Urban Space

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jethro's picture

Urban Space - Chapter 7

Jord was on a high. His mind was absolutely reeling under the impact of his discovery that he could see. Suddenly the things he had imagined his entire life, his mother Lena, Marick, Arutha, Old Rab and the others were real, visible and all yelling excitedly. Even Old Rab was up of his bench and mumbling vigorously along with the rest.

Jord was not disappointed at the world he saw. Sure it was different from his imagination. The smooth rock was white and the sun glared off it and made his eyes smart. The sun was another thing – squinting he peered up at it and felt the familiar warmth on his face only this time he could see it.

Suddenly his concentration was brought back to the people around him as someone was fingering his jacket.

He looked to see Old Rab standing close to him and peering up at him with rheumy eyes. He opened his mouth to speak and Jord could see the rotten teeth and holes where teeth used to be. A foul odour came out as he talked but Jord was used to that.

“Where did you get this?” Old Rab asked.

Jord cast his mind back to the experience in the sacred stone. “From inside the stone” he replied. “There was a thing in there it talked to me and gave me this and said something.”

Old Rab was joined by Arutha.

“What did he say boy?”

“Um I can’t quite remember. Something about becoming and bringing peace. Oh yes he said “Go now and bring peace to your people.” ”

“What does that mean Arutha?” And what are you doing?”

Jord’s voice rose up into a shriek for suddenly the tribes people had fallen silent as Arutha and Old Rab fell to their knees before him and placed their heads on the ground at Jord’s feet. Suddenly the whole tribe was doing the same.

Jord was frightened by this sudden turn of events and called out, “Please stand up. Someone tell em why you are doing this?” Arutha lifted his torso up straight but remained on his knees. “You Boy are whom the prophets of old spake. You are the Great Leader.”

“The Great Leader? You mean the one in the stories? But how can that be?”

Arutha answered him with a quote that Jord had heard many times before.

The dreamer will arise

The blind shall lead the tribe

The places of power will be restored

The people be multiplied

The coat of grand design

Will be worn with pride

Oppression will be lifted

By his sacrifice

By the time he had reached the second line his voice had been joined by 20 others as the whole tribe spoke in unison the words that each person knew by heart. Jord had learned them as a small boy also.

Jord’s eyes could not stay still. They darted around the place as his mind frantically tried to take in the import of what Arutha was saying.

A movement from the main plaza caught his attention. Whitefaces were coming into the meeting area. There were several of them, dressed alike. They were large and as they came through the entrance way they fanned out in a menacing manner.

Jord cried out “Whitefaces!” As one the people turned and saw the Whitefaces, and suddenly confusion reigned. The ranks of kneeling people suddenly turned into a swarm of activity as they rushed hither and thither, gathering belongings and seeking hiding places.

Arutha grabbed Jord and hustled the boy off behind the sacred stone. “Sit here and keep still” he commanded. Then he stalked haughtily around to the front of the stone and called out to the Whitefaces.

“What do you want with my people?” he called out in their language

The leader of the Whitefaces approached. “Nothing to fear old man” he called back. “What were you doing before we arrived though?”

“None of your business” grunted Arutha. “Tribe business. Speak your piece and be gone then.”

The leader of the Whitefaces said, “We were worried. There were reports of a bright light and an explosion coming from here. We have been sent to check it out.”

“Nothing to see here” Arutha replied indicating with a sweep of his hand the nearly deserted corner of the plaza. The patches of green grass interspersed with small hedges, benches and a couple of water fountains were surrounded by several tall trees and a few clumps of smaller ones. A few tribes folk lingered in small groups talking animatedly together.

“Nothing to see,” he repeated.

“We will need to see some of your people and ask them some questions” the leader continued.

Jord could hear the respect in his voice. After the big fight, Arutha was treated much more carefully by the Whitefaces. Apparently he had won a battle of words at the Whitefaces council and now they were required to direct all contact with the tribe through Arutha.

“They will say the same as I” Arutha responded, “Nothing to see here.”

“Nevertheless,” the leader replied, “we must.”

Arutha dismissed him with a wave of his hand and turned his back on him and walked over to the sacred stone. He called over his shoulder “Do what you must, but no-one goes with you without you first talking to me.”

The leader nodded to his men and they began going from group of people to group of people asking them if they had seen the light or heard the explosion. Everywhere the tribesmen just looked down at the ground and shuffled their feet and shook their heads. If they spoke it was a simple “No.”

Jord was not approached hidden out of sight as he was by the sacred stone.

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Urban Space - Chapter 6

Chris stumbled from his bed and headed for the shower. The dream was a vivid memory and he wanted to forget it. The water sluicing over his skin helped him fully awake. By the time he had finished his shower he had all but forgotten the dream.

He checked his alarm clock as he got dressed and saw it was nearly lunch time. Chris jumped on the computer and checked his emails and his contacts. Two of his mates were online and he checked in with them to confirm they were coming over after lunch. Both said yes and Barry said that the 4th mate who wasn’t online was already on his way over to pick him up. Simon only lived 2 streets away and said he would be there in 20 minutes.

Chris logged off and headed for the kitchen for a feed. Yanking open the fridge door he swore when he saw it was nearly empty. “Bloody tribes people” he muttered. Why can’t Amy stock the fridge when she’s supposed to? He headed for the pantry and extracted some instant noodles and put them in the microwave to heat. Standing back he gazed idly out the panoramic kitchen window as he waited. The view was of the paved patio area, the hedged grassy area next to the tennis court and the pool. He saw something on the grass and looked more intently. It appeared to be something mowed into the grass, almost like a crop circle pattern. As he looked closer he realised that the grass was actually a different colour in the pattern, darker and glistening.

Forgetting the noodles he stepped out the sliding door onto the patio and then walked around the edge of the hedge to reach the grass. What he saw was enough to instantly bring him to a stop. There right in front of him was a pile of steaming meat, hidden from the kitchen window by the low hedge. It appeared to have been dragged from the centre of the lawn and the pattern now appeared to be a trampled circle with the darkness coming from the blood that gleamed wetly on the grass. Chris looked closer at the pile of meat and then dry retched as he realised it was actually the remains of a freshly killed person, skinned gutted and butchered into large chunks. Recognisable was a forearm with a hand and fingers still intact and centred in the mass was a face covered in hair. Black curly hair. Long black curly hair. “Amy” he hear himself shout, and then he was retching again only this time it was not dry but the remains of his last evening’s meal.

A beeping noise intruded on his awareness and he recognised the sound of the microwave finishing. Frantically looking around he suddenly thought to himself that the attacker may still be here. The blood was still wet after all.

Chris turned and sprinted back into the house. He grabbed the phone from off the wall near the kitchen door and fumbled for the emergency number. It rang, once, twice and then answered. “Emergency Services” a polite voice answered. Before Chris could say anything a strong arm clamped itself around his face and another hand wrenched the phone from his grasp. Chris screamed “Help” and wriggled hard. His attacker thrust his arm into Chris’s mouth in attempt to shut him up while trying to turn the phone off. Chris sunk his teeth into the arm and continued to struggle. His attacker screamed with the pain and gave up and threw the phone across the room where it struck the wall and smashed open.

The assailant used his now free arm to hit Chris on the head in a series of blows that caused the lad to slump to the floor unconscious.

In the middle of this the doorbell rang as Simon arrived.

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Urban Space - Chapter 5

Kat drove the route to the university on autopilot. She was only vaguely focussing on the road and the other traffic. Her mind was not clear right now. So many confusing thought crowded her brain. Try as she might she could not keep the image of Mario out of her mind. Her heart pulsed a little quicker the more she thought of him and with a start she realised her hands were clammy on the steering wheel.

“What is wrong with me?” she thought to her self.

She tried to focus on the road ahead of her but instead of clearing her mind she found that she was wondering if Mario was a good driver.

“Stop it now” she actually spoke out loud this time. “I will not fall in love. I do not need a boyfriend. I am going to finish my degree.” She intoned this mantra for the next few kilometres before she had to focus on getting through an intersection and once again thoughts of Mario spilled unbidden into her mind.

”This is ridiculous,” she told herself.

Finally pulling into the crowded student carpark she forgot about Mario as she located a park and reversed her car into it.

Kat was a good driver. Her father had ensured that she had had competent lessons and then before he helped her purchase her car he had arranged a series of advanced driving courses for her. Chris had been promised the same deal, but as he was refusing to cooperate and had not studied for his driving test, there were no driving lessons and no car. Chris appeared not to care, but Kat thought that secretly he might have been upset at the lack of independence that having a car would solve. On the surface his defiance of his parents was not rocked by the threat of losing the chance to be given a car, but Kat could see that that he envied her ability to come and go as she pleased. Sure he did the same, but it was on foot or skateboard with his mates, none of whom had cars.

Kat locked the car and headed to the lab where the tutorial was to be held. On the way she stopped at the small kiosk and purchased a packet of chewing gum. She didn’t usually eat the stuff but she reasoned to her self that she wanted to have fresh breath for Mario.

“Arrghh! There I go again,” she cried.

Arriving at the lab building Kat used her access card to gain entry and went to her lab slowly. She hoped Mario wasn’t there and at the same time she hoped he was. She was confused. Opening the door she peered nervously in and then came all the way in as she saw her friend Robin. Mario wasn’t in evidence and she was able to make small chat with Robin while they started getting ready for the experiment they were going to run today. Kat was studying human sciences and this experiment was to develop a test that they could run on campus to gauge reactions to hypothetical disaster scenarios. Today’s session was about designing the audio visual presentation that they could use in a sealed booth while the participant was wired to various physical receptors designed to assess his or her level of stress as a result of being required to make choices between two bad scenarios.

Kat and Robin continued to chat for the few minutes it took the rest of the class to dribble in. Robin’s partner arrived and they headed off to the audiovisual equipment to continue editing the sound score they were going to use. Kat and Mario had been assigned to the job of locating the receptors on the participant for the best possible analysis of physical responses to the scenarios and decisions. As she watched Robin head off a voice behind her with a cultured accent spoke.

“Good morning Princess Katarina.”

She spun around awkwardly, losing her balance as she turned too quickly and saw Mario standing there. He reached out a hand to steady her and the touch of his hand on her skin sent electric shocks charging through her. Already embarrassed at being caught unawares by the honey tongued Italian, she felt a crimson blush rush through her fair ski toward her face, and his brief touch ignited that into full fledged embarrassment. Knowing that she was giving away her emotions so openly only served to further embarrass the girl. Jerking her arm away she brusquely replied in a haughty tone.

“Morning. Shall we get started then?”

Mario looked amused and a mocking grin swept over his classic Italian features. He emulated her haughtiness by lifting his chin a little and peering down his long roman nose.

“Your wish is my command Princess Katarina.”

“I wish you wouldn’t call me that.” She responded. The more she reacted to him the more annoyed with herself she got. She knew that this was his intention and she felt flustered to be the centre of his attention.

The remainder of the session was a blur. Mario’s constant touch as they attached, disconnected and reattached the sensors to each other and recorded the signal level strengths kept her body on fire and her brain was overwhelmed with the physical input. They finished recording the last set of data and put the equipment away in silence. All through the work Mario had kept the conversation to the barest minimum, but the looks he gave her were ravishing. She knew that he was watching her from under his long black eyelashes as she worked. This flustered her so much that her focussing on neat writing became her mechanism for controlling the emotions coursing through her.

Finally the session was over and she was able to say goodbye to Mario and rejoin Robin and 2 other girls Kim and Lara. The 3 girls immediately crowded around her and their voices dropped to conspiratorial whispers.

“Did he ask you out?”

“I saw you touching him, what does his skin feel like?”

“I would love to get my hands on him, you lucky girl”

Kat dismissed the questions with a wave of her hand and tried to pass it off,

“Oh it’s nothing much, I don’t really like him you know.”

The other girls were having none of that.

“Come on lets go get some lunch and you can tell us all.”

The 4 of them shouldered their bags and headed off to the cafeteria. Kat felt as if she was heading for the inquisition as her previous endorphin overload from being around Mario faded away.

As they walked Robin nudged Kat and they fell behind the others a pace or two.

“We still going to the beach today?” she asked quietly so the other two girls wouldn’t hear.

Robin didn’t have a car but she did have a boyfriend. He was a lifeguard at the local beach. She wanted to go so she could see him. Kat didn’t mind taking her because they got the use of the surf club facilities and that included an air-conditioned bar.

“Sure” she said, and lifted her t-shirt to show her bikini to her friend, “I am already dressed for it.”

Wolf whistles from two passing lads made her blush with embarrassment as she quickly dropped the t-shirt back down and ignored them.

Robin laughed and as they turned into the cafeteria entrance the other two girls, Kim and Lara, who had turned round at the sound of the whistles, said in unison, “Mario will be jealous” and all 4 girls burst out laughing!

Kat felt she was finally relaxing after the stressful morning of keeping her emotions in check.

jethro's picture

Urban Space - Chapter 4

Strange harmonic sounds came faintly to Jord’s ear, distant and close at the same time. The source was impossible to determine. His brain had not really processed what had happened, but now he had time to think he realised the smell was gone. So was the uneasiness he had experienced. By using his hands and legs he could tell that he was resting on a ledge of rock. He could feel nothing below him when sitting on the edge and dangling his legs over. The wall behind his back felt strangely smooth and the ledge itself was around half his body length in width. It seemed to go either side of where he was sitting in an arc that joined with the wall about one body length away. Standing up he felt that the smooth wall at his back was seamless and had no opening. Now he remembered what he had done, and realised that he had been in a dreamlike state when he had crawled through what felt like a small door in the sacred stone. Not being able to see his surroundings didn’t scare him, he was used to that. What did scare him was the complete absence of the sounds of his home. The brutes’ growls and screeches were gone. Gone too was the rustling of the trees, and the bird noises. Most disconcerting was the absence of sound from the tribe. No voices or familiar sounds, Old Rab snoring or Lena arguing with Marick.

He tried calling out now as panic began to set in. With no reply his voice became more frantic. Suddenly a voice sounded. It was an alien voice, with raspy intonation and sibilant tone.


It was a calming sound but Jord was too panicked to be calm. Flinging himself back against the wall he tried to face the source of the sound. It seemed to come from in front but its source was as equally hard to place as the faint harmonics. The voice spoke again.


This time it sounded more directly in front of him and was accompanied by a gentle touch on his forehead. Instantly Jord could see. He was unsure just what seeing was as he had always imagined things based on their feel and sound. But he knew instinctively that he was seeing the being that appeared in front of him. He knew because his mind was instantly calm and he felt a deep sense of peace flooding through him from the touch. The being was still touching him and Jord’s view was partly obscured by its hand and arm. Not so obscured however that he could see straight through it. It appeared to be made of swirly flashing light, muted and dim, and apparently encased in a translucent shell. It was roughly humanoid, having limbs, approximately 6 Jord guessed, though as they kept shifting it was hard to tell. The being was not apparently standing on the ledge but seemed to be floating just off the edge. Jord’s instinct not to step off was well founded. As he glanced over the edge he saw an apparent drop of hundreds of feet to a dark still lake. This initial rush of sensory input overloaded Jord’s brain so much that he brought his hands up to his face and covered his eyes. In doing so he saw his hands for the first time and was momentarily amazed before closing his eyes and sinking to the ground in an almost faint. The touch on his forehead did not cease, the being simply extended its limb to maintain the contact. It spoke again.


Now Jord opened his eyes again and looked directly at the being. It didn’t appear to have a head as such, but rather a central mass of light, swirling and sparking just above the section that the limbs joined to.

He responded weakly, “What do you want?”

“It’s not what I want but what you must become.” The voice intoned. Its alien sound was even more disconcerting this time not just because it spoke in an absolute monotone but also because Jord couldn’t see how it was making the noise. No visible mouth appeared to move when it spoke. Jord’s exceptional hearing skills told him that the sound didn’t even appear to come from the being at all.

“Come,” it said and it drew Jord to his feet as if he had no will of his own. The limb was still attached and Jord now realised that maybe that was how he was hearing and seeing. It floated away from the ledge and Jord felt the solid ground disappear. He screamed in anticipation of falling but he just floated alongside the being.

“Don’t be afraid,” it intoned.

Jord looked now for the first time around the cavern as that was what he realised this must be. Roughly the size of the meeting place across it was several hundred feet high. A dark still lake covered the entire bottom while the walls were lightly lit with an orange glow. The roof arched over him. By the time he had taken all that in the being had drawn him over half way across. Jord looked back to the ledge that his had been on and saw it was high up near the roof. They were now quite a bit lower and he realised they were slowly descending as well as travelling across the cavern. Shortly he was able to determine that there were a series of ledges similar to the one he had entered on. They were headed directly towards one on the opposite side of the cavern and as they drew close Jord could see that these ledges were slightly different from the one he had entered on. Approximately twice the size for a start, and the walls, while still smooth were not featureless. What could only be described as control panels were sunk into the wall at regular intervals. Jord was not overly astounded. Being a tribesman as well as this being the first time he had seen anything in his life he had nothing to gauge normal against. This alien technology was no more abnormal to Jord then the Whiteface’s healing station had been. The being drew him onto a platform that seemed larger than all the others and looking left and right Jord could see that this platform also had more controls than the others. Three separate panels were embedded into the wall. The being stopped moving once Jord’s feet hit the ground. Another limb extended from it toward the central panel and began manipulating it. Short sparks of light of various colours flashed brightly in Jord’s eyes. Shortly the creature extended a second limb to the panel on the left. After a couple of seconds of flashes two things started to happen. Jord saw a recess open under the left panel. It contained a pile of folded cloth. The second thing he saw was a section of the wall above the central panel dissolved and turned liquid black. It flickered momentarily white and black and then resolved into a featureless grey colour. Suddenly as Jord watched in fascination the grey turned into colours. Moving vibrant colours. Jord had never experienced anything so amazing. Sound accompanied the colours and suddenly he realised that he was seeing the meeting place. Arutha loomed large immediately in front of him and then suddenly vanished. Now the picture showed Lena and Marick. They appeared to be praying in front of the sacred stone. For once Lena wasn’t arguing with Marick.

Jord watched in amazement as the creature continued to manipulate the controls. It reached with another limb into the recess and removed a square of folded cloth. As he shook it out Jord saw that it was a coat. The creature pulled it around Jord and he instinctively thrust his arms in. Suddenly he felt tingling in his arms that quickly extended itself over his entire body. The tingling feeling was gone as quickly as it came and now he realised that the creature had withdrawn the limb that had been attached to his forehead. The picture of the meeting place on the wall expanded to around 4 feet high. The creature spoke again in its flat drone.

“Go and bring peace to your people.”

Suddenly Jord felt himself propelled forward into the screen. He thrust his hands forward to stop the impact and they disappeared straight into the screen offering no resistance at all. A split second later the rest of his body had flowed through the transparent portal and Jord was back in the meeting place, standing in front of Lena and Marick who were still praying kneeling in front of him. Arutha he saw was behind him to his left and Old Rab had gone back to snoring on the bench. There were other tribe members scattered around in small groups, some standing and some sitting. As one they turned to face him and their mouths dropped open in surprise. Jord wasn’t sure who was more surprised, he or they. He could see!

“I can see!” he called out raising his arms victoriously.

This broke the spell and suddenly the tribe surrounded him. Lena hugged him close and Marick rubbed his head and shoulders. Arutha peered at his face and suddenly poked two fat fingers toward his eyes. Jord jerked back in surprise and Arutha’s face burst into a grin as his voice rose above the babble of excited questions and exclamations. “It is true, he can see!”