Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Half Shaman in Space: Waking

Having hit a hard place in Monster-Moored, Part 2: Mongrel which has resulted in a swag of research to be done, I'm switching my posts back to The Half Shaman for a bit.

The Half Shaman in Space: the bit of space as seen from the shuttle
At the end of The Half Shaman

After I have pressed my hand against that jamb and thought my goodbyes toward them all, Mongoose and I go back to the command room with its glassy-looking dome. “I am totally comforted that you can be up here with me,” I say. 

Mongoose smiles. “Told you, I’m your love-struck loon.” He squeezes my hand. We lie down, sweatily holding hands the whole time. 

I slot the transponder in the depression for it on the arm rest. A dash dash dot dot flickers through its sequence. A dash dash flickers on Mongoose’s arm-rest. The mattress moulds itself around us. A pair of hoods come down from somewhere above and we cover our faces. 

We breathe the cool fresh air spurting from the hoods. 

I hear the shuttle’s starter engines scream.

I feel the shuttle spinning faster and faster to gather power to escape the steep-sided valley. 

I feel sleepy.

Mongoose does too, I can tell because his hand slides from mine. 

Before I start to worry that I can’t feel his hand, the most amazing scents drift from the hood. Spices and flowers, things of Earth my mother told me about. 

I dream.

The Half Shaman in Space begins here:

I’m aware. I’m awake. My breathing sounds loud. The space I’m in sounds big so I’m not in the shuttle. I fall … only a short distance. 

My legs seem too long. 

I feel around me. Carpet or something under me, my hands and my thighs. Then I realise … I don’t hear Mongoose breathing beside me. I don’t feel him. Snap! I open my eyes. 

Mongoose isn’t beside me! 

I’m wearing a thin white tunic. 

Mongoose isn’t beside me! 

I kneel up. Stand. 

I’m in a group of animals, still-as-statues, sitting or standing or frozen in a leap. Each on its own brown carpet square on a raised area in a huge white hall.

What is this place? Where’s Mongoose? 

Tiled white walls. White ceiling. White floor below the … podium? 

Among the statues I see animals I know. There’s a meerkat. A puma. A bear. A woodchuck. An orang utan. They are all life-sized. 

No. They are all the size of human beings! There’s a thylacine with a front paw that is a different brown to the other. In the square next to the place where I was is a mongoose. 

Sweat springs from me and is soaked up only where the skimpy tunic touches me. Everywhere else it rolls down me. I’m clammy in seconds. My heart hammers in my chest. 

The furry animal mongoose is up on its hind-legs and is wearing a sauger-hide belt with a curved panga hanging from it. A familiar-looking dagger is strapped to its leg. I’m sure they are my Mongoose’s tools and weaponry when I see his leather pouch with oil stone and cloth in it nestle in the small of the mongoose’s back that Mongoose keeps in his pack so I can hold onto his belt. 

I want to touch the furry mongoose, is it real? And I don’t want to touch it. What if it is cold as death? What if it is warm? All that fur. It looks fierce. Angry. Red mouth open in a snarl. 

Behind where I was is a meerkat. He wears similar weapons to Mongoose’s weapons worn by the mongoose. Next to him and behind the mongoose is an animal I don’t know. I have too many mysteries already. I turn back to face into the direction that the mongoose stares into. The front. 

In the square beyond mine, I see the back … I walk around it … of a wild dog. A jackal wearing Jackal’s gear, I fill in for myself. I walk on. In the next square is a woman with a blond plait. It is Isis. Leader of the smaller group that joined us in the Yellow City. She is herself. 

I remember that she never told us her Totem. 

As soon as I think that, I’m crying. I know the animals. I’m spurting with tears. I jump back to the mongoose. Sobbing, I hug his knees. “Mongoose! Wake up, Mongoose!”

 Finally, I lie down. Curl around his feet. When he comes back to life, he’ll trip over me, find me there. 

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