Alone by Martha Fawcett by Martha Fawcett - Read Online

About

Summary

Mellé had it all—wealth, power, prestige and the love of Dulce Cœur, the greatest musical composer of the Golden Age of Euterpe. When the bubble of Mellé's life bursts, she returns to her home planet Hattonia and buys the Intrinsic, a secondhand spaceship. In the bargain, she gets Michael, its android pilot. Eighty-one years later in a remote area of space, Michael ceases to function and Mellé faces a future alone. In the depths of her grief over losing Michael, she realizes she was fooling herself. She had thought of Michael as loyal, efficient, and reliable, but he was more—she loved him. Now Mellé knows that love was not a rose as Dulce always insisted. Love was a tenacious weed that could never be destroyed. Docking on Calypso, Mellé finds herself on an alien world. She is 113 years old and disconnected from her natural time and place, but her life was getting started yet again.
Published: Salvo Press on
ISBN: 9781627934008
List price: $2.99
Availability for Alone
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Reviews

Book Preview

Alone - Martha Fawcett

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

978-1-62793-400-8

One

Mellé was crying again. Standing, half-hidden, behind the draperies at her bedroom window she watched as the indigo and blue auroras fluttered across the southern sky. Tonight the indigo light seemed born to dance. Soon, its blue partner would turn intimate and drench all watchers’ eyes with desire. Only then, would both dancing lights surrender and bleed toward the jagged horizon of Euterpe.

A sudden noise tore Mellé’s attention away from the aurora lights and she stared straight down into her perfectly manicured rose garden. The time was past midnight but tonight the auroras persisted in their dance, creating pearly spotlights on the darkened ground. There, in that velvety illumination stood a dark woman and an even darker man. The woman picked one of Mellé’s roses; then posed with the dewy petals just dusting her chin. She was waiting for the man to make up some poetry.

A party was in full swing at Mellé’s country estate of El Cantar, but as she stood by her bedroom window, the merriment seemed a light-year away. The party was neither the wildest nor the most extravagant affair of the season. The grander parties occurred earlier in the year when the barometric pressure was low—what Euterpeans referred to as, the ethereal pre-monsoon party air. Now, the weather was merely hot, stagnant, and very dank. The party officially began at sundown, but did not climax until dawn the following day. At sundown, the temperature sat resolute at ninety-nine degrees while the evening air lingered as if waiting for a mere tickle from the wind. Billowed clouds of bluish black draped gracefully across the southern sky promising an early beginning of monsoon season.

The gilt-edged party invitation for the event read, Come as your unexplored self and eventually we will all trade clothes! Around midnight, the partygoers began shedding their elaborate costumes with casual abandon. It started down by the swimming pool with the group cheer, too-hot-for-clothes! Up at the mansion, on the front lawn, guests were more discreet; topless was as risqué as it got. Everyone tried to dress in a funny and amusing way. Now people were trading costumes and looked like bizarre and improbable genetic mutations—weird birds with feathered authoritarian hats, several crustacean clowns, herds of bovine devils, and dozens of iridescent green felines. A chicken dressed in a sequined tuxedo was attempting to dance with a reptilian general between sips of champagne while a lepidopteron ballerina was dancing alone. The party was bleeding into the darker corners where lusty bodies bent into other lusty bodies.

The party at El Cantar was possibility itself. One merely needed to know where to go and who to ask. The food alone was a Bacchanal feast. The menu featured Beluga caviar from Earth, tenderloin boars and succulent young, whitemeat birds from Delta Urbana, Pavlovian champagne, and a plethora of seafood from Calypso. The waiters, just now, were putting the final touches on the dessert tables.

Out on the south lawn, under the red-blooming sephira trees, two dozen Terpsichorean dancers were halfway through their second performance—whirling, leaping, acrobatic splits—all performed within singeing range of flaming torches. On the north side of the mansion, sat two green tents erected by Trinity witches earlier in the evening. Nobody asked why the witches were there. Their clandestine purpose that night would remain a mystery for the next five centuries. A psychic curtain shrouded the Trinity Order of New Delphi, and not many individuals were brave or clever enough to peek behind their veil.

Three witches stepped out of one of the tents. To the casual observer their appearance was much the same. They were Gathosian and like most young Gathosian females, their bodies were voluptuous. Their black eyes sparkled with sapphire blue irises that carried golden fractures that the Gathosians called rutilates. Everyone acknowledged that Gathosian eyes were haunting; the few that stayed around to stare into their hypnotic depths usually said they were seductive and impossible to escape.

The Trinity witch cult emanated from the headwater planets of Gathos, which were 2.2 light years from the planet Euterpe. Forty years earlier, Trinity witches began predicting the destruction of the headwater planets from meteor storms. Then thirty years ago, the Afen comet broke free from the Kalalangla asteroid belt and obliterated the headwater planet, Sutcay Tay. By that time, the Trinity witches had established their power center on New Delphi.

The strong sunlit on Delphi gradually turned the amber skin of the Gathosian women into burnt brown toast. These three witches were young and their skin still looked like butter in the torchlights from the nearby Terpsichorean dancers. The witches wore, what they called, the rags of the Trinity order—layer upon layer of green silky skirts held up with belts made of knotted twine and zaqurlite crystal beads. Zaqurlite is a crystalline stone found only under the New Delphi Crystal. Trinity witches fashion jewelry from zaqurlite and claim that wearing the stone enhances their psychic abilities.

One of the witches stepped forward while her sisters remained hidden in the shadows of the tents. Her Trinity moniker was Belleth meaning, sound of primordial receptivity. Belleth had entered the Trinity order at fifteen bio-years and quickly became known as a fast learner. At eighteen, she took her blood oaths and life vows of secrecy. By the time she was twenty-five, she had accumulated her sixty-four privileges that gave her the right to wear the highest rags of the sisterhood. At thirty, on her Anointing Day, four strong Hectarian mystics pulled her in a reed-woven rickshaw toward the witches’ temple. Her sixty-four privileges gathered around her and were a lively, yet devout entourage as they followed her up the trail. Once inside the temple, the four Hectarians brought her to the anointing pedestal. There, she took part in a ceremony that directed the course of her immortal soul. The high priestess of the New Delphi Order had been praying over three zaqurlite rings for weeks, rings dedicated and attuned to the New Delphi Crystal. At the height of the ceremony, the high priestess dampened the zaqurlite rings in holy serum and dusted them in the pheromone tartan ratu. Then, she pierced one ring through Belleth’s bottom lip, one through her left nipple, and one through the hood of her clitoris. This ceremony was the symbol of Trinity witch commitment, a commitment that could never be broken. The commitment was to the New Delphi Crystal and its vision of love until the end of time. Belleth was now thirty-two and privy to most of the secrets behind the sisterhood’s arcane rituals.

Belleth stood in front of the green tent and surveyed the partygoers with her special vision. The rutilates of her eyes were flashing as if they were on fire. She sensed the mood and knew the auroras were moving with incredible passion this evening. She felt the rings through her senses and the torchlights of the Terpsichorean dancers seemed to be firing the gold reflectors in her eyes and burning those three zaqurlite rings deeper into her flesh. Belleth displayed her hands—her magic tools—beckoning the crowd to gather round. Each her hands were small and dainty with three long fingers and an opposing thumb. Her nails were long, sharp, and lacquered red; her lips stained scarlet. Belleth possessed a special talent. She had the ability to make her voice smooth, like sweet, melting ice cream. Come! she chanted. Where do you need to go, my darlings? Whom do you need to be, my precious treasures?

A young Human boy named Lyfe stopped and watched Belleth for a moment. He was seventeen, handsome as a hero, and his apricot-blonde hair hung around his shoulders in lazy ringlets. Lyfe was still innocent, but tonight he felt reckless. All day he blamed his new mood on the auroras. Something was causing him to ask strange questions. While getting ready for the party he caught the image of his damp body in the steamy bathroom mirror and the sight made his penis go semi-erect with pleasure. It must be the auroras, he mumbled to himself. The weather was too hot and humid to wear much clothing so he took a long piece of diaphanous white fabric, wrapped it around his waist a few times, and flung the remainder over one shoulder. Costume enough! he declared with more bravado then sense. At the party, he wandered around for hours feeling disappointed by the frenetic boredom until he saw Belleth. She was the first female that really caught his attention. A moment later, he got the urge to pull back that psychic curtain to get a closer look. Belleth spotted Lyfe immediately and waved to him. Where do you want to go my handsome potential? she called. Let my potions guide you to happiness? It was definitely a question; it was definitely an invitation.

How much? asked Lyfe.

Belleth scanned the boy with the powers of her special vision before saying, Tonight it’s free, sweet lad

What’s the catch? asked Lyfe, stepping back slightly.

No catch, cherub, Belleth assured him. Her voice got even smoother as she extended her fingertips his way. Those fingers seemed so inviting to Lyfe he could not help but take both hands of the beautiful Gathosian woman. Belleth allowed her hands to sit inside his for a brief moment before grasping the boy’s wrists and pressing them to her chest. "Ah, she sighed. She held his hands in the precise position to ensure that he would feel the warm flesh of her breasts and the beating of her heart. This pulsing can be yours, promised her flesh. This pattern can be yours, danced her heart. Come sisters! She laughed with delight for she knew she had snagged her first one of the evening. This part she still enjoyed. The conquest still amused her. Come! Come and touch this boy’s pootential!" she called to the crowd.

Belleth’s Trinity sisters emerged into the torchlight. Both were slightly older than Belleth, but everything else was the same—the gold rutilated eyes, layers of green skirts, and the zaqurlite hoops through their senses. Aaaah! the three sighed in unison. All three were already sensing Lyfe’s potential. The small crowd gathering around them suddenly grew larger and Belleth raised her voice, just enough, to make sure everyone stayed. What’s your name? she asked.

Lyfe felt shy so he stared down at the dense green grass that appeared black by torchlight. Lyfe, he said.

You should kneel before a witch, she cautioned.

Lyfe felt clumsy and Belleth instantly sensed that the boy was inexperienced in the ways of the flesh. The way he held his hips and the way he gawked down at the ground suggested virginity. Let me help you, she said and she pressed the tops of his shoulders forcing him to kneel before her. Lyfe went down on one knee and then Belleth leaned closer to his face so her inner thighs formed a temple before his nose. Lyfe blushed with excitement and hoped no one noticed his embarrassment. Belleth began dusting off his energy, just playing with the outside of his energy field with the palms of her hands.

Somehow, Lyfe mustered the courage to ask, Show me the way, sweet goddess?

Belleth stroked the flesh under the boy’s chin until he looked up and gazed into her eyes. The instant their eyes met, Belleth knew through her senses, which paid homage to her greater vision, that she owned him. Lyfe rose, just enough to reach her ready lips. Her lips were sweet as resin and made him thirsty. She tasted like rosewater and chocolate mint to his hungry mouth. Lyfe was already anticipating the dancing of her black Gathosian tongue in his mouth and his mind was screaming, The curtain is beginning to move. He felt reckless and it was dissolving his self-consciousness in front of the crowd. At that moment, Lyfe wanted something beyond sexual gratification, something he strained to remember through Belleth. Lust sparked his bravery and he stopped kissing her long enough to whisper something in her ear.

A husky little laugh erupted from Belleth’s throat. Come and taste the elixir of your own potential, she said taking Lyfe by both hands. Then she led him toward the shadow of one of the tents. She lifted the triangular tent flap and together they disappeared inside the depths of that unknown temporary space.

An instant later, Belleth’s sisters moved into the assembled crowd and drew out two nubile girls. Where do you want to go my rosebuds? Who do you wish to be? they chanted in unison.

Mellé groaned and a tiny curse slipped from between her lips. The curse referred to her needing a permanent rest from responsibility. Then, almost reciprocally, Mellé heard a high-pitched scream coming from outer space. At first, she thought the alert sirens were sounding down in the village. "Was it a warning about a meteor shower?" Meteor showers were common on the Southern Continent of Euterpe in late summer, especially during aurora displays.

Mellé did not realize that this sound was different and heard only by her. This sound had keyed itself precisely for her ears and she heard it inside the exact midpoint of her brain. The sound left her reeling internally and feeling confused. It would take her lifetimes to learn the truth of what she heard. Until then, she would rationalize the sound as something caused by the auroras that night. At first, Mellé dramatized the incident, thinking, "The sound shattered me. Obviously, the sound did not shatter her for she did not disperse into hydrogen unconsciousness. The sound, however, did shatter her sense of reality. On that free radical night on the planet Euterpe, sound and light collided inside Mellé’s brain and caused her to jump and plummet over a cliff. She did not die at the bottom or shatter her body on the rocks below because there was no bottom. There was just endless falling. She had made many jumps before, but this was the first time she was aware of the bottomlessness and that the falling would go eternally on and on. Once she came to this realization, the vertigo gradually disappeared and she gained a measure of perspective for the first time ever. He lied! He betrayed me, she thought, as she stood inside her new reality. The wound branded her soul just as her commitment to him at the New Delphi Crystal branded her. I don’t care," she told herself. "I will leave him; let the great Dulcerary Cœur fend for himself. Despite her own success and wealth, fear projected a cold future without the comfort of Dulce’s arms. The real choice was made by him when he abandoned me," she reasoned. The fragility of her new resolve kept her from leaving that night. Her escape would take time for she was not as impulsive as Dulce. Standing there before her bedroom window, she had not moved a millimeter since that screaming sound began. She was still staring down into the garden, down at Dulce and Belleth in her perfectly manicured rose garden.

Mellé’s mind stumbled into her version of the past, as the signals of Dulce’s betrayal arranged themselves like self-motivated shadows. Mellé thought her memories were real; but her memories were prison walls constructed brick by brick of Dulce’s poetry and mortared with his incredible music. "Lord, the music!" she grieved. Memory collages trailed through her mind like comet tails and every single vision was an image of The Divine Dulcerary Cœur.

Dulce had come to Mellé as love’s disciple, hot and dark with flashing Gathosian eyes. A potent memory stole Mellé’s mind and she saw Dulce run out of the surf and sink down before her in the sand. The day remained as clear as glass in her memory. Did you miss me? he asked and he kissed her lightly on the lips.

You taste like the ocean, she told him.

You mean I taste like a woman. He was clever and knew it and a slight smile betrayed his pride.

Mellé was taciturn, like a teacher who likes her papers and books all lined up in neat stacks and rows. Be careful! You’re getting my papers wet, she squawked.

Dulce laughed and deliberately shook his long wet hair in her direction. Mellé reacted by shoving him backward in the sand. Water, sand, and papers went flying everywhere. For an instant, he was surprised and appeared hurt as an innocent child; but then he quickly recovered and managed to pull her down on top of him. Come on, he said more forcefully, What sane person brings paperwork to the beach? Then his mood turned melancholy in his typical capricious fashion. Mellé felt her mind sink down with his, down into that place where he orchestrated her every feeling. He ran his knuckles along the delicate ridge of her cheekbone, then through the fine strands of her pale tinted hair. You know what I like best about you? he told her. He looked so vulnerable to Mellé at that moment that she convinced herself that he really was.

What? she asked.

Your endless eyes. Your eyes are my ocean, my complete source of inspiration. If you deprived me of your eyes, I would never write another note of music as long as I lived.

Mellé felt helpless, as if she were drowning in Dulce’s need. She held back, just a little, struggling to save a speck of herself. What about my fabulous sense of humor? she asked, remembering her overreaction toward her water-spotted papers.

Dulce’s voice dropped an entire octave. His voice inflections gave her the chills. What’s a sense of humor compared to eyes? It’s like the difference between a jingle and a symphony. Dulce noticed that she was trembling and he slipped his arm around her shoulder. Are you cold? he asked.

Mellé turned and stared out over the distant expanse of the Emerald Ocean. Just tired, she shrugged.

See what I mean! Come on, put away your papers and let’s do nothing for a change.

She sighed. I can’t always be like you, Dulce. Sometimes I feel as if I am the only adult in this relationship.

Dulce mirrored her sigh. Music does not respond to your deadlines. If you need someone to disciple, start with the freeloader. Perhaps Kellin could be aroused to get up some day before noon.

Mellé pulled away from Dulce and tried to brush the sand off her arms. Kellin needs time to find himself. His life has not been easy.

Dulce grabbed her arms and forced her to look at him. Kellin believes that easy is his birthright. I get it, Mellé. I really do. I want easy too, but whose life is ever easy? Yours? Certainly not mine. Why is it that you have infinite patience for Kellin, but no patience for me? I don’t even know why we are having this new endless argument yet again. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we want. Life keeps on rolling right over us.

Was that the day the gap opened between them and they found themselves standing on distant and opposite cliffs?

Mellé had arrived on Euterpe twelve years earlier. She was eighteen years old, pretty, and ambitious. Her meager assets consisted of a 5,000-credit legacy from her mother and a will forged of something that made steel appear fragile. Fortunately, her will was clever, helping her parlay her meager 5,000 credits into a small business that, in time, brought her great wealth. Along with her will, The Muses had blessed her with the gift of a discriminate ear. As a child, she could identify the different songs of the many coral birds that sang outside her bedroom window. Later, she recognized that the sound of footsteps foretold who waited at her door. By the time she reached adulthood, her ears were finely tuned instruments of listening. Of course, she loved music and she could hear like no other soul inside creation.

In Mellé’s time, the planet Euterpe was pulsing with vitality. Each year, thousands of artists, writers, and musicians flocked there to share in the artistic expression that the Euterpean government encouraged with generous endowments. The planet was young, Mellé was young, and they reflected each other in many ways through a shared enthusiasm. Life was good on Euterpe. The air was pure and the sky seemed to play with colors from a Renoir paint-box. Laws were few, credit abundant, and poverty nonexistent. The environment was healthy and the citizenry fascinated only with those finer crimes, those crimes one commits against oneself. This new world bustled with optimism and shining new cities—metropolises created out of shimmering crystaglass and built on the grand scale of Sirius City Two and Minaret Park, Mars. Gravity was a shade less than Humans were accustomed to and it put an extra spring in their step—made them believe anything was possible.

Four years after Mellé’s company Eurhythmy Music opened its doors for business, the company’s stock went public. Mellé found herself a busy CEO. Eurhythmy Music was attempting to do it all. It published music, promoted concerts, and managed the careers of many of the top musical artists within the industry. After Mellé and Dulce married, her pace accelerated. They added the social scene to their lives and, of course, their careers became even more demanding. Mellé once thought of her life as busy and exciting, but lately it was terrifying. Sometimes, at night, when sleep did not come immediately, terror came up and touched her with its fear of falling off cliffs.

Of all the musical artists alive during Euterpe’s Golden Age, the critics considered Dulce Cœur the greatest. Music poured forth from his genius with such prolific grace and spirit that he left all pretenders behind. The first time Mellé heard Dulce’s music he was still a struggling unknown. Mellé’s administrative assistant, Clider, brought her a demo disk, and plunked it down in the middle of her desk. My dear, would you please give a listen to this new artist? In the past month, I’ve heard his name mentioned two dozen times. He is quite a sensation with the Ivory Coast locals. I trust those finely tuned ears of yours to decide. Clider was fiftyish, business-like, carefully understated, and a perfect complement to Mellé. He rarely became excited even when Mellé went wild with enthusiasm over some new talent; yet, that morning there was a special sparkle in Clider’s pale gray eyes.

You’re impressed? she noted.

Clider squinted, accentuating the tiny wrinkles at the outside corners of his eyes. He seemed almost breathless when he said, My dear, Dulcerary Cœur is far beyond impressive; his music is positively divine!

Mellé rose from her desk and popped the disk into a player and after the first ten measures of Dulce’s Ode to Celestial Night, she forgot everything except the music pouring forth from the player. "The music has the potency of a fine aroma drug, she thought. The sound defies gravity."

What do you think? asked Clider.

Mellé jarred herself back to reality. I think you should make reservations on the first available airfloat to the Ivory Coast. She knew Clider had discovered an important talent and she needed to act with the speed of Mercury if she wanted to sign Dulcerary Cœur to a contract with Eurhythmy Music. She admitted to Clider, as they boarded the airfloat for the Ivory Coast, Cœur’s music feels like an energy rush.

Dulce was playing keyboards at the Grand Babylon, a resort hotel along the fabulous Ivory Coast of Euterpe. He had been playing the Grand Babylon for two months and doubled business the first week. He was the hot topic in the tropics. Where he came from, no one knew, but people were speculating about where Dulce Cœur would be going. No one realized a talent such as his had been in the making for millenniums. In this life, he was half-Human and half Gathosian; but that was only the end of the story. Eons before his genes had migrated to the Island Worlds of Gathos, they crept out of a swamp on the subcontinent of Asia, planet Earth. A few thousand years later, he was a woman learning how to imitate the sounds of birds while other souls were still considering incarnating for the first time. In the Earth’s twelfth century AD, he was a Sufi mystic in Persia. Four hundred years later, he was an Austrian composer. As the Austrian, he died young so his soul’s impatience sparked his energy to reincarnate immediately and he was born on the island of Jamaica. There, he learned to make music on steel drums. Six hundred years later, his soul reconnected with its favorite gene pool, on the planet Hattonia, where he lived a life as the great classical composer, Lempour. Lempour studied and experimented with the octaves of sound and their mathematical relationships to the psyche of the unconscious. Unfortunately, Lempour lost his spark of spontaneity. It is the consensus of historical music critics that Lempour was a great composer, but lacked the true genius of Bach, Capel, and Mozart. The soul allowed its talent to develop through the unconscious spending the next ten lives alternating between the Island Worlds of Gathos as a Trinity witch and studying the healing arts on Earth. During those incarnations, he/she created music spontaneously and for pleasure, but never wrote anything down.

Now the soul was Dulcerary Cœur. In this incarnation, he was not merely a musician, but a multitalented genius and like all manifestations of genius, Dulce defied both confinement and explanation. He was no snob. He could be debating music theory one moment and the next moment be standing in a dark alley groping for an intense experience with someone he just met. Dulce pushed the envelope, but he always had. He made no excuses for his actions. He