Henry Taggart had been the first human to reach out so far.
And ‘Pinky’ had been the first to feel Henry’s tentative probes. The first to feel a human’s thoughts, the first to – in a very real sense – make contact.
His thoughts were anything but focused, but they were sentient so she took note and followed protocol. Within hours her team was preparing to respond and evaluate this new contact.
Pinky’s people were children of the mind and as such they relied less on physical instrumentalities than their most distant ancestors ever had, and while not strictly speaking immortal their lifespans were by human standards ridiculously long. There had been no discussions of this between humans and Andromedans because there had been no common frame of reference, and for a time Pinky had simply felt the matter irrelevant.
Now – after her fusion with Henry Taggart – death was everywhere: an omnipresent awareness locked-up in a tight, hot place somewhere between cold dread and pounding fear. When she felt Taggart’s compounding diseases the first thing she wanted to to do was run – anywhere – to get away from this hostile, unfamiliar feeling.
But as suddenly she had wanted to know how he coexisted with such an intimate cascade of negative emotions, and, because she had been studying humans for several years now, she wanted to reconcile her understanding of human support systems – like religion and medicine – with what she was now experiencing for herself – through Henry.
‘This is terrifying,’ she said to Henry as she settled in next to him.
‘You’re telling me. Now I know what schizophrenia feels like.’
‘Death is everywhere. How do you not think about it all the time?’
‘Oh, I think we do, especially as we get older. Probably ninety percent of the time, anyway. But whenever we’re not thinking about death we’re thinking about getting laid.’
‘So…you think of death – or procreation?’
‘Yup, pretty much. So, how long do y’all live?’
‘That is a question, Henry Taggart, for which I have no easy answers.’
‘Okay, but I’m curious. Why now?’
‘Do you mean why have I come to you now – in this way?’
‘Yeah, I think that about sums it up.’
‘Your systems are failing rapidly. We need to know more about this process.’
‘You asking about me, or about civilization in general?”
‘So, you’re asking me about death and dying? Why?’
‘Because we do not understand how this process affects you.’
‘Most directly, I think I can safely say.’
‘But…where do you go?’
‘Where do your thoughts go – after?’
‘I don’t understand. Our thoughts don’t go anywhere, because when we die we stop thinking.’
He could feel her puzzlement, an almost paralyzed sense of incomprehension as she stumbled in the dark for the truth of the matter: ‘What do you mean…you stop?’
‘I mean when our bodies stop functioning everything ceases. Including thoughts and feelings.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘No, of course not. As far as I know, no one really understands what happens after we die – beyond the very certain biological processes of decay which begin at that time.’
‘So much uncertainty. It is no wonder your kind is consumed with matters concerning spirituality and an afterlife.’
‘Your kind is not, I take it?’
‘No, we are focused on other things.’
‘What about getting…uh, procreation?’
‘The process is known to us.’
‘You are evasive, I’ll give you that much. But why? Why conceal so much from us?’
‘I think it is simply a question of frames of reference.’
‘So, you think I can’t understand. Is that your frame of reference?’
‘In a way, yes. What is that noise you have been making today?’
‘Yes, almost melodic, but it almost seems to come from deep inside your body.’
‘Ah. Humming. As in humming a musical tune.’
‘How does this differ from singing?’
‘Humming is more of an approximation of the original…’
‘Is this approximation subliminal?’
‘I suppose it could be. What are you getting at?’
‘Is it possible the source could be external?’
‘External? You mean like sent from someone else?’
‘Yes. Is that possible?’
‘I don’t think so. At least, not in any way I know of.’
‘This is strange. When humans gather and listen to music many tend to become one with the structures within the music, and it is here that we have experienced many encounters recently.’
‘Encounters? You mean, as in reaching out?’
‘So, you think it is people changing, or something within the structure of the music?’
‘We are uncertain.”
“I see,’ Taggart said knowingly. ‘And so you think you have discovered something…’
‘Yes, Henry. Something new, but also something quite unexpected.’
He saw the women one morning while out walking his two pups; he watched them walk to the water’s edge and disrobe, then most surprisingly, the two women stepped into the icy water and disappeared. Not at all sure what to do, he grew concerned when they did not reappear after several minutes, so he pulled out his phone and called the rescue services.
Within minutes divers and helicopters were scouring the waters north of Bergen.
© 2020 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next chapter will drop as and when circumstances allow.