A little less serious. Might offend.
Much less serious. Might offend.
So 2.1 hours day before and 1 hour cpap last night. I changed the temperature but although I got to sleep faster I tore it off faster. I think the mask is now too tight and it’s hurting my nose.
Alex and Katie were here yesterday for Laundry adventures. Katie’s working him up to being left with me for a couple of hours. Unless he’s asleep he cries for mama within ten minutes, so child care is going to be an interesting proposition.
He was sitting on the deck in his stroller car seat when I opened the door, and as soon as I opened the door he recognized me and smiled. Not a big mama smile, but an “I see you and I like you” smile. MELT. That’s Margot in the background, and although you can’t see it, every once in a while she’ll lift that little black paw and bat laboriously at the cat toy hanging right in front of her face. That’s her fave spot; Buster of course sits at the very top.
I find Alex very baby like. He drools so much these days he could sub for a horror movie monster.
You can’t see the logo very well, but that’s a pinball machine on his shirt.
2.6 hours on the cpap last night. Guess it’s ‘trending’ in the right direction.
Walked 2 k yesterday in the rain. I was quite sore when I got home and walked up the last hill like an arthritic corncrake, but at least I got out of the house.
Also applied for a job.
in that moment when your comrade falls
all the world is out of sequence
each space is subdivided into noise
fear and cruelty
stuffed into a crack
is every line of scripture
how could there be recovery from this
then another falls
we left behind will stiffen, shoulder loads
agree that we are soldiers
or at least survivors
there is a task that lies ahead
perhaps to drown in blood
with hands blown off
which is what it feels like
when another one falls
i am neither these lines
nor this war
this entire earth a cry of sorrow
for the things you will not see
my fallen comrade
I used the cpap for 2.3 hours last night, according to my highly evolved machine.
Doxie sent me an ac charger, yay, now I can use the scanner continuously.
99 words yesterday. It’s not much but it’s progress.
Had long long talks with Tammy and Sandra yesterday. Tammy’s continuing to work on her counselling business and we brainstormed some marketing ideas, and Sandra was all bubbly and full of news about family, including comments about the family Bible (what a story, but it’s not mine to tell) and lovely updates about her elderly female relatives (and what a grand ear flapping that was).
Watched Grand Budapest Hotel, and it was lovely.
Applied for a job this morning.
I have not one but two very difficult decisions to make. One involves my finances and the other my mental health. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.
Now for some eggs and tea and toast.
Welp, it’s official. The xray came back and there’s something amiss amidships. I see the doc March 3rd, but I don’t think I’ll march forth. It’s physio for me… likely. Physio I can’t afford. Man, I love being unemployed.
I find it absolutely hilarious that I got my first offer of sex in like I don’t know, a year? …. immediately after I informed my interlocutor that even if I was interested, I am not physically capable at the moment. I’m not saying men are clueless, but they sure can concentrate on themselves and their needs to the extent that they become stone… fucking… deaf. The little dears. Reg will be Reg.
Since I’m never going to date again, I thought I’d take this list and whack it like a rhetorical piñata for a while.
1. It all went fine until we got to the cat. After that I don’t remember much, although I do remember waking up in the ambo and thinking “Holy fuck, I hope that’s not all MY blood.”
2. This is a genuinely hilarious idea, and if I was a few years younger and dating a man with a sense of humour, I would totally go for it.
3. I think I have sufficient costumery to cover this in style.
4. Only if we’re doing it on Bowen Island; you end up at the labyrinth if you do this.
5. This should only be done on a double date. It will increase all of the fun. For variance, include kids from previous liaisons.
6. Nah. Fuckers would just assume the book was used and hate on the retail staff. Do not do things which will make fuckers hate on the retail staff.
7. I cannot think of anything which would bring irritation to the boil faster than this, but on the other hand it might be totally fun, except that every time I ever did this with a guy he ended up steering the story over to emergency blow jobs.
8. Only if I have something that does the bending for me, otherwise it’s going to look like I got to the edge of my neighbour’s yard and gave up.
9. A charming notion.
10. Nope. Trees are too small to hide this ass behind. Van Dusen Gardens, mebbe.
11. This could be genuine hilarious and memorable. I’d start at the cruise ship dock and work my way through Gastown, Chinatown, and East Hastings.
12. This is TOTES a fannish activity. People have been doing this in sf fandom since the 30’s, possibly earlier.
13. See, I’d REALLY HAVE TO TRUST HIM. This is how you end up in the newspapers, sisters.
14. Only if I’m leaving hangar rash on every sport ute and noise kit vehicle in the parking lot.
15. Not with this pubic symphisis, but in your 20’s it’s a hoot.
16. I have actually done this; with the right person it’s so funny you’ll be needing oxygen by the time it’s done.
17. I gave away my superhero costume to Mary Crowell, but I have NO REGRETS.
18. Had me and my imaginary sexytimefriend but the funds.
19. Only with my mask…
20. Only at Wreck Beach…..
Katie and Alex came by to do laundry, eat pork stir fry which I had providentially cooked up that morning, and drink coffee, and Paul showed up to take me for a walk but was only too happy to take us all in his car, which involved much shovage and shrinkage on Katie’s part.
Somewhere in there the kitchen clock fell on my head and shattered, and I have a hummingbird egg on my head. Getting hit by a clock when you’re 56 just seems a little too on the nose, doncha think?
So we 4 went to the Quay, and walking like my pelvic girdle done come apart, and grateful for the prop of the stroller, I got 2 k in, and then, joy of joys, Paul treated Katie and I to the sopa de tortilla at the Quay (best soup that isn’t pho for many miles). Then I came home and I would have liked to have collapsed, but Alex was here so I sang to him and watched him career about in his Jolly Jumper (which was the reason the kitchen clock got dislodged, but oh well it’s still running although Jeff had to pull more glass out of it this morning.)
Church was okay. The speaker had wonderful things to say about feeling like an odd person out, but a man in the congregation kept talking and it was hard to hear what was going on sometimes. Also, the amount of tunage has dropped away to practically nothing, which is in my view somewhat farcical. I didn’t hang about for the soup lunch.
The xray result should be back soon. I have a note in to call the doc.
I have a rather troubling new symptom; the numb patch on the bottom of my foot more than doubled in size in the last twenty-four hours. This is the first time the paresthesia has gotten significantly worse since my initial recovery from the L5-s1 injury, and what really cheeses me off is that I have been making a tremendous effort to get more flexibility happening and my symptoms get worse. (I have been doing various exercises for my hips and back). FML, as the kids say.
If I keep being this fragile I have no idea what will happen come May when I’m expected to do childcare several days a week. I imagine I’ll adjust, but it’s a terrifying prospect that I might put my back out again. Also, it’s by no means settled where this childcare will happen….
Many, many hours on the cpap. I had to go at it on three separate tries, but I gooped my eyes before I slept and woke up both refreshed and not so dry that I couldn’t get my eyes open, so I’d call that a win. Later on this morning, we’re going to do an early shopping run, and later after that I’ll be off to church – to drop off tea towels and pick up cocoa….
Alex is so cute! Yes I was walking around New Westminster yesterday, and although I have like $60 in my account until more funds arrive I simply had to have a Chronic Taco (Katie and I split one, it was SUPER DELICIOUS). They cost a bomb but they are simply loaded with nutrition.
As a member of the League of Practical Women I purchased Katie some WD40 which immediately got used to desqueak the horrifically squeaky wheels of the stroller.
Pic back at the apartment.
Note: Baby drool smells GHASTLY once it dries. I came home and thought, gosh, that’s …. what’s that….. and then ran to change my shirt. He is Tom Drooly, f’sure.
This is Theo, George’s cousin, being forced to say something for Raven’s little book. He’s only doing it because he’s scared of Michel and George. Otherwise, he wouldn’t even be acknowledging that he can speak English.
I have no idea why Raven keeps pestering me to talk about my childhood and my hobbies. I like eating chickens, alive or dead, and moths are always welcome food. I am closer than is normal to my Grandmother, but she is in Europe and I am here. We text or talk almost every day. It annoys her to use human language, but I think it is a sign of how wily and adaptable she is that she’s taken to it. She has chosen a strange voice to talk in. It is at the low frequency end of the normal woman’s voice range, and the accent stretches from Germany to the Greece, and while she is learning English, she still speaks Greek to us. I have no interest in talking further on these subjects, and prefer to return to the subject of why humans are inferior.
Humans don’t realize why we have the advantage in the matter of diet. I have given years of thought to this – although Georgios would mock me for claiming to think at all, such is his disrespect for me – and I’ve determined what’s destroyed humanity. You could have been like us, unhindered, wild and alone, but evolution forced you into taking the social route and you got into groups.
That was bad, but what really messed you up was agriculture. Once somebody moves you away from access to the food you require to survive and breed, you are a slave, and only your elaborate social networks, with their elaborate food related rituals, and the buying and selling and growing and storing and transporting and preserving and mixing of food in inane and endless processions of ways, prevent you from seeing this.
If the food supply stops, which happens from time to time, I move where my nutrition buds take me. For I, in my superiority to humans, have no taste buds. That would prevent me from eating what I need instead of those materials this body needs to sustain itself. Nutrition buds advise me that my body will feel better if I eat this. However unlikely, if it’s safe and it’s within the current dietary rules, I eat it. I have no moral qualms about eating a dead human, and have been freely offered more corpses than I care to document. I have been advised not to while being recorded. I can always tell if there’s recording happening so there’s no chance I’ll get Georgios in trouble doing that. Michel sat on me and told me he’d kill my babies, which is stupid because Georgios would never let that happen, but just in case I don’t eat dead humans.
If humans were much less fussy about their food they’d have more resources for other things, and maybe they wouldn’t need to work at all, since work is slavery with the beatings missing, as I can clearly see. Work! I’ve been watching humans work for more than a hundred years, and it’s always the same. Almost everybody works and the ones who don’t work are either free like me or are parasites like Georgios. I learned from watching that the people who were most like me, free, although most of them live in cities, which is stupid, since it’s safer outside of them, were considered homeless and therefore less than other humans. Why? Because they have no place to keep food. This must be the most stupid reason to think someone is less than you. Think them less if they can’t think for themselves, or entertain themselves, or successfully breed. Not having a place to keep food is not a sufficient reason to think poorly of someone, since that is the default position of every member of my species and to an individual we are better than humans by any objective measure.
The first time I watched what’s called rush hour in Vancouver, I stood on the bridge over the highway and wondered how much of the substance of the earth could be set on fire at one time and yet everything still seem normal. All this you humans can accomplish, while sitting in a car. I always prefer to sit on the roof, if I can have it, as I enjoy the feel of the wind, and the g-loading as I hang on is exciting.
I do like moving around better with airplanes and cars rather than walking and horsecarts and trains.
I do not care about any human hobbies, and yet I am asked about mine constantly. Nothing that happens to me is of the slightest interest to any intelligent human being. I can neither hurt nor help anyone, so why would anyone care what I do? Psyche was as persistent as you, Raven, and I don’t say that lightly. I tell them moths, and then they say, well what about moths? I look at them. I create habitats in my body for them. I study them through their life cycles, watch them come into life and leave it and make babies in the middle, I feed them and watch them fly and examine all their body parts in detail and create maps and itemize what they eat, and then I eat them. There is nothing in the slightest bit unusual about any of this and I have no idea why any human cares about it.
He’s curled up next to me right now. I’ve started letting him in to my room. For a while he was resting his head on the corner of my laptop which was socuteIcoulddie.
I’ve started doing the exercises I found on line and it is already making a difference, not just to my pelvis but also my back. I woke up this morning with no pain. I dodged the CPAP, but at least I cleaned it. I finally went into the programming for the CPAP and checked my actual hours used and it’s pretty bad. Best night was 3.5 hours; average is just over 2. I also snugged up and rearranged the mask fitting while I was cleaning it. Back to running the machine tonight.
Mike was gently encouraging me to get over my hate for YYOGA I will try again. But honest to glob, if that receptionist is still there and pulls the fat shaming stuff again, I’m going to give her a piece of my mind, complain to her manager, and complain in writing to head office. And then I’ll say screw it and take Mike on as a private instructor, he is after all trained. Also, yoga is expensive….
Yay, finished the first part of the thing for church. Now to the edits, after we get updates.
Went for a short walk and fed Paul lunch yesterday. Paul’s in good shape and told me a couple of hilarious (non-safety related) stories about his work. I used to post them, but now I know that lawyers lurk everywhere.
I have a project to complete for church today and then hopefully I can head off to Victoria with a clear conscience and the ability to actually walk through the terminals. Going up stairs for some reason is easier than coming down.
Unless of course Jeff wants to go first, in which case I’ll stay back and monitor cats. I’ve already let Buster out, he was wild to leave the house. He caught a mousie yesterday, which is now living in Jeff’s room in a box (Buster is generally kept out of our rooms as we’re not entirely sure he’s gotten out of the habit of pissing on things he wants to mark. I can no longer put laundry in the bathroom as he soddenated one of my favourite dresses.)llllllllllllllllllL0 ,555555555555555555555555555555555
\’]2333ll <—————Buster jumping up to greet me and mashing my keyboard.
Miss Margot is still good for a handful of fur every single day, and she’s getting increasingly cheesed with me and if I make eye contact with her for more than half a second she lollops off under the dining room table and hides. However she cannot resist the table top as a sleeping / puking spot (dollar sized circles of grit, no hair), so I pick her up while she’s unconscious and for the first thirty seconds she’s too sleepy to put up much of a fight. Don’t worry, those velvety paws turn into razor shanks when she’s so inclined. Jeff pointed out that she’s sharpened her claws up and down the eastern side of his bed frame, heavy sigh. Buster, if allowed in to his room, tips stuff off his desk and takes over his chair.
Raven’s interest attracted my interest. She said that a diary was a multipurpose device. It was a way to send your younger self to your older self in a manner different from memory. It was a way to see how you edit your own memory and learn to lie to yourself. You may become more truthful.
I had believed and it was the general belief of my species that the language of light made it impossible for us to lie undetected. This was not true. I made decisions while I believed this untruth, and my whole life has been different as a consequence.
I don’t mean to complain, although I do. I don’t complain in the language of light. I wish I knew how to transfer that ability into a human language. George tells me that Jas’ mother never complained, and that he privately asked around and learned that it was true.
So it is possible. It is considered a virtue, although not as widely praised as other human virtues.
Raven said something else, something I found interesting because it was so difficult for me to retain. She said for humans a story can be more true than anything that ever happens to you in real life. When I started applying that transideation to my own life, as a thought experiment, I felt a shift inside me, as if there had been a cave inside me covered with a rock, and that rock had been rolled away by an inquisitive beast. I was that beast, I was that cave and rock, and I extended a tendril to commence my exploration.
* * * * *
After I learned I was carrying over one hundred babies, I had what George calls a moral quandary and what I call an application of rules problem. I had consented with happiness to sex with George, and was as happy as physiologically possible to be carrying our longed-for babies.
When I learned I was carrying babies by the Oldest and Theo, scant seconds after the first pregnancy revelation, I roiled with black rage. I need help for figurative language sometimes, but that came fast, being a descriptive snapshot of my internal state. I was so angry that I did something mothers-to-be never do. I gave George the right to choose to destroy them.
His response was firm and kind. He said it was a responsibility housed in my body, for my whole being to carry. He seemed very low in spirits as he explained his mother had told him to let Theo live until after Theo’s first babies hatched, and so he could not kill Theo if I killed the babies. For a moment I felt ensnared in the strands of conflicting messages. He had already said he had no wish to kill Theo. I freed myself and saw it as a tactic of distraction. George often prevented me from following a line of logic by tricking me into an argument.
I asked him what of the babies I carried for the Oldest.
Again he told me it was for me to decide.
I didn’t consent to sex with either of them, I said. Before I met you I didn’t even know what that meant. If neither can be fully conscious, how can rape occur? I know more now.
George linked with me for a long time, and his hair picked me up and held me in a perfect wet embrace. I rolled around in it contentedly, all my recent anger assuaged and tempered with a desire for a solution.
I will keep them all, and hatch the ones I can. They live because of your sperm packet, it would be an offence against you to kill them.
No it wouldn’t.
I mimicked him. I said, We may disagree and still be friends.
I had spent 40 years helping George with his project, and decided to have one of my own. As I thought about it, it seemed I could have more than one. As George went off to address his conception of a planetary threat, so I considered how my idea of a threat had changed in the last 40 years. I thought of little else as I brooded my babies.
June 1 2014
I went to visit Laelaps in the tent city today to ask him some questions about his last communication with Psyche. She is alleged to have sent Laelaps a final message at the time of her death, and he was alleged to believe that they had two way telepathic communication.
Jas insisted on accompanying me. I didn’t need him, but he said he needed to be there. George said that trusting the judgment of humans who had helped us was difficult. Even so, that trust yielded benefits which were not predictable at the time. I asked Jas to wheel me across the field in my bucket, since I was already tired and defensive from standing.
I tried to think how best to prepare. Our species has many talents. I agreed with George in my belief that all of our talents were rooted in physical reality, however at variance with human understanding of it. If it was telepathy, there was a technique or a trick to be learned, although Laelaps missing social tentacle would leave me uncertain of anything he said.
Was the communication a consequence of some technology Psyche had spontaneously created and implanted in Laelaps? This was the explanation George favoured, believing this to have occurred during one of their frequent hallucinatory drug experiments. If that was the case I wanted to isolate and duplicate the drug.
George perceived Laelaps as a victim of his mother’s mental illness and attempt to reproduce something approximating human courtship. I saw Laelaps’ pursuit of Psyche, which always took place on land, differently, and could not find words for it. It was appropriate to be silent when my thoughts were so amorphous.
Communication with Laelaps is difficult. I thought it would take a number of visits before anything useful could be learned, as I didn’t know in advance if he would be communicative or not. That day he was.
After the greetings, complicated by his entourage of humans, who milled about and stood between us, blocking my view of his words, I was able to outline why I was there.
Laelaps grasped my purpose with encouraging promptness and told the humans to sit facing away so they would not overlook the conversation.
Neither of those suppositions is true. There was no pebble, although it tasted like a pebble, and there was no telepathy. She changed my physiology using drugs, so that I could hear her thoughts.
Could I drug my babies so that they could always hear me?
Laelaps’ posture became ominous. Jas moved closer. Laelaps curled his upper lip in imitation of a scornful human, then moved into a more relaxed pose, turning his head away from me. It made the humans more relaxed, but Laelaps was watching me carefully.
The words tumbled across the broadest part of his body. You would do that? To what purpose? I thought you preferred the accepted style. Do you intend to act as humans do? It’s worse that way. The worry never stops. The old way you get them to a certain size, or brood them in the ocean. It’s a better system in some ways, and we will never overpopulate this world if we swim in known currents.
I mean to help the planet.
You would sacrifice your children’s lives for that? Chalice-Seeker, are you?
You forget, I saw the Chalice, unlike many others.
What did you see, precisely? Drugged by my son, who gave you a little something from his mother?
She had been dead for years then. Why was he so much more affected by the drug if that’s so? I thought – ! Didn’t you try to beat George for failing to get the Chalice? You did it at Zosime’s request, unless George is lying. Unless George is lying…
She was capable of leaving something in his system that would activate when he saw you. The humans have a word, sorceress, another word, enchantress. She could do things even her mother could not. It was why in the end I had to take the social tentacle off; it continued to make the drug, under her instructions. That was my reasoning, and it seems to have worked.
You were cured, after that. Zosime is a sorceress?
Have you not found her to be? She helped you with the pregnancy, or so she told me.
The realization that Zosime and Laelaps were communicating by text made me at first uneasy and then somewhat relieved. If they were talking, Zosime had ceased to blame him for Psyche’s death. I felt stupid. I could have texted him. It had not occurred to me to text him. Somehow only my presence, coming to visit, felt correct. I was acknowledging his sociability and his importance to me, even if we could not have the inescapable isolation of linking.
We are here to survive what the humans do, not prevent it. Three hundred against seven billion? Ask the moon for a bite to eat while you are at it.
I am recording this in words so I have to say what the words do not. We were both joking. I think it was the first time we had ever exchanged a joke. It was pleasant to realize that it was happening.
Do you want me to name any of the children after you? I said, hoping to continue in a joking manner. What he said next was quite grave, and yet there was a quality in what he said that reminded me of his son so strongly that I saw them in each other, as if he were suddenly superimposed on George in my spatial memory.
It is for our children to name us, not the other way around. We’re named going forward, but our actions take a long time to truly name us. I have been named after a dog that always catches what it hunts. What have I been hunting?
Happiness, I suggested. It had taken years to understand what humans meant by that, and how we might drape their words over our feelings.
Laelaps expanded on the subject. Unwise men tried to kidnap me, and hurt the camp. I am happy anyway. I think of wandering again, but I’m fine here.
What happened to the men?
I restrained them until the humans could deal with them in their own way. They didn’t believe George’s warnings about me. Perhaps I’m crazy, but I’m not prey.
May you never be prey. May you have 216 descendents, I said.
You’ve made a good beginning on bringing those good wishes to life. I’m sorry I couldn’t answer your question about Psyche.
I may find another way to ask the questions.
I’ll be here, he said tranquilly, and climbed up to his sleeping platform. I reached up my grasping tentacle in farewell, to affirm his Laelapsness. I twined it around his for just a moment. He gave me a little pinch, and I pinched him back, and I knew that for another little joke.
I look forward to seeing him again. He knows he can help me, but he is not interested in helping me now. If I think about it long enough, in the right way, maybe a solution will come.
Jas does not discuss Sixer business in public. When he put me back in the car he asked me if I got what I wanted. I told him, no. Laelaps had not given me what I wanted, but I had a new area of enquiry.
I texted Zosime, something both humble and formal, about possibly consolidating the pregnancies into three, one for each contributing father, and if she had any advice for how to make that happen most efficiently. As expected, she responded right away, asking what my motives were in doing that.
I asked if my motives needed to be plain for the advice to be offered. The cultural bias that pregnancies are for the mother-to-be to arrange made her response slow and stiff. She agreed that it was none of her business, although she could imagine that the humans would take a different view, and while she would never comment, many humans were not happy with any reduction in the number of viable zygotes.
I agreed, and added that while many humans would be unhappy that I considered rejection to be a reasonable response to a difficult pregnancy, many humans would be even better served, to their minds, if Sixers ceased breeding altogether. Further, I could better protect three children than however many I would be able to successfully brood.
Are you having a difficult pregnancy? The speed of the response made her consternation obvious.
I prevaricated. You would not think so. The physiological portion is easy. The mental portion is difficult. I can already hear some of them.
Hear, or feel? And then without waiting for a response, It is Gyorg’s hair, she texted. Some of the little ones are calling you. Psyche was nearly driven mad by Gyorg.
I wanted to argue with her, since it was the children of the Oldest who were calling me. George says never, ever argue with Zosime. You can’t win, you daren’t lose and you’ll be angry for weeks, he says.
I tightened my grasp on my temper and my objective, and said, I want the communication to go the other way. More accurately I wish them to hear me and do as I say.
That explains why you’ve not brooded them in the ocean. You must be stretched to the limit, Zosime texted.
I didn’t tell her I had been successful in halting their growth so I had an opportunity to plan, and that was likely the real reason the children were so loud.
If you want the children to obey, you must link with them the first chance you get, and repeatedly dose them with the right drug. It will be a different drug for every one.
I was astounded.
I texted: I need to be able to transmit to them what they need to do next, and they will hear me, wherever they are.
Zosime didn’t respond for a long time. I began to believe that I had somehow said something to make her lock up, much as her grandson might when confronted with something unpleasant and unplanned for.
You wish to take the place of the Shining Eye with your own children, Zosime said.
There was nothing about the sentence to indicate that she thought this was a good or bad idea, although the reference to the Shining Eye was arresting in itself. She restated my request in her own words to ensure she had understood. I had not thought of it in that way and felt limp. I wished George was present to explain to me the implications, which he always perceived with less effort and more nuance.
Once again she didn’t wait for my response. Every parent wants a child who will obey. Eventually we give up on that idea as pernicious nonsense. Don’t you want your children to be free?
We have come to a point in planetary history when sacrifices must be made.
Ocean deep, what will you turn them into? Will they be subject to human law?
Not if I can stop it.
Good. On that much we can agree. Benthesikyma, you have a remarkable talent for causing long-lasting anxiety with a short conversation. I do not mean to disrespect you as you were clear the first time, but I ask again: You do not mean to subject them to human law or whim?
No, Zosime, I mean to protect them from their laws, their wars, their whims, their experiments. I may not be able to, but I’ll try.
You will share with me, once you know what you will do?
Does Gyorg know?
No. I mean to find another way – I don’t wish to drug them. It must be something inside them from the time they can swim.
Will you try to keep them all?
If I can. They are not developing evenly. One is much larger than the others.
You must be careful. Sometimes a male will get so large it will start to consume its mother’s mass, instead of relying on the sperm packet.
I could feel the biggest child move. Was he listening to the conversation? Was he understanding it? Or was this a fancy of pregnancy? The humans had a whole structure of folkways about pregnancy and I knew nothing. I had never linked with another pregnant female. We normally isolate ourselves; a deep fear, something primal and physiological overcomes us. I had hints of this, but mostly I felt out of sorts and exhausted.
How will I know?
If you start to sleep constantly, you must make a hole and force it out. You will not have the strength to absorb the fetus. You would be wise to have Gyorg or Michel with you as you may not go unnoticed. Benthesikyme, can you feel my anxiety?
Zosime, I can.
Is he a land morph?
We’re greedy, land morphs. To be brooding water and land at one time is not unheard of. Some of the babies may wrestle. It has happened. Sometimes they kill each other for the brood mass. Sometimes they try to escape the brood pouch before they are viable.
Two thoughts brightened in me. That was what had happened when Michel put a baby in me. I never told Zosime and it seemed unwise to say anything now. The second thought was that his baby had tried to use brood mass from the sperm packet of the Oldest, which I had not understood to exist at the time. I had reverted to instinct and eaten his baby while too tired to think clearly. Any baby that made itself visible by blinking when it was so tiny wasn’t going to survive, which was how Michel had comforted me when I told him. Fortunately Zosime rescued me from the urge to tell her anything by changing the subject.
Tell me of the offspring of the Oldest!
They’re small. They’re growing well, as far as I know. They are among the loudest.
Zosime texted an icon that a human had devised for us, a rapidly blinking land morph, so I knew I had amused her. I’m not surprised, she added. The Oldest is a talker, his children could be much the same. Will you visit him?
I could count the Sixers who knew of the rape on all my limbs, and somehow Zosime had not learned – or knew and was asking to provoke me.
The humans have a song with the words a soft answer turneth away wrath. In this case I hoped a soft answer would deflect further enquiry.
I considered it, but I will not travel far during pregnancy and I may be too busy afterwards.
If you perfect the art of raising obedient children, tell me! I never could, although I imagine Gyorg would say I never tried very hard.
I never swam in your ocean, Zosime.
So polite! I still don’t understand why you favour Gyorg above all others, but you’re carrying two sets of my great-grandchildren, so you may do as you please and I’ll be pleased with you. You’re the most important person on Earth to me now. I hope I’ve made that clear. Call me!
You may call me once a week, Zosime, if I neglect to call you.
Bright moon, good hunting. It was one of the cross-morph, language neutral greetings we had developed since we came to Earth.
To you as well.
I texted an icon that was a pale transideation of the Sixer disconnect flash. With sudden irritation I punched my abdomen, where the monstrous child lazily turned in his brood pouch, and the noisy children of the Oldest trilled and fidgeted. Hungry, so hungry.