Creatures Community Chat

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Shee Chronicles Cont'

Well, I'm still staying at my parents place for at least another night so I don't access to my usual bundle of tools. Instead, it's time for another 'Shee Chronicles' update. Quite by coincidence this next section of the story explains the plant image in my previous post.

“See you mum, see you dad” I called over my shoulder as I grabbed my pack and headed for the door.
“Have a good day Sheelia” called both my parents.
I pressed the door and it opened with a slurp.
“Quten!” I gasped.
“Good morning, I thought I’d walk with you to school” said the Shee.
“Oh, thank you. Wait. Walk with me to school? You mean you walked all the way here from the farm?”
“Well, yes” he replied.
“But that’s so far away!”
“It’s not that far”, he protested.
“Oh Quten, you shouldn’t have” I sighed.
“But I wanted to” he said. It was impossible to argue with him at this point. I mean what can you say to someone who’s gone out of their way to please you, just because they wanted to.
I slipped my hand into his and we started walking. It was a bright spring day, the sun was shining brightly, but not so brightly that it was to hot. There was a nice cool breeze, but it wasn’t so cool it was cold. It was perfect weather. There was new life on Albia, scurrying around for its first time. Around the newborn flowers, the new flutterbyes were playing. The newborn baby birds were out with their mothers for their first feed away from the nest. It felt good to see this new life. It felt like there was a change in the air, like something new was about to begin. I figured it must be the chance that had been given to Quten. Maybe today he could earn some respect; today could change his whole life. And mine.
I looked over as we passed the ancient forest, even the usually scary looking forest looked a little more inviting on this glorious day.
“Well, only a couple more blocks to the school” I said with a false laugh. I didn’t mean to make it false; it just came out that way.
“You sound nervous” Quten said, this time with a real laugh.
“I’m dying here”, I muttered.
“Oh come on, what could happen?” he asked.
“I can certainly tell you’ve never met Professor Camery”, I mumbled. Quten just smiled.
“I’m serious, he’ll really pick on you”, I protested, “He’s bound to try and embarrass you so you wouldn’t even think of coming back. I mean what if he…”
“Sh” he whispered, placing a finger to my lips. “Sheelia, I can take care of him”.
I looked into his eyes and saw the strength and love looking back at me. I sighed. “I know you can. I’m just worried you’ll get hurt. And then it’ll have been my fault”.
He moved his hand from my lips to my cheek and then brushed it with the back of his hand. “Come on” he laughed quietly, “Have you ever known anybody I couldn’t charm the robes off?”
“No” I giggled.
“Well then, what’s the matter?”
“I know, I know. It’s just that I…”
“Worry to much” Quten finished.
I smiled into those deep brown eyes of his and took his hand from my cheek.
“Come on” I said quietly, “If I’m late again Whiskers will have my head”.
We walked in the labs gates hand in hand. Above our heads the metal gates read, ‘Genetic Labs’ with a symbol of an egg between the two words. As we walked into the Labs grounds I saw Quten’s eyes lift upward towards the giant dome shaped buildings. Like most people who came to the Labs this was the first thing they noticed. I had been coming to the Labs for several years now, so I no longer was in awe of the grandness this monument emitted. The structure of the buildings was several domes squashed together. The colour of these domes was the colour of the sky. I mean it literally was the colour of the sky because it was made out of a metal that reflected the sky perfectly. If the weather was dark and bleak then the Labs would appear almost black. Today however the buildings were a perfect blue hew.
There weren’t many people walking the yards, so we didn’t get too many stares. I thought it strange how Quten’s family was poor, disliked and didn’t have much to do with the rest of Albia, and yet how everyone knew who they were by name and face.
“Now just sort of… wait here until I get back” I commanded Quten as we reached the change rooms.
I didn’t wait for him to reply. I dashed into the rooms and got my uniform out of my pack.
“So where is he?” asked a familiar voice.
“Rayee” I gasped happily, “How are you?”
“I’m good”, she answered, “So where is he?”
“Who?” I demanded.
“Quten of course” she replied.
“How did you know he was coming today?” I gasped, no one should have known. I certainly hadn’t told anyone.
“What do you mean how do I know? Everyone knows and we’re all waiting to see him”.
“You’ve already met him” I commented.
“Yeah but only once and only for a few minutes” she said.
“So how does everyone know, who spilled the info”? I asked again.
“How should I know?” she asked, “All I know is, it was rumored that Quten was coming by several people”.
“As if you don’t know who started it” I said, “You know all the gossip”.
She just laughed. “So where is he?” she demanded.
“He’s waiting outside” I said, “What did you think I was going to do, bring him in with me?”
She laughed again, “Well if I wasn’t in here with you…maybe”, she giggled.
“Oh please” I muttered.
I quickly threw on my uniform as Rayee took out a brush and tried to make her long, curly, red hair sit down. “You’re fighting a losing battle there” I commented.
“Tell me about it” she groaned. But then she laughed. Strange, when I think about it she was almost always laughing.
“Oh well, guess I wont have a chance of stealing your boyfriend” she said, “Come on already, let’s meet him”.
“Okay, okay” I mumbled, applying the final touches to my uniform. “Okay, ready” I said.
Rayee gave up trying to fix her hair and skipped away from the mirror. She grabbed my hand and led me out the door.
“Ieb!” Rayee cried. Ieb was another student at the labs. He had light blue coloured skin and blond, sandy hair. He was part of a ‘top secret project’, which we all knew about. He and several others were working on creating a living spaceship. It would be similar to our house, alive and need to be taken care of.
Although Ieb never allowed us to view any of his work he spoke often about it (more because we begged him to tell us than he boasted about it) and we all knew much about its structure.
Ieb was a fairly popular person, so popular and smart that he had attracted much attention from Rayee. It was for this very reason I wondered why he was talking with Quten. It was bad enough in some eyes that the likes of me would associate with Quten, let alone someone with Ieb’s high status. But then again, Ieb was one of the rare types who could and would hang around with whoever he wanted.
“Oh hi Rayee” Ieb said, flashing a smile, “How are you Sheelia?” Rayee smiled back, I could see her face going a dark shade of blue with embarrassment.
“Good thanks” I replied.
I was about to return the question but he got in before me. “Hey I hate to dash off like this, but I’ve got to dash off” he said, “Nice meeting you Quten”. And with that he was gone.
“Oh wow, he wants you bad” I said to Rayee.
“Don’t be stupid” Rayee protested.
“I’m serious, did you see the way he smiled at you” I persisted.
“You think so?” said asked, getting a little excited. But then her shoulders fell, “As if someone like him would want to be with me”, she muttered.
"Well he was more than happy to come over and talk to me” Quten said, “He seems nice, I don’t think social differences mean that much to him”.
Rayee looked at the Shee and smiled. “Well then maybe I should have made more care when I was doing my hair. Well Quten, it’s nice to see you again,” she said.
“Likewise” he replied.
“Oh Sheelia!” gasped Rayee suddenly.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re early for once”, she said with a laugh. “Hey, that means you can come and see my project for the Labs science competition”, she said, grabbing Quten by the arm and dragging him off in the direction of the horticultural room.
Rayee was one of the experts on horticulture at the labs. Like all the other horticulture students, Rayee took some special classes in which they studied and looked after plants. Although none of the students had advanced enough in their studies, some of the top professors had succeeded in creating new breeds of plants. It had all stared by blending the same species of plants with different flower colours in an attempt to produce the colours they wanted. Then it advanced to creating plants with specific flowers or fruits to grow in certain climates. Then trees that grew two or more fruits. And so the cycle continued, every now and then someone made a new species of plant. At this stage in time, people were actually making plants that could think for themselves. Sentient plants.
These were the types of plants Rayee and the other horticulturalists looked after. Most of them were new species and very little was known about them. It must have been a most exciting study. Perhaps one day one of the plants would talk. In a real language rather than the more spiritual way Quten believed plants could speak.
“Here we are”, announced Rayee as we came up to the door leading into the horticultural room. This door wasn’t one of the newer versions we had in our house. To open this door you needed to have a swipe card with you. Most of the horticultural students had one. The younger students who had only just come to the Genetic Labs didn’t receive one for about a year or two. Other than these students only the teachers and scientists had access to this area. Amazingly this room could be quite dangerous to an unsuspecting person. Although they were all locked up there was talk about plants that could spit venomous substances and others that could reach out a vine or branch and strangle you to death. Sometimes I was glad I didn’t have a swipe card.
Rayee pulled out her swipe card and poked it into a small slot in the wall.
“Access granted”, murmured the voice of the computer and the doors slid aside.
“Come on” Rayee said and grabbing Quten’s hand raced off into the room.
The familiar smell of wet dirt filled my nostrils. This room always smelt like it does after a good rain. The room was set up with similar weather conditions to a real rainforest. There were a few smaller rooms off to the sides with different climates, like a desert landscape and such, but the main part of this building was the rainforest.
I had visited the horticultural room many times with Rayee and I loved it. It was so quiet and peaceful. Of course there had to be some animals in the room to take care of the plants like nature would do in the wild, but it was so early most of the creatures were still asleep.
As for Quten, he had never even been in the Genetic Labs front office, let alone had he seen the wonders on the horticultural room. I could see his eyes darting from one place to another as he tried to take everything in.
He looked just like I did the first time Rayee had brought me to the room. I had looked around just as he had instead of looking where I was going and I had accidentally tripped over one of the plants outstretched vines and fallen onto an extremely prickly bush. Rayee had apologized and said that that plant liked to play jokes on unsuspecting people. I had laughed at her until I looked over at the plant and seen it wobbling up and down, almost as if it were laughing at me.
I let a smile cross my face at the memory and then made sure to watch where Quten stepped.
Rayee dragged us off into one of the side rooms. This room didn’t have any rainforest appearance. It looked a lot like the first horticultural rooms had looked, before we realized plants grew better in natural conditions rather than labs. This was where the new species were kept. Not much was known about them and no one knew which climate they would grow best in.
Rayee let go of Quten’s hand and walked over to one of the many tables.
“Here it is”, she said proudly, pointing at one of the plants.
The plants flower was red with small yellow spots and almost looked like the sun does with a decent telescope. The flower was closed so it was impossible to see what it looked like on the inside. Its stalk was a natural green with three healthy looking leaves growing on it.
“Rayee” I gasped, “You created a plant”.
“Yep,” she replied, “I’ve finally learnt enough to create my own species”.
“Wow, I’m impressed” I said.
Rayee looked up at Quten to get his approval. He leant forward and lightly stroked the flower of the plant.
“I love the flower,” I said, “What’s it look like when it opens?”
She gave me one of her ‘I know something you don’t know’ looks.
“It’s not a flower” she replied.
I gave her a questioning look, “Then what is it?”
I got my answer straight away. As Quten patted what I thought was the plants flower I saw it shudder and move a little. Then slowly it began to open.
“Oh good, its waking up” said Rayee.
Quten took a step back; in his eyes was a questioning look.
Slowly the plant opened itself up and twisted it ‘flower’ towards us. Its leaves began to curl and uncurl and its vine like neck straightened out, almost as if it were stretching. By now I could see what I thought was the flower was most definitely not a flower. It looked a lot like a… mouth? The plant had now fully opened its mouth and was ‘looking’ towards Rayee, despite the obvious fact it had no eyes. It uttered a sort of gurgling sound as it stretched out its neck towards her.
"Good morning gorgeous” cooed Rayee.
“Wow, that’s amazing,” said Quten as he reached out to touch it.
“Don’t touch it!” I gasped.
“Why not?” he asked.
"Because… it’s an unknown species, who knows what it’s capable of”, I said.
“Don’t worry” Rayee assured us “It doesn’t bite”.
Quten reached out again and patted the head part. The plant gave another gurgling sort of sound.
“But you need to be careful because when it’s hungry it…”
Just at that point the plant gave an almighty gurgle, through back its head and heaved some sort of black sludge at Quten’s face.
“Yuk” he squawked in shock.
I quickly grabbed a tissue out of my robes and tried to wipe it off his face.
“Yeah, it spits” Rayee finished her sentence, “It’s toxic to some bugs and smaller animals but quite harmless to Shee”.
"Does it always do that when it’s hungry?” I asked.
“Only if it’s really hungry” Rayee said, taking some lolly wrappers and other rubbish out of her pockets, “It’s kind of an attention seeker”.
“What are you doing with that stuff?” asked Quten, wiping the black sludge off his face.
She gave us another, “I know something you don’t know” look and held the rubbish in front of the plants ‘face’.
The plant nuzzled the wrappers in front of it and gave a few short gurgles and snuffling sounds, as if it were considering what lay before it. Then with a gurgle that sounded almost joyful, it lunged forward and snapped up one of the wrappers.
It didn’t have any teeth or even a tongue so I was wondering how it would eat. But as I watched I could see between chews more of the black gooey sludge. Slowly the plastic melted and the plant swallowed.
“Incredible, it’s a recycler” gasped Quten.
“Yep,” said Rayee, “If I can manage to get this off the ground we could completely get rid of rubbish bins and replace them with these plants”.
“That would be something”, said Quten.
The speakers above us suddenly turned on and emitted a short static blast before Whiskers voice came over, "Everyone report to the Jakole meeting room immediately” he barked.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to see the next part of this story! I was watching District Nine the other day, and the black sludge from Rayee's new plant reminded me of one scene from it. Doesn't sound like Quten has anything to worry about, though! I'll be looking forward to the next part!