A Voice in Every Wind (Ebooks Make Great Gifts #2)

I have a copy of the Fifth Forbidden Book.

My friend Treyl was very anxious to see it; he did not realize that my people used books. So I led and Treyl followed with his strange ungainly waddle, away from the clevth and northward into the hills. This was in the time of the wet spring winds, when the rimmith bloom for their brief lives and the sun passes the Seam of Heaven in a shower of sparks. The clevth was upwind, and every gust brought the awareness of my people preparing for the time of breeding: young females ready to mate and drop their eggs in the shallows, half-year-olds anxious to pick up the beginnings of their coats, adolescents ready for a last taste of the ancestral waters before entering their fina1 forms. The night was alive with sensation, alive in a way that made Treyl and the Fifth Forbidden Book so much more exciting.

With Treyl watching I carefully took the Book from its wrapping — cured membranes of the large jarief flsh — and cradled it in my three forward hands. My copy of the Fifth Forbidden Book is a heavy thing, with leaves made from pressed plantfibers and separated by more membranes. As I held it, my hands detected its ancient holiness, and I caught a wisp of the long-ago scribe who had lovingly transferred the words of the original Book to this copy. I opened the Book to its first leaf, raised it to my face and caressed it with my antennae. Just as he had deposited them so long ago, I felt the thoughts of Ep-Naph the Great Warrior, thoughts that he had left to be preserved by the brotherhood for those of his descendants who could comprehend them.

Treyl leaned forward, looking naked without a coat of star-shaped pled by their hundreds, looking ready to fall over as he balanced on an amazing two limbs while reaching for me with the only other two he possessed. When I first met Treyl, I closed my mind against the onslaught of pain that had to emanate from one so crippled — only later I learned that his people are naturally malformed.

His backpack spoke: a combination of the soundless speech of my people, and the noisy chitters and clicks of the secret tongue of the brotherhood. “May I see it, Dleef?”

“It is old and fragile, my friend Treyl. Please take care as you would handling a newborn.”

He left me holding the Book, removed an antenna from his backpack and brushed it lightly over the surface of the leaf. “Amazing. That chemical traces could be so exact. That your sensory apparatus can pick them up. That they convey so much information.”

“The Book is old,” I told him, “and was but a copy to begin with. Many passages have faded and are hard to read.”

“My backpack can read them all. Possibly it can duplicate the chemicals and make those passages easier to read. Would you like me to do that?”

I regarded him well, this odd small creature from nowhere. The rest of the clevth bore him the usual disregard for a stranger who does not smell right; why did I trust him? Was it that other thing, which made me a part of the brotherhood and brought me the emnity of my people? Whatever, I knew that I did trust Treyl, trusted him with something in me that went beyond his smell and his strangeness. “The clevth leaves with morning, and although I do not wish to go south right now I shall accompany them. You may work your maglcs on the Book until daylight.”

“Until daylight.” He pressed one of his hands against mine, gently, to avoid hurting himself on my pled coat. And through the interstices and the living bodies of my pled seeped a measure of his alien feel, and once again I wondered about him.

About myself.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers 
Find out more in A Voice in Every Wind ($2.50 ebook, $7.50 print)
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Ebooks Make Great Gifts Part 1: The Leaves of October

         I am but a sapling, yet already I have become proficient in the reading of the First Language, in the rustles and whispers of the Second Language, and even a bit in the vast soundless waves of the Inner Voice with its meanings from beyond the sky.

         I am also skilled in relations with the other orders of life, although this world has circled its sun but a dozen times since I broke soil. You may find it strange to hear a Hlut speak of relations with other orders— these are the Hlutr, you may say to yourselves, who stand so far above the others that they touch the clouds, who live so long that they watch mountains change, who talk among themselves in their two languages (for what can you know of the Inner Voice?) all oblivious to the world. How, you may ask, can they even be aware of others?

         And your thoughts are partly right, Little Ones— but only partly. True, the Elders…those who are old even as the Hlutr count time…do not pay that much attention to others. True, they live so slowly that your lives are but a flicker, and to them you are less than goats are to a mountain. Yet you must not make mountains of us, Little Ones, for we are alive (even as are you) and we know the pains and beauties of living. We feel kin to all life.

         Let me assure you that the Hlutr do care, tiny and ephemeral as you are. We know you and feel you and cherish you, although you may not think so; for truly, we do not speak with you and seldom acknowledge you. We are aware of the flying creatures who perch upon us, of the land beings who jump, walk and creep around us; of the grubs and many-legged crawlers who live on us and in us and within the ground beneath our roots. We appreciate, we feel for, we cherish all Little Ones— down to the tiny, primal bits of pulsing, growing, mindless life within you and their dull feeling for the Inner Voice, their dull awareness of the great world about them.

         I have been taught to be even more conscious of you, Littles, than are my brethren Hlutr. I have been taught by Elders and normal Hlutr alike, living so fast that I have fit many of your lifetimes into my scant dozen years. With each day I grow better with the First and Second Languages, the expressions of my people; with each day I become more attuned to the waves of the Inner Voice…not only that I might communicate with my brethren of far-off worlds, but also that I might talk with you, Little Ones.

         Why, you may ask, have I been created this way, why have I been bred and trained into such a non-Hlutr type of Hlut? You may wonder what need the Elders have of a Hlut like me. I wonder too, my Littles. I have some idea. There are whispers in the wind, and pulses in the Inner Voice, that bear news across the galaxy and around the world to me. There is news from the Ancients of Nephestal, whose culture is almost as old as the Hlutr.

         The Daamin, the Ancients, tell us that there is a new race ready to come forth and join the Scattered Worlds of the Galaxy. We will all have company soon, dear Little Ones, and I believe the Elders wish to be ready for these new ones.

         There are strange stories about them, stories which I do not quite understand. The Daamin tell of these new ones, these Humans, and of their distant planet and their odd ways. We have learned of our stunted relatives the Redwoods of Terra; we have been told of Animals and Dolphins and some of the Humans’ strange societal customs (some of them a little like the many-legged crawlers and some of the grubs). In their own way they have studied the Universal Song and learned some of its principles. Enough, at least, to harness some of the power of the First Cause. And they are coming, Little Ones; already their seeds flash outward from their world at speeds as fast as the Inner Voice can move, and soon they will be here among us.

         Little Ones, we must prepare for the Humans.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
Find out more in The Leaves of October (ebook $2.99, print $14.99)
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