Friday, January 31, 2014

Prompt: There are all kinds of touch, Take 2

In the low gravity, Meredith easily carried Jillie from the bath to the den, with Jillie’s arms and legs wrapped around her. Meredith tapped the wall and said, “Night sky, Bermuda.”

Upstairs and down, the lights dimmed, and the ceilings disappeared, revealing open starry skies. The effects were seamless, worth every Hari-credit Meredith had spent. Jillie looked up at the rich, black sky filled with countless bright stars. Simon slept more easily under the open sky, even though he knew it was illusion.

As Meredith walked, she pointed to Jillie’s favorite constellations. She paused in the den doorway until Simon looked up from his tablet. “Okay, my little monkey, go give Daddy a special hug,” she encouraged Jillie, holding her hands as their beautiful, impossible daughter drifted down to the floor.

Jillie grinned at Simon, who sat still, except for his fingers back and forth on his knees. Meredith scanned his pulse and breathing from her vantage point in the doorway. Elevated. Shallow. But acceptable. She didn’t want Jillie to push him too far though.

Jillie held her arms wide open, palms flat. She took slow, sliding steps, watching Simon as carefully as Meredith did. If he stiffened up, she would stop. But he stayed calm – for him – on the couch, and held out his hands, palms to the sides to match Jillie’s when she reached him. They clasped hands, and Jillie pushed against his, leaning with all her might into their special open hug.

Meredith had figured it out in the long, dark months after she had taken Simon out of the Hari. He couldn’t tolerate any constriction, nor any light touch. She couldn’t hug him, or trail her long dark hair over him, or run her fingers playfully over his skin. Nothing the Hari had used – nothing she had used -- to seduce him, to break him, to compel him to give up the information they wanted. 

Eventually, face to face, palm to palm, he could relax enough to accept her body against his. By the time Jillie was born, he trusted himself enough to hold her if Meredith carefully wrapped her in a blanket for her feet and hands wouldn’t startle him.

Meredith slid slowly away from the doorway. “Okay, monkey. Off to bed with you. Come, I’ll throw you up the stairs.”

Jillie blew kisses to Simon, who almost didn’t flinch as her hands fluttered toward him. He tried so hard. Jillie ran around the couch to Meredith, who grabbed around her waist and pitched her up the stairs. Jillie giggled as she floated down to the top landing. “Goodnight, Mama,” she called as she climbed into her hammock and sealed it.

So what do you think of this re-working of yesterday’s post?

I think it’s cleaner, perhaps, but I also have the feeling it’s more of a coda, an ending scene, than the beginning of the story. I think the real story is Meredith and Simon in the Hari, and their escape from it…unless the Hari are about to come retrieve Jillie…

Dogs in house

Time writing
20 minutes

January word count

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