Hello Imaginary Friends,
My wife and I have bought a house and are in the middle of moving and setting things up.
Since I don’t want to neglect you any more than I have, I’ll be posting a multi-part story. It was recently rejected by an anthology but I plan on resubmitting it.
I really like this story. Let me know what you think.
Being the contrary, I decided to be overly formal. I bent onto on knee, cupping my hand over my heart and bowing my head I said, “Your Highness.” It was the formal greeting she was due but not what she was expecting.
“Get the hell off the ground, Hal. I have shit up to my elbows and I haven’t slept in the past two days. Don’t ‘Your Highness’ me.” As the Queen spoke, I heard Sofia and Suit gasp in unison. The Queen smiled. The deep bags under her eyes betrayed her fatigue.
“Ok Gwin. What have we got?” I moved over to the crib and saw Princess Lenay. She was little over six earth months old, but she was small for her age. She had inherited the dark chocolate hair from her father and the bronze skin of her mother. The green tint, however, wasn’t natural.
Seeing the confusion on Sofia and Suit, Gwin explained, “When I was ten, I found a small boy hiding in the luggage of the royal ship. I hid Hal in my closet for a week.” Even covered in her infant’s feces she still managed to sound coy and innocent. Two things she certainly wasn’t.
“Martian Flu. How did little Lenay catch that?” The flu had been almost wiped out. It still flared up in the Martian slum cities, but wasn’t seen anywhere else in the solar system.
“One of our nannies is from Mars. She must have brought it with her. Can you heal it?” She was lying about the disease, but her concern was genuine.
There are all kinds of myths about me. One of the ones I do my best to encourage is that you cannot lie to me. People believe that Sol tells me when people are lying. In truth, the Big Guy doesn’t tell me much until I need to know.
I could tell she was lying because I knew her so well “Yes, of course I can heal her. Don’t worry. But I need to know where she really caught it. I’m assuming the rest of the ship has been inoculated? That means someone else is sick.”
“It’s no concern of yours, Speaker. I’ve taken care of it.” The way her voice dropped and she gritted her teeth implied danger. It was kind of hot, except that I knew she would follow through with the threat.
Bending over and touching the Princess’s temples, I concentrated on her sickness. I found more than I was expecting. She’d been sick for only a few days but there was something else wrong. Her body was barely fighting the infection. Her immune system was compromised. It was a common disorder among the royal families. The genetic pool for royals was pretty shallow.
In orthodox Sol edicts, any child born with a genetic disorder needs to be cleansed. The Venusians were traditionalists in case and there was no way I was going to encourage them.
I’m not the first Sun-Speaker, and Sol gives us a lot of leeway in our philosophies. Mine include a respect for all like that some of my predecessors didn’t agree with. If I told her she’d have to kill her daughter. If Sol didn’t want me to save her, he’d stop me. But I knew he wouldn’t. I would heal her the way I had healed her mother.
Once I identified the issues, I concentrated on taking the disease and disorder into myself. It was sort of like looking at one of those hidden image pictures. It sometimes took a while but once you find it you can’t un-see it.
The process fixed the beautiful little girl and left me green and sick. I stumbled and almost fell. Suit moved to catch me but Sofia stopped him. I felt my body heat up, the cleansing fires of Sol washing me clean of disease. I’d once tried to measure my temperature when this happened and melted the thermometer.
“You might want to turn off your heat sensors or they’ll think this room is on fire,” Sofia was completely calm as Suit keyed something next to the door.
If Suit hadn’t turned off the sensors, all the doors would have locked and the room’s oxygen level would have been lowered enough to kill the fire and knock out a person. In the halls there were emergency bulkheads that would close.
Everyone in the room took a step back from the heat. Little Lenay giggled and wiggled around.
When the burning was over, I stood up straight and tried to be dignified despite my clothes having burned off completely. It wasn’t that big a deal, I’m comfortable naked and other than Suit, all the adults had seen me naked before. Sofia saw it every time I healed someone and Gwin had seen it for other reasons. Sofia opened the bag she had brought and tossed me my extra outfit. You might wonder why I don’t take off the clothes first. Think about it, would you let a guy who just stripped naked anywhere near your infant? Plus it tends to freak people out and I like to keep them off balance. It certainly worked on Suit.
“I wish you could stay and…” Gwin trailed off. She genuinely missed me. I winked at her and she giggled blushing. I was certainly glad her husband wasn’t around.
“Well, we’re having some technical difficulties with our shuttle. It’ll take us a few hours to fix it.” Not wanting to arouse suspicion I added, “We’ll be out of your hair soon.” I bowed and walked towards the door.
Reaching into my pocket I pulled out a piece of electronic putty the size of a pea. I leaned casually against the computer panel next to the door and let the putty sink into the computer systems. I turned towards Gwin, who had moved to a small sink to clean her hands, and I said, “I would have loved for things to have been different between us…”
As I walked away, she gave me a half smile and said, “Me too.”