This is a continuation of a story begun in the post “Chapter 1. Part 1.” If you enjoy it, please like and share it with others!
CHAPTER 9: SEE THRUMP SPLASH
I headed back into the Plaza and the celebration raged on. It seemed like it would go on all night and the energy of the place was infectious. I was the guest of honor and a big chair had been set-up at the head of the plaza. Umbili came by all night placing gifts around it. I was overwhelmed, but the gifts didn’t matter much to me. I enjoyed the atmosphere most of all.
I danced some and then went and sat on a bench along the edge of the plaza. Different Umbili came up and shook my hand and made small talk, but it was a surface level interaction. No one fully understood what I was supposed to do with the seed around my neck; they were just excited by its presence and knew that I was going to save them all.
At one point Chak had come up to me and said, “Listen Nicholas,” he paused as if searching for some specific words. He seemed to be trying to say something important, but then gave up. “Do you like the party?”
“Yes it’s great,” I said, looking around the plaza at all the Umbili I was to save.
The night wore on and the party thinned. After about six hours the music had died away and there were only a few pockets of Umbili still scattered around the plaza.
Chak came up to me and said, “Kliff has a few cottages reserved for us on the west end of the city. Grab you stuff and let’s get going.”
I jumped to my feet and walked with him to the far end of the plaza. We walked for a few minutes and came to a little dirt path leading away from the four huge towers. We walked just long enough for me to wonder how much further it was before approaching one specific log cabin. Kliff opened the door and the warmth of the place made me realize how sleepy I was. He gestured to one room and I was greeted by ten beds that were the softest I had ever touched. A moment after my breastplate came off I was asleep, completely exhausted by the day. Chak sat down too and let out a long loud sigh.
“That’s the stuff,” he said as he exhaled, and as he did, his light dimmed. That’s all I remember from that night.
I woke up the next morning and the bed had enveloped me. To the left and right I could see nothing but the white plush of comfort. A small window directly in front of my face indicated that the sun had begun to rise, and morning was upon us. I worked my way out of the bed I had become one with and fell straight to the floor.
“Mhrm- you ah eye Nick?” Chak rolled over and mumbled at me.
I groaned at him. He rolled back over and returned to sleep.
“I’m gonna go out,” I said.
Chak managed to raise his hand and wave me away, unenthusiastically.
I crept out the door, slipping my armor over my head in the process and entered the main room I had briefly seen the night before. It was a large room with three couches arranged in a conversational manner with animal pelts and stones placed around the room for decoration. I glanced at a wall and saw an ornate fireplace with silver tongs and brush leaning up against it. Overall the mood was that of an affluent cowboy whose guest cabin had been leant to us — of course I didn’t know that was the mood at the time since I hadn’t yet heard of a cowboy.
“Good morning Nicholas,” came a soft voice from the corner. Flye was sitting in an armchair, and I had completely missed her. “Did you sleep alright?”
I was shocked to hear her speaking, so it took a moment for me to reply.
“Yes. Great. I did. Just great. How about you?”
“I slept soundly, not very long though. I had come back earlier than the rest of the group and I woke up a short time after you all came in last night.”
“Oh my, I’m sorry. Did we wake you?”
“No, no. I had just slept enough. Isn’t it a glorious morning? I wish Teleon were here.”
My interest was suddenly peaked. Every time the man’s name was mentioned I felt the way you do after a big sigh.
“What do you know about him? I remember you and Chak talking about him, and Plink said he healed a blind man. He sounds fascinating.”
“I actually have seen him once. He’s remarkable. I’m convinced he knows the Higher-ups better than any Umbili I’ve met,” she said.
“Are the stories true?” I asked.
“I believe so,” she said sweetly with a smile. “Chak doesn’t like him because of what he says about Umbra. That’s also why he’s such an outcast in the Settlement.”
“What does he say about Umbra?” I asked.
“He says that they are noble creatures. Powerful and gifted. He teaches his followers to interact with them and treat them well. He says the same about Umbili, which is scandalous from the human perspective,” she spoke quietly and simply.
“Humans in the Settlement don’t like Umbili or Umbra. They stick with their own kind. Chak thinks anyone who teaches that Umbra and Umbili are equals can’t be trusted,” she said simply.
Flye was more conversational than I had yet seen her.
“Are you alright?” she asked me. “You were frowning just now.”
“Yes, I’m, I’m fine,” I said. “I just- I thought you weren’t much of a talker. Frankly it’s just strange to be having a conversation with you.” Now she frowned. “Oh but not in a bad way, I’m happy to finally be getting to know you a little bit.” Her face softened.
“I am a morning Umbili. I love the way the air smells right after the sun hits it in the morning. It’s wonderful to see everything wake up and come to life.” She smiled and a few strands of hair fell from the butterfly clip holding her ponytail in place. Immediately, she reached up and re-secured the loose culprits. I smiled.
“So, what made you want to come on this trip?” I asked.
“Oh I didn’t want to. It was an order from the Higher-ups. I’m useful because of my foresight, evidently. I technically had the opportunity to refuse, but…” she trailed off.
“What do you mean, useful because of your foresight?”
“I can…” she hesitated, “see things. Things far away. They are hazy most of the time, but I can see over longer distances than most… and—” she stopped abruptly.
Immediately she looked down at her feet, she had apparently said too much. I took a step closer to her, and as I did her head jerked up and she looked me straight in the eye. Her eyes were a brilliant orange, reflecting the color of the light in her skin. They were wide and confused. She looked like a person who had just woken up and didn’t know where she was. Her eyes were wide and looked scared: scared of something she knew, and at the same time scared of what she didn’t know. It was strange, and I instinctively took a step backward. The moment I did, her face relaxed and she went back to being the calm, shy, Flye she had been before.
“That was odd, wasn’t it?” she asked. Apparently she at least remembered what had just happened, but now she was completely fine with it.
“Yeah, I’ll say,” I said. “You looked different for a minute.”
“Different? Different how?”
“I’m not sure. Scared I guess. You looked like you were afraid of something, but then forgot it a moment later.”
“I felt scared. I felt like something dark had just enveloped me, for only a moment.” For someone who had just been enveloped by invisible darkness, she was speaking incredibly matter-of-factly about it. “What did you do?” she asked.
“I didn’t do anything. I just took a step towards you. You were hesitating to finish your thought about what you can see, so I took a step toward you and you looked up at me… scared.”
“Yes I remember that too,” she said indifferently.
The oddity of the moment threw me off guard.
“Well… uh… you were about to say something, before… before that happened. You said you can see over longer distances than most and – something. And what?” I tried my best to casually get the conversation back on track.
“I can see over longer distances than most, and longer times than most. I can see shortly into the future. We all can do it to a certain extent, even humans. Haven’t you ever done something, and remembered doing that exact thing recently, or like you have a distant memory of doing the exact same thing before?”
“Yes. It’s a weird feeling. So you’re saying that when that happens I’m—”
“You’re seeing into the future. But just a little bit. Some cultures on earth call it Déjà vu. It seems like a memory, you get an odd feeling that you’ve seen or done something before. It’s just so small, and it happens so quick that you can’t process that it’s actually you seeing the future as it happens. Most beings can’t control that tiny bit of foresight, but I can, sort of. So that’s, that’s why the Higher-ups wanted me to come with the group. They,” she hesitated for a moment, “they, thought it could be handy.” She looked back down at the floor. Her morning personality had obviously passed and she was sinking back into her usual timid self. I sensed it was time to leave so I mumbled a quick goodbye hoping that if I left quickly enough it wouldn’t seem like an awkward exit.
Flye was right. The air outside was marvelous. A few deep breaths and I felt energized and excited about what was to come that day. I jogged down the path back to the plaza and found a few Umbili walking between the buildings. Some were wearing zoot suits from the American 20’s, some were wearing Elizabethan gowns from the late 1500’s, and others wore the wood and plastic based styles of the Scorstavian race. At the time I didn’t know what any of these were, so it was strange to say the least. There were a few styles that I still don’t know or recognize that are from other worlds and planets I’ll never see.
Regardless of their style, all of the Umbili in the Plaza were just as friendly to me as they had been the night before, and they kept offering to help me find my way around.
“I’m alright,” I would say. I honestly didn’t know what I was looking for, but I just wanted to walk around and explore that new world on my own without anybody explaining it to me. I wandered along the river for a bit until I was within earshot of the waterfall. Then I turned around and decided to enter one of the four huge buildings. I looked across the plaza and decided on the building closer to the cabins we had slept in. I started walking across the plaza, and, as I did, I heard the sound of someone screaming.
It wasn’t a scream of fear, but a scream of excitement, and it came from directly above me. I looked up and saw the body of an Umbili hurtling towards me from the sky in the center of the plaza, down through the blue clouds. I yelled, crouched down, and covered my head, bracing for the impact. But the impact never came. Instead the dude continued to scream at the top of his lungs and I heard the screams get quieter, as if he had been sped away as quickly as he had come. I stood up and looked into the sky, and heard more yells, along with a few strange sounds that made absolutely no sense to me. Again, they came closer to me but this time from the side. I made a dash for the building I had chosen to enter and turned around to watch, as the Umbili fell into the plaza again.
He had a thick rope tied around his ankles and was hanging upside down swinging back and forth and bouncing at the full extension of the rope. It took a few minutes, but he eventually stopped swinging and was lowered to the ground. One of the Umbili in the Plaza, who was about Thrump’s size, joined him when he stopped and helped him to get his feet untied. The dude looked extremely dizzy, and I recognized him as one of the Umbili from the night before.
“Glizz! What was that?” I shouted as I joined him and the Umbili who was now fiddling with the end of the rope and looking into the sky where it ascended out of view.
“Nicholas! What’s up man? That? That’s bungee jumping! It’s so awesome. You have to try it! Oh this is great. Hey,” he made the sound of a swarm of bees and turned toward the dude cinching up straps on the end of the rope, “do you think we could rig it up real quick for Nicholas to go? I forgot he’s from like 1200 B.C. so he’s never seen bungee jumping before. Would it be a problem? It would be so sweet to see the first human bungee jumper in the history of the City of Falling Water! Please,” bee sounds again, “please? Let’s do it. I’ll pay, it’ll be great! I can—”
“I don’t see a problem with that. Let me radio it up to them. You take him up, I’ll let them know he’s coming.”
“Really, it’s fine. I don’t have to do it. In fact I should be getting back to the cabin. I don’t want Chak waking up wondering where I am.” I was backing away as slowly as possible.
“No. Nick, you’re doing this. What would it say about the Savior of the Syllogy if it went down in history that he was also scared to bungee jump in the City of Falling Water?
Want to keep reading? Go to the next section! >>> “Chapter 9. Part 2.”