Sarah Scotland ~ Dance Underground

Shadowdancer Chapter 26

part of: Shadowdancer

by Carrie Radna

Frieda had lost all track of time since her arrival on Wýl. Her right arm was completely healed; the bandages had been taken off after her last nap by Mob, and her left ear was less tender. The translator in her head worked marvelously. However, whenever she would ask any of the nei-tas when would she be leaving for Thíä-ei’r, none of them could give her a straight answer – they would stare at her helplessly as if she was speaking Human Chinese. This made Frieda nervous. 
What was more alarming to her was her increasing inability to remain in control. She had to stay in her room and not roam around, except when she had to relieve herself. De’aiîo’eans, to her knowledge, didn’t urinate as humans. Fortunately they built bathrooms for the human patients that were located outside in the hall, and they were communal. Their version of a toilet was a beautifully dug hole on the floor, which one would aim their piss and shit towards. Immediately there would be a mechanical swooshing sound, which zapped up the debris and took it to the disposal, wherever that was located. Besides bathroom privileges, patients had to stay put in one spot for the remainder of their visit in Wýl.
Frieda was becoming stir-crazy…she had to get out of her room for a while. She didn’t care if she was monitored or not. Resolving her plan, she sat up and removed all the monitors from her fingers and toes. Getting up from her bed, she walked towards the closet and found her clothes folded on a flat-topped surface, which used to be a rock from deep in the ocean. She pulled on her jeans, T-shirt and black hooded top, looking around as she dressed to see if the nei-tas were coming through the waterwall. Luckily, there was no sound. Pretending to go to the bathroom for the sake of any hidden cameras (as if she were still on Earth), she made her escape. 
The halls connecting the different areas of the Healing Chamber were silent, free from any passersby. The floors were dry, tracing every step that she took. Like the outside of her room, the walls were made of aquamarine, jade green and sky blue stones lined up in various shapes and patterns, forming intricate mosaics. As Frieda sneaked by the main area, she saw five shining cups attached to the wall, made from a gold-like substance that did not oxyify or rust because of the cascading water that flowed evenly from cup to cup. Inscribed on each cup was a single word in De’aiîo’ean:

HYWA, QOAR, CAXSZAW, KILR, HEWV

Frieda wondered what the words meant. Even though she was able to communicate freely with the nei-tas and Kenjaon, she only heard spoken English. She knew if she was caught, she would probably never find out the meanings…
Frieda focused all of her attention on the cups and was therefore oblivious to the sound of floor sprays and the water rushing by her feet as the floor separated to give space to the intruder in the hallway who saw and approached her from behind. 
Suddenly, she felt a wet tap on her shoulder. 
Fuck!!! She was discovered. 
She looked up, and there was Kenjaon behind her. God, I hope that he’s not pissed that I’m out of my room, she thought. To her relief, he smiled.
“So, what are you doing here?” he asked her kindly.
Frieda took a deep breath and blurted out, “I’m so sorry – I had to leave my room for a while…I was going to the bathroom but then I realized that I didn’t have to go, so I lost my way and found this,” she answered, nervously pointing her index finger towards the five cups. She wondered, Will he believe this crap that I’m telling him?
Unfortunately, Kenjaon was not fooled so easily.
“Oh, is that so? You lost your way to the bathroom, eh? But you could not lose the directions – since your bathroom is just across the hall from your room, right?” 
Shit, Frieda said to herself. 
There was no snowing this De’aiîo’ean. 
She wondered if all the other healers were like him. She was unsure what to do next. Was he going to punish her? Instead, he simply wagged his finger in front of her face, with a smirk on his, as if she were a disobedient child.
“You were bad, but don’t worry, I will not report you to the authorities,” Kenjaon told her. 
“Good,” she let out a cleansing breath.
“As long…”
“As long what?”
“As long I am acting as a chaperone. Do you want a tour?”
“Oh yes, please!” Frieda was delighted. She first pointed to the cups on the wall and asked, “What do these words mean?”
Kenjaon cleared his throat before speaking. 
“Those are the Five Moral Cups of the De’aiîo’ race, which feature their tenants, or code.” As he spoke he pointed to each corresponding cup individually, heavy with water.
“They are Love, Peace, Healing Arts, Truth and Community. Each De’aiîo’ean is responsible for fulfilling every code throughout their life.” After a beat he asked, “Do humans have morals?”
“Good question…I guess we try to be the best that we can be in any given situation, but what you call ‘morals’, they differ for every individual…” 
“Explain please,” he asked.
“Well, humans have many different cultures, languages, traditions and religions, and once we were all able to live freely, without opposition. That is, until the Chemical War…”
“Yes, we know a little of that horrible phenomenon,” Kenjoan replied. “Go on.”
“And even though we were all different and had various viewpoints and life experiences, some things were familiar, like the way that we once treated each other with respect and kindness.” This was one of the many phrases her father once told her during her childhood before the war. Memories of that period felt far away, trapped in a slow, gray, swirling cloud inside her head. All she could see and hear was Dad. Tears began to fall freely from her eyes. Kenjaon became concerned.
“Are you all right?” Those were the first words he had uttered to her. Her memory of that moment, of him helping her now, seemed sweet. Her father’s face was still tattooed in her mind, but he did not dare to speak. She sighed and answered, “Yes, I’m fine Kenjaon.” She wiped her eyes with the edge of her ancient cotton black sleeve. “I was just thinking of my father. I miss him so much.” 
Kenjaon softened. He was always mystified by the human condition of holding on to things that previously had been, such as memory, and that human brains must be so big to carry them as they continued to grow. The De’aiîo’ean relationship with the past was fleeting, since Time itself (what Humans call Time) was not measured and /or recognized on Wýl, Thíä-ei’r, Olo, Vesii, or even Xenzoy. He seemed helpless, trying to figure out what Frieda was trying to explain to him, which was the most foreign concept that his kind could fathom. 
He decided to change the subject.
“How is your arm?”
“Fine,” she answered, looking up at him. Why doesn’t he want to talk to me about my past? Frieda wondered. She moved it a little. He was impressed.
“That’s amazing. You will be out of Wýl before you know it,” he commented.
“When?” Frieda asked for millionth time.
The damn word again…Kenjaon thought. He wished that he could erase it from her mind. Can’t they understand that we cannot ever comprehend this? On the outside he remained both calm and pleasant with her. He did not want her to hate him. He continued his questioning. 
How is your ear?”
Frieda lightly touched the outside rim of her left ear, which was still swollen. 
“Ouch,” she said.
This was something that he could do for her. But he did not feel comfortable doing healings in front of the Five Moral Cups; it was considered to be a shrine. Then he had an idea. He asked, “Would you like to come with me? I have to water the plants in the garden, and I could help alleviate any pain in your ear in there. There are beautiful things that I could show you.” 
“Sure,” she answered. Frieda was tired of staring at the Five Moral Cups anyway. As they started to walk together, their steps traveled at a familiar beat, hers on dry land, his covered by water. For some strange reason, Kenjaon reminded Frieda of her father. He was kind, patient, intelligent and tall. For no reason, Kenjaon took her hand into his. It felt warm. Her skin began to tingle all over. Curiously, she noticed that the skin of her palm began to disappear, to completely mesh with his hand.
She never felt this way before this moment. His aura enveloped her, and with each step she could swear that she could see bright lights coming from him, like the pictures of the Aurora Borealis from an old, tattered issue of National Geographic. 
What the hell is going on? Frieda wondered.
She never wanted this feeling to end…