“You know what? I didn’t think it would end this way.” I told the young boy with his dirt-matted hair. His eyes were large with fear as we watched the world collapse before us. Like a large mouth, it opened before us and split in two. A tear wet my cheek, but I felt nothing. Just numbness. I just watched the end of the world with the nameless child. All I could think was how it crumbled a lot softer than I thought it would.
We looked back at those who had received the message and realized that there was nothing left. Nothing to go back to. And there were so few of us. Maybe they believed that more people would have been listening to that song that day. Come to think of it, none of us even knew who sent the message in the first place. We were safe for now. That much was certain.
“So…” I figured I’d speak up again. The rest of the blood-drained faces just continued to watch as we drifted away from the pulsating sun. Just as we exited the solar system, it absorbed the planet we once called home. Although we could not hear, we all felt the screams of billions silence in that same second.
“Why were we chosen?” a young woman asked, desperate for an answer. We must have been chosen, right? There was no way that this happened by chance alone. But that must’ve been the answer. No one of us could stomach that…
Suddenly, a voice spoke over the crowd. My head was on a swivel, but I could not pinpoint the source. It sounded like it was coming from everywhere and no where at the same time. But, then again, this was a space ship. A space ship.
“If I may speak freely,” it rang through all of our ears. It was a calm, soothing, male voice. “Please understand, I do not mean to be heartless with the response to your question… but you were not chosen specifically. That is not to say that you weren’t chosen as a group. We needed younger individuals to repopulate the human race.”
We all looked around in disbelief. In that moment, I realized that there was no one in that great room over twenty-five or younger than six. An indistinguishable murmur spread through the group, but myself and the young boy remained silent. We observed. We listened for further clues to our host’s intent.
I knew he was talking about me the moment the voice started again. “Near the window. Yes, young lady. Stand and state your name.”
With the other hundred people watching, I slowly stood and looked up to try and, once again, pinpoint who was speaking. “Hannah Ingram.”
“Tell me Hannah, how did you hear the song? The message that my people sent.”
“Through my headphones.”
“Recount the entire event please. It is for logging purposes. You know, you can tell a lot about someone in how they speak.”
For a moment, I closed my eyes and recounted the event that happened no more than twenty-four hours prior. A vivid, monotone, and yet unrecognizable voice bursting through my earbuds with a call to drop everything: You are in grave danger human. The end of your race is evident and inevitable. It is you who is the future of this planet, but the rock upon which you stand is aging. Those around you have not respected it and resources are dwindling. Please believe us when we say that there is a way out. There is a new world awaiting you. If you wish to embark on this journey and heed our warning, find your nearest center for further instructions. The Center? Go to the place near your residence where all other life avoids.
“Well,” I lifted my head as I was becoming particularly interested in my shoes. “I was sitting in my campus courtyard. I’m a professor, not a student although my age may be deceiving… but I digress. I was listening to my playlist when the song came on. It was not even on the radio. So my question is how you managed to intercept…”
But I was cut off before I could finish my sentence. This man or this otherworldly being refused to answer anything he or it did not wish to. Truthfully, I believed it was because the others could not stomach the answers he possessed.
“No inquiries please. My people and will reveal your answers in time… Now… What made you believe my message?”
“A gut instinct.” The annoyance in my voice could clearly be heard by anyone within earshot at this point. I refused to go into detail. If they aren’t going to answer any of my questions, I’m not giving them an entire psychological evaluation by my words. By this point, the ship was well outside of the Milky Way Galaxy, something I never thought I would see in my years. The further we traveled, the amount of questions increased exponentially.
For a moment, silence fell over the entire room, choking off any ease of this place and killing it. Had I annoyed our host?
“Deepest apologies for offending you Hannah of Earth. You must understand, there are some within your group of humans who are extensively distressed. My reasoning of having you speak above all others was that your stress response is minimal, comparatively. I wish to use you as… what you call… a liaison between worlds.”
The lump already in my throat grew. Where was this ship headed? What was our final destination? No matter what I said, the voice would not answer any of these questions in front of the group. So, my thoughts turned to inquiring about a personal meeting.
“If that is the request,” I cleared my throat and spoke so quickly that it almost ran together like I was in a drunken stupor. “Then I wish to meet with you in person to have my questions answered. That way I can answer my people when they are ready for the information.”
Suddenly, a doorway opened beneath my feet and slid on a slide away from the rest of the group. Some looked on in horror as the door closed behind me. Would this be the last time I ever spoke or even locked eyes with another human?
After steeping in my thoughts for a few moments, I found myself face-to-face with the most beautiful creature I ever laid my eyes upon. The face was human-esque. It was so beautiful, it looked like a mask. Flawless skin, large, golden eyes. This creature bore long, pointed ears that pushed back strands of hair akin to sunlight. Unlike the others standing on the stairs to either side, the creature that stood above them seemed female. However, I did not know how to address it.
“Does knowing what we look like release any tension about our intent?” A woman’s voice spoke, but her lips did not move. “We are, rather were you in another place in time. Other races across the universe call us Watchers. Because our race had been gifted with telepathy, we could tap into other humanic races and aid them if need be. You may call me Magdalia.”
I paused and considered the question that was burning in my throat like a white-hot iron. “Magdalia… How do we compare to other races like us?”
A few of her male guards looked up at their leader while others shook their heads. What was once a smile upon the woman’s face had now dropped sternly. “Unfortunately, your people do not fair well among others like us. But that is what we wish to rectify. We did not destroy your world, your people did. But we intend to take advantage of this opportunity to show you how to properly be.”
“Be?” I repeated.
“Exist. Your kind do not understand how to exist. Humans did not know their bigger purpose. We will teach you.”
“And the message?” I asked. “How did you-?”
“Ah yes… To be honest, it really did not come through your headphones at all. Rather, your head. Telepathy is a great gift, but we did not wish to frighten many of you. If you were hearing voices, your kin would have you institutionalized. And here you are.”
I swore I was having an out-of-body experience. “Yes,” I heard myself say. “Here we are.”
“We are going to your new home. For the others, and for you too perhaps. My people searched and found a planet close to your Earth, but nothing in the universe is exactly the same. What is most important is that it is safe and it is habitable.”
“Water? Oxygen? Food?”
“And you will just leave us?”
“You must learn to survive. We will aid your transition for a time, but not for long. Once you learn to exist properly, we will watch from afar as we had for multiple millennia before. Now… go back to them and await further instruction. You and I will become very close.”
I hope you all enjoyed this short story! I’m sorry I’ve been on such a sporadic posting period as I am battling with motivational issues so I’m working through to hopefully get this first draft of Book 2 (Preservation) done!
I just wanted to post a quick update to everyone who has been so supportive and eagerly awaiting Book 2 of The Wanderer Trilogy: Preservation.
I just got done with the Rough Draft of Chapter 15 and have about 3-4 more chapters worth of material left. One of my New Year’s Resolutions require me to organize my time better, so that I make more time for writing. My goal is to have Preservation published by December of this year. Hopefully, I can make that happen!
From the reviews I have already received for Purpose, I can only promise you that many of your questions will be addressed by Book 3: Prowess. I’m very adamant on simply setting the foundation of the story in Books 1 & 2 so that the plot twists that I have planned for Book 3 make sense. I promise that it won’t be what you are expecting so stay tuned 🙂
However, there is one thing that I want to clear up in regards to the Dedication in my novel. It reads:
To all those who said I was “too wordy” and “long winded”. Especially to everyone who did not believe I could do it. How it must feel to be so wrong.
First of all, those who know me understand that I am extremely sarcastic. I love to joke around and laugh. Growing up, I always told stories with great detail, which I believe is why I enjoy writing so much. Anyway… my father and sister in particular, would make fun of me for being so detailed. They would make comments like “Just get to the point already” and the like. I would always struggle with writing papers that had a ‘word maximum’ because I would write well over the maximum and have to painfully shave off words.
I digress… To the second part of the Dedication. For years, people who I’ve known – even some in my own family – have told me that I would never be able to write a novel. Teachers in high school would tell me that I did not write well enough. In grade and high school alone, I only had two teachers who saw the fire in me. In fact, these two individuals gave me the tools and confidence to become a better writer.
But the constant degrading combined with my diagnosed depression in my teenage years really ate away at any motivation I had to create worlds with my words. I feel that it is my right to express a slight annoyance-like attitude with a smart-a** comment like the final sentence.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts! I hope everyone is waiting with bated breath for Preservation! Enjoy your 2019 and I will be posting again soon.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, what would be behind it? Flesh – scarred and dingy from the lack of light and yet so desperate to see the sun. My fear? That it will scare others away or that my vulnerability will shove me into a suffocating darkness that ever pulls me down. Inescapable.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, what would others say? Would those who have seen my raw, inexcusable self shy away when they laid eyes on its entirety? Little by little, I open up in expectation that those around me will not hack and slash at what lies underneath the white face that I manipulate to my liking… well, to society’s liking. Those who I expect to mar me open their arms in a tight embrace, accepting me without question or second thoughts. But it is those who deceive me that further fuses the mask to my skin.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, would others do the same? On the surface, confidence is strong yet fleeting, but what message would I be showing my daughter if I simply spoke the words, would my actions – or lack thereof – speak louder? But what if she tears open her chest and reveals her heart, as I once did, but the world rips it out and smashes it? Would I be responsible? Always inside my mind, I hear the words of society’s formless figure screaming – Too fat, Too ugly, Not curvy in the right places, Not good enough.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, would the sickness go away? Would I finally win the battle that I have been fighting for countless years? As I pause, I recall the shroud of depression and the feeling of being weighted down so heavily that I could scarcely catch breath. The tightening noose around my neck, appropriately named Anxiety, attempts to tare me upwards while the weights shackled to my ankles tear me in half. All of this as a result of a faceless entity that seeks out females for submissiveness and degradation.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, would I be the same? Although I already know the answer is no, I am hesitant. I see how far I have come in recent months and the mask just falls off, shattering into a thousand, nay a million pieces. Arising from the ashes it forms are images of my hidden pain that resided between the cracks. Tears and anger. A facade that I played, like a puppet underneath a puppeteer, for so long I nearly forgot myself. Regret? There is none. I have learned from the experiences and a Phoenix now rises from the ashes. An unconscious smile creeps across my face as I look up at the sun for what feels like the first time. I warm my skin, my soul, and let the scars be seen among the masses. The breath of fresh air that fills my lungs breaks the shackles within. I. Am. Finally. Free.
I hope you enjoyed this! I don’t have a Writing Prompt for this post, but post your own growth story in the comments!
Years of studying Botany finally paid off. Mother always said that it was a useless Major, and that I should be studying “Western Medicine” and not Apothecary of sorts. Chance, that it was my love of fantasy worlds that drew me to the unknown. And maybe my open-mind led me to discoveries that others could not fathom, plants that myths and legends speak of. However, fame had come with a price, my undying commitment to the hunt for the Flora of Legend.
Mind you, the other scholars would poke fun at my attempts of convincing them that their scope of research was far too limited. There were so many plants that have been lost in ancient text and forgotten in the minds of those who claim to preserve the craft. Still, I perused every lead, every shred of information in order to discover the flowers of fable, and still, I went further in testing their properties. Poisons. Healing properties. Limb regrowth. This were the moments that I believed the stories labeled “Fiction” in the libraries.
There was one plant, however, that eluded me. In time, I would make it my life’s work to obtain a sample of it’s petals and nectar. Known to the common-folk as Blossom of the Gods, ancient scrolls tell of the most beautiful flower that, when ingested, bestows immortality but at a price. However, nothing that I am able to find indicates what exactly that adverse effect is or entails for those who have discovered and eaten this rare plant have not scrawled a single note about even the taste.
Locating this unspeakably rare flower has proven understandably difficult. Given what information I have, clues to the singular location where it grows. Whispers tell me to find a divergence of trees in the Amazon Rainforest after allowing yourself to become lost within its immensity and, only then, will Blossom of Gods can be found. After a simple drop of blood is placed upon a leaf, the flower will bloom. This is all of the information I am able to find.
So I am here, traveling through the thicket and broken stumps alone. Of course I’m afraid. What if I die here? More than likely, there are predators just beyond my vision, hid away in the green blur, waiting to pounce. Lost?Hours must have passed by now. What have I gotten myself into? Maybe Mom was right…
Alas! No, it can’t be. Have I found it? Something shifts in the air as I step into the mossy clearing. No doubt this is holy ground. A raised platform centered in the space between the trees. I cannot even hear birds chirping anymore. Rising with each step, I begin to make out the leaf in which I must shed blood. My heart is racing as I approach the glowing plant and raise my hand directly over it. With a click of my pocket knife, I press the blade against my palm, piercing the skin just enough to drip the crimson liquid onto the leaf.
Suddenly, it draws itself into the ground. I wait. For a moment, it seems like nothing is going to happen, until an indescribable petrichor fills my nostrils. All my mind can grasp is euphoria as a glittering orchid-like flower rises from the ground. Without a second to dwell on the implications, here sits my life work, I tear a petal from the flower and it descends underneath. Immortality at a price. What is the price I will pay for this? Perhaps it is watching my loved ones pass from this world onto another. Steep yet fitting price. No guess I could have materialized could prepare me for the senses that the forsaken Blossom took from me.
Days later I woke up in the hospital. I could hear them talking around me, yet, as I tried to open my eyes, there was just blackness. I screamed and the nurses were forced to restrain me. When my mother came in, I could hear her sobbing and she pressed a fresh loaf of bread at me. But, the only reason I knew it was bread was the warmth and texture.
I only now understand what price the Blossom of the Gods had taken from me in exchange for endless life. First, my sight, for not appreciating the beauty and seeking more than what I deserved. Second, my sense of smell, something I had taken for granted while working as a Botanist. No longer can I resume my career. Instead, I returned to the place where the flower bloomed for me to find all those scholars from times past awaiting me. I felt their presence and they told me what I must do now.
Protect it. The flower chose me as it does not give it’s blessing to all those who come across it.