The Playthings of God (pt7)

It seemed a little darker, beyond the barrier of her eyelids. Natie couldn’t open her eyes to check though, her terror kept her a tight ball on the branch she clung to. She could breathe still, but her air came out in short bursts, little lungs hyperventilating.

Until she opened her eyes and became breathless.

She was reminded of being five years old, in her house. If her house had been twenty times the size and she twenty times less. It took her a long time to take it in, as she looked around, seeing something that looked like a lantern, but huge. She and the tree had been set down on a table that was bigger than the world, so it seemed. And then Natie looked up.

The face looked down upon the tree and the Hands carefully broke off the part of the tree she was on. Natie screamed again, as she went up up up once more. She looked into the EYE, larger than life, before hanging her head to press it into the bark.

It wasn’t real. This hadn’t happened. She had fallen out of the tree when she saw the Hand and she was making this up.

It was obvious what had happened

After a week of complaints, he was found dead in his bedroom.

Dreams of falling had plagued him all that time, his roommate told them. It had woken him up. He was afraid of hitting the ground. The roommate had told him to talk to someone about it – maybe it was caused by stress. He had an appointment set up for tomorrow.

She wished she had a cigarette to bite down on. Not because she smoked, but because she felt the need to fit a role she wasn’t filling right now. “What caused this, doctor?”

The coroner looked up at her, then at the ceiling. She could jump up and reach it, it wasn’t a big room. “Falling.”

The mangled body said he had fallen from a vast height, hitting the floor of his room fast. All evidence pointed to that.

Except for the fact there was a ceiling here.

Ignoring does not only mean not looking

Inhabitants of Zinge, over whom the star Canopus rises every night, are always gay and without sorrow. This, she believed, was dumb. She flicked her lighter on and off. Because she was not an inhabitant of Zinge, she was just there right now, and she was not without sorrow.

Which meant the people around her made her irritated. Irritation on top of sorrow made for a much less than happy lady.

She was offered food and drink. She declined both, remaining on the edge of civilization. The people would leave, return, all unaffected by her reaction.

She was not only sorrowful and irritated. Now she felt ignored. They did not accept how she felt. She felt hate.

She flicked her lighter on.

The Playthings of God (pt6)

Natie saw the Hand come down in the distance. Right into town. She gripped the branch she was on, eyes wide in horror as the hand began to move things. She saw the townhouse disappear into the sky. The Hand returned, but the townhouse didn’t.

What she had been told was to meet up with everyone else in the field when this happened. She would meet up with Mom and Dad and they would wait for the Cleaning to be finished. When it was, they would find their way home. But Natie couldn’t move. Her hands clung to the tree, as if afraid that leaving it and running toward the field would make her a big target for the Hand.

The Hand didn’t take people, she had been told. But the Hand didn’t take, as far as Natie was concerned. It was supposed to give them more food. More good things. It never took.

Then the Second Hand came and plucked Natie’s tree right out of the soil.

Natie screamed. She would have let go, but the ground seemed so far away. Her fear of falling outweighed the fear of being pulled up and up and up. She shut her eyes with a sob, feeling the air change as she kept coming up. Past the sky, into…

The other way around

The shores responded in song to the waves.

She bit her lip. “What?” her father asked.

“It’s off beat.”

He squinted. Her father needed glasses, but he refused to admit it. “Since when?”

She shrugged and looked out at the waves.

“I thought the waves caused the song, not the other way around.”

Her mouth worked around nothing. She had no words. It was true. The beat of the waves caused the song. So if it was off… where was the music coming from?