Little Cherine Book 05 - BPost070
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.
“There I was thinking what a big girl you were being and you turn into a baby. Don’t you ever get enough of being an infant?”
*I should do it more often. I love being in your arms like this.* I giggled, knowing the answer to my question. *Do you get tired of holding me as a baby?* His emoting reassured me that he does not and I doubt he ever will.
He walked back to the taverna talking to himself as he tenderly cradled me, every now and then repeating himself, “We’re a weird family, really weird!” When I’d had enough of being a baby and being cooed at by everyone, Dommi took me into the taverna where I changed again and donned my clothing.
Everyone was supposed to be at the arena by six, but it began to fill up by five. We had to go also as the couple have to man the kiosks. They were soon doing a brisk trade, a pity they were not making any money. Hmm, I wonder whether they will watch the show…do they have enough curiosity to want to know what it is we are watching? This is one of those small fun problems that I never ask Robbie my questions, more intent on finding the answers for myself.
At five minutes to six, Freddie told us Dark Cloud is still about ten minutes away, racing towards us on her sled, so at six, Wendy brought Candy forward and told us she is going to perform for us a song she has recently written.
Shyly Candy came forward. “This is not really a song for grown ups. I wrote it for Empathia, our sister to be born tonight, and all the babies our family will have.” She sang and it caught us by surprise. This is nothing like the style of Wendy and Candy, it is more of a normal human song. It has a very soothing effect and we sat back and relaxed to it. Then slowly the song grew in tempo and it was as if the sun had just broken over the horizon and a new day is beginning with a promise of hope and beauty for those who can or will see. As the song played around the rising sun, it became obvious our Robbie is the sun that promises to warm, protect and love the baby. Gently the song sank back into its opening style and faded away.
All us girls gave her a standing ovation, already in our minds we were playing this song for our unborn babies and our hearts were filled with love and gratitude to her for giving our babies something so beautiful.
As Candy took her place again, Freddie told us Dark Cloud has arrived and is sitting at the back, behind the Anadir, who are pretending they have not noticed her presence.
Meli stepped forward. “Dear friends and loved ones, today we attempt something we’ve never done before. This is to be a play about war, hate and...if not love, then empathy. The ideas were generated mostly by the youngest of our family and the rest of us only helped to bring their vision here for you to enjoy and perhaps leave you with a few questions for you to answer for yourselves. As you see from the buildings behind me, the planet of the Meéjeira inspired the girls and the main part of the story is meant to be taking place there. The platform to the left of me is supposed to represent a separate stage and is not meant to be visible to the Meéjeirans, nor can the Meéjeira people in the park hear them.
I’ve had to give these explanations as our audience comes from a variety of cultures and we might have confused you otherwise. The ending is something special. What you will see is actually taking place and is real. I hope our poor attempt at producing this play comes to mean to you the same it does for us.” She turned to return to the rest of the cast and turned around again. “We will have intervals every hour so that you may refresh yourselves. There will be four parts so you have a long night ahead of you.”
Darkness swiftly descended upon us and I saw Robbie smile out of the corner of my eye; he was amused that the girls roped in Freddie. The valley before us filled with mist so that we cannot see anything. Slowly building in volume voices came out of the mist. They were the voices of children and happy adults celebrating life. The music in the background to which the voices moved in concert had a joyous beat, but was strange and seemed fragile in some way to all of us. While on the planet Wendy must have concentrated on learning their music - when I say that, it does not always mean she ‘listens’ to their music; often it only means that she ‘opened’ herself to their souls, getting a feel from them, directly, as to what music appeals to them.
As the mist evaporated, there were gasps from everyone. We were looking upon a park with the vegetation of Meéjeira, the buildings fitting in as beautifully as they do in reality. The adults and children ‘on stage’ are of the shape of the Meéjeira in every way, the only less than true to life fact is that the dialogue is in English. In one corner a small group play music and a female Meéjeiran, young and slim, sings. There are no words to the song and yet we know the song speaks of a race filled with excitement and wonder as they begin spreading through their galaxy and discover wondrous things and make friends everywhere. There is such a sweet longing, a yearning for those friends they are still to meet that it is as if they are not meeting strangers, but coming together with old friends they’ve missed for a long time.
Five adults approached an ornate bench and sat down, deep in conversation. It was obvious they are meant to be part of the ruling class and well educated. Four males and one female.
“I am worried my friends, our leaders and the media are playing on our good natures and filling our people with dreams, but they say nothing of the terrors that may exist out there. They only talk of the advantages of spreading out over various solar systems, but ignore the dangers of us finding aliens who wish to control space for their own species.”
“That is an old argument, what can there be for us to fear? We are no threat to anyone and when they meet us they will see for themselves we are not a race of warriors. We have to extend a hand in friendship if we wish to be met as friends. Even if the aliens are warriors, space is too vast for wars to be fought, only trade and exchanges of ideas make any sense. Surely even you must admit that there are more planets available than any species can use.”
An individual who was obviously older than the others chuckled. “You are both right, but you are not crediting our leaders with the common sense of a child. We are going out with goodwill and friendship as our policy, but they have not ignored other possibilities and our spaceships are well armed for defence. What the leaders are doing is the right thing. I am certain every species has a fear of the unknown and ours is not the exception. There have been extremists who demanded we pull back and stay at home, crying out to those who will listen, that monsters await out there and they will attack us soon as they discover where we are - as if staying shut within our solar system will hide us, our electronic signals have been speeding out into space for a long time now. Those voices of fear were beginning to affect a growing number of people. We had to counteract their influence by using the methods just mentioned to change the attitude of our people.”
The first male answered, “Still, it worries me. Just as we have those among us who fear strangers, so might aliens have their own. What if in their culture the xenophobes are in control? We should build a strong defence.”
So did the argument carry on for a time, with the female arguing strongly in favour of reaching out to the unknown in friendship. When she speaks, it can be felt she is still young enough to be a fervent idealist. When they get up to leave, we are surprised to see the young female walk off with the male who’d been wary of the course their leaders are taking. Only their voices come to us as she argues with passion. He halted and taking her hand turns her towards the playing children. For a moment they stand, silently watching and listening and we feel the tenderness and love that fills her heart.
The male spoke, “For their sake, I hope you are right my love.”
She looked up at his face eagerly. “For their sake we have to do it this way, we have to!”
The couple freeze and the sound of the children fades away as another platform lights up. On it we can see electronic equipment with a gathering of excited people by one console. “I tell you, it is an alien spaceship. They are coming here.”
A senior officer is very angry with the one who’d spoken. “How dare you ignore proper procedures! You set off the alarm without waiting for confirmation and now our leader is on his way to us. If you are wrong you will face court-martial!”
A male of middle age enters and the way everyone made way for him made it obvious this is their leader. “Show me.”
He stares at the screen as the technician points at the signs of an unidentified spaceship travelling towards them and explains he has been plotting its course, which seems to be targeted at them. The leader nods. “You did well to call me.” He gripped another by the shoulder. “Alert our forces to be on standby, but unless they receive instructions from me, they are not to attack, whatever the provocation.”
As the leader beamed his welcome to the aliens on their way to them, the platform fades away and we return to the couple. The male shook his head, obviously still not in agreement with her. “Will you still feel the same way when we have our own child playing there?”
She laughed, giddy with her joy. “Oh yes my love.”
At that moment they hear a sound from the skies above them and as they looked up an alien spaceship appears, hurtling like a bullet towards them. There is an explosion, filled with a multitude of screams and the scene fades away. Where the stage had been is nothing but a blackness, an emptiness. There is a stunned silence for a minute and then Meli walks out of it.
“The interval will last twenty minutes. Thank you.” She walked back into the darkness.
“God! Why did they want Dark Cloud here for this?” Robbie was straining to sense her, his face anxious, worried she will be suffering if the play has brought the memories of her own deaths back to light, making them vivid for her again.
Dommi put her hand in his. “They have their reasons agapi mou, get yourself a coffee and relax.”
Music played for twenty seconds and silence fell, stragglers rushing to their seats. We expected to see the stage light up, but instead the darkness grew. It seemed to expand so that we were looking into a bottomless pit. Within this darkness we saw souls arriving! Awesome! Jade has reproduced the void!
Amid the cries of the souls one grows stronger. We recognise it as being that of the young female in the park. She is crying out in distress, but as she realises what happened and the enormity of their loss, she turned to anger and then hate for strength. The voices of the souls of children cry out to her and her hate grows. She calls to the souls of her people and the children are the first to turn to her. She takes them all to her and as she grows she becomes a mother soul, or as Robbie calls it, an over soul.
From this came the saddest music ever, but slowly a drumbeat grew and with it come other discordant sounds that pulse along with the drums, and hate becomes the message. A hate so strong and vitriolic that all chance of reconciliation or pity are dead. The music stops so suddenly, that it continues to echo within our minds. Unbelievably an entire hour has passed!
Robbie sat morosely staring into the darkness ahead of us. Hardly anybody moved for the toilets or refreshments. The music still hung over us, a pall that leeched all of beauty or happiness. Dommi’s voice was filled with pain as she asked, “Where did that come from, how can anybody feel that strongly enough to write it!”
Sadly I answered Dommi. “Wendy still has her memories of her father, but I think they stole most of it from Empathia.”
With trembling fingers Robbie played with an unlit cigarette as he spoke, “Dark Cloud will think we have vindicated her hate.”
As gently as I could, I tried to comfort him, hoping he will approve of what our loves are striving to achieve. “We are showing her we understand her dad, Merlin and Shiyra too.” I wondered aloud, “That young female, was she supposed to be Dark Cloud?”
“No, it was meant to illustrate how she feels without necessarily being factual. I need a smoke.”
“Stay with us Roberto, smoke, we will not mind.”
When the third act began, the darkness grew back to light and we saw a park again; the vegetation was different and the buildings in the background had changed, reflecting the style of the Qkwesinitie. The park was filled to overflowing with crowds made of a number of species belonging to the Unation. They were all facing towards the platform we’d seen earlier, but now it is used as a stage or balcony upon which stand the leaders ready to address their people.
An elderly male (I guessed it must be Merlin), stepped forward and spoke, his voice filled with grief.
“Today is the darkest day for all our people, we attacked and destroyed every single planet of the race we discovered last year. We have allowed ourselves to be led by this man,” he gestured and a male of imposing size and appearance was pushed forward by others. “We received messages and pictures beamed by their leaders just before our bombs struck. Watch them and decide for yourselves whether we did well to let this man and his fears guide us.”
A huge screen was pushed to the edge and everyone watched silently as the message of welcome and friendship was broadcast and then the explosion, blasting a planet apart. Scene after scene of obviously populated planets being blown up were shown, the horror and despair of the crowd growing stronger with each explosion. The crowd was silent when it ended.
“Those who have demanded this man be punished are the same ones who were most avid in the promotion of his ideas. I said this before, he did not lead us, we allowed him to lead us. We accepted his fears and forgot our history, our philosophies; we forgot who we were. We are the ones who should be punished, not him. We have committed an atrocity without reason and time itself may end, but our crime will not be wiped from our history.
All species will recall what we did and as a people we will be reviled. There is no hope and there is no longer any purpose to our existence. Those of you who will follow us to the void, join us so that we find what little comfort there is in being one and the sharing of our guilt may help us bear it through the rest of time.”
The crowd wept as one, many falling to their knees (if they had them). From out of this grief, one strange creature, a sort of amalgamation of various species, pushed its way through the crowd and holding up the staff Robbie made for Merlin, called out.
“There is no point in meekly bowing to guilt, it does not atone nor bring peace to those dealt with in such an evil manner. I call to the souls of those who were wronged with a message that brings hope to them and to us.
Deep within the mists of time a child shall be born of souls that bear the deepest hatred for us. I call upon the powers of our souls to grant this dark child a weapon that shall cleave us and slake her thirst for vengeance.”
Lightning flashed from the dark sky and curling around the staff changed it into a long slim blade. The creature waved it around for all to see. “This sword shall stand here for all time or until that child collects it. None other is allowed to touch it.” It slammed the sword point into the ground before it and as it let it go, the sword quivered.
“Hear my last words. Hope is not in what we do. Hope comes only from the dark child of many souls. Should she use the sword, it will not bring her kind the peace they crave. She will have swept across us as a cloud of darkness and avenged her people, but then they too will pay a price. They will not meet the end of time replete and shining in an achievement of greatness.
The day she breaks the blade with her own hands and reaches out with forgiveness, that day will bring the golden age for both our peoples and we shall meet the end of time together as one.”
Voices cried out. One male pushed forward. “What words of prophesy are these!? Condemning us to the mercy in a heart filled with hate!”
He reached to yank at the sword and a fierce energy struck out and the male fell to the ground, dead.
Swiftly they died, falling to the ground one after the other, their voices of sorrow melding into a song sung by Wendy and Candy, the song almost an echo of the song of hate sung previously, almost, but yet not the same, for this is a song of regrets and despair.
The final act began without Cherine at our side. As the curtain of darkness was split by a beam from above, it shone only upon the sword. Female voices were heard in the distance and softly another beam reached down and lit a small group. A woman bearing child lay down upon a bed and the others fussed over her. The whole stage grew bright as if a sun shone upon it.
“It is time for the child to come to us, you must relax and help it be born.”
The mother to be half sat up. “No, she must not be born yet. Her soul has not arrived.”
The women surrounding her cajoled, but she was adamant. There is a disturbance above them in the air and all around them faint ghostly beings surround them, the stage overflowing with the spectral beings. They are the ghosts of the Meéjeira and the Qkwesinitie. They all kneel, facing the mother to be, waiting.
The disturbance in the air grows stronger. The face of the female Meéjeira appears briefly and then the faces of four others. Each face rapidly darkens until there are five swirling spots of darkness. They dance around each other and drifting closer they become one. From it is emoted an unimaginable force of pure hatred.
The spot gradually descends, synchronised to the song of hate and it enters the woman’s belly. Robbie moaned, but did not move from his seat, half-bending forward as if in terrible pain.
“The child is coming, she has a soul!” The woman cried and lifting her knees opened her legs. A ring of women surround her so that none can see her nakedness, but her feelings of joy and pain as the child is delivered are felt by all. We hear the cry of our beloved Empathia and then she is held above their heads for all to see; a tiny infant still covered in mucous and blood.
The ghosts of the Qkwesinitie bow their heads while the ghosts of the Meéjeira stand, raising their arms in praise and joy.
Empathia had to be give some time to strengthen herself so they delayed, fussing over the mother until she was healed. We lost sight of her and a few minutes later Cherine was at our side. I made space and she sat next to Robbie, resting her head against his shoulder. Softly she whispered, “She is perfect Robert!”
The women walk around with the baby as if wandering, until they come upon the sword. The baby stretches out her hand and the woman carrying her kneels on the ground while another stands by her with a large cloth. Empathia aged herself to a young woman of about twenty. We had but a brief glimpse of her and she was covered in the cloth. She wrapped it like a kanga, twisting one end in above her bosom.
She took a step forward and her hand reached out for the sword. Just before she touched it she stopped and looked up, searching. “This is not for me. I represented you, but you must collect it for yourself Dark Cloud. Come and collect it.”
Everyone stirred, turning to look at the spot where we sensed her. Dark Cloud stood up and called out, “That is no thing worth collecting. I am not a child to be given a toy.”
“This is no toy Dark Cloud. Robert gave it to Merlin and it has his power in it. As our gift to you, we changed it to a sword, a weapon of my kind. Come here, it awaits you.”
Almost despite herself she arrogantly walked down through the crowd and we all sat spellbound, caught up in the drama of the moment. I, none of us can understand what Empathia thought she was doing. Dark Cloud stood before Empathia, first looking into her eyes and then down at the sword.
“Before you take it, there are a few things you should know about the sword. Use it against an innocent and it will only cleave the flesh, wounding as a sword will. Use it correctly, against those guilty, and it will ignore the flesh and kill the soul. Final death Dark Cloud.
I have added one final gift to it as the payment I demand from you for making me suffer. Dark Cloud, the sword will not kill any soul of your enemies unless it be the soul of one who died while still a child. Only once you have killed all the children will it kill the adults. You may take the sword now, it is yours.”
“How will I know whether it died as a child?”
“If you had empathy you would know. The sword will tell you, Dark Cloud.”
Dark Cloud still did not believe, but she was attracted to the idea of having a weapon, any weapon, so she stretched her hand to it and pulled it out of the ground. As she held it up before her eyes a surge of energy flowed from it to her and she called out, “It has power, it is real!”
“Thank you for coming tonight.” Empathia called out to us. “You have witnessed the first four acts, but there is a fifth. We have left it unwritten, for it is not ours to write. Dark Cloud shall write it for us with her actions. Goodnight to all.” She gave a huge grin. “I’m dying to meet my family.” She fled the stage laughing.
We also ran down to her and she flew into Robbie’s arms. We could feel him shaking from his emotions as he clasped her to him. He called to us, “Home girls. Let’s go home.”
Empathia had reached the limit of her endurance and had to revert to being a baby again, which pissed her off. Robbie held her in his arms and his heart was in his eyes as he looked at her, gently swaying as he talked to her. “Don’t fret my love, we can still talk to each other and I love the feeling of holding you as a baby.”
*It is not the same. I enjoyed the feeling of you holding me as a woman.*
Robbie groaned. “Not already! Give us some time love.”
Cherine leant over, smiling, “He misunderstood you love, he thought you meant you want to make love.”
*Well, you enjoyed it!* she replied and we all burst out laughing.
Robbie pretended to be talking to himself, “I think this family laughs about ten times more often than any other family does and nine times out of ten they are laughing at me.” He sighed melodramatically.
“Mother,” Rosie said, “I believe talking to yourself is one of the signs of senility?”
She answered, “Can be. It can also come from having a family that is driving you crazy.”
Sweetly Candy asked him, “Are we driving you crazy, Robbie?”
“Yes my love. All of you. Thank god!”
Empathia needed to nap, but he kept her in his arms and she dozed off happily. Softly he spoke to us.
“I’m still trying to understand what the purpose of the play and giving Dark Cloud the sword was, but of one thing I’m certain. All of you made me extremely proud of you - and a little bit sad.”
“Sad Robert?” Cherine asked, her funny smile lighting her face. He pulled her face to him and kissed her smile away.
“God, but it is good to see you this age again. Yes my love, sad. The play showed me you are all growing up. Soon you’ll all be adults and I’ll be the only child with no one to play with.” We felt he actually meant it. I thought with amusement how other Cherinians would react if they could have heard and felt him.
Wendy asked. “Did you leave with a mixture of emotions Robert? Why not accept those as the meaning?”
“Fat chance baby! I know the lot of you too well. I do know that the show tonight was for an audience of one. The rest of us were part of the play, the theatre I should say. The prophesy and sword, how do you expect that to influence her? What if she really does try to use it?”
“She can’t in here, Empathia already took care of that with her conditions. Did you know we had not scripted her speech, she thought it up herself on the spot.”
Aganthi laughed. “We better forget our plans of destroying the houses. Dark Cloud has moved in. We should have thought of that, she must have been affected seeing them.”
Jade said, “The houses are decorated and furnished on the inside just like they are on her world. We did do it for her Robert. We even left the park as it is, though the plants will fade away.”
“Try and keep it as it is for her love. I’ll get rid of the kiosks and toilets. She should enjoy having her own home without having to see those eyesores every day.”
We moved to the bedroom and putting Empathia on the bed he lay down next to her. She gave a little cry in her sleep so he raised her again and placed her on his chest. Dommi grinned with the thought that Empathia is certain to wee on him and we all tried to smother our titters. He may be a little crazy, but we sure wouldn’t change him for anything.
Empathia let Robbie coo at her and pull faces, she let him softly stick his finger in her tummy and when she sensed he’d had enough of loving her as a baby for the moment, she became a six year old.
“You’re cute as a button, but I’d prefer having you a little younger for a while love.”
“You can’t have me if I’m younger.” she teased. “Anyway, I’m not like this for you dad. Everyone is going to be at the taverna to see me. I don’t want to be a baby when they meet me.”
“Why not love, that is what you are. They’ve seen you as an adult, let them see you as you are so that they appreciate what you did last night.”
Perhaps we saw a glint in his eyes, but he did not answer her and he did not emote anything. To cover the silence a number of us started talking, but he ignored us and went to his office.
“It is not the way you speak to your father!” Cherine admonished.
“I’m not a baby and he won’t see it!”
“What are you, an adult?”
“Maybe not, but I’m not a baby. I can decide for myself what I want.”
Cherine's voice was cold and hard, totally unforgiving. “Give me your hand.” She led her out of the house, taking her to my old home, the one Aganthi built for me (Shiyra recently moved to a new house built for her and Merlin to share).
“Perhaps you are not a baby, but you certainly act as if you are not part of our family, so you better stay here on your own.” Cherine was an eight year old, but still she managed to look quite intimidating. “I swore I will have daughters who will bring joy to their father. Keep your mouth shut until I’m finished! All of us at times do not agree with Robert or each other. None of us though say I won’t or I will in defiance. What is wrong with you, don’t you feel the pain you will cause before you speak?”
“He tried to make me…”
“He did not. He told you what he yearns for. There are ways for getting what you want and there are times you do what is asked of you because of love; defiance was uncalled for. Stay alone here, or go by yourself to the taverna, do whatever you want without us and perhaps you’ll learn that nothing gives the pleasure being with and part of your family does.”
Cherine walked back home with a set face, knowing what to expect when she walked in to us. Robbie was waiting for her, his shock on his face.
Cherine's face was set and she obviously was not open to any discussions as she said, “Do not tell me I am wrong Robert. I only gave birth to her last night and she is already turning into a little monster. I will not spank her, but she has to learn for herself.”
Without saying a word he returned to his office. Not that he did any work there. Unable to concentrate on anything he walked up and down trying to stop himself from peeking in on Empathia to make certain she is not crying or unhappy.
Dommi went in to him. “I’m not certain Cherine handled it correctly, but then I do tend to spoil the kids. Perhaps what she did is necessary Roberto. You have a lot of work to do, don’t sit here fretting, it will only make it worse for all of us. Are we travelling?”
“No. I’d decided to stop for a few days to devote myself to our new daughter, I wanted to get to know her.”
She smiled. “I’d say you are going to get to know her faster than you’d bargained. What’s wrong now?”
“Empathia. She has jumped to Dark Cloud!” The two of them re-joined us as we all concentrated through Freddie and watched Empathia.
She wandered about for a while and then Dark Cloud came out of the house. They stared at each other silently for a moment.
“Which one are you?”
“The new one, born last night. My name is Empathia.”
“What do you want with me? You said the sword is mine.”
Matter of factly, Empathia replied, “It is. I was just lonely, I got told off and now nobody wants to speak to me. I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind some company.”
“I don’t like company.”
Thoughtfully, as if she’d just thought of it, Empathia answered, “I don’t know if I do, I mean, I was only born last night so I don’t know what it is like being alone.”
Dark Cloud must have sensed she will not get rid of Empathia easily, so she let her stay on condition she does not expect to talk with her and she was strictly informed she is not allowed into the house. Empathia agreed and ended up sitting outside on her own most of the morning. When food arrived for Dark Cloud, there was food for Empathia too. They ate, sitting on an ornate bench.
With her big eyes, Empathia looked up at Dark Cloud and confided, as if they were friends, “What do you do all day in the house? Did I tell you I also have a house of my own? My mother took me to the cottage and told me I have to stay there. I guess it is interesting having my own house already, but I’ve never slept alone.” She smiled. “I’ve never slept with anyone either, it should be interesting to find out which I prefer.”
Dark Cloud put up with her chatter while she ate, but her face was grim with her anger and she moved back into her house the moment she’d finished eating. Again Empathia spent most of her time alone. She did not pretend to play or anything, she just sat thinking. She got up and going to house stood in the doorway.
“Dark Cloud, I have an interesting question to ask you.”
“What!” She came to the door.
“Why did you hurt me?”
“What makes you think I care about you? I wish I could have killed you and all of them.”
“I didn’t mean that. I meant, why would your soul hurt me? Other souls don’t.”
Dark Cloud hesitated. “I don’t understand what you’re asking.”
“Something about your soul is different. I’ve felt my family’s souls, the Anadir and Sparklers. None of them hurt me - well, the Sparkler one tingled. Yours hurt. Another thing, when a body has a soul in it another soul can’t get in if it is not wanted. How did yours come into me?”
Dark Cloud leant down, bringing her face close as she spat out in anger, “Listen, I don’t know and I don’t care! You…you infant! Leave me alone!”
“But it is interesting.” Empathia said to her back as Dark Cloud walked away. Dark Cloud stopped, standing rigid for a moment.
“You are worse than Robert and Sam together!”
“I suppose so. Dark Cloud can we try something?”
“Is there no way I can make you understand I don’t want to talk to you?”
“Can you get your sword and cut me?”
For the first time ever we saw Dark Cloud in shock. It quickly changed to suspicion. “Your father sent you to give him a reason to …”
“No, I would not do that to you. I was thinking, souls get born again and again. I don’t remember my past lives. What if I was one of them long ago…a Qkwesinitie. If I was, then your sword might cut my soul.”
“You want me to kill your soul!?”
“No. I don’t think I was. I mean, it is not likely is it? I was just curious.”
“And if you were?”
“It will have been long, long ago. Will the sword recognise I was after so many lives? Maybe we all were once long ago, since they seem to be the oldest souls.” She grinned. “Maybe after me you can try it on yourself?”
Dark Cloud was enraged and running at her hit her a blow that knocked her over. Dark Cloud slammed the door shut, but Empathia, after a minute called out, “It would be interesting to know.”
By now we no longer were afraid for her and we doubled up with laughter. “I can definitely see you in her.” Robbie said to Cherine.
“That’s funny, I was just thinking that about you.” she replied. They looked at each other and their love was almost a palpable thing filling the room.
When it was time for supper, Empathia was still sitting outside Dark Cloud’s house, so Robbie sent food for both of them. For a long time Dark Cloud did not come out, so Empathia did not eat either, waiting for her.
When she came out Empathia said, “At last, I was starving, but I didn’t want to eat without you.” Without replying Dark Cloud sat down to eat, instead of taking her food into the house as she’d obviously intended. They ate in silence for a while.
“Were you really born on the stage last night?”
“Yes. Wendy asked me to, so I said yes.”
“What do you mean she asked you to? How can she if you were not born yet?”
“You say only Cherinians can do this?”
“I don’t know about other species, maybe there are some that can. Not ours though.”
“That is not good. Before birth is a time for dreaming, not for learning to be an adult!”
“Maybe I’m still a baby in many ways. My mother thinks so.” As an afterthought she added an indignant, “My father too!”
We were filled with wonder when Dark Cloud laughed for the first time ever.
By now Robbie had set aside his upset and was enjoying watching this new marvel that has come into our lives. He’s accepted she is going to be different from us and cause him problems, but he also admires her spunk and he is looking forward to Alki meeting her.
Empathia slept on the grass outside while Dark Cloud ignored her and stayed in the house. When we caught sight of Dark Cloud looking out at Empathia late at night, we felt it was a good sign. The door opened and Dark Cloud came out looking very angry. She bent down and shook Empathia. “You can’t sleep out here, go to your home.”
“I don’t want to sleep alone.” She yawned and curled up again. Dark Cloud stared down at her and nudged her with her foot.
“Wake up. You can sleep in my house tonight. Only for tonight, you hear?”
She lay awake for a long time watching Empathia, who’d put her thumb in her mouth and fallen asleep. She finally closed her eyes and slept. To tell the truth, we took turns staying awake to watch over Empathia.
Dark Cloud woke up in the morning to the warmth of Empathia, who had snuggled against her. She frowned, checked that she really was asleep and then softly ran her hand over her hair, a soft feathery caress and then she withdrew into herself again. Her eyes fell on her sword and they brightened, a cunning look on her face.
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