Little Cherine Book 12 - BPost070
The person who dies and goes forward the next incarnation stops existing, and it matters more than having an immortal soul does to most people.
Coral agreed to the party being broadcast on TV but the cameras were supplied by the Unation so that they don’t make our guests self-conscious. The first part of the party, the first three hours, were a typical child’s party. After that Coral projected to an adult and the tone of the party changed, becoming more boring, but comfortable for our adult guests. People had guessed Wendy would be singing and all stations reported a record number of messages from the public asking for more songs by her and Candy. We only heard about the requests after midnight, so Wendy and Candy sang another five love songs, music for slow dancing. We refused to dance even one slow dance with Robbie, insisting they all belong to Coral. She was so beautiful and happy that we felt Robbie fighting himself as he struggled against his asking her to have his child. It was the very best birthday present ever and Coral clings to the memory of it like an impossible dream.
Arthur, this is Allan. The entire planet is watching the Teller family with amazement and, believe it or not, compassion. They have reacted so strongly to your offer that even Normals can feel them - well, most Normals. I don’t think anyone had realised how desperately the girls wanted a child and how much self discipline they each showed by not allowing anyone to sense it - until now. It is easy for everyone to do the arithmetic and, as you mentioned, they total thirty nine; after the six and without counting the six, there will be thirty three of the girls without child. There now is a growing movement of women offering their ‘right’ to a child while another movement opposes them having any - apart from those you are gifting them. It is remarkable that nobody is taking a stand against what you’ve done. I think that even those who would, know that Coral is so sweet and loved by all that they would find themselves without supporters. I guess that is one of the benefits of never being an adult.
Your intentions were good and of a loving nature Arthur, however, I hope this does not lead to cracks appearing in the walls the Teller girls, and many more of other families, built to control their need.
Until the rapidly swelling wave of Terran pleas for Coral’s child to be conceived on Earth, we had requests that we choose the planets of almost every species who are Cherinians (not the Wirms, R-Wirms and Sparklers). Us, the family, with people like Alki, Marian, Luigi Taurus and so on, felt that Goldi’s planet or the world of Meli would be ideal, but we’ve given in. She’ll be conceived on Earth.
If you can believe it! There are sites, magazines and clubs where they are holding a contest for the best name to be chosen! Coral is the only one they don’t annoy; I guess nothing and nobody can get to her right now, she’s floating in a heaven of her own…with Robbie’s arms always around her.
lol - Robbie is shy about making love because everyone is striving to sense us! This must be the funniest problem we’ve ever had. Allan is not earning himself any good boy-scout points with his snickering and struggle to hide his amusement. He is not just laughing at Robbie; he’s laughing at over fifty females and that is stupid of any man, never mind a Cherinian who should know better!
Assimé asked Coral, “Would you like to choose when your child will have her birthday? If yes, then you have to choose on what date you conceive her.”
Coral looked awed at the thought. “If we conceive her now she’ll have the same birthday as Cherine.”
Theresa said, “That’s not a good idea, Cherine’s birthday is a biggie for everyone and she’ll be ignored. We also shouldn’t let it be too close to the first of May as that is also a big Cherinian holiday.”
Our planet has a plethora of extraordinary beauty spots. What is hampering us is our wish to find a place which also means a lot to us without us having to sacrifice our privacy. Over the decades, we have been very open about our lives and shown most of the places we treasure in our tellings - resulting in such areas being flooded with visitors. We decided we’ll have to find a new beauty spot and by choosing it, it will become an important place for us.
Cherine asked Coral whether she wants Robbie or the Sparklers to choose a soul for her child. She took her time thinking about it before giving her answer. “I can’t know what I would have wanted under different circumstances. This child will exist because Arthur loves us and that makes her even more special for everyone, not just for myself and Robert, or for our family or Cherinians. To choose a soul implies we rejected souls and I do not consider that in line with what Arthur wants of us. Has he not told us a number of times that we are all his children? Robert, my husband, the soul will start afresh and in that way it will not differ from any other. How she will grow, does that not depend on us? Could we allow the child itself to call for a soul at random, as it has been since the beginning of time?”
Old ways of thinking die hard. We all had a feeling that we should search in Asia. Then Robbie started taking time off on his own and because we knew how it would delight Coral to have Robbie choose a place, we slacked off. A few days before the date we’d chosen, Robbie had an attack of nerves and asked Dommi to go with him. We were hoping she’d be feeling ecstatic when they returned, but she mostly emoted a confused puzzlement. Robbie spoke to Alki and he ordered tents, portable loos, showers, water tanks, chairs and kitchen stuff. No beds though, just a mountain of mattresses and pillows. At least that was a clue and those of us who were hoping for luxurious comforts tossed away those dreams.
Arthur, we are leaving - I’ll give you details when we return.
The news of our return is spreading like wildfire, but we’ve insisted that the very first person we tell is you, so they’ll have to wait. I’m starting to get a grip on my emotions so I think I’ll manage to write well enough. Arthur, we had expected the location to be somewhere new to us and in a way it was, but it also is a place we’ve visited often…in another reality. Robbie made a very secret agreement with the government of that country and the area and purpose has been altered so that it is the same as the alternate. He chose Duluti Lake and everyone worked hard to convert it into a chimpanzee park, just as they did in the Tippity reality. The area was cordoned off, ostensibly for army manoeuvres, but it was leaked that the real purpose is to protect the chimps from poachers, so we had the camp area to ourselves. Our tents were pitched and ready for us and the existing camp loos were torn down and rebuilt using the latest dry-toilet technology so that they won’t smell bad. We don’t even have to leave our tent at night to go to the bathroom as the tent has a large tunnel that clamps to the building.
Robbie brought in one person not of our family. John came so as to cook for us. He was deeply touched by the delight we showed when we saw him but he quickly made clear that he will not be staying with us, he will jump home and back to us the next day, only spending with us the bare minimum time needed for preparing our meals.
We arrived early in the morning on the thirteenth of November, PC61. It is very difficult to explain how we girls felt. The business of wanting and preparing (mentally/emotionally) to have a child is an adult adjustment. However, our excitement combined with the vibrant sense of raw life, the African scents, sounds and colours, made us behave like children, scampering about, even climbing trees. Robbie ceased organising the camp and gave himself over to enjoying watching and sensing us. We found a couple of chameleons and delighted in playing with them, changing their locale and background colour so as to watch them alter their own colour. It was fascinating, just as wonderful as meeting an exotic alien creature. Our yells and laughter must have unsettled the chimps, who were not relaxed in their new home area, and they screeched at us from within the trees making Robbie laugh at us when we screeched back at them.
John prepared us a light lunch, consisting of salads, cold meats prepared by him and without any of the horrible preservatives the factory-made stuff has, fresh asparagus, slices of avocado with olive oil and balsamic vinegar lightly drizzled over them. For dessert he had custard apples, red bananas, naturally sweet raspberries and little pineapples as sweet as honey. He brought with him green coconuts so that we have coconut milk to drink. Not one of us complained about not having any commercial beverages…but Robbie and those who wanted it had bottles of ale.
The light meal was calculated not to leave us feeling lethargic and torpid during the mild midday heat, but we were calmer, quieter. Jutting out into the lake is a tiny wooden pier and a little further out is a rough raft made of wood over old oil drums. None of us felt like swimming so I floated to the raft and settling cross-legged, I closed my eyes and let my mind implode at first and then it expanded to include the scents and sounds of the insects, birds and animals. It was easy to exclude the voices of the girls, as I remain aware of them in the background at all times. I sensed Robbie walk off with Coral and I soaked in her emoting for a moment so that my meditation would be less introspective and more uplifting.
Twilight, this close to the equator, lasts less time than I’m used to in Athens. The sky darkened and stars began to twinkle energetically as if the sun had recharged their batteries during the day. Robbie called to John, who was preparing to leave, asking him to join us for a while. As he sat on a bench next to Noelle, a plate laden with food was passed on to him. We took our cue from Robbie and fell silent and John is naturally not garrulous, so a cone of silence settled over us. This area has quite a lot of fireflies, but we were not fooled when they appeared in a variety of colours - we were awed by what Robbie was doing for Coral…the faëries came to Africa for a visit!
A faërie landed on the table and after daintily ensuring there was a clean section, she sat on the edge of the plate, staring up into Coral’s fascinated eyes. “Coral, did you know that you have the name of a sea faërie?”
Coral shook her head, and lightly whispered, “No, I never thought of it.”
The faërie tilted her head and smiled. “I’ve heard of sea faëries, but I’ve never met one. From old stories I was told as a child, it seems they are not as evolved as we are, some of them even have legs and claws like tiny crabs. Can you imagine how silly that must look?”
“Er…could there be some that look like mermaids?”
She smiled thoughtfully, obviously captivated by the idea. “And with their long black hair and their siren voices they would invite us into their watery garden where we would drown, our bodies a meal for their crab-like brothers and sisters?” She chuckled. “Sometimes I have a gruesome imagination, but I have to keep the images I see to myself because children are supposed to believe that faëries are only sweet and pure. Coral, are you planning on having a faërie godmother for your daughter? If you do, would you like to choose one of us? There are a number of us who would like to be her godmother.”
Coral, prompted by Jade, grinned. “You mean she is allowed more than one?”
The laugh of the faërie tinkled clear enough for all of us to hear her. “Oh no, just one. We’ll have a competition. What if we each sing a song and you choose the one you like best?”
Tina piped up, “I’d rather have the one that will love our daughter the best as her godmother.” Coral nodded her agreement.
“Choose from our songs and the one who becomes her faërie godmother will be the one that loves her the best.”
Suddenly another faërie stood on the table, close to her. He looked angry. “Ellisira, this is a Cherinian child that is to be conceived, why should she be stuck with only the same alternatives some village lassie from the dark ages had?” He turned to Coral, gave her a sweeping bow. “Pleased to meet you Coral. I am the King of the Faëries and am honoured to offer you the chance of appointing me as your daughter’s faërie godfather - the first ever!”
None of us were thinking very fast, so it was not a surprise that Ellisira answered before us, “Fine, you want a chance to be chosen, then sing.” The king glared at her as his face reddened. She laughed. “Don’t you fancy your chances then?”
Claudia asked the king, “Aren’t you a singer?”
“It is not my forte and the vixen knows it. Sometimes my queen can be almost as evil as a human!” It was said with humour so we laughed, half of us pretending to take his side and the other half, hers. I was not the only one secretly watching Robbie and hugging the way I felt, sensing the pleasure we gave him. At such times, the love Cherine feels for all of us can overwhelm and thus dampen us, but she was careful to just be one of us this time.
As soon as the last of us finished eating, we sat on the canvas sheeting at the edge of the lake and the faëries, darting and soaring across the view performed their aerial dances to the songs being sung for Yuming and Coral. I’m glad they did not do this to me when I had Gina as there is no way I could choose one over the others. Maybe Coral did an ‘eenie-meenie-miny-moe’ for choosing, or else she chose Ellisira because she is the queen and it would not have been tactful choosing another over her?
When the faëries first appeared, we’d sensed that Robbie was enjoying the emoting of John, so it was not much of a surprise when he suggested we invite the bronze dragon Stargard. We were impatient for the moment we’ll sense our new daughter’s life starting, but we also did not mind postponing the moment as it meant we had that little bit longer to anticipate it - and though it is a form of self-torture, it is a sweet agony. John was still lost in the enchantment of having had a faërie sit on the palm of his hand while singing a song, without words and yet with a message for the heart. Lost as he was within internal worlds of his imagination, he jumped home without speaking to us and before Robbie could tell him of our next guest. Robbie stared at where John had been sitting with a funny startled look on his face. We tried not to giggle, but as soon as the first of us gave in, the rest joined her.
As we retired to the tent to have a shower, Robbie walked off towards some coffee trees left over from a farm that used to be in this area. Surprised, we sensed Vincent. Cherine instantly jumped to be by Robbie so we shared through her. He placed his arm over her shoulders. “Don’t panic, I only asked for Vincent as I had the thought that some people won’t respect our privacy and with the technology that exists the tent won’t hide us from them. I don’t feel like making love with strangers staring at us. Vincent will ask the Unation to block us and he and Kirsten will watch out for Talents snooping on us.”
I’ve asked Robbie to take over.
It has been a long time since I’ve tried to write of the loving of my girls. Bearing in mind that Arthur did not ask for the sexual side of it, just the moments of tenderness and love, I have no reason to object - not for Arthur. The truth is, I don’t see how the sexual aspects of our loving can be completely excluded so I’ll write as much of it as I’m comfortable with. I admit I find it very weird that I, of all people, am willing to write anything of our private sexual moments for a man - especially as it is a man I’ve never met!
After John departed, the girls went for a shower, but I needed ten minutes on my own. The evening was pleasant, cool enough for a light sweater as it had drizzled for a few minutes and I enjoyed the soft scents of nature the damp had brought out. I walked on the dirt road, away from the lake, gaining a few minutes of solitude as the girls tactfully concentrated on their preparations. I had no wish to walk out of the crater, but I did not want to take one of the paths made for tourists into the forest as I worried about disturbing the chimps even further. I arrived at a point where I could not see the lake and only the branches of a large tree cut across the skyline of the crater heights in the background. I stopped walking so as to dip deeper into my thoughts.
I have spent so many years worrying about children being born to Cherinians while no Cherinians can die that it still disturbed me that I’d given in so easily to temptation. In a way, I still could not believe how easily I’d capitulated, given in to what I so desperately wanted. Arthur gives us an excuse for having a child and I behave as if the responsibility for doing so is his, not mine? That is not honest of me.
On the other hand, it has been so many years since our last child; we live those years we spend in Freddie, thus they do count when thinking of the period we’ve done without, so I cannot count only the Terran years like Sam does. I’ve had so many children and yet I still ache for more; my empathy for those of my loves who have not had even one child adds their ache to mine, turning it into a constant torture. What I’m saying does not mean I, or any one of my loves, resents Coral becoming a mother. Each of us have opened our hearts so that her feelings can flow into us; her ecstatic joy, her unbelieving feelings that she does not deserve this, that this or that love of hers should have been chosen, her guilty delight that it is her, her fears of anticipation, they flood our heart and become our own emotions. Soft-spoken, gentle Coral, beloved of everyone who knows her, how could anyone resent her being chosen. That Arthur picked her shows that without her being written of (not often), what she is still crossed the barrier of our realities for Arthur to sense how special she is.
I stood in the dark with only Freddie glowing among the stars as the moon had not risen yet and my mind accepted that I may have doubts about the ethics of having a child, but not about Coral being the one and not about the right of Arthur to change our rules - not even if it is only so that he indulges himself. Until it happens, I will always fear we may fail in bringing him across to us and if my fears turn out to be justified, anything he asks of us that makes him happy is a very small price to pay. I ground out my cigarette stub and my heart was at rest with the universe as I walked back to my loves. I felt that now I will be free to glory in the moments of life coming to us and I focussed my heart on Coral, my beautiful love, the mother of our child who waits for us.
In a small way, life is unfair at times like these. Making love to my Coral, however tenderly, passionately and lovingly, I still have the feeling that there should be some way for me to make it extra-extra special for her - and all my loves…even for myself. There are no new nerve-endings to discover so all that is left is for us to find new ways to touch each others’ hearts. They all felt me and feeling over fifty females respond was mind-blowing. Coral’s response was not any more acute than that of the other girls. I gloried in them, for they proved what I did not need proven to me; my baby girl loves me far deeper than she did when she first joined us. Mixed up with all that powerful love was her love for each of the girls and that made her love for me even more precious. God knows how I’ll feel when I sense her love for our daughter added to what she already feels. Love is a vibration in the heart and at times it makes us feel as if we could shatter if one more pulse is added.
My loves gathered around Coral so that I could no longer see her and they made way for me to enter the tunnel to the bathroom. Sensibly, not one of them joined me for my shower. One of my loves must have used her gift to heat the water, for it was scalding hot, which could not be after so many girls had their showers. I needed it as hot as possible since this would be a no-soap shower.
I grinned when I saw what my loves had done. Our bed was really a number of mattresses lying on the thick canvas floor. All the sheets were pearly white, with the exception of the central mattress which had satiny coral pink sheets. Lying between the coral sheets, demurely covered to just below her shoulders, my Coral love waited for me, her eyes huge with the wonder and awe of the moment.
I glanced at Cherine. “How am I expected to last until midnight? Look at her! With that shy, demure, innocent little girl look, even without touching her I won’t last! Contrasting that with feeling how her mind and body are roiling with passion for me…I’ll probably burst into flames!!”
Dommi’s voice was filled with love as she spoke, “My loves, you don’t have to wait. It doesn’t have to happen on my birthday, it was a lovely idea, but creating a daughter is special enough on its own.”
“I agree.” I answered. “But it will be even more special for all of us, including Coral, if we do hold out.” I grinned. “Anybody want to play Monopoly?” That gave my loves the excuse to hit my legs with their pillows. I landed next to Coral, still grinning. “Isn’t it lucky that my half of our baby girl is not in the first lot?” I tilted my head as I stared into her eyes. “I’m not going to tell you in which lot she’ll be so you’ll have to dry me out until I’m just skin and bone.” She stared back at me as if I was something simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. A flash-back to when we first talked about being married guided me. “Wife, your husband dreams of having a child of yours to love. Do you wish it to be so?”
She let me take her tiny hands in mine as she shyly replied, “It is my dream too, my beloved husband.” As if being formal now released her to be herself, she glanced up shyly and I sensed a mischievousness in her eyes. “You wish to be her father and love her only as your daughter, dear husband?”
I kept a straight face, “I shall only love her as she herself wishes it of me.” I leant over and lightly touched my lips to hers. Coral glanced at her loves, maybe to make certain they were not amused by us, and then, very obviously, decided to concentrate on me. Coral is very good at focussing on one thing at a time and she is definitely worth my focussing on her.
I lay on my back, swinging Coral over so that she rested on my chest, her legs between mine. I lightly pulled her up until her face was over mine and she dipped her head so as to kiss me. Her breath was scented like honey and flowers and as I inhaled it, it changed, turning into a fire in my blood. Coral’s eyes widened as she looked up at me and I sensed the same thing had happened to her. Her burning need shattered my wish to be gentle and loving and all I recall are urgent lips and teeth as she squirmed and bit me and then her body, like a fiery eel lowering itself.
The needs of the many had driven us the first time. Each of us had spent the day eagerly anticipating the lovemaking of that evening and it drove us into the wild loss of control that can be such a delight when it happens to both of those who are making love. As Coral lay limply under me, only half conscious, I tenderly kissed her eyes, her lips, her nose, in butterfly kisses. The flush across her right shoulder and nipple and her dazed senses were all I needed. Claudia prompted the others and they tugged at me to get me away from Coral and then all of us were led to sit on the benches outside while coffee and Milo was made. It was cool enough for it to be a pleasure for both Coral and I while I held her to me as she lay on my lap, her eyes almost pitch black and gleaming as she looked up at me. I did not really notice much of anything outside us as I was happily flitting around within her mind.
Coral wanted a cool shower and three of her loves took her. I sensed what was expected of me and did not claim Coral when she returned. The girls needed to love her, treasuring the softness and heat of her until they all exploded in a drawn out orgasm. I was not entirely left out; they wanted me to watch and share and hands would reach out to caress me, legs to dig a toe into me, lips to briefly slide over me and Orshiir covered my lips with her flower. Afterwards, both Orshiir and Coral lay in my arms as we drifted off, dozing for a while.
I slid back to awareness and realised my loves were taking a walk outside again. I sat up, leaning on my elbow, sensing them, wondering what they planned. Cherine sent me a picture of her crooking a finger at me, inviting me to join them so I walked out of the tent and watched as the girls spread out a huge tarpaulin. They did not seem to need my help and I saw that Coral was sitting at a table watching them with a coffee and my cigarettes by her. I joined her and she slid over to scrunch up against me. I raised an eyebrow when she looked at me light a cigarette. She was almost afraid of my reaction when she explained, “Cherine says you are sending the half of our daughter this time and we all want it to happen outside, the nature way.”
I took a sip and a draw, exhaled the smoke and asked of all of them, “Do you think it will be good for the chimps? Are they likely to have sex with those who are still immature?”
Anxiously Coral asked, “Could it harm the little girl chimps?” The girls replied, assuring her I was only teasing. She sighed, not interested in teasing me, as she burrowed into me, “Well, it would be a lovely way to make our baby.”
I hesitated for a while, not certain the girls had thought it through. For instance, if we do it this way, it will be the first time we’ve conceived a child without recalling many of the details. We might not even be aware of the first moment the sperm is accepted by the egg and it splits. I thought of a way when I glanced at Sam, but it did not solve the problem for me as I do not have an inner character like Sam’s Hesina. This is one of those moments that highlight the way becoming Cherinians has changed us. As my pre-Cherinian self, I would have decided it was worth making the sacrifice since it would provide my loves with so much pleasure. Now, if I were to do so, it would make them unhappy. Too late, I sensed myself falling, spiralling into the web of life. It had begun, the girls had not waited for me.
I returned to vague but almost painful memories of molten metal flowing through my veins, chaotic orgasms and movements that grabbed and twisted at me internally, as if I were the female being invaded and my organs violently displaced. A node that I thought was a white sun turned into the one cool spot and from that radiated all else in concentric waves of pure light - I came to realise it was the one instance/physical/mental we’d all focussed on, this was the joining of male/female that remains to become a part of us forever: this was the first nova instant of our daughter coming into existence.
We watched her blossom, hardly aware of ourselves lying under the pale sky as dawn-light condensed, sparkling on every dewdrop. Whatever wild life we had attracted was long gone by the time we returned to an awareness of ourselves and the world. In lots of three to five we held each other as we entered the tent. When we lay down on the mattresses I felt as if I could sleep the entire day but I did not wish to lose one second of sensing the rapid changes of new life within Coral.
Aganthi, Dommi, Cherine, Claudia and Tina, found the strength to dress, go to the kitchen tent and prepare breakfast for the rest of us. None of us touched Coral, she sat with us in a circle around her, but we did not wish our touch to steal her from her rapt immersion within her body as she became part of the growth and strengthening of life. She was witnessing a miracle and was a part of it, her existence just as beautiful a miracle for all of us.
Once the sun had risen high enough to peer over the crater edge, I had recovered enough to recall those who waited on the outside, their need to know just as keen as our own. The first persons I had to share with were Vincent and Michael and the girls just as eagerly needed to share with Lua, Daniel, Kirsten, Freddie and Cherise and Ahní. The best way to share was to invite them and they brought Alki, Maria, Allan with his two loves, Themi with Natalie and my mother. From there it has quickly widened to include Hettie and Eddie, various close friends of the girls and so on. There were two I felt I had to bring by going to them. I collected my father and brother, their Rose coming with. How could I leave out my brother Henry - even though he was in another reality helping his alternate. By the time John returned to prepare us a light lunch, he found a crowd of over four hundred. Then the alternate Teller families arrived and Dommi told John not to even try, that he should join us as a guest.
It was made clear to all our guests that they are only welcome to stay until three in the afternoon. My loves and I still need time on our own so that we can concentrate on showing Coral how much she is loved. By the way, only Sam would do what she did. Among those she asked Freddie to bring was her AI companion Athene. Of course the Wirms and Sparklers invaded our crater en masse so our daughter isi-mi-Metti, Ordinx and Ashiir had to join us. By three o’clock, the four hundred now were in their thousands, without counting the Sparklers and Wirms, and I could not say anything to get rid of them. Since all of them were concentrating their love on Coral, none of us really minded.
Too many had come for us to exclude those that did not, so we gave up on our wishes and returned to Freddie to share with all the other species and to beam a message to the entire planet below us. There were one hundred and seventy four television station representatives waiting by the taverna. Luckily they are only allowed the Unation cameras in Freddie, but we did have to make a formal announcement, so we had to gather as a family (Michael and Ahní had to join us, we insisted) and with Coral held to me (yeah, I know, not a good move with her looking like a six year old!), I made the announcement. We confirmed Yuming had been conceived after midnight, Athens time. Everyone remembered to wish Dommi and the other seven a happy birthday. We are happy it worked out this way since we ended up having a fun party to celebrate the birthdays. I teased Cherine by pretending I wanted to celebrate this day as our wedding anniversary, but she only kissed me and grinned.
We did spend that night and the next ones…till now, our present, mostly loving Coral and I’m certain she’ll be fed up of us within a few weeks. Until our little girl is born, Coral not only will be adored as she has never been before, she will also find herself surrounded by loved ones all the time - none of us dare take the risk that some disgruntled Talent attacks her. Cherinians watch the various web sites that are not in our favour in case we get a hint of trouble to come and I found it surprising that nobody really attacked me for getting Coral with child as a six year old. It seems people are starting to accept that seeing a Teller child does not mean my loves are children. I’m glad they are starting to feel that way, but I hope I never do.
Robbie handed over to me as he says we are not likely to have much to write about. He is hoping our days will be filled with adoring Coral and our daughter. Once her mind starts emoting, then we truly will be a fulltime captive audience, sharing while carefully avoiding our influencing her.
Michael asked Coral whether he and Ahní can share fulltime and when she agreed he let his group know they will be in Freddie until the birth. He is giving them half an hour each morning and afternoon for meetings, five days a week! I teased him, pretending I was surprised they aren’t fed up of him showing such love for us.
Ahní let him curl his fingers around hers as he replied, his voice lightly amused, but also amazed, “It is likely most of the daily hours I spend with them will be for sharing the highlights of my sharing what I sensed - as Ahní will do with the females, wives and so on. You do realise, my sweet mothers, that the Ipohin are also holding strictly to the rule of no babies?” He glanced at his father, as if worried how he’ll react, before continuing. “There are seven couples who were desperate for a child during the last three terran years. They searched for realities where some calamity occurred and the populations are much smaller than here. They found such realities where their alternates do not exist and moved there. They have undertaken to have only one child and will keep their Talents secret until you or I decide it is time to let their world know about us.”
Robbie nodded. “I guess I’d do the same in their place. They are ascertaining first that there are no other strong Talents - like Eddie and Hettie?”
“Yes, I made certain.” He sent a thought to us in private. *With this time-trapped Campbell staying in Freddie, will you be sharing with him so the he shares with the responsible people in his group?* We sensed how Robbie left it to me to answer. I privately asked Coral and Dommi and they both agreed.
“Arthur, would you like to do as Michael plans so that those who want to share from your groups can also be a part of this experience?”
He slightly cocked his head as he asked Michael, “Will you be sharing with couples only or will you share with men who are single? Ahní, is it a good idea sharing with single women, could sharing such an experience only serve to awaken their interest in having a child of their own?”
Michael grinned, “I wouldn’t underestimate the effect it could have on the men - many have a strong need to be a father. I suggest we treat males and females in the same way.”
A few were eager to respond, but they felt me and everyone froze, wondering what had me so excited. Almost afraid of explaining, I waited until Latreia and Spice, who happened to be sitting to either side of me, each took hold of a hand. “Should we offer for one of us to share with each of the species? Won’t that bond us more tightly with them? It would also show them how strong our urge to have children is so that they don’t think we are not like them and find it easy to control our needs. I suspect it could stress for them how important we think the rule is.”
Robbie cut in, “It is not a rule Sam, each person and species must choose to make it a rule for themselves.”
“I didn’t mean we imposed it as a rule dad, however, by making it a rule for ourselves, many do think of it as a rule-by-example.”
Although the idea had excited me, for I’d guessed our alien friends would want to share, I too was caught by surprise at how strong the reaction was. Some of them could not believe that Robbie was willing to share something so private, but all of them eagerly changed their schedules to suit us.
At first we thought that we could each choose which species to share with, but that was a failure. We forgot to take into account our own personalities. Some of us go overboard and are totally besotted and obsessed while others are more practical and controlled. To ensure each species gets an average of how we feel, we divided ourselves into groups of four, made up of each kind of personality. This way we did not have, for example, Haven sharing with the Akiards. They shared with four of us (not me, I was in the Anadir group) and emotional Latreia is part of their group. Robbie was placed in the group for sharing with the Unation (which meant that Candy had to be with him, despite both of them being so emotional, since her Iziko is part of the Unation group). Empathia is part of the Muyzith group. Syrina, of course, is the romantic/emotional part of the group sharing with the Inguel (she made damn certain that our isi-mi is part of those who joined with them, not that any Inguel would even think of excluding her). Only one alien species were allowed to share directly from Coral and, as I’m certain you guessed, it was the Dream Dancers, Lusalith for the first time ever sharing with her people as part of a group - I bet many, at first, were concentrating more on the fact that they were sharing with their god than with Coral. The Sparklers and Wirms continued sharing with those they normally share with. Sheena also shared with her Terran friend and her son, so that meant Claudia could share with Avgi and Haven with David. Soon all of us were sharing with Normals we like. The strangest sharings of all were by aliens who have befriended Normals of our planet and we were all eager to sense from those Terrans what it has been like for them.
The adage about benefiting from giving has been proven true to the extent that sometimes we cannot bear it and need a little time to recover. Sharing with others, as part of a group, has made our sharing with the embryo as sharp as a laser; by having to mix what we each sense into an ‘average’ of our senses for others means we also experience it from each other (as a sort of ‘echo’). Often, when we send on something new from our daughter, the aliens react strongly and that leaks back to us, stunning us with the flood of stimuli we are experiencing.
Cherinians and Ipohin, after asking us, started something that has paralysed our planet for an hour each day. Do you recall how we talked about shaping memories and marketing them, some using sexual memories so as to charge a higher price? Many Cherinians, Ipohin and even Campbellites are condensing what we’ve shared during the day and are providing worldwide coverage (mostly throughout the cities and suburbs). For that one hour, everything seems to come to a stop! Vincent and Dimi found it amusing when they discovered that the pubs are often full during that hour, the patrons making a point of using drink, the telling of lewd jokes and playing pool or darts to block off the anamnesis (as the memory sharings are often called). Sometimes when it gets too much for me and I feel saturated, I sort of longingly wish I could join them in a pub for a little while.
The rhythms of our days have slowed to a gentle crawl and even occasions like birthdays and anniversaries are quietly enjoyed at a dinner with family and close friends so as not to distract us from sensing little Yuming as she develops. The big moment is closing in on us and we are all feeling very emotional about the arrival of her soul in two days.
As was chosen by Coral, the Sparklers are not monitoring the souls they hold for previous lives and personality, but they have been chosen for a specific reason. There are still souls held by them from the first day they arrived, when they thought they were saving the souls. When Coral was told about those souls, she felt the symbolism, for us and the Sparklers, made the choice of a soul from among those a lovely idea. The Sparklers (there are thousands of them) who are holding such souls will surround Coral so that the embryo calls and chooses from amongst them.
We discussed what I wrote last night while we sat at the taverna and it led to the most stunning development! The Anadir, using our beloved Ordinx and Ashiir as their representatives (they also roped in our isi-mi as their ambassador) have requested that we allow a few Anadir souls who were here from that period and who are willing to start afresh with a new life to be amongst the group available to Yuming to choose from. The other species (especially the Inguel who maybe are slapping each other in private at the thought that one of their species was instrumental in arranging this for the Anadir) have shown great tact and love for the Anadir by not jumping in and requesting the same rights. Normals mostly admire and like the Anadir so very few have protested the idea. As for us, we don’t think it will make any difference, the child will start off with a wiped-clean soul.
I’ve just had pointed out to me that what I said is not strictly true. Souls who were previously Terrans are not likely to recall their previous lives, but if it was an Anadir, it could possibly remember and be influenced by who it was. If we get an Anadir, it better be a damn good Anadir!
This is not the first time our television stations have tried to broadcast the moment of a soul entering the foetus. Hopefully Robbie’s energy dye plus slow motion technology will give everyone a clearer view. The Unation AI came up with a method of filming the event that everyone hopes will be a hundred times more effective than anything used before.
Luckily, just in time, the Sparklers thought of a possibility that could have changed everything. They realised that the embryo might call a soul from the void instead of from the Sparklers which are closer. They’ll carefully monitor the void and hold newly arrived souls until our daughter has called her soul.
Dommi confirmed the day has arrived and it felt like everyone went crazy from anxiety and excitement. We already have thousands of Cherinians from other realities, especially Teller families and those close to them, plus our local friends and those Cherinians who were free to come, in Freddie. The media are also here from last night. Now the politicians, artists, royalty and so on have to be brought to Freddie. There is no way we could avoid bringing priests of every religion and sect since all of them seem to think that souls fall within their province of expertise! Since it means so much to my daughter, I have to mention that Gina went to her second family and beloved king and queen and invited them. She had to agree to the press from their planet also coming with. As soon as they arrived, Samantha, an adult and in love, came to spend the day by me - and bent my ear about the man she loves who has not noticed that she exists. I wonder whether she is hoping that either Jina or I will return with her to help her.
This is the first time ever us girls have resented bringing guests to Freddie and the turning of the soul-birth of our daughter into a circus. We wanted to be with Coral and sense Yuming every single second to the moment the soul becomes a part of her and thereafter. These moments are very precious to us and wasting them on people who lack the empathy to appreciate what they are costing us for petty reasons strains my goodwill. With the crowds behaving like tourists, as if they are here to visit each other and gossip, to see and be seen for snobbish reasons, us girls are having to spend our time floating just above them and shepherding them back to their seats. This is a private family-time and they should have respected the goodwill we’ve shown and…Robbie cut in to tell me that we should also respect the goodwill strangers have shown us. I guess the love we’ve been shown is wonderful and I should not grumble, but I’m a little girl, not a saint.
We solved our problems by having the Akiards stand among the crowd and every time someone tried to leave his seat to greet someone they’d find the eyes of an Akiard on them and they’d settle down, deciding they can wait for afterwards. The family, with our pappou, Mingzhu and Lua, gathered around Coral and the Sparklers and Unation cameras took their positions. Now came the time which nobody can control or influence - we have to wait for the embryo to call for its soul. The wait turned out to be longer than we’d expected and I quietly updated the diary.
This whole affair has taken weeks to organise and everyone has had to wait for close to two hours and then, when the soul is called, everything is over within seconds. For outsiders it may have felt anticlimactic, but my loves did as I did, we altered our time sense (Robbie taught us, long ago) and stretched out the moment so that it seemed to last forever. We watched as the soul sank towards Coral and it looked like a candle flame gusting within a storm. How fragile it looks and yet it endures even where suns and galaxies do not.
As everyone shared from us and felt how the soul settled in place and then seemed to fall into a contented sleep, everyone sighed. Gently Coral was carried on the slight breeze back to our home so that she can remain in silence for half an hour. The soul will only require a few minutes, but by doing this we can have some time alone with our love. We can feel how overcome by the beauty of the moment Coral is and that she needs for Robbie to hold her tightly to him.