There’s still time to polish off your short story fiction and send it off to the CBC writing contest! Open till October 31.
I don’t have time to explain all of this to you right now. We have to go! Now!
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on.” Holly responded, continuing to answer Cray’s internal voice aloud.
How are you even in my brain, ma? I have a job to do. This is a really inconvenient moment!
“I don’t know, Cray. It must have something to do with our hybridic nature. It’s a good thing I’m here though. What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself into?”
I’m not in trouble. Look for the key!
A loud knock bounced off the stone walls, causing them both to jump. Adrenaline surged and her, or rather their, heartbeat quickened.
“What was that?”
The guard is knocking on the doors to collect the girls. We have to move, fast! Listen to me! We need to get a key off of him and go. I’ve been employed to do a job. That job is to get this scum alone, knock him out, get the key and get out.
“What’s the key for?”
“Employed by whom?”
They key, I don’t know exactly. Employed by the good guys. You just have to trust me.
“Trust! Really? Cray, now that’s fresh, what with all the sneaking around, lately, and..”
“Hmmmm, wha?” Holly was interrupted by the man on the bed. He mumbled and then returned to snoring.
The key, now. Quickly!
Another knock again vibrated the walls. This time it was followed by a voice, “Roundup, ladies. Fun’s over boys. Let’s go!”
“Fine, ok. Where is said key?”
Check his pockets.
Holly bent over the half conscious form of the man. She shuddered. He was repulsive. Hairy in all the wrong places with a middle aged bulge that was free to hang from his undone belt. Carefully, she fished into a pocket. It was empty, save for a few coins. The pocket on the other side of his pants was half buried by the man’s girth. Walking to the other side of the bed, Holly pressed her hand down into the mattress and wriggled it under him, feeling the clammy cool of his skin. She wrinkled her nose.
He snored, mumbled again. Holly paused, her hand stuck beneath him. She could not see his eyes from this side of the bed. Her heart pulsed in her ears as she waited to ensure he would stay asleep. When his breathing continued at a slow rhythmic pace, she continued.
“I am,” she whispered.
Finally, Holly fished into his pocket, feeling something hard and cool. It was a key.
OK, good, mom. Now we have to pass it off.
“What’s going on Cray. Tell me what you’ve gotten yourself into. Pass it off to who?”
They heard another knock, more voices and footsteps getting closer.
“I want to know what this opens.” She slid the key down into her bra, “You padded your boobs?”
Holly ran to the door, slowly slid it open and peered out. Shadows of people approaching danced against the wall. She ran out, the opposite direction, past groups of drunkards with glazed, but watchful eyes.
What are you doing?
“I want to know what this key is for. And if you don’t tell me, I will just have to explore.” Holly had to admit it, she was feeling, alive.
You are enjoying this! Cray’s voice was accusatory, but Holly heard a hint of delight there too. You are going to get us killed.
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic.”
She passed another group, but was stopped by nails digging into her arm and pulling her back.
“We have to go, sssstupid,” a slurred, female voice hissed into her ear.
“Fine whatever.” Voila said, but dug her nails in more. “Where you been all night? You missed all the partying! Look at this, alllll thisss”. She released Holly’s arm to pull cash out of her bosom. “I got mad tips tonight.”
Say, I was picked.
“I was picked,” said Holly aloud.
Jealousy gleamed out through Voila’s eyes and turned her drunken smile into an ugly sneer. She leaned into push Holly, but was slow and clumsy. Holly easily stepped aside, allowing Voila’s forward momentum to miss her completely. Voila crumpled to the floor. There was more money to be had behind closed doors than on the dance platforms.
“Let’s go!” A man in military attire stepped out of a crowd and grabbed Voila by the hair and dragged her to her feet, ignoring her cries of pain. “You too,” he said to Holly, squeezing her arm, just as she was about to step away. Turning to face him, Holy saw by the scowl on his face that he wasn’t involved in any merriment this evening.
“Hey,” another man appeared.
“What?” the first E answered.
“He’s here and anyways, the truck just left. These two aren’t our problem.”
“Who is he?” Holly whispered.
“Fine.” He released them, causing Voila to fall again.
“What?” Voila squealed, “You can’t just leave us here!”
Great. Just great. OK, ma. I know you want too, so, we may as well.
“Wait, you can’t leave me too,” Viola cried, pulling at Holly’s dress and awkwardly climbing back to her feet.
Shake her off.
“She’ll be dead by morning if we leave her.”
“Ya, I’ll be dead. Who, who are you talking to, anyways. You drunk!” Voila giggled and threw her arm around Holly’s neck.
“Cray.” Holly said in her mother voice.
Holly could picture Cray as a toddler, crossing her arms and pouting. She smiled. Who knew raising her own clone would bring out her motherly instincts, especially when she didn’t have the best upbringing herself? It had not been easy and she certainly was not a perfect mom. Cray had been far from a normal child.
“We are going for a walk, Voila. But, we have to be very quiet.”
Will life ever be ok again? That is the question I see in their eyes as I stroll through the devastation and starvation of my people. Will life ever feel ok?
The answer to that is three tiered:
First, you must play the part you are given. You are here that I might walk among you and fulfill my role. I am your purpose. This life you view as painful is in fact ordained to be. Acceptance of this fact, should you have the awareness to understand, would alleviate the burden of that question from your minds.
Second, although the question is begging an answer from the future, it exists in the past. It remembers a better time and with that entitlement is implied. There is no time, but that in which you live. You deserve no better than what you have now. All else are memories, which are corruptible and the future, which for you, does not yet exist. You are entitled to nothing.
Third, you could choose to be like me, thus nullifying the question. You could choose to rewrite your own story and live in my example. This is no easy task and few have the knowledge to succeed. There is someone that dwells here in this plane that has taken up my mantle. That I exist now, having returned from Abidaba to dwell again in the flesh, well, this is to my credit. Yet, there is someone who has helped it along.
I walk among you and you do not recognize me, so your eyes do not light when they see me. Once, I lived as a Queen among you. My body was a beauty to behold. Now, I walk in rags in an unimpressive frame, lined with the hardness of the years. From time to time, I have come to see you, but you have not known me. Now, I am here, fully and completely indwelt in my old Recorder. You will come to know me once more.
First, I must see he that has brought me to my full power.
The Tower was nothing like she remembered it. It had been pristinely chiseled from stone. Nanotech had surrounded them, making everything seem magical. The Author’s teachings had been depicted by the most talented artists on almost every wall. Holly shivered. She had relived those memories over and over for thirty years. Now, it was crude, defaced, a nightclub meant for the bottom feeders of E society and crime lords, perhaps. There was an air of danger, and not just because she was a NW.
Music was thumping, bouncing off the walls and resonating up to the top of the Tower. She was being dragged, rather roughly, by the man who had found her in the courtyard. Random crowds of Es were dancing, some were kissing, some were being entertained by NW dancers. Some ignored her while others stopped to gawk. Quite a few were in military attire, she observed, although clearly off duty. Although Holly had never been religious, she still murmured the words to the devotional app from time to time. She found herself doing that now. Some brainwashing was hard to rewrite, especially here.
Holly knew she was walking in the thirty year old body of her daughter, but how, she could only guess. While everyone else had lost the intermind connection, hers had managed to spark. That’s the only word she could really think to describe it. It just, sparked, on and off. There was nothing to connect too, aside from fragments of fleeting data in the atmosphere, and of course, to Cray. Cray had learned how to keep her out though, like a defiant teenager slamming the door. Where was Cray now? Somewhere inside this mind watching Holly take control?
I’m right here.
“Shut up,” the man said.
Get the hell out of my mind!
“Don’t speak to me that way!”
“What is wrong with you tonight?” The man pulled her into a room she didn’t recognize and pushed her onto a bed.
I can’t believe this. Finally get a chance and my mother is here!
“What, you want this?” Holly asked.
“Oh yea,” he said, unbuckling his belt.
Ew, not him! This! I can’t believe my luck! Cray’s voice was exasperated. Mom, get out of here!
“I can’t!” Holly responded.
“You wanna bet,” the man answered, pushing Holly down on the bed and digging in his knee to part her legs, while she desperately tried to wriggle away.
He’s part of my mission.
“What? What mission? Are you plastered?” The man asked.
Stop talking out loud!
“What are you talking about?” Asked Holly.
OMG, ma. Just stop talking. You have to kiss him. You have to trust me. It will knock him out. Do it, or so help me…
“Ok, alright, geez.” Holly puckered her lips. The man looked down at her, puzzled.
He shrugged, “You NWs are crazy,” and bent down to kiss her. His kiss tasted like chemicals. Holly couldn’t place it. His mouth went deeper and deeper until Holly was gagging on it. His body weighed down her small frame. Suddenly, he inhaled deeply and let out a loud sigh.
He’s asleep. Benzodiazepines, strong sedatives.
Holly tried to answer, but her mouth was being filled by snores. It took a few minutes to wriggle herself, or rather, themselves, out from under him.
“Now, Cray, you have better start explaining yourself.”
His father was a stubborn man. Of course he was, he had to be. Stubborn resolve was what kept him hardy through famine and drought. It kept him alive despite choking on poisoned air and drinking tainted water. It meant choosing a course despite children dying of disease and hunger. His father would not cave to what he had called the religious tyranny of the West. The technology to save their land and their people was not worth the compromise of everything that made an Easterner an Easterner. Stubbornness is the key to tradition and in tradition is identity.
Now, at eighty-five years of age, he was still stubbornly clinging to life. It had been months since he had taken ill, and a week since death had become imminent. Estill and his elder brother had not left their father’s side; they were waiting for a sign. Who would be the next leader?
Miquel was the spitting image of his father, from the tip of his proud forehead to the heavy footfall at the end of each lanky stride. He looked on Estill with the same judgement in his eyes his father had. Actually, it was harsher. He knew his father loved him despite being the less accomplished of the two brothers. Estill was not sure Miquel held the same love. How does one esteem someone who disappoints the man one worships?
It always infuriated Estill to see that look in Miquel’s eyes, only two years his elder. On the other hand, it motivated him. There was nothing like being the black sheep of the family and then embracing it as destiny, as identity born of a new tradition. Miquel’s eyes are vacant now though, staring off into a nothingness and edged with weariness. What must he be thinking?
“What?” Miquel mouthed.
Estill shook his head. He had been caught staring again. The problem with being introspective was that he tended to stare at people without realizing it. Estill knew he was considered off.
Miquel was the obvious choice for Leader of the United EastWest Territories. Still, according to tradition, a sign was required. Each brother sat on either side of their father while his advisor watched from the foot of the bed. Should his father never speak again, his final position during his last breath would be the deciding factor. It was not like Estill wanted this position. He had other plans, work that was far more important and waiting for him.
While Estill knew he was required to maintain silent solemnity, his bottom kept falling asleep. Every time he shifted, the stool creaked. The more Estill thought about trying to keep still, the more impatient and restless he felt. Miquel, as always his opposite, was a perfect statue.
Finally, his father drew a haggard breath, turning his head slightly as he did and then fell silent. They both looked at him, staring at his chest, waiting to see if it would rise again. It did not. A million thoughts flashed through Estill’s suddenly panicked mind.
Oh no, it can’t be. His heartbeat quickened.
The Advisor cleared his throat, “The new Leader is…Miquel”
The three men looked at each other and at the man in his bed, who was ever so slightly leaning toward Estil. The advisor looked at Estill as if to ask, Dare you question my decision and Miquel seemed to be saying, This is for the best. Although Estil had to agree with his brother, he also realized, they had been planning this all along.
So much for tradition.
“All hail the Leader of the United EastWest Territories.” Estil rose, bowed slightly, and left with a purpose growing inside him stronger than ever. The black sheep indeed.
Since it has been a while, I thought a quick novella recap would be helpful:
If you have not read Book 1, Spoiler Alert! You can go back and start reading it by clicking here.
In the first novella, we meet the Creator, the Author, Holly and Holly’s clone.
The Creator is a scientific madman. He performed experiments on his daughter when she was a child. This resulted in the successful creation of brainchip technology. He also created nanotech that provided the West with superior environmental control. However, his experiments caused his daughter to become insane herself. He used her delusions of grandeur, along with his technologies to establish power for themselves as the Author and Creator, the spiritual and political heads of the West. The Creator’s main goal is to create a computer/human hybrid.
The Author is convinced she is the incarnate of a supreme being. She compares herself to the Author of a book who has written herself into the story. The Author believes that it is time for her to depart this world (the East are invading, the Creator is going to betray her), but before she goes, she must ensure her teachings are safely embedded in Holly’s brainchip.
Holly is a regular girl, or so she thinks. After she is chosen by the Author to become the Recorder, she is eventually kidnapped by the Creator. Holly discovers that she is a hybrid, but her DNA is dormant. Her clone, (currently a baby) is an activated hybrid, but is unconscious.
During the battle between the Creator and the Author, the intermind virus is released. Nanotechnology that had been allowing them to live longer than their natural lifespans is destroyed. Both die and along with them, many of the West’s citizens.
However, Holly suddenly is able to rapidly calculate her movements and her clone suddenly becomes alert. She grabs the baby and runs.
Book 2 begins 30 years in the future. The Easterners have successfully invaded the West. Native Westerners now live on reserves.
Holly returns in this book, now a 60 year old living on the reserve with her daughter (clone), Cray. Cray has noticed that Holly often seems to disappear inside her mind. Cray leaves the reserve to head to the Tower, presumably to work as an escort for the Es (Easterners).
Holly suddenly finds herself in Cray’s body, which is a new and surprising experience.
Filth is an NW who needs to make money to help his sick sister. He heads toward the Tower (once the Author’s residence and now a bar) and is caught by an E.
The Author’s lessons are back, but it is not yet revealed how or why.
All caught up and now to continue……
This blog has been quiet for three reasons:
- Editing my novel: well, that’s what I am supposed to be working on. Editing is seriously boring and I have been majorly procrastinating. If you’ve read my blog, you also know how much editing my work actually needs.
- I am distracted: I am going to be a surrogate! Yup! This womb is going to house two daddies’ baby! The ‘journey’ has been occupying most of my spare brain cells. Eventually, there will be a blog about that whole shebang as well.
- I am starting to get bored of this particular novella. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but I totally am! I either need to spice this up for myself or move on to new material. My writing muscles have become flaccid; it’s time to take some viagra and get to bumping a baby into this blog. . . . (ya, the whole surrogacy thing is really distracting!).
So those are the three main reasons I have hit a story stand still. It’s time to push! Puuuuuussssshhh!!!!!