New Book Excerpt

In Motoxano everyone seemed to sleep late. At least that’s how Veena felt, as she slid from her bed at five–thirty that morning. They were missing the best part of the day she thought, as she gazed at the violet glow rising before her and the final twinkle of the stars as they faded in the morning light.

Sneaking past her brother and parents rooms she opened the back door and entered into the new day. She felt the golden dew, moist between her toes. A bright blue Creblia flitted by her to alight in the golden sea of grass. Veena watched, fascinated as it sucked the dew from a few blades. She followed it as it flew away.

The Creblia seemed to fly on forever and Veena could have sworn that it turned to look back at her as if daring her to keep up, but keep up she did. When they finally reached its nest, she saw that it was filled with four baby Creblia who hungrily opened their spouts for their mother to drip the dew she had collected into.

As Veena watched she was nearly certain that the mother Creblia winked at her. Veena had heard stories of children and animals talking. It was an experience she had always hoped for, but after her first hundred years she had given up. Now at one hundred and fifteen, she was no longer considered a child and in another eighty short years she would be expected to behave like the adults. She dreaded that and promised that she would never let herself become that uptight and narrow in her thinking and living. Her brother Trodan was one hundred and eighty-seven this year and she had watched him change. Ten years ago she might have woken him and he would have joined her in her morning exploration. The last time that she had tried that though, he had threatened to tell their parents or worse yet, have her reported to the monitor.

It wasn’t that there was any actual law against her being out at this hour, but there was a matter of social propriety that her family was expected to adhere to. Veena had never thought much of status expectations. It was Motoxono, the so called center of their world, the inner circle, and the hub of respected society, that these things mattered to.

When Veen’s father, Lumak had been promoted it had been her mother Ethaxi who had pushed him to move here. Veena had been only eighty-two and Trodan ninty-nine. One year more and it may not have happened. At one hundred Troden would have been given a say and if Lumak had had his sons support, Veena guessed that he would have chosen to stay in Brigsa, which is in the third circle or perhaps Xotanval at the outer edge of the fourth circle. Oh how she wanted to go back. There were so few here under three-hundred and those that were had been born here and so were used to the late rising pattern from birth.

Veena hated school here too. They were so ridged. In Brigsa students had been encouraged to think for themselves, but here any thoughts outside of what was in the curriculum were strongly looked down upon. The idea that nature was an intricate part of life, much less the idea that it could be communicated with was thought to be a sign of mental instability.

Veena was so lonely. She longed for someone she could share her thoughts with, someone to explore the new days with, to laugh and smile with. No one ever seemed to smile here.

Veena thought back again to Brigsa. It had been so long and she feared forgetting it as Trodan seemed to have. Her best friend had been Chima, the girl who lived next door. Chima was one of five children and only two years younger than Veena. Veena and Chima. They had been like sisters. Veena remembered the days at the park where her father and Chima’s father Dugot would take them sometimes after work. Their fathers would talk while Veena and Chima would catch silver Sheens as they flashed by in the pink waters of the stream that flowed down the mountain where Brigsa was located. Sometimes, if they had caught enough, they would all have a twilight picnic. Veena wondered if Chima remembered her.

You could see Motoxono from Brigsa. Veena remembered how her mother used to sit on their balcony and gaze toward it. And when they had first arrived at Motoxono, Veena had climbed the highest tree she could find to try and gaze back at Brigsa, but she could see nothing of it. That was the way the circles worked. They were only visible in one direction. People were only allowed to move forward or what was socially considered as forward and upward movement toward the coveted inner circle.

She stopped suddenly, broken from her reverie by a sound of footsteps to her left. Looking into the trees she thought that she caught a brief movement behind a Huxfan tree as it’s bright blue leafs with crimson flowers swayed. Who else would be out here at this hour? Were they spying on her? Or could it be some large wild beast? Perhaps there were creatures here yet unknown to Veena and the early hours may be when they came out to hunt. She listened intently for any further sound and watched the Huxfan tree, but she saw nor heard anything more.

Veena, moved forward, slowly, listening and looking as the trees grew denser around her. She had never come this far before and realized that she was no longer certain of which direction she had come. She had been distracted by the Creblia. The sun was still too low and the trees too thick here to gage her direction from it. Hopefully it would rise enough for her to get her bearings and return home before she would be missed.

A purple Hootsie whistled and swept down in front of her to extract its breakfast of Keetsy bugs from the orange moss at the base of a nearby Fumu tree. Veena smiled and watched as it drew the insects into its iridescent cheeks. She thought that Hootsies were one of the most beautiful birds and this was the first she had seen since leaving Brigsa.

Veena glanced up as a ray of sun made it’s way through the tree canopy and she turned in the direction of home, praying that she could sneak back to her room without any questions as to where she had been.

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