NaNoWriMo Day 9: Blue Harvest

Posted: November 10, 2011 in National Novel Writing Month, sci fi
Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s the latest excerpt. Goodnight.

“People aren’t supposed to survive an Eraser blast,” the doctor continued. “And yet, here you are. Given what I’ve seen about how the things work, I think it’s very likely that you’re telling the truth. And, incidentally, that’s why I’m shocked by how calm you seem.”

“Would it make you feel more comfortable if I started crying for my lost mom and dad and my dear sweet goldfish?” Setetenepini grunted.  “Or, how about this: I could go all catatonic with the thought that all my friends, classmates, first boyfriend, et cetera, don’t know who I am, never heard of me. Would that help?”

“Would it help you?” the doctor asked.

“No.”

“Then, I recommend against it.”

They were both silent. Setetenepini stared up, up at the ceiling. Doctor Rutikeseritu sipped his spicy coffee. “Mm mm,” he sighed. “I get these peppers dried and ground for me, special. You’ve never had coffee this way? No? You don’t know what you’re missing.” Sip, sip, sip.

“You don’t miss them, do you?” The doctor switched topics. Like a train jumping from one track to another one going in a totally different direction.

“What?” It caught Setetenepini off guard. She sat up. Suddenly, and for no reason she could pin down with any certainty, she was angry.

“I’m just curious.” He thought for a second, then began, “I’ve got an older brother. Well, three, actually, but this is the one just above me. When he turned eighteen, literally, on his birthday, he left. Moved all the way to Bafurs. He’s a nurse, now. Anyway, just up and left. Hardly ever speaks to any of us. Not angry, not holding a grudge or anything, we guess, but just won’t contact us, and only gives us a way to contact him if we press him about it. Last year, I asked him about it. He said that if he could have moved off-world when he was eighteen, he would have. Bad heart; they won’t let him emigrate. He says he never really felt like he was part of the family.”

“And I remind you of him, that it?” Setetenepini scoffed.

“Well, he’s got about fifty kilos on you, but, yeah, little bit.” He stood up to go. “You know, when you feel like it, I’d really like to hear about your family.” He walked off.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Downtime.

Setetenepini had found a long piece of wood, just about the right size. They had let her out, to walk around the grounds of this place, and she had found it. It was like a length of bamboo, with no breaks where new stems had shot out. It was fairly rigid. The metal twine she found was just strong enough to put a slight bend in the wood. The twine was tied tight, with shoe laces.

The cup was a little bit harder to come by. There weren’t any squash, or pumpkins around, and anyway, she didn’t really want to take the time to clean them out and let them dry, and then paint them with shellac. The cup was a little on the small side, but it was made from a sturdy plastic. She poked two holes in the bottom of this, and found more shoestring. She tied the cup to the wood, over the metal twine. The open end of the cup faced away from the assemblage.  She knew she wouldn’t find any arrows. That was a given. So, once again, on a day they had let her walk the grounds, she found smaller sticks, a few millimeters thick, and a couple decimeters long. These are almost perfect, she thought.

They almost confiscated it. They thought it was a weapon.

 

 

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved

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