She stared through the not-quite-ice wall, relieved for the moment from the legions of strangely sexless men and women that had pestered her since she was summoned from deep sleep. Most were draped in what she assumed were the ceremonial robes and masks of their tribe, a stiff fabric of white and green, their eyes hidden behind smaller planes of not-quite-ice. She’d lain helpless, still frozen, on a platform that was absent of the presence of The Mother. Bulky objects had been passed over her and pressed against her flesh, and slender tubes had pierced her skin, removing body fluids and forcing in foreign substances with such rapidity that she had barely been able to re-balance her system. When she had been immersed in a bath of viscous fluid—this also lacks The Mother’s touch–she lost consciousness.
The room was small and angular, three paces by four, and lit only by a dim glow that pulsed from above and seeped through the ice wall. She placed a hand on its surface and shuddered at the dull warmth, and the complete lack of energy. Nothing taken, nothing given, no exchange to connect one to the other.–Is this a dead world?–Where or when had she awoken?
She’d been stripped of her fur leggings and boots, and the thick hooded jacket given to her by her sister, Agnes. Even her deerskin jerkin had been removed, leaving in its place a thin gown, the fabric woven thinner than the finest allowed to the royalty and consorts of her homeland. At least this garment had echoes of life-force, though its smell was all wrong.
She had a vague sense that she had been violated at her core, and wrapped her arms tight around the gown, drawing what little comfort she could from its threads. No harm had been done…yet. She paced to a corner of the room–or perhaps this is a cell?–as far from the ice wall as could be managed, and crouched. She drowsed and waited, arms loose by her side, wrapping her tail about her legs.
A soft hiss and a slight change in air pressure, and she knew she once again had company. She waited, opening one sapphire eye to peek through her thick curtain of hair, and thanked The Mother that they had stolen her golden circlet as well. Best to assess the odds, hold whatever advantage she might have, for as long as she might have it.
The girl—for it clearly is a girl, as soft and weak as any nubile from the homeland—stood near the not-quite-ice wall, hands held in open view. Ceremonial robes and mask had been replaced by a tunic, the weave of which looked as if it was meant to suggest mountain flowers. The leggings were loose, white, and her feet were wrapped low, in leather straps. The girl smiled and spoke, her tone unmusical, the words—and what a flood of words!–just barely recognizable.
But she smiles true in her eyes, Hjordis. I think we must trust her. I am not yet ready to be born.
Hjordis rose from her crouch and shook her hair back from her face, her tail twitching slowly back and forth.–I must agree, Little One–She held her hand out to the girl and nodded for her to approach. As their hands met, the girl’s language and purpose became clear.
“I don’t care where you’re from,” she whispered. “Or what you are. Your child is in danger and we have to leave now.”
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2014)
Pam Brittain’s Challenge: Here’s the scenario: An entity was discovered in an ice block and taken to local scientists. (Initially I was going to say a cave woman, but
then, I realized it could be an alien, a male, mold and so much more.) This entity was carefully melted. No, that’s wrong. The ice was carefully melted, the entity was brought back to life and the unbelievable was realized. It was pregnant.
Greg Schiller’s Challenge: Give a voice to the voiceless. Describe the world through the voice of something that does not speak, be it a critter, a car or a coffee-maker.