by Brianna G. Harte
Surely the Anû Töe didn’t show me the images to taunt me. Not after they attempted to heal my wounds, comfort me in distress, and show concern. As I scanned the images, I could hardly focus. There are only five of us. Five sent to Earth to hold the codes. These two must be code bearers as well. From what I understood, only we had the symbols marked on our skin.
I stood abruptly. “Where is the one who speaks my language?”
The one caring for me shook his head, calling in his own language using a tube connected to the wall. “Iguae lahn fo jourl metripha! Ahn greest o’ fu ketim’a kuht uhdri ha!”
The metal tubing lined the room, leading to the corridor outside of the simple infirmary. They must connect to the entire ship. The sound vibrations must carry through the metal, and out to openings, I supposed. Primitive in comparison to the technology on Hevrae K’Vana Qi, or even Earth for that matter, utilizing even the fundamentals of physics, and yet it works.
In the seconds that passed between his call and a response, energy slowly returned to my body, from a basic form to the more mystical kind. It was enough to allow me to sit upright in the uncomfortable table beneath me. I never knew it took so much effort to move on a bed.
“Eh’vaht dem vwa tsu lei,” a voice vibrated in the metal out of the blue. The abruptness of the words nearly shook me from the table.
The Anû Töe nodded to me and left the room with the photos still beside me. Staring at them more did hardly anything. Besides the forearms with the engraved symbols, only the background was left to decipher, though that made no sense. The one with strength, agility, and wild seemed to be leaning against a bright metal reflecting what appeared to be a strong light source and a face. Perhaps he, or she, was sitting on an examination table or a doctor’s office. Neither possibility comforted me. The second with balance and harmony also seemed to lay against a bright metal. The photo itself was not as bright, as though the lighting around was not as profound. Very few reflections could be seen in the metal. One was of a camera, probably from Earth by the sleek yet mildly complicated looks of it. Another seemed to be dark green. A forest maybe. It didn’t concern me as much, except for the fact that there was a large piece of metal in whatever scenery the code bearer was surrounded by. Both images showed no damage to the forearms – no scrapes, bruises, or signs of irritation. The thought should have tranquilized my frenzy spirit, yet it couldn’t. Too many unknowns lay in just two photographs for gaps to be satisfyingly filled.
Thumps rang across the ground, growing louder with each one. I jerked my head to see one of the Anû Töe approaching the doorway. This one was female apparently. Her jawline was much smoother, yet no less sturdy than the nurse’s. She donned an off-white robe almost hiding the simple grey dress beneath. It reached the floor, making it impossible for me to see her feet. Maybe it was for the better. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Anû Töe all have different skin colors, as this one seemed to have a coral green tone whereas others have had anywhere between sandy brown to deep forest green.
“Hello, Kei,” she said lightly.
“Hi, hmm what’s your name?”
“You may call me Utar.”
“Nice to meet you, Utar. I think. Do you know why I was shown these photos?” I asked, motioning to the two close by.
Utar stepped forward and held them in her hand, a queer look forming on her coral green face. “I’ve never seen these before. Why would Otu have these in the first place I wonder.”
————— January 17, 2016
“Did you know about them?”
Utar pressed her deep green lips together. “If you are implying that I may know that there are some of your kind in our midst, then all I can say is that I had heard rumors. Never have I seen others for myself. You are the only I have laid eyes upon.”
I sighed heavily. “Would any others have seen them?”
“Possibly. But without the whereabouts of these Qi Merov, I cannot give you a more definitive answer,” Utar said, mildly concerned. Stealing a glance at the photos, she raised her eyebrows, and her tone shifted.. “May I see these?”
Seeing as my situation was not going to improve otherwise, I saw no harm in allowing her to hold them, analyze them. Perhaps it was a fatal mistake, for me or for the others. Why was I to trust her? Then again, neither she nor any of the other Anû Töe seemed interested in harming me. I couldn’t count out the two that pursued me. Irin and Kaht, were they? While they didn’t kill me in the waters, they threatened Ecuardo. I couldn’t tell who represented the majority of their race. Certainly, trusting Irin and Kaht would result in death. Having faith in Utar and those like her? I was not sure. Nevertheless, I handed the photographs to the Anû Töe, who took them earnestly with her coral green hands.
I was left in silence aside from the occasional creak in the ship and a buzz of electrical currents that shot through the air. To my dismay, nothing lay about the room to catch my attention. My idle brain disliked the lack of activity. I pondered more of the photos. In the great length of time Utar spent staring at them, I came up with no insights. How I wished that I knew more about the Anû Töe. Alas, the only information I was ever given was that from the lips of my leaders. Those who had taught that the Anû Töe would destroy us on sight or torture us code bearers if they found us.
“I don’t know where one is, but if the other is in the hands of other Anû Töe, then I have a suspicion,” Utar began. “I will come back again in several hours if I find anything.”
With that, she left me. I hoped that she didn’t expect me to wait around in the small infirmary room for that time. There was still much I did not know about this ship or where it was headed. With soft footsteps, I crept out of the room, turning to the left. There was an opening only fifty or so feet away, and it seemed to lead downward. Maybe to another level. Fitting to my luck, it was not a smooth descent. As though made by a shoddy blacksmith, each step was rough and unlike any other I had seen before, on Earth or on Hevrae K’Vana Qi. Metal unevenly bent in random locations, with no parts sanded, made them.
I essentially rock climbed down, cautious of each step. Time slowed down as my feet nearly slipped with each motion. The fall would have been painful, no doubt. Once I reached the metal floor at the end, I was so relieved I almost did not see a shadow of a figure approaching. In a split second, my body flew to the bottom of the stairs. I crouched as I pulled myself close to the grating steps. Closing my eyes, I willed my body to change color. Tan skin soon turned silvery and gained a metallic luster. I folded myself to at least appear as though part of the stairs, though this was much harder than doing so in the coral. At least then I had the darkness that belonged with the bottom of the sea. Now, I had light to betray me, potentially not reflecting off of my body like all of the other steps.
Footsteps echoed, getting louder with each passing second.
————– January 24, 2016
I held my breath.
Each second lasted a minute.
Each minute lasted an eternity.
The footsteps ceased ring through the metal. A horrendous smell worse than rotting seal on the beach infiltrated my nose. Out of curiosity, my eyes opened a sliver and found myself face to face with a small, rough-skinned creature. Metal bars encompassed it, pressing closely to its pale white scales. Its face was contorted with pain. Eyes more reflective than a pool of water seemed to plead to me. I may not know this creature, but I wished that I could help. Unfortunately, I could very well have been in a similar situation. For all I knew, the ship was just a very large container meant to keep me in and prevent any significant movements to get away.
Words in an incomprehensive language rattled out from whatever was holding the cage. The creature seemed to know what was going on as a grating sound rumbled from it. From the look of the creature’s widening eyes, I assumed that it had to be a whimper.
The one holding the cage yelled, hitting the metal unforgivingly.
I winced at the sight.
More words were exchanged. For one reason or another, the figure in front of me walked away from the stairs. Once he or she was out of sight, I carefully stood up. The metallic luster melted away from my body and left behind my tan skin. As I watched it disappear, a bit of energy also left my body. I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes. How long will this last? It had to be nearly two days ago that I used the power of the Aijan Codes that I carried with me. Of course I hadn’t eaten in a few days, so that could be a problem. Unfortunately, I doubted I could find any food that could satiate my hunger. None that I was willing to consume, at least.
I walked toward the doorway and peered to both sides. The grotesque smell led down to the right, but that was also where many footsteps clammered on the metal boards. Instead, I quietly traveled down the corridor in front of me. Noises faded away. Every few minutes, I checked over my shoulder, not entirely at peace with the situation. I eventually made it to the end and noticed light streaming from the side not too far away. Just beyond it were several others. Slowly, I progressed toward the windows, as I assumed they were. When I peered out one, my breath caught in my throat. An enormous ocean surrounded by masses of land lay far below. The edge of the globe could be seen reflecting the brilliant light of the closest star. I wasn’t just in a boat. I had to be in a spaceship of some sort. One that was surely faster and far larger than the one I had traveled in to reach Earth a while ago.
Rather than move upward, it seemed to be that we were orbiting the Earth or approaching something in orbit.
Copyright © 2015 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.
|GUIDE TO NAMES|
|Kei – main character
Ecuardo – Qi Merovan who’s been on Earth for 150 years
Qi Merov – race of Kei and Ecuardo
Hevrae K’Vana Qi – home planet of Kei
Kaht Netronotki – male antagonist; wears white lab coat; an Anû Töe
Utar – a female Anû Töe who speaks Kei’s language and the language of the Anû Töe;
Otu – a male Anû Töe; a nurse aboard the ship Kei is on in Chapters 2 and 3; does not speak Kei’s language
Anû Töe – race of the antagonists
J’voht – home planet of Irin and Kaht
P’tua Kurover –