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Little Boy Blue (Part 1)

He’s always one step ahead of me. He’s also one step ahead of the neighbors too, thank God!

Sometimes time lapped against the shores of the planet like a mirage slaking its vacuous thirst. Sometimes it came crashing down in terrifying waves like the rising ocean but these are not the metaphors that the Saps would have chosen to describe their troubled times. These are the metaphors of another species.

A short story excerpted from “The Rats and the Saps”

Chapter 1: Mother
I guess I’m older’n them hills on this god-forsaken planet. I don’t reckon I know how old those hills are. Come to think of it, I don’t rightly know how old I am neither. No matter. I usta turn a man’s eye. Now I ain’t much to look at. No matter. I’ve had a hard life. I don’t need no man’s pity and I ain’t ashamed of anything I ever done. Not even birthing my son. Tell you the truth, it’s the one thing I’m proud of. My son. Even though he don’t come around to see me very often anymore. I keep hoping he’ll come through that there door and pick me up in his arms and dance me around the room like a straw doll. I’d tell him he shouldn’t treat his old mother like that. I’d tell him he should treat me with more respect because I’m older’n those hills. But inside me, I’d be proud as a purdybird. You should hear him talk. He’s a smart one, he is. I don’t know what all goes on in his head. He’s always one step ahead of me. He’s also one step ahead of the neighbors too, thank God!

Chapter 2: History
Sometimes time lapped against the shores of the planet like a mirage slaking its vacuous thirst. Sometimes it came crashing down in terrifying waves like the rising ocean but these are not the metaphors that the Saps would have chosen to describe their troubled times. These are the metaphors of another species.

Draco.763.3b was a backwater moon, the larger of two moons revolving around an uninhabitable planet revolving around a distant blue giant star in a godforsaken dwarf galaxy named Draco since it was first viewed by Ptolemy in the second century of the Common Era on Earth1. The 763.3b suffix was a robot designation from the universal astronomical catalog signifying Star number 763 within the Draco galaxy, planet number 3 within that star’s planetary system, and the naturally formed satellite “b”. It was neither the best of worlds nor the worst of worlds. It was the only world its inhabitants had ever known since the mists of oral history.

Of course, its inhabitants called it “earth” rather than Draco.763.3b. The moon was roughly the same size as the first earth to be populated by humans, according to the robots who kept impeccable records of such things.

The moon completed one day-night cycle every 27 hours and revolved around its planet every 35 days (one month). It completed an annual revolution around its distant sun every 4125 months. There were four seasons, winter, spring, summer, and fall lasting more or less 1031 months each, depending on what part of the moon you inhabited.

The moon had been genesised by robots a long time ago to make the world suitable for human colonization. Of course, “suitable” might have been open to interpretation. Conditions on the moon were rough and unforgiving. If you were careful and if you were lucky, you could survive on this world, but just barely.

Take Sector 84 for example. The winters were particularly harsh there. It was mostly snow and ice. The terrain was all scrunched up with low lying mountains crisscrossing each other and caverns in those mountains sinking deep into the frozen bowels of the underworld. The spring and fall weren’t much different than the winter, just dirty snow replaced by dirty drizzle and mud slips. Come to think of it, the summer wasn’t much different from the winter, spring, or fall. You rarely saw the sky or anything else capable of taking your breath away and making you forget, if only for a moment, the miserable life you had to bear from birth to death. The only thing you could do to make an honest living was to work in the mines, as generations of humans had done all their lives, to chip away at the gold or the cobalt in those mine shafts and carry up cartloads of it back to the surface to trade with the robots when they came, once every 64 years. The robots brought food supplies, clothing, medicine, and other necessities in return for the gold and cobalt. Only God knew what the robots did with the stuff.

Sector 87 was different, though it wasn’t much better. The winters were milder and the summers were dry as a parched throat, mostly dust. The land stretched flat all the way to the horizon in every direction. It stretched over underground rivers and lakes. The only thing you could do in this sector was farming and you couldn’t even do that very well. There wasn’t enough produce left over for reseeding the fields, let alone for trading with the robots. There was just barely enough for a meager subsistence.

It was never ascertained why the humans had not been very successful in colonizing the moon. It might have been because the human species had been cloned by a robot or due to the limited gene pool resulting from early inbreeding. It was pretty much the same on all the worlds that humans inhabited.

How did it all begin? A group of humans on NGC 206.572.3, otherwise known as Earth2, nestled in the warm entrails of Andromeda, had looked up at the stars in the night sky and contracted a case of wanderlust. They hadn’t developed the technologies required for interstellar travel but they knew that the robots had. A few humans who possessed a scientific bent visited a robot colony nearby and requested a ride to other Earth-like worlds. The robots listened politely but at the end, they asked what the humans intended to do with themselves for the millions of years, give or take a few thousand, that it would take to travel from here to there. To make a long story short, the humans agreed to be put to sleep cryogenically and awakened when they arrived at their destination. The robots attempted to dissuade the humans from their endeavor using logical arguments, but to no avail. The robots sat down with different groups of humans and discussed possible Earth-like worlds within the local group of galaxies.

One group of a couple hundred humans chose to go to Draco.763.3b. One of the robots pointed out that the moon had no atmosphere and would require genesising. It proved impossible to deter the humans from their desires once they became aware of them.

The next robot interstellar ship going to the Draco galaxy took along a hundred or so human passengers, the great-grandchildren of the group who had requested to be taken to Draco.763.3b in the first place. There were 53 males and 51 females. The youngsters were spellbound looking out the huge windows of the starship as it slowly picked up speed, still well inside the NGC 206.572 planetary system against Andromeda’s bejeweled night. After a few months, the humans had had enough of looking through the window and requested to be put to sleep in the cryogenic containers that the robots had brought along for that purpose. The robots shut off the oxygen in the ship, except for the containers, and concentrated on maintaining course. After a while, they set the controls on auto-pilot and rendered themselves unconscious.

When the starship was one light year out, a welcome wagon of robots from a neighboring planetary system was called in to ready Draco.763.3b for human colonization.

When the starship was within 30 light minutes of Draco.763.3, the star ship’s auto-pilot woke up the robots, turned on the oxygen supply throughout the ship, started brewing coffee, and gently woke up the sleeping humans.

The atmosphere was still barely breathable and the soil scarcely arable by the time the auto-pilot had woken up its precious human cargo.

The robot shuttle descended in lazy spirals until it hit the dense low cloud cover. Lightning bolts and booming thunder smashed and rocked the small craft as it struggled to maintain integrity while looking for a safe place to land. Most of the humans vomited bile because that was all they had in their stomachs after their long hibernation. Somehow the shuttle managed to land on a flat piece of ground among bleak low-lying hills.

The shuttle door opened and a narrow ladder protruded downwards to the ground. Hailstones pinged and zinged the shuttle hull as the first human-made his way cautiously down the ladder bundled in a thick furry coat and heavily laden backpack. As soon as he hit the ground with his thick boots he ran across the rock-strewn plain to a cave with a wide entrance protected from the elements by a rocky upper lip at the base of the foothills.

Another human similarly dressed and laden stepped down the ladder and ran across the field to the cave. Another came, another and another. Soon the last human came down and ran across the field to the cave. The shuttle door closed and the rockets ignited lifting the shuttle slowly off the ground. The shuttle continued its laborious ascent until the sound of the rockets disappeared among the thunderous clouds and lightning bolts.

They lit a fire in the cavern and boiled the tasteless soup the robot welcome wagon had left them. It was nutritious though synthetic. They warmed their hands wrapping their fingers around the hot tin cups of soup and thought about their chances of survival. Disorientation and depression made them sleepy, along with the relentless drizzle and hail.

The first structure they built outside the cavern was a church. They called it The First Church of God’s Forsaken. They built it from rocks and mud.

The humans began to explore their surroundings. The grasses and plants were stunted, sparse, and inedible. A few dead twigs had been hopefully planted in the mud at regular intervals, most likely by the robots. The few animals they saw were small with more bone than meat, but they would have to do.

A provisional government was elected. Actually, the church elders had formed the first government. The people could not imagine anybody else suitable for the job of governing them.

The humans began to split up into pairs, one male and one female, and solemnized their relationships beneath the mud and stone arches of their primitive church. The newlyweds took their leaves of the rest of the brethren still living in the common cavern and set up households in smaller caves nearby. Eventually, the cavern was relegated to storage and trading of foodstuffs, seed, and hardware. Room was made for a public bath and barbershop, a doctor and dentist clinic, and the like.

A second generation was born. Many infants survived but many more did not. 27 humans died in the first twelve months, 14 females and 13 males. Nobody lived to see more than two seasons. That was because each season lasted roughly 1031 months and the average human life span was 960 months. The first four generations of humans calculated their years as if they still lived on their homeworld, Earth2, in Andromeda. By the fifth generation humans fell into figuring their years in accordance with their planet’s orbit around the local sun, and thus their homeworld was forgotten.

During the spring of the first Draco year, human settlements expanded throughout the sector. A mapping expedition was organized and the known areas were divided into sectors. Wild animals were husbanded and arable land was farmed.

The land gave little worth eating in spite of their efforts. By summer the fields turned into large dustbowls and the dry fruit withered on their vines. Lakes receded, rivers became trickling creeks, and creeks became paths of dry cracked mud.

In the fall of the first year, gold and cobalt were discovered in the depths of the caverns and caves of Sector 84. Many destitute families from Sector 87 abandoned their skag wood houses, barns, and barren fields, loaded up their drac-drawn wagons, and migrated northwest to Sector 84.

That turned out to be a fixed pattern. In late fall, early winter, many families would migrate southeast to Sector 87. In late spring, early summer, those same families would migrate back to Sector 84. Some families stuck it out in both sectors all year around.

A robot trader ship usually visited the human moon twice a season to exchange goods and raw materials for much needed or desired supplies. The gold and cobalt fetched a good exchange rate.

By the 174th Draco year, the human population had grown to approximately one million inhabitants. They had spread out over thirty percent of the charted areas. With drought, famine, disease, and wars, the human numbers stayed pretty much the same over the next 500 years and nothing much happened that was worthy of being recorded unless you counted the daily evils that neighbors perpetrated on each other.

Chapter 3: Blue Eyes
It’s time.

The words did not mean anything yet in Dagor’s mind. They were just words that didn’t make any sense, that were disturbing the sleep he so needed before getting up to go to work at the mine before first dawn. His wife didn’t seem to appreciate how much he needed those few precious hours of sleep to gird himself for the physically grueling work. He tried to will himself back to sleep.

“It’s time, Dagor,” Terpa said again patiently. This time her words had meaning. Dagor shot up to a sitting position in their bed in a sweat trying to think of the list of things he must do now that the time had arrived. She smiled at him, knowing he would fall apart when the time came. She loved him anyway. “Go fetch the midwife and the preacher. Tell them the baby will come soon. Fetch my mother too. I’ll be ok until you return,” she said to him.

Terpa sat in a warm pool of amniotic fluid and blood. There was nothing to do about it now. She’d wait until female help came to get the bed sheets changed. Dagor pulled on his pants and slipped his arms through the sleeves of his shirt. He put on his heavy coat, boots, hat, and gloves. Dagor bent down to kiss his wife and ran out the door into the cold night.

Terpa’s mother lived next door to them, so he knocked on her door first. Her father answered the door. Dagor said, “It’s Terpa. She’s ready to give birth. Tell your wife she’s needed. I’m going on to get the midwife and the preacher.” Terpa’s father produced a toothless smile and mumbled male encouragement. Dagor had not waited for her father to finish his blessing. He disappeared into the night.

The midwife lived in a small cabin on the far side of their village. Dagor ran through the gate and up the steps to the porch. He pounded on the door with his gloved hand. After a few moments, the door opened cautiously. The midwife stood inside the doorway clutching her tattered robe around her corpulent body. Her face was not appealing, but neither was it unkind. Dagor told her to come with him now. “Why,” she asked. “It’s Terpa, my wife.” He knew he had mixed up the order of what he was supposed to say. “She’s big with our baby,” he stuttered, “and it’s about to come out.”

The midwife said, “You just wait here on the porch. I’ll close the door, get myself dressed, and come back with you to your wife.” Dagor waited impatiently on the porch. He beat his arms and stamped his feet against the biting cold. After a few endless moments, the midwife opened the door, slipped through the doorway with a bag in her hand, and closed the door. “Lead the way,” she told him.

When they had gone a short distance, the midwife asked Dagor whether he had called for the preacher. He shook his head and said they would call for him on the way back home since the church was on the way.

Dagor ran up the steps of the church, taking two at a time. He banged on the heavy doors with his gloved hand until it throbbed with pain. There was a creak that descended slightly before it rose as the massive doors opened. The preacher was a tall skinny man in a nightshirt. “What do you want?” the preacher asked gruffly, somewhat resentful of having to relinquish his warm bed. Dagor told the preacher his wife was going to give birth any time now and the midwife was here beside him. “Do you have your towels, scissors, and salts?” the preacher turned to the midwife.

“Yessir,” she answered. The preacher closed the door without saying a word. In a few moments he returned, fully dressed in a black suit and a more-or-less white shirt, and a bible of sorts. The preacher and the midwife trotted behind Dagor as they hurried down the muddy lane to his cabin in the woods.

When they entered the gate, Terpa’s mother opened the door shedding cold light on the snow and ice. “Hurry!” she whispered, “She can’t keep it inside her much longer.”

“You stay outside and wait,” the preacher ordered Dagor. “You and you get to work on that young woman,” the preacher pointed at the midwife and the mother with his skeletal finger. He stepped inside and shut the door behind him. He opened the bible and began to drone relevant passages from the open pages of the book, scarcely audible, while Terpa groaned.

The midwife told the mother to boil water for the towels. She lifted the bed sheets and examined Terpa’s swollen vagina. She did not like what she saw, one bit. Between the parted lips she saw a small patch of hairy scalp. The patch was bluish in color, rather than the usual reddish-brown. The midwife shuddered.

“What is it?” the mother asked.

“Is something wrong?” Terpa asked, “What’s wrong? Is something wrong with my baby?” The preacher paused momentarily from his droning and glanced under the sheets. He lacked the experienced eye of the midwife. Terpa screamed.

“Push!” the midwife ordered Terpa. “Push now … wait … now push! Push again … again!” Terpa was arching her back and pushing for all she was worth. The head was already in the midwife’s open hands and the slippery body was about to follow.

The baby was blue all over, skin, hair, and eyes. The midwife cut the umbilical cord quickly, spurting blood over the bed and floor. Terpa’s eyes were still closed against the terrible pain she had just undergone. The mother looked at the baby with terrified eyes. The midwife showed the baby to the preacher. The baby’s eyes opened widely, deep pools of blue.

The preacher whispered, “I commend thee to Thy Maker little one.” He put the palm of his hand over the baby’s mouth and twisted its head until its neck snapped. “Ashes to ashes,” the preacher said sadly. Terpa keened uncontrollably.

Dagor broke through the door. “What’s going on?” he demanded. “What’s wrong with our baby?”

“Your baby son was born dead,” the preacher explained as sympathetically as he was capable of doing. “He was blue when he came out … he didn’t even cry.”

The midwife looked blankly at the preacher and did not challenge his words. Dagor held Terpa in his arms, rocking her back and forth as she screamed.

After a while, Dagor took a shovel from behind the cabin and dug a small grave in a corner of the backyard. It took him a long time because the ground was frozen hard as rock. He came back to the house. Dagor took the dead infant, wrapped in towels, in his arms. The preacher followed Dagor to the grave, along with Terpa’s mother and the midwife. Terpa was moaning inconsolably as the midwife shut the door.

The preacher praised the infinite wisdom of god and prayed for the infant’s soul. After they had shoveled dirt into the open grave, the preacher offered words of condolence to Dagor and his wife. Lies, every one of them.

Chapter 4: Abomination
The humans appeared to be holding their own on this harsh world. With a population of roughly one million inhabitants, there were somewhere between 273 and 456 births reported every day from all the sectors. The humans were a hardy species and that hardiness expressed itself in the gene pool from which their infants emerged.

There were isolated reports of infants born dead. Giving birth was always a risky business. Not all infants survived delivery and those who did would not necessarily survive the first twelve months. Those who survived the first 60 months had decent chances of surviving the next 800 or so months.

What was strange was not the number of infant deaths but the fact that most of the dead infants were blue. They were usually buried immediately. People talked about the blue babies in hushed voices. Preachers ranted about them. Rumors were rampant and opinions were divided and diverse. Some people thought it happened from working in the mines. Everybody knew somebody who had blue lung and died of it; that is, everybody except for the mine company doctors who ignored the miners’ complaints. If that blue dust could get into your lungs, why couldn’t it get into your infant’s blood?

The preachers were of a different opinion. The Sectarian Church Council had met to pray on the blue baby deaths and the conclusions were sermonized from the wooden pulpits of every village church and house of worship. The blue babies were an abomination and offended the eyes of the Lord. They were the Devil’s own spawn. They were a sign of God’s displeasure with the sins of the people and the approach of the End of Days.

That was what the preachers told their flocks. What they said amongst themselves, far from the ears of the unanointed, was different. The preachers who had attended births talked about the blue babies. Some were honest and told the others that many of the blue infants had taken a breath or opened their eyes or cried out. There was no moral issue with those that were born dead. Nothing could be done about them. Those who were technically alive in the first few moments were the issue. Obviously, they were not viable. Who knew what suffering was in store for them. The only moral action left to the preacher was to put the child out of its misery. Or was it? There were a handful of younger preachers who questioned the wisdom and the morality of snuffing out the flame of innocent life of a child of the Lord. The elders who participated in the council deliberations told those young preachers that they would be well advised to follow the orthodox line, which they would better understand when and if they reached the venerable age of wisdom.

You had to understand. This was not a time to buck the opinions of your neighbors or to go against the preaching of the Church. You would survive as part of the group or you would die alone.

Neither was it a time to be blue.

Chapter 5: Lem
Evanor sat in her kitchen with Dorka sipping a cup of skagbroth. Dorka had been Evanor’s friend ever since she and Thort moved to their house, if you could call it that, nearly 36 months ago. They’d lost their farm in Sector 87 during the last Big Drought and Thort had heard there was work in the mines to be had, if you had a strong arm and a wide back. Dorka lived down the row of cabins from them with her husband Javid and their infant son, Sangor. Sangor was playing quietly on the kitchen floor beside his mother’s chair. The fire in the hearth warmed the floor and the air. Dorka was probably Evanor’s best friend. She was the only one of the neighborhood ladies who welcomed her when they moved in. Evanor remembered that first day when Dorka knocked on the door, carrying a basket of meat pies and fruit and vegetables fresh from their garden.

Evanor was a diminutive woman except for her surprisingly large belly. She was large with a baby that was about to be born any day now. Dorka seemed to have so much more experience with these things, having recently given birth to Sangor. She promised to help Evanor through the hardest times. “There was nothing to it,” Dorka said. “Every woman went through the experience and most survived. The funniest thing about it,” she said wisely, “is that it will be the most excruciating pain you’ll ever experience and then, the next day, you won’t remember the pain at all since you’ll already be thinking about the next baby.”

Maybe it was the power of suggestion. Evanor felt two blunt stabbing pains deep in her uterus. Her hands clutched instinctively at her stomach. She nearly passed out. Then she felt all right again as though there had not been any pain. She looked at Dorka to see whether she had noticed anything out of the ordinary. Dorka was watching Evanor worriedly. Evanor picked up her cup to sip the tea, as though nothing had happened, hoping that if she could persuade her friend that everything was all right, then maybe everything would be all right. The pain thrust into her uterus again. Evanor’s hand shook and the cup fell to the floor, bursting into shards and spilling the tea on the floor. Dorka picked up Sangor quickly from the floor before the hot tea could scald him.

Dorka smiled into Evanor’s frightened eyes and calmly told her friend, “I think we’d better get you into bed…”

“But my baby…” Evanor whimpered, “I think something might be wrong!”

“Just you relax now girl,” Dorka said taking charge of the situation. “A million girls before you have gone through exactly the same thing. It’s perfectly normal… It’s time to get your husband and call for the midwife and the preacher.” Dorka put Sangor in his babycart and then she helped Evanor walk to the bedroom. She undressed her and helped her put on a loose nightgown. Dorka covered her with the quilt and told her she was going to leave Sangor with the neighbor lady and then send word to Thort to come home as quick as he could.

Evanor was sweating and kicked off the quilt. “Please hurry Dorka!” she moaned.

“I’ll be back before you know it,” Dorka assured her friend and rushed out of the house with Sangor.

After Dorka had deposited her son with one of the neighbors, she hurried off in the direction of the mine where Thort and her husband, Javid, worked. She couldn’t go into the mine itself, of course. The elevator cage was down at the bottom of the shaft where the workers were and they weren’t about to bring it up just for her. She was out of breath when she walked into the mine boss’s office. “What do you want?” the boss asked gruffly when she knocked timidly on the open door. He was chewing on a drac leg bone. The meat was tough but the fat dripped from his clenched fingers.

“I need to get a message down to Thort,” she said urgently. “His wife is about to have a baby!”

“It’ll have to wait until he comes up at the end of his shift,” he said. “I’m not about to bring that elevator cage up and down and then up and down again just for one miner’s wife. Besides that, he probably wouldn’t come up, if he knew what’s good for him, ‘cause I’d dock his paycheck good!”

“But she’s gonna have his baby and she needs her husband,” she pleaded half-heartedly, already knowing it was a lost cause. What was she thinking?

“Close the door on your way out,” the boss told Dorka coldly.

She went to the entrance of the mine shaft and wrote a note to Thort in big letters that, hopefully, he wouldn’t miss. She pinned the note to the board where the miners passed by when they came out at the end of their shift. She prayed that Thort would see the note and come home as quickly as he could instead of going to the pub in town with Javid and the rest of his friends.

Dorka rushed to the midwife’s cabin and banged on the door with her clenched fists. She shouted the woman’s name and banged on the door. One of the neighbor ladies leaned out of her window and said the midwife is out delivering a baby, that new couple that just moved here from Sector 88. “When did she leave?” Dorka asked the older woman, seeing the disaster looming in front of her.

“About an hour ago,” the woman drawled.

Dorka didn’t really have all that much experience. All she had was the fact of recently giving birth and she’d done that lying on her back and pushing. She’d never delivered a baby herself and never really watched how it was done. There was no use going to the preacher’s house since he’d probably be with the midwife at the new couple’s cabin on the outskirts of the village. What was she going to do?

Dorka debated with herself while she rushed back to Evanor’s cabin. By the time she got to the door, she’d decided what she was going to do, God help her. It wasn’t like there was anything else to be done.

Dorka hurried breathlessly into the bedroom. “Where’s Thort?” Evanor cried, her eyes uncomprehending.

Dorka sat down on the bed beside Evanor and said as calmly as she could, “I told his boss to let Thort know he had to come home as soon as possible. He should be here any moment now… Right now it’s just you and me girl.” She rubbed Evanor’s trembling leg.

“It hurts so badly,” Evanor said, pain accenting her words strangely.

Dorka shushed her. “Don’t you worry girl,” she said, “It’s perfectly normal and before you know it it’ll all be over.”

“Where’s the midwife?” Evanor asked Dorka suspiciously.

“I left word with her neighbor to come over as soon as she can,” Dorka lied. “What’re you worrying about? I’ve been through it myself and, if she doesn’t come in time, I’ll deliver your baby myself. How difficult can it be?” Dorka looked under the quilt and sheet-like she saw the midwife do when she delivered Sangor. She put her hand near Evanor’s private parts without touching to measure the opening. Two fingers. It’s starting! ”Don’t you dare push girl,” she ordered. “Just you relax between your pains … we’ve got lots of time yet.” Dorka looked at the clock on the table beside the bed. Come on somebody, rescue me! Dorka held Evanor’s hands. Evanor squeezed Dorka’s hands with inhuman strength, smiling from the concentration of her pain.

The pains were coming closer together. Evanor was grunting now. “Don’t push yet!” Dorka tried to raise her voice above Evanor’s grunting. “Wait as long as you can …”

Evanor wasn’t acknowledging Dorka’s command. She was just letting the roar of pain come through her mouth. An animal had taken over Evanor’s body and soul. There was nothing Dorka could say to talk sense into it.

Time slowed down almost to stopping.

Dorka looked under the sheet again. Oh God, nine fingers! I see the baby’s head. Oh God, what’ll I do now?

Evanor let out a scream as long as a drac’s tail. The baby’s head was all the way out. Dorka saw the shoulders. The baby … oh God! It’s – The baby was all the way out and in her arms, the afterbirth hanging like a grotesque bridge between the infant and Evanor’s uterus. Dorka’s brain froze. “It’s dead!” Dorka moved her dry lips incomprehensibly. “God save his …”

“Nooo!” Evanor keened. Thort burst through the bedroom door wrested the infant from Dorka’s arms, almost knocking her over in the process.

“It’s an abomination!” Dorka mumbled incoherently. “That’s what the preacher says … It’s the devil’s spawn. See, it’s not even breathing … It’s limp.”

Suddenly the baby’s eyes opened widely, deep pools of blue. He shook a small fist in the air and grasped at Thort’s cheek. His small blue hand opened and closed. Thort put his thick coarse finger in his son’s tiny palm and the blue fingers closed around it and squeezed for all they were worth.

Evanor saw that Thort’s eyes were shining. She was still whimpering when Thort bent over her placing the infant in her hungry arms, gently withdrawing his finger from his little son’s grip. Evanor cooed and soothed the tiny impossibly blue life. He was perfect except for the fact that he was … No, God damn it! He was just plain perfect and that was all there was to it.

Nobody paid attention to Dorka standing in the corner of their bedroom mumbling to herself and gesticulating.

Thus Lem was born.


This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright © 2010-2019 by Michael Stone

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