Quickly rousing herself, she braves the cold shower wincing at the harsh pins and needles feeling it arouses on her back. Wearing her scarlet PVC suit, she hesitates briefly before snapping on her old fashioned running shoes and steps out into the bitter cold of the pre-apocalyptic morning. The sweat gathers at the base of the spine sending shivers of anticipation crawling across her skin in under half a second.
She jogs slowly, picks up speed, breaking into a sprint by the canal with the green sugarcane cultivations on both sides, the leaves making a pattern in the breeze. She smiles. Her city. A place to call her own. where she can shut her eyes and find solitude. almost touch that place deep inside her where it is silent. Nothing like the tossing churning emotions at Arkana. Waves crashing on the shores of her mind, she shivers again. The memories of the past igniting fear of uncertainity and hopelessness in her. With conscious effort she shrugs off the shroud of unhappiness. Then giving up the sheer human effort involved in running, she flicks on the flying activator on the side of her suit, artificially increasing her heart beat. She changes the metaphoric gears in her mind, and her body responds by picking up momentum, as she teleports.
It is bold on his part to follow her considering her senses would probably pick him. Yudi instinctively increases his pace and teleports as well keeping her blurred figure in sight. But it has to be her. The other half to his half life. The one who makes the pitcher seem half full. The full moon in the clear night skies. The sun rise which beckons. He has searched long and cannot let go of this possibility yet.
He dives towards her, bringing her down. Together they crash down and into the trees. Tiina swears and straightens herself up looking at him closely for the first time. Yudi, who has helped her up, hastily takes his hands off her shoulders, then holds up his hands out in front of her and says pleadingly “Yes it’s me.”
“Yudi?” She spluttered, “How did you…”
“Find you?” he completes her sentence. “How many good looking women are there on this back of beyond island!”
“It’s not like I was trying to hide” snaps Tiina
And then they come from the sky. Giant bees, so common on Java and which gave it the characteristic yellow-orange hue, when seen from space. Except they did not seem that innocent or going about their humdrum tasks of pollinating the flowers anymore. They seem to be regimented into an army. An almost enforced discipline to their ranks. They come in a large seething yellow-orange hued body. Yet, so eerily quiet you couldn’t hear the characteristic buzz which often marked them out. An almost pleasant rustling. Like leaves in the sugarcane fields. Like water drops from a water fall spraying onto young white flowers on the side of the pond. Like frogs sliding into water.
“Now look what you have done! “exclaims Tiina. “Led us straight to the anthill. You should have known better Yudi.”
Together they whip out their laser-swords and swing, slicing neatly through some of the beasts. Others collapse to the ground, each one exploding in a flash of white smoke, all smoke no fire. All light, no sound. The remains scatter on the floor. Every one that dies is seemingly replaced by many many more. Each drop on the ground, giving rise to new life. The large winged creatures fly in a straight line, one behind the other stretched out as far as the eye can see.
Tiina looks up in mid action of swinging at the closest creature. She is horrified to see that the sky and the hills stretched out in front, seem to be covered by them.
Yudi pulls her up roughly “We have to go. Now!” he says. And before she can protest, he wraps his arms around her and transports them through the skies to his space craft docked in orbit around Java.
Yudi slides into the driver’s seat and yells “Hang on Tiina!” And inching the lever forward he slides the craft and out into the skies.
As the craft pulls away she cannot help but look down. Craning her neck, she sees to her amazement that the familiar hills and valleys of Java, are covered by a mass of brown. It is as if a giant brown slug is slowly engulfing the once heart breakingly beautiful place. The swallowing of the earth at half past twelve. Footprints on the sandy shores being washed away by the tides. Her heart sinks and she asks,“Why attack us?”
“It’s classic. Species turning against each other” says Yudi “The beginning of the end!”
“Wait let me guess” says Tiina, then pretends to think for a second. “Ah I get it” she says snapping her fingers. “Yet again Mimir – the old master has commanded you to save the world” she mimics “And of course you have to find me. Why does it always come down to you and me, Yudi?”
“You forgot Rai?” asked Yudi.
“Of course. And how is he. Has he decided whether he prefers men to women yet?” she asks nastily.
Yudi looks at her again “I don’t remember you being so cynical Tiina. Since when did you let the world get to you?”
“Easy for you to say that”
Yudi looks at her, then says “You haven’t forgiven me, yet. Have you”
“Neither forgiven nor forgotten” she says “though I do have you to thank for helping me find an entire new life on Java, which I perhaps just lost” her voice tapers off and she looks back at what had been Java into the distance.
“I am sorry Tiina“ Yudi reaches across and places his hands on hers “sorry for then and sorry for now”.
Tiina is taken aback by the candid tone in his voice. “Well that’s the first time you have actually apologised. You never did say a word, when it really mattered.”
“I’m saying it now” he swiftly counters . “That’s why I am here. To give us a chance.”
“Among other things, no doubt. You thought I would go along with your promises again?”
Yudi looks at her, then beckons “Come, let me show you what’s happening on Earth. You decide then.”
Putting the ship into auto, he gets up from his seat. Tiina follows him as they go to the space just outside the main deck. Yudi stops in the centre of the space then leans forward touching his forehead to hers. Tiina shuts her eyes, and is immediately transported to the horrifying scenes of destruction unfolding around her. Out of control stress and violence which has made many a good man crack up and pick up the gun. Self destruction. The most sacred places in the universe invaded by the non-believers in search of buried treasures. Her deepest most disturbing nightmares come to life.
“Stop!” she cries out! “Enough. What do you want from me?”
“Come with me to Earth. Help me find the stolen Ishtmus.” …. to be continued in the June edition