The Inheritors Chapter 10 – Resa ValJean, 211 Cavalos Era

Read The Inheritors Chapter 9 – Kyagtshagg, 2035AD

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The Inheritors Chapter 10 – Resa ValJean, 211 Cavalos Era

 
Resa stretched, anguine like, as the Librarian guided her from the Neuroscaphe. “There were some fluctuations in the Labyrinth today, Bertrand. ”

“One of your compatriot Thinkers achieved something unexpected.”

She waited but the Librarian offered no more. “Bertrand, you’ll have to learn to give more information if you want to talk to me.”

The Librarian’s eyes remained dark.

“Bertrand? ” She slowly moved her hand in front of his face. He didn’t track it. Instead he kept his dark, silent eyes on hers. “What’s wrong, Bertrand?

“A Librarian died.”

“Oh, Bertrand, I’m so sorry. Was it someone I know?”

“No, a brother another named ‘Roland’.”

“Still, I’m sorry. Was it a painful death?”

“For whom?”

But she had already turned away and her clothes insulated her from the heat of his words.

They continued through the BookShelves. Resa’s skirt swung methodically as she walked, her long, pale legs taking small steps so as not to tax the little Librarian. “I’d like to go outside today, Bertrand. Would it be possible to see the sun today?”

“The sun can not be seen near the purification plants.”

“Oh. The clouds. Of course. Can we go further out then?”

“Yes.”

An hour later they walked in the dark towards the terminus of a forgotten service tunnel. Small things scurried underfoot and Resa heard water dripping along the way. The Librarian held her hand and guided her in the dark. “Bertrand, could you give me some light? Only for a little while. I don’t want you to hurt yourself. I want to see where I am.”

The Librarian’s eyes grew hot, passing from dull red into orange, the heat he generated searing the flesh around his eyes. She felt him screaming, “If I had a mother she would have called me ‘Sonny’.”

The light from his eyes faded and he shook.

“Thank you, Bertrand. That was very kind. ” She wrapped some of her skirt around the shaking librarian.

His eyes glowed again and she kissed his forehead between them. “No, no, no. Silence. Silence now. Don’t speak. Just listen.”

She held the Librarian close and rested his head against her chest, its eyes running with plasma as they blistered and healed themselves. Slowly it put its arms around her neck and allowed itself to hang there. She rocked back and forth as if comforting a tired child. “There are thousands of creatures down here in this tunnel, Bertrand. Far more numerous and varied than any on the surface, I think. But they live in the dark. Perhaps they’ve lived in the dark for so long they’ve grown accustomed to it. I don’t know. But I do know they’ve grown to fear the light.

“Now think, Bertrand, although I know you’ll say thinking is not the basis of your kind, but think with me for a moment anyway.

“You, who were not designed to think, spoke a joke that gave light in this darkness. Some creatures feared it and ran away. Others were curious and came close. Those that came close, you’ve given wisdom to. Those who ran away ran back to superstitions they already had.”

He lifted his eyes to her face and whispered softly, “A wise thought.”

She pulled his head back down to her chest and rubbed the muscular neck. “Yes. I think so. It’s from the man I named you after, Bertrand Russell: ‘Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.’ Now be quiet. Give yourself time to heal.”

She wasn’t sure how long they stayed thus, only that she’d nodded off and was woken by something making its way up her arm. She caught it in her hand and felt its softly furred surface. Tiny scampering feet forced their way through her hand until a tiny, big-eared head poked free. A long, murine tail curled around her fingers. “Cheep.”

“M. Souris? Mr. Mouse? Is that you?”

“Cheep.”

The big-eared head burrowed into her palm and she felt its nose and whiskers sniffle for crumbs in the hollows of her hand.

“Would you like a crust of bread? A bit of cracker?”

“Cheep.”

She opened the hand that held the mouse and quickly clapped it to her other. She felt the mouse crack and crunch between them as it shrieked its final “cheep”.

“Eat that, little thing. No one touches Resa Valjean unless she lets them.”

The Librarian breathed deeply, as if waking, and her voice grew soft again. “Oh, my, Bertrand. How long have we been away? You won’t get in any trouble, will you?”

“No. ” He paused, his eyes silent for a moment, then a dull glow, a whisper, “Resa, how do you repair?”

“Repair? I’m not sure what you mean.”


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The Gathering Hordes (of Raccoons)

Humans are in a pandemic as I write this.

Covid-19. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

Yet the Old Ones still gather daily and nightly in our yard.

I’ve often fretted about making offerings to The Old Ones. I make sure I offer enough to supplement, not enough to fulfill. I want them to find food their normal ways and not grow dependent. I worry what might happen to them once I pass.

Who will care for them?

I forget that they are Old Ones. They have survived human pestilence save humans being pestilence towards them.

I know certain diseases have ravaged wildlife.

I wonder if they know a disease is affecting Two-Legged life, or do they not care. Do they say amongst themselves, “They are Two-Legs. We were here before them, we will be here after them.”

I wonder how long the current pandemic will last. Or will it decimate Two-Legged life? Were the survivalists correct all along? If you’ve ever read Earth Abides or The Stand, you know the next chapter of humanity may not be all that pleasant.

And still, the Old Ones gather.

I’m sure they will after we’re gone.

The question is, how will they remember us.

So I’ll ask; how do you want to be remembered? Enter a comment. I’d like to know.

 

Blurbs

Noun: blurb
1. A promotional statement (as found on the dust jackets of books

 
I’m studying blurbs.

You know that stuff you find written on the backcover and/or dust jacket of most books? That’s the blurb. It’s underneath the endorsements (if there are any) and the grabber-headline.

My study revealed that opinions differ (Duh!). Some times the terms used for the same things differ. There’s no hard and fast rules, only opinions.

Opinions are called soft data, meaning they’re subjective and hard to pin down into something actionable. However, get enough soft data and you can do some statistical analysis and turn it into hard data, meaning objective and pin downable.

Provided you remember your original source is soft data and therefore your valid results could be valid results of invalid information. Two-thousand people claiming something is valid doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valid. It could mean two-thousand people are incorrect.

The Chinese General Solicitation
I study soft data using The Chinese General Solicitation. I learned the Solicitation a long time ago, it’s served me well ever since in any number of situations:

  1. Ask the same question to lots of different people.
  2. Get their answer,
  3. then ask lots of questions to get an explanation for their answer.

Do that until you run out of time, money, or both (and recognize that the data won’t harden up quickly. You generally need lots of people taking part), then make a list divided as follows:

  1. Top of the list – find out what everybody agrees to.
  2. Second part of the list – find out what most people agree to.
  3. Bottom of the list – pay attention to what you agree with (not because it’s least worthy but because it’s your gut-check station).

1. What does everybody agree to?


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I’m Thriving Globally (thanks to Roshan Bhondekar)!

Brother Roshan Bhondekar, an internationally recognized activist, author (of Love – The Key to Optimism: Path Towards Happiness), and award-winning film maker asked if he could write a piece about me. The result is His Vision Made Him Unique.

When he reached out to me I said sure. Why not?

To be honest, I thought it might be a simple blurb (he’s busy with his many projects). Instead I learn he’s done an amazing job connecting the dots of my life into an interesting story.

I mean, I found it interesting. And I think I’m boring and dull. Sometime we forget what we’ve done in our lives.

And I’m still boring and dull.

Anyway, big thanks to Roshan Bhondekar for writing His Vision Made Him Unique

The Inheritors Chapter 9 – Kyagtshagg, 2035AD

Read The Inheritors Chapter 8 – Roland Ayers, 1996AD

Note his is a work-in-progress, folks. Kyagtshagg use to be “Yu-Ping Chang.” I realized that language form was some 22,000 years ahead of her first introduction to the story hence was invalid and went with a similar meaning in the earliest Tibetan dialect I could find.

Creator and above level members can download a PDF of this chapter to read offline


The Inheritors Chapter 9 – Kyagtshagg, 2035AD

 
Fire, it seemed, was the humans’ answer to everything. Didn’t like the people? Burn them. Didn’t like the place? Burn it down. Didn’t like the ideas? Burn the books.

Oh, Kyagtshagg had seen it so many times she was sick of it. Sick of it, do you hear? Sick, sick, sick.

Even their celebrations were ceremonies of fire. New Year’s Eve in Montreal was, yes, a gala celebration, and oh, yes, the midnight sky was alight with the nomads’ fireworks. Big booming bangs of every shade and hue shuddering and shaking the ground far below.

She laughed and looked away from the key to some children holding their parents’ hands beside her. So long ago.

Or no, it wasn’t.

She couldn’t remember. She’d either been a child or had a child.

Which was it now?

Another booming blast of light obliterated the full moon and hid the cosmos behind a veil of specters dancing in the midnight sky.

But the humans did this. Not spirits. When she was young, yes, she remembered, when she into a demon changed, the Dancing Skies came down and danced with her. Yes. She remembered and smiled.

A little girl holding onto her grandfather’s hand looked up and smiled back.

Kyagtshagg lazily raised a gloved hand to her face and felt whiskers there, but not the demon kind. No, now a mustache and beard, both straggly and worn, like the face and body she wore, she’d allowed herself to show some age — Not too much, though. No. Not too much — since she’d run away from the last life she’d led.

That was a good thing about a society moving so quickly while standing still; you could escape whatever prison you imagined yourself in by simply walking faster than a camera-eye could follow. So, when there was nothing more to be gained from where you lived, just walk away. People were flooded with so much information they could see your face on milk cartons, breakfast boxes, soda pop bottles, buses, trucks, garbage cans and every five minutes depending on which screen they were watching, and they’d let you be unless they had a reason not to.

Say boo to their dog when it took a pee on your foot and they’d sell you for the price of your skin, but ignore whatever they and their foolish nomad kin did and they’d keep you around just for the sport of it, just to have a place for their dog to pee.

And, oh, how she hated things that peed.

But no dogs peed on her boot this cloudless, full mooned, cold, Montreal New Year’s Eve night, no Dancing Skies came down to tweak and twizzle her demon whiskers. Tonight only this little girl smiled up at her as she, Kyagtshagg, deserter of wives and husbands and children and nomads all, smiled back down.

The booms piled up on each other, coming like rocket shells raining fire down on villages, towns, and people in wars past; the finalé. She wished it were the Dancing Skies who the humans recently renamed The Aurora Borealis.

Such a name, Aurora Borealis. Not romantic. Not even as much a carrier of the truth as the other foolishness she’d heard, The Northern Lights.

Humans had no sense of their history, of their origin. But honor their pasts? Revere their ancients?

Ha.

Screaming drew her attention. A disturbance where Rue de St. Catherine met the Old Quarter. Several police tanks came fast, their psychecannons aimed high, the radiators cool.

They don’t want people to get out of the way?

She stood, hesitating, the cold masking her unsure twitches as shivers from the code.

Move closer? Find out what the rush is all about?

Or run because just this once the damned nomad technology found her out, her face hadn’t changed enough and been seen by someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew.

She’d killed all who knew. She’d killed all who even guessed. Even if they hadn’t guessed, even if only once their eyes glistened with some intelligence, an intelligence bringing their eyes back to bite her in their thin moment lives, she killed them.

They were nomads. You could do that with. Kill them, be gone, and they hardly registered the loss unless somebody owed somebody or someone failed to line up their next pawn in the game.

The man holding the hand of the little girl lifted her into his arms.

“Where are we going, Poppa?”

“It’s okay, Resa. We have to be going now.”

Kyagtshagg, hearing the brief exchange, focused on the man and child just as the man stared back.

Poppa? Certainly you are too old to be her “Poppa”.

The man stared back, crushing the child to him. “Poppa, you’re hurting me.”

He looked away, holding the child close still but relaxing his grip a little. “It’s because I love you so much, my little one.”

He glanced back at Kyagtshagg and, catching her eye, glanced away.

Does he recognize me?

“You have a lovely daughter, Sir.”

The child smiled as the man turned away. He froze. Kyagtshagg watched steam rise from him, evaporating in the streetlights. He turned back slowly and met her eyes. He held the child close but away from Kyagtshagg, protecting the child from a sudden grab. His eyelids lowered and his lips barely moved when he spoke. “Thank you, sir.”

What are you seeing? Does you recognize me? Do I have to kill you, too? Is that what you want? Here, in this crowd, in front of your daughter? Really? Do you want me to kill you?

The New Year’s Even wind shifted slightly, blowing out the old year, blowing in the new. Kyagtshagg breathed deep the midnight Montreal cold and caught a scent of fear.

From this man holding so dearly this little girl.

Fear of Kyagtshagg.

Well, yes, of course. But how? Why?

The little girl wrapped her arms around her father. He pulled her coat and scarf and mufflers tightly around her as his gaze wandered through the crowd. “Rose?”

An elderly woman two people over waved and nodded at him. Two boys, older but each dressed warmly and snuggly much like the little girl, were attached one to each of her arms.

Broadcasters on the police tanks called to the cold midnight crowds, repeating and sending their message in every direction in Quebeçois and English, “Ayez votre Carte de Santé OMS en main. Have your WHO Screen Card ready. Ayez votre Carte de Santé OMS en main. Have your WHO Screen Card ready.”

The man carrying the little girl, the woman and her two boys, stood shaking, their eyes darting, evaluating, flight or fight, an island of fear in a sea of civilization, even as Kyagtshagg’s hand reached into her coat, even as a thousand hands reached into a thousand coats around her, even as each hand pulled out its owner’s WHO Screen Card. The lights of the last booming false fire in the sky faded, the echoes ran down streets and alleys, fleeing into the St. Laurent on either side as the crowds stood still in the streets, each face basking in the broad, pale New Year’s Eve moonlight, a city of zombies waiting for passage to humanhood.

Except for the man, the woman, the little girl and the two little boys. The man took his eyes off Kyagtshagg’s but now other eyes stared at him. His eyes came back to Kyagtshagg’s. “Monsieur – ”

“Je parle l’Anglais maintenant ici, s’il vous plait , ” Kyagtshagg answered.

“I beg your pardon, sir. ” The man held the little girl close to him, closer than Kyagtshagg had ever seen a father hold his child.

Kyagtshagg handed the man her WHO card. Tears came into the man’s eyes. His chin quivered. He kissed the little girl he held, kissed her fiercely, holding her face against his and rubbing his cheeks against hers as if he were a cat marking her as his own. Then he said, “Get down, Resa.”

“But why, Poppa?”

“Just get down, Resa. You’re such a big girl now, you’re a little too heavy to hold. ” The man released his grip but the little girl held him tight.

“But Poppa — ”

“Get down, Resa. You, Momma, your brothers and I. We told you this day might come.”

The little girl’s face iced in the Montreal moonlight as she slid down from her father’s grasp. Somebody bumped into Kyagtshagg from behind and she felt a rude hand search her pockets for her WHO card. “Excusez-moi, Pardon me, Pardonnez, A’scuzá a’scuzè , ” came a voice after the hands, the body feigning drunkenness as the hands searched through the next person’s pockets. Crude. Someone else, another immigrant, another nomad who came for solace and comfort and instead found a land in the throes of panic over a disease no one knew how to combat.

Yes.

She noticed but thought nothing of it. Sloppy. Weak. Let her guard down like that again and the nomads would be at her throat; She was the oldest — ha! she chuckled at that — looking person she’d seen in the crowd. For someone with gray hairs to be out on this cold a night, under a full moon and where others could see you? Such a person must have a WHO card with them, upon them.

Amazing more nomads hadn’t picked her pockets.

The man, the woman, and the two boys vanished into the crowd. Only the little girl remained, sniffing back dry tears at his feet.

A policeman came up and held out a gloved hand. “Certificate.”

Kyagtshagg lifted the little girl up in his arms. “Show the nice man your card, Resa.”

The little girl stared at him.

“Go ahead, sweetheart. He’s not going to hurt you. ” Kyagtshagg smiled at the policeman who didn’t look back, simply continued holding his hand out for the card.

The little girl handed the card over.

The policeman lifted his Reader from his belt and put the card through. The screen blinked then came up with garbage. “Damn. ” He banged it and put the card through again. Still garbage. He breathed hard into the chip reader and tried one more time. “Sucre-Deiu.”

“Jammed?”

“Damn fools sent us out on the coldest night in years and expect us to gather up HLPs. They know these Readers are only good to Zed.”

Kyagtshagg smiled as the policeman whacked the Reader again and waited for the screen to clear. “Maybe you got some Anglos in command who think zed is zero-Fahrenheit, eh?”

The policeman kept his eyes on his Reader but laughed. “You got any other papers, sir?”

“Sure. Hang on a minute. ” He put the little girl down. “Go find Momma, Resa, okay? Tell her I’ll meet you all at Chez Temporal in ten minutes for drinks and then we’ll go home, okay?”

“But — ” Resa protested.

“Shh. Hush. Do as I say or there’ll be no wine in your glass, little girl. ” She spun Resa in the direction her family fled and patted her bottom to hurry her along.

The policeman lifted the WHO card. “Hey!”

Kyagtshagg took it and pocketed it quickly. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure she gets it when the family gets together later. Now, as for something else to show you… ” She took her wallet out of her backpocket and appreciated the absurdity of it all: money, wallets, watches, identity via drivers’ license and what-have-you, a;; all now safe. Pickpockets wcouldn’t bother with them. The new exchange de franca were WHO Screen Cards stating sometime within the last sixty-eight hours you were tested free for HLP III prions. Laser tagged and smart, the industry forging the cards was almost as preumptuate as the industry performing the tests. But forged cards were costly to make and expensive to buy and had to be renewed at sixty-eight hours from their initial use. Talk about industries spawning industries! By the time most immigrants bought their way here from wherever they couldn’t afford new cards, hence the roundups like the British cattle culls of the mid-1990’s.

Kyagtshagg intentionally let her wallet pop open to her McGill University WHO Lab pass, photo ID showing her mature, whiskered, male smiling face.

The policeman glanced at it long enough to know he shouldn’t piss her off; someday either his or his family’s test might be in this man’s hands and a slight misreading of some strip of paper or some computer screen would send the WHO guards to his house, to burn it down while they stood about cold and hard behind their environmental shields, talking amongst themselves in their environmental suits, asking did the family have any pets? Asking were there any others recently with the family? Was there anyone else recently in the house?

The policeman turned quickly away, holding his Reader like a shield over his breastpocket nametag. “Thank you, Monsieur. Sorry to take up your time.”

“Not a problem. ” Kyagtshagg smiled at the nomad’s retreating form. “We all make little mistakes, yes?”

The policeman stopped. His shoulders slumped. He hurried on.

Kyagtshagg shook her head. She evaluated hundreds of tests per day and what happened to individual nomads was of little concern to her. What was happening to them all, however…

Evaluating forms was a different power than the Demon Kyagtshagg possessed long ago. But it suited her none-the-less.

She looked around her. The little girl, gone. Her family gone longer still. The impudent fool who sought Kyagtshagg’s card in her pocket?

Ah, police already surrounded him, guided him with their tasers and not their hands, each protest met with a mild tzzzng followed with a yelp, the sound of a little dog kicked while taking a pee.

It made her smile, the sound of the tzzzng followed by the yelp and then followed sometimes by the smell of fresh, hot pee on this cold Quebeçois night..

How she hated things that took a pee.

But without things that took a pee, would she not be in the lab and so close to understanding what the BrainStone had done?


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