Sky – A shortstory

Sky full of clouds

Sky

A fantasy short story.

By Jenny K Brennan

Sky

“Hey cutie, you’ve been sniffing that beer for almost an hour now. What’s crawled up your ass?“ Without waiting for an answer, the woman put her frosty drink on the table and sat down on the seat opposite to the sad puppy. She used both hands to pull her hair out of her eyes and let the swell of platinum blond fall down her naked back. She loved that feeling. The soft touch that made her skin tingle and start a shiver down her back.
The puppy-eyed guy across the table was something new. Nice looking was an understatement, but she suspected that the perfect polish and high-class intended casual could get tiresome. Snob. A ‘my shit don’t stink’ guy.

But then again, maybe not. The sad eyes and faraway gaze was nothing if not intriguing. He seemed tired and just a bit wary of her. His eyes were some shade of green, reflecting the light in the bar in a way that made them shimmer with silver, in the next moment streaked in sunset cobalt clouds, wind-torn and fleeting, beautiful and knowing.

The young woman shivered and realized she had lost her smile, actually lost any sensations of the world around her wile losing herself in him. His shredded mysterious eyes, and whatever misery he was just barely hiding. Curious puppy watched her right back.

He frowned suddenly and started spinning the glass, around and around. He didn’t like beer. Why had he ordered a beer? To seem like everyone else. But if he didn’t drink and didn’t make noise, he would never blend in anyways. He let his eyes drop to the luke-warm brew and smiled. He knew it wasn’t much of one. Crooked, halfhearted, pained.

He looked up as if he had just thought of something and pushed the glass to the side. “Buy me something I can actually drink and I’m yours for the night.” He said and meant it. The more he watched this stranger the more his first impression faded. That hair was natural. That was something of a novelty. Interesting. A bright-eyed curiosity that was open and direct in the way she focused on him instead of her appearance. No fiddling with locks of hair or out of place garments. Not that she was wearing much.

She didn’t answer him and the blue eyes darkened slightly as she frowned. Clouds sweeping across the evening heaven, he thought and suddenly he knew. Recognition struck hard and fast but acceptance came just as quick. That was how it had always been for his kind.
And hers. He straightened up and cocked his head raising his eyebrows just a fraction. Her frown deepened just as the curiosity. Flared up into something he would have taken for frustration. And it was too. He let out a short laugh and shook his head slowly, wondering when she would know. The moment stretched as the air around them stilled.

“Sky, snap out of it.”

The blue eyes widened in shock and her mouth opened as if to speak but her remembrance and acceptance came just as quickly as his had. Sky’s world whirled, scattered, and rearranged around her in a flash. Once it settled in the way it had always been and should always be; she barely remembered who she had been for a brief time in human disguise. She shook her head no, but not in denial so much as protest. The hand holding the fizzy drink cramped and shattered the glass in the half second of dislocation of thoughts, memories, and realization.
“I am.” She whispered to the sparkling remains of the glass that lay in front of her in a puddle of drink. She ignored the little rivers probing their way across the Formica for an edge, a crevice, a lower level to settle in. She tore her eyes away from the mess and looked up. Reproachful or relieved to be so abruptly woken from a thousand year dream, she didn’t quite know. A thousand years? It hadn’t been that long surely? She looked at her former, future, forever, lover looking for answers.

He looked back at her. He smiled. And straightened up. His eyes didn’t just look streaked in kobold cloud, they were shredded led, streaked with silver and deep green. He opened his mouth, but said nothing. He looked at the mess of broken glass and alcohol slushy on the table and pointed at it, put a finger on a piece of glass and made it tip and Klink against another. He pulled his hand back and leaned forward and finally said. “You can put that to right, can’t you?” He let his gaze and finger indicate chards and liquid, making a sweeping, collecting motion with both hands as if putting everything in a pile. “I know you can.” he paused and grinned as everything came back to him too. He had been sure, just not certain. Certainty was not how it was in his existence. Certainty was what had led them to this point. Too much certainty, too many assumptions, not enough humility and old fashioned observation and responsibility. But that wasn’t important now. What mattered was that he had found her.
“I know you can, because I showed you how.”

#
They had been on top of the world once. Masters and mistresses of heaven and earth. Dictators of all elements. Sky, Steel, Wave, and Flame. They held the balance of all things and let things become what they would, by pondering possibilities. Then they played with the creations their curiosity made possible; much good came out of fortunate chance, evolution, as well as the natural selection and survival of the fittest made some things better, and some things inevitably inferior. Quality control was never on the agenda.
There was nothing inherently bad about their play with life. All things made could be unmade, they said to each other when abominations surfaced. But nothing was ever made undone, as the process held too much of interest to the four. In the end, one can argue that a harder line would have been more appropriate, but once over a billion of the most flawed creatures chance had ever created lived and breathed, it was too late to rethink their slipshod attitudes. They grew tired of the play, bored by creations that started to grow stale and close-minded; they started creating tales of their own, and all of a sudden the charm of thinking civilizations faded and was replaced with despair over the growing aggression, the frequent territorial disputes, the stubbornness to se beyond self fulfilling prophesies written by mad men.

The four broke apart and scattered across the earth, to ponder, to analyze, to hide from the monster that had evolved from their innocent games and wishes. With time, they all forgot to ponder as the shame grew powerful, and despair did not suit the four. They saw the simplicity of ignorance and wanted the bliss it could give.

So they forgot.

#

Sky looked into Steel’s eyes. She remembered, as if she had never forgotten. Her voice never touched her vocal cords when she spoke to him. “I could. Why should I?” She made a sweep with her hand over the glass and one brow rose. “Why don’t you? I am not as good with stone as you. Why don’t you do it? If you think I should.”

Steel sat back, watching her, still smiling but there was a shadow of apprehension behind his eyes. He put one hand on the table without moving his body any closer, and touched a chard with the tip of a finger. He stared at it, tensed into perfect stillness as his eyes shifted and clouded over in steel gray, copper, deep fertile brown… then he relaxed and pulled back, dropped a trembling hand in his lap. His eyes turned to dull amber and he shrugged and sighed. “You are right. We cannot mend this world, why mend a piece of imperfect glass.”

Sky fixed Steel with a chilling penetrating stare for a moment, mirroring his posture with both hands in her lap. Then the sculptured features softened and she smiled. The ice between them melted and gave life to soil long thought barren. Seeds dried and forgotten started to stir in hidden depths. It wouldn’t take long for them to sprout, to rush into eager growth, bloom, and fruit.

Sky thought, with a moist glint in her clear blue eyes, why not? She caught Steel’s eyes and she saw the same thought, heard the same words echo from within him. Why not?

“We are still young.” She whispered.

“We can try again. Steel replied, holding a hand for her to take.

“Wave and flame will want what we want. They are on their way already. Sky looked up in the heaven she couldn’t see but sense through the corrupted metal and wood, through pollution and the interfering signals crowding the air. “Yes, they are coming.” She squeezed his hand and let out a long pent up breath of frustration and disappointment.

Steel looked into Sky’s hopes and wishes taking form. For one moment that would become forever if they wanted it, he saw a world made again, creatures living with one another, working in harmony, not in constant pursuit of territory. A world swept clean of toxins and second rate sentience. Steel smiled, leaned over the table and kissed the mistress of the sky, sat back to wait for their brother and sister. He took a long lingering look at the shabby bar, its imperfect glass, its sample of flawed humanity. And he knew. Nobody would miss Earth. They could make up a new name, something with a nice ring to it. Undo. Reset. Start over.

Steel smiled and he let the excitement sparkle through his words. “We can do better.”

Thanks for reading. Now, don’t miss other works on Studio Chaotic.


 

Doggy snatchers. A NaNoWriMo winner (Unfinished). Chapter 1 – The unmentionables

Doggy snatchers

By Jenny K Brennan

Chapter 1 – The unmentionables

Kent street West – Early Saturday

Out of impenetrable dark came a sound, a chitter chatter, as from a thousand rats. It rose and intensified. One chattering voice said. “How’s that? Can you move?” Several seconds of expectant silence passed where not a single rat even dared breathe. An intake of breath, a clearing of a clogged up throat, then a hoarse male voice answered. “Yeah, I can move eh, but I can’t see. These beings need light you know.” A moment of silence was quickly replaced by agitated chatter.

“Oh.” Rustling, tippy tap of small things moving around in haste.

Click.

“Aaaahhh, shit, cut it out. It hurts, the light, it burns!”

Click.

Darkness returned. Titter tatter, hushed chatter. Heavy breathing, and the Canadian voice muttered. “I have to be careful with that. Ok, my lids are shut now. Turn that light on again.”

Click.

He sat in a chair, naked but for a single sock; semitransparent beige crumpled and twisted around the ankle, its mate nowhere in sight. F3212 shivered in the raw, musty air. He was muscular, tattooed from neck to wrists, topped with a head of blond tangles, and proudly displayed innumerable scars on every limb but his penis. It dangled loose over the edge of the chair where he sat slumped. The man, who in the deepest crevices of his mind knew his name was Calvin Roberts, and not F3212, carefully opened his eyes, and squinted at the light, slowly adapted to it.

The big man blinked grit out of his eyes, and found himself looking at the soft wrinkle of flesh between his legs. “What is that?” And then he knew. The body knew, so F3212 knew. He didn’t quite understand it though. It seemed to serve several different purposes, of which one was to reproduce.

Reproduction F3212 understood. In this specific specimen’s patterns of thoughts though, the relationship with the opposite sex, what apparently was called females, or bitches, or babes, or skanks, or any of the names in this body’s library of vocabulary, was more complex than seemed strictly necessary.

And so F3212 probed and found many hidden places in Calvin’s mind. Places that F3212 did not want to go again. Places that not even Calvin wanted to go.

There were so many conflicting emotions, so many strange preferences. Although F3212 suddenly understood Calvin’s need and also shame over his cross dressing, those ideas and images would take long to ponder. Odd, but intriguing.

A slightly fuzzy ball of multicolored light, with fragmented swirls and streaks of black dancing across its diffuse surface, waited for F3212 to acknowledge successful transfer. The little creature, twenty-seventh of his kind, one of only forty-two qualified for human insertion, stood unsteadily on an undeterminable number of pointy stick-like limbs that moved independently to each other. They propelled the creature in little hops and jumps, skips and spins. But it stayed where it was, on the armrest, next to F3212’s left digit… hand. It paused in its pulsating and spoke, tap, tap, tapping its many feet that were not feet. Titter tatter.
“Something amiss? Your… face changes in a way I believe is agitation. Or something called horror. Is it horror this body makes you… feel?”

Calvin, who wasn’t quite Calvin, screwed up his face, opened his mouth wide, probed parts of his body with strange but familiar digits. He closed his lips, pursed them, and drew them back, working the fleshy muscle inside the mouth in experimental flops and contractions. He gurgled, wheezed, ground the teeth, and moaned. He pinched a red protrusion on his front. Nipple, the body advised, and analysis could be considered complete, if not totally satisfactory. “No, it is confusing. This body is so very… so strange.” He stood up, tried his weight on one foot, then the other. He bent his knees, stretched his arms, felt the rough growth on his face. “Functional, if not optimal. It will do.”

He turned to the little flickering light, which if flickering lights could look apprehensive, looked apprehensive as it tic, tic, ticked away with the many feet and leaned a little ways away from the human that was not a human. Calvin’s face changed, became rubbery with shifting sensations and contradicting impulses. A spastic move seemed to shift everything out of true and a shiver traveled through the body. Then it stopped, leaving the human perfectly still.

F3212 saw through the human’s eyes, could speak using the human’s tongue, but the connection to anything beyond Calvin’s natural perception faded. Stunned by a sensation never experienced before, F3212 watched the lights dim a little bit, felt all other senses dull, and lost control of the body. Not for long, just a short slip that shouldn’t have been possible. But long enough to change everything.

Calvin offered a thumbs up and a splitting of the teeth and lips in something that should represent joy. In this particular body however, the sensation that provoked the grimace had a strong leaning toward malice. Wicked happy. That’s what this body was feeling. Rage mixed with satisfaction. So strange.

He spread the fingers of his right hand, fisted them, spread them again but this time he bent the first finger, placed the thumb on the first finger’s nail, moved it to the small maintenance worker that had arranged this particular snatching, and flicked it off the armrest.

The ball of light exploded in a quick white flash and a series of agitated beeps and squeals. Calvin laughed. When B27 landed on the bare concrete floor, it sprang up and tittered off to the open ventilation shaft and turned, stomping its sharpened limbs in fury. “We do not appreciate such attitude, F3212, we will not accept another failure. You know what to do. Just don’t forget. Humans wear clothes. The runaway must be returned. Report here when successful.”

B27 could have saved itself some trouble, because F3212 didn’t hear. The awareness of many had vanished. The thing that couldn’t happen, had just happened. F3212 was alone.

With a final huffing squeal, B27 turned and rapidly disappeared into the dark shaft. It would lead out. A group of lower level operators, flickering in green instead of white, quickly followed the boss and vanished.

Calvin was alone in his basement, where the unmentionables had found him, passed out on a soiled futon mattress. Why he had gone down there to drink himself stupid, not even Calvin the way he was before, and sober, could have answered.

But Calvin was no longer alone in his head, nor was he even remotely sole master of his flesh, bones, or thoughts. He was strong though.
He stood silent for a long while. Fascinated by a wonderfully complicated view of life, new knowledge, novel sensations. He knew what had happened, and he also knew he should curl up and shriek in terror. Most would. Calvin was strong though, and no little brain sucking alien would take him down without a fight. Nothing would suppress Calvin Robert’s urges.

He relaxed back in the chair, letting his curiosity lessen his resistance. Just for the time being. Because really, what the hell did they want?

The thing inside him suddenly knew with painful clarity that they had made yet another mistake. Yet one more bad judgment. Even as The alien regained control over Calvin the human, it realized that these creatures could not be controlled, not for long. The little parasite was revolted and at the same time, intrigued by all the possibilities the new body could offer, and wary of its power.

For now, F3212 was in control. F3212 would find the runaway and bring him home, away from this terrible place.

But F3212 felt something that his borrowed body wasn’t capable of.

F3212 was afraid.