Fiction Friday: The Cuban Portal – Part 3

They are strange, these people. Oddly naked, except for an exaggerated mane of hair on the tops of their heads. They smell of inconsistent feelings; a jumbled mess of wants and needs, jarring our sensitive communal mood. No wonder we feel so unwell. This heat, too, was unexpected, and many of our number are overcome with sorrow.

I wonder, are we safe now? Have we escaped the threat or merely lead it to a new feeding ground? We tried so hard to focus our energies on an uninhabited world, but such an enormous shift required so much concentration that we were forced to abandon all but the most important details. So of course, we encountered sentient life immediately. It’s not my way to feel cynical, but the cruelty of recent events takes its toll on even the most peaceful soul, and peaceful I am not.

We are thankful that the people are intelligent enough to pick up our language, and they seem to have an understanding of the rudiments of science. Their way of using invasive objects is most unwelcome, but we are refugees and must be patient and humble. For now, we are a homeless people and the future is uncertain. We are dependent on their benevolence, so will suffer the indignities of their “tests”.

I am particularly fascinated with the flamboyantly coloured hair on two of the women I have met. We have always been coloured uniformly, as is fitting. Such unique shades serve only to mark difference, not sameness. Yet red has been a sacred colour, as far back as we can remember, and the sight of these people with blood-red hair must be an omen; we have not yet decided if the omen is good or ill.

The scent of suspicion and fear hangs, fog-like, in the heavy air of the tent. Scattered traces of anger, avarice and aggression turn my stomach, yet these are tempered by simple joy and curiosity. There are a few people who seem to smell of nothing but love and compassion, and my soul is soothed after contact with them. It is hard to remain unified with so much going on, and I am constantly fighting to remain attuned with my people. It is tiring.

We are all anxious about the humans, as they call themselves, keeping the Stone. The Elders are convinced that the humans are not sufficiently advanced to resist its lure. We can all sense how unusually individual they are, how preoccupied with their own desires, rather than thinking of what is best for the whole. Yet we resigned ourselves to giving up the Stone, with grave warning, as a token of our goodwill.

I open my eyes as a wave of sorrow pours over me. Instinctively I assess the harmonics and discover the loss of the rich bass note that has underpinned my soultone since my birth. Kekti has lost his fight; the steadfast Elder had led the focus of will that energised the Stone and enabled us to slide through the skin of our universe. The toll this took on his ancient body was unbearable, and we had all suffered with him over the past few weeks. Now he is free, and we mourn, and we adjust the Soulweft to compensate for the missing bass thread. Soon enough someone’s soultone will descend to take Kekti’s place, and the harmonic tapestry will naturally balance. Until then the upper tones are muted and the lower ones strengthened, to keep us grounded.

My eyes close again to block out the sight of the peculiar world we have found ourselves in. At some point we will have to get up and face it head on, and try to warn the humans of the danger that may seek to follow us. Our only comfort is that the Stone is the only one left, which we know of. It will not be easy for the Dissonance to follow us through the skin of the universe we left behind, and we must hold onto the hope that it cannot find a portal.

The Soulweft cradles me, immersing me in harmony. Golden and warm, it washes away the terror of those last months on our world. The discordant darkness that lurks there, stymied by our escape, is held at bay by only a thin membrane; a barrier weakened by our intrusion. It hits me, finally: the buffeting sensations received from the humans remind me of the cacophony of the Dissonance. My soultone wavers, and I am gripped with doubt. Have we escaped one peril only to find ourselves at the mercy of another?

——-

This week’s prompt: Your Main Character is a time traveller. He/She arrives at a destination but not all is as expected….

Ok so continuing with the theme of twisting prompts, this week I intentionally decided to go with “dimension traveller” not time traveller, so I could continue my Cuba story. I wanted to show the perspective of one of the refugees, as it was going to be hard to describe their communal, connected nature from Melissa’s POV. The prompt changed from what I thought it was going to be, so this story isn’t finished yet, I’ve just given a bit more back story to help flesh it out :D.

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11 thoughts on “Fiction Friday: The Cuban Portal – Part 3

  1. Wow. I thought I liked it from Melissa’s pov, but this was amazing. You really got a sense of sadness and fear from it. And an interesting look at humanity.
    Having red hair myself, I’m intregued whether it’s going to be a good or bad omen.
    I’m so glad there’s more to come!

  2. I’m enjoying this series very much and I love the change in point-of-view. The people/aliens you’ve created are interesting and well-developed. Their viewpoint shines a light on humanity.

    “Now he is free, and we mourn, and we adjust the Soulweft to compensate for the missing bass thread.” I especially liked this sentence as it created a mournful tone and gave us insight into the thoughts and way of life of the creatures. (You’ll have to name them soon so I have something to call them . . . they don’t really come across as “creatures.”)

    Can’t wait to read more.

  3. Great POV and observations. You convey feelings and thoughts very well. If you’ve never written a novel, you will do just fine, just think of chapters as short stories that weave together, that’s helped me a lot.

  4. Your first paragraph was perfect. I really loved it. You are describing emotions from an alien POV with such different words so I really get that they are not human yet they feel deeply. I like the distinction. I feel some danger and sadness as well. I got lost in it. Super, super work.

  5. Stacey, your prose is simple and beautiful. not having read the rest of your short fiction (although i now plan too!!) i was struck by how character driven such a short excerpt could be. you really captured the art of ‘literature’ even though the genre falls outside the usual bounds. I loved it, to give it a one word desciption I would say ‘lyrical’.

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