Monday, July 20, 2009

Aardvark Practice - Novelette

Christa has dreams of a safer apartment, a car, maybe a ship, but her dreams turn into something more. $3.49 40 pp. Novelette. Rated PG-13

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Ba groaned, and I took his hand. His red-gold eyes, one open more than the other, stared at me. “Feel better?”
“Unnhht-unnhhhh.” They closed unevenly.
I propped him better. “Does your head hurt?”
“Unnnnn.”
“Bad?”
“UNNnnnn.”
I gave him the last five green leaves of nesfa. Then, needed to go grocery shopping. Loud music played upstairs. I felt dumb. There’s help, right down

the street! Without a pause, I quietly put on my Gowan robes, locked the door, and walked down the street.
The longest walk of my life, with my heart racing, with trying to look calm, and two Elshars blocked my way just one door from Found Sheep. I reached

into my bag. I had lu sig, but no way to make it absorb fast, like Elshars do! They could use it against me.
One of ‘em saw me reach, and ran! The other one looked panicked as I kept coming, and ran after him! I got to the door and pushed my way in. This

place had a glass door, too.
A zheien saw me and tried to move. Fell towards me. I caught him. “Don’t be scared. I’m Christa. I give honorable touches, like this.” Slowly, so he

could see, I reached for his head, and stroked it. Beautiful red-gold eyes, like the zheien--
He relaxed. “I like honorable touches. Should we lie on a bed?”
“No, my friend. Only lie on a bed with friends you know very well.”
“I have mind pain. Can you give me an herb?”
I hugged him and helped him sit down on a padded chair. “Only your healer should give you an herb. Rest, and I will speak with one.” A look around

showed a healer in a white bathrobe, a Thordes who frowned, and an Elshar in gray sweats who pulled the healer forward. A trembling healer. “Would you see my

friend?”
“What do you want here?”
“I have a zheien friend who cannot walk, and he needs transport to Alb Seer! I wish to go with him!”
The healer had black marble eyes. “What makes you think I will go with you?”
“My friend, I do not wish to take anyone with me! I wish the Thordes to come help me get my friend to Alb Seer. He is badly hurt.” As I spoke, I kept

stroking the head of the zheien. He sagged against me. They probably think I got him with lu sig! “Please, help this friend. I will step back—“
“Nae! Nae leave me!! Sight leaves.” His arm nearly fell, and I grabbed it.
“Rest, Friend. Will you let your Thordes friend carry you?”
He groaned, and tears filled my eyes. I hugged him and sat in the chair next to him. Gently, I stroked his head, and kissed it. “I have a friend who is

very unwell. He cannot tell me his name, or if he hurts, or if my healing is well for him. I am sorry you are unwell, and I hope the shock of seeing me did not

bring this on you!” I cried.
The Elshar healer came closer. “I think he just got scared. We don’t know his name, either. He gets sick if we ask questions. There is a van that comes

once a day, and I can ask if they will come to you. But, I cannot get this man to go with them. I think he is able to carry, if he has a short rest—“
“I’m scared to leave my friend alone! I have to get back!”
Slowly, the man in my arms lifted his head. “I will go with you.”
I stroked his head. “I’m scared you’ll get hurt!”
He looked up at me. “You gave me vek ea. You woke me. I know I can trust you.”
“Did Montapa hurt you?”
A sigh. “I nae remember. But, I wish to help you help your friend. You care for him much, do you?”
I sniffed. “It’s too soon for that. I’ve just been caring for him since Friday night.” I saw a pen and pad on the counter and wrote my name and address

down. “That’s where we’ll be, but tell them to be careful. I ported some Elshars, and they’ll probably be looking for who did it.”
The healer frowned. “If you have trouble, stay here!”
“I can’t leave a helpless man to die.” My knees shook.
As we left, my zheien friend got a starey look in his red-gold eyes, and barely walked with me.
Those Elshars saw us and backed off. So did another group smoking hyssdia at the bus stop! They all vanished.
I led my new friend back to my apartment, and people who waited in a Laundromat hid behind washers as two Hispanic ladies stared, from where they’d

been, to us.
My friend wheezed as we crossed the grass to the walk. People stared from a barbeque grill. One man panicked and dropped his bike! Ran behind a

tree.
No one near as I got my key and we came inside. Once inside, my new friend straightened. “Show me him, quickly!”
I led him into the bedroom where my friend groaned on the bed. Tears left a cake of yellow under one eye. Quickly, I hugged him. “You okay?”
“UHN-UHN!”
“I’m sorry! Look! I brought you a friend.”
The newcomer took a swollen hand. Frowned. “Ejis, Ba, you are very unwell!”
“Uhn.”
“I’m afraid to wait any longer. There’s not much flour left.”
“UHN-UHNT!!”
“Be calm, my friend—“
His red-gold eyes went to the herb bag on the side table, and the vials of orange smar and clear benau.
I pointed. “You want me to do that?”
“UHHNN!”
I sighed. “It won’t magically make you able to walk—“
“I can carry you, Ba! I am strong. What does he wish?” He looked at the vials and shuddered.
“There’s a database I’ve been studying that says benau and smar wake up a slave when he’s hurt. But, it’s a slaver database. Did it wake you up, Ba?”
“UHHNnnnnnnnnnn.”
“But you’re awake, now—“
“UHHT-UHHHHHHHHH.” His eyes blinked, and only one came back up.
“Give him more, Healer. He wishes it.” He picked up the vials and gave them to me.
“UNNNNNNN.”
Gently, I pressed the clear benau, then the orange smar, to the base of his collarbone. That eye opened slightly.
“UHNNN.”
The other zheien smiled. “He wants more! Give more, Healer.”
I hesitated. “Let’s wait a—“
“UNT-UN.”
“But, it hasn’t been long enough to affect—“
“UN.”
“It has?”
“UN!”
I felt scared, but I gave him another round. Both eyes stayed open, though unevenly, even when he blinked. We kept on until the vials were gone, and

he looked at my herb bag.
“Not today. We have to wait—“
“UNT-AH.” His mouth moved slightly.
I held his head up, and he looked at me. Tears filled his beautiful eyes. Those arms went around me. “Listen. Slavers want quick results, and they

hurt people. I know you’re impatient for healing, but I might mess you up when a healer might help you! Some things seem to help when they don’t, and I don’t

know enough, Ba! Maybe those Thordes will come tonight, and we can go to Alb Seer.”
His red-gold eyes opened very wide. “Ah?”
“Yes! Eae! Alb Seer. Rainbow Unwell Colony. They do miracles up there!”
Our new friend shuddered. “I can nae go there! Help me! You are a Gowan healer, and you have herbs.”
I startled. “But, you had a good healer at Found Sheep—“
He cried. “I can only let a Gowan touch me!” Slowly, he got on the bed beside Ba and put his legs apart.
I closed my eyes. “Ba, don’t do that. I don’t do that. What herb do you want me to give you? I’ve never trained anybody—“
He sighed. “Fau ta.”
“Not that! How about nesfa? That has training effects, and it’s beneficial.” Montapa always used fau ta, and if you startle somebody, they startle every

time they’re reminded—
Ba put his head on my arm. “I need nesfa. Mind pain, and always mind pain, and meetings go on forever, and arguments make me nearly to faint! O, I

crave it!!”
“Lie down, Ba.” I helped him lie down, then put a blanket over both of them. I was out of the green nesfa, though. Carefully, I counted out three leaves

of the brown, stronger kind. After a little explanation, Ba who’d been with me agreed to the crushable leaves. The new Ba stared hungrily at them. Quickly, I

gave it.
The new one giggled.
“No, Ba. Close your eyes. Think about your name. It’s okay to think about anything you want to think about. Your name is a well name, given to you

by loving parents.” I tried to cover anything a slaver might want to ruin for an enemy: Home, family, occupation, friends, morals. And, especially, honorable

healers. I talked about it all for an hour, then let them rest.

medical science fiction, novelette, healers, Gowan, library fiction, sexual abuse, mind control, slaver training, Rainbow Unwell Colony

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