Friday, May 18, 2012

Itareña: Chapter Two

Hey everyone!  So despite my hellish production schedule, I'm going to catch up here.  I'm going to post today and tomorrow and the next day to be sure I've caught up.  I've also gone back and responded with just a little something to everyone's stuff that I've missed so far.  Oh, and as for today, now that I've got my computer back, and have recovered this document too, you get more of this story!


James stared in wonderment as the giant, sleek metal dropped its cloak and slid into visibility over the neighboring fields. It pulled down onto the track adjacent to town. Who would bring a spaceship to Zerhu, he wondered? Only the richest of lords, royalty, and divinity were able to own such things. James was fairly sure only those on the farthest reaches of the world owned spaceships.

James imagined for a moment the life of one who would own a spaceship- to have so much and be restricted by so little. Most people in Zerhu and surrounding countries would never travel as far as the other side of the world... it could take up to twenty years by train to reach the Holy Lands, for instance. Even if someone decided to travel a fortieth of that distance, it was usually for life, and communications with those they'd left at home would be few and far between. A spaceship could cut down on travel time considerably. The fastest could travel to the other side of the world in a few months or so. Yet those ships were only owned by divinity. Being extradimensional entities themselves, and aliens to the material plane upon which mortals lived, only they were capable of controlling the forces which would allow a ship to manipulate timespace well enough to be able to travel faster than light. James could halfway remember a story- he wasn't sure if it was a myth or not- of a demigod human entrusted with his godly father's ship. The human had forgotten to pull out of non-space in “time”, when he was “close” enough to his destination. He forgot to spend a few months traveling in actual timespace. As such, when he arrived, he arrived years too late, his mother and everyone he knew were dead, and he caused such a distortion in the timestream upon arrival that everyone in the immediate vicinity of his landing immediately aged five years, which caused all manner of bodily tragedies. The boy himself disappeared, some say back into non-space, some say to another dimension and to another planet, never to be seen again. Either way, James thought that living with less or more dimensions would probably be hellish.

James felt excitement swirling in his abdomen as he considered the possibility that the ship was owned by a god from the Holy Lands. He wondered how to find out. He could follow it... or he could do the smart thing and stay home, and wait and see if anyone mentioned a foreign dignitary's arrival on the news. If he followed, it could be dangerous. But hell, he could hang back far enough that he'd be safe, yes? Yes. Besides, maybe no one else had seen it arrive. It was a sleepy little town, after all. There may not have been a single pair of eyes cast in the direction of that road at the time James' were. But no. He could see a few rubberneckers already walking down the street toward where it had gone.

James knew he had to act quickly. He ran back through the orchard, into the backdoor of his home. He looked around. His family was playing cards at the kitchen table.

“A spaceship just landed!” he exclaimed.

His mother snorted. “Yeah, the Queen of Ildia decided to take an interest in my complaint against our mayor since our own government wouldn't.”

“No, really,” he said, as he moved quickly to gather a pack and put his important things in it. Luckily he'd usually had that satchel with him at school, and it was still mostly packed from the trip home. It was all he could take for now, on such short notice. “I'm going to check it out. I'm going to walk over down East Street. I'll be back later.” Or not, he thought. But he didn't want to worry his mother, or she might delay him. She wasn't the type to usually worry about him, and luckily, she wasn't now, either. She'd always let him stay out as late as he wanted, no questions asked, anyhow. Why should she stop him now?  Besides, she didn't have much of a chance- he wasn't going to allow her one.

He burst out the door and started trotting over toward East Street. Others were doing the same. He followed them to where the spaceship had pulled in just a little ways outside of town. It had parked by the lagoon. As James arrived, a very small crowd had gathered nearby on an adjacent side of the lagoon. As he neared, he saw people standing around a structure in the center of the lagoon which everyone had always called “The Grotto”. It was nothing special, just some old creepy mausoleum no one ever visited. These people were dressed in exotic finery- James couldn't be sure, but there was a flutter in his heart as he thought it might indeed be a style from the Holy Lands.

A hatch on the spaceship was open, and stairs led down to the ground by the bridge to The Grotto. A woman stepped out of the ship and began descending the staircase to join her company at the mausoleum.
As this woman stepped out into the dusky light, illuminated mostly by the neon-colored lights aglow upon the ship, which cast strange colors and shadows in many directions across her pale skin, James finally understood what his grandfather had once told him about how he'd quit whiskey. It had become a bit of a problem for the old man at a certain point. The kind of problem that interferes with life and causes you to do low things. So James' grandfather saved up for awhile, and after a year, and auctioning off a few possessions, he had the money to send away for a fine, fine bottle of whiskey. A rare, aged bottle very few people had. It wasn't the best bottle in the world, but it was damn close. It cost as much as good farm equipment, or more. James' grandfather had savored that bottle. And after that, he never wanted whiskey again- because nothing else could compare to the taste. It was all just a pale imitation, nothing but disappointment.

James knew, the moment he saw that woman, that he could love no other woman in the world. He could try, but it would be a pale imitation of love- never the real thing. Never the full thing. Some part of his heart would always be missing- because the whole of it belonged to her, he knew, without a doubt. He stared upon her in awe and veneration as he felt what he knew was his soul latching onto her. He didn't even know her- how creepy was that- but he knew he would be dedicated to her for all eternity. The space between them, all the distance, all the empty air and floating dandelion seeds and fireflies blinking, all of that translated into some kind of sweet pain for James. He knew that he could never be satisfied until that distance was closed and he was one with this woman.

He heard a gruff voice behind him to the right break him out of a daydream of doing just that, a daydream so vivid it had made all else in reality melt away for a moment. But this jarring noise brought him back. “Agckh. Itareña.” And with a sinking heart, but a heart he was still unable to retrieve from her, James understood.


  1. I am more curious than ever about this world (It takes twenty years to get somewhere by train? How big is this planet?) and its people (divine beings are commonplace?). I definitely want to know who the people from the spaceship are and what they want.
    The love-at-first-sight moment feels honest and heartfelt, which is an accomplishment because many times such moments come off as contrived cliches. I especially like the anecdote about the grandfather's whisky (bit of foreshadowing perhaps?). I'd also like to know who Itarena is and how some of the townspeople know her, but I'm sure that will be explained in future chapters.

    1. Yeah, I think it's like the whole known universe is just one big planet... although that's an odd concept since a universe must by its nature be infinite. So... well, a colossal planet. Divine beings are not commonplace- you might see one very, very occasionally over in the Holy Lands. Once in a lifetime if you're a commoner. And never if you live elsewhere. But I hadn't added that to the text and wasn't planning to. But if you're curious, perhaps I would for a future version. Thanks for the compliments!

  2. I love the little thing in the last line about his heart. Really poetic :) good job.

  3. I am also really curious and invested in this planet. I like the concept you gave in the comments- you should consider weaving that into the narrative early if you think it's that important to the understanding of the story. (and if James thinks about it, remember that he has to explain it in terms he knows)
    Something you might want to consider would be narrator investment. Is the narrator just telling the story, or a part of it? The paragraph "James felt excitement...after all," if meant to be from a distant narrator, comes of as telling instead of showing. Just a suggestion to get you thinking!