If the position was clear that Lyra wouldn’t be permitted to use her normal senses, she’d play along. A bit. Not too much. She’d let them think she was gone, undone, remorseful. Not a danger to a young mind — or an old one! After all, she’d twisted the previous Judicar’s mother into the ways of music, and he’d had to resign as punishment for the actions of those he was deemed responsible for.
She’d be a thirteen. A hidden knot in the wood. A spy who give and takes of both sides of the border. A good thirteen always played that way. Let the opposition relax in their seeming victory; in this case it was probably more than one so she’d let them believe they’d won, that no one knew what they did, that the break wasn’t visible to anyone else. Especially not to the prey, the problem, the disturbance of the life of stability they upheld for the sake of the betterment of all.
Lyra stood up to get her bearings.
The shack. She was back at the shack. This must be the pit of the game, the restart button. What could she learn from it while appearing to slide into the grey of the surroundings? Would there be a point within the hut where the flaws became apparent to one who knew where to look, and what to look for?
Would they be so obvious?
First, a sleep, or at least the appearance of sleep. Maybe even to play dead, slow her heart-rate and breathing to a yoci state, so near death the medics wouldn’t be able to tell without machines.
Good thought. If they had to come in to check her state of being, she could maintain it until she was out, and then … and then …
And then she’d know nothing about why they put her there. She’d have no answers, no evidence when questioned about her actions and deception while under punishment for an admitted crime against the Judicar’s laws.
Lyra stepped through the doorway with no door. The far corner was still there, but it was different. The timber of the corner was now wet. Moss grew on the floor and part-way up the wall. The roof at the front was still aloft, but barely. She leaned back to see if it was stable, and a large beam slid its way down a rafter until the beam cracked and separated. Without a sound.
There was one thing left, the one thing no one knew she had. The sense she maintained as close a secret as the colour of the cilia in her lungs.
But she couldn’t do it here, not in a wet and dangerous place. There was another way to use it, though; she could try to see if there was a sense of recency, if a living creature had breathed this air in the last day.
Lyra had never used this sense in front of anyone, not a single living creature, not even as a trick or a last desperate measure while imprisoned.
The rules were changed, though, because they’d changed the ability to determine the time of the punishment. If they could change the rules, so could she. And she had only one thing in her favour.
The one thing they’d call magic if they ever saw it, felt it, imagined it might be real.
Lyra could sense a living creature by the fact that it was alive, that it had thought and structure to those pattern of thoughts, whether predator or prey, intellect or cunning. She could trace the shape of a breath as it moved through the air, as it changed volume and density with the regularity of life. It was why she understood music and sound so well. It wasn’t one sense, it was three combined to make one overall sensation.
Aural wavelengths joined with both atmospheric and atomic movement to create a pattern of gammatic waves. And Lyra could trace them, follow them like they were the track marks of a bear travelling through fresh-dug dark loam. It was a great picture, one she’d drawn for a class of youngers before she’d been banned from teaching for showing worlds not of the leafverse, and therefore, not possible. There was no place for a creative in the world ruled by the Judicar of the Door to the Leaf.
One day, Lyra vowed to show him how small his mind was, but for the moment, she needed something else. Food would help, but there wasn’t any, so it didn’t matter.
What she needed was a calmness to the inner and outer, and a knowledge of and faith in her abilities to come through whatever it was she faced. Even if she didn’t yet know what that was.
And the risk was always there, at the back of it all, that she was being watched for just that purpose. To get the evidence they needed that she wasn’t one of them, and could undo their way of life, and the control they currently held of the leafverse.
Which could only be a good thing. She stood in the doorway and closed her eyes, hummed a soundless shape into the air, and let her body slide to the soupy mash of rotten timbers that were once in the shape of a porch.
It took mere moments to reach the state she needed, the link to the surroundings that went beyond breath and shape, and into the internal structure of all life.
If she was right, she’d open her eyes and be … elsewhere.
So Lyra opened her eyes.
And stared, opened-mouthed, at the interior of the tumble-down shack.
That swear-word would come in handy right about now.
Apologies for the absence – a few excuses forthcoming, so if you don’t want to hear them, leave now.
- A Broken wrist – yes, the same hand as the dislocated thumb. A bit painful.
- Problems reading the feed – my fault or theirs, doesn’t matter because I can’t waste time scrolling through to find out, and it will have to wait until I have more hands available.
- Sore back to add to the woes. I’d like to believe we can regrow an entire skeleton in ten years – any evidence out there?
- Life gets in the way. It’s Easter. Toothache (is there a relationship?). Migraine. Rest time coming up. See you shortly. Or at least some time after the cast comes off. Yes, the second cast. On the same hand. Maybe I should have listened and not done anything with the hand when the first cast was on … *shrug* life is short.
Don’t forget, the above story sections are still first draft – so if you have any comments, I’m happy to take them on board. Very happy.