The Light Side

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers


A battle between good and evil takes a surprising turn. Sequel to GREATER LOVE, ETERNITY, and NEAR DEATH. Continues in AND NOW ABIDETH, THE FORCE, and ENEMY.

Submitted: January 23, 2018

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Submitted: January 23, 2018

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Lop Skyhopper stood on the bridge, his nose twitching with excitement.

“You won’t escape, Dutch Vader!” he shouted. “Come out, you coward! Face your fate or eat your feces!”

A tall figure with dark, menacing whiskers stepped onto the bridge from the other side.

“I’m sorry, Lop,” Dutch Vader spoke calmly. “I wasn’t done with my daily portion of alfalfa hay yet. But now I’m at your service!” And he drew out a terrifying red lightcarrot.

“You’ve killed my mentor and friend, Obi-Bun Kenobi!” Lop Skyhopper cried.

“Ha! He cut off my paws during a terrible battle where I fell into water,” Dutch Vader complained. “Just imagine the pain and the fear!”

Lop Skyhopper raised his lightcarrot, but suddenly a shaky blue hologram of Obi-Bun Kenobi materialized in front of him.

“Use the paws, Lop!” Obi-Bun smiled, wiggling his ears. “The claws are strong with you. Reach out… Feel them…”

At that moment –

 

“At that moment, what?” Luna asked.

“I’ll tell you tomorrow if you go to sleep now.” Her father tucked a warm blanket around her and gently stroked her long, silky ears.

“But I want to know now! Will Lop defeat Dutch Vader? How can Obi-Bun still be alive if he’s dead? And I want carrot juice.”

“No carrot juice for you, young lady! I said ‘tomorrow’. No, no, stop biting your claws! What do you think you are – a human being?”

“They bite their claws?” Luna asked in a sleepy voice.

“They call them ‘nails’. And they do all sorts of bad things. When you grow up, I’ll tell you what those wretched creatures used to do to us before the Event.”

“But Dad, we should still be nice to them…“

“After what they did?” A shadow fell over her father’s face. “Never. Never forgive that which cannot be forgiven. When you grow up you’ll understand.”

Luna closed her eyes and mumbled:

“Then I’ll forgive them in my dream, Dad…”

 

Tomi Katz raised his eyes and adjusted his tie.

“Let me get this straight,” he said, discreetly plucking a nose hair. “So in your story, there’s this atomic war about a hundred years from now, right?”

“Right. In the year 2121, to be precise.”  Amos Horshan carefully studied the sandal straps covering his toes.

“Okay. Okay.” The editor put his elbows on the desk and squinted at the rays of bright Jerusalem sun looking into the office window. “So this war – miraculously, right? – makes… err… bunnies… err… what do you call it… sentient? Self-aware?”

“Something like that.”

 “Ordinary bunnies?” Tomi Katz batted his eyelashes. “Like, rabbits? Those that go, like – khrum-khrum-khrum?” He exposed his nicotine-stained teeth and distorted his face in a grimace that would be normally associated with painful defecation.

“Yes.”

“I see. And, and – and those rabbits also become big, right? Like, huge? And they, what, enslave the humans, etcetera, etcetera, and then one brave little bunny girl, this –” he peeked into the manuscript “– this Luna, who is actually a princess, one of the sixty-seven daughters of King Horny XIV –”

“Coney IX.”

“– inspired by a bunny version of Star Wars, decides – together with an immortal Chinese dude – to fight for justice, liberté, égalité and all that shit, equal treatment for primates and rodents –”

“Lagomorphs.”

“Huh?”

“Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents,” Amos Horshan explained. “A different taxonomic order.”

The editor emitted a sonorous sigh.

“Look, Amos.” He leaned forward, his fingertips pressed together. “You know I love you, right? Not in a gay way. As a bro. So, bro to bro, okay? What we’ve got here is what you call a taxonomic problem, see? When you wrote Love of Life –”

Near Death.”

“I know, I know, I’m just messing with you.“ Tomi Katz gave the writer a playful nudge. “Anyway, when you wrote Near Death I didn’t say a word, did I? I accepted it fearlessly, like a rectal examination. Because, see, there you write about yourself.”

“About my brother, actually.” Amos Horshan scratched the back of his head. “My brother Shlomo.”

“There you go. It’s a real-life story, you know what I mean? Real life. And that’s the shit people like, Amos. They aren’t interested in your fantasies about bunny rebels and crap. You ought to write about real stuff. You know – sex, action. Sexual action. That kind of stuff.”

“Tomi,” Amos Horshan said quietly. “I want to reach out. I’m not doing it for myself. I believe that my stories matter. I want people to read them. I’ll pay you to publish them, Tomi. I’ll –”

 

“He’ll what?” Fgupe asked.

“I don’t know. I’m having trouble with the dialogue here.” Tbizz spread his hands.

“Of course you are.” Fgupe shook her head. “Look, sweetheart, I’ll be honest with you, alright? What you’re saying is impossible. You do know that our brains have about one hundred twenty seven billion neurons each, don’t you?”

“Maybe theirs have less.”

“That’s not the point,” Fgupe said patiently. “My question is: why do you think that you don’t need a sdedan to connect to their brains? You’d have to stick your sdedan onto their prefrontal cortex –”

“I told you, I don’t exactly read their minds.” Tbizz frowned. “I’m just trying to communicate.”

“Darling, if they exist –”

“They exist.”

“–  they are over four light years away.” Fgupe looked at her husband imploringly. “Have you been feeling lonely lately? I know that our mating season has ended, but if you want –”

“That’s not it, Fgupe!”

“Then what is it? Honey, why do you need those imaginary hmunyans –”

“Humans!” Tbizz said angrily. “And they aren’t imaginary. My grandfather wasn’t crazy. I feel them. I’ve been practicing. Concentrating… Through intense meditation and prayer to Big Mama, I’ve been able to contact them. Their planet is blue, Fgupe. Just like my grandfather said. There are Nsheos – I mean humans – which they call science fiction authors. They think about things that cannot be, and seek the truth in that way. My grandfather contacted them. Theodore Sturgeon, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury… Many others. He taught them something. They didn’t know, but he taught them. And before that, too. He told me it runs in our family. He told me we got this gift from Big Mama, a blessing… We’ve contacted them before. Socrates. Laozi. Shakyamuni. Isaiah – he was able to communicate with Big Mama herself, almost directly! How about that, eh? He didn’t need any stupid sdedans, I bet he didn’t even know what a dpinsh was –”

Tbizz didn’t notice that his wife had quietly left the room, attached her sdedan to the main village communicator, and sent a telepathic signal to the local healer. Tbizz continued to talk rapidly, feverishly about the race of humans, and –

 

Lop Skyhopper opened his eyes.

“What was that, Obi-Bun?” he exclaimed. “I saw strange visions, as though I was intoxicated by too many freshly ground lettuce leaves.”

“That, my young padabun,” Obi-Bun said earnestly, “is the power of the paws. From the tip of your claw to the tuft of fur on your ears, you are part of the universe, and you have now seen that you aren’t alone. The Light Side tells us to protect our common universe and do our best to help redeem those that have fallen to the Dark Side.”

“I haven’t fallen anywhere,” Dutch Vader said, chewing on a piece of broccoli. “I’ve been waiting here for about forty minutes, licking my butt and thinking – sometimes simultaneously. I have something to tell you, Lop. I might be your father. I have seventy-three kids overall, so sometimes it’s hard to tell. But in any case, we are clearly related. Just look at those adorable fuzzy cheeks we both have.”

“I can’t handle these strange, contrived plot twists any longer.” Lop Skyhopper sighed. “Where is reality, where is fiction? What is the truth, or are we all the fruits of some big entity’s intellectual amusement?”

“What does it matter, my young padabun?” Obi-Bun exclaimed. “What matters is the Light Side. Feel it, embrace it, stick to it. Everything else is beyond our comprehension. Only the Light Side is ever real – the compassion that you feel to the unfortunate, the tenderness with which you care for the weak, the love that you are extending, carrying it like a torch, illuminating the entire world. This alone should be your focus, your goal. Go and help redeem your father, Lop! You see, his eyes are already moist, because his heart is touched –”

“No, that’s because there’s a piece of onion in my broccoli,” Dutch Vader said, wiping his eyes. “But you are right, Obi-Bun. And I’m sorry for killing you – though you seem to be doing fine anyway. I won’t fight my son, or possibly a nephew. Stormtroopers!” He clapped his paws. A few soldiers appeared behind him. “Prepare us some dandelion ragout, chopped celery schnitzels, and banana lasagna! Today, we feast!”

“May the paws be with you,” Obi-Bun said kindly.

And, just before disappearing into the depths of the Light Side, he turned his head and cried out, as though he was answering someone, “I’m coming, Luna! Amos, wait for me! And tell Tbizz to hurry up!”

 

THE END


© Copyright 2018 Oleg Roschin. All rights reserved.

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