PLACEHOLDER

Haloo, reader!  In the months of June and July 2017, in addition to working full-time in early childhood education, I am taking a college course for my professional development in that field.  I will not be able to keep up with my weekly production schedule for the Aum stories during this time.  Accordingly, “Topaz Bond” is going on hiatus until the first week of August.  I will take this post down when I resume my production schedule.  Stay tuned!

Topaz Bond – The Turning, continued (11)

This story begins with Topaz Bond – The Call (1).  To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.

 

“I’ve never seen the vortex myself,” he explained, “but Yuki talked about it a few times. She said it’s the focal point of Aum. It keeps things in balance somehow, and connects the minds and spirits present in Aum with Earth. It can send your consciousness back to Earth as yourself – or wipe your memories and turn you into a different person.”

Opele cocked her head, intrigued. “Someone like who?”

“I don’t know, a baby? Or maybe your consciousness gets added to that of someone else? Yuki didn’t say, but she did say she wanted a new life. She’d had enough of herself, and wanted to start over.”

“So if she wanted to go back to Earth as someone else, how are we going to find her to stop the truce-breaker?”

“Time’s relative here. What might feel like a few hundred breaths to us could feel like thousands to someone else. And vice versa. We just have to look for her. Maybe we’ll find her, maybe we won’t. But we have to look!”

Opele shrugged and began walking forward again. After a few steps, she turned to face Abelard, who hadn’t moved. “I’ll make a deal with you.”

“Oh?”

“I’ll tell you what it’s like to hear voices if you’ll let me ride on your back. I’ve never ridden a real live animal before, let alone… what did you call yourself? A half-and-half?”

Abelard flared his nostrils and snorted. “No deal. I’m not that curious.” He paused. “Well, maybe later. Ask me again sometime.”

 

Thank you for reading!  In my next installment, Opele gets frustrated – just in time for SOMETHING to happen.

Previous Aum stories include “Globe Without Goodbye” and “Masked“.

If you are enjoying “Topaz Bond”, please support my writing on Patreon.

Topaz Bond – The Turning (10)

This story begins with Topaz Bond – The Call (1).  To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.

 

After they buried the kola nut, Abelard and Opele left the oasis behind and walked for quite some time. Opele listened with interest to the chime voice and cello voice; sometimes they interacted with each other, sometimes they addressed her directly, sometimes they made other observations. The cello voice liked to quote lyrics. When it said “The tolling on the iron bell calls the faithful to their knees to hear the softly spoken magic spell,” Abelard responded.

“Hey, I know that one.”

Opele stopped walking. Abelard kept on for a few steps, then noticed her pause and wheeled to face her. She stooped, picked up a handful of blue sand, and threw it in his face. “You were in my head again!”

Abelard reared up on his hind legs. This looked impossible for his hippo side to accomplish. He shook his head, trying to blow the sand from his eyes by puffing a curled lower lip. “Hey! I can’t help it, Opele! You’re totally projecting those voices!” He dropped back down.

I’m not doing anything with them, except maybe talking back once in a while. They do their own thing.”

“Well apparently ‘they’ like to broadcast. You might want to teach ‘them’ to contain ‘themselves,’ or you’re going to find it very hard to move stealthily in Aum.”

“I heard your singing from a mile away!”

“Yeah, well, I wanted to be found.” He shook his head again and blinked his watering eyes furiously. “What’s it like, anyway?”

“What’s what like?”

“Hearing voices.”

“What do you think it’s like? It’s not my job to educate you.” She rattled off her stock response. “Go read a book or take a class or something. There are plenty of voice hearers out there who have wanted to share their experience. Leave me alone.”

Abelard sounded plaintive. “I don’t want to go back to Earth! Not yet.” He continued to blink.

“There’s a way to get back?”

“With practice, powerful athletes can go back and forth, and can even bring people or objects with them. Us beasts generally can’t do it without help, like from the vortex. But why would anyone want to go back to sickness, old age, and death?”

“That’s the second time you’ve mentioned ‘the vortex.’ What is it?”

“Could you rub my eyes???”

Opele sighed. After Abelard closed his eyelids, she pushed from the bridge of his wide nose out to the corners of his eyes and down, a few times. The deer lid and the hippo lid felt surprisingly similar to each other beneath her fingers.

When she had squeezed out most of his tears, Abelard said “Thanks” quietly, and opened his eyes.

Opele felt unprepared for the intensity of his animal gaze, and backed away.

 

Thank you for reading!  In my next installment, Abelard shares some hearsay about the vortex.

Previous Aum stories include “Globe Without Goodbye” and “Masked“.

If you are enjoying “Topaz Bond”, please support my writing on Patreon.

Topaz Bond – The Danger, continued (9)

This story begins with Topaz Bond – The Call (1).  To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.

 

“Listen, Yuki told me that somewhere in Aum there was a war once. A war of magic. The athletes fought the beasts. The athletes had talent but pride as individuals. The beasts had numbers, and they moved in packs and herds. It got ugly. The vortex brokered a truce. The athletes got the coast, which is where ambitious fuckheads usually show up, and the beasts got everything on the other side of the mountains, which is where nice people usually show up. You know, people like you. The vortex has been hanging around the coast ever since, keeping the athletes’ numbers low.”

“Vortex?”

Abelard seemed to speak to himself now. “So it’s not just an athlete’s swimming pool – it’s the swimming pool of an athlete who has broken the truce. Just bloody wonderful.”

“Abelard.” She touched his hippo haunch. “Nobody’s there.

“Athletes can totally teleport, Opele. It’s no good; we’ll have to come back with numbers.”

“How can we find a way to any specific place in this desert if the regions get all jumbled, like you said they do? These dunes all look alike!”

“Don’t know,” he grunted, “but I do know Yuki can teleport. She’s really powerful for a half-and-half like me. She’s held her own against an athlete before. Or so she said. We leave something here, something to link to. We find her, we find her herd, we come back. We talk big. Maybe we fight. We can’t let this bastard get away with breaking the truce. No fuckin’ way. This is our space!”

“You sound like you’re convincing yourself.”

“Maybe… but it surely won’t help to stand by the pool waiting for the swimmer to come back. C’mon, let’s get moving.”

“You said we should leave something?”

“Yeah. Tricky, that. Anything big enough for Yuki to sense could be detected by the athlete – wait, what are you –“

She held up a green-brown, two-inch kola nut, relishing the feel of its wrinkled pod against her hand. Her Iyanifa had shown her dried seeds. She’d only seen fresh, unbroken pods like this one in Internet images, but felt confident that holding one would feel just like this.

Abelard’s deer eye looked suspicious as he examined the nut; then, he spoke with approval. “Nice choice. The cultural associations will swamp your personal resonance. If the athlete finds it, he might destroy it or relocate it, but he probably won’t trace it. You’re a natural, Opele. Let’s bury it.”

The chime voice and the cello voice together sang praise to Ọlọrun the Creator. Opele found the song beautiful, but wished for the voices to sing in a language older than English.

 

Thank you for reading!  In my next installment, Abelard gets curious.

Previous Aum stories include “Globe Without Goodbye” and “Masked“.

If you are enjoying “Topaz Bond”, please support my writing on Patreon.