Total Word count: 3500
Nanowrimo 2013 Day 2
Other-Space Chapter 1 (part 2) + Chapter 2 (part 1)
Well, not so much of a struggle this time. We’re getting close to the starting point of the plot now. And with the Temple of the Listener we have the first thing I actually thought of in regards to this story.
It was still day time when they’d emerged from the cave. That was several hours ago now. Jade was silently lying on the grass looking up at the stars. She had her arms stretched out beside her with a portable cassette player clasped tightly in her right hand, the earphones plugged firmly into her ears with music flowing into them. Behind her were several cabins, mostly made out of wood, with the sounds of a loud party coming from one of them. The Cave Crawlers would almost always through a party at the end of the week. Jade was never keen on parties, especially the really loud ones where you can’t have a conversation without shouting down someone else’s ear. Her own music helped drown out some of the noise, but not all of it.
Further back from the cabins was the mountainside, honeycombed with the caves they explored. Various ridges and ledges ran across it leading to the various openings. Some caves weren’t so easily accessible and several ladders had been affixed to the mountainside.
Nobody knew exactly how or why the caves had been formed; they were older than recorded history and almost certainly older than human life. The number of openings in the mountainside had remained the same since they were discovered but new tunnels would sometimes appear within the caves themselves. Jade and Dani would often delve into a cave that they, or someone else, had explored before only to discover a new route leading to somewhere else. Sometimes routes would just disappear. Jade occasionally wondered if that ever left a Cave Crawler trapped on some far off world. And there was one thing the different worlds had in common, there never any form of intelligent life there, at least not anywhere near where the cave came out.
Jade wasn’t thinking about any of that. She was thinking about Dani. That was, what, the eighth time she’d done that, or was it the ninth? Jade had found herself just stopping and staring at Dani several times now, and Dani had started to notice. She’d just shrugged it off the first two times, thinking she might have just become too wrapped up in her own thoughts she’d just zoned out. But it was only when she was thinking about Dani, never any other time. The music and the stars put her at ease and helped her think.
Jade didn’t hear Dani approach her from behind and didn’t notice that she was there until Dani was standing over her, Dani was carrying a small glass bottle in one hand. Dani said something that Jade couldn’t hear.
Jade switched the music off. “Pardon?”
“I said, are you okay out here by yourself?” Dani asked, sitting down next to her.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Jade sat up.
“You hungry, I could bring something out for you.”
Jade smiled and shook her head. Dani took a swig from her bottle and offered it to Jade.
“Alcohol?” Jade asked.
Jade accepted the bottle and took a large gulp from it before handing it back. “Thanks,” she said.
Dani glanced at Jade’s cassette player, which was now lying on the grass. “I didn’t realise you still had that,” she said and picked it up. “Good grief, you’ve still got the same tape to. Have you ever taken this out?”
Dani smiled and handed the player back. “So, what’s up?”
“You’re out here by yourself gazing up at the sky, clearly something’s on your mind.”
“You willing to share?”
“Sorry, it’s kinda personal.”
“But… I do think I need to talk to someone about it.”
“Well, if you want to think about your problems by yourself I’ll leave you two it.” Dani gave Jade a light pat on the shoulder and got to her feet. “If you need me, I’m right here.”
“Thanks,” Jade said, and Dani walked back into the cabin. She’d left her drink on the ground next to Jade.
Jade took another swig from the bottle. She knew what she wanted to do, but she felt a little uneasy about doing it. She’d never gone to speak to her before; she didn’t know anyone who had, at least nobody who talked about it if they had. It was a while before she managed to pull herself together and got to her feet, she’d managed to empty the bottle by that point.
Jade took a deep breath, focussed on where she wanted to go, and kicked off from the ground. She shot up a few inches off the ground, and then she began to slowly float upwards. She picked up speed as her altitude increased. She felt the air rushing past her as she rose up into the night sky and the ground fell away. It wasn’t long before she flew away from the planet itself and across space.
Chapter 2 – “What brings you to the Listener?”
Jade floated above her home world, she could feel the heat of the sun on her back, and around her where the man planets of Other-Space. They all hung there in the vast black void, each one slowly revolving. Jade sailed between them, she didn’t know how fast she was going but she knew it wouldn’t take her long to reach her destination. Around her she could see a few other people traversing between worlds. Jade had heard that in the much larger Universe travelling between planets like this was impossible, that nobody could survive out in space. That had been a hard concept to understand, it was something most of the inhabitants of Other-Space just took for granted.
Other-Space was its own small universe; Jade had heard some call it a pocket universe. It was completely separate from the much larger Universe, though travel between the two was possible. Jade knew that a lot of the cave tunnels came out on planets somewhere in the Universe. Once Jade had tried propelling herself into the air on one of these worlds, she was unsuccessful.
Jade loved to do this. To soar between worlds, free from the constraints of gravity. She’d rarely had any reason to leave her own planet but she’d still take a flight just for pleasure, it was something she’d do if she ever needed to get over stress or if she felt she needed some time alone.
She caught sight of her destination, not too far ahead of her. She was heading towards a large patch of floating land. Jutting out of the front was a long pathway with two ornate pillars at the far end and two guards standing by each one, both guards carried long spears almost twice their height. Set in the middle of the floating land was a large white building. There were several more pillars set into the walls and it had a large domed roof. Between the pathway and the building were several trees, covered in dense green leaves. Jade touched down on the end of the path and slowly walked towards the guards. As she got closer they both lowered their spears and barred her way, Jade took a step back.
“Halt,” one of them said, rather pointlessly since Jade had already stopped moving before he’d spoken. “Do you wish to speak to the listener?”
“Y-yes,” Jade said, the spears made her feel nervous.
“Then you must first hand over you weapons,” the second guard told her.
“Weapons? What we… OH!” Every Cave Crawler carried a small handgun and a knife. Jade’s were attached to her belt, but she never used them and often forgot that she had them. She removed both of them and handed them over to the guards. They stepped aside and she rushed past them.
Jade stopped once she was out of sight of the guards and hidden amongst the trees. She took a few minutes to catch her breath before proceeding towards the building. The place was called the Temple of the Listener. It had been built several thousand years ago and hadn’t changed at all during that time. A small set of steps led to the large stone doors. The walls and the doors had vast intricate images carved into them, images of people, plants and animals, of stars and planets. The walls had several sets of candles set into them at regular intervals and draped across the wall opposite the entrance were two large dark red curtains.
As Jade walked up the steps the doors opened by themselves revealing a smooth marble floored room. The place was circular, and the walls were decorated with tapestries and paintings. The marble floor bore so many different colours and images Jade had trouble taking it all in. The inside of the domed roof was painted with the patterns of the stars. Jade gazed around the room in awe, turning this way and that as she slowly walked in, she almost slipped on the smooth floor. She heard someone laugh when that happened, someone behind the curtains.
The curtains parted as she approached them, revealing another smaller and square room. The walls and floor of this one were draped with a red cloth the same shade as the curtains, with several cushions scattered around the place. At the back of the room was an alter made of the same white stone as the Temple’s exterior, and standing in front of the alter was a person dressed in white robes, with their head covered by a hood. Jade stopped short of the room itself, she wasn’t sure what to do next.
“Erm, hello,” she said, timidly.
The figure turned to face her and lowered their hood. The figure was a girl with shining gold hair. She looked as though she was younger than Jade, but she was taller, but Jade knew she’d been around for a long time, perhaps longer than the Temple.
“Hello,” the girl said with a wide smile. She stepped forward and stretched out her right hand towards Jade. “Please, come in.”
Jade took her hand and stepped over the threshold. As her feet fell onto the red cloth she realised that her boots might dirty, covered in mud. She glanced down as she raised a foot, expecting to see a muddy footprint beneath it. She looked back across the room; the marble floor was also footprint free and just as clean as it was before she entered the temple.
“Please, sit down,” the girl said, gesturing towards the cushions.
Jade obliged, and the girl sat down to as the curtains drew closed. Jade glanced around the room, it seemed rather plain when compared with the elaborate decorations in the rest of the room, with the place coated almost entirely in red. There were a few lit candles sitting atop the alter, each one giving off a soothing scent.
“So, tell me,” the girl said, still wearing the same smile, “what brings you to the Listener?”