The astronauts felt disappointed but kept quiet. They’d been hoping to spend more time with us and travel to other worlds before returning home.
We do not understand the contradictions here. Souls appear in the void and they come from Sheena’s world. The clothes Sheena was wearing when we found her are not the kind of rough clothing we would expect them to have at their level of technology. How does a small village in an area that is covered in snow nine months a year produce fine linen? Sheena has not made one sound. Even her laughter is silent - which proves it has nothing to do with her age. She seems to be about two years old. We have noticed that as she gets used to us, she is halfway comfortable with those who are blonde, but brown and black hair seems to frighten her.
Now that she has been with us for two days, Robbie decided to bring life back to normal. He asked the Akiard kids to send one of the younger females to meet Sheena. She did not fear her. To the contrary, she first showed great curiosity as she tried to puzzle her out, but then she got caught up in her games and when we allowed the other kids to gradually appear she accepted them all with great nonchalance, only emoting her powerful yearning for love.
Robbie decided we should not visit the planet in our bodies and took a number of us as the void and at last some of the puzzle is coming together. We have become quite proficient at visually translating what we see while we are souls and we discovered that all the villages or towns that are not in the snow belt are inhabited by people with dark hair. They are mostly good looking, but nothing as fine or beautiful as the people of Sheena’s village. Travelling to the snowed in villages, we discovered that only the villages that are distant from all others have people with white hair. Second important difference: The dark haired people do speak aloud and we are slowly getting to understand their speech. Third very important difference: The Sparklers tell us that the dark haired people have souls, but all the white haired do not! Arthur, what the hell have you done? How could you choose for our Sheena not to have a soul?
There are only about twenty three villages with white haired people, each village on average has just under two hundred people. Total world population is 4,562 (including Sheena). We have set guards over the twenty three villages and if we see any groups riding out to them with intention to kill, we confuse them, make them travel in circles until they weary and return home.
What are we to do? We cannot stay here to guard them forever. The conversations overheard have shown us that the dark haired people consider the others, mutants who must be exterminated. It seems their hatred is mostly due to the fact that they occasionally give birth to white ones and though they sometimes kill them, now and then parents will secretly take them out into the snow and abandon the babies for the others to find and rear. The Whites are telepathic and though they do not approach the Darks for any reason, they sense or hear the call of the abandoned infants and within hours collect them.
For the first time ever the Inguel have joined all other species in asking that we remain to discover why it is that infants mutate and therefore do not have souls. Does it happen at the time of conception or are certain foetuses not capable of ‘calling’ for a soul? How is a soul ‘called’? You’ve shaken us all up, forcing us to consider problems we’d never have thought of otherwise. Robbie is quite badly affected. Remember with the Kinytians, how he insisted they had souls? He had a firm belief that all sentient creatures have a soul, even if they have to ‘create’ (evolve) one.
Sheena was beginning to relax around us when she felt the shock and the change in how she was viewed by many of us and has grown afraid again. If she had not been able to feel that she is loved by most of us, I think she would have given up on her emoting plea for us to love her - unless what we sense as a plea to be loved is actually an unconscious yearning for the soul they should have had…I don’t seriously believe in this theory.
Although it is trivial, I just have to mention the effect of being given our colourful clothes to wear has had on Sheena. She will run to ‘her’ mirror to look at herself with real pleasure, as if hardly believing the image she sees is herself. And yes, I was right, she loves chocolates. Not so trivial is the lack of grief for her parents. We do not feel any special feelings in her for any of us, not even Dommi - just that yearning to be loved. It can become quite frustrating not being able to satisfy her longing for love. It is odd, for we do not think she is psychically blind to the love we are emoting towards her. If she never stops, like this, then it is no wonder she was able to call to Arthur - that is if the chicken came before the egg! Did Sheena exist and call to Arthur, or did Arthur first dream she exists and thus, make her exist? Sometimes I am very tempted to take the easy way and say (accept) that Arthur has his own author - but I hate the idea; it is bad enough living our lives with the knowledge that one of him exists. Two? That would knock the marbles helter-skelter and no sense will ever be made of anything. (I promised I would not, but I must note that this theory was written by our Arthur, not me, so I’m not being stupid.)
Sheena has been given her own bedroom, but we let her sleep with us once a week. She loves her room and toys, but when she sees all of us in one room, she feels she is missing out on something and wants to join us. As a special treat for her and us, we let her sleep one night with us, though it does mean we have to at least wear panties and Robbie pyjamas bottoms. She has noticed that at least two of us sleep in his arms and we think she can sense our pleasure at being held by him, but she has not shown she wishes to have a turn - apart from that yearning call to be loved that we cannot dampen.
The Unation ship technicians have modified their mini spy cameras to look like insects or birds of this world. That is only for the Darks, for the Whites they had to find another solution, as they would sense they are not natural creatures. They disguised some of them as clumps of snow!
Apart from those of us who are curious, there are over one thousand people studying the videos full time. Not only scientists. Doctors, philosophers, poets, artists, you name it, there will be at least one of them. Over five days Claudia's gift made sense of their language and we are now learning more about them from the conversations we listen in to.
Angel is getting restless since she cannot practice magic within Freddie, so she asked Robbie if she can go with Christós to an unoccupied part of this world to practice. He gave her permission after choosing an unoccupied area in the tropics. The area he chose for her became quite popular with visitors of all species jumping there…when she is not practising. This is an incredibly fertile world and the range of plants, birds, animals and insects is double what ours is. Is that because we killed off so many species of our world?
Angelica and Rania still do not join us in our loving at night, apart from taking their turns to sleep in Robbie’s arms. They are in the nude and they watch the rest of us making love, but their own needs seem to be dormant for now. Rania has decided that because she was conceived within Meli’s mind, she is also her daughter and has grown closer to her than to any of us. Though both girls are affectionate and can be quite naughty, they do not keep each other company, preferring to play or be either with one of us or on their own. We can sense how Dommi, Cherine and Robbie watch these two with interest, trying to work out why they differ so much from us.
As a baby, my father was an enigma to me. He proved that he still is. I do not know whether he chose to act as our leader/protector or whether his sense of humour dictated his choice. We can comfortably understand the Darks, which means they can understand us. Without lifting our ban on visiting them in a visible mode, he jumped to a small town of theirs as a White.
He chose a time when the central square is empty and made himself comfortable, sitting on the ground. As people woke up and the first one appeared, his yells brought armed men running. Within minutes he was being attacked, each blow meant to be fatal. Robbie did not move, staying seated with a look of curiosity on his face. Their blows bounced off the energy shield he had surrounded himself with and finally the men acknowledged they are not getting anywhere. They discussed their predicament openly and when there was a momentary lull, Robbie spoke.
“Why don’t you build a fire around and over me? Surely the heat would have to kill me?”
“It spoke! Did you hear that, it talks!”
When Robbie is deep in thought or is secretly laughing at us, he tilts his head. He did so now and we were certain he was not in deep thought. “My wives sometimes claim I talk too much. Does it bother you?”
A man with a potbelly pushed his way through. “Your kind cannot speak.”
“White heads are mutants?”
“Vile creatures, that is what you are.”
“Perhaps they too have their mutants and I am one of them?”
That made them pause as they considered his suggestion. Their dismay was obvious, especially among the more intelligent men.
“You have also developed other powers?”
“Why do you kill the white heads, are they not your children?” That infuriated them and forgetting themselves some of them attacked again. Mr Potbelly stopped the attacks. Without a smile, Robbie asked, “Did that answer your question?”
“Why have you come here?”
“I overheard travellers discussing the ale in this town, they claimed it was the best that can be found in the whole world. Will you offer me a mug while we talk?”
“We do not drink with animals!” one of the men exclaimed.
“Then you are foolish. In my land, farmers share their ale with their cows. It fattens them and the meat is tastier and tender.”
None of them were in the mood to smile at his humour, but Mr Potbelly nodded. “The inn is not open yet. Come to my home for breakfast and you’ll taste some of my brew. Amiso and Jevinnah, come with. This development is too important for us to rush at it like ignorant fools with swords.” The two men argued with him for a short while, but gave in and came with.
As they entered, Robbie of course paid attention to the few paintings on the walls. They were not executed with any finesse, more like the paintings of school children, the subject matter only concerned with agriculture and their town. As they entered the living room Robbie stopped, frozen in shock and by awe. On an easel, in an obvious place of honour was a painting of incredible beauty.
“We traded for it.” Mr Potbelly reassured Robbie. “We did not kill them for it.”
“What do you trade?”
“Linen and food. You have heard their names, I am Periga. Do your kind have names?”
“A strange name. Does it have a meaning?”
“I never checked, not that I know of. How do you meet to trade? Since you are trying to kill them all, surely they would not come to trade with you?”
“You do not know? You are not of them? Where do you come from then?”
“So many questions on an empty belly.” Robbie sighed melodramatically and Periga smiled for the first time.
“Only a brave but stupid man finds danger amusing and I think you are not as stupid as you pretend to be. Swords may not kill you, but surely you are not immune to poison?”
“Unlike the others, you have a need for answers. I also do not believe you would dishonour your home by poisoning a guest.”
“That courtesy only exists among men. Your ability to talk has not proved you to be a man.”
“What is a man Periga? The colour of my hair?” Their eyes widened as he darkened his hair. “Am I a man now?”
Periga turned on the others in anger. “Do you see now? Have you the intelligence to understand what dangers this poses for us? Do not dare question my judgement again.”
“If they all can do this, how will we know them? We are lost then. We cannot survive if we do not allow strangers to enter our town and trade with us.”
“My people call you the Darks and the others the Whites. What do you call yourselves?”
“We are men, Iktrians. What are you Robert?”
“Neither. Perhaps I will tell you where I come from if I decide you are worthy. Periga, bring me a vial of your most potent poison, I do not wish to waste time on silly games.”
“I do not keep poison in my home.” Robbie sensed he was lying, but let the matter drop, having made his point.
“It was easy learning your language, not so with the Whites. We can sense their thoughts, but they do not make sense to us, and yet we have evidence that they can reason. Angel, spell me an image of Sheena please.” Proudly she did so. The men were startled at the appearance of the child. “It is but an image, you could pass your hand through her. We found this child in a village that had been attacked. Everyone else was dead.”
“You have kept her? You have been captured then?”
“Enslaved. Almost from birth they have that ability, making you desire to love and protect them above all else.” His eyes widened. “You spoke the truth! You have not done so with us.”
Robbie smiled. “You bring a White into your home and yet you can say that in full confidence?”
“I had questions to ask, your death would have left me without the knowledge I need to protect my people against new developments…if you are one of them. If you are not, it is just as important I learn of your people and what dangers they may pose for us.”
“If the whites are so dangerous, how is it your men are able to enter their villages to kill them? Surely their need to enslave you would be at its most urgent and potent at such a time?”
“When faced with our determination to kill them, they give up trying. They stand there like the animals they are, allowing us to kill them without a fight.”
The Darks will never know how close they came to driving Robbie insane, into becoming the Avenger. The thought of the Whites yearning to be loved, their resignation as they felt the blind need in the Darks to kill them, what they must have felt seeing their loved ones being slaughtered like animals, Robbie felt it all and he trembled for a moment as he fought himself. I’m going to digress for a moment. Keep in mind that when I speak of ‘family’ I include Alki.
Our family do not see eye to eye with Robbie on the matter of his rages. We do not want him to kill anyone and if he does, we suffer along with him. For him, for the way it makes us feel, and for those he killed. However, we do not sink into dark despair as he does, we almost live in his mind (when he does not exclude us) sharing with him, so that he is always in the background, often his emoting colouring the way we feel. We know that he is fragile and that sometimes the atrocities committed by others shatter him and the only way he can save his own sanity is by striking out in a blind rage. Us girls believe that sometimes the person(s) who committed the atrocities are beyond help and need to move on to their next life - this is not a common belief among Cherinians, Terran or otherwise, but we stick to it. As another example; I sort of feel that way when I think of those of the Cabal, for they are even more heartless than the dark haired of this world and have been responsible for deaths that can be counted in the hundreds of millions - never mind how many billions they wanted to kill. Just imagine, open your mind and heart to the fact of them conspiring for more than two hundred years, causing the deaths of millions, just so that they can manoeuvre their way into more complete and absolute power. I have seen nothing that suggests that the deaths have caused them even the loss of sleep for one night.
Robbie does not accept that he is allowed to kill under any circumstance, and his solution is to place the people who must not be allowed to exist among their victims, either in the penal world or else keep them in temporary stasis. I wonder whether he will stop me if we go after Soros and the Rothchilds.
It therefore still surprises me that when he trembles on the brink, almost losing control, that Cherine does not enter his mind and help him control himself. It is as if she believes that he must do what he does according to his own abilities, limits and beliefs, even if he hurts himself. I do not think I will ever be wise enough to be like her, not if I have the power to intervene.
The men sensed the danger and had the good sense to wait silently. Robbie stood up, his eyes on the image of Sheena. “What you call the power of enslavement is only a yearning to be loved.”
“There is no satisfying their need, the more you are captivated by them, the stronger their need. In the beginning they almost destroyed us.”
A thought crossed Robbie’s mind and he knelt before the image of Sheena. “Their need for love is stronger than you can imagine! This one, her need reached across space and time so that the god who created us all dreamt of her and sent us to find her. Little did he imagine how the reality of her would be and I do not know how to solve the problem. I must find a way to communicate with the Whites. I will return, but in the meantime, let it be known, no more attacks, no more deaths will be allowed. God! To be killed because you want to be loved! No wonder they allow you to do so without a fight.”
Robbie’s visit was played on our screens and his final words caused a maelstrom of emotion to flood Freddie. There was such a surge of love for Sheena that she froze, her mouth hanging open. It was then she hit us. There was something childish and unrealistic about it, but it was still strong enough to affect us too deeply for us to use our logic or common sense to filter it. Worse than the blinding joy of the Wirms, her need for love coupled with her joy hit us in a flood of emoting, pictures and colours shooting through our minds in a crazy but beautiful riot that drew out of us even stronger yearnings and needs to show her total love. Even Freddie cannot tell us for how long we were lost in our exchanges of love with Sheena. Finally it was too much for her immature mind and she collapsed, freeing us. Devastated and wracked by our needs we stared down at her body and Robbie, who was already instinctively trying to protect her, laying beside her, holding her to him.
A world full of minds and hearts feeling bruised and shattered is a dangerous place, for our emotings were feeding off each other. Cherine broke the pattern by beginning a golden circle of love, deliberately excluding any feelings from Sheena. People of all species ran or jumped to us and joined in, the gentle-fierce love of Cherine for Robbie pulsing and growing as it widened, including the love of all of us for each other. When Cherine allowed it to gently fade away, it was as if our hearts were filled with golden motes that danced to a gentle breeze, healing our minds.
“I never imagined we would have proof the Darks spoke the truth so soon! Sheena tried to talk to us, why isn’t your gift working for her Claudia?” Claudia shrugged, reminding him she is just as ignorant of her gift as anyone else. “What can we do to learn? I think her vocabulary will be limited and simple, so we should try with her first.”
I thought about it. “It might be better to find an adult. Once they understand what we are trying to do they would be better able to teach us.”
“Do they understand our speech?” He caressed Sheena’s cheek and she looked up at him. “Sheena, touch my cheek if you understand what I am saying.” She shyly reached up and touched him!
We were elated and she felt us. Her yearning eagerly began to strengthen. “Please stop it Sheena.” We saw her puzzlement. “Stop wanting us to love you more and more. Try to be happy with the love you feel.”
She was chastened for a moment, so her yearning subsided as she tried to understand. Once she gave up it grew again. Christós reached over and took her hand in his. With his olive complexion and dark hair she was frightened, but she also sensed something incredibly tender about him so did not pull away in fear.
“Sheena, send a picture, just one, of you being happy.”
Syrina jumped up with excitement. “Shall I get the translator dad?”
“That’s a good idea. I wonder if it is able to sense thoughts. Bring it my love.”
Our joyful anticipation was short lived. “It would not be ethical to create a machine mind that can read the thoughts of biological beings. Your thoughts are what identify yourself to yourself, reassuring each mind that it is unique. If you wish I could provide you with all the laws enacted outlawing such a concept with, in addition, all studies and articles analysing the ethics.”
“Not now thank you. What of species that can only communicate telepathically? How would you translate for them?”
“If you understood my previous statement your question is illogical.”
“Thank you. Switch off please.” He frowned. “We are back to trying the slow way, picture by picture. Lunch is ready so we’ll start this afternoon.”
Robbie claims he does not understand how Maria does it. She brought Sheena a small bowl of rizogalo (rice pudding) with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top and after eating it she got up and went to hug Maria’s leg. The first time she shows a positive emotion (an emotion that is not ‘asking’) other than her yearning and it is to Maria! Why not a crème caramel, or chocolate eclairs or, or…how did she know her rizogalo would do the trick? I do not agree that it was just coincidence. Maria did not bring any for us.
At least we got another picture (we are assuming it is a ‘thank you’ picture). Athia argues that we must not isolate her pictures from the emotion that accompanies them, that they do not only reinforce the message but are part of it. If so, this is going to be even more difficult to master.
None of us are surprised that Robbie is advancing faster than anyone else. His protector instincts are forcing his brain to work at full capacity so that he can find a way to stop the murder of the Whites. Theresa made a good suggestion. She said that adults in small rural communities expect children to help so we should ask her things like, what is the picture for ‘bring water’, ‘get dressed’, ‘clean the floor’ and so on. We got quite a few pictures, though we also confused her with a number of things we asked pictures for.
Not even Robbie is capable of creating mental-emotion pictures, so we use the ones she projected in her mind. I suspect, just like the speech of a two or three year old Normal is pretty basic, her pictures will appear childish to the adults when we use them. It does not matter, at least we will be able to do the equivalent of spell ‘cat’ and so on.
Sheena’s favourite spot now is Robbie’s lap. She feels his love, is allowed to yearn with him if she keeps it low key and he spends all his time trying to communicate with her. He cannot ask her anything abstract yet, but she has managed to surprise him a couple of times with her sense of humour. As with all children, she does repeat her successes ad infinitum, but Robbie always rewards her with a smile or laugh and a hug. Her favourite, especially when she is a little bit sad, is pretending to pick a flea off him.
Once Robbie felt that Sheena trusts him, he decided to risk frightening her. He spent four days explaining, never pushing her when she became afraid, first giving her time to calm down before discussing it with her again. Finally, she agreed if Dommi would be with. Dommi has kept her hair white all this time and Sheena laps up her mother love, at her most content when in her arms and communing emotionally.
On the fifth day, carrying Sheena in his arms, he jumped to the house of Periga at breakfast time. “Do not be alarmed and please do not frighten the child with any sudden moves or raised voices. I wish to try an experiment you will find interesting.” Robbie sat and turned Sheena around so that she faced him. Staring into her eyes, he told her she was free to let go of her yearning for all of them to love her. As she did, he felt as if her eyes were drawing his heart and soul into her, into a paradise of beauty. Despite himself, despite having given her permission to do it, he was shaken by his strong response. He looked at Periga and saw that he was also affected, though his face only showed his terror.
“Sheena, stop it now please.”
Periga gasped as he felt her stop. She did not stop entirely, but her yearning was so slight and shy it could not frighten anyone.
“How! You have trained her?”
“No. She did as you said, she enslaved all of us for a while, but feeling the love of hundreds of thousands overwhelmed her and she fainted. When she woke up and began again I asked her to stop, to accept the love we offer without asking for more and she obeyed. Do you know why?”
“But, we tried that. We asked them many times to stop, but they would not listen.”
“Because they felt you did not love them if you were not compelled by their needs. Sheena knows that we love her.”
“To stop them we must love them!?”
Robbie laughed. “No, I do not expect you to love them. At least, not all of them. Periga, could you not find at least one amongst them you could care for if you felt safe and came to know them as people?”
“I do not see how.”
“Come with me.” He led him to the painting. “Do you see any beauty in it?”
“Yes. It is not like the beauty of a woman that is natural. Something about it frightens me and the town wonders why I keep it.”
“The other paintings are from your own people?”
“They are comfortable, pictures of a world you are familiar with. This one, you can feel the sweat running down his back as he toils in the sun? You can feel the determination to finish what he is doing before his wife calls him home for supper and another day is gone?”
“Now that you put it in words I recognise it is what I saw, without knowing it.”
“But this painting, it is of a world you do not know, alien to you? Do you know why?”
“Because it is a painting of the emotions in the artist. That is the beauty in his heart. If you met him, if you found a way to talk and he explained what drives him, what his fears are and you are able to identify with what he tells you, could you then kill him?”
“It is the only way to stay free.”
“Not if you learn to talk to him so that he understands the harm he is causing you. Periga, they are not evil, just weak. How could there be such beauty in the heart of a man if his thoughts are evil. I have a surprise for you. Sheena has been teaching me how to talk to her - or rather, how to understand what she is trying to tell me. Did you know they have a wonderful sense of humour?”
“You are trying to make me see them as people.”
“I am trying to make you see them as they are, not as your fears and a mistake in your past has taught you to see them. Are you a brave man Periga? If you are, I have an offer to make you.”
Mr Potbelly sat down as he felt his legs getting shaky. (Okay, I’m sorry, I should not make fun of him). His voice was barely audible, “What are you planning?”
“To invite you to my home.”
Robbie was not truthful with him. He did not explain that we are not on their world. He did not warn him that he would meet aliens and that the appearance of some of them would terrify him. All he talked about was of his family, of how sweet and lovely his wives are (at least he was being honest about that J ). He spoke of how easy the trip would be, taking but an instant, and that he would be returned within the day. He used the gift of the voice and poor Periga found himself agreeing, despite his mind shrieking in terror that he should refuse. Robbie touched him and jumped. While we tried to calm Periga, I noticed that Samuel was with us and his serious eyes were studying Robbie. Their eyes met for an instant, but Robbie looked away, as if disinterested.
Robbie has asked that we do not mention the lack of soul in the Whites. It makes sense and everyone will keep quiet about that. Periga is not what we would consider highly educated or sophisticated and most of his points of view are very parochial, but he is a born leader and is a dedicated protector of his people. The fact that he did not blindly attack and was willing to talk to him is the reason Robbie is taking so much trouble with him. He feels that we cannot convert attitudes that are born out of prejudice and fear throughout their world. If however, we are able to change a dozen like Periga, they will know how to help their own people see the truth, or at least soften their attitude so that no more Whites are murdered. In the old days, Robbie would have struggled for weeks to change the attitude of his ‘victim’, hoping to also make that person a friend. He now feels we do not have the time for him to play his games, not with so much unfinished business accumulating and growing with every trip we take, so he brings them to Freddie, knowing they will be awed and resistance to change will crumble. I would not mind if it were not for one thing that worries me. Those games he played, the inventive schemes he came up with, helped him grow also. This way may be faster, but it is not good for him or for all Cherinians in general. (Ch: Nonsense Sam. He faces enough problems to keep him on his toes without adding to them when he can use an easier and faster tactic. The truth is you just love watching him doing the unexpected or being ‘crazy’.) (Rosie: Nope Cher, she just loves the sex after he has been crazy and succeeded.) (Candy: So do I.) With Candy on my side, for whatever reason, I consider myself the winner of that argument.
I let him go, not fair provoking him if he is so tired - and I stopped writing for a while for him to catch up with his sleep.
When Periga was brought here, Freddie jumped to an alternate reality. We have now spent a week with him aboard. We took him to the void today and since then he is acting like a child, delighted and showing it. Sheena reacted to his emoting and approached him. He surprised even himself by picking her up and placing her on his lap.
“And you my pretty one, what must you look like in the void! I can hardly wait to see you. Are you even more dangerous there?” There was instantly an effort by everyone to cover the silence that greeted his sally. Luckily, he did not notice.
“Meli will prepare a telling for you. We’ll answer your questions afterwards.” He flushed with pleasure that Cherine had spoken to him. He has learnt how important she is to us and is still at that stage where he is overawed by her and cannot see her as just another one of us. We can’t either, but you know what I mean, she has to always first remain just a girl (or woman when she is), she must never just be our light.
Robbie asked me to go for a walk with him. I changed to a five year old and with my tiny hand held in his we walked while I enjoyed the feelings he emoted every time he looked down at me.
“Would you like to explain your comments about Samuel?”
I aged myself. “He is judging you.”
“For the day he has to come after us?”
“No. He promised he will be on our side. For afterwards.”
“Do you feel he is a threat?”
“Not now. Who knows how he will develop.”
“Why do you insist on bringing him with us then? Would it not make more sense to leave him alone?”
“No. Robert, I like him, there is something deeply honest and honourable about him. When it is time, I will lay down the rules under which he is allowed to judge you, but we must let him think freely for now.”
“What are they?”
“I promise you will be present when I tell him.”
He sighed. “No wonder you came for this talk as a little child. Sometimes you really exasperate me.”
Cherine giggled in my mind, so I smiled at him. “Would you like me to be a five year old tonight?”
He smacked my bum lightly and laughed. “You little vixen, you really know how to get at me.” He turned serious. “Samantha, be certain you know what you are doing with him. I cannot control his powers.”
“I know. As Athia says, it will be interesting to see how he handles himself. I wonder about something else.” He only looked at me, waiting. “Why did Cherine link him? She does not like him, but she linked him.”
“She felt you wanted her to.”
“That is not a good reason. She was right to, but still, it is not a good reason, she should only follow her own instincts.”
“She does my little flower, her instincts tell her to trust her Samantha.” For once, I had nothing to say.
I can see the way things are going and I cannot help wondering how it will end. After the telling, Periga had a thousand questions, but mostly he sat lost in his own mind and emotions. As time passed we felt his yearning grow. He watched everyone, saw what it is like for us to be Cherinians and with almost a childish cry, his heart called for us to accept him. When we do, it means we have to stay to help all who can become Cherinians. Will becoming Cherinians help them find a kinder way to deal with the Whites? Will they be able to keep it a secret that the Whites do not have souls? What of the White children they have, knowing they face final death, will their hearts not be broken? I think we are going topsy-turvy about this, first we must concentrate on our Sheena, help her grow a soul.
Solomon took Sheena to the Sparkler World. Many millions of Sparklers concentrated on her and they did to her what they did to Robbie the first time he went among them. We were asked not to go with as we could have affected what they learnt from her. When they returned and we sensed the Sparklers were jubilant, we knew they had succeeded. Sparklers are sharing with everyone and it is wonderful how easy it is to understand the thousands of pictures. We had thought they were mostly abstract, but once we correlated them to certain basic shapes/colours/flows for emotions, they are much easier to understand. We’re already starting to use the pictures among ourselves when we are feeling emotional.
Sheena understands our spoken words, but now that we can use them with the pictures and she knows we can understand what she says, she can’t stop jabbering away, simultaneously forgetting and letting go with enormous bursts of yearning for love. Cherine linked Periga so that he can share in our new knowledge. He’ll need a few days, but we can see how he is already relaxed around Sheena. He does think she is too dainty to survive in the harsh world they live in, but I bet he will soon see that appearances are definitely deceptive. When we found her she had been lying in the ice and snow dressed only in a thin linen nightie for over two hours and her teeth were not chattering.
e`i`u has been watching as I type and listening to our discussions. She must have spoken to u`uu`e`i for she disappeared for a short time and when she returned, she had a number of matriarchs with her.
“One of us in the void, waiting for her next life, has volunteered to have her soul cleansed of her personality if you can place it within the child.”
Robbie stood up and bowed to her. “Please thank her for us. u`uu`e`i we cannot accept that kind of sacrifice, even if it is possible. Tell her that we would miss her too much at the end of time when we are all one. You have given us an idea though, we will each give a sliver so that she has enough of a soul for it to grow.”
Cherine, Dommi, Aganthi, those who have learnt how to join souls to our bodies, they were a little bewildered by Robbie’s confidence in his idea and secretly sceptical it could be done. First, they decided, they had to enter Sheena’s mind to explore for the signs they needed to see that her mind can accommodate a soul. They explained to Sheena that they will be entering her mind that night while she sleeps and if she is able to sense them, they promised to play with her.
We all sat up when they entered her mind and gave up pretending to sleep (as we’d done for Sheena), anxiously waiting as the hours slowly dragged by. By the time they returned to their bodies we were a glum looking family. They had not found any way to attach a soul to her. She had not sensed them, so we will have a disappointed little girl in the morning who will be anxiously broadcasting her need for love.
Robbie was too depressed to sleep so he took Dommi within his arms and jumped to the taverna for a coffee. We were all soon there with him. It did not take long for our friends to put on their clothes and join us, as they felt our mood. We explained and Maria brought coffee to a large but silent group.
The part of Robbie that stays alert, watching for danger, sensed someone sitting by the water in the distance. He extended his senses and felt a troubled mind even before he knew it was Periga. He sipped at his coffee, lit a cigarette and walking over brought him back to us.
We felt his pleased amazement. “He was worrying about the Whites. Periga, would you like to tell them what worries you?”
“Now that I know what a soul is, I cannot help wondering if the mutants are as they are, feeling a desperate need for love because they do not have souls. I never knew I had a soul, but I’ve always had a feeling that I belong, to the land, to my people. Perhaps they cannot feel they belong anywhere.”
Christós spoke in his usual gentle way. “Periga, you must find another name for them. Calling them mutants makes them sound like monsters, freaks. What is a mutant Periga? When a child is born to your people and it grows up to be short, is it not a mutant? What if it is tall, fat or thin, are not all variations, in other words, mutations? How can we be individuals, unique each in our way if we are not mutants? We would all have to be exactly the same if we could not diverge from some imaginary norm. Find a loving name for them if you can. What about Children of the Iktrians?”
“They are our children, how shameful our fears seem now.”
“It is surprising how often fear and the hatred it causes, that usually come out of ignorance, are shameful. At least you have the courage to see the truth. I think you would not believe how many people refuse to see the truth in similar situations.”
“Periga, this night we have searched for a way to place a soul within Sheena, but it cannot be done. That is why we are sitting here feeling depressed.”
He looked down at the ground. “What is the answer?”
“For her? We can keep her young for thousands of years, maybe longer, in the hope we can find a way. For the rest of them, we do not know what to do.”
“If my people are worthy of becoming Cherinians, could they do the same for them? Will you ever return to us?”
As we listened to him, we cheered up. Robbie is right, we do have as much time as we may need and if the Darks do become Cherinians, the rest of the Whites have the same hope. Robbie broke off his conversation to give us a smile and tell us to go to bed. It felt strange to be doing so without him.
The next day we returned to the same subject over breakfast at the taverna. “As far as I can see, the only urgent unsolved problem is how we let the Whites know they do not have a soul without damaging them psychologically.”
Robbie shook his head. “It depends on how we present the subject to them. I am prepared to lie if it will save them. In our cultures, the lack of soul is seen as a calamity, I doubt it will mean much to them if we do not clearly explain the advantages of having a soul and present it as something that happens to be the case with some species.” He slightly raised his voice. “Samuel, any objections?”
He gave a lazy smile and shrugged, as if he did not understand the real reason why Robbie was asking him. “It will be kinder in the short term - if you truly intend finding a way to help them have souls.”
“I do - we all do. I think this will be a priority with all of us.”
“Well, since you expect to solve the problem, I don’t understand your doubts.”
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)
20th February, 2020
- posted: 20th February, 2020
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