I've been super-busy lately.
Anyway... I just re-read Ellie's latest post, and the "truly creepy" thing stuck out at me (fancy that). I've just written a new passage in my sci-fi book (now called The Balance)and I'm a bit worried that it could be a little too much. Thus, I've posted it here in its unedited glory, and I would like everybody's advice. (You don't have to read it if you don't want to, and PLEASE tell me if it's too weird.)
The following is told from Renn's POV. It's from a different part of the book than the stuff I've previously posted. Also, just so you don't get confused, Aurora is the name of the female protagonist who gets taken from Earth and all that.
I was born just before the Cataclysm. Though I have no recollection of it whatsoever, it is said that I warned the people of the now-dead planet to leave just before the Cataclysm struck. How this is possible I will never know. I think it a fable, personally, but there are some who will swear by its veracity. Be that as it may, I know for a fact that I was not yet conscious when the Cataclysm occurred.
See now, the Ennelai are not born like humans. While the birth process is much the same, the aftermath is completely different. We lie dormant for several years before we emerge as younglings. We do not learn to speak or walk or anything like that. We simply know these things because of our dormancy.
Usually, our powers also develop during that time, although they do not manifest themselves for several years. Those with the greatest powers are dormant for the longest periods; thus the reason I became conscious before Aurora, even though we were born at almost the exact same time.
This, though, is ancillary. I do not profess to be an expert in such things, since it is not my place. I am warrior, though I do not look it, and I will always be a warrior.
My training started early. I have been able to read minds since I was very small, and the elders recognized quickly that I was exceptionally good at it. They began grooming me for a future leadership position.
Then came the Beírian invasion.
My mother rushed me down the hall of our large communal living area. I was to board an emergency evacuation shuttle along with the other younglings who lived in the commune. Each commune was equipped with shuttles like this that supposedly could fit everyone in the commune. However, my mother knew full well that of our commune’s five shuttles, only two were flight-worthy. She had been a pilot, and a good one at that, before she became my mother. This was how she had met my father, who was at that moment piloting a battle cruiser to try and hold back the Beírians.
There was a colossal thud on the top of our commune, which made both my mother and I duck instinctively. The warning alarms that signaled a breach began blaring, and I began crying, even though I did not yet understand the meaning of a breach. My mother understood it too well, so she redoubled her efforts to get me to the shuttle.
We ran as fast as we could and just barely made it to the shuttle. I slipped in with the rest of the younglings, and as I turned to reach for my mother, the doors shut. I screamed and wailed, just like the other younglings. I extended my mind toward her, and she showed me a wall of happy, peaceful thoughts. This calmed me somewhat, until she collapsed without warning and her thoughts spiraled into agony and darkness. For a moment, I stopped crying. The shock of experiencing death from someone else’s mind silenced me. It was as if I myself had died. As I watched, horrified, a gash appeared on my mother’s face. A drop of blood fell from her lips, and she was still. I could no longer feel her mind.
A part of me died that day along with my mother. Unable to cry any more, I curled up in a corner of the shuttle, rocking myself as my mother used to rock me. I knew of the Balance at that time. Thus, I also knew that one of ours had killed a female Beírian mind reader whose counterpart happened to be my mother. The cruel, heartless perfection of it stung me. My mother had done nothing, and yet she died because some fool had killed a Beírian and the Balance had to be kept. If I had been older, I probably would have let it go easier. However, I was very young. In my childish heart, I purposed to never love anything again, not even my father, should he come back alive. I also resolved to take vengeance on whoever had caused this evil to befall my family.
In retrospect, I know this to be foolish. I have long since put away that vow. Vengeance is not mine to take, and I could not help but love again, though it did take me quite a few years to be able to love without fearing the consequences.
As the shuttle lumbered through the atmosphere, it was struck by a Beírian stun missile. The intent of the missile was to simply stun everyone onboard, but it hit the shuttle’s drive, which exploded. The shuttle plummeted toward the mountains. Its standby drive roared as it tried to slow the shuttle down, but was only partially successful. The shuttle still crashed into the side of the mountains at a fairly high speed.
Most of the younglings were killed on impact. Those who were not were fatally wounded. I was relatively fortunate; my right arm was mangled, but not to the point where it would threaten my life yet. I crawled out of the wreckage, half-blind with pain, and stumbled away from it. I could not move my arm, and the sight of it, all twisted and bruised and slashed, did nothing to help my already unstable mind. I started feeling the emotions of everyone within a fifty mile radius of my position. I could not stop the barrage of pain, anger, and sorrow. I did not know why or how this happened. To this day, I cannot explain it. It was as if my mind had opened itself up of its own accord and I could do nothing to close it.
For a time, my mind spun in darkness and despair. I could feel my sanity slipping away slowly. Indeed, I believe I lost it completely for a while, because I remember very little until the voices barraging me faded. At least a night and a day had passed. Fortunately, I had had the sense to stay near the shuttle, where I would have the greatest chance of being discovered. I was cold, hungry, and thirsty, and also lonely. No one else had survived the crash for more than a few hours. I had barely survived myself. My arm bled intermittently for several days after the crash, so I lost a fair amount of blood in that manner.
Thus, I was feeling rather sorry for myself, and I did not stir from the crash site for quite some time. There were a few supplies left in the shuttle that had not been damaged by the crash, so I sustained myself with these for a couple of days. After that, I thought that I ought to start moving. No other spacecraft had passed anywhere near me, although I did see some reconnaissance cruisers streaking by in the upper reaches of the atmosphere from time to time. I realized that no one knew where I was, and further, that no one would probably ever know. This revelation shocked me a little, so I sat down for a few minutes and wept before I left the shuttle. After bidding it goodbye, I trekked toward the communes in hopes that some survivors were still there.
It took me nearly a week to reach the communes. I had to stop often, since my arm pained me and I would become sick if I did not stop. The landscape was uneven, so the actual distance I traveled was at least three times the distance straight the shuttle had traveled. Since I lived on the Small Planet, Gelenost, there was precious little for me to eat. Even if Gelenost had been a full of edible plants and animals, I doubt that I would have been able to gather much to eat because of my condition.
Also, Gelenost was by and large a desert, so obviously, it lacked water. Thus, every time I found a bit of water, I would stay near it as long as possible before moving on in a desperate search for more water.
One day, as I was nearing the end of my journey, I came across a relatively large water hole. I bent down to take a drink and stopped dead. I had caught sight of my reflection in the water, and it troubled me. Because of the crash, the right side of my face had been cut and bruised in several places, but there was an especially deep gash high on my cheek that I knew would become a fairly prominent scar. My tunic was stuck to my right arm with black, dried blood. The most astonishing change, to me, at least, was in my eyes. My eyes had once been bright and cheerful and full of life. Now they were immensely sad, and they burned with an intense, hungry, death-like fire, which made my entire face look much older. They were sunken into my head, as were my cheeks. I had lost a lot of weight through my ordeal, and it was showing.
I closed my eyes and shuddered, not wanting to see myself. I decided to take a bath right there so I would not have to see the blood anymore.
It was a fairly warm day, so my bath was pleasant. I bathed with my clothes on at first, in order to clean them and loosen my tunic from my arm. After some time, I was able to peel off my tunic, slowly and painfully. I laid it and my pants and shoes on a large rock to dry and amused myself by swimming awkwardly around the perimeter of the pool.
Once my clothes and I had dried, I put them back on carefully and set out toward the communes again.
It took me another day and a half to reach the communes, and I could find neither food nor water along the way. As a result, I was completely exhausted by the time I gained the door of the first commune, and I all but fell through it.
I stood there for a moment, bent over, and then stood up and took stock of my surroundings. The second I did this, I knew I should not have come back. Everywhere there were remnants of the Beírian attack: here a corpse, there a blood-stained pistol, there a hole in the wall where a stun missile had impacted. I stood there, taking it all in, until footsteps in the hall startled me out of my inspection. I looked around wildly, searching for a place to hide, but there was none, so I shrank back against the door, awaiting whatever it was that was coming.
Soon a huge Beírian warrior tromped into the entryway. Although I was tall for my age, I was very slender, and would have been no match for this warrior even if I could use my right arm. I made myself as small as possible and projected peaceful thoughts toward the warrior, in spite of the fact that I did not yet know of my reverse mind reading abilities. It was instinctive, I suppose. Apparently the warrior was more or less impervious to my feeble attempts, since he looked at me and laughed unpleasantly. I was crouched in the doorway, clutching my bad arm. It was obvious that I was nothing more than a small, injured boy and could do him no harm. He came toward me and took out his pistol. I finally dared to look up at him, and he started back at the sight of my face. I knew that I looked dreadful, but I did not think that my face was terrible enough to frighten a Beírian warrior.
“What do you here, boy?” he spat, regaining his composure. I did not answer, partially because I did not want to and partially because I could not. The warrior bent down next to me and cuffed the side of my head, although he avoided my eyes.
“What is your name? Why are you here?” he growled. I shook my head, unable to speak.
“Speak, witch-boy! I have not time to waste talking to you,” the warrior shouted, losing his patience. My tongue was finally loosed.
“Do not challenge what you do not know,” I growled, catching his gaze and holding it. He backed away a little and swore under his breath. I stood up, keeping my eyes locked with his, and advanced. I pressed images of power and terror toward him, and he quailed.
“I am Rennach nay Gelenost, and you have challenged me. Now I will send you to the pit, where you belong,” I threatened. The Beírian trembled, let out a harsh, desperate wail, and was still. I relaxed and checked to see whether he was alive. He was, but barely. I turned around to go through the door and heard a shout behind me. Several pairs of feet, probably with owners much larger than I, came running down the hall. I bolted through the door and out into the sand. Though I ran so fast that I thought my lungs would burst, the Beírians caught up to me all too quickly. One of them grabbed at my ankle and I fell face-first into the sand, landing partly on my crippled right arm. I screamed with pain and rolled onto my back, kicking at the Beírians. This, I thought, is how it must end; in pain and fear, with no one to help. The last fight must be faced alone.
One of the Beírians hauled me upright by my bad arm. I shrieked, and he hit me hard in the face. He held onto my arm, and when I fell back from the force of the blow, I thought I might lose consciousness because of the agony that was coursing through my arm and chest. The pain in my face was comparatively negligible.
The Beírian pulled me up again, but before he could strike me, a shout rang out behind him. He let me fall onto the sand. I heard several shots from a stun pistol, and then all was still. I lay on my back, gasping and crying because of my arm, not daring to move until this new thing showed itself to be friend or foe.
Someone ran up beside me and knelt next to me. I opened my eyes enough to see that it was a woman, dressed in dusty fatigues. She stroked my forehead and gave me a bit of water to drink before calling out to some of her friends. At that moment, I lost consciousness completely.