The Neofates - Part Three

Reads: 545  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

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

This is the conclusion of my fantasy story about abortion. 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.

Chapter Six

The next few weeks were a blur for Amnio.  The training was proving incredibly taxing.  In some ways it brought her closer to Aradox and in others it drove them apart.

Most sessions consisted of her crossing her legs and sitting on a stone tablet.  Then Aradox would use his Focus to build a column of wind around her that lifted her in the air and somehow kept her perfectly still.  The loss of physical contact with any matter freed part of her subconscious, like a bird realizing it could soar infinitely because the ground had vanished.

She learned to penetrate the barriers of her own mind one at a time.  The first was selfishness.  She struggled to embody the mantras Aradox gave her to contemplate.  I am nothing.  I am not observing, because I am not there to observe.  There are no eyes to see.  No clouded glass obscuring the truth.  No interpretation.  No projection. Truth.  Solid truth.  Isolated, quarantined truth. 

Breaking that barrier felt incredible… for the few moments that she could feel something.  It was like breaking through a cloud of smoke you never knew was there.  And then… a pure kind of nothingness.  She was still alive and still thinking, but her mind lost the ability to consider itself.  There was only a curiosity… an urge to explore because that’s all any intelligence could do in such an empty space with such bright lights in the distance.

The second barrier was time.  Smashing through it was like falling through a pane of glass and then having all the shards follow you, showing reflections of things you have done and will do.  Much of it became simultaneous.  She was flying in her Phenotype, and nesting as a blue jay, and making love to Aradox, and hatching from her egg, and watching their first synthetic plant grow under the shadow of Aradox’s shaking hand all at once.  Soon she was getting flashes of her Beta Phenotype.  Since she was seeking an even higher mountaintop, Amnio could not stop to Focus on it.  There would be time for that later.  For now she could only devote bits of wonder to it.  She was pretty sure it was some kind of freshwater fish, since she kept tasting pond scum.

Three weeks later she conquered the third barrier, which was a cloud of telepathic noise from all the living things across all the worlds.  The silence… a galaxy-sized ocean of inactivity.  Her very thoughts rang in her own head like a mouse caught in a tolling church bell.

In addition to all this, she felt she had tackled another issue that Aradox hadn’t: fear.  Her lover was growing paranoid.  He never left their home and all his time outside the meditation chamber was spent in the garden.  His efforts didn’t show though; every plant seemed to be losing its luster, leaves shrinking and wrinkling and fading.  Every day he added more beads of crystal to the drifting building’s exterior.  He had all the chambers rotating inside the building, so no one could memorize the layout of their fortress.  If he sensed any Blooms merely hovering by, as they tended to do, he demanded complete silence as if he expected them to hear their footsteps.

Amnio loved him dearly, but she would not stand for such isolation.  Several times, against his wishes, she would fly out and joined Theccary’s crew for one of their missions.  Most of the time Qynox had escaped before they’d arrived and all they could do was clean up the mess.  He left destroyed buildings and disorder in his wake.  Some Neofates completely converted to his cause, even after sobering up.  Sometimes his parties would grow so out of control and so crowded that they would leave several Fates dead.  Not swallowed by Blooms, but just lying on the floor covered in bruises from the thousand dancing feet that unwittingly smothered and stomped their life away.

Twice she managed to engage Qynox in battle, and each time, when things seemed to be going in her favor, he just ripped the building open and let the Blooms pour in.  Gamazete told her he landed some blows on Qynox once as well, but then the trickster had sprayed him in the face with some kind of acid.  She could still see the red splotches on his face, even when his Phenotype was drawn.

“You have to stop this,” Aradox would shout.  “If you get yourself killed we’ll never stop him.”

“I have to do this,” Amnio would shout back.  “There’s more to life than duty.  Listen to yourself.  You’ve drawn into your shell even though he’s dropped you into the fire.  He’s changing the climate of Fate thought.  Who knows, maybe he plans to change the world like we do.”

“I don’t mean to make you feel like a prisoner,” Aradox would say, voice growing quieter, closer to tears.  “I know your heart needs to fly, but…”

“My heart needs to fight,” she would say, “and that’s the end of it.”  Sometimes it would be the end of the discussion.  Sometimes they would make up, share an embrace, and retreat to a dark chamber to be lit by each other’s laughter.  And sometimes they wouldn’t make up, and icy tension would erode the foundations of their bond a little more.

Chapter Seven

 

A pair of yellow fangs bit into her dream state.  Amnio’s eyes popped open and she gasped.  The wind column holding her up, which she could now create herself without Aradox there to maintain it, slowly died.  Amnio’s toes touched the ground first, and the rest of her feet followed with only a tiny sound of flesh on stone.  Something was wrong.  She examined the room.  Nothing was out of the ordinary.  Except…she could smell something… a musk.

“And how is Aradox’s whore?” a voice said from behind her.  She whirled around to see Qynox leaning on a green column of synthetic jade.  He bit into a fruit stolen from their garden and purple bubbling juice ran down his chin.

“How did you get in here?” she asked coldly. 

“You still can’t track me,” he giggled and wiped the juice on his arm before tossing the fruit away.  It landed with a squish on the floor before it deflated and blackened.  “I hear you’ve been expanding your brain.  Must not be very good at it since you can’t keep me out.”

“Why are you here?”

“I miss you,” he said with a purple-stained smile.  He cracked his knuckles and swaggered closer to her.  Amnio flicked one of her fingers and raised a wall of synthetic glass between them.  Instead of flinching or getting angry as she hoped, he just pressed his hands and face against the glass and started to kiss the panel lustily.  His tongue ran over the glass that lined up with her left cheek.  He pounded on the glass with one fist.  “I miss you so much.  I just know our sex would be fantastic!  You’ll tweet in ecstasy as I tear off your clothes and pluck your feathers one by one.”

“Your words are even viler when there’s no applause behind them,” she said.

“You’ve got too much life in you to be with that shut-in,” Qynox continued, unphased.  “Your boy is drenched in fear.  It’s why he doesn’t chase me himself.  I hate that.  Instead he sends those four.  They won’t celebrate with my Fates and they won’t even put up a good fight.”

“You always run from the fight,” Amnio pointed out.

“There’s a party tonight,” Qynox said as his smile grew wider.  Amnio could barely see it through the smear of purple slobber he’d left on the glass.  “I’d like you to come as my special guest.”

“Why don’t you just take a mirror as your date, I’m sure it would be better company,” she quipped.

“Not a bad idea,” he said.  “I’ll still need someone to hold the mirror up though.”

“So Qynox.  Figured out your Beta Phenotype yet?” She asked.  The nerve she struck made Qynox’s face finally contort.

“You bitch!” He roared and reared back to punch through the glass.  Amnio responded with lightning quickness and drew the glass back like liquid when he punched it, then re-hardened it so it held his arm in place.  Trying to use the moment of surprise to its fullest, she convinced all the glass that wasn’t holding him in place to vanish, giving her room to strike.  She reached up and pulled a feather-like blade out of the air and started to bring it down towards Qynox’s trapped forearm.  Just a split second too long.

Qynox used his own Focus to shatter the glass and went into a backflip, managing to score a kick on Amnio’s chest and knock her back.  He flipped a few more times just for show and settled into a low fighting stance with a hunched back, like some kind of age-bent goblin.

In between meditations, Amnio devoted a few minutes each day to calculating new strategies of fighting the ape Fate.  Now was as good a time as any to try one out.  She spun her hands and whipped up several small tornadoes around the room that had enough power to lift any Fate off the ground.  Then she turned the feather blade into a pair of cestus, her melee weapon of choice, and grew some large feathers along her elbow so she could use the gusts of the tornados to change direction in mid-air.  Then she went in for the kill.

Qynox built a weapon from Focus as well: it looked like a lick of solid orange flame.  The two charged at each other.  Amnio dodged a downward strike from Qynox’s flame by jumping into the air.  Then she caught a gust and came back down with a punch to the back of his head.  Qynox pretended to faint and fall before catching himself and spinning his whole body in a low kick that failed because Amnio was still several inches off the ground.

She sent a tornado straight into his face.  It pulled him along for a few feet and tossed him into the wall.

“It would help you if you spent some time meditating,” she said.  Unfortunately her words came out in pants.  The last thing she wanted was to show weakness.  Qynox could grab any exposed thread of it and pull and pull and pull until your life was a tangle that could only be undone by blades or fire.

“I’ve been too busy distracting you,” he said.  Then Qynox used his Focus to sink into the wall and vanish, those nasty fangs being the last thing to go.

Distracting? Amnio thought.  What did he mean by… No.  Aradox!  The tornadoes fell apart like stacks of hay as Amnio redirected her Focus.  The floor beneath her rose and spiraled around her legs while the ceiling dripped towards her.  The two extensions of stone connected, creating a tube that could take her anywhere in the house.  He’s bound to be in the garden, she thought.  The air pressure in the tube forced her upwards.  The cool stone slid along her feathers with a zip sound.  He didn’t even want to fight Aradox.  He just wants him dead.  How could I be so stupid?  He was right.  I’ve been out brawling with Theccary when I should have been playing defensively. Now my love is…

Amnio erupted into the garden chamber through the floor.  At first she couldn’t see anything.  Leaves were falling everywhere.  Fruits and vegetables were rolling across the ground.  Some were just stomped to a rotten pulp.  One of the biggest trees was uprooted and hanging halfway into the void through a huge rift in the wall.  Blue Blooms were flying in through it.

He’s gone. She thought.  This is the one time he was somewhere else.  He’s taking a nap in some little pocket of stone.  He’s reading in the library.  He’s swimming in the pond.  Anywhere but h…

“Amnio!” Aradox called out.  Her head snapped to the side to see her mate, flushed with his Manta Phenotype, running towards her.  He looked ghastly; his recent lack of sleep had combined with the whitish skin of the Ray to turn him into a pale figure, a helpless spirit of fear that ran too slowly to save itself.

“Aradox, look out!” she screamed.  One of the Blooms absorbed Aradox’s foot and began pulling the rest of him in.  “No, no, no!”  She could see it on his face: the expression of death.  She wanted nothing more than to look away but her body was already running towards him, stretching out one arm… His eyes looked like two Moons, even more barren than the moon of Earth, sinking into a tar pit.  His gills hung limply like the edges of a tarp overloaded with rain.  The Bloom swallowed them two by two as it flew up his chest.  Finally she wrapped both her hands around his one free wrist.  She had arrived.  She was touching him, but it only intensified her panic.  No words came to her, only wails squeezing through her tight throat.

“I have faith in you,” Aradox managed to say.  The blue overtook his head and consumed both their arms.  She felt his hand turn to smoke in hers and slide through her fingers.  The Bloom quickly shrank, exiting this world with its full stomach to enter Earth as a new life.  When it was the size of an acorn Amnio clasped her hands around it and put all of her Focus on it.  All that meditation had to count for more than wisdom, she desperately hoped.  It had to give me new power.  This Bloom is not gone.  It’s trapped in my hands.  My Focus is keeping it here and it will never leave.  Aradox will always be with me.  I will not let him die.

After thirty seconds of vast effort, effort that could’ve bottled thunderstorms, that could’ve reunited split continents, she let her hands creak open to see the results.  Nothing.  Just her shaking palms and the dew of concentration.  A Bloom was not a firefly, to be held captive until its battery ran out.  It was something still far beyond her control.  And it had left as easily as it had popped into Antelife.

Amnio lay defeated on the synthetic moss of the garden for several hours, wilting with everything else.  She didn’t even bother to close the rift in the side of the building.  It was sheer luck that no pink Blooms came for her.  The other blue Blooms hovered around docilely, like bubbles that knew there was no needle in sight.

Qynox flashed through her mind.  Amnio reached her hands into the ground and tore huge gashes in it.  Chunks of loam and browning moss compacted under her nails.  Both death and life are too good for him.

Chapter Eight

 

Neofate civilization all but collapsed in the next three months.  Whole cities, drifting through Antelife like a bundle of castle towers with colorful stained glass windows, cracked from the inside.  Blooms leaked in.  You were more likely to see the rubble of buildings now, like an asteroid belt, than see anything with life still hiding inside.

Qynox’s latest accomplishment shone in the void brightly: drifting curling rivers of alcohol mist that covered thousands of miles.

Things were flung back to the time before Neofates learned to create matter with their mind.  New Neofates were not being rescued from the void because there was no one there to help them.  They lived short, fearful, ignorant lives before being swallowed up.  Only Amnio’s home remained.

A small group of thirty Neofates lived there now, those with convictions strong enough to resist Qynox and wits sharp enough to escape before his traveling circus arrived at their homes.  Theccary and his squad were among them, with the exception of Ignomadon, who was killed a week earlier when one of Qynox’s most devoted disciples crushed him between two slabs of stone.

The castle of Aradox was still large and in perfect working order, but no one spent any time in its array of chambers.  Everyone lived in the meditation chamber, sleeping bags of green and purple synthetic cloth coating the ground like plump Spring bushes.  They all felt that if they strayed from each other, took one step away from life they could see, a cold emptiness would petrify their hearts.  Many of them spent their days sitting with their hands pressed against the wall, using their Focus to fortify the stone and look for any signs of intrusion.  When they tired, they would retreat and let another Fate take a shift.  Some of them did their best to produce food, but their efforts tasted like clay compared to Aradox’s plants.  Still, synthetic crackers and plant-like fibers were better than nothing.  Synthetic water became their mixed drinks as they held long conversations about who could make the purest most realistic batch.  There were good batches and bad batches.  Concoctions with excellent viscosity and lousy taste.  Wonderful color but dreadful cohesion.

Amnio’s meditation had continued to advance, though guilt and despair slowed her progress.  She had to slog through a mental swamp at the beginning of each session.  Forgetting herself was the most difficult step, because a large piece of her soul was unaccounted for: destroyed by the indifference of nature and the cruelty of a twisted mind.

The remaining Fates speculated about what she was seeing when her eyes were closed.  They pointed and whispered as she hovered in the air.  They talked about how great she was.  How like a god.  So this is what it felt like Aradox.  You took everyone’s problems into your own hands.  You made yourself feel everyone’s pain.  Hardened your will in the forge of emotion.  Knew that if people really cared about their own lives as much as you cared about theirs, they’d be hovering up here with you.  After thinking this she would shut out the sounds of their chatter and resume her struggles with the universe.

She was in the midst of her deepest session ever when Qynox’s final assault came.  Amnio stroked some scared thing between realities like a stray cat.  With enough love, it might show her the way to the female power Aradox described and whose energy she felt during every meditation now.  There was a sound like someone walking across bubble wrap which broke her concentration.  The wispy dream creature fled and she fell back to Antelife.

When she opened her eyes, everyone was out cold, including Theccary, Gamazete, and Socrome.  She stood.  Silence.

Qynox bled through the wall, entering much the same way he had exited the last time she’d seen him.  In a way it was like no time had passed.  The wounds were certainly still red and wet.

“Do you like it?” Qynox said, gesturing towards all the Fates collapsed on the floor.  “Focus punches.  Small, bodiless ones right to the back of the head.  It took ages to figure out how to do it without killing them.”

“Why not kill them?” Amnio asked.  As much as she hated to admit it, she could hear fear in her own voice, like the leg twitches of an insect dying on its back.

“Nobody understands me!” Qynox pouted and stomped on one of the Fate’s faces.  “I don’t want anyone to die!  I want them all to live!  I want them to make the choice!  Why do you think I haven’t killed you?  I was hoping that you’d eventually see the light!”

“Your light burns what it illuminates,” she said in a whisper.

“And so does Earth’s sun.  Touching greatness burns.  Embracing it….” Qynox shivered as if flipping through a memory album of his favorite orgies, “Is like being ravished by a drunken god!”

“Why are you here?” She asked flatly.

“You’re taking too long to come around.  So I’m just going to kill you and get the ball rolling.  I’m sure we’ll meet again.”

Qynox and Amnio both drew their Phenotypes.  In terms of fighting skill they’d come to match each other.  Their battle would’ve lasted days and been lethal to both if something hadn’t interrupted it before it began.

They were closing the distance between each other when a blue flicker, like a firefly, flew in front of their faces.

‘What’s this?” Qynox asked and reached out a hairy finger to touch the light.  It pulled away from him and hovered, seemingly confused for a moment.  Then there was a sound like stretching skin and pumping bellows.  The light swelled in waves, shuddering from the force of something trapped inside.

“It’s a Bloom,” Amnio said.  She felt an energy radiating from it.  “A seriously ill one.”

“Blooms don’t get colds,” Qynox scoffed.  The Bloom swelled again, so rapidly that both of them jumped back to make room for what seemed like an inevitable explosion.

Instead of bursting open, the Bloom grew pale and insubstantial.  A figure burst forth from inside it and landed gently on the ground.  The Bloom rolled out of the way, barely staying airborne.  It took on a deflated shape and rocked back and forth like something senile and freezing to death.

The figure lifted its head and extended its arms.

“Impossible!” Qynox howled.

“He has a habit of doing that,” Amnio said proudly.  Her happiness started to overflow and her smile beamed brightly.  Tears grew in the corners of her eyes.  “My boy,” she said.

“I see you’ve kept the place in order,” Aradox said to her and opened his arms for an embrace.  She ran to him and hugged him, suddenly sure Qynox could do nothing to them.  She kissed his neck and rubbed the back of his head and laughed as tears ran down her face.

“Did you bring me any meat from Earth?” Qynox asked, already recovering his arrogance.

“I’m afraid not,” Aradox said.

“So how’d you do it?  And don’t you dare tell me to figure it out myself or I’ll just rip both your throats out right now and piss on your bodies for good measure.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Aradox said.

“What do you mean?” Amnio asked.  “How are you back?”

“Yes, do tell.  I’m all ears,” Qynox added, digging into one of his ears with a pinky finger.

“The Bloom that took me was human,” Aradox said, pointing at the sickly inside-out Bloom he’d emerged from.  “I could feel my awareness fading as time passed.  The process of pregnancy was slowly erasing me, replacing me with something blank; innocent.  I could still learn though.  I learned the young girl who was pregnant with me, the new mother of my energy, was not ready.  She was just beginning at a university.  She was in debt.  She had no mate.  Her days were filled with sadness.  Sadness that came down on me like sleet.”

“She didn’t!” Qynox gasped, grasping what Aradox was about to say.  “That little bitch.  She’s a murderer you know.  Nipping life in the bud!”

“It was not a good situation to bring life into,” Aradox said.  “So she had an abortion.”

“And that brought you back!” Amnio exclaimed, wide-eyed.

“Yes.  I wish I could tell her how wonderful the decision she made was.  That she needn’t cry for me.  She may have saved life itself.  I’m sure it’s happened to Fates before, but they haven’t had chances to tell their story.  Perhaps they were immediately swallowed up again.  Perhaps my meditation has given me more awareness than they had.  Regardless, I’m back.  I did actually bring you a present Qynox,” Aradox said slyly.

“I’ll give it to him!” Amnio declared.  The ‘present’ was immediately obvious to her.

“What are you…” Qynox started before a rope wrapped around his neck from behind him, a trick of Amnio’s Focus.  She tightened it to confuse him before giving him a few solid punches to the face and stomach.  His feet slipped across the floor but he didn’t fall.  Amnio’s rope held him up, kept him deprived of air.

She used all her strength and Focus to pick him up and toss him into the broken Bloom that had spit Aradox out.  He didn’t even have time to scream before combining with it.

The aborted Bloom was a strange thing indeed.  It had no life to go back to.  Its connection to Earth was severed prematurely, essentially making it a deformed confused mess with no sense of metaphysical direction.  So when Qynox hit it, it took him in willingly but had nowhere to go.  Qynox’s face and body stretched across its surface and warped, turning him into a flat caricature of himself scrawled on the Bloom’s side.  Then Qynox’s prison solidified into a sapphire sphere and dropped to the ground.  It rolled away lazily.

“Have fun in Limbo,” Amnio said to the sphere.  She returned to her mate and they shared a quiet embrace. 

 

Soon the Fates will do it.  Soon she will tiptoe across the glass that separates Antelife and Earth and coax it to compassion.  Harmony will be life, and life harmony.


Submitted: November 30, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Blaine Arcade. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

simon arthur

Wow. That was an amazing story there. I loved the world they lived in and how the abortion caused Aradox to return to antelife. I'm glad that Qynox had been defeated. A well written story.

Sun, January 18th, 2015 11:04am

Author
Reply

Thanks again Simon.

Sun, January 18th, 2015 4:30am

Facebook Comments

More Fantasy Short Stories

Other Content by Blaine Arcade

Short Story / Fantasy

Short Story / Fantasy

Short Story / Fantasy