Behind the scenes
|Behind the scenes|
Publicat Duminică, 1 Octombrie 2006, ora 12:11
Laureen started the projector. Supple and graceful, the hologram appeared, pirouetted, bowed and smiled to the glem.
“Make it turn round slower, ground the creature. I wish to look over it leisurely.”
Laureen smiled – the number one professional smile, for VIPs – and slowed down the movements of the hologram – the best of her advertising representations, which showed her stripped to the buff, even with her hair tightened, in a elaborated knot, on her crown.
The glem bustled in the uncomfortable armchair. Laureen grumbled an excuse – she had had no time to get the proper furniture for the conformation of the last species integrated into The Confederation. But he – or perhaps the creature was a she, with those aliens one could never be sure – balanced his tentacles carelessly and then threw outside his cylindrical, brilliant eyes.
Laureen became relaxed. Stimulated by the glem’s whistling breath, which she had learnt that meant he was enjoying himself, she took the liberty of admiring the image of her splendid, well-kept body that seemed much younger than it really was.
That body… That body had known both pleasure and pain, that body had been a tool, which had bestowed rapture, as each of them knew it, on males (and, almost as often, on females) from all known brainy species. That body had brought her welfare; that body had taught her the humility of accepting – pretending she had been delight – all the perverse freaks of those who pay. That body had earned her bread; that body had discharged her debts; that body had offered grafts and rewards. That wonderful body, worn out by a merciless disease, which leveled its deathward way…
She learnt for a couple of weeks that she was about to die. The news had driven her into despair, had made her shut in her own cell, had withered her cheeks, had dug deep dark rings round her dim eyes.
Late in that day, she had answered a holophone call – such an insistent one that it had become unbearable – and the device had brought into her bedroom a creature she had hardly learnt about: the glem. As to his proposal – it was so unexpected, so frightened, so full of foolish hope…
“My body for yours”, that shocking being had snarled. “Life for death. Life and richness. Because, over that, I pay. “
“You… your body for mine?!”
Puzzled, she had shuttered.
“Don’t say you haven’t heard about”, the other one had said, uttering strange sounds, which Laureen had hardly likened to laughter. “We, the glems, have been admitted in The Confederation because we are the only experts in soul-transference. I can transfer myself into a living body, if the present live-giving agrees to, or into any body that died, according to your time, for not longer than an hour.”
“Then wait until I die”, she had whistled. “You won’t wait for long, be sure!”
“Do you suppose I haven’t thought about?” he had retorted with his unusual laugh. But it will be to late to cure your disease and your body will die for the second time in no more than a year!”
“Can you cure me?!” Laureen had cried. “Do it! I do pay – as much as you wish!”
“You don’t understand! I can cure your body only if I am inside it, only if it belongs to me!”
Laureen had held on the last hope:
“What about a temporary transference, for cure…?”
The glem had broken her off:
“Listen, I want your body; I want a beautiful body, an accustomed to dissoluteness body. I wish to live – to take delight in the sensations it offers until I’ll get tired of it, and then – if that makes you feel better – I’ll call you, I promise. For the moment, I pay; you get both my body and my account, you may check it up. And one more detail: my live hope, I mean, the live hope of the material support I’m now owning, it’s of three hundreds years from now on – I have papers which vouch for that.”
“I don’t know, I …”
“Think of it. I give you a three days respite. Then, if you let me step in your flat, I’ll understand you agree. I’ll look over the living wares, and, if it hasn’t other hidden flaws, we’ll barter there and then. Think twice!”
She had thought and she had thought better of it, tens, hundreds times. And, when the glem had signaled his arrival, she had approved of his access. It was the chance to make a long nose at death. Who was the one to waste it?
She watched him. A formless seeming gelatinous mass, packed in the armchair, three scaly members hanging down, two tentacles leaning upon the arms of the chair, a third one curled round the neck – a collar supporting a repulsive head, nostrils dug in the cheeks, mouth in the chin, ears near the telescopic eyes, poll full of overlapped scales, like the tiles on the ancient roofs.
“That’s enough”, he said, showing once again the transversal lamellas on his jawbones to Laureen’s inquisitive look. “Now the original – I want a tactile verification.”
The woman turned off the projector, rose to her feet with professional waves and, in the usual provocative posture of the guild, she stopped in front of the delight glem – or, at least, she supposed he was delight, because his eyes had got violet iridescences and they were sliding spasmodically.
“I hope these are reflex actions”, he said, “because, at the very beginning, I’ll hardly be able to order such movement to your body.”
“I assure you, Hrot-Rhot, that…” Laureen said, confused, but the glem began to laugh ant looked at her – she supposed – well disposed.
“Well, that’s not a problem. But, if you don’t bother, I’d like to see the wares without… the wrapper.”
Gently, his tentacle touched her working garment – which was made of the finest silk of Betelgeuse; but not gently enough, and Laureen felt his coldness. A shiver went down her back, shrinking her skin.
She undressed herself slowly, being absent; but, in the spite of that, she used the lustful gestures she had so often repeated. ‘They really are reflex actions”, she thought, recovering her senses.
Dangling grotesquely, the glem stood up and turned about her leisurely. Then he stretched out his tentacles for her, shilly-shally, as if not knowing where to start his examination from, and, all of a sudden, he touched her nipples.
Laureen shuddered. She felt her stomach rolling up and rising into her throat, ready to vomit. She vanquished her disgust and the effort made her sweat. She had never been so sick of an alien’s touch. She concentrated on the argument that, when she’d own that hideous body, beyond all doubt, she’d consider it an acceptable one. However, it was worth to fight for her live, giving up everything.
Afterward she perceived everything as a red tape touch. She let him fondle her, for long seconds, with his cold, driveling tentacles. At his claim, she laid, indifferently, on the fur of a bear from Procyon – to make his examination easier. She even succeeded to keep up her smiling face while one of those disgusting appendages penetrated, in turn, her swallow, her anus, her vagina.
“O.K., I buy”, Hrot-Rhot decided and, winding a tentacle round her waist, he easily helped her up. “I hope you’ve checked me, I see you have a computer of luxury”, he added, pointing the pale-blue hemisphere which was embed in a wall.
“Yes, I have no doubts”, she uttered, still confused.
“Then, may we start?”
“Oh, yes”, she mumbled, being about to dress herself.
“Don’t trouble! It’s always easier without clothes. So that, if you allow me…”
He uncoiled his tentacle round about his neck and skillfully took off the strange tunic that gave the jelly-like appearance of his trunk. In fact, it was covered with the same overlapped scales that decorated his head.
“Come near me and hold your hands”, he commanded, and his voice suddenly grew softer; the anterior wheezing appeared now rhythmically, sounding like an ancient tam-tam.
Fascinated, she obeyed.
The lateral tentacles caught her elbows as the middle one caught her neck. With a jerk, the glem pressed her to him; his ice scales touched her unexpectedly and Laureen couldn’t stifle her disgusted cry.
“It’s all right”, he murmured, and resumed the rhythmic wheezing.
He caught her look and he threw his eyes towards her. Laureen wanted to close hers, but her eyelids didn’t obey her; the glem’s corneas were pressed to hers and she fell into darkness and severe cold. She heard her teeth chatter – the last noise she caught before silence fell, followed by a pleasant warmth and a staggering vertigo; she felt she was somersaulting among spiral rainbows, which were gliding ones among others, often getting tangled and knotting with a wheezing.
Much later the vertigo vanished and Laureen saw, from above, a bizarre pair: a woman’s naked body clasped in a scaly monster’s tentacles. She recognized herself and wished to cover her eyes with her palms and to howl. But nothing happened. She was still watching the same image, as motionless as a statue. ‘I’m dead!’ she thought, and the fright flung her back into the crazy game of colors.
When she came to her senses, she was sitting in the armchair. The body she had sold was moving, unsteady, in front of her.
“It’s over”, said the melodious voice she knew as hers, and her former hands gave her, kindly, the gelatinous tunic. They helped her, awkwardly, and her new body felt their touch like a scald.
“It’s not difficult to walk on three feet”, the familiar voice encouraged her as she was trying her first steps. “Don’t think of what you’re doing, just let your body to move by itself!”
“And now, I …”
She suddenly remained speechless, as she was just realizing she owned, forever, that wheezing voice.
“Don’t worry, my planetary-ship it’s downstairs. The pilot will take you to The Alien Spirited Glems’ Community.”
“And what about you?”
“I’ll be fine, doctor Molhen is my friend, he’ll help me!”
And the creature laughed – the clear laughter Laureen had just lost!
In front of the building, one of the planetary-ships adapted to be comfortable for the glems was waiting indeed. One of the doors was opened, the pilot – a glem too – friendly swung his central tentacle to her, then the wings were unfolded, ready to leave the ground.
With a sight that sounded like a belching, Laureen settled herself into the ship. However, without her will, her body relaxed with satisfaction and she heard her whistling breathing.
The ship rose gently. The pilot turned to her. He seemed put to the blush and his eyes moved quickly to and fro.
“I won’t say I’m glad to meet you, Laureen. I’m afraid it’s a pity you’ve just joined us. I know, I was to warn you, but I have – we all have incorporated detectors that feel if our collocutors don’t look like glems and make our bodies explode.”
“What are you talking about?” Laureen grew impatient and she couldn’t stop her tentacles to squirm.
“You know, Hrot-Rhot has indeed a nabob’s account and an impressive life-hope. The real Hrot-Rhot! But you’ve negotiated with a duplicate, a kind of organic robot, the homologous of an android, do you understand? In fact, the real glems never leave their planet.”
“Do you mean it’s a bluff?” Laureen growled, showing her lamellas with a repulsive grin.
“Unfortunately! A soul collector caught you. And it collects bodies, too! It established it’s artificial personality into your body – a perfect, healthful body…
“I am doctor Molhen”, the pilot introduced himself.
“Doctor Molhen?! The very one who explained me I was dying?!”
“That was a lie, but it wasn’t me who told you that, it was the artificial which diddled me. I was one of the first lured people. They let me hope that, in this new body, I’d learn both the soul-transference engineering and the one of the rapid cure of the host body. I used to imagine I was migrating from one body to another, curing them and then giving them back, in good health, to their initial owners. But they’ve taught me nothing, I can’t even drive this planetary ship. I’m only a figurant, that’s all, because a ship is supposed to be driven. It’s top secret that it’s able to open its doors, to move its wings, to start and to stop, that it carries me where it wants and where it knows. Because it’s alive, can you understand? That’s why the glems need us. Even their space ships are captive natural personalities. Our actual bodies are temporary hosts, they’ll expel us as soon as the … masters will decide which ships we are to animate.”
“But what about our ex-bodies?” Laureen asked while she was knitting her tentacles – in hope that could calm her down.
“Well, you saw mine – it’s an ensnaring tool. Yours will be a manageable ornament in a zoo. Others – which used to belong to VIPs, will run the galaxy according to the glems’ wishes. Better said, the galaxies! Because they travel fast in their living space ships, they creep in lots of communities, they rob souls and bodies. And all those happen just under our very noses, and nobody stops them. Because nobody knows!”
“But it’s so simple!” Laureen flared up, pushing her eyes to Molhen. “The fettered in ships slaves must raise! Why don’t they? What’s hindering them?”
“It could be simple”, Molhen contradicted her, “unless glems were the only ones able to synthesize and to drive the bio-energy towards these without organic support souls. You know”, he added with a grimace she supposed ironical, “all creatures – I mean, a lot of creatures are afraid of death!”
Discouraged, Laureen untwined her coiled up tentacles.
“It’s true, I wished to live”, she whispered, “in any shape! Stupidity, recklessness and fear threw me into glems’ net – and I think I have to expiate forcing them to expiate too. “ She revived: ”I don’t forgive their lie, it doesn’t matter what’s the price! Do you believe me, Molhen?”
“I want to believe you! Because I hoped you’d be by our side! We are already a lot, and…”
Laureen shuddered, as if she’d noticed a danger too late, her eyes became deep set ones, her tentacles threw themselves about, spasmodically.
“For Heaven’s sake, Molhen, this ship…! It’s alive! It heard us, it will betray us!”
“This one?!” Molhen grinded. “This one, which is lodging the famous Kru-Jhu’s soul – that Kru-Jhu who was undeservedly bared from The New Kamikaze Association?”
“In 2999 (by the traditional Christian count), the End of Worlds preachers were contented to note an uncommon event:
The entire glems’ species disappeared, being destroyed by a fantastic concatenation of catastrophic accidents – from the daily road-collisions to the inexplicable disturbance of the giant space ships, which, being no longer under control, rushed upon the great urban agglomerations. This happened while the thousands artificial Glemland satellites left their orbits and felt down, one after the other (none of them being disintegrates before its impact to the ground), causing violent earthquakes. We specify that this disaster – unique of its nature – is still registered among the unexplained mysteries.
Unfortunately, the glems’ disappearance meant, for the rational world, the loss of the so cold ‘soul-transference’ engineering.
Simultaneously, un unknown syndrome caused both the death of all glems living on other planets and the death of many VIPs, belonging to all known brainy species. It was called The Sigh Syndrome, because all those beings died unexpectedly, with a sigh which ‘expelled their soul’. The phrase belongs to The Great Priest of the Earth-branch of “The End Sect’, who also asseverated: “It’s a warning for us all, now, when The Divine Grace vouchsafes us the chance of another millennium. Do penance, there were be no mercy in the 4000-th year!’ “
Galactic History (edition 3926), Section ‘The Earth as a member of The Confederation’, Chapter 2444
© Copyright Ana Veronica Mircea
|Sursa : Imagikon
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