In The Deepest Space - Chapter 13: The Next Step
Chapter 13 ~ The Next Step

Bella’s POV ~

I bite my lip and move around Edwaird to feel the water pouring out of the showerhead.  I can feel his eyes on me as I move, and I swallow thickly, feeling my body respond to his proximity.  I feel the tension and want this like it‘s our first time all over again.  I wonder if that since I pretty much died...again, it is like our first time all over again.  Whether it is or not, I can’t deny how much I want him.  I no longer wonder if he feels the same way, I know he does.  I can feel it in my blood, like his body wants to pull me into him, absorb me, be me.

We are already one.

I pick up a hair brush and begin to pull it through my matted nest of hair.  There are too many tangles -- dead planet debris, blood, and everything else ensure that the brush only serves as a hindrance.  I set it back down, and Edwaird has not uttered a single word, but I feel his eyes once again, measuring each of my moves, calculating my health against his need to once again make me his.

This makes me smile, and there is no time for games.  I want him too, need him.

I stick my hand under the water, testing its temperature against my skin.  I look at Edwaird, biting my lip to tease him, and begin to undress.  He simply watches me with hunger in his eyes; I step under the spray.

He doesn’t immediately follow me so I begin to wash my hair.  It takes me a while considering all of the tangles I have to get through, and when I finally finish, there is a mess of particles and red tinged water cluttering the drain and flowing down into it.

Edwaird finally steps in behind me, and I want to sing “Hallelujah!  Now fuck me!” but I refrain.

I grab the wash cloth-style rag and swipe the soap across it, lathering it, then raise it to my neck and gently begin to wash over the tender, newly exposed holes behind my ears.  I hear a low rumble behind me, and a hand reaches up, taking the cloth from me.  Edwaird moves my hair to hang over my shoulder and begins to softly rub the cloth against the skin near my ear.  He makes small circular movements, working gently to get the dried blood off of me.  I thought most of it would have come off when I washed my hair but apparently not.  When he is satisfied with one side, he moves to the other side and repeats the motions.

Before I notice it, he is sliding the cloth down my back and swoops his hand around to the front of me.  He runs it across my hips, then up my torso.  He grazes my breasts, and I gasp, grinding my ass against him.  The arm not holding the cloth wraps around my middle, and he pulls me closer to him.  All of a sudden, I couldn’t give a fuck whether or not I’m clean.

His tongue begins to make a trail across my shoulder and in towards my neck.  He kisses the skin at the base, and I shiver when I feel him nibble ever so slightly.  What he does next is what ruins me completely.  Every pleasant sensation I have ever felt in my entire life lights my body on fire, and then, there are other sensations, the ones I can’t quite put a name to.

I hear Edwaird’s intake of air, and he gently blows it across my flain.  I feel them constrict with pleasure, then widen back up as my eyes grow wide.  Everything in my body would scream if it could.  I swear I can feel every cell in my body pulse, and I heat up everywhere.  It’s not the water, because that is actually beginning to grow slightly cold.

Edwaird drops the cloth to the floor of the bath, and it makes a wet “clop” sound as it hits.  He moves his free hand up, then grazes across my nipple, causing me to moan loudly, unable to contain it a moment longer.  He blows across my flain once again and something happens.  As a “human” I would have been mildly turned on, but as this “alien” that I am, the air that passes over my flain and lightly touches the shell of my ear, new sensations, sounds, tastes and scents hit me.  It’s so much more… everything, making me feel as though I may just float right up off of the floor and into the air.

In my head, I hear this voice that sounds like my voice, but in several different octaves at once.  There is a moan, and it’s like this exquisite moan of ecstasy, enlightenment.

Edwaird wildly spins me around to face him and stares into my eyes, his own eyes wide and searching into mine for something.  I look back into his, then ask mentally, what is it?

He simply says, “Issss true,” then attacks my mouth like it is the last kiss we will ever share.  I wrap my arms around his neck, pulling him closer to me, and kiss him back with equal force.

Our tongues twine together, needing to be closer to each other.  Tiny pants escape our mouths and trade bodies as we continue to mate with only our tongues.  Our teeth click, and when I think I’m about to pass out, I finally pull away.  He twists us both around so that I am closest to the wall and moves us closer to it.  My back touches it, and he lifts me up by my ass.  My legs wrap around his waist, and I can feel him right at my entrance but not yet inside.  He pushes against me, kissing down my neck and across my collar bones.  My hands go into his hair, doing whatever I can to hold on tightly to some part of him, any part of him, so I don’t float away in this amazing feeling.

“Uh, Edwaird.  You are my love; you are me.  I need you.  Please, I need you,” I beg.

He kisses back up my neck, and when he gets to my ear, he whispers, “And I am you,” then plunges into me, sinking hilt-deep.

I scream out in pleasure, unable to hold it in and hide our intimacy from the rest of our family.  I only pray they are occupied enough to not hear or notice my sounds.

I move my arms underneath of Edwairds, sliding them under his armpits so that I can grip onto his shoulders from behind and give myself any kind of leverage to move with him.  He moves slowly inside of me, his cock sliding against my sensitive insides and eliciting more moans and cries from me.  This is sex like I’ve never known, never could have known before, and I know it is because of the holes that have been uncovered behind my ears.  I feel sorry for humans now.

Edwaird begins to pump into me steadily, and my fingernails dig into the taut flesh of his shoulder.  He hisses and pushes into me even harder.  The tightness in my belly pulls closer together, and I feel myself getting closer to the edge.

“Oh!  Ung.  I’m going to... Edwaird.  I’m going to...ung...come.”

I pull on his shoulders so hard that my arms tremble, and he pounds into me hard, my back up against the cool wall behind me.  I suddenly come undone, quivering, whimpering, with my muscles clenching and unclenching around him.  He comes shortly after me, and we stand frozen for several moments, trying to catch our ragged breaths.

Edwaird lowers us to the bottom of the tub, then reaches behind him to turn off the now cold water.  When he turns back around, there is a look of sadness in his eyes that nearly breaks me in two.

“I thought I’d lossst you.  Never be away from me again, my
Bell-a.  Ssssay it.  Pleasssse,” he pleads.

I gently grab his face and tip it towards mine.  Our noses touch, and his eyes close.  I kiss his nose first, then each eye, and his forehead before moving over to his ear.  “I will never leave you.  I am always with you.  We will always be.”

His arms around me tighten, and we sit like this for a while.  Soon we both grow too cold to stay put, so Edwaird stands us up.  He steps out of the tub first, then lifts me up and out after, wrapping a rough towel around me.

When we are both dried, combed and dressed, Edwaird runs down to the kitchen to grab some food for both of us.  I can’t deny how completely starved I feel, as though I could eat all day long, but I suppose not having food for who knows how many days and pretty much dying will do that to a girl.

As I wait for him, I sit in the window seat, looking at the land beyond me.  My land, my home.  This is my home now, but not only is it my home now, it was my home before.  It doesn’t seem possible that the life I lived on Earth really wasn’t meant to be, doesn’t seem like my loving parents could have held that truth from me for my entire life and would have held it to their graves.  I think about who I am, and how absurd it feels.  I feel like me, the same Bella I have always been, except now I have funky ear holes like everyone else here.  Oh, except I have four, and there has apparently only ever been one other to have had four flain holes...her.  And by her, I don’t mean my bitch of a biological mother -- no -- I mean the woman for whom the necklace I wear was named after.

Sssisssooka.  The Oracle, as Edwaird called her, said that Sssissooka was both a creator and a destroyer.  I’m not sure about the destroyer part, and, well, I’m not so sure about the creator part either.  I’ve always been a bit squeamish around children in general.  What worries me the most is that they think that I am the reincarnate of this woman.  I don’t even know how this is possible, as, I’ve never been an overly religious person and haven’t really thought much about the possibility of reincarnation, but this takes it to a whole new level.  This means that I’m somebody, really somebody, and that notion freaks me the fuck out, because what if I’m really not?  What if it’s a fluke, and I seriously fuck these people over on accident?

Anxiety flutters in my belly, leaving me feeling slightly nauseous just as Edwaird walks through the door carrying a tray.  I want to start spouting off movie lines, but I refrain, knowing the blank look I’ll get from Edwaird for it.

Edwaird pulls a table over to the window and sets the tray down on it.  There is an assortment of foods that I am beginning to now recognize, and I reach for the one that tasted kind of like honeydew melon the last time.  I have to do something with my hands to keep them busy and stuff something in my mouth so I don’t start bombarding him with millions of questions.

We sit silently for a few moments, eating the food before us and watching each other.  I don’t know where to start, so I tell him so.

“I don’t know what to do, Edwaird.  What does all of this mean?  What do we do from here?”  My eyes plead with his, begging him to know exactly what we need to do.

Edwaird wipes his hand on a small towel then takes both of my hands in his.  He doesn’t say anything right away, just looking at me, and I feel slightly calmer just from his touch.

I sigh and look away from him out the window.  “That evil bitch of a Queen is my mother.  My mother, Edwaird.  What does that say about me?  What does it say about the horrible blood that belongs to her and runs through my veins?  It means that I could be equally as horrible as her?  You have to tell me everything.  You have to tell me the things she has done!”  My voice begins to rise in my fear of being anything like her.

Edwaird gently grabs my chin and turns me to face him once again.  “You are only of her blood, my
Bell-a, nothing more.  You are magnificccent, and gentle.  Sssshe issss not.  Sssshe murderssss, and takesss from thossse that already have nothing.  Sssshe issss not loved, but feared by all, for thossse that hold an opinion to her are desssstroyed.  You musssst ssssee!  You could never be that!”

I think about his words, feel the force of them move through me.  I nod my head at him.  “You must promise me that you will never let me be like her.  Ever!  No matter what!”  Unexpectedly, tears begin to pool in my eyes and slip down my cheeks.  Edwaird shooshs me and wipes the tears away with his long fingers.

He pulls my head to his chest and begins to rock us back and forth, and it immediately begins to calm me again.  We stay like that for a long time.  At some point, he quits rocking us, and we sit still with my head leaned into him.  I feel a sharp pain move through my back from sitting bent over at an odd angle for such a long time, but the pain brings clarity, and the clarity brings me to a decision.

I sit up quickly, snapping to attention, and he stares at me in question.  “We can’t let her do this anymore.  She can’t keep doing this to people.  She is evil.  We have to get rid of her, Edwaird.”


After a bit more discussion, we have everyone congregated in the kitchen -- which seems to be my favorite place in the house -- and tell them we need to have a discussion.  A serious discussion.  Edwaird tells them that I have come to a decision, and I feel all eyes fall on me.

I take a deep breath, then tell them what I told Edwaird up in our bedroom.   That we have to get rid of the Queen.  I don’t necessarily mean we have to kill her, but we have to get rid of her.  She needs to be dropped somewhere into a deep abyss or a random planet that she blew up and be left to fend for herself against the elements.  I don’t know, but she just can’t be left to rule Sssisla the way she has been.

Conversation erupts around us then, and it doesn’t take us long to figure out that we are going to have to go into the city to start our planning.  We have to plan a revolt, and we will need a lot of people to do that.  We are also going to have to talk The Oracle into going to the city with us, and as Essssme says, this won’t be an easy task.

“Why is that, Essssme?” I ask.

Essssme walks over to me, and Edwaird scoots away from me a little, making room for his mother to sit in between us.

“The Oracle issss a very old woman.  Ssssshe hasss chosssen to live her life amidssst the foressst.  Ssshe was married onccce, and had a family, but the Queen wasss unhappy with a foretelling The Oracle onccce gave her, and ssso the Queen killed her mate, and her family.  The Oracle fled the cccity and ssssaid sssshe would never return, never get clossse to the Queen again, and sssshe never hasss.  It will be hard to assssk her to do thisss for ussss.”

I feel tears prick my eyes again at this new piece of information.  It’s no wonder The Oracle “looked” at me the way she did.  Her face had been quite stony when she first spoke to me.  I feel the disgust for my mo...ugh, I can’t even think it.  That woman, I hate her, and I hate what she has done to so many people.  I gain even more resolve in that moment.

“Essssme?  Will you allow for me to ask The Oracle to do this for us?  I feel that I owe her something, even if no one else thinks so, I’d like to speak to her, and to apologize.”

Essssme reaches over and grips my hand in hers, and with tears in her eyes, she nods at me.

She stands and returns to the table, sitting next to Carlissss.  For the next few hours, we make plans.  Plans upon plans upon plans.  Many of our plans exclude Emmeet.  He is thoroughly grumpy about this, but it’s too dangerous for him and the baby to partake in any of the real action.  He is satisfied knowing that in the end, it will be him that flies the ship with the Queen on it to dispose of her to wherever we decide.

Over the next four days, we write letters to people, disguised as invitations to a mating ceremony celebration for Edwaird and myself.  In truth, the letters ask some of the Cul-len Tribe’s closest friends and acquaintances to meet at their city home on specific dates and at specific times that move around the schedules of the Queen and her guard.  We make sure that their patrol near the city house’s area does not coincide with any of our meeting times.  This takes some time to arrange, as we have to gain access to their schedules, but my family knows many people - many people that do not hold the Queen in high regard.

On the fifth day, all of our planning is mostly done, but now we have to figure out where it is we will send the Queen.  It would have been great to have been able to send her to Kasswhahk to both spit on her for Jasspeer’s and my own sake, but in her attempt to be rid of me, she blew the last remnant of the planet to tiny space debris.

We search the maps and satellites for hours until finally, Jassspeer points out a small planet with next to nothing for water, and therefore, probably not much for food either.  There is some, and of course, enough to take care of the Queen and her minions for a few years, but probably not much longer than that.  I can almost mentally see them killing each other off for the last cup of water, the last tree that bears edible fruit.  She deserves it, she deserves to be tortured and possibly killed by one of her own.

Twenty or so minutes later we are heading back to the house.  The moons are high in the sky, and it is getting on towards very late at night.  We will go to The Oracle tomorrow and beg her to go with us.  Whatever it takes, she must go, for there is a chance that people will not believe what we tell them without her.

We all relax in front of the fire in the kitchen, sipping on some type of warmed up liquor.  It burns as it goes down my throat but leaves me feeling very euphoric.  By the time I finish my first cup, I am beginning to feel very tipsy and seeing swirling patterns in my vision.  When I start trying to grab at them, Edwaird decides I’ve had enough and carries me upstairs.


In the morning, I feel refreshed after sleeping in long after the sun has risen.  When I finally make my way down to the kitchen, it is bustling with movement.  There are several faces that I don’t recognize, and I move over to the fireplace where Essssme sits with Roe-salie, discussing something and pointing at pieces of paper.  I rest my hand on Essssme’s shoulder, and she jumps slightly, then looks up at me and smiles.

She slides over, and I sit beside her.  “What are you looking at and who are all these people?” I ask her, gesturing to the extra bodies in the room.

“No-madsss,” Roe-salie answers.  She looks around the room, then back at me.  “They know of our planssss.  They will not take part in the battle, but they will help usss to prepare for it.  They over anyone elsssse understand what it meanssss to be rid of the Queen.  Ssshe hasss damaged them all in some way.”

Some of them look over at us, and as I catch some of their eyes, they dip their head at me, lowering their eyes to the floor, then resume their work.

I look at Essssme who is watching me.

“They consssider you to be their lasssst hope.  You are the Sssissook Princessss, bringer of Enlightenment,
Bell-a.”  Esssme watches me closely as she says the last part, and I swallow thickly, then nod back at her like I am accepting this.  I have to accept this responsibility, this title, for them.  For all of them, whether they are my family or complete strangers, because I am their last chance.  If someone doesn’t step up and stand up to her, she will continue to abuse her power over these innocent people for hundreds of more years.

Later in the day, I head out of the house on foot along with Esssssme.  Roe-salie is supposed to come with us, but Emmeet is having an overly emotional day so she decides she’d better stay back with him.  Ah-lisss is busy preparing the ship with everything that we will need for our meetings with the people in the city, so it is just Esssme and I.  We walk close together for quite some time, heading for the tree line of the forest that leads to the bunker.

Instead of heading in the direction that we usually take to the bunker, we head around the other side of the hill, and once we are at the back of it, I see it.  There is a tiny little cabin that looks a lot like a log cabin on Earth.  There is even a stone chimney that pours smoke into the air.  I feel Essssme’s eyes on me then, and I swallow down a lump in my throat, because she could easily say no to me, but I have to have faith in her and faith in myself.

I square my shoulders and grab onto Essssme’s hand.  I see her smile out of the corner of my eye as we set off, and I simply squeeze her hand in acknowledgement.  She is proud of me, and my love for her grows in that simple expression.

We walk the rest of the way to the one room size cabin, and Esssme leads.  Now, you would think that she would knock on the door or something, but she doesn’t, we simply stand there quietly as if The Oracle will hear our silent feet upon her little porch.

The funny thing that she does.  After only standing there for a few moments, I hear the shuffling of her feet and the taps her cane makes against the floor as she crosses it.  The door opens slowly, and the eyeball cane is the first thing we see.

The Oracle wastes no time, and I should know better that she knows what we want -- what I want, but I’m still caught of guard when she says, “There isssss no other choiccccce.  It mussst be done.  I will go with you.”

I expect an argument, to have to plead with her, but I don’t.  Instead, she invites us in for some kind of tea and instead asks me to relay my plans to her.  So for the next couple of hours or so, I voice my plans -- our plans, to The Oracle.  When I finish, she looks to her fireplace, just her face and not the cane, cocks her head to the side and says nothing.

After a few moments of fidgety silence -- on my part, she speaks.  “The third risssse of the Ssssun from thissss day we will depart.  There issss much work to do -- a battle to prepare for.  Are you ready, young princess?”

I nod my head although she can’t see me, and not much later, we rise and head back toward home.  Her words pulse in my ears, weigh on my conscience.  A battle to prepare for.  I know that this won’t be an easy task and that the Queen will not just willingly leave.  She for all intents and purposes, thinks she has the upper hand.  We will allow her to think that for the moment, but we have been quick responses, wedding RSVP’s so to speak, and we know that our numbers are growing.  The people are tired of being scared of the wretched woman whom has ruled over them for so long.  I only hope that once they know that I am of her blood and hear of our plan, they will still want to help, because The Oracle has not confirmed it for us.

Blood will be shed.

Lives will be lost.
In The Deepest Space - Chapter 12: A New Beginning
Chapter 12 ~ A New Beginning


Ssssisssookah - creator/destroyer
Sssssigma Range Tip – tip of a mountain range that holds very cold temps
Unma & Fissseere – Mother and Father
Fuurrth - fourth

Essssme’s POV ~

I posssition my ssshell near to Edwaird’s; hissss computer flutterssss between a conssssciousss ssstate, and not.  I fear the only comfort I may offer to him at thissss time, isss my digitsss upon the junction of hissss upper extremetiesss and the growth line of hisss hair, doing my bessst to withdraw ssssome of hisss tensssion.

Emmeet guidesss the ssship clossser to the planet then sssslowly bringsss usss clossser to the sssurface.  Edwaird’sss ssshell joltsss beneath my digitsss, convulsssing.

“Emmeet, you musssst move ussss fassster.  We are losssing them both!” I command, my voicccce sssshrill with concccern.

The ssship touchesss down on the planet, and Edwaird’ssss sssshell immediately ssstills.  I take his faccce in my handssss, moving it around in an attempt to wake him, but he issss ssstill, fully unconscioussss now.  I am unable to compute what thisss means for
Bell-a and he; I only know that we musssst move with mossst hassste.

I ssssummon all ssssmall remnants of ressstraint within me and will my voiccce to order my clan into action.  “Emmeet, you mussst remain here ssso that upon our return with
Bell-a the ssship will be ready to lift at onccce.  Ah-lissss ssstay here, Roe-sssalie and Carlissss will come with me.  Jassspeer, prepare the renewal chamber and be sssure that all ssssupliess are in possssition.”

We all dissspurse at the sssame inssstant.  Roe-sssalie and Carlissss follow me while the othersss ssscatter off to perform their tassssks.  Emmeet remainss in hisss ssseat, appearing forlorn and ussseless.

Roe-sssalie, Carlisss and mysssself quickly prepare our ssshellsss with the appropriate defensses then exit the ssship.  My computer recallssss the direction Edwaird’sss sssshell had been pointing when he finally fell into a thoroughly unconsssciousss ssstate, and I point in that direction, deccciding that it wasss hisss lassst chanccce at getting assss near assss possssible to hisss

We move quickly while ssstaying together for protection.  I do not know how long we travel, but finally, when we are all near exhaussstion, we come upon large parcccelsss, flassshing with lightsss.

“De-tonssss.  Tread with mossst care,” I warn.  Carlisss fallsss to line in behind Roe-sssalie, and ssshe, behind me.  Beyond me and with the illumination ccchamber I hold in my digitsss, I sssee the crumpled form of

“Carlisss!  Read the de-tonssss!”

Carlisss runsss to inssspect the de-tonsss and behind me, Roe-sssalie gassssps.  Ssshe looksss around my ssshell, sssees
Bell-a, then runsss around me to her.  I move with her and grip Roe-sssalie before sssshe leefts Bell-a from the hard sssurface.

I lower my ssshell, handing the illumination ccchamber to Roe-sssalie ssso that I may inssspect Bell-a’ssss injured ssshell.  Blood poursss forth from her nossse, and sssshe hassss many cutsss and bruissses upon her ssshell.  There issss alssso a trickle of blood that hassss come out of her mouth and runssss down the ssside of her faccce.  Thisss concccernsss me mossst.

I rip a particle of my garment from the bottom sssseam and hold it to Bell-a’sss mouth, cleaning away the blood.  I move in posssition to attempt a fassst healing procccedure.  It will not lassst in the ssstate that ssshe isss in, but will hold long enough to return to the sssship.

At that inssstant, Carlisss issss back at my ssside.  “We mussst go.  The de-tonssss, they will go sssoon.  We musssst get away from here!”  Hisss voiccce carriessss fear, and without further hesssitation, I liffft
Bell-a from the hard planet sssurface.

We turn and run then.  Roe-sssalie ssstaysss at the lead, carrying the illumination ccchamber, while Carlissss trailsss directly to my rear, at the ready to catch
Bell-a ssshould I fall.  He keepssss hisss hand at my ssshoulder, urging me fassster, leading me to believe that we may all very well be clossse to our final deathsss.

“The sssship!” Roe-sssalie exclaimssss.

I ssssee it ahead of usss, and by the time Carlisss,
Bell-a and I reach it, the hatch issss open for usss.  The moment we ssstep onto it, we lift from the ground with ssssuch sssudden forccce, that we fall to the floor.  Bell-a crumplessss againssst me, and thissss tellsss me that her injuriesss are very great indeed.

Carlissss takesss her from me and runssss toward the renewal ccchamber, cradling her in hissss armsss like a sssmall ccchild.  My chessst clenchessss with worry for my new daughter but alsssso isss touched at the care that Carlisss showsss for her.

After I regain my balanccce, I run down the corridors to the renewal cccchamber.  Carlisss and Jassspeer have already hooked up ssseveral linesss to
Bell-a, and sssshe issss connected to a concccentrated breathing particle tube.

“Hassss ssshe been ssssedated?” I inquire.

Carlisss continuesss to work and Jassspeer anssswers me assss he cutsss away her garmentsss.

I return my focusssss to
Bell-a, covered by a cloth at her center and down, but expossssed from there up.  I gassssp, my digits fluttering to my orifacccce flapssss when my orbssss take in the sssspackling of markssss upon Bell-a’sssss left breasssst.  I move over to Edwaird, whom liessss on the table nexxxt to Bell-a.  Without any care, I rip his top garment down it’ssss ccccenter, exposssing his upper ssshell ccchamber.

I turn my attention to Carlisssss, noticccing that he too, ssssees the marking, looking from
Bell-a to Edwaird.

“Carlissss!  Could it be?” I quesssstion assss I get closssser to
Bell-a to better inssspect her marking.

“What issss it?” Jassspeer quessstions, confussssion obvioussss in his tone.

It issss Carlisss that anssswers him, assss my orbssss do not break their gaze with Bell-a’ssss marking, and my voicccce refussses to come to me.

“Our Edwaird posssssessesss an identical marking to Bell-a’sssss.  Thisss issss utterly remarkable,” he sayssss, sssstill ssstaring at
Bell-a.  He lookssss to me then, and ssssaysss, “Essssme, we mussst contact The Oracle!”

I nod my computer, agreeing with him.  “Jasssspeer, pleassse ssssend transsssmittancccce to The Oracle’ssss Keeper.”

Without hessssitation, Jasssspeer fleessss the room, and Carlisss and I work on reviving Bell-a’ssss weakened life forcccce.  Pushing ssshe and Edwaird’ssss tablessss together, I link their handssss together, ssso they may find each other and come back to ussss.


Bella’s POV ~

I can feel myself slipping, slipping fast, and then all of a sudden, I’m not.  All around me I see colors swirling, but they’re murky, dingy.  It feels as though I’m back-floating through mud.  Any attempt to move my position is futile; the mud seems to have a grip on me, and no matter what I do to try to move, I can’t.

Not only that, but with every attempt, I’m drained of all energy, not that I have a lot of it anyway.  Instead of trying to change where I am - wherever that may be - I decide to just stay put, because like I said, movement is next to impossible.

I don’t know how long I’ve been lying here like this, but after a while, my surroundings change.  The colors suddenly change, morphing from browns, greens and grays to much more vivid colors.  Fuchsia, emerald, cerulean and the boldest crimson red I’ve ever seen immediately flood my vision, and then I feel it.  I feel him.  I feel my Edwaird.

This dream or subconscious me speaks to Edwaird, but I don’t feel my mouth move.  “Edwaird.  Is that you?”

Edwaird lies sleeping, floating with me in this, wherever we are.  He doesn’t respond to me, and I stroke his jaw, then his flain, trying to wake him.  He remains sleeping so I simply curl into a ball at his side and wrap his arm around my shoulders, falling asleep.


Edwaird’s POV ~

I awaken, and sssshe isss there, my
Bell-a.  We are in a ssssevere ssstate that I recognizzze by the auric huesssss of the early death march.  I turn my computer and orbssss to my right ssside, feeling that my arm isss ssstuck.  There my Bell-a liessss, ssssleeping, or worssse.  It musssst not be worssse.  

I raissse my other arm to ssshake her awake, but the motion drainssss me of the minimal life forccce I have ssstored, and I fade back out.


Bella’s POV ~

When I wake this time, I smile at the sight that my eyes open up too.  Edwaird is still laying beside me, but he too is awake and propped up on his elbow, gazing at me.  I lift my hand up to his face, cupping it, and smile back at him.

“I knew you’d come for me, but why are you here?  Were you hurt badly somehow?  Please Edwaird, I can’t bear it if something horrible has happened to you because of me.” I begin to sob, and he uses the pad of his thumb to brush away my tears.

“Ah-gizzzzzzz, my
Bell-a.  You are thine mate, your plight issss mine, and where you go, I follow, even in the final death.  I wisssh it ssso.”

I begin to sob harder at his words.  I can’t help it.  He can’t die, ever!  Edwaird pulls me closer, and with his body nearly covering mine, I begin to feel better, stronger.  The colors change again, and it seems that there are clouds a little ways off.  I can see a sheet of rain fall from them.

“It’s raining?” I ask, confusedly.

“That issss the cleansssse.  We are healing, my

“Healing?” I ask, trying to remember what it is that I need to heal from.

Memories crash through me and all of a sudden, everything is so clear.  The colors are gone, but so is Edwaird.

I sit up with a cough, sputtering in a panic as I try to ask for Edwaird, but I can’t speak.  It feels as though there is fur growing in my mouth, and I move my tongue around in my mouth, attempting to clear out the feeling.

My chest beats quickly in my chest as I take in my surroundings and look around for Edwaird.  I see that I’m back at the bedroom in my family’s country home and over in the corner, Emmeet is slumped in a ball on the settee in the corner, sawing logs.  I take a deep, cleansing breath.  I must be alive, because I know for a fact, that my entire family wouldn’t die if I died...would they?

I stand up from the bed and find my legs to be quite wobbly.  I tip-toe over to Emmeet and touch him on the shoulder.  He sits up quickly and looks over at the bed, finding me gone.  I grip his shoulder tightly then, and he looks up at me as he flinches defensively.  Emmeet jumps up from the settee quickly and grips me tightly, hugging me too him.  He begins to whimper, and I have to stifle my giggle at the emotion he shows toward me.  It must be the hormones.

When he pulls away, his face is streaked with tears, and he quickly pulls me toward the door.  He moves quickly, and my feet feel like those belonging to a fawn newly born -- uncertain and shaky.  Emmeet wraps one of his muscular arms around my waist and pulls me down the back staircase into the kitchen where the rest of the family sits...along with Edwaird.

He drinks from a bowl that seems to hold some type of steaming fluid, and I simply watch him, relieved that he is okay.  I touch Emmeet on the shoulder to get his attention, then put my finger to my lips, hoping that he understands that I just want to watch them before they realize I’m awake.

Emmeet keeps a hold of me, and we stand there together, watching the rest of the family.  Esssme leans down close to Edwaird’s face, speaking softly to him, but he shakes his head, looking sad and unsure.  He finishes the rest of the bowl, and Esssme takes it from him, then turns to move back over to the pot.  She looks up then and gasps, spotting Emmeet and me.

Bell-a!” she exclaims, and everyone in the room turns to look over at me.

Edwaird jumps up from the table, sending utensils and cups scattering to the floor with some of them crashing and breaking.  He runs over to me and scoops me up into his arms, carrying me over to the fireplace where he sits in the larger of the two chairs there.  I hug him tightly to my chest, afraid that if I let go, this will all have been part of my dream, and I can’t possibly bear that thought that that could actually happen.

After several moments I finally pull away and see that the rest of the family is crowded around us.  Edwaird cups my face in both of his hands, placing his forehead against mine and sighing.  He says nothing.  Neither do I, because right now, there are no words.

No words to tell him how much I love him.

No words to tell him how scared I was that I would never see him again.

No words to explain what and who I am.

Everything hits me in the chest -- the severity of all of this and how close I was to death.  I think I may have actually died, but was brought back...again.  Tears flood my eyes and spill over my lids and down my cheeks.  Painful sobs escape my mouth, and Edwaird again pulls me tight against him.  He sits there cradling me, rubbing soothing circles on my back until finally, he pulls me away once more to look me in the eyes.

Esssme immediately hands Edwaird a cup, and he holds it to my lips.  I take a sip of it, then grab the cup out of Edwaird’s hand and chug it.  When it’s gone I want more, and I hand it to Esssme to refill it.

“More, please,” I rasp out.  My voice is hoarse from disuse.

Esssme returns with the cup refilled, and I chug that too.  When it is gone, I finally ask, “How long was I out?”

“Ssssavontaaainthh Moon,” Esssme responds.

It takes me a second to figure out that I was in limbo for seventeen days.  Seventeen fucking days of trying to make my way back here.

“Wow.”  It’s all I can manage to squeak out.  No wonder I feel so foggy and it’s so hard to walk.

“Let ussss give
Bell-a and Edwaird a proper reacquaintancccce period,” Esssme says as she begins to usher the rest of the family toward the door.

“No!” I shout, startling them all.  “Um, I mean.  I want you to all stay, so I can tell you something.”

Esssme looks at Jassspeer, and something transpires between them.  What that is, I can’t be sure.  I let it go because I already have so much on my mind and so much to worry about.  I am fearful of the way they are going to take my next piece of news.  Will they shun me for who I am?

I open my mouth to speak, but a cough comes out instead.  Edwaird tips another full glass to my lips, and I sip at it.  My hand moves to my throat as I swallow the liquid down, and I realize, my necklace is gone.

“My necklace?” I ask, looking at Edwaird as I trace my fingers along my neckline.  Edwaird jostles us a little in the chair, but extracts my necklace from some hidden pocket of his shirt.  He gives Essssme a quick glance, then holds it up to clasp it at the base of my neck.

Once it is in place, I can’t deny that I feel better, more whole somehow.  For some reason, I know that it is just one more thing that confirms who I am.

Everyone finds seats near Edwaird and me, and within a few moments, Jassspeer returns, holding the hand of a very old, very blind woman with milky white eyes and long, gray, straggly hair.  She closely resembles the woman in the Snow White fairy tale that offers up the shiny red apple without the horrendous nose.  In the hand that Jassspeer does not hold, she grips a thick, spindly wooden cane.  At the top of it appears to be a real eyeball, somehow preserved inside of a clear glass ball.

I look at Essssme in question, wondering who the old woman is.

Bell-a.  You musssst now tell the sssstory of what happened to you.  We will then do our bessst to decccide why you were taken, and where we go from here.  Introductionssss will be made after.”  Esssme announces.

I finger my necklace, mustering up any courage I can find to tell them what happened and who I am.  I notice the old woman’s gaze fixed upon me, even though I don’t think she can hear me.  I know they say that the blind use their ears to find people, but she almost seems to be staring at my throat, and I’m not making any noise there.

“Well, I guess I’ll start by telling you that it was the Queen that had me taken, because I’m her daughter.”

I dive into the story then, telling them every last little detail I can until there is nothing more to tell.  I blacked out and now here I am, seventeen days later.  By the time I finish, most of the jaws of my family members are on the floor, intrigued, amazed, and also appalled by what they put me through.  Most of all, they are completely surprised by who I am.

I glance at Edwaird finally, having not once looked at him when I told him the story, afraid of the reaction I would see on his face.  He is not looking at my face like I expect him to be, but he is looking at my neck.

I raise my hand back to figure out what he is staring at, drawing in a sudden breath when I feel them.  “Oh my God,” I whisper.  Edwaird looks at me then and gives me the largest, most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.

He looks at the old woman then, and asks, “What doesss it mean?”

I’m confused by his vague question toward her, but she simply walks over to us, now refusing the assistance of Jassspeer, and stops mere feet in front of us.  She raises her cane first, then her other free hand comes up to cup my chin, and gently, she turns my face to the left.

In a very thick Sislan accent, the old woman says, “Furrrrrth.”  She then turns my face back to the front and moves her free hand from my chin, down to my throat and picking up the metal symbol of my necklace.  She moves the cane so that it too, is in level with my neck and it almost seems as if she is using the eyeball atop her cane to actually see.

Ssssshe isssss.

I hear Edwaird in my head, and I’ve completely forgotten our ability to communicate in this way.

How?  I mentally ask him back, suppressing a giggle that wants to erupt out of me of the sheer absurdity of all of this.  I mean really, we only fantasized about this kind of shit on Earth.

The old woman gently places my necklace back against my skin, then raises the cane up so it is at eye-level with me.  It makes me squirm a little, but I do my best to stare into it.  I think this is what she wants and it appears that she is here to help us out in some way, so I am certainly not going to make it difficult on her.

The woman lowers her cane then and ambles back to the spot at the table where she had been sitting at earlier, next to Essssme.  The room is quiet as we all wait for her to get comfortable and do whatever it is she does.  What that is, I have no idea.

Esssme speaks first.  “
Bell-a, thisssss isss the Oracle.   Sssshe wassss born unto Ssssissla without the usssse of her orbssss but knowing all the ssssame.  Sssshe isss the foreteller, and you musssst lisssten to everything sssshe tellssss you, for the fate of Ssssissla liesss in her wordssss.”

I swallow down the lump in my throat and focus on this small old woman, the Oracle.

“There wassss onccce a time of ssssimple living.  There wasssss no King or Queen but, inssstead, an emperor.  You may find that the title of emperor may ssssound atrocccioussss compared to king or queen, but it meant ssssomething elsssse entirely in that time.  The emperor wasssss a man of reasssson.  While there were thosssse that prosssspered more than otherssss, there wassss no Sssssislan that went without sssshelter or sssssussstenanccce.”

“He wassss with high honor.  The people of Ssssisla followed him with eagernessss and protected him at all cosssts.  There wasssss never a need for protection, until there ssssuddenly wasssss.  The Emperor and hissss mated female were forcccced to meet their final death, sssslain where they laid with ressssting orbsssss.  There wasssss a man to take over the Emperor’sssss posssition immediately upon hisss final death.  Not a sssoul quessstioned him, assss they all feared for their livessss without hisss protection.”

“Under the reign of the new Emperor, life went on mosssstly assss it had under the lasssst, and the ssssoulsss of Ssssisla learned to trussst the new Emperor, that wassss, until he found himssself a mate.”

“The Emperor’sssss mate wassss a beautiful woman, but that wasssss where possssitive attributessss ended.  She wasssss colder than the
Sssssigma Range tip.  The Emperor ssssuddenly died in the night, and sssshortly after, hisss mate adopted a new line of reign, requiring all to refer to her assss Queeen.  Queeeen Sssssulpicccia.”

The Oracle looks at me pointedly, then continues.

“Queeen Ssssulpicccia took the life forccce of her own mate sssso that sssshe would have complete control over Ssssisla.  She bedded many malessss whenever sssshe chosssse, which inevitably, will be her downfall.  Won’t it, fair

She gives me a wry smile as everyone in the room looks at me.

“The firsssst Emporer had a child, a sssson.  He happened to be with hissss wet maid on the moon of hissss Unma and Fisssere’s, or mother and father to you, final deaths.  He wassss ssssaved and hidden, hissss name changed ssso that the Queen would never learn of hisss heritage.”

“What was his name?  His title?” I ask her.

“The title given to him under hissss Unma and Fisssere, wassss Cai-uuuuussss, but hissss wet maid called him Fffeeleex after it all changed.  Cai-uuussss had to hide who he wassss, for he held many traitssss of the old Emperor, hisss Fisssere, and it wassss alwaysss a posssibility that the resssemblanccce would be noticccced.  He made many changesss to hisss appearanccce asss disssguissse.  He wassss a male of much allure, but in hissss need to hide, he made himssself ssslightly lesss pleasssing to the eye.”

“It was the diminissshment of hisss looksss that drew him to the Queen.  Ssshe did not want to keep her bed with sssomeone who thought them more attractive than her.  Now, he knew of the sssstory, knew of what sssshe had done to hissss family and alssso, how important it wasss for her to keep her title, sssso he laid low for a while, doing what ssshe required until he wassss ready to move forward with hisss plan.  He knew he would meet hisss final death of courssse, but he had nothing he wanted to remain in hisss life for.”

“On the lassst night that he bedded Queen Sssulpicccia, he made mention of children.  That wasss all it took for the passsage of the egg to transsspire.  The Queen wassss furioussss, meant to end him, but ssshe did not know if he had made storiesss about her already and feared that ending hisss life would be disssastroussss.  Sssshe let him live long enough to carry the child, then ended him.”

She pauses, takes a sip of her drink, then looks at me.

“I know the rest.  I’ve been told the rest.”  I look over at Edwaird, his eyes wide in amazement.

Bell-a, the firssst Emperor wasss of the puressst blood we know.  The Purity.  Within you, you carry that blood.  Like you, he too had the four gillsss of flain.  There isss no other like you.  The markssss you both carry abreassst isss a foretelling.”

“Desssstined duo,” Edwaird whispers.  The Oracle looks over at him and nods.

“Yesss, young one.  Now, there issss alsssso the matter of the piecccce,” she says as she once again, brings her cane up to look at my neck.  “Have you underssstanding of what it ssssignifiesss?”

I pick the metal up from my chest and twirl the chain around in my fingers, shaking my head.  “No.  I do not.”

“That isss the Sssissooka, child.  The Sssisssookah issss a tale of a deity that wasss both a creator, and a dessstroyer.  It wassss believed to be nothing but a falsssehood, until now that issss.  The Sssissookah hassss never chosssen a sssoul to bear it, but now, it hassss chosssen you.”

“Is this bad?” I ask, tracing its design with my finger.  It doesn’t feel bad, not at all.  If anything, it has been something to help me calm myself.  “I mean, well, what does this mean?”

“It meanssss that the sssstory wasss not a tale at all, but a foretelling of your return to ussss.  It meanssss that onccce again, there will be enlightenment for our home, and you will bring it.”

With that, the little woman stands up and puts a hand on Esssme’s shoulder.  She then walks over to Jassspeer who escorts her out.  Everyone in the room stares at me, and I feel a surge of nervousness course through me.

The woman has got to be on crack!

Crackkk? Edwaird questions me in my head, and I shake my head at him, as if saying ‘never mind’.

We all sit in a stunned silence for a while, but finally, everyone begins to get up.  As they do, they all come over and hug me, then raise my hand up to their faces and kiss the inside of my left wrist.  This day couldn’t get any weirder.  Things like that shouldn’t be thought though, because yes, yes they could.

Edwaird and I are the last to leave the large kitchen and he carries me back up to our room.  I protest, saying that I can walk and I feel fine, but he isn’t having it.  When we are finally back in the room, he sets me on my feet, then wanders into the bathroom.

I decide that I need a shower because who knows how long ago I actually had one.  I no longer have dried blood on me, so I must have been given a bath or at least a sponge bath at some point, but I feel grimy all over.

I follow Edwaird into the bathroom and lean over, turning the shower on.  When he realizes I’m behind him, he turns around to face me, and the look in his eyes is enough to make my panties spontaneously dissolve.