, Teacher of Einlari.”

The wind blew my hair back in a sudden gust of wind. “Why do you want me to go?”

“The reason is not complicated. You will learn Jirth. You will understand Jirth. You will come back and teach Jirth to your people. You will be Teacher of Jirth.” It took it’s uneven gait toward me, and rested a hand on my arm.

Its hands were strange to look at. I forced myself to look away. “How long will I be gone?”

“How long will it take for you to understand Jirth? You will come with us. Tell your people, then we will go.” It let go, and moved a good distance away, waiting.

I turned to look at my people. A pit formed at the bottom my stomach. I felt the acid climb up my throat. I motioned for them to come forward. They surged forward.

Questions were shouted at me, rapidly. “What are those?” “Are they dangerous?” “What is going on?” “Are they spirits from beyond?”

I pushed my hands down, and they went silent. I stared up at Ein praying for the first time in my life; Protect them, o holiest of holies, watch over them while I’m gone. “I’ll explain what I can. They are from the sky, from one of the star’s in the sky.”

“Impossible!” Our local Priest, Milo, shouted into my face.

“You are entitled to believe what you will. But, that is what I believe they are. I don’t know why they have come. But, they want me to leave with them. I decided I will go. I don’t know if I’ll be back.” Looks of fear, anger, and panic started to crop up. I shook my head. “It will be all right. I know that. I also know, I will miss all of you.”

Milo grabbed my arm shaking it hard. “You will not go with evil spirits of the underworld, Rilas. I forbid it. If you go, you will suffer in the eternal pits of despair.”

I pulled my arm free. “It is my decision, Milo. Goodbye.” I turned from him I felt a wetness trail down my face. “Goodbye everyone, I will miss you all.”

Everyone came forward embraced me. I felt more tears run down my face. I stepped back and walked up to the Priest of Jirth. “Do I need to take anything?”

Priest of Jirth looked at me with one eye. “No, Teacher of Einlari, you need only yourself.”

I walked away with it. This was my last mistake I would ever make.

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People of the Sky, Part 2

The light increased until it was blinding. I moved back, and shaded my eyes. It was worse than staring into Ein. Without warning, the light disappeared and I was left staring at creature before me. Tall, slender, with a large oval head, and eyes on the sides, instead of front facing. Lines of black fringe traced up the side of its head. It’s mouth was below its chin. The skin looked smooth, but marred with large black spots on the yellow color. It tilted its head at me. Shivers went up and down my spine. It open and closed its mouth making a tittering sound. 

I flashed a warning sign against evil. I hadn’t made it, since I was a little girl. 

A thin hand raised flicking once as it continued to sit there, watching me with its large black eyes. Two more came out, these wore some kind of metal armor barreled toward me.

I started to move back, my heart beating my ears. 

They were too fast. Arms fastened around me as I struggled, screaming for anyone to run. I felt a burst of pain behind my right ear. Their hands shoved me to the ground, and as one they stepped back. 

I shook my head back and forth. The pain dissipated. I lifted my eyes to see the first one was inspecting me. 

It tilted its head one way, and then the other. It opened its mouth again, from this angle I could see the rows of sharp teeth. The words were just as confusing, but then a second voice in my mind repeated the words back to me, in a proper language. “I greet you, primitive. I am Priest of Jirth. We have come to this world, to grant you the benefit of Jirth wisdom.” 

I blinked. Something ripped me, deeper than fear, I could not respond. The first time, in my life, I realized I was completely beyond my depth. 

Primitive, do you understand?” Something, I did not know what, told me there was annoyance in its tone. 

I shook my head. “I do not understand anything of what is going on.” 

Priest of Jirth reached out a three fingers hand placed it on my head. “Yes. This is much for your simple mind. However, Jirth have landed on many of your villages. You, primitive, are the first to answer.” Priest lifted its hand. “You are capable of greater understanding. What is your title, primitive?” 

My first coherent thought was how much I detested being called ‘primitive’. I bit my tongue, and cleared my throat. “Administrator Rilas.” 

It seemed to think this over. “And what is your duties?” 

I had to pause to gather my wits. I desperately wanted to ask, what this creature was, where it was from, why was it here, how I could understand it. I sensed with some deep-rooted instinct to not ask. “I administer justice, make sure taxes are paid, deliver reports of how the crops, and animals are faring. Also, because this is a small community, I also educate the townsfolk, and children in their numbers, reading, and writing.”

You are a Teacher of Jirth, now.” It declared lifting its hands in the air. 

If you are confused reading this now, you must know, I was just as confused experiencing it. I pushed myself off the ground, groaning at the strain it caused in my bad knee. “You need to explain all of this.” 

The Priest nodded. “Yes. I will go to your homestead.” 

I don’t think.” I started to say, thinking of how the villager’s would react. 

Do not worry, Teacher of Jirth, Administer Rilas, all is well.” It strode past me, I followed behind it. Its strides were short, I suspect it was moving slower for my benefit.

As we walked down the main road people started to panic. I took a deep breath, “Please, calm down. I don’t know what this creature intends, but so far it has been peaceful. Spread the word, they are, for now, peaceful.” I spoke the same phrase to every knot of villagers we came across. 

We reached my home, and it swept in without asking me to enter. I walked in, and it was sitting on one my stools watching me with its strange eyes. “I need to understand what is going on.” I sat at the kitchen table next to the counter. 

Yes, Teacher of Jirth. Jirth are my people. We hail from other stars. What is the name of your star?”

I rubbed my temples. Once, I read a theory, by a heretic by the Church of Light, that stars were an Ein of another world. Each star might have a world like our own. It was complicated text, I could barely follow. “It is called Ein. Do you fly special ships to reach here? We have ships that only travel on water.”

The Priest nodded. “Yes, you are more advanced than I realized, Teacher of Jirth. Are you better educated than most?” 

Probably.” I had attended the university at Ein’s Halo, the capital. 

Good.” Jirth skin darkened for a moment much like a half-ripened fruit. “You are the first to not flee upon meeting Jirth. Your mind can absorb things beyond what it has known, far beyond. You will be important to our cause.” 

I fear you.” I spoke, emphasizing each word. I did not want there to be any confusion. Priest of Jirth had to understand I was panicking to the very marrow of my soul.

Priest of Jirth bobbed its head. “Fear no, panic yes. You will be our Ambassador of Jirth, and Teacher of Jirth to your people. What do your people call yourselves?”

Einalri.”

Priest of Jirth stood up. “Come, Administer Rilas of Einalri.” 

I followed the strange creature. This was my second mistake.

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People of the Sky, Part 1

The day the people from the stars came, it started as a normal day. I rose early in the morning and began to work on my reports to the commissioner. I smile to remember how I grumbled about it. It was tedious, and pointless activity, because he knew exactly what the report would say.

Halfway through the report a young local boy, Fil, ran up shouting. With my usual precision I sat down my pen, straightened out my paperwork, before exiting the office to the outside. Fil hair was all in disarray, his gray eyes wide with panic.

“Young man, what is all the noise about?” As always I inwardly cringed at the melodious voice. I was a woman in authority. I wish I had the voice for it.

He stood stick still, and stared at me.

“Do you have something to say?” I moved toward him. Now, I was worried he wasn’t the type to go silent.

He swallowed several times. His hands lifted crimped together in a tight ball. “There is a second Ein in the sky.”

“A second Ein? You mean to tell me there is more than one star in the sky?” My head was shaking already. “Not possible.”

With a wail he lunged at me wrapping himself around my waist. I blinked. No one had ever claimed me to be a motherly type. I brushed my fingers over his head. “Fil. What has you so frightened? Do you truly see another Ein?” Not for a minute did I truly think there was another star in the sky, but the boy had clearly seen something.

His head nodded against my stomach pushing my flesh in with each forceful motion.

I carefully lifted his head, so our eyes met. “Show me.”

He jerked away, took my hand with all the usual animation I was used to. His feet moved fast enough to pull me behind forcing me to rush. Down the main road of Vercut the local farm houses had been already hard at work. I could smell the fresh cut plants, and the stink of animals.  The road began to descent down the hill.

I stopped, even though the boy was still pulling my hand. The pain of it, tug on my old bones, wouldn’t move me. I saw what the boy saw. In a small part of my mind, I was filled with satisfaction it was not another Ein. The rest of my mind was terror. Never had I seen, heard, or imagined such a thing. The boy’s fear was now my own.

My free hand lifted and went flat. I felt my hand go free. I took meticulous steps down the hill, I had forgotten my cane. The whole time my heart was in my throat. As I reached the bottom, I was calm enough to examine it. 

A large circular device, large, much larger than any building I had ever seen. It shimmered and seemed to be made of iron. The grass around it was scorched and burnt. I wrenched my eyes away, the longer I looked, the more I feared. Several adults from the village approached me. 

“Administer Rilas, what is this? Is it a sign of the gods?” The local priest’s wife asked me.

The wife of a man who regularly pointed at my numerous sins was now asking me for comfort.  “To be honest, Delina, I haven’t an idea.”

More people crowded close, questions spinning around me too fast to follow. The press of their bodies making me panic. Fil’s shout of fear caused everyone to turn away from me. I stepped back to give myself room to breath.

I saw it then. The object had changed a line of light had appeared on it, and part of the metal shell slides upward. Something stepped out. The people of the village screamed, and fled up the hill. My backbone went rigid, and I approached the metal shell instead. I was never a fighter, they were my people. I had to defend them.

This, of course, looking back now, was my first mistake.

 

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