She could not resist answering with a vicious tone, even though she was the supplicant. “The debt you claim to owe to all life.”
He nodded. “Agreed. Dark Cloud, there are already such realities where your people live. Lynda, can you help love?”
“I need to know what her people look like and at least one of their planets.”
“We’ll go there first then. An Fisp, take Dark Cloud to the star maps and have her show you where their planets are.”
Soon as she was gone Merlin grimaced. “She has taken off the edge of our rejoicing. Robert, you did see our liner travelling in space? It means there are people still alive!”
“At this time they should be Merlin. Sol, would you prefer to answer questions as you are or do you need to be Solomon?”
“Whichever pleases you Robert.”
He grinned, “Are you trying to get me into trouble? Sol, usually when we return to save a species we collect the souls at the same time the healers collect samples of their bodies. It is easier then to tie the two together. In this case we will be saving only samples of their bodies since their souls are already in the future. How will we give the correct body to the soul it belongs to?”
“Trial and error Robert? Keep switching them around until they are happy?” She looked at his face and an impish look preceded her laughter. “There is no problem Robert, as the healer takes a sample we will sense the soul.”
He shook his head, “I knew inside me I should have asked for Solomon. You’ve been with the girls for too long.” We jumped to the taverna for cold drinks and as Robbie got his coffee he turned to Sol, “I’m not certain it will be that easy Sol. The souls in the future, they will have changed. Spending millions of years as one soul, won’t they feel different?”
Sol looked worried. “I better ask the thinkers. I’ll come back as soon as I have an answer Robert.”
I took hold of her body and caressed her face. “Robert, have you realised that of all the species, this is the only one we do not know? We only know Solomon, just one out of so many trillions!” My remark startled them all. I continued, “I’d never realised how much of a hive mentality they have until I thought of that. The alternate Solomon we met was really a shadow of ours, so I don’t count him.”
“I think you should Sam. He is not a true shadow, he has a different personality and is probably made out of a different number of thinkers. I’m going to tackle Solomon about this, since Sparklers can take on physical bodies, why shouldn’t we meet individuals.”
“I think I know why dad. If individual Sparklers begin to interact with us we might damage their ability to fit back within their hive mentality. Remember, Solomon told us that about himself. I think we should accept that if they could they would have, and not ask, Solomon loves you so much he might ask them to do it despite the price they will have to pay.”
“Our little green alien has spoken, so we better do as she says.” Rosie teased.
With the way we were feeling after being in the void for so long, we decided to have an early night. Robbie insisted we have supper first and since we are aware how frail the male body is, performing well only when fed properly, we made patience. Tonight we can feel that Lucy is the one Robbie yearns to love and we caressed her, showing her our love and how glad we are she is to have this special night.
I went along with everything, shared and had my share of pleasure so it was only as everyone was already half asleep that I made my move on Rosie. I wrapped myself around her and whispered, “Kiss me Rosie love” and she did so as she struggled to wake herself. As her eyes opened she screamed and leapt from the bed. I lay there, my tentacles spread out, helpless with laughter.
“That was gross!”
With her scream, Robbie had leapt to his feet, Lucy held to him, but rapidly being moved behind him. He saw what was going on and relaxed, bringing Lucy back to the front for her to see as he burst into laughter. “That was nasty Sam, you must have scared the shit out of Rosie.”
“You just wait till you wake up with her sucking on your face looking like that!” was Rosie’s indignant answer.
Annavi touched me and brought her face close to the center of my body. “Sam, why don’t you have any eyes? Can you see?”
“I…oh, the top of my head is my eye, I see through that.”
“You’ve got an ugly mouth Sam. It looks like someone ripped a cut into your…body.”
“Are you male or female Sam?” Candy asked.
“You want to come over here baby and find out?” She only shook her head, eyes huge. I guess I’ll now be teased about this alien thing for a long time. Rosie lay down next to me when I changed back to my normal shape and she apologised. She kept on running her fingers all over me as if trying to reassure herself this is what I truly looked like. Soon she decided she had to taste me also and not allowing me to move she was soon nibbling and sucking at me until I exploded. Wrapping her arms and legs around me, she went to sleep.
Chapter One Hundred and Sixty Two
It was Merlin, not Dark Cloud, who found her planets in our maps. Robbie decided it would not be fair to leave without giving Merlin and Shiyra a look at their people. To ask them at this stage to wait while we searched alternate realities will be taxing their patience. He created a large platform and we entered normal space.
*The fourth planet from the sun, that one.*
*The planet with a yellowish colour?* We were already speeding towards it.
We passed by something that looked like a junkyard in space (Jade suggested it looked like some kind of weird abstract art). If these were their old spaceships they are unbelievably far in advance of our home world. We saw movement there and Shiyra explained they are the workers who cut up the junk and send back to the shipyards the rarer metals. The planet is girded by thousands of satellites and a number of stations that are lit and obviously busy, small craft darting to and fro between them.
Alongside one of them was a monstrous (in size) ship and they did not need to explain to us that this is an inter-system ship. Robbie hovered close to it and even drifted up to a window to look inside.
*Very ornate. Will the whole ship be like that?*
*All of it Robert, even the engine rooms and cargo spaces. We consider beauty an important aspect of our lives.*
*I can imagine the reaction if we’d come here in our bodies. I think their electronics are further developed than ours were.* Ordinx was emanating his feelings and Merlin and Shiyra were pleased and proud.
*Will be, you mean Ordinx, even your civilisation did not exist this far back.*
*Ordinx is being kind Robert. Compared to this craft we are in, our own are primitive. That you can carry in it people in their bodies with air and anything else they need is amazing. Think! A craft that can be created by one person within seconds out of pure energy! We had a long way to go before arriving at this level of knowledge.*
*Merlin, what of Freddie, their spaceship-world? Can you imagine our leaders agreeing to such a ship being built? The idea of a ship that can think, is fully sentient and independent would terrify them. Robert, can Freddie use the energies he is made of to attack?*
*Yes Shiyra, but only if attacked and I am not on board. Merlin, where would you like us to descend? Do not choose a place we can see the original you.*
*I do not come from this time Robert. The spaceship proves that. By the time I was born we had abandoned most of our technology, only what was necessary for us to keep in contact with our fellow planets. As an astrologer you cannot imagine how distressing it was for me.*
*What kind of government did you have? Was there one ruling body for the entire empire?*
*That is a strange idea Robert, why would we do that? We are friends, we do not rule each other.*
I can think of a million reasons why such a body will be needed. For instance, surely there must be interplanetary trade? Crime control. Equitable (commercially or not) sharing of knowledge. There had to be rules! I kept my questions to myself, Shiyra and I can discuss it back in Freddie.
Robbie, as is true of each of us, is not capable of truly understanding a hate as all-consuming as Dark Cloud feels, so when he thought he saw a possibility of diluting some of its reason for existing, he changed his plans.
*Lynda love, I have an idea. Now that we have seen the people of Shiyra and Merlin, look for a reality where the people of Dark Cloud are on this planet, or people of this planet are on theirs. If she sees them living in friendship, it may help dull the keen edge of her hate.*
There were signs of change all over the planet. Vast areas being demolished and parks of natural beauty replacing the buildings. Most of the buildings had carvings (I was told later that they were mouldings) and what we found strange was that no building seemed to be of one colour. It looked as if the colours were chosen without any plan, but when moving to a distance we saw patterns and paintings. Shiyra wanted to see streets filled with people and then she wanted to see nature, the glory and beauty of their parks. We did not see signs of any other kind of life that was bigger than a small squirrel. Merlin told us they had at a certain point of their civilisation been overpopulated and had not preserved areas for their wildlife. He guided us through one of their museums of natural history and we saw the variety of life they had exterminated.
*For a long time they experimented, trying to use skeletons and hides to extract DNA and bring back some of the species, but were not successful. I think after my time they abandoned the project as not being feasible.*
The girls all begged Robbie to bring the animal life back also and of course he agreed.
After the museums, we travelled the streets, even peeking into various homes to see how they live and interact as families. There was a sweetness in seeing the families and watching their children act as children. Despite having us, Robbie does miss having normal kids running around, playing, screaming and laughing.
*Shiyra, I saw beauty in you and I was right. You come from a species of great beauty and I sense a lot of love among your people, especially for their children. At least, those parts of you that come from this species.*
*There is beauty in every species Robert, if you know how to look. Merlin comes from one of our neighbouring systems, a species that resemble yourselves though they are usually far taller and very slender. They are famous for their dexterous fingers and keen eyes. All micro work was usually done by them.*
Robbie sounded amused as he clarified for the younger ones. *She is talking of work at microscopic levels, not of micro ovens.* He got a few raspberries for his trouble.
We hovered or slightly drifted as the winds blew, silently absorbing the sights of their lovely world. Since they do not have any jungles or wild spots, the entire planet has become a garden for them and we sensed that although Robbie finds it beautiful, to him it lacks the fierce spirit of life that stirs him. I did not sense within him, not even once, the need to store a scene for him to paint.
It is different for most of us girls. Either we were born within cities or within Freddie and we see great beauty in having a world like this one, but we do feel these people have lost something important by not preserving their animals and jungles. That begs the question, are deserts part of the ecology, should we preserve a desert or two? Personally I think so, there is such a variety of life that has evolved for living under those harsh conditions. As Robbie keeps on saying, the greater the variety, the wealthier our lives are.
Meli asked, her voice revealing she was deep in thought, perhaps making up another story. *I do not understand how your people can have willingly given all this up for the sterile existence of the Ii.*
*Do not forget how tempting it was for us love. We did not think of it as being sterile. If Roberto had not forced us to return, we would not be here either.* Dommi said.
*I wish you girls will stop blaming me for everything. Your own souls were crying out for life, experiences and growth.*
*Not this time Roberto mou, you accept our gratitude without squirming. Anyway, even if you are right, we were deaf and did not hear what you did, so you cannot avoid our thinking of you as being someone special.*
Robbie offered to take Merlin to his planet, but he dismissed the idea, claiming he had lived on this planet for many years and is satisfied to wait until he can experience his own world in his own body. However, we could feel how deeply he was touched by Robbie's offer. The protector appeared and suggested to Robbie it might be prudent to return to our bodies. Only then did we realise we have stayed here more than a day.
“Dark Cloud, you have been patient. We could have told you last night, but it would have made the night endless for you. Lynda has identified a reality where your species exist. If you don’t mind, we’d like to have our breakfast and then we’ll show you your planet. Will you agree to a truce and sit with us, have something to eat, tolerate my bad manners and allow me to indulge my bad habit of smoking while I enjoy my coffee and then we will leave.”
“How long will it take?”
“I presume you mean the trip. You will be there within hours.” She let him touch her hand and joined us. Her eyes became cold and hard when she saw Merlin and Shiyra, but she controlled herself and silently picked at the food she was served.
“Will you consider leaving me on my people’s planet?”
“To do so would be a betrayal of your mother soul. If I cannot return you to them, I will be forced to leave them where they are until time itself ends.”
“You may leave them.”
To say we were flabbergasted would be putting it mildly. Even Shiyra broke her rule and stared at Dark Cloud. None of us can understand why she was asking for this. I suspect you have to be able to hate, to have hated, to guess at what her reasons are. I’m not certain it is a valid deduction, for I noticed that Sharipya was just as shocked as us. I can only explain her, to myself, by believing that her attitude indicates how badly her psyche was damaged - probably by both the original crime against her people and by our crime against her, when we forced her to be formed out of a number of souls. This time Robbie did not answer and pushing his plate away lit a cigarette. Kyria Maria rushed to get him his coffee.
Freddie jumped to the reality Lynda had found and Robbie left us to examine the planets which are still in the distance. He took much longer than we’d expected, but when he returned we sensed the joy in him. He’d seen that Lynda did send us to the correct reality, all species here are friends. Neither he nor any of us shared with Dark Cloud, hoping to enjoy her shock when she sees it with her own senses, but Robbie did share with Shiyra.
*Robert, send me somewhere and then jump there. We need to talk.*
*Talk here Shiyra. Aloud or in my mind. The situation is delicate enough without creating new reasons for suspicions in her mind.*
*You have not understood why she wants to stay. I think she intends turning her people into an army, she wants to make of them a weapon to destroy my people in this reality and then she will use them to return to her reality, release her mother soul and come after my people, whether as the Ii, or on planets you have rehabilitated.*
*Perhaps we should risk it. These people are friends of your species. They have rejuvenated all the species of your Unation and we have not sensed any hate here. Let her speak to them, they will think she is insane. We can collect her once she has failed.*
*No Roberto, you must not.* Aganthi looked afraid. *In any society there must be people who are bad, I believe that. She will find them and create her army out of them. You keep forgetting not all people are like you and the family.*
*Since you object Aganthi, we will not. Relax, you are showing your emotions.*
“I have considered the idea Dark Cloud. I have not made a decision. I think it is important you first see your people, we can discuss it afterwards.”
As we approached her main home planet, we sensed how enraptured she was by the sight. It was as if a little part in her was thawing, life returning to parts of her that have been stifled. We came close enough for her to see the continents and even a couple of the larger cities. As before, the planet is wrapped in satellites, but their space junk has not been gathered and lies about like litter (just as it is by our planet). That alone gave away the fact that they are a younger species, only recently having conquered space. They have four space stations and one of them is a giant, far bigger than any we have seen up to now. We sensed her puzzlement as Robbie circled it.
*Dark Cloud, keep in mind that this is not your reality, in this one, the person who caused the attack on your worlds either does not exist or some other accident removed him from the position that enabled the other one to frighten his people into attacking yours. In this reality your species were welcomed and are being helped.*
*They have come here?*
*Yes, and some of your people are on their world. They are an ancient civilisation and are far more advanced in many fields. Their knowledge is being shared with your species and in return the youth and hunger for knowledge of your people is revitalising the old ones who were preparing to abandon life and become a mother soul. This is a healthy reality Dark Cloud.*
Still entranced by the sight of her homeworld, she did not react as strongly as we’d expected. She guided Robbie to the sights she wanted to visit. Her wishes were very similar to those of Shiyra and we saw Robbie had guessed right; though not attaching the same importance to beauty and art, their art is strong, vital and still experimental. Robbie and Jade studied the art, gleaning from their works new ideas and subtleties.
Out of nowhere, for no reason we’d noticed, we were inundated by rage and hatred from Dark Cloud. Robbie stopped our movement and looking carefully we saw a group of her species sitting and talking amiably with a number of other species that belonged to the worlds of Shiyra and Merlin. Thereafter it did not matter to her where we went and what beauty we saw. Robbie hovered over a group of children playing, their laughter and voices clear to us, but she was not touched by them, deaf and blind to their sweetness. Finally Robbie gave up and we returned to Freddie.
Before entering, in the void now, he spoke to her. *If you want to leave then do so, I will not keep you prisoner. This is your chance, once back inside, the old rules are in force again.* We waited, but she neither left nor said she was staying so Robbie took us back home.
“You did all you promised Robert, what does she expect from you!” This outburst from Orshiir soon as Dark Cloud was out of earshot, was very unlike her.
“That is not the problem love, we know what she wants - she demands I destroy the Ii. At least she had the brains not to take me up on my offer to let her go. We’ll have to take the initiative again. We’ll do as we’d said and bring back children of her species and appoint her as their guardian, answerable to us only.”
“How can that work Robert? There are a million and one things needed for the proper upbringing of a child. Having her alone will not be enough. They’ll need food, clothes, an education, someone to love and teach them empathy.”
He realised he’d been looking for an answer which is impractical and far too simple to work.
“I’m aware of that. We made a bad mistake with Dark Cloud. We should not have given her the souls of so many. She is not as Shiyra, her problems are far worse, she has the full personalities to contend with. One soul…it is too late to do anything about it though, she has been damaged and will have to grow up again. We will bring out a number of adults also - parents if possible. We will spend time with them, choose those who show traces of empathy and an ability to love their children and then bring back the children. Those who are not suitable will be separated and allowed to die of natural causes. As new souls they will start again, perhaps able to love. Let’s see how they work out before deciding what to do with their mother soul.”
“What will you do with Dark Cloud?”
“We have two choices. We return her to her mother soul or allow her to remain here until she dies of old age. I do not like either, but I can’t see any acceptable alternative. It is too late for us to think of returning her to the original souls she started off as. I have committed a crime against them, but we were acting during an emergency.”
“Please don’t do that Robbie, you had no say in it, Allan and I did it. If there is guilt, it is ours - or, it is of that which we became.” I wondered why we chose to act as we had since we must have known.
Cherine quickly cut in. “You will have to be here as the void when she dies Robert. She must not be allowed to survive in the void, she must be sent back to a new life. Can you do that?”
We felt the sadness in him, but he did not show it, his face grim. “I’ll have to. I know you will not like it, but we will also have to deceive her. We need her to negotiate with her over soul, to arrange for adult and younger souls to be separated and released to us. She will only do so if she thinks she will be with them.”
“What now Robert?”
“I need to speak to the machines and Inguel, to find out from them what suggestions they have. Can they choose new planets that have no life and make them suitable for the Meéjeira?”
We began our long trip back home. Robbie felt we have to get back to his normal point of reference so as to find his way to the last era and place we’d left the machines and Inguel. During this time we got to know Shiyra and Merlin better and when Merlin saw Lucy riding on Sharipya’s back, Asimi running alongside, he was fascinated by the love these three obviously feel for each other, with the result that Shiyra also noticed how remarkable it is.
“You heard our telling and of the love our alien wife felt for Robert and I think it is now time for you to visit her world.”
Grinning I asked Cherine, “Do you mean the world of the Sparklers or Meli’s world?”
“I was thinking of Gilli when I said that, but why not both Sam?”
“See Sol, you should not have made yourself such a perfect little Terran girl - you should have kept something a little alien to your looks.”
She tossed her head. “Hmph, it isn’t the looks of Gilli that remind you she is an alien, it is her sexy scents!”
“Yeah! I bet you wish you’d thought of that first.” I kidded.
“I might have in another family.”
“Are you insinuating we are sex-crazy?”
“Insinuating Sam? She’s telling you!” Robbie cut in, eager to grab the line I’d given away.
I smiled sweetly at him. “And who would blame us Robert, with you as our lover?” Gotcha!! I thought to myself and my family laughed.
Once we were serious again, Wendy explained to Merlin and Shiyra. “Normally the Sparklers prefer to create their World out in the void, but since we are constantly travelling, they now do so in here,” she pointed at the top of the dome, “up there. What will fascinate you Merlin is that though there is only finite space up there, their World is of infinite size.”
He has given up protesting when we speak of, or present him with impossibilities, and instead bent his mind to try and work out how it can be done. “Sol, how many such Worlds can exist within one universe?”
“We have not thought of it. We must try it.”
“Not in here!” Robbie said, pretending to be alarmed.
Ordinx laughed at something Ashiir whispered to him. “My beloved asks, how many worlds can fit within the mind of Meli? She thinks the same number of Sparklers Worlds can fit within one universe.”
“As many as we can imagine!?” Em-e asked, her face and ours, filled with wonder.
Another evening we were chatting on the boat, a few of us gambling and others dancing. I went on deck and stared at the Sparkler reflections in the water, the slight ripples and swells making the lights dance (yes, it is Robbie and some kind of void energy he uses, that makes the Sparklers shine clearly within Freddie, day and night, for all to see). It was one of those rare moments for me, when I feel at peace and content and without a need to think deeply.
I sensed Shiyra come out and when she came to stand next to me I expected it and did not move. Somehow it felt so right when she put her arm around my waist and leant against me, her head resting against my shoulder. I put my arm around her tiny waist and we stood there for a long time without either of us speaking. As one we turned and walked back into the saloon and there, amid the bustle, noise and laughter we let the comfort and closeness slip away, joining in the teasing of Robbie and Cherine. Whenever our eyes met though, behind our laughter and socialising with others, the tender memory of those moments were still alive in both of us.
As we were saying our goodnights, Cherine said to Shiyra, “You were beautiful tonight.” and hugged her. Both of us knew what Cherine meant and my love for our little Cherine felt like it was going to burst my heart.
While we lived on Earth all the time, we ridiculed Robbie for his love of science fiction and watched movies with him solely because we were doing something that pleased him. He allowed us to, because he hoped we will learn to enjoy it too. Now that our lives are far wilder than the imaginings of any book, we are avid readers of the genre. Despite having lived through so many amazing experiences, a few authors still manage to catch us off guard, dazzling us with their imagination. The obverse is true of Robbie, he hardly ever reads now. Perhaps it was partly because of us feeling a bit saddened that Robbie so rarely allows his imagination to soar, some of the girls came up with an idea and they decided to put on a show for all of us. If that is how it began, the motivation must have changed once they started planning the actual theme (story).
Wendy and Meli were roped in under a pact of absolute secrecy. We sensed they were uncomfortable about the theme, but apart from toning down a few of the wilder ideas, they went along with it for the sake of the younger girls. We were intrigued when we found out Merlin and Shiyra have been roped in. They do not treat it as amusing and are going about it with a gravity and dedication that puzzles us.
Invitations went out and a time was set. We are under strict injunction by the performers; we are not allowed to invite Dark Cloud. That sent alarm bells ringing in the minds of those of us who are not in the know. Robbie kept to his policy of not interfering, allowing us, to the youngest one, the right to believe and express ourselves freely.
There was only one problem with the date they chose. It is meant to be the day Cherine’s baby, our new sister, is to be born. Cherine insisted it is not a problem as Empathia will be born in the morning. The little ones had an excited session between themselves and then nervously dragged Cherine away and urgently tried to put their idea across to them (Cherine and Empathia). Cherine was not willing to commit herself without discussing it first with Robbie, but Empathia loved the idea and insisted she wants to do it, so Cherine gave in.
“Are you allowed to tell us what all that was about?”
Cherine looked hopelessly lost. “It seems our daughter’s birth is to be the final scene of the play.”
Dommi asked, “Her birth will have a symbolic meaning?”
Cherine smiled. “I don’t know Dommi, they refuse to tell me what it is all about. The little blighters told Empathia, while keeping it a secret from me, and she is determined to do it.”
Robbie asked with mock seriousness, “Is this the start of a career she intends pursuing?”
“Robert my love, how can you not have noticed? Every one of our girls is an actress.”
“I think you meant ‘ham’ Cherine.” He was promptly attacked and soon was lost to sight under a tangle of little arms, legs and bodies. He was emoting such happiness that we all had to grin.
Robbie asked Cherine, “What if Dark Cloud hears of the show and decides to pitch up? You know her, she will do whatever is contrary.”
Ashiir was startled. “You did not know? We were asked to let her know about the show and hint she should not miss it.”
“How are you to explain our not inviting her?”
“If she comes, you will not make her unwelcome, but you do not particularly wish her to be there.”
“Damn it Cherine! Your ways are rubbing off on them.”
“Aren’t they your wives Robert?” she asked sweetly.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t you always say wives manipulate their husbands? You give them lots of practice my love.”
Acting disgruntled he asked Ordinx, “Is it the same with your species, do the wives always win every argument?” Ashiir looked at Ordinx with a smile.
“Robert, it is indeed a foolish male who dares to argue with his wife.”
“We have news for all of you. Our son has decided to start his own circle. He has become guardian of a delightful and very troublesome young female.” Ashiir laughed. “Should I say instead that she chose him?”
“Troublesome Ashiir? Like a certain young female I remember?”
“Far more daring Robert.”
Robbie put his hand over his eyes. “Keep her away from me.”
Laughing, Ashiir pulled his face to her and kissed him. “You are very sweet sometimes.”
We tend to do a lot of things near the taverna, but this time the girls had chosen a different location. I do not recall seeing the place before, but then we’ve not really explored most of our world. They’d found a long narrow valley which ends with a low gentle rising on three sides. The audience are to sit on the hillsides.
After lunch they dragged Robbie away for a few hours. He was amused at their childish trust in his abilities. They want him to create a backdrop for them. They had to give him at least a little of the background of the story and he was intrigued. They are basing the story on the world of the Meéjeira and wanted a few colourful buildings. He agreed to put up the buildings, but insisted Jade do the paintings.
“Don’t forget Dark Cloud will see your work, so don’t let us down.” That made her nervous and jittery. He did a proper job, not putting up facades but creating real buildings. He jumped back to us with a grin.
“Have you noticed how creative Jade becomes when she is put under pressure? I wish I could look into Dark Cloud’s mind when she sees Jade’s work.”
“How will Dark Cloud get there dad? It will take her weeks if she has to walk there.”
He groaned as he got to his feet. “You girls don’t let me relax for a minute.” He jumped to Dark Cloud.
“We are all very busy and it must be very boring for you having to stay within areas you’ve already seen.” A sled took form next to him. “This is yours. Stand on the platform and place your hands on here.” He showed her how to control the sled, watched her get the feel for it and jumped back to us.
“She will not know where to go. Sol love, please ask the Sparklers to descend and create a dome just above the valley. She will be able to see them from a distance and know where to go.”
“Empathia says they must not be above the valley when the show starts. She suggests they form a wall behind the audience.”
“How long will the show last Empathia?” Robbie asked, expecting Cherine to answer.
*Maybe four hours. Hello dad.*
His eyes softened and his face beamed as he replied. *What a lovely voice! I’m looking forward to seeing you arrive tonight.*
Her laughter tinkled in our minds. *You won’t be seeing me dad. I’ll meet you afterwards.*
“What do you mean?” She did not reply, only her amusement colouring our minds. I think Robbie hardly noticed she’d avoided answering him, he was so enchanted and thrilled at hearing her voice.
She alone of all his Cherinian babies has not danced with us before her birth, remaining within Cherine when in the void, and has not spoken to any of us, apart from Dommi. It made Robbie and us a little anxious, worried the contact with the Meéjeira soul traumatised her. Even her choice of name is considered strange, or so we thought.
Once Robbie recovered, he returned to the valley and put up some buildings behind the areas we will sit. He placed rows of toilet facilities and two kiosks which he supplied with all Kyria Maria and her husband will need for providing cold drinks, coffee, fruit and milk. He placed rubbish bins everywhere so that he will not have to clear up the litter afterwards and just over the hills, on the backside facing outwards he placed benches and small lampposts for people to use while eating, smoking and talking during the intervals.
Claudia was almost aggressive when he returned. “You will remove everything when the show is over?”
He knows of her obsession with nature, so he did not take umbrage. “You do not think we should keep it as our theatre?”
She thought about it for a while. “It does make sense. You will get rid of the alien buildings you put up though?”
He agreed. “I do not think we will need them again.”
Cherine grinned. “You would have the heart to destroy Jade’s artwork?” He looked flustered, not knowing what to answer without hurting Jade.
“It happens all the time in the theatre Cherine. Artists create beautiful backdrops and scenery for the play, knowing it will only last for as long as the play runs.” Lynda said.
Robbie shook his head. “You’re right Lynda, but they do it as their job. Jade is giving this everything she has, trying to create something really unique and beautiful. It is a pity the valley is in the middle of everything. If it had been placed in the correct area, I could have created a Meéjeira environment and let the buildings stay.”
I was playing dominoes with Rosie (she beats me far too often for it to just be luck). It seemed I was going to win this game and was concentrating hard. Rosie smiled to herself and within two moves I saw she had me cornered and I was about to lose again. “How do you do it!?” I moaned. Everyone grinned at my frustration and Rosie leant over and kissed my cheek.
Robbie stood up. “Take a walk with me Sam?”
If he wanted my company it was not for talking, I thought, as we meandered along the edge of the river. We reached the rocks he sometimes comes to sit on and think, and we sat down.
“Welcome back my sweet Samantha.”
“You’ve lost me. Welcome back from where?”
“I don’t know. In the beginning you had me worried until I realised you were not yourself. My Sammy does not make so many mistakes. Were you trying to remind us that you are only human and not infallible?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“You went through a period of making mistake after mistake. Are you going to tell me it was not on purpose?”
I blushed. “I don’t think so. It was very embarrassing.”
“Will you let me into your mind?”
“You think I’m lying!?”
He soothed me. “No my love. I want to check what it was that was worrying you. I think you don’t know and we should not allow whatever it was, to fester in hiding.”
I shuddered. “What an ugly thought, you think something is festering inside me?”
“Apart from the little green alien?” he teased. “I don’t know love. If Themi was here I’d ask him. Will you let me check, just for my own peace of mind?”
I opened up to him and welcomed him when he came in. I did not try to watch what he was doing and opening my eyes again stared at the water floating by slowly. He seemed to take forever and then I felt him withdraw and he opened his eyes. I waited for him to speak first.
“I cannot find anything, only your fear and grief about the loop.”
“It did make me feel less confident of myself.”
“When I came back I must have known what I was doing, how could I do this to myself? Why not join you in the future if that was what I wanted?”
“I can’t begin to guess your reasons love.” His mind wandered and I waited again. “When you came from the future I sensed a strong personality, full of confidence and happy with herself. You intimidated me a little. If you do not mind my reminding you, why do you think I consider myself the protector of all life - not just my family or species? All life is connected, each part affecting the whole. I do not sense you as being outside the webforce of life my love. I do not sense you are facing anything catastrophic, my darling daughter - and neither did I during your visit from the future.”
He knows me too well so I hardly thought it was necessary for me to ask him, “Would I have let you see dad?”
“Thanks, are you trying to steal my one small comfort?” I sensed he is teasing and was puzzled. Why isn’t he worried? Does he really sense me as part of this thing he calls a webforce of life? For what distance into the future does it extend? He took my face in his hands and stared into my eyes. “I believe in my Sammy. If you have lasted nearly three hundred years with us, it will not be because you were stupid or weak - nor will it be because you depended on me. Trust yourself my love.”
I felt the way he is emoting and since he is happy to be my daddy for a while, I was not going to let the opportunity slip by and changed. He grabbed at me, picked up my clothes and wrapped them around me, chuckling.
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
5th December, 2019
- posted: 5th December, 2019
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