a tale in weekly parts
This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next episode of this collaborative tale.
The full story so far can be found here.
When they reached the right place and time, Kr’veth’neq’is changed to her default form; what Alex describes as her ‘slug’ shape; and she transported back to the mountain-top.
“We’ll hang around for a while,” Albert said, “this promises to be interesting.”
They watched as Kr’veth’neq’is, unsighted by the two humans, transformed to her human shape and spoke to the Earth pair. The male of the pair moved to hide behind his female. From their vantage point, the reason for the male hiding was immediately obvious to Albert, and the cause of much mirth. If anything, the male’s discomfiture became worse as Kr’veth’neq’is slowly donned her clothes. There wasn’t much to see after that. The three descended the mountain, got into one of the vehicles, and drove off.
“We’re going to refashion the interior en route,” Albert said, “which you would find rather, shall we say, uncomfortable.”
“Can’t I see how it works?” Alex asked.
Albert replied, “Esterkha’a1.”
Alex found a bed and slept.
When Alex awoke, he found himself in a structure that looked quite opulent for a shepherd’s hut, but that left no question that such was its function. The bed on which he awoke was akin to a single divan, rather than the Emperor-sized, super-plush, gravametronic2 berth in which he had dozed off. Alex was aware of his weight on the bed, but it was no less comfortable for that.
“What do you think?” Jarvis intoned.
“Cool,” Alex replied. “Is this it? No other rooms?”
“In this dimension, there is only this one small chamber.”
“And in other dimensions?”
“What needs to exist, exists,” was Jarvis’s cryptic reply.
“So where and when are we now?” Alex wanted to know. “Are we still travelling?”
Albert sat beside the boy and said, “We’re in your garden, lad, behind the leylandii, and we’re about three hours after we left.”
“Brill,” Alex enthused, “That’s long enough to cover me helping my ‘friend’ with his computer. Let’s go get Mum and Dad.”
“I should stay here,” Albert suggested.
“You should come with me,” Alex responded, “I want you and my parents to get on.”
The pair exited the shepherd’s hut through the rickety-looking door at the back.
“Missing you already!” Jarvis said as they left, followed by, “Love you.”
“Can I ask you something, Unkie?” Alex said.
“Of course, lad. What is it?”
“Is Jarvis gay, or what?”
“I heard that!” came a muted shout from behind the laylandii.
“You have to understand, lad, that gay involves sexual preference,” Albert began.
“I get that,” Alex said, “but is he?”
“We are 100% bitek, lad. We have no gender, therefore it is technically impossible to be straight or gay. The word for us would be asexual. Now; ask me if Jarvis is camp, and you’ll get a very different answer.”
“When it suits him to be camp, he is as camp as Christmas. But bear in mind that what you call camp is often just a man displaying behaviours that you would expect from a woman; just as when you describe a woman as being butch, she is usually just employing behaviours that you would expect from a man. Jarvis is neither male nor female, so he can’t really be camp, or butch for that matter.”
“So does that mean you’re asexual, too?”
“Of course. I am a manifestation of a part of Jarvis’s total psyche. In human form, I choose to manifest as male, in the same way that Kr’veth’neq’is chooses to manifest as female.”
“This is very confusing, Unkie.”
“Yes, lad, it is, but only because you are over-thinking it. You want my advice?”
“Don’t try to analyse it, just enjoy it. We’re all having a ball. Now; there’s your mum, dead-heading roses, and your dad, walking around and puffing on his pipe, trying to give the impression that there is some purpose to his life.”
“Agreed. True though.”
Alex’s father turned to face his son, a smile on his face, which disappeared as soon as he saw that he was with Albert. His wife left her dead-heading and joined him.
“How long’ve you been home, son?” his father asked.
“Only about half an hour, Dad,” Alex replied.
“Did you get your friend, wassisname—“
“Yeah.Did you get his computer started?”
“I left him talking with his expert. I expect he’ll be back up and running soon.”
“So what’ve you been up to for the last half hour?”
“Just chatting, Dad. Listen. I’ve managed to persuade Uncle Albert to show you and Mum inside his hut. I know you think it’s dirty and smelly and unhygienic and everything; but it’s not, honest. Uncle Albert is very private about it, but he said it’d be okay for you and Mum to pop in and look around just this once.”
“Is that right, Albert?”
“Yes, Mr Grahamson. Young Alex is right when he says I don’t normally let anyone in – except Alex, of course – but I don’t like to think of you believing I can’t look after myself properly, so I’ll make an exception, just this once.”
Albert was keenly aware that Jarvis needed to be quiet, still and inactive while the Grahamsons looked around; and if Albert was aware of it then, of course, Jarvis was aware of it, too.
“Come on then, son,” Alex’s father said, “let’s go see inside your great-uncle’s hut. You too, Mother.”
“I’m a bit nervous, actually,” his wife said, “I wonder what we’ll see in there. Do you suppose it’s safe for us to go in?”
“The boy’s in there all the time,” Mr Grahamson said, “and he seems to come out okay. Fair enough he comes out with some funny ideas in his head, but that’ll be Albert’s stories, I’ll be bound.”
And so the four walked toward the shepherd’s hut. Albert climbed the three steps and opened the door. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what was inside…
This story remains open for suggested continuations. All I receive will be published here, with links to your own blog. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) episode 17 of this collaborative tale.
1 You will recall from part 14 that Esterkha’a is a trigger word that Kr’veth’neq’is had planted in Alex’s subconscious during one of their sessions. Meaning ‘relax’ in Arabic, it causes Alex to find a bed and sleep until awakened by another trigger.
2 Perhaps I should explain the properties of a gravametronic bed. It is positioned on the very limit of the dimension in which it sits, and gives its occupant the impression of weightlessness without the inconvenience of floating away. An invention from the 35th century, it will revolutionise sleep when it arrives. Meantime, Jarvis’s special relationship with time means that he has it now. Whatever ‘now’ means.
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.