The Neofates

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

I wrote this short story because I wanted to write about the issue of abortion in a positive light while simultaneously creating an interesting fantasy world. the world of the Neofates exists between life and death, and the delicate creatures that live there must struggle to avoid the worst fate known... life on Earth.

The Neofates

The room offered no comfort.  The air blasted cold and constant, spreading out across the blue rubber of the examination bench and sinking to the ground.  Diagrams of the female reproductive system were framed like public service announcements with key phrases underlined.  Every corner that wasn’t sharp was probably waiting to be stuck into someone.  Even the light felt sterilized.

Separated from her clothes, which were folded neatly on the counter, the young woman dried her tears with the edge of the patient gown.  She sat, feet dangling from the edge of the bench and growing numb, opposite her doctor who dreaded what she had to say.

“There’s a twenty-four hour waiting period before we can perform the procedure.”  She saw the girl’s eyes fog up.  Her bare toes, painted with cracking purple polish, rubbed against each other anxiously as if trying to start a fire.

“Why?” She moaned more than asked.  She missed the days at the doctor that were all neon bandages and lollipops.

“It’s a new law.  Frankly… it’s not medically necessary… but we have to abide by it.  In case you change your mind.”

“I don’t want to change my mind,” she sobbed in response.  “I know I’m not ready.  I’m just not.  I don’t have the time… Nobody… I have nobody to help.”  She looked ready to pull her hair out.

“It’s alright dear,” the doctor consoled.  “You’ll receive no judgment from me.  I’m just here to help.”  She’d seen many young women in this position before.  They’re excited about a life of their own.  Their cars are no longer parked in their parent’s garages.  Their curfew is whenever they start yawning.  And sometimes they underestimated their own vulnerability.

The girl struggled to control her breathing and the doctor could see the questions rising in her with fear and guilt.

“Do you think I’m killing it?” the girl asked.

“I don’t know what…”

“Do you think it has a soul?” she clarified.  She needed an answer.  The doctor just happened to be the only other thing in the room with a pulse at that moment.  Were she not there the girl might be asking the tongue depressors or her own pile of clothes like it was a mirror.

“I think…” the doctor started, choosing her words like steps on a tightrope, “that there’s no way to know.  If souls do exist though… we have no way of knowing what they want.  Maybe this life tears them from their loved ones elsewhere.”

The humans succeeded in comforting each other.  The warmer their conversation grew, the less they resembled the blueprints framed on the wall.

 

Antelife

 

Amnio soared through the blackness on her blue jay’s wings.  A great chasm ten trillion lifetimes wide stretched out before her, sparsely populated with Neofate buildings and the dangerous, mesmerizing, colorful Blooms.  She looked down at the swarms of Blooms beneath her, some pink and some blue: a label for what kind of Neofate they would kill.  Being female, Amnio had to be wary of pink Blooms.  There was little to worry about at the moment though, she flew so far above them and so quickly that they could not catch up to her.

Their numbers continued to swell.  Soon there was a sea of internally lit rippling spheres beneath her, all wandering around in search of prey.

Who throws a celebration at a time like this? Amnio thought while staring at the swarm of Blooms.  She had the vague sense that some were staring back; the kind of feeling that would make the hairs on her neck stand, if Neofates had hair.  Her blue jay Phenotype did allow her to grow a thin layer of blue feathers from her scalp, but most of the others were balder than newborns.  With the feathers and wings came a long beak and sharp claws on her feet.

A few ships passed by her, their passengers waving from the transparent parts of their vessel.  She noticed that Aradox’s ship design had become the standard.  Everyone now traveled in clam-shell shaped vehicles with the top half made into a viewing dome.  Another one passed by silently.  One of its passengers mimed a question to Amnio.

Amnio shook her head from side to side.  The passenger shrugged and the ship sped away.  Everyone always stopped to ask if she wanted a ride.  It would be callous not to offer help to a Neofate flying unprotected through areas in Bloom.  Only her brothers and sisters with bird, bat, or fish Phenotypes understood; sometimes she just needed to fly.  It was an instinct carried over from her previous life.  If her feet touched the ground for too long they started to sting.

The silhouette of a hovering structure revealed itself.  With nothing to light the obsidian-like surfaces of their buildings other than the faint glow from Blooms, it was sometimes very difficult to see them before colliding with their side.  The ships that passed Amnio turned on their sides and docked with the building, the clear sections fusing to the wall and creating an entrance.  Amnio spread her wings wide to slow down and gripped the black surface with her talons.  She placed one hand on the cool stone and commanded it, in the silent pure authority of Neofate Focus, to open.

A tiny depression formed in the stone, and then it widened and deepened until she could slip inside.  The hole closed behind her, keeping the building sealed from the Blooms outside.  Amnio retracted her Phenotype: her beak turned back into a nose and mouth, her translucent blue feathers vanished into her arms, and her claws became rounded pale toes.

The new Amnio was greeted by a clamoring din the likes of which she’d never heard.  When her friends Zygo and Geneda invited her to a party she had never suspected such a spectacle.  Everyone was acting hideous, like the humans who made the Blooms so much more dangerous with their reckless intellects.  The fountain that acted as the centerpiece of her friend’s home was now frothing violently instead of flowing peacefully.  Neofates stood in its basin and splashed each other playfully.  The synthetic water had been replaced by some new fluid that sparkled like it had flakes of copper in it.  One of the splashers reached down, scooped some up with his hands and drank it.  Streaks of it flowed down both sides of his face.  The entire floor was slippery with the copper drink, causing several partygoers to slip and hit their heads on the floor as they grabbed at each other.  Red dishes were being passed around, drunk from, and broken against the wall both accidentally and on purpose.

Unable to comprehend the mess, Amnio’s first response was to clean up a little.  She held her hand out towards some of the sharp broken dish fragments and made them vanish.  Then she dried a path across the floor and waded into the chaos.  Giggling fools bumped and jostled her the entire way.  She could feel some of the impacts starting to bruise already.  Being between realities, Neofate flesh tended to be more delicate than sponge cake.  Amnio noticed bruises on many of the partiers, which gave the crowd a crop of sore purple leopard spots.

Something was very wrong here. A normal celebration entailed the quiet sipping and chewing of new synthetic concoctions.  There was conversation and readings from scrolls, books, and tablets of synthetic crystal and wood.  Perhaps a few coordinated friends would unite their Focus and create an aurora light show for everyone to marvel at quietly.  I can’t hear myself think, Amnio thought.  Her head was beginning to pound.  Why is everyone acting so strange?

A male Neofate, flushed with his lynx Phenotype, reached out a paw-like hand and grabbed her shoulder. 

“Dance with me!” he ordered, his pointed and tufted ears twitching erratically.  Intoxicated by whatever poison had turned this crowd of normally intelligent beings into a pit of headbutting buffoons, the lynx Fate did not realize his claws tore through the straps of Amnio’s black shirt and cut her skin.

Amnio ducked and spun away.  With her Focus turned into a laser point by hot anger, she was able to create a baton out of thin air and strike the fool on the shoulder, sending him to the wet floor.  Amnio dropped the baton and examined her wound.  Sometimes she still expected these things to bleed but, of course, it did not.  The pain was there, and the lines were there, but nothing flowed.  She pushed the pain to the back of her mind and brought her Focus back to the baton.  Her will lifted it into the air, stretched it and softened it into bandage-like strips of black fabric, and then wrapped it around her shoulder to both repair her shirt and protect her wound.  I have to stop this, she thought.

She climbed into the fountain and hopped from layer to layer until she was at the very top, where she could scan the entire chamber for her friends.  Perhaps they had been eaten alive by their own festivities, because there was no sign of them.  She saw Fates moving in and out of their Phenotypes as they shuffled between drinking games and pockets of random laughter.  Someone with a ram Phenotype had her spiral horns tangled in the fabric of a mural that had gained several holes since the party started.  For a moment Amnio’s eyes rested on a Neofate she’d never seen before.  He stood on top of a pedestal with a crowd around him holding their hands out.  His Phenotype must have been some kind of mammal, because his head and arms were covered in thick reddish hair.  He had a pair of fangs that made his smile seem dangerous, as if the sound of his laughter could stab you like the poisonous barbs of some exotic fish.  He wore nothing but a small pair of blue shorts.  Geysers of the copper drink gushed from both his hands.

“Everyone make a bowl!” he shouted at his worshippers.  The Neofates below him closed their eyes and tried to form bowls in their hands.  Some of them succeeded in pulling the objects out of thin air but others were too drugged to accomplish the simple feat of Focus; the shapes they created were warped and lumpy, like the pottery creations of children. 

Amnio watched as the crazed Fate leaned down and poured fluid into the bowls, hands, and open mouths of everyone beneath him.

“Amnio!  You made it!” Someone exclaimed.  Amnio turned to see her friend Geneda, who had climbed up to the top of the fountain with her.  Her eyes were half-closed and hazy.  Without pupils or irises, Neofate eyes were usually just bright splashes of color, but Geneda’s looked faded and thin like an old wet pair of socks.  There was a green glass vessel in her hand, which she took a huge swig from.  “Ammy my dear you must try some of Qynox’s drink! There’s life in every drop!”  She refilled her glass from the fountain and held it out to her horrified friend.

“Have you gone mad?” Amnio blurted.  “What is this poison?”

“It’s not poison.  It’s alcohol!  Qynox figured out how to make it!  Now we can really live, without being alive.”

“Alcohol…” Amnio whispered, stunned.  “This isn’t like you Geneda.  You know these distractions will hurt our cause.  Look how vulnerable everyone is,” she said and gestured to the raucous sea beneath them.  “Where’s Zygo?” she asked.  Surely his clear head hadn’t succumbed to such temptations.

“He’s… hmm… I know my boy is around here somewhere.”  Geneda’s hand slipped from the fountain as she searched for her mate.  Amnio managed to catch her by the arm and pull her back up.

“Oh there he is!  Zygo! Sweetie! Up here!” Geneda dropped her glass into the fountain and waved.  Amnio followed her stare down and across to Zygo, who appeared to be asleep but was still moving.  He was passed out on his back, with his crowd of guests holding him up and passing him around like a tray of hors d’oeuvres.  His dreams must have been very peaceful because he rolled over onto his side and paid no attention to the hands on his cheeks and forehead.

“See, you’re the only one not having any fun,” Geneda sneered.  “Have some.”

“Absolutely not,” Amnio barked.  The pounding in her head was growing worse and her throat felt very dry.  A quick sip of synthetic water would help her keep calm, so she opened her hand up and stared into her palm.  With a burst of Focus, the depression of her hand filled up with crystal clear water... or rather the closest thing Neofate Focus had so far composed from the nothingness.  She tipped her hand into her mouth and closed her eyes to welcome the refreshing liquid.  Unfortunately, she failed to notice as it changed a coppery color before sliding down her throat.

“Ack!” She choked.  The taste was a sour burn, like downing charred lemon rinds.  The shock of it made Amnio lose her grip and splash into the basin below.  More of the alcohol hit her eyes and set her whole world ablaze.  It felt like she wept tears of Greek fire.

“I don’t understand,” she muttered between coughs.  “I made water.  I don’t even know how to…”

“Qynox did it,” Geneda giggled as she hopped down, splashed, and helped her friend to her feet.  “He made it so every fluid in our home becomes his concoction.”

“I have to…” Amnio said, teetering.  At first she couldn’t tell if her head was spinning from the fall or the gulp of toxin, but the answer became apparent when the sensation didn’t fade.  “One sip…” she muttered, leaning on the similarly unsteady Geneda.

“Yeah,” Geneda said with a stupid grin.  “It’s one sip for everybody.  I don’t think we could ever build up a tolerance for this.”

“This needs to… to stop,” Amnio said and did her best to stand on her own.  The clearest thing in her mind now was the feeling of dread.  Something dark was approaching, or perhaps already here; weaving its way between the shuffling feet like a miasmic vapor.  Only one of them could calm such a place.  Aradox.  She needed to reach Aradox.  That meant flying back across the sea of Blooms with alcohol slowing her, perhaps even sending her off course.

She broke away from Geneda and retreated to the nearest wall, ignoring her friend’s pleas for her to stay.  She pressed her hands and forehead against the black wall and hoped for the delicate coolness of stone.  Instead she got the warmth of a hundred bodies buzzing around each other.  Escaping this place would be a relief, even if she was immediately surrounded by Blooms.

The fog in her head made it incredibly difficult to Focus, which meant the wall didn’t immediately give way; instead it stretched like dough until it silently ripped open and released her.  She was careful to keep hold of the wall and make sure it sealed properly.  Her people had made a serious lapse in judgment, but that did not mean they deserved to be killed by a stream of Blooms trickling in from a hole she forgot to close.

Amnio pushed off from the wall and stretched her arms wide.  She immediately fell, arms twisting and flapping out of sync.  You forgot your Phenotype! Amnio cursed herself.  She took a deep breath, stretched back out into a bird-like pose, and grew her wings.  Now which way am I going? She thought.  The toxin blurred her vision as if she’d just woken from a long sleep and wiped the dust from her eyes.  Where was the building she had just left?  Over there? No.  Maybe?  It couldn’t be far.  All of a sudden tears were streaming from her face.  They had no blood, but Neofates never lost the ability to weep.

How could I let this happen?  He’ll be so disappointed…  A few worries more pressing than those broke away from the sea beneath her and started to follow.  Three pink Blooms silently pursued her, doing their best to stay out of her line of sight.  With no eyes, ears, or nose, it was impossible to determine how they followed her trail, and yet they did relentlessly.  Blooms never showed any desire to communicate.  They had no culture of their own.  Whatever life they had was composed of idling until they picked up a whiff of a Neofate.  Then, what intellect they had became a tool meant only to unite the two bodies.  To a Neofate, seeing such a union was seeing death; like being human and watching fellow soldiers gasp before flying away from parts of their own bodies.  A union of Bloom and Neofate was an unholy assault: both rape and murder.  One touch and Amnio would be sucked into the Bloom and eaten whole.  Then the Bloom would become still and shrink out of existence.  Her mind, her soul, would be erased while the energy of her life was converted.  She would be reborn on Earth, the hearth of suffering.

Amnio still struggled to get her bearings.  There were no stars to base maps on or magnetic fields to draw compass needles.  Everyone had to rely on their memories to find home again.  If they couldn’t… then they would be trapped out in the open until consumed. 

She glanced behind her, looking for landmarks, and saw the pack of Blooms closing in.  Horror constricted her heart like a python on a blind squeaking mouse.  Terror made her body feel slow, that horrible dream sensation when a runner feels trapped in ankle deep mud. 

The Blooms diverged in order to surround her from three different angles.  They’re human, she realized.  Too smart not to be.  The one on her left suddenly shot towards her with a burst of speed.  Amnio rolled upside down to avoid its tackle and circled back into an upright position.  The energy coming off of it was sickening.  Just having one of those things near her skin made it crawl and itch like a crab ready to ditch its old shell.  The one on the right arced up and then dive bombed.  She dodged again with a glide to the left.  Even with the alcohol dimming her lights, Amnio was still an excellent flyer.  You can’t dodge forever, she thought.  Use your Focus.

As much as it pained her, Amnio closed her eyes.  She concentrated on the image of a net.  White strands of rope, born from her idea, weaved themselves together beneath her soaring body.  When the object was ready she ordered the net to fire itself at one of the Blooms.  Her creation responded enthusiastically, opening wide like a spider web and launching toward the Bloom behind her.  Upon impact it wrapped around the orb, causing it to sink and spiral back into the crowd of lights far below.

Amnio’s headache intensified twofold after the mental exertion.  It was now like a great ogre in her head was sharpening its teeth on the surface of her mind.  Gaaaaah! I can’t do that again, she noted.  She briefly forgot how many of them were still chasing her and tried to concentrate on her destination.  This felt like the right way, but there was no way of knowing how far the alcohol corrupted her sense of direction.  She flew on, ignoring the bells in her head and the monsoon of fear.  She flew for twenty more minutes, constantly dodging the advances of the Blooms.  As her feathers started to droop, the orbs showed no signs of tiring.  Whatever infernal battery powered them, it was stronger than Amnio’s.  No, it’s not stronger.  I’m stronger.  Pain is my plaything.  Chaos is just a breeze.  My Focus is eternal.  She repeated many of Aradox’s bits of wisdom over and over again to both narrow her Focus and raise her spirit.  She was the lover of Aradox: wisest of Neofates.  She could not be bested by a little poison and a pair of Blooms.  He would never share a bed with someone weak enough to fall to that.

The two orbs came in simultaneously from opposite directions.  Amnio held her wings close to her body and spiraled down to avoid them.  The collision of the spheres sounded like two rotten pumpkins smashing into each other.  Unfortunately, it only slowed them for a second.

Doesn’t matter, Amnio thought.  I’m home.  The silhouette of a building emerged from the shadows behind it.  It appeared much sooner than a normal building would because Aradox had covered their home in a layer of synthetic light-colored crystal bubbles.  How he created these things she would never understand, but she’d never been gladder to see them. 

Amnio flapped frantically to close the gap.  Her efforts weren’t necessary, because Aradox’s newest idea demonstrated its power.  Two crystal bubbles detached from the top of the cylinder that was their home and briefly spiraled around each other before colliding and releasing a very unusual sound.  It was incredibly loud, yet gentler than falling feathers.  It was a sound of will and joy, like the toll of a bell celebrating the kiss of a newlywed couple beneath it.  With the sound came a wave of white light that had no effect on Amnio, but forced the Blooms into retreat.

Bless his beautiful mind, Amnio thought.  She watched as a portal opened in the wall to welcome her.  He had already anticipated her return.

Chapter Two

 

The interior of the cylinder was one of the greatest marvels in Neofate history.  Normally, decoration was sparse in a Fate home because of the Focus it takes to maintain each object.  Aradox’s Focus had reached such a level that this was no concern, so every chamber was filled with the colorful splashes of his various experiments.  Amnio stumbled through their synthetic garden, because she knew she would find her lover in his meditation room where he spent much of his time.

The plants in the garden were not like those of Earth.  Aradox had been able to will them into a self-maintaining state, but little more than that.  They could not grow or reproduce.  Each one had to be lovingly crafted as a seed, planted in the back of a Neofate imagination, and then fertilized by a rain of calming thoughts for several days before it could be brought into a physical shape.  Aradox had tried to teach Amnio the technique, but she hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it.  The tiniest twisted sprouts between the healthier plants were hers.

All of the leaves were translucent like glass and if you looked closely you could see bubbles of water moving around inside them.  While most Fates could pull synthetic food out of the air, the fruits and vegetables from Aradox’s plants tasted better than anything else off Earth.  His synthetic peaches weren’t very sweet, but their red flesh contained an abundance of refreshing juice.  His transparent watermelons were light and delicious, even if they did occasionally float away like balloons.

Normally the garden would calm Amnio, but she was too distracted by worry.  What if this intoxication is permanent?  What If I’m stuck as a stumbling slurring fool?  I won’t be of any use… I might as well let a human Bloom take me so I can claim my rightful place as a bawling, selfish, blood-filled, deluded meat pocket on Earth.

She used her talons to ascend a mighty synthetic tree whose branches grew into the floor of one of their home’s upper levels.  The bars of the ornate metal gate separating the garden from the meditation chamber unwound and vanished into the wall like silent burrowing worms.  She could see a great fluid shape in the middle of the room.  Like an upside down raindrop, the blue shape spun clockwise and shimmered like the surface of an ocean devoid of even the tiniest grain of silt.  In the bulbous end of the shape, Aradox sat with his legs and arms crossed and his eyes closed.  The flow of the synthetic water spun him around in all directions, like he was rolling inside a giant marble.  Only one part of his Phenotype, two rows of gills along his ribs, was active.  He wore only a small pair of shorts.

Amnio took a moment to marvel at him.  He was lean like all Neofates, but somehow more substantial.  It was like he was comfortable in this temporary form and never worried about the possibility that he could be forced out of it.  His eyes were a splash of gray-blue that went well with his smile, which regularly melted Amnio’s sense of composure.  Sometimes, when he was deep in Focus, the countershading of his Phenotype would appear on his skin, making his front side white and his back very dark.  That was the way she thought of him most often, with a bright forward-facing energy and a shield of darkness on his back to protect him from the heartlessness of the various plains of existence.

“Aradox,” she whimpered when she meant to exclaim.  Her lover’s eyes opened wide.  The water ceased all motion and quickly turned to fog, gently sliding Aradox onto his feet and leaving the chamber empty except for the new clouds near the ceiling.  She reached out to him only to have her ordeal catch up to her.  Dazed and fatigued, she sank and lolled backwards.  Aradox managed to catch her and lower them both into kneeling positions.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I’m poisoned.  I’m sorry… I tried not to drink any but there was… a Fate.  He’s… We need to…”

“Stay calm, my love.  Organize your mind.  I need only the important words.  What poison?”

“Alcohol,” she sobbed.  Aradox’s surprise was obvious.  His grip on her grew tighter, like he was afraid she would melt out of his hands.

“I hoped that impossible.  Who made this?”

“Qynox.”

“I don’t know the name…”

“I failed you.  I failed and now my body has paid the price,” Amnio cried out and buried her face in his chest.

“You made it back alive!  You could not have succeeded more.”  Aradox held up his hand.  A floor down, a fruit that looked like an orange pear made of permafrost detached from its branch and flew up to the two Neofates.  He wrapped her hands around it.  “Eat this.  It should help.”

Amnio dug into it voraciously.  She swallowed great mouthfuls that threatened to choke her but she did not stop until her face and the floor were covered in juice and there was nothing left of the fruit but a stem and a few shreds of its skin. 

“I suppose it’s a good thing you didn’t chew; there was a very tough pit in their somewhere,” Aradox joked.  Amnio let out a small belch and covered her mouth with both hands.

“Arrie I didn’t mean to I just…”

“Relax,” he urged her and stroked her shoulders.  “When are you going to learn to be yourself around me? Stop treating me like a god.”

“But you are like one,” she countered, the evidence of her claim racing through her flesh.  The lull of the alcohol faded quickly.  Her vision grew clear enough for her to see the puddle of juice she sat in.  Aradox spoke as she used her Focus to dry it up and erase the remaining pulpy bits of fruit coating her cheeks.

“Not even close.  If I was, you never would’ve been in harm’s way,” he said.

“Harm has won this day,” Amnio said as they stood.  “Geneda’s party is chaos.  Everyone’s drunk.  If we don’t go back someone’s going to get hurt.”

“Of course.  I’ll go and see what I can do.  You stay and rest.”

“No,” Amnio said stubbornly.  “You’re not going in there without me watching your back.”

Aradox surveyed her bruises and scratches and stared deep into her eyes.  His mind seemed locked in conflict for several seconds.  “Were you chased back here by Blooms?” he asked pointedly.

“Yes,” she answered.  “They were human.  Your new security system stopped them though.  I’m fine to go back out now that you’ve cleared my head.”

“They’re getting more aggressive aren’t they?” Aradox asked.

“As you predicted,” Amnio pointed out.  “If we keep locking their food source inside impenetrable buildings and they keep multiplying… of course they’ll be desperate.  It means everything we’re doing is working.  We’re beating them.”

“I don’t think there’s anything to beat,” Aradox said.  “They’re not evil Amnio.  You’d do well to remember that.  They’re just ingredients in a natural cycle.  Metaphysical gametes that are driven by the laws of reality to find their other half and become a life on Earth.”

“But they’re intelligent,” Amnio argued.  “And they don’t care that when they absorb us… they kill us.”

“They erase our minds and use the clean slate of energy to become a higher animal on Earth, yes.  But intelligence is a new phenomenon.”

“What… what are you saying?” Amnio asked, feeling like Aradox was about to pull her by the hand into a deep trench filled with capricious and powerful monsters.

“It’s something I’ve just come to during my meditation,” Aradox explained.  His voice grew softer as he closed his eyes and described the things he’d seen minutes before while exploring the boundaries of Antelife with his mind.  “Our struggles… Our ability to create matter with our Focus is a side effect of intelligence.  Intelligence that I suspect we Neofates did not have several thousand years ago.”

“Why would we suddenly get smarter?” Amnio asked.

“The human population,” he said.  “As their minds grew in complexity, so too did their energy.  When they die and that energy is dumped back into Antelife, it has to go somewhere.”

“Into us?” Amnio recoiled a little.  Now she felt like those capricious monsters were squirming parasites under her skin.

“Yes I think so.  For most of history we’ve been only as intelligent as our Phenotypes… as our last forms on Earth before we were dumped back into this recycling bin.  As the number of humans grows, so too does the aether of soul that gives us our Focus.  And of course, any Blooms that are destined to be human will have a greater capacity to learn.”

“So… we will be able to hold the Blooms off forever won’t we?  The humans grow more numerous every day.  Every Fate tossed back to Antelife is wiped of their former self but they remember some of their time on Earth.  They all say the humans breed like rabbits and fight like apes.”

“While it’s true that we will keep our intelligence as long as there are a significant number of humans on Earth, the new heights their numbers are reaching may be our downfall.”

“Why does there have to be a downfall at all?” Amnio asked in a pathetic voice, knowing not even Aradox had a satisfactory answer.

“It’s just nature my sweet.  It is nature that drives the humans to procreate.  It is nature that makes their Blooms so dangerous.  And it is nature that produced this Qynox character.”

“He was very strange,” she interjected. “I think his Phenotype was some primate… chimp or orangutan maybe.  He displayed it proudly and frighteningly.  And he was the only one there who seemed to know what he was doing.”

“Let’s get going then and see if we can’t settle this,” he said and placed his fingertips against his temples.  Midnight blue strips of cloth appeared and wrapped around his torso, forming a thin shirt.  A few thicker, gray, rope-like pieces wrapped around his ankles and the middle of his foot to form an open sort of shoe.

“Are we taking a ship?” Amnio asked.

“No.  It’ll be quicker with our Phenotypes.  Are you sure you have the energy for this?”

“Yes love,” she smirked.  “I know I’ve only spent four years in Antelife to your three hundred, but I can always handle flying.”

The two of them moved out to an empty exiting bay and used their Focus to open a door back into the void.  Amnio sprouted her wings, beak, and claws.  The blue jay inside her tweeted enthusiastically as if the door of the bird cage had just swung open.  She looked over at Aradox.  He spread his arms wide and a huge triangle of bluish skin expanded from each of his arms, almost completely hiding his hands.  A short pair of fleshy extensions grew from the side of his head like a new pair of ears.  His countershading came out in full force and he sprouted a long but very thin tail.

“Off we go,” he said and launched outward.  Amnio eagerly followed.  The void of Antelife was a peculiar medium that took to most kinds of locomotion quite well.  Amnio was able to fly through it like her past life through Earth’s air, and Aradox could glide through it as well as his last living form, a manta ray, could through the ocean.

The two had actually met mid-flight three years ago.  Just as Amnio had an itch to fly, Aradox occasionally needed to glide effortlessly around with his silent and majestic fins.  He would never admit this to anyone, but when he did so he often got the urge to open his mouth wide and taste the rich oil of plankton again.

They had nearly collided those years ago, missing each other by inches.  In the near-accident there was a split second where they passed by face-to-face.  The void seemed to grow even emptier as the two felt like all of life was either in one of them or the other.  Then Aradox had invited her back to his home, then a very small black boulder of a building that was barely big enough for the both of them.  It was there, huddled against each other and nuzzling, that they discussed Antelife.  Aradox had shared with her his dream to end suffering.

It was a dream that had seemed within reach.  Once the Neofates had learned to create matter from nothing they were safe from the Blooms.  It gave them time without fear, which they could use to expand their minds and powers.  Every death on Earth birthed a scared and innocent Neofate as well as a Bloom in the Antelife.  Most Fates were quickly snapped back up by roaming Blooms to be erased and reborn, but one in every dozen eluded them long enough to be rescued by an older Neofate that could escort them to the safety of a building.

Only Aradox, Amnio, and a few especially talented others truly grasped what was at stake.  They were upsetting the natural order by denying the Blooms their food source.  Eventually one force would buckle under the pressure of the other.  Either the Neofates would crack the codes of time and space and end death in all realities, or the Blooms would literally fill Antelife to bursting and tear a great rift into another plane.

--This story continues in part two.--


Submitted: November 30, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Blaine Arcade. All rights reserved.

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Comments

jaamzshow

Whoa.....dude; you've got to break this up into chapters. My first upload looked like this and it is hard to not keep losing your place. Imma keep reading.

Sun, November 30th, 2014 1:49pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for the advice. I'll add some numbered sections.

Sun, November 30th, 2014 10:12am

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