This week we have a Creation Story By: Norval Joe.
Music By The Lunacy Board – Curtsey of Mick Bordett.
DOWNLOAD Creation Story #1
“The god, Hate”
By: Philip ‘Norvaljoe’ Carroll
The two boys looked over the edge of the landing. In the waning light of evening, the side of the building dropped away into gloom. To their left, stairs ascended. With out handrail the stairway hugged the side of the building which slopped gently away to its domed peak a thousand meters above. To their right, the stairs descended into the blackness of night.
“We have to go up. The inside stairwells have all been gutted, at least all of them we were able to look into,” Dean said. “Just don’t think about the rail, or the rail that’s not there. If you lean against the side of the building, you’ll be fine.”
Vance said nothing. He scratched at his thickly packed short hair to release the pent up heat of his fear. Hair, like the pile of a good carpet, covered his head from the top of his brow, down his neck and over most of his upper back and chest. An evolutionary adaptation to maintain body heat on the cold Jovian moon. Tough scaly skin protected the body from the planet’s radiation. The two boys, cousins, were very similar in appearance, aside from Dean’s hair being a darker brown. Vance, slightly over weight, was wider in the hips and had a vaguely pear shape.
They each wore utilitarian jumpsuits that exposed little more than head, neck and hands. Their small packs, secured around their waists, carried what was left of the few supplies they brought with them. Hand held lights were clipped to each shoulder to access the radiation of the planet and recharge the power cells.
Dean placed his foot on the first step before looking back at his friend. “Come on. I’m hungry, we’re low on food, and no one knows where we are. The sooner we get going, the sooner we might find something to eat.”
“Ok, I’m coming. You lead the way, but go slow. You’re skinny and you can lean away from the edge. No matter what I do, I feel like I’m hanging over. Hey, wait. Don’t get so far ahead.” Vance called after his cousin who was progressing up the stairway without hesitation.
“Your butt’s not as big as you think it is, Vance. Just lean into the wall. It’s really not far to the next landing,” Dean shouted over his shoulder, not turning around. But then he stopped.
“Stop Vance, you’re going to have to go back down.”
“What?” Vance cried, sounding almost hysterical.
Dean had turned and worked his way back toward the landing, when he reached his cousin, “Yeah. Sorry. The stairs are crumbled up there. There’s no way to go up, unless you think you can jump up and across about three meters.”
Vance didn’t respond. His face glowed pale in the light from the large orange planet.
Back on the landing Vance wiped his sweaty hands on the legs of his jumpsuit and said, “I think going up was easier. There’s not so much ‘down’ to see.”
“Maybe,” Dean said, “all I could see was your slow moving body. Besides, down is the only other way to go. Since you’re warmed up for it, let’s go. I’ll go first though, and try to keep up, please.”
In the dim glow of Jupiter they descended into shadows cast by other city buildings silhouetted black against the the orange planet backdrop. They leaned in close to the rough composite exterior of the building and ran their hands along its surface, as they resumed their descent.
“We’ve dropped more than a floor by now,” Vance observed after descending for a period. “Shouldn’t we be getting to an access landing soon?”
“Apparently not.” Dean replied with just a hint of sarcasm, then continued with a kinder tone to his voice, “It’s probably more like, every three to five floors. I bet these outside stairs were designed for emergency escapes or access. Maybe. See? Here’s one now.”
Their descent had taken them down and around the conical building. To their disappointment the door on this landing was locked or jammed. Though they struggled with it for some time they were unable to access the building.
“Nothing to do but continue on down,” Dean said and looked at Vance, “How are you feeling, buddy? Can you go on?” he asked.
“Oh. Well. Yeah, I’m fine. I guess I’m getting used to the sensation of constant abject fear. It doesn’t bother me so much any more.” Vance replied, he sounded resigned. “I’m getting hungry, though. Do you have anything left to eat?”
Dean looked through his pack. “Well, I got two protein bars and one carbo. How many do you have left?”
“None.” Vance said, sounding desolate. “I ate the last of mine before we started down.”
“Ok, here’s one of my protein bars. Make it last though. I have no idea how long it will take to get back home, once we find a stairwell.” Dean said, but shook his head and thought, “If we find a stairwell.”
Vance ate before they continued down the open air stairway. The stairs continuing down didn’t lead off in the direction they had from the last landing. They turned back, zigzagging down the Jupiter side face of the building. The boys followed the stairway down. They traveled in silence for a long time, Dean counted each step.
They stopped and leaned against the wall to rest. “When will we find another landing,” Vance asked? “I feel like we have been descending forever.”
Dean said, “there were 245 steps between the landing where we came out, and the one with the blocked door. If the steps are each 20 centimeters, we dropped 49 meters between landings. I have counted 390 steps since the last landing, or 78 meters. I would think, since there was no landing at the last 49 meter level, we should hit one in another 20 meters, or 100 steps.”
“Right, I’ll take your word for it,” Vance said. “Just tell me when we get close.”
Again, they moved down, further into twilight gloom. Within minutes Dean held out his hand. “Wait,” he said when he suddenly stopped.
Vance was in the rhythm of plodding along and plowed into his cousin before he could come to a complete stop. “What’s the problem,” he asked.
“Check this out, there’s a plant growing on the steps here,” Dean said. He pointed to a small creeping vine, barely visible in the shadowy half light. “It looks like a shooter bean vine, like your mom’s got growing in the kitchen.
Not wanting to lean out over the edge of the stairway, Vance tried to peer between the wall and his cousin’s head. “I can’t see it, but I’ll take your word for it. Why’s that so exciting.”
“Well, for one thing,” Dean started trying to keep the contempt out of his voice, “the vines need water to grow. Your mom grows hers directly in water, remember?’
“Uh, huh,” Vance grunted. He still sounded lost.
“I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink right now. And if they have been growing here a while, there could be some beans. I know thet don’t taste great raw, but they fill you up fast and have a lot of protein.”
“Alright, I get it, we can eat. Let’s follow the vines and see where they go,” Vance said sounding more motivated.
As the boys continued down, vines climbed the stairs and wall of the building in greater profusion. The wall itself had crumbled and broken away in places where the invasive vines had buried their tendrils into the masonry and weakened it.
Just when the plants had become so thickly tangled on the steps that the boy’s progress was slowed to a near crawl, they were relieved to reach another landing. However, this landing was so crowded with plant life, at first glance, it seemed impassible.
Shooter bean vines grew high above the cousins. The fibrous brown stalks wound up trellises to hang their leathery oval leaves over the two boy’s heads. The dark green leaves were almost black in the orange half light. At the base of each leaf’s stem hung a cluster of the protein rich beans. Some of the beans were still light green and small, yet others were hard, brown, and cracked, indicating they were ready to pick.
They followed a narrow pathway between the towering vines.
“Here, Vance, give me a leg up, so I can reach those beans up there. It’s the biggest clump I can see,” Dean said. He shuffled his feet around among the vines to find a good starting spot. There were other faint trails winding between the trellises and a variety of vines with gourds or melons too heavy to allow them to climb higher than a half meter up the trellis.
The boys were completely engrossed in the effort of reaching the large cluster of beans. They were unaware of the attack until they were set upon. Vance hit the ground first, with Dean landed on his chest. Already dazed from the fall, the wind was knocked from him, he wheezed helpless to defend himself.
Dean thrashed around on top of Vance while heavier bodies wrestled and pinned him. One struck him in the face, and as if finding this activity rewarding, struck him again and again. All the while the attackers screamed and shouted words just beyond Deans recognition.
Suddenly the hitting ceased, and the shouting increased in level. Other voices, now, argued with the attackers. Dean started to recognize some words, “food” and “steal” and “kill”.
Dean tried to see through his watering swollen eyes, but gave up the effort when he was dragged to his feet and pushed forward, between the trellises. He hoped Vance was coming along behind. From the groans and shuffling sounds behind him, Dean assumed Vance was there.
They were pushed through the door from the landing and down the passage. Incorrectly, Dean assumed they would be thrown to the floor at the first opportunity. However, he judged by the amount of time they traveled without turning, his captors were taking him, and his cousin, toward the center of the building. He began to worry that his eye wouldn’t ever refocus after the beating, then realized the group traveled without light in the dark narrow passages. He could see neather the walls of the passage, not his captors. As a result, he was unable to learn anything of their nature or their destination.
They ran in silence at a pace Vance had soon tired from, and caused his escort to slow considerably. Though they literally dragged him along, they said nothing.
They stopped, a door opened, and Dean was pushed through, he felt his escort follow at his back. The light in the room was blinding, though only because of the recent absence of it. Once his eyes became accustomed to the brilliance Dean looked around the large room. Long, vertical fluorescent light bars were placed every meter along each of the walls in the large square room. Dean counted twenty to a wall. The walls were decorated with decorative banners of geometric patterns which hung between the light bars. The floors were covered with mats woven from the same fibers and of a similar design to those on the walls, only thicker. Woven cushions were occupied by the older men and women.
Their clothes, mainly robes worn over simple pullover shifts, were made of the same brown or beige fibers, as were the hangings and mats. Yet, their clothes appeared soft, almost delicate, compared with the course durability of the mats.
The room sloped down from the walls toward the center, perhaps a meter or more in depth. It was crowded with people and they were arranged in a circular pattern, the eldest on cushions, around a raised, center, dais. Behind the ancients were other adults, some with small children on their laps. Behind the adults other children stood. Finally, along the walls, keeping Dean and Vance company, were teenage youth, mainly boys, and other young adults.
There were conversations throughout the room among groups of adults or children, and while the adults appeared mostly serious and somber, there was an air of excitement among the smaller children. The youths around Dean and his cousin were silent and watchful.
When he didn’t concentrate or try too hard, Dean began to understand some of the dialogues going on around him. Many of the words were the same as he would use, only spoken with a different accent or inflection. Some words were clear, though in a strange context. Much to his consternation, her heard some words more often than he would have liked. Such as “Thief”, “Stolen”, “Hate”, and “Kill”.
Four of the youth rushed from the wall opposite where the cousins were being guarded. They hurried down to an elderly man on a cushion close to the dais. They assisted him to his feet and then to the dais. One of the youth knelt next to the man. He placed his gnarled hand on the boys head for balance and support. The boy tried with his might to control a grin of pride and blushed furiously when he could not.
One hand placed for balance, he raised the other to call for silence. Except for the sounds of little children, the room was hushed. The old man pointed to Dean and Vance. The surrounding youths pushed them forward roughly. The old man watched their progress until they were at his feet.
He spoke slowly and quietly, like the wind through empty corridors. “In the beginning the gods gathered unseen energy from the void and molded it into a great ball. They called this glowing orb Sol. It gave light to the universe. The gods were happy with it and gloried in its brightness and warmth. Much time passed and the gods became dissatisfied with the limits of their creation. They desired a new diversion.
“Within the protection of Sol’s beauty, the gods created a home, the world known as Earth. There the gods found comfort and satisfaction. They had food aplenty, drink in abundance, and clothes of all colors and variety. The gods were happy and brought forth mortal children to inherit and care for their paradise.
“All the gods were pleased, save one. The gods cannot be named, there were too many, and of varying influence. But this one we name. We call him Hate. For hate is the power to corrupt and ruin. It spoils, and festers, and destroys.
“Hate spread his influence on the children of the gods and won many, and coerced many more, with intollernce and greed. He caused wars, and persecutions, and enslavements.
“After millenia of hate, the other gods banded together to influence their children. Some thought it was too late, but others worked togherther in love, empathy and cooperation. They forced the god, Hate, and his influece from the paradise of Earth.
“Hate was consumed with rage. He wanted to destroy all the goodness the other gods had created and enjoyed in their paradise. He flew from his home among the mortals and went right into the center of Sol itself.
“At first there was little change. The gods and their children thought they were finally rid of the troublesome god. It soon began to tell. Hate’s rage expanded Sol that it grew in size and heat. It wasn’t long before Sol was so hot, the water on earth began to boil away. The beautiful trees and plants withered. Animals beneficial to the children of the gods suffered and died.
“The gods met in council and determined if their children were to live, they must be taken away, out of the reach of the god Hate. Each god could take only two of their children. One woman and one man, each, were carried to a place of safety.
“Here, on our world, some of the gods met together and placed their children, far from the influence of Hate and Sol. They changed the land and brought air and water. They built buildings and provided their children with shelter. When they saw their children were safe they flew to the planet and placed their power there, that they may always provide light for their children.”
The old man stood, silent, head bowed and eyes closed.. The audience waited expectantly. Dean stared at the old man, afraid he would break the spell that seemed to have fallen over the people. He hoped desperately that Vance wouldn’t move or speak.
The man on the dais raised his head and scanned the rows of people. His rheumy eyes cut through them to their hearts. He spoke again, “there are some here who would bring the god, Hate, to our homes. I have heard them praying to that god. They whisper, ‘hate’. And they whisper, ‘kill’.” There were hushed murmurs from around the assembly hall.
“That is the way of the god, Hate. But he is not our god. Our gods say, we must let them go.” He finished rapidly with increased volumne to counter the rising opposition of some in the audience.
“Father, here me,” several members of the assemblage shouted at once, each dropped to his or her knee.
The man identified one of those who spoke out. “Please speak,” he said to the kneeling man.
“These youths may be innocent and not deserving of punishment, but htey have found our home and may bring unwanted attention by those above. We have lived here for centuries in the peace of isolation. There presense here, puts out lives at risk,” he said and bowed his head.
The man on the dais turned to the next. “Speak,” he said again.
“They are youth, Father, and not deserving of death. We must keep them here, though, for our protection. We may treat tham as out own sons adn bring them into our society. That would be acceptable to our gods, would it not,” the woman asked before bowing her head as the first had.
He turned to the last who knelt. He appeared nearly as old as the man on the dais. He leaned on a staff as he knelt awaiting the recognition of the Father. When he was permitted to speak, his voice quavered as his body shook.
“Father, my brother. We have our ways, which are not the ways of the youth. We have lived long and enjoyed our freedom and safety, as we have remained undiscovered by those above. To let these young men return to their homes and peoples may indeed bring attention, or even, oppression from those that live high up. To us, the elderly, it would change little. Will our grand children or great grand children, suffer the privations of slavery at the hands of the people of these youth? There is no way to say.
“To kill them for finding our home would be unjust punishment, and even to keep them here against their will would be slavery, and hypocritical on our side. We preach freedom and liberty, and cannot deny it to others for our own protection.
“We can only offer them their choice, to remain with us, or return to their people, and ask that they honor us with their silence of our existence.” He stopped speaking and bowed his head.
Now the entire gathering was alive with discussion, some among themselves and neighbors, others with repeated shouts of, “Father, hear me.”
The elderly man, still leaning on the youth at his feet, waited several minutes as the debates continued. As the noise started to fade, he again held up his hand for silence. He surveyed the audience. All eyes were on him, many knelt awaiting the opportunity to speak.
“Are there any present who have opinions remarkable different than those already presented,” he asked?
Again, he surveyed the crowd, watched them ponder and waited for a reply. Eventually all who knelt sat again, with out speaking.
For the first time, he turned to Dean and Vance. “You young men will be permitted to go free. We will help you find your direction and a route to return to your homes. I do not know you, whether you are honorable or not. I can only ask you to speak to no one of our presence. Will you do this?”
The boys were speechless. Vance turned and looked at Dean for guidance. Dean grabbed Vance and pushed him to his knees and knelt, himself. He bowed his head, elbowed his cousin, and said, “Yes Father, I will do as you ask.”
When Vance said nothing, Dean elbowed him again, harder. “Umf. Oh. Yes, Father, I will do as you ask,” he finally agreed.
The two cousins climbed the stairwell. “This is starting to look familiar,” Vance said, “those floor markers look like the ones close to our floor.”
“Yeah.” Dean agreed. “But by my count we still have about 25 floors to climb.”
“That’s ok by me, as long as we’re headed home,” Vance said between gasps.
After a few more flights of stairs, Vance continued. “So, what’s to keep us from telling people about what we found down there? They won’t know it was us, would they? And does anybody really care their down there? That’s a long way to go, just to see some people dressed in weird clothes.”
“I don’t know,” Dean said. “I think it’s interesting they have their own society, completely hidden from us up here. And they believe in gods and we came from another planet. I like that. Having some being that watches over you, cares about how you’re doing.” Dean stopped so Vance could catch up again, and rest a bit.
Dean broke a shooter bean cake in half. “Last one,” he said and gave one of the parts to his cousin. “These cakes are sweet. I’d love to know how they make them. But then, if we had these really great cakes, people might start asking questions.”
He ate his half and said to Vance, “I’m not going to say anything about them, down there. I think they deserve to be left alone. Besides, I gave them my word.”
“Yeah. You’re right,” Vance finally said. As he started up the next flight of stairs he said, “besides, I have no idea how we got there or how we found our way back.”
Dean laughed. “Yeah, me too,” he said and continued to count the steps back to their home.
Great Hites by
Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a
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