Sunday, June 1, 2014

Latest Opening to "The Kai'us Planet"

I've been trying to rewrite a story I wrote back in 1993.  In fact I've been trying to rewrite it for the past eleven years.  Fortunately every version has gotten better, but it was always flawed in the simple fact that influences from the first version (written when I was 14 years old) continued to "pollute" it.

After taking a lengthy hiatus from this novel, I've been trying to revisit it all this year with little success.  I've tried different starting points for the story, different points of view, but none of them held my interest long enough to continue.

I'm hoping this latest opening is what finally hooks me to write the whole thing "the right way".

I bid you enjoy!

The latest opening to "The Kai'us Planet" (working title):

Keith found it rather ironic that in this modern age of digital devices to be writing on a clay tablet.  His worry was that batteries died and devices broke or got lost.  Granted, clay tablets could break too but his hope was that this one—and the ones to follow—was large enough and would be stored carefully enough that it likely wouldn’t meet that fate before serving its purpose.

He looked thoughtfully at the smooth slab in his lap, tapping the unusual x-shaped, wooden stylus against his chin.  He’d gotten pretty good at its use despite the fact that it had not been designed to be used by human hands.

Finally he touched carved wood to soft clay, writing in a language that wasn’t his own but which he had learned to speak and even think in almost fluently.  The translation of which was, “My beloved son.  I am writing this account in case your mother and myself are not able to tell it to you.  It is not a history of the race of your birth, for those people you may never meet.  Instead it is a history of how your parents came to the world of your birth.  It is a telling of how and why we made the choices we did under the circumstances presented to us.  Know that we always tried to make the right choices.”

Sharren came in then and glanced over his shoulder, reading the little bit he’d written.  “Aren’t you being a little heavy-handed?” she asked, rubbing her gravid belly.  Everyone hopes they make the right choices.  I know that I have no regrets over how we did things.”

Keith leaned against his wife but kept his eyes on the tablet.  “Sometimes I regret everything,” he said in quiet honesty.  “Sometimes I wish none of it ever happened.”  He turned toward Sharren now and kissed her belly where their son continued to grow.  “But this guy, he makes it all worth it.”

“You’re not going to have enough tablets to tell him everything,” Sharren cautioned.  She had never been a fan of this crazy project of his but had finally conceded to humor him and let him get it out of his system.  It didn’t mean she fully supported him though.

“I don’t think it’ll take more than twenty,” Keith mused.

Sharren raised her eyebrows.  “Oh?  This is going to be the abridged version then!”  She kissed him on the top of his head and said, “I’ll leave you to it then, my love.  Just let me know when to have the kiln fires lit,” and she left the room.

Keith watched her go before turning back to his tablet.  A dry breeze wafted in from under the door-flap.  He was impressed yet again by the clever recipe used to make these writing tablets.  It didn’t matter how long they sat, the clay stayed soft and pliable (for years sometimes!) until they were baked to their final hardness.  He had no worries of letting his mind wander as he wrote—the clay would maintain perfectly workable.

Pressing the stylus into the clay again, nimbly turning it as he worked, he continued his letter.  Our journey to this world started three years before you were born on a world called ‘Mars’.  Your mother and I were space travelers who took people and things to distant worlds.

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