The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 12

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 11.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 11)

 
I don’t know how long I’ve been here at this point. I’ve been making records as often as I think to, always when I wake up, but have no idea of how long it has been.

Hepob and all the other females of kid-bearing age are due soon, if not today. I wonder who Hepob’s mate is, or if she even has one. For that matter, why are there only two sexes here? Why not one, or ten? There is a life form on Chalderon that was at first thought to use seven hosts before it could reproduce. We discovered too late there were seven sexes and each played a significant part in the fertilization and development of the embryo.

Unfortunately, only the last sex was sentient, and when your life cycle is several thousand years and your planet is colonized right before the end of your mating period?

It is too horrible to think about.

Tenku is here. It’s black root time.


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“Your Writing Seems So Real”

Okay, not real so much as believable. Fiction has to be believable at some level or the reader won’t be interested. Readers tell me my characters are believable. When I ask some questions it comes out that readers feel (empathize) with the characters.

Great! Excellent! Yowza!

Ask a few more questions and readers tell me they can relate to the characters.

Again, Great! Excellent! Yowza!

I love your stories because you tell a good story.

 
Being a researcher, I ask more questions. Readers tell me my fiction seems real to them and it comes down to six things I didn’t realize I do:

  1. My stories are easy to understand – I write about people, not about technology. I’m not an Hard SF author (makes it easy to not write about technology). I enjoy some Hard SF, not much. Hard SF well done is basically a logic puzzle and I enjoy solving puzzles, so there you go.
    But I write about people. Technology may serve a plot point and most often I use it to reveal character than move the story forward.
    The end result is readers don’t have to be technically adept to enjoy my stories, hence they’re easy to understand.
  2. I do unexpected things in my stories – This, I admit, is one of the most fun comments I receive from readers. Even Susan (who’s been reading my stories for 40+ years) says I still catch her by surprise even though she’s use to how I write and what to expect in a given story.
    So even loyal fans get a pleasant thrill when reading my work. Some tell me they read just to get the surprise. They still finish the story, but the surprise makes it all the better. Like a box of CrackerJackTM, I guess. You finish the caramel coated popcorn and peanuts even though you took a moment to open the prize inside.
  3. My stories are simple – I use simple language (except when describing technology or expertise. Then I use jargon and buzzwords) and the story’s message (if any) is plain, obvious, easy to understand and apply to their own lives.
    When readers tell you your stories touched them, moved them, made them think, anything like that, it’s a win.
  4. My stories are always based on some truths – Thank god I hope so and yes. Simple truths. Don’t hurt people, for example. A simple truth. Be kind, another truth. To me these are truths. Evidently such truths attract a specific kind of audience.
    Would a bigger audience be better? Sure!
    But not if I have to give up truths to do it.
  5. Readers feel something reading my stories – Thank god I hope so and yes, again. I’ve said many times such is my goal. I want my readers to respond emotionally. That’s how I know they’ve shut out the world and entered into the story’s world.
    Bravo to me, there.
  6. You tell a good story – okay. This one, to me, is whimsical: I love your stories because you tell a good story.
    To me that’s kind of like saying, “I’m only eating it because it tastes so good.” Well, I certainly hope you’re not eating it because it sucks! What are you, some kind of penitent?
    Here’s to hoping I continue to tell good stories.

And please do comment directly on the stories I share. I love receiving emails and DMs, and comments are your opportunity to let the world know what you think.

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 11

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 11.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 11)

 
The translator is failing so I use it sparingly. The recorder I use because I can. I will take a guess and record the date as 916015.

Funny how much lighter these units have become without The Merrimack to power them. The mists cleared. The earth is churned more than before due to the leaping and running of the young billies. Most of the elder billies have gone, as have all of the young. There is no more rumbling. I peer over the edge of the Tower and make out the bodies of those who didn’t make it.

Tenku is staring at me.

“What happened here? What was this?”

He grabs my genitals. I don’t know if that is the answer, but it is the only response I get.

He doesn’t seem surprised by them. I am surprised at the gentleness of his touch. They must seem a child’s, weak and ineffective in his hands. How did an ancient Hebrew oath right find its way here, I wonder.

Back in the village, Hepob offers me the same porridge as when I arrived. It tastes slightly different and I see scrapings of the black root in it.

After I eat, I rest.

 

I slept long and deeply, yet my sleep was fogged by dreams as thick as the altiplano’s Aguirran gnats. I no longer know how reliable or intelligible this redaction has become.

I remember several dreams, although only a few clearly. In one, I was back at the ship. Sanders, Galen, Tellweiller, and Nash walk through me and past me as if I don’t exist, nor can they hear me even though I scream at them. The Old Ones have advanced. The Merrimack was called home.

In one dream, I watched Galen and Tellweiller on one of Dave’s C3I monitors, then realized I was Dave watching the monitor. This wasn’t a common dream, where you know who you are and have a sense of yourself no matter what you are in the dream. Here, I was more a passenger along for the ride; not David Sanders, but able to experience his environment, thoughts, and emotions along with him. Not a pleasant journey. He seems a lonely, fearful man.

On the monitor, I watched Tom ask Bob if he’d like to join him in a little exploring. “Care to come along?” I sat with Dave in C3I as they finished lunch in the Common. Dave tapped in the commands for a two-way screen split and zoomed a separate window onto each man’s face. His eyes, always quick, looked down and over his nose at the images on the screen. They went out of focus momentarily and he “hmmed”, bridging his fingers against his mouth and nose. His eyes still out of focus, he titled his head back further, just enough so he could see the tip of his nose in the foreground of their faces. This is an unconscious habit he has when talking to people.

As the two men cleaned up their table and left the Common, Dave adjusted the Eyes to follow them out of the ship. They hadn’t travelled far when they stopped. Without even looking for any remotes or robotics, they fell into each other’s arms, laughing and giggling, pulling off their suits and, making themselves comfortable against each other, finally … finally I looked away, not so much embarrassed as wanting to afford them their privacy. My only thought was “How could they have kept this secret so long?”


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 10

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 9.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 10)

 
845015:2200 – Tenku has returned. There is another billy with him, a young one just starting his horns, and not Gomer. They assume the talking positions, not including me. Tenku asks this other Goatman, “Where are you?”

“The Theisen … ” and a bark. Perhaps I would learn more if I didn’t rely on the damned translator. “Tenku has asked me to be with him and Journeyer. Gomer agrees this will help us know Journeyer and where he is, as Journeyer, we believe, is lost.

“We sit with the sisters and children of Hepob…”

This new billy’s recitation continued for fully forty minutes, at which time Gomer came over.

Before continuing note his reference to “The Theisen.” This seems odd to me as he did not smell of Wa’asis and I thought such was necessary for communication with “The Theisen” to begin.

Most disturbing to me was what he said as he came to the end of his speech; “…and there are some fallen stones. The Old Ones, placed without asking by the others from – ” the untranslatable word again “– those who dwell in the home who wants to be a rock.”

The young billy got up and Gomer took his place. Tenku asked, “Where are you?”

Gomer started, “As Shika said and…”

His recitation of where he is took days longer, even starting as it did from where the other Goatman left off and continuing far down the Towers, across the Altiplano and ranging over the continent.

The missing third leg of the triangle. I believe I have it. The oral history is truly rich and greatly diversified, everyone in the village has their own. They define where they are by their experience, starting at their immediate present, continuing throughout their personal histories and including racial histories when it is relevant to their personal recounting. Gomer, for example, recited a story about a Goatman called ‘Denihé’. From what he said, I suspect Denihé might be the Goatman I and I alone perceived when the others stood outside the Blind and Sanders dispatched the Rumbler. If not that, then Denihé is the creature who I became in that dream.

It is fascinating, this concept. To define your existence by your experience. Perhaps I was mistaken in thinking these creatures have names so much as they have icononyms, a single sound which acts as an arrow to a racial or cultural memory of their entire existence. It may explain why they laugh at ‘Goat Man’. The name denies them half their experience. To them, “history” is by its very nature an individual’s song.

I wonder what they made of “My name is Gordon Banks.”? Has that simple statement, denied of cultural references and identity, defined our interactions since?

Tenku sits facing me. There is black root in his hand.


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 9

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 8.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 9)

 
815015:0800 – The recorder signaled The Merrimack’s request for my immediate return sometime during my study of the black root. Has my intention for participant observation caused Sanders concern? Has Robin conscripted my pay for this rigging and Sanders needs my consent before he’ll approve? Damn him, By-the-Book Sanders. For the first time in years I feel useful, like I’m accomplishing something, and I’ll be damned if any petty squabbles will keep it from me now.

I had not noticed before, but some of the billies are not in the village. Have they gone back to inspect “the home who wants to be a rock”? Is this Sanders’ concern?

835015:1700 – No entries yesterday. It seems I slept. Gomer tells me this is common for those first exposed to the Wa’asis, the proper name of the black root. He also tells me we didn’t get to the Theisen. I could not make the journey, he said, something which is also common. When I asked why he said nothing.

More of the Goatmen have left this village, some even as I enter this, and I note that the majority of those leaving are the young ones. Regarding that, several of the females are pregnant and, Gomer tells me, will start kidding soon. I asked him if there are any natural abortions or stillborns and he answered no, but not directly. There are no words in his language for either stillborn or abortion. This is the strongest evidence such things don’t exist.

I’ve also asked about natural predators. The lowlands have several, he tells me. Original planetary findings confirm this. “Is that why your people came here to live?”

“No, we have always been here.”

I haven’t as yet heard any of their oral tradition or myths – if indeed they have any. I’m sure they would be fascinating.

This opens our discussion again to Tenku and I question him about the Wa’asis. Whatever it is, only Tenku and a few others have it and administer it. What happens when these others are no more? Then one like them will chew it. “Will you chew it?” He has no answer.

This brings up another point. Are these the only goatmen on all of Aguirra? Where are the other “tribes”?

I ask about the Goatman – here again Gomer laughs at “Goat Man”. He butts me but this time knows I’m delicate and it is a tap, barely felt yet frightening never-the-less – the individual who stared at me when we sent out the rumbler.

Gomer tells me no such person – Goatman – exists. I describe the individual in detail and he asks me to go on, to tell him more. It is here I realize something else about these Goatmen and perhaps all aboriginals I’ve ever known.

The Goatmen’s observational skills are based on a delicate yet pervasive matrix of focused attention directed to minute detail, the constant exercise of a rich cultural memory, and the predication of all experience into oral history. This latter is prevalent in all pre-ecririen societies. This could be true of all aboriginal peoples but I have no way of knowing.

845015:0430 – Gomer has returned with Tenku. Tenku asks me to tell him who I saw with the other People when they came to the Blind.

It is not that he’s dissatisfied with my description, it’s simply that he feels there is more. He doesn’t question what I’ve told him, only asks “Where are you?”

“I am here.”

Quickly, he lifts me. I think he is old and still he demonstrates formidable strength. Holding me against him, I smell his scent quite strongly. It is the same and subtly different from the others and the community smell I’d gotten used to. He smells, I realize, of the Wa’asis. His breath is sweet with the stuff, and being this close it is intoxicating.

“Where are you?” he asks me.

“I am here, I told you.”

He put me down. Something strange happened then, something I’d noticed but had not referenced in this work before.


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!