The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 4

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Read The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 3.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 4)

 
745015:400 – The rumbler rolled from behind the blind and out towards the Goatmen. Set on low, its pseudopod extended and thumped the Aguirran plain lightly and rhythmically.

A strange thing happened which I haven’t shared with the others but am willing to recount here:

All of us – Sanders, Galen, Tellweiller, Nash, and myself – sat at the great table in Common and watched the monitor. On the screen we saw all the goatmen save one turn and stare at the rumbler. They watched it with the same blank, seemingly mindless expression with which they watched the blind previously. They showed no aggression, no offense, no territoriality; nothing. No display of anything with which I’m familiar.

All except one. He turned to the rumbler, puckered as if in thought, as if he were trying to come to some decision about it, then turned back to the Blind. It didn’t end there. If it did there would be nothing more to tell.

When he turned back to the Blind, his eyes – those damn near human eyes everything seems to have on this planet – came to a focus they had not achieved before and he stared – if that word can be used – not only directly into the blind but at me, as if I could be seen by him as separate and distinct from the blind, our ship, even my fellows in the crew. I was about to mention this to the others when I noticed none of them was aware of this singular fellow. All of their attention was on the rumbler, waiting for it to cause an aboriginal scatter. None of them seemed even aware of the lone Goatman.

I looked back at the Goatman whose eyes were fixed upon me and he opened his mouth as if to say “oh”. It seemed he breathed rapidly and I…I felt my surroundings fade. As I sat there meeting this creature’s unintentional stare, I peripherally watched my compatriots moving off as if into some great distance, becoming wisps and shadows until they, the table, Common, and even The Merrimack itself were gone from me.


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The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 3

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Read The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 2.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 3)

 
725015:600 – They stood outside the blind for a full day, leaving only when the inversion storms formed on the horizon and coming back when the storms dissipated, seating themselves in the extended root systems of the succulent where their coloring makes them damn near invisible. We realize now they may have been there since before our landing, hence the blind is moot.

As I stated earlier, Aguirra is a testament to adaptive evolution. These creatures – we call them ‘Goatmen’ now that we’ve been able to observe more about their physiologies – are the best blend of North American mountain goats and South American camels.

In this land of high, thin air, little food, cold, and treacherous terrain, these Goatmen have developed enlarged hearts and lungs – my guess is that they couldn’t survive at sea level.

Their coats are fine and dense with two layers; the outer layer is comprised of long, oily, water repellent guard hairs, the inner layer is comprised of dense hollow hairs to provide both thermal insulation and protection from parasites. At least the insects don’t seem to bother them. The coat won’t collect moisture and sheds condensation, the principal elements of the best insulations known, and is thickest across the shoulders where the guard hairs may be ten to fifteen centimeters long. The coat thins as it moves out to the muzzle and legs.

Toe walkers. Their feet are like their hands, although the toes are broader, flatter, and rubbery in their ability to grasp the surface they walk on. Their legs obviously evolved from something quadripedal in recent evolutionary time.

Chromotographic analysis of their respirations – only two to three per decminute while observing us, apparently a resting state – shows a ninety percent CO2-O2 exchange. Without dissection I can’t be sure, but I would guess they can force oxygen into their tissues in much the way deep diving cetaceans do.

I would almost believe they live on the Towers, although there is no evidence of this other than the telemetry of the casters.

It is obvious they know we are here. This blind serves us nothing. I’ve asked Sanders to allow attempts at communications. Although they haven’t made obvious communication amongst themselves, their behavior leads me to believe them intelligent.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 2

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Read The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 2)

 
705015:323 – The winds are fierce now that Astarte 217’s rays are directly on this moraine. Instruments indicate speeds in excess of one-hundred kilometers per hour and the sudden inversion is creating torrential rains which are creating waterfalls down the faces of the Towers and flooding this gorge.

These rains reminds me, in some ways, of New Orleans, where Robin and I lived briefly while she attended Loyola. In high summer it rains every hour, suddenly, violently, then stops after ten minutes. There are no clouds in the sky, then they gather up, release their hold and go away.

As the clouds gathered Sanders ordered the caster to ground. At the time it was flying over the run off fissures on the Alpha Tower. It continued transmitting and, thanks to the floor and angle, we witnessed incredible rains and winds clearing the skies and scrubbing the canopy. The only difference here is the color.

Despite the rain and wind, we can see Astarte 217 rising far to the east on that edge of the altiplano. It is peering over the precipice at us like some Indian scouting the fort. The clouds are higher over the plain than the precipice’s edge and this gives 217 a green crown. Nash says this is common here but uncommon on earth. Nash. Never-late-for-dinner Nash. Of all on this mission, he’s the only one who grumbles when I sit next to him for meals. No one else seems to mind my being a lefty.

God it is glorious here.

705015:500 – Wind and rain have stopped. They lasted about one and a half standard hours, about point-seven-one dechours on this planet, and Nash says we can expect something similar at dusk and dawn every day.

Sanders sent up some more casters to scout along with the first when the storm broke. They are coursing through the far away valley and are sending back holos of the several species inhabiting Aguirra.

Closer to our blind but still some distance down the altiplano Aguirran insects are busy. Their buzzing and clicking reminds me of apiaries and formicariums back home. Typical to robotic and remote sensing, the true aromas of this country weren’t captured in their entirety, or were captured with the typical burnt-metal tinge which all such equipment imparts. Considering the waxing and waning humidity, there is no smell of decay, detritus, humus, or their like. Whatever moisture lands is quickly recaptured and, as noted previously, behaves more like some kind of planetary scrubbing action than rejuvenating rain. I’ve noticed, at the leading edge of each storm recorded, there is a smell similar to a good late spring rain in a forest. The smells of the flora are highlighted and accented, hitting one high in the nose not unlike a pleasantly bitter coffee.

The Aguirran insects disturb me. More correctly, it is their mammalian eyes which disturb me, eyes you’re more accustomed to seeing on your dog or cat, eyes which you can believe have some hint of intelligence behind them. Galen further noted that the clearly arboreal species have blue eyes. “Same as you, Banks,” he said.

“Why is that, do you think?”

“Adaptive biology, I guess. A blue iris in this atmosphere could cause less ocular distortion over distance. I wouldn’t be surprised if everything living eight-k and up’s eyes were blue.”

Nothing else lives this far off the planetary floor.

Sanders brought me another message from Robin’s attorneys today. There are advantages and disadvantages to being in a jumpship. This message, received as quickly as possible, is still months too late for me to respond. It appears I won’t be allowed to see Jeremy.

Again, there is nothing here which hasn’t been reported before.

715015:030 – The alarms woke us, although there seemed to be no reason. The casters were called back and found nothing, which our shipboard instruments confirmed.

The casters also indicate thermals on the steppes and higher on the Towers, although the vegetation is too dense for the casters to gather much information due to their altitude.

Sanders is staying up to perform a redundancy on the grid and has ordered the rest of us to sleep.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 1)

 
Continue reading “The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1”

Cymodoce (Part 3)

Cymodoce seems to be one of my best loved stories. EU actress Sabine Rossbach performed a reading of it and talks about it often (see Sabine Rossbach’s Happy Hour – 14 May 2020 Interview (wherein she waxes wonderfully about “Empty Sky”) for an example), parAbnormal published it in June 2019, there’s an ebook version and it appears in Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires.

By the way, a prominent Brit-based publisher and I have entered contract negotiations for Tales. It may not be self-published much longer. I’d suggest getting a copy now. Big changes are in the works, it seems.

 
I’ve broken the story into three parts starting with Cymodoce (Part 1) and continuing with Cymodoce (Part 2).

Creator and above level members can download the entire Tales PDF version here


Cymodoce (Part 3)

“See, everything’s fine,” said Mrs. D’Angelo.

“Cymmi mustn’t go swimming,” Jenny said and tapped Cymmi to get her attention. /NO /SWIM//UNDERSTAND/?// Cymmi turned away and pouted, her eyes on the ocean not far away. Jenny tickled her gently until Cymmi silently laughed and looked at her again. /CYMMI /NO /SWIM /PROMISE/?//

Cymmi nodded. /NO /SWIM /PROMISE//

Jenny smiled. She left the children in the D’Angelo’s care and left to walk through the village.

She walked for a few hours. Small pleasure craft and the larger lobster and fishing boats filled the Sound. The air was heavy with the mix of salt and diesel. Each wave brought the shrieks of water skiers and bluetooth boxes played too loud. She heard seagulls fighting for scraps and following the trawlers. Far beneath the gulls and music and vacationers she could hear and feel the grunting, steady engines of the trawlers laying their miles of netting or scooping lobster buoys from the sea.

She saw three small children, she guessed them to be two, three, and four — boy, girl, boy — playing dangerously close to the edge of the pier. As she approached she noticed the soiled, tattered clothing and dirty, shoeless feet and matted hair. They were sharing a can of coke and a package of twinkies. A seagull, almost the size of the smallest child, started to get bold and Jenny hurried before it hurt one of the children.

Suddenly a man appeared from one of the nearer boats and yelled. The seagull took flight and the children flinched. The man’s shoulders were hunched forward with the weight of his gut, but Jenny could tell the muscles were still strong in his arms and chest.

He looked up at her and quickly away. Jenny’s hand covered her mouth, but she didn’t know if her gasp was from stifled laughter or shock.

It was Anthony. A very different Anthony than she remembered from her other visits, certainly not the Anthony who took her to the island.

Anthony hurried his children below deck. Jenny laughed and continued her walk.

Further up the coast she became aware there were fewer boats on the Sound. Instinctively she looked up and realized the sky had darkened. It took another hour to get back to the D’Angelo’s.

Mr. D’Angelo opened the door to her. “The radio says there’s going to be a storm. There’re small craft advisories.”

Mrs. D’Angelo came downstairs. “The children had a snack of cookies and milk. They’re asleep in the guest room. My, do they talk! Their little hands like tiny butterflies, they move so fast. They’re beautiful children, Jenny. I got to love them.” She looked out the window. “You’re going to stay with us until the storm passes, Jenny. You’re not going to take those darling children out in this.”

“Of course she’s not,” said Mr. D’Angelo, offered in Jenny’s behalf. “She going to stay right here, you silly old woman.”

Jenny laughed.

The weather reports were right. There was a storm. A fierce storm. A typical coastal storm, quickly in and quickly out. They could see the crests of the waves from the store. The wind and rain slammed down the street. The lights along the coast went out. Jenny and the D’Angelo’s sat down and had some tea heated on a Coleman stove. Jenny picked up a book. They all turned when a tiny foot stamped.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!