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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Shee Chronicals

Been a while since my last update and I haven't really had time to play any Creatures. About to jump on shortly and play around a bit, but in the mean time, here's the next chunk of The Shee Chronicals. Enjoy ;)


“Why are you late?” boomed the Master of the genetic labs in his voice that sounded like thunder. I don’t even think he meant to be so loud; it just came out that way.
“I’m sorry Professor, but I was up on the hill that over looks all of Albia this morning and time just got away from us” I stammered.
“US?” he growled, “And who were you up there with, as if I need to ask?”
“Quten, sir” I mumbled.
“Sorry, I don’t think I quite caught that” he sneered, “Could you please repeat it just a fraction louder”.
“QUTEN SIR” I yelled giving a mocking salute.
“Sheelia, what have I told you about that boy” growled the Master.
I felt myself turn a darker shade of blue; the old grump could have at least talked to me away from all my classmates. “Not to get involved with anyone if it is going to get in the way of my studies” I recited from our last disagreement.
“Exactly” said the Professor, “And especially with the likes of his family”.
I couldn’t help myself. “There is nothing wrong with Quten’s family,” I hissed.
I heard several Shee sniggering in the back on the room. I paid them no attention.
“There certainly is a problem if he is making life difficult for you. Maybe you should let your head do your thinking for a change, instead of your heart”.
The professor may have been an old biased fool, but not even he could have missed the laughter that comment brought on. However he chose to ignore it.
“Now sit down and let’s get on with this lesson, I believe you’ve wasted enough of this classes time, wouldn’t you all agree”.
There were a few mumbles and grunts but it was impossible to tell if they were agreeing or disagreeing with the Professor. Fuming, I quickly took my seat before the Professor found another reason to yell at me.
“Now, as you all know the genetics labs science competition is coming up the next time both of the moons are in the sky and full. I expect all of you to have completed a project by then or not to show up. However being the generous Shee I am, I will give you today to be working on them.”
I couldn’t help but let a small smile cross my face. On the small chance I finished my project on time, no one would have a chance of beating me. Professor Camery was still speaking and I forced myself to listen.
“As you all know, this competition goes back for generations. It was at this competition several thousand years ago we discovered how powerful lightening was and how we could use it to our own needs. I shouldn’t need to tell you that just being invited to participate in it is a huge honor and not to be taken lightly. You will all need to perform to your best standard to even have a chance in this competition. Although I doubt anyone will be good enough to win just yet, I do hope we can at least get someone in the top ten or so. Now everyone get to work.”
Everyone started to move off to their separate areas. Some projects were being completed by two or three Shee. I was working on my own in a separate room. I didn’t want anyone to know what I was working on. Not until the science festival.
I picked up my notes and utensils and was leaving the room when one of my friends came running up to me.
“Sheelia, wait up” she called.
“Hi Rayee” I greeted.
“Old Whiskers seemed pretty peeved with you” Rayee stated. Old Whiskers was the student nickname for Professor Camery. He got the name for the way his hairs raised themselves whenever he was mad. Isn’t it strange how teachers who are either really nice or really cruel always seem to get nicknames?
“Tell me something I didn’t figure out,” I muttered. We started walking down the corridor to my workstation.
“There is one thing he’s right about though,” Rayee said.
“What?” I asked, not believing anything Whiskers didn’t get out of a book could be true.
“Quten does seem to get in the way of your work” she casually.
“He does not,” I said a little to severely, thinking it was Quten who had given me my idea for the science competition.
“Well, this isn’t the first time you’ve come in late” Rayee responded.
“So he likes the morning,” I said, “He always seems to want to do things in the morning and it just happens to be that lessons start in the morning to. He’s not getting in my way at all”.
“Well…” she said with a shrug, “I still don’t know what you see in him anyway”.
“Nor do I” I said in a voice that meant the subject was closed. Sensing this Rayee changed the conversation.
“So what are you doing for the comp?” she asked.
“Not telling,” I said sharply.
“Oh, come on” she said in her whining voice. Rayee was excellent at getting information out of people, so I was glad we had come to my workroom.
“No” I said firmly, “And this is where we part company”. I swiped my card in the box next to he door. I opened and closed the door behind me before she could get another word in.
Once in the lab I took the rest of my work out of my hoole in the wall. Like all of the hooles it had a door and a lock on it so no one could get into my secret project. Only my hand imprint could open it.
I removed an egg from the hoole along with more of my notes. Quickly making sure the door was locked I sat down and began to work. I had already completed the design for my project; it was just a matter of bringing it to life. Unfortunately I had searched through all the science books I could get my hands on and not one of them told me how. It was the hardest part of my assignment.
While I pondered over this there came a loud knock on the door. I quickly covered my experiment with a cloth and opened the door.
“Yes Professor Camery” I said as he walked in.
“Why do you have the door locked?” he grumbled.
“To make sure I’m not disturbed,” I said, “Obviously it doesn’t work”.
He gave me a look of pure venom but it quickly fell from his face. “What are you doing for the science competition?” he queried, casually glancing over at the desk with the cloth now on it.
“I’m keeping it a secret until the science festival” I said, “I want it to be a surprise,” I added before he started asking why I was keeping it a secret. If I hadn’t he probably would have called in security to dispose of me before I destroyed all of Albia.
“Sheelia” he sighed, “You’re becoming as secretive as Quten. I swear, I have nothing to do with the boy and yet he’s still causing me a world of trouble”.
Keeping my cool I simply said, “He may be a little different but there’s nothing wrong with him”.
“Maybe, but you have to admit he’s not going to amount to much without a proper education” said the Professor, almost with some pity. Unfortunately that just fueled my anger.
“Quten would be just as smart as any student here” I retorted.
“Really!” the Professor gave a false gasp. “Well then, maybe he could come in tomorrow and share some of his knowledge with us”.
Seizing the opportunity I said I would ask him if he would. Whiskers seemed taken aback. I don’t think he thought I would agree, but he quickly gained control again.
“Good, I’ll see him tomorrow then”.
“An excellent idea” I said sweetly, “Now Professor I would like to get on with my work if you don’t mind”.
“Very well” he said and quickly stalked out of the room.

Quten was waiting for me when the day ended. He always waited for me in the shadows of the Forbidden Forest that I passed on my way home. He didn’t go to any place of learning like the labs, and he didn’t have a job, but for the work he did on the farm. So I guess he didn’t have anything better to do other than to come see me.
Out of the whole of Albia, Quten was the only Shee who wasn’t afraid of the ancient forest. Among the younger Shee there was the rumor that the forest was haunted. Of course most didn’t believe the stories that some told about the forest, but just thought it too dangerous a place to venture into. I believed Quten had quite often gone into the forest and he had told several stories of beyond the light of day that was supposed to be cut off from the ancient place. But even Quten said that he dared not walk much further than just past the light.
The one time I had asked Quten to take me in there he had declined so sharply that I had never bothered to ask again.
“Stay out of the forest” he had hissed, “It’s secrets are not for the likes of the faint hearted”.
As I approached the edge of the forest Quten stepped out of the shadows. “Good evening fair lady” he said in his most humble voice, “May I have the honor of walking ye home?” he added with a low bow.
“You most certainly may”, I said with a giggle.
We continued to walk in silence along the small track just beside the ancient forest. I glanced into the darkness the trees created. The forest seemed blacker than usual, as if trying to hide something from us. The trees rustled in the slight wind and seemed to speak.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if they could talk?” I asked Quten.
Following my gaze he responded, “They can you know”.
I looked up at him oddly, “Can they?”
“Not in the way you and I speak” he replied, “But they give off a feeling, but not in words and yet it is still some kind of speech”.
“I don’t expect you to understand, I don’t even understand it myself to be honest. But they tell of the years gone by, millennia of time, of before the first Shee opened his eyes and saw the world in the light. And their stories travel across boundless plains and time, and into the future”.
“What do they say about the future?” I asked with a laugh.
“It’s so dark” Quten said, looking into the depths of the forest. He shook his head, as if coming out of a trace.
“How was your day?” he asked suddenly. I was not at the least put off with the sudden change of topic. It wasn’t the first time. Besides I wanted to talk to him about coming in the next day.
“It was okay”, I said, not really knowing how to get on the topic of getting him to come into the labs.
But somehow Quten seemed to have read my mind, “Did old Whiskers give you a hard time this morning?” he asked gently.
“The usual serve” I said dryly.
“Some people can be a real pain”, he muttered.
“Tell me about it” I grumbled.
“What was he doing you in for this time?” Quten asked.
“About how my relationships shouldn’t get in the way of my work”, I replied.
“Sheelia, you know you really shouldn’t stick up for me if it’s going to get you in trouble”.
“But I want to!” I almost cried.
“I know you do, but I’m not worth it”, he said gently.
“You are so!” this time I did cry it, “I want to prove to everyone your just as smart and nice and sweet and, and, and… and your as good as any of them”, I said as I stuck out my chin.
Quten grabbed it and pulled his face close to mine. “I love it when you talk like that” he whispered, “You really make me feel better than I am”.
“But you are that good” I whispered back.
“Maybe” he said as he pulled away from me, “But they’ll never realize it”.
This was just what I was hoping for. “What if you could prove you’re just as good as they are!” I insisted, “Would you”.
He stopped walking for a minute and just stared at me. Eventually he said, “Why, what have you done?”
“I got Professor Camery to invite you in tomorrow”, I said with a smile.
He continued to stare at me. I hated it when he did this. It was as if he was looking inside me for the answers he wanted. For all I knew he probably was.
“Did you get hot headed and say something you shouldn’t again?” he questioned.
“NO!” I insisted. He continued to look at me in that questioning way.
“Well, maybe I got hot headed. But I said what I meant. What I wanted. Whatever. The point is your coming to the labs with me tomorrow”.
“OK. So what am I going to be doing all day?” he asked, still giving me that look.
“Well, um… you’re going to…to… I have no idea”, I finally admitted.
“Ah ha. So Whiskers has got me to come in to do something, but you don’t know what it is”.
“Well, yeah… I guess so” I replied.
“So for all we know, he could get me to give my life story. Tell everyone what school I go to. And I have to tell everyone I work on the farm and don’t go to a school because my parents are no hopers”.
“Quten…” I said softly.
“Well come on, lets not pretend. As sad as it is, and as much as no one will admit it, the truth of the matter is my life sucks. I have no present, and almost no future.”
“Quten, you do so have a life worth living”.
“Then what is it?” he asked bluntly.
“Well…um… you’re… you’re a nice guy” I tried pathetically.
“You see, I might be nice but I’ve got no life”.
I looked at him hopelessly, not wanting to make him feel bad, but not knowing how to make him feel worthy.
He pulled his gaze from mine and began walking again. “Quten, wait!” I cried.
I rushed to catch up with him. He could walk incredible fast when he wanted to. When I reached him I grabbed his shoulders and spun him round.
“OK, so maybe you don’t have much of a life now, but your smart and a survivor. You’ll end up being in charge of all Albia one day. I could bet on it”.
“Thanks” he said, “But I’m not into politics”. He sounded down, but I could tell he meant the “thanks”.
I reached down and took his hand in mine. “So will you come tomorrow, for me?” I pleaded.
“I hate it when you do that” he sighed, “I just cant resist”.
“So you’ll come?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there, who knows, he might even give me a job” he said with a sarcastic laugh.
I smiled and slipped my hand into his. We walked the rest of the way to my house, hand in hand, not saying anything. Just enjoying being with each other.
My house was one of the finest in all of Albia. It was two stories high with dark blue walls and the perfect light green shade to the windows. The lower story was like most Shee houses, built like a bubble for extra strength and endurance. But unlike most designs it had an extra bubble built on top. That was my room and looked out onto the Forbidden Forest.
“Well, this is the end of my walk” I said, pulling away from him.
“Oh, but you must let me be a gentleman and allow me the honor of walking you to the door” he said in the posh voice he had used earlier.
“OK” I said shyly, brushing the hair from my eye.
We didn’t speak again until we reached the door.
“Well, see you tomorrow” I said. I turned around and went to the door, thought twice about it, then turned back and kissed him on the lips. I smiled to myself; this was the only way to surprise Quten.
Finally I pulled away from him and turned back to the door. Before I could reach it his arm shot out between the door and me, blocking my way. He bent forward and placed his lips to mine.
When he pulled his face from me, he stayed close enough to me so that our noses were touching.
“I was wrong before” he whispered, “I do have a life”. He kissed me on the lips again, more gently this time. “It’s you”.
With that he turned back to the path leading up to my door and walked off.
I gazed after him, until he rounded a corner and I could no longer see him. Not once did he look back. It was just like him, dramatic.
Eventually I turned back to my house and walked to the door. Our door was one of the new organic doors. In fact, our whole house was partially organic. Meaning it had a life of its own. I mean, of course some of it was made from normal materials like minerals and steel, but most of it was alive and the door was one of the most obvious parts that was living.
I pressed my hand against the door and felt it come alive beneath me. A lot of Shee have been completely grossed out by this new invention. I guess they don’t like the idea of something squirming beneath their hands, but being a scientist I was used to it.
I felt the door slightly cover my hand, then it moved back again and the door opened. This was the part that did scare me a little. When the door opened it looked a lot like some sort of animal opening its mouth and preparing to swallow you. I guess I just couldn’t get over the fact it looked like my house was eating me. What the door did when I put my hand to it was read my fingerprints. A special lock so no one without our permission could enter our house.
I walked in through the door, suppressing a shudder at the thought I was being consumed.
“Hehe, you’ve been getting it on with Quten again!” called one of the most annoying voices I’d ever heard.
“Bowen you rat!” I cried, “Were you spying on us again”.
“No” said my little brother, “I can just tell by the spaced out looked on your face. And anyway, you might as well have just admitted you were by your reaction”.
“Horrible carrot beetle” I growled as I stepped towards him.
He was sort of hanging off the stairs leading to my room. I took another step toward him.
“What you gunna do?” he asked in a cocky voice.
“Hmmm” I mumbled, taking another step. Now I was only a foot away from him. I bent down to him with our faces only a nose apart.
“I think you’re just jealous”, I murmured. I snapped my head forward and gave him a lightning quick kiss on the cheek.
“Eeeeewww” he cried. But he was laughing. I knew he wouldn’t really care. We’d always been close. I was three years older than him, and to be honest I was the luckier child. I was the ‘gifted one’. Bowen was just as smart and just as gifted, but I got most of the luck. I got into the Genetic labs; a year ago Bowen tried out and they turned him down. Of course he could try out again but so far he hadn’t.
Also most people saw me as the achiever in the family, Bowen was just the younger brother. I know it bothered him. He tried not to let it show but I could read him. Maybe that’s why we were so close; we could read each other very easily.
I laughed at the fake look of disgust painted on his face. Then with a swish of my bluish blonde hair I turned around and dashed up the stairs.

I reached out and pocked the door to my room. It was designed like the front door. Alive. But I hadn’t locked my bedroom door so I only had to touch it to open it. The door made a sort of metallic, slurping sound as it closed. It’s a weird sound to explain. Whenever I try and remember the sound I find it hard to imagine a mechanical and a living sound combined as one.
I tossed my small pack onto the bed. The genetic labs egg symbol stared back at me from the bed covers. I thought, not for the first time how famous the labs must be to get their icon printed on bed sheets. You didn’t think about it so much when you were part of the school.
I walked over to the other side of the room to where my desk stood.
“Room system up” I commanded the desk.
A small panel opened up on the polished surface of the desk. Underneath was a simple speech pad.
“Please enter access code”, said the computer.
“Cheese” I commanded. ‘Cheese’ was probably the most unusual password in Albia, maybe on any other planet. But it was very affective and no one would guess it. It was just too unusual and meant nothing. I hardly even like cheese.
“Password accepted, welcome home Sheelia”.
“Lock door” I ordered. The door to my room suddenly went from looking soft and alive, too hard as stone and dead, almost as if it were frozen.
“Door locked”, said the computer.
“Close and lock windows” I said, moving over to grab my pack off the bed.
The windows snapped shut with a bang and then a strange goop descended from its sill. I believe it is called ‘xenophobic goo’. This goop looked a lot like the material the doors were made of. It quickly covered the entire window and the room went black.
“Windows locked”, said the computer.
“Damn it!” I muttered, “Lights adjust”.
Slowly the lights in the room went from pitch black, to a suitable reading light. “Lights adjusted to a reading light”.
“That’s better”, I mumbled, “Seat up”.
A part of the floor in front of my desk opened up and up shot more of the goop. It quickly formed the shape of a seat and then hardened. I dropped my pack onto the desk and sat down.
“Damn seat, it’s always uncomfortable”, I complained. “Seat adjust”.
The goo around me softened and sort of fused itself around me, making a comfortable seat just the right size for me before hardening again.
“Must remember to program it to come up like this all the time”, I said aloud to no one.
I opened my pack and retrieved my work pad on the science competition. I had locked all the windows and the door to make sure I wasn’t disturbed. I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing, not even my family.
“Open pad to cheese maker” I commanded the pad.
Its screen lit up and started to load the sheet I wanted. “Access code please” asked the pad.
“Noodle soup” I said. Just another example of a password that would never be discovered.
The page finished loading and I looked long and hard at the complexity of the digits and letters covering the screen. ‘Cheese maker’ was just another code word; it wasn’t really a page on making cheese.
“I can get the blood flowing without to much trouble” I muttered to myself, “But without the brain running the body might as well be dead”.
I pondered over the problem for hours, but I just couldn’t find a formula to get both the blood flowing and the brain working at the same time.
After my second hour of studying the desk computer decided to pipe up.
“Incoming message from Kitchen. Do you wish to accept?”
“Accept message”, I said, sitting up from my hunched over position with a sigh.
A small circular hologram sprung up from the computer. I was still amazed at how clear these new holograms were. It was so clear it felt like you could reach in and grab whatever was looking back at you.
A picture of the back of my mum’s head came up. She was rushing around trying to get tea ready.
“Tea will be ready in five minutes”, the back of her head said.
“Okay Mum” I called into the speech pad, “Hologram close”.
“Speech message closed” groaned the computer.
I quickly packed my stuff away and left it on the desk. I had no fear of leaving my project on the desk because it would be a simply matter of closing and locking the door. No one could get in short of blowing up the door.
“Open door, windows” I commanded.
The goop came to life again around the windows and slid back into the windowsills. The door came to life and opened.
“Lights off” I ordered. The lights snapped off.
“Door locked to Sheelia”, I said. I had programmed the computer to recognize no one but me as ‘Sheelia’. That included strangers and my family.
“Seat down”. The seat slurped back into the floor. “Damn it”, I cursed, “I forgot to program it to open as a comfortable seat…again!”
I stepped out the door and listened for the now familiar metallic slurp. I heard the door close behind me and quickly rushed down stairs to eat.


  1. Very exciting! I'm definitely looking forward to reading some more: The Forbidden Forest sounds dangerous but mysterious, and I really enjoy reading your descriptions of the different aspects of the world. Can't wait to read what happens with the egg! Great work!

  2. Unfortunately with the story not finished the Forbidden Forest doesn't play too much of a role yet. Not to worry though, should I pick up the story again it will play a major roll.

    I really do have a lot of the major events already worked out roughly in my head. A lot of it is piecing together the bits in between.

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