Cosmic Tales 12: VagabondRichard C. Parr / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
COSMIC TALES 12: VAGABOND
Richard C. Parr
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Cosmic Tales 12: Vagabond
Copyright (C) 2015 by Richard C. Parr
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This particular copy of the eBook series Cosmic Tales is licensed for the enjoyment of everyone. It may be freely distributed to others without conditions. Thank you for supporting the author by downloading and reading this story.
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On the temperate turquoise crystalline waters of Horinth, close to the planet's equator, a string of islands sat in a threading formation surrounded by an extensive ocean packed with a plethora of reefs and sea creatures. Some of these islands were considerably small and over millions of years had broken away from the mainland. In the shallow waters of one of these islands, drifting on a makeshift raft, Rodeena concentrated with crossed legs and a wrapped tail as she bobbed rhythmically and watched the distant star's light dancing a reflective body swaying rhythm over the tiny ripples of moving water. Her eyes were almost closed as she focused intention into her forehead crystal, feeling energy absorb and enter through the top of her head, down through her entire body and back out the top. With only the sound of crashing waves against the rocks and the advance and retreat of water at the beach, she immersed herself fully into her thoughts. Each layer melted away as she cast her presence to a place beyond, outside her body, allowing the encompassing material and matter to dissolve, letting her spirit soar high, leaving the planet, travelling many billions of miles in a nanosecond, pinpointing an exact location, zooming in and descending, finding what it was looking for and sticking to its newfound residence. Rodeena called out for home, called out to her race and to her family, wishing them blessings, good fortune, granting forgiveness and giving solace. The feeling was overwhelming and immeasurable compared to her usual meditations, and she found herself whisked back, falling through space, reabsorbing the awareness of time and distance, feeling a rushing of speed and overpowering light, falling through the sky and back to her raft where she opened her eyes and felt the sweltering heat generated from her crystal. This time there had been a return voice. It said, we know you are there and we are waiting for you. That communication was all she required. It made the meditation worthwhile.
A spray of water catapulted on to the raft and Rodeena observed a group of little black and white spotted fish plipping and plopping through the air, soaring for new heights, only to return to, penetrate and tunnel beneath the surface. She laughed as she witnessed the dance and more fish joined in. Then, as she smiled at the aquatic show, the raft upended and she felt herself tilt. The raft came to an abrupt stop, as did the fish's marine display. Rodeena leaned over the side and saw grids of thin rope wound in spiralling knots. Reaching into the water, she saw that fish were squeezing their way in and out of the minute square windows in the rope. There was another shudder and the raft tilted at a steep angle, tipping Rodeena to her feet and causing a great splash as she entered the water. As soon as she touched the rope, she felt her hands become entangled and a sharp pulling force take her away. Working frantically to free herself and the raft from the twisted, jumbled knots, she managed to release a hand, but at the same time the pulling force transformed into a violent yanking. Swimming and kicking her legs to no avail, her raft broke free and now she along with several fish were being towed at an alarming rate. The strength was so unbearable she sank beneath the water level, and as her neck quickly submerged, she took a profound breath of air and her survival instinct overrode her senses. She held her breath as she worked profusely to unravel the rope savagely tightening around her wrist.
A winch system installed on a nearby jetty reeled in a net that had been cast out hours earlier. The onlooker, a rugged, sun beaten, long haired threadbare man with more bone than muscle and a ripped cloth encircling his waist, admired the pinnacle of his engineering. The automatic timer had kicked in and the electronic pulley was retracting the net, for the first time, without hindrance or breakage. He cheered, nearly leaping off the jetty, and, as quickly as he had become jubilant with glee, the pulley froze and he cursed. He sprang to work inspecting the pulley, the automatic timer and the electronics, feeding rope into the water and manually winding it, using his pocket binoculars and looking out to sea, but the cause of the delay was a complete mystery. Then, he felt a cold limb caress his toes, and when he looked down, he saw a bluish green scaly hand gripping his foot, and he yelped. He fell over as he ran and the body of a reptilian female broke the surface and hoisted itself onto the jetty, rapidly breathing in and out and collapsing in a heap in the baking hot sun.
As Rodeena's vision faltered and the world gradually returned to focus, she spluttered out some sea water and discovered the device that had been brutally reeling her in to the jetty. The island came into view and she squinted to catch a glimpse of what appeared to be either a terrified indigenous inhabitant or a scantily clad vagrant sprinting, kicking up sand and disappearing into the line of tropical trees running parallel with the beach. Rodeena walked carefully along the creaking and eroding wooden planks until she reached the sand, feeling the searing heat go into her soles. She raced for a patch of shade by the trees, walking the length of them, ducking and gazing into the insect and bird infested regions beyond, scouting for a sign of the only significant life form she had seen on the planet.
Enhancing the power of her forehead crystal, Rodeena concentrated on a patch of greenery, looking between tree trunks to filter out background foliage and to isolate anything that seemed out of place. A squawking and a flutter of wings departed the trees directly in front of her, and she traced the disturbance to a rustling in the bushes. She gazed forward and saw a deeply tanned and weathered face, with two beaded eyes and white plates glaring back at her, then they darted and went missing, leaving a sound trail as bushes were flattened in a race to skirmish through the jungle.
Rodeena advanced into the tightly knit affluence of jungle, kicking away obscuring branches, clinging and sticky plants, forcibly removing her foot from a mud hole as it sank, listening out for signs of the local. She progressed beyond the tree which she had seen him poised next to, looked further and saw greyness amongst the shades of green. Further ahead, as the trees cleared, a tall stack of rocks revealed itself with several gaping holes in the side. The miniature cavern entrances were littered with carvings, symbols, animal drawings and numbers. A sketch on the rough surface of a boulder used a shadow to determine the time of day. Overhead, birds cried and flurried from nest to nest. Fruits and leaves fell from the tallest parts.
She scaled the rock face, using every ounce of strength in her legs and using her lasso-like tail to catapult herself onto the higher shelves. She lost her footing and gripped on to a ledge, watching below as a crumbled rock slid and careened against the lower shelves. She shimmied across to a bore hole in the rock face and assessed her surroundings. When she was about ready to move on and hunt down the local, a whistle of wind flew past her ear, followed by another, and in the distance, she saw a thin, long and sharp projectile concede to gravity, curving downwards like a dart. She looked behind and saw the man wielding a bow, alarmed at being seen, and quickly rearming for another shot.
Understanding the suddenness and the present danger, Rodeena closed her eyes, placed an index finger on each temple, concentrated with meaning and full absorption aimed towards her crystal, temporarily entering a different world. When the man was about to fire, acquiring the reptilian female within his sights and centring on his goal, a ringing noise pierced his ears and entered his brain. It was worse than nails on a board, than a screeching knife against metal. He dropped the bow and firmly pressed his palms against his ears, crying out in pain and for the blaring pitch to stop. He sank to his knees and scurried backwards against the rock face as the reptilian mounted the shelf and extended a hand. As she got closer, the siren slackened and eventually the blaring racket ended. He looked at her tentatively, taking in her intricate spotted, clandestine demeanour.