IoM: Before the Kalends_Endé 7

CRYS was given an apartment. It’s a studio. The bedroom is in the living room, and the living room is part of the kitchen. The only other room is the tiny bathroom. The sink is crammed next to the toilet; in the corner is a shower. Crys had never had any of this stuff, so he likes it. The bed is comfortable. He sleeps through the entire night on it. He doesn’t eat often or cook at all, but when he does get hungry, he goes to the cafeteria on the top floor to eat. He’s one of the few people in there; apparently people enjoy their kitchens. Other than that, each day is the same. Get up, bathe, eat or read (sometimes both), go for a walk, go to the lab for testing, talk to Stigmo, go back to the apartment and read until nightfall, and then go to bed. Tomorrow morning the same process will start all over again. He feels like a robot. Oh wait, he is one.

CRYS HADN’T EATEN in three days, but finally, his mother convinced him to. He made himself a bowl of oat cereal. It’s super easy to make. He pours the box of cereal over a bowl and stops once he fills it to the top. Then he adds milk from the beverage dispenser on the kitchen wall. He grabs a spoon and voila! Breakfast is served. 🙂 

After Crys was done eating and he placed his bowl in the hole in the wall, there was a knock at the door. His first visitor! He’s actually excited about it… Wow… That’s sad. Usually he can handle being alone. He’s been alone all his life, but the dome is different. He’s truly alone here.

You are never alone Geocrys. You never have-. Crys blocks her out. He knows how to do it now. All he has to do is picture a brick wall and the link shuts down. He likes that it’s so simple.

He opens the door and a beautiful woman greets him. She has shoulder length, tight curly black hair, caramel skin, and hazel brown arms. She has a good set of breast for her athletic build. Crys likes what he sees.

“Come with me.” He recognizes her voice. She’s the one who let him inside the dome.

“So you’re the one that carried me to safety. I never got the chance to thank you for saving my life… Thank you.”

She rolls her eyes as she sighs, “I won’t stop if you get lost.”

She turns left and starts walking. Crys hurries to close the door and follow her. She walks a fast, steady pace. Crys is enjoying this slice of thrill. He has no clue where he’s going. He’s following a hot stranger… Who knows what might happen!

Wow, Crys’ mind has gotten dirty since he’s matured. When he looks at women, a weird admiration for them makes his heart beat faster. He tries to picture what they look like naked. A few times, his downstairs got a little… forward… What’s happening to him?

That’s called your sex drive son. It’s perfectly natural. Though I will warn you-. He blocks her out again, thinking about a bigger wall, this time made of steel.

Crys tries not to look at her plump ass, a beautiful bubble. He wonders what it would sound like if he played each cheek like a drum.. AWHHH… Crys can feel his heart fluttering. Is this what love feels like? The books he’s been reading lately would say this is, but human nature is unpredictable. Humans say one thing when they actually mean something else.

When Crys takes his eyes off her asset in the back, they are outside on the sidewalk. Hundreds of civilians are out, walking and talking with their fellow people. Some are laughing while others are arguing. People move out of their way when they notice the two bionic officers.

She’s heading for the building at the center of the dome. It’s the widest and tallest building in the entire city. The closer its tip gets to the peak of the dome, the narrower it gets. It reminds Crys of an ancient Egyptian pyramid; the Huldarians taught the Egyptians how to build them. They were the only species in the universe to fly in saucers and had the most influence on humanity.

It takes a good twenty minutes to walk to the center building. The woman wasn’t much of a conversationalist. Crys stopped trying to talk to her after the third nasty glare.

They enter the building from what looks like the loading zone and take an elevator going down. It makes sense to Crys, the Zenty are as planty (plant-like creatures) as Zonians. Crys wouldn’t be surprised if this building was the Zenty spacecraft. 

When the elevator doors open up, the woman is shot in the head by a yellow laser beam. Crys panics! Why was she shot? What did she do? He stares at her lifeless, headless body on the ground. The guts of her head are on the back wall of the elevator.

A tall man, with dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a dark flesh tone skin steps  in front of Crys outside the elevator. He’s wearing a black suit, with a black tie and white shirt.

“Welcome Crys, we finally meet face to face. I’m Stigmo, in the synthetic flesh.” He starts laughing boastfully.

To ease his own uneasiness, Crys laughs with Stigmo.

Stigmo explains that  the body he’s in is entirely made of machinery. He designed it to look human. He himself is attached to an inorganic, synthetic tissue brain. That is why he is still alive, but he weakens everyday. It’s why he’s been experimenting on humans. Once they find a way to make Zenty DNA compatible with human DNA, Zenty can live human life spans, then hopefully, one day, Zonian life spans… The multiverses will be for the Zenty to conquer and rule.

That day can’t ever happen and Crys will make sure it never does. Crys would like to know why he’s here and why Stigmo killed the beautiful woman.

Stigmo began walking and Crys followed him down a dim-lighted, narrow hallway. “I sent scouts to verify your report… It’s a good thing you weren’t lying, because then I would have to kill you.” He didn’t laugh. 

Stigmo continued, “The Zonians think they have all the original humans. The truth is, they have most of the original humans. I have studied the DNA of every single human; DNA we have collected and I have found the ones that are the most compatible to ours, and the strongest.”

A door at the end of the hallway opens up. They walk out onto a balcony that overlooks a vast valley of vegetation. Stigmo turns to Crys, and says,  “But I found that I was looking for the wrong people. I need those with the weakest yet the most adaptable DNA, such as genomes with precursors for cancer, and the odds to beat it. These genetic flaws would make a smoother transition to bionicism and Zenty implantation assimilation.”

He turns to look out over the vegetation wilderness. “I took the original humans I wanted years ago right from under those Zonian noses and replaced their true humans with replicas. And do you know what?”

“What?”

“I found the one. The one that can be the beginning of it all. Our perfect race.” Stigmo says. He clinches the railing and rests his weight on his arms. His bottom lip curls to the left side. “Except I have one problem. I can’t trust anyone.”

Crys forces himself not to panic. If he does, he’ll blow his cover. He remains silent, waiting for Stigmo to speak.

“I’m sorry. Allow me to correct myself. I can trust someone… I can trust you,” Stigmo says, turning to Crys.

That didn’t take long at all to gain his trust. His mission is complete, when he finds a way out, he can go home.

You can’t leave now. We must know his plan.

That sucks… Do you understand I can lose my life? He shot some woman for no reason!

Everything anyone does is for a purpose, especially Stigmo.

“I need you to protect the key of our future.”

The balcony detaches from the wall and gradually begins to descend. On the way down, Stigmo explains that  he found the real Sophia James 23 years ago in a Zonian colony; at the time, the girl was five or six years old. She was living in a mud hut with her parents. He had the three of them captured and replaced with replicas. He created this place so they could feel at home. He said he had to tweak their memories, but he was successful after the eighth or ninth time.

He says that she has lived a shelter life. She has no memories of the world before now. She is far more innocent than the 58 replicas left of her. He said one went missing, another he just killed, and the other 58 are in 58 different domes.

“I call her infinity. Her DNA is different from others. Usually one strand of hair and a single skin cell make 5 perfect replicas, 3 replicas when the DNA is modified.”

He can get ten replicas out of a single strand of hair and 8 modified replicas from Sophia’s DNA.

“The possibilities are endless. I’m afraid she’s not safe here, among the others, and I can’t trust her with anyone but you.”

He wants Crys to take the woman home with him. He wants her to live with him in the city until he’s ready to initiate his plan. Perfect, Crys can take the woman and escape home. He’ll lose and the Zonians will win. Awesome and EASY!

No Geocrys, you will stay in the dome city until I command otherwise.

It’s so boring here!

The balcony lands on the ground. The railing splits open and each side slides away into itself. Stigmo steps out and begins walking into the jungle like vegetation of the valley.

They fight through thick leaves on tough branches, and tread through muck for nearly an hour. They stop at the base of a tree hundreds of feet high. Crys doesn’t understand how it’s as bright as day inside the trees, while the night is dark underneath the trees. There appears to be a house built into the tree… It’s a treehouse… Cool! But how do they get up there?

“Sophia darling, it’s Uncle Mo!” Stigmo shouts, looking up.

Crys expects to see an unkempt woman with wild hair and dirty face. She would be smelly of course, wearing worn out clothing. Instead, a woman that looks exactly like the replica Stigmo killed an hour and a half ago, stares down at them as she throws a wooden, viney ladder. Stigmo insists that Crys go first, but Crys has to control his fluttering heart. He allows Stigmo to go first and follows after him.

“Who is it that you brought with you, Uncle Mo?”

“The man I promised you to darling!” Stigmo says happily.

Sophia shrieks, “But I’m indecent!” She disappears from view. Crys hears a rattling. He wonders what that is.

Stigmo climbs onto the balcony.

“Please stay out there Uncle Mo!” She says frantically.

Stigmo helps Crys onto the balcony. They wait patiently outside. The doorway is covered by a curtain of long vines, threaded with assorted pebbles.

Crys takes a look at the view. Birds are flying high within the trees. Bugs are buzzing around. Crys can hear the songs of monkeys in the distance. Stigmo did a spectacular job with this place.

Stigmo casually whispered in Crys’ ear, “Don’t worry, she’s sterilized.”

She’s sterilized? What does it matter to Crys whether or not she can reproduce?

“Treat her kindly… she is the key to our future.”

He thinks Crys is going to have sexual relations with her? Crys assures him, “I won’t touch her, like that, hands off!” Crys holds his hands up like he’s about to be arrested.

Stigmo laughs, “Interesting…”

“What?”

“You’re so human.”

What is that supposed to mean? Is that good, or bad?

“Listen to me Chris, Sophia is like a daughter to me, you will do anything for her satisfaction.”

Crys gulps involuntarily. His nerves got the best of him. He can’t let it happen again.

Sophia happily says she’s ready. Stigmo pulls the curtain aside and signals for Crys to enter first. Crys follows orders and walks into the homey feeling place. The walls are decorated with art made of sticks, rocks, and animal hides. In the middle of the room is a rug made from a tiger hide. In the corner is a cot made out of tropical tree leaves and vines, woven onto a wooden bed frame. It looks like she lives here alone. Crys wonders where her parents are and why she lives alone.

Sophia steps in front of him wearing an orange dress. The top wraps around her shoulder like a sash or a greek tunic. She has a green vine tied around her waist, and the dress is a long, elegant curtain that touches the floor. Sophia put her hair into a single tie to the side; it covers her bare shoulder. The orange dress brings out the light brown in her hazel eyes.

She is gorgeous.

Tell her how beautiful she looks.

“You look extravagant, Miss James.”

Her caramel cheeks flush rosy as she smiles with her lips closed.

“Sophia, this Chris Alan, your groom to be.”

Groom!

Groom?! Alikah?!

Relax son. Go along with it, but keep a clear mind.

THE PAST couple of months make sense to Crys in this moment. After his first three talks with Stigmo, he made Crys read three books:  the Bible, More than A Carpenter, and the Road to Agape, all based on the belief in a monotheistic God named Jehovah. He is three deities in one, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Each part of the trinity guides humanity to truth and teaches them how to become holy in the eyes of their Lord, God. Stigmo quizzed Crys’ acquired knowledge of the new subject at each meeting.

Sophia is a devout Watcher; she doesn’t like the term Christian. She finds the title is too deeply rooted in paganism. She doesn’t call Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ; she calls him the Messiah, Savior, or Redeemer. Instead of using “Lord” or “God,” she uses Elohim, Yahuah, or Eli. She believes the only man she should lie with is her husband and she has to perform a ceremony to make it official.

That’s why Stigmo is wearing a suit. Sophia had a suit waiting for Crys. They waited outside while he changed.

Afterwards, they sit on the floor for a few hours, waiting while Stigmo retrieves her parents. In that short time, Crys learned a few things about his bride. She loves to cook and knows how to hunt nearly any animal. Her favorite food is bird, any kind of bird. She says they all relatively taste the same. She loves to run: when she gets upset or she can’t think straight, she goes for a run and all her stress melts away.

“I’m sorry. I’m talking all about myself. Tell me about you.”

What can Crys tell her about himself? He’s alien, human, and machine. At least they both have one thing in common;  they both are part human and part machine. Crys has never been this nervous around anyone, not even when he first encountered the humans.

Be honest…

His mother is telling him to be honest? That doesn’t sound like Alikah.

Please be honest.

That when he realizes he isn’t linked to his mother. He’s linked to Sophia. She’s worried he isn’t an honest man. What could he say to assure her he isn’t terrible?

He listen to her thoughts for a moment but she isn’t giving him much. All she’s thinking about is how cute he is and that he seems younger than her. She doesn’t care; she likes the way he looks, and she thinks his eyes make him appear kind of trustworthy. She hopes his heart turns out to reflect his soul. 

How is the heart different from the soul?

From below a man’s voice shouts, “We are here!”

Sophia’s eyes light up with joy. She goes to stand but Stigmo tells her to remain seated. He gets up instead and walks out to tend to the guests.

“My parents are here! I can’t wait to meet yours,” She says, smiling cheek to cheek. She has beautiful, pearly white teeth unlike the people back home. They had healthy teeth, but they were not beautiful like Sophia’s.

What can he say about his parents? Does he tell her he has none? Or does he say they live faraway? He doesn’t want to lie to her. Especially because she’s so sweet and lives life so passionately. He hasn’t met a single human like her yet.

 A man with dark-brown skin, the color of ground coffee, walks in. He has black, wooly looking hair. He’s wearing a long, golden shirt down to his knees, and matching pants. He’s barefoot. The soles of his feet are rubicund light brown.

Behind him walks in a white woman with vibrantly reddish, light brown hair wrapped in two long braids. Each braid hangs on each side of her. She’s wearing the same styled dress as Sophia, except it is a light leafy green. Stigmo is the last to enter the room.

Sophia rises and races to the man’s arms for an embrace. After their moment, she moves on to the woman and hugs her. Then, still hugging her mother with one arm, she says, “Chris, this is my father, Tyrell, and my mother, Chevonne.”

Crys gets up and shakes their hands. He isn’t comfortable hugging them yet.

“It looks like someone isn’t a hugger,” Chevonne says.

Sophia walks over to Crys and hugs him from the side. She rests her head on his shoulder. “I’ll change that.”

She takes his hand and her father’s, leading them to the middle of the room. Chevonne and Stigmo join them in the center. Chevone takes Tyrell’s and Stigmo’s, and Stigmo takes Crys’ free hand. They form a circle and bow their heads. Crys follows suit, pretending to know what they were doing.

“Dear Elohim, glory in heaven,” Sophia begins to pray. She thanks her God for sending her the right man and asks Him to anoint their union. She understands that now she must go into an unknown land and asks that her God gives her the courage to overcome anything she faces.

Her father adds that he’s grateful for Crys. He thanks their God that they have seen Crys’ pure heart and are blessed to welcome him to the family.

Chevonne begins speaking a gibberish sounding language. The words are repetitive and she’s humming fast like a motor boat. The language doesn’t make any sense.

Sophia interrupts her mother’s gibberish and speaks, quickly saying that Crys is at home. He has found his family. He will never be alone. He never has to be alone. If he opens his heart to love and his eyes to truth, he will find out who he truly is. It seems like Sophia interpreted what her mother spoke in gibberish.

Crys begins to sway back and forth slightly, as if  a force is stirring around him.

“Thank you Elohim!” Stigmo says.

Then all but Crys say, “Amen.”

Crys’ hands slipped out of Sophia’s and Stigmo’s hands, and he hit the floor, like an invisible force had knocked him to the ground. Sophia gave him a hand up and brushed him off.

“You had an encounter with the Spirit? Isn’t it wonderful?” Sophia asks Crys.

He’s read about the Spirit she’s referring to, the Holy Spirit of the Trinity. Crys isn’t sure what to think. When he gets home he has to check the archives about human deities. The Zonians’ knowledge should determine whether there’s any truth in the beliefs of man, especially this one that used to be so popular and came in three different forms.

Crys is honest, “Yes.”

Stigmo slaps Crys in the back in comradery. “Let’s start the ceremony.”

Ceremony? What ceremony Crys?

I have no idea!

Crys thinks of a steel fortress to block the link with his mother. When his emotional defenses are down, she gets in with ease. He has to stay calm and keep a clear mind.

Sophia stands across from Crys. Stigmo stands before the two, like a mediator or presenter. Tyrell stands behind Crys and Chevonne stands behind her daughter. Stigmo places Sophia’s hands in Crys’.

“Today we come before God…” Stigmo says. He gives an opening speech about how Sophia and Crys would become one flesh until death separates them. 

Going on, Stigmo says, “God created Eve from Adam’s side. He intended man and woman to walk side by side. He intended for Adam to wrap Eve in his embrace to protect her and watch over her,”  

He asks Sophia if she will cherish Crys until her dying day, if she would stick by him through anything, and if she would care for him in his darkest hour.

Sophia says, “I do,” smiling from sheer joy. Crys has never seen a single person so happy. Gazing into her eyes, Crys’ heart begins fluttering. It’s a different type of fluttering, unlike what he felt when staring at her replica’s ass. This flutter in his heart is driven by her happiness, not goggling over her anatomy.

Stigmo asks Crys the same strain of questions- the same vows- and Crys says, “I do.”

Stigmo closes with, “In God’s eyes, by the power invested in me, I pronounce thee Mr. and Mrs. Chris Alan. You may kiss the bride.”

Crys has never kissed anyone. It’s a human action, not Zonian. Well, maybe the Zonians kiss, but he wouldn’t know since he doesn’t live among them. Why is he in such a rush to go home? He’s among humans. He feels human here. He’s exactly where he belongs.

He leans forward and Sophia meets him halfway. Their lips meet and an urge builds in Crys’ gut. The urge is a small sucking vortex, and he is thirsty to quench its mysterious craving. He wants to kiss Sophia longer. He wants to reel her close, to feel her body heat against his body heat, but he ends the kiss to stop his urge. But now he feels faraway, and his urge has grown. All he can think about is kissing her, being alone with her anyway he can be.

Crys went into auto pilot. The only thoughts he had were of Sophia. He began to think about her sexually. He was surprised his mind could go there. He suffered through a long period of wait for dinner. He ate a delicious meal of mysterious food. He sat through a song session given by the whole family and listened to stories of Sophia from birth to the present. Darkness fell into deep blackness, and a fire lit in a cauldron made the treehouse glow a deep, dim orange. Everyone appeared as a various shade of dull orange. Finally, Sophia’s parents left. Stigmo stuck around for a moment.

On his way out he says, “I’ll send for the two of you when Crys has to return to work. Enjoy yourselves. It will be the last slice of the wild you will ever taste.” Then he leaves.

Crys pulls up the ladder in a rush. He can’t wait to resume the kissing session with Sophia. He is burning to know what will grow from his urge.

Keep a clear mind son!

Crys closes his eyes and pictures a tsunami of water flooding his mind. It’s hard to see and hear things under water. Keeping his mother out with walls wasn’t working. Hopefully drowning her out would work.

Crys walks into the treehouse and Sophia is standing in the middle of the room naked. The sucking vortex in his gut explodes and expands to a lower region. His whole body gets a little tingly. His heart is fluttering in the wrong way again. She is the picture of beauty. His mind is foggy and his lips are silently screaming to kiss her.

He knows where this is going. He can feel it inside of him, like he knows what to do instinctively. He is to become one body with Sophia and he knows how to do it.

WELL, Crys learned how to use his manhood last night. It didn’t last long, but it did kill the urge. The experience also tired him out. He didn’t think he’d be able to get a solid slumber on the hardwood floor, but the experience exhausted him, putting him into a deep sleep.

He dreamt. His dream was about living in the host, and he was Alikah. But it was weird and he knew it would never be reality because all the colony members were human. He banished all the Zonians to live like the humans, outside of the host. Everyone except his mother, who he imprisoned in the roots of the host. Sophia was his hul’dah, and his dream world seemed perfect. Why did he have to wake up?

 A delicious smell had caused him to stir. Something was cooking and Crys had to find the source and get some grub. He put his pants on but he didn’t bother with his shirt. He looked around the treehouse but didn’t see Sophia. He looked out the window and saw smoking rising into the air. Sophia was cooking on the jungle floor, like she did last night with her mother.

Crys walks onto the balcony and stares down at Sophia. She’s stirring something stew-like in a deep pot over a fire. Crys leans over the rail and says, “Good morning, wife!”

Sophia looks up with a finger in her mouth tasting her meal. After she removes her finger from her mouth she waves at Crys. “Good morning to you too, groom. Put your shoes on and come down here for some breakfast.”

Crys chuckles, “No breakfast in bed?”

“Not today.”

Crys didn’t put his shoes on. He didn’t even feel like taking the ladder down. He spread his arms out and leaped off the edge where the ladder hung. He landed on crouched legs, with his upper body weight pressed on his arms and his hands grounded in the jungle soil. He brushed them together to shake off the dirt as he stood. It was out of Sophia’s view, so she didn’t see his descent. He waited a solid minute before walking over to her, so it seemed like he actually climbed down.

He greets Sophia with a kiss on the cheek. She greets him back with a peck on the lips. Crys scrunges the edge of her hair in the back. He loves the feel of her soft, lush curls in his hand. She brushes his hand away from her.

“What did you do that for?”

“I like the way your hair feels.” Crys says honestly.

Sophia rolls her eyes, “My mom was right.”

“About what?” He asks curiously.

“A man’s mind is always in the bedroom,” She says as she fills a wooden bowl with stew. She hands it to Crys.

“Eat up, we have a long day.”

Crys doesn’t understand. Aren’t they going to pass the time hiding in the treehouse until Stigmo comes back?

Sophia gets herself a bowl of stew and sits on a log a few feet away from the fire. Crys sits beside her. He watches her eat the stew with a wooden, boat-like spoon. After a few moments, she stares at him out of the corner of her eye as she continues to eat. Crys stops watching her. He eats his stew quietly.

“How was I last night?”

Caught off guard by her question, Crys spits out his mouth full of stew. Sophia takes offense and gets up. She tosses her bowl into the fire. The fire’s flames spike on impact and spew a thick plume of smoke. Crys can feel her shame and rising anger. He sets his bowl of stew on the log and gets up to square off with Sophia in his defense.

Holding his arms out with his hands up, he says, “I had a great time last night. In all honesty, I was going to ask you how I was…” He puts his arms down, “So how was I?”

Sophia’s anger dissolves and she feels a little less shameful. “Are you done eating?”

Crys nods and asks, “What’s the plan for our long day?”

CRYS shouldn’t have asked what the day had in store. First, they spend three hours checking traps she built for prey throughout the jungle. They were all empty and  they dismantled each one, since Wild Sophia was leaving the jungle. She didn’t want the animals to die without a reason. Then they spent a few more hours turning the trap scraps into spears, arrows, and knives. After that, they traveled a while to Sophia’s parents’ treehouse. They took all the weapons they had made. All four of them ate lunch together. 

Then Sophia’s father, Tyrell, had to check on his animal traps. Instead of Sophia going with him, he asked Crys to go. They were gone until sunset and found three, small, cat-like animals. Crys didn’t know what they were called and Tyrell didn’t say. Tyrell was showing Crys how to skin one when Sophia came down from the treehouse saying, “It’s time to go home.”

Crys had never been more relieved. Sophia’s dad made him uncomfortable. He didn’t talk much during their time together, he just flashed creepy smiles at Crys occasionally. Crys tried to read his mind but there was nothing up there. He tried to read his emotions, but Crys couldn’t sense any. Crys thought something was wrong with him, but the minute Sophia came climbing down the ladder, Crys picked up on her frustration before he saw the matching expression on her face. Sophia took Crys’ hand and they headed home in the coming darkness.


*Edited by Aly Fry

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