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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #2128630
She flew away from home after being teased. Because she couldn't sing or hear the music.
Word Count = 4,999

“It’s a Musical Non-Existence”

A Short Story

Written By

PureSciFi aka

     A shrieking sound that almost sounded like singing came out of the mouth of Khasundra. Khasundra sat in front of her Personal Care Desk looking at herself in the Image Reflector. “No, no, no.”

     Khasundra shook her head sadly. “That’s not it either. I thought I was getting better. But it sounds like I’m getting worse.”

     After getting up, Khasundra went over and sat on the edge of her Sleeper. Khasundra put her hands on her face and her elbows on her knees. She started crying. “I’m never going learn how to sing.”

     “If only I could hear the music in my head,” Khasundra said after a few minutes of crying. Khasundra suddenly looked at the entrance to her Sleeping Room. It was beeping.

     “Who is it?” Khasundra asked.

     ‘It’s the female adult in your life.’ Yentai sang through the entrance. ’Came I come in?’

     Khasundra sighed. “I guess so.”

     The entrance slid into the wall in both directions, and Yentai entered. ’Are you okay? I thought I heard you crying.’

     “I was.” Khasundra wiped tears from her face. Then looked up at Yentai. “I was trying to sing again.”

     ’Why aren’t you trying to do it now?’ Yentai asked in a singing voice. ‘Every time you speak, you should be trying to sing.’

     Khasundra sighed. “Why should I? I’m never going to sing.”

     ‘Yes, you can. You just need to practice.’ Yentai went over and sat next to Khasundra.

     “I do try to do it every day. If I’m not in the Community that we live in, eating or sleeping, I’m trying to sing.”

     Yentai patted Khasundra on her knee. ‘You can do it. It’s just going to take you longer to do it than everyone else because you are a Freak.’

     Khasundra and Yentai were floating down a hallway. Yentai had her arm around Khasundra. ‘Bethinne is only ten, and she can already sing. Have you asked her how she did it?’

     “Of course, I did. All she told me was that she woke up one day and instead of talking she started singing.”

     ‘What about her friends? Have they started singing yet? If so, have you asked them how they started?’

     “No, I haven’t. And I’m not going to do it. It was hard doing it with Bethinne. There’s no way I’m going to do it with them.”

     Yentai and Khasundra reached the top of some steps. They started floating down them one at a time as though they were walking. ’I think you should ask them too. And tonight is a good night to do it. There are eight or nine of them here.’

     ’That’s why I was on my way to your Sleeping Room when I heard you crying. She asked me if she could have some of her friends spend the night. And I said yes. But I forgot this is my night to bug the giant humans in our Community. I need you to watch them for a few hours while I’m gone.’

     After reaching the bottom step, Yentai and Khasundra turned then floated toward a living room. “Do I have to do this? She’s ten. She can take care of herself.”

     ‘Normally, she could. But because of her friends being here I would prefer you to be here too.’

     “I don’t really want to do it. But I might as well. It’s not like I was going to be doing anything tonight since I don’t have any friends because I can’t sing or hear the music.”

     Khasundra and Yentai entered the living room where ten little female Tree Dwellers were. They all appeared to be about the same age as Bethinne. Some were sitting. And some were floating around. All were singing to each other. Khasundra looked at Yentai sadly. “That answers that question. They can all sing. I’m the only one among this group of trees that can’t do it.”

     ’That’s not true. And you know it. You’re the only one at your age. But there are several hundred other very little and little Tree Dwellers. There are even a few that are older than you.’

     “Maybe I should go live with them. At least I would be with other Freaks.”

     ’What makes you think we want you to leave. We don’t. You might be a Freak. But you are our Freak.’

     “That’s how you might feel about me. But Bethinne doesn’t. She has told me that herself several times.”

     ’Bethinne sang she didn’t want you here! I’m going to have to sing to her about that.’

     “Here’s your chance to do it. Here she comes.”

     Just then, Bethinne joined them. ’What is she doing here. I didn’t ask you to my girl-time. And I don’t want her here.’

     ’That’s what I was just told. Why don’t you want Khasundra here with us?’

     ’It’s because she’s a Freak. Why isn’t she out with her friends? All girls her age is. Oh, that’s right. It’s because she doesn’t have any friends because she’s a Freak.’

     ’That’s enough singing like that. Khasundra is your big Tree Dweller in this house. And you need to treat her better.’

     Yentai floated down to be eye-to-eye with Bethinne. ’I’m going out for a few hours. And I don’t care whether you like it or not, she’s the adult Tree Dweller until I get back. I want you, and your friends, to do whatever she tells you to do. Do you understand what I am singing to you?’

     Bethinne opened her mouth to sing something. But before she could, Yentai turned and left the living room. Yentai returned about ten minutes later. She sang her goodbyes to Khasundra and Bethinne. Then she floated over to the wall and sang, ’ShaDaDi.’ Yentai shrank to about a tenth of Khasundra and then floated out through a seam in the wall.

     Khasundra sat in front of an Image Monitor on a small desk, and she saw Yentai come out of a large tree. Then a second later she grew back to her normal six inches. Then she flew away. ’Good, she is gone. Now you can too.’

     “I’m not going anywhere. The adult Tree Dweller in our lives asked me to watch you until she got back. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

     Bethinne floated to eye level with Khasundra. ’Yes you are. We, I, don’t want you here. So, leave now while you can.’

     Khasundra looked at Bethinne in anger. “I don’t like this any better than you do. But I’m staying. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

     ’Oh, yes there is.’ Bethinne gestured for her friends to join her. As they did, Bethinne faced Khasundra again. ’I tried to warn you to leave. But you wouldn’t do it. So, now you have to deal with it.’

     ’Is it true that you can’t sing?’ A friend of Bethinne's asked as her friends surrounded Khasundra on three sides.

     Khasundra had looked at Bethinne and all her friends before she responded to the question. “No, I can’t.”

     Bethinne and her friends started laughing. ’We didn’t believe her. But it’s true. No wonder she has never had a Night-With-Friends. You are a Freak,’ said another friend.

     ’That explains why Bethinne always wants to stay at one of our houses. And I don’t blame her. I would do it too If I had a Freak in the family,’ a blonde friend said.

     That teasing and taunting went on for another half an hour. Khasundra was getting one comment after another from Bethinne and all her friends. Each one was crueler than the last one. They all did it at least three times each. Finally, Khasundra had enough. Khasundra got up, pushed her way through her teasers and ran out of that room.

     Bethinne and her friends started laughing. ’She can’t even fly away, can she?’ Another friend asked.

     A few hours later Yentai returned. The messy room indicated the time. So, did that three of the friends were asleep in the circle of friends. ’What a disaster. Where is Khasundra?’

     ’I don’t know.’ Bethinne looked up at Yentai groggily. ’And I don’t really care.’

     Khasundra floated out of a small thin tree through a seam between barks. She said, “ShaDiDa,” and a second later she grew back up to her normal four inches. After she had grown, Khasundra yawned and stretched as though she had just awakened.

     The tree Khasundra just came out of was on the edge of a Wooded Area. Khasundra looked back at that tree. Then at the Community in front of her. It was mostly houses of different shapes and sizes. But there were a few businesses too. Khasundra slowly scanned that area of the Community. She was floating about twenty feet off the ground.

     From that height, most of what Khasundra saw was the tops of the houses and several of the businesses. But there were a few businesses that were higher than she was by a level or two, three at the most. Suddenly, a glint of a flickering light caught Khasundra's eyes. Khasundra said, “TavKe,” just before she closed her eyes. Using the inner skin of her eyes, Khasundra could see the glint as she got closer to that building. “It’s nothing but a Sun reflection. At least I think that’s what the giant humans call it.” Khasundra said, “KeTav,” just before she opened her eyes.

     “I have been here for almost three weeks. And the giant humans haven’t seen me yet.”

     “Maybe I should remain invisible whenever I’m out of my tree. At least until I find a new one to sleep in.”

     Khasundra said, “HofTor.” A few seconds later she added, “That should do it.”

     “The only possible spotting has been from my fellow Very Little, Little, and Big Tree Dwellers who have come to the Learning Centers in this Community. But thanks to the Image Monitor they haven’t.”

     “It’s a good thing it watched it today. Otherwise, they might have seen me. I know this is a different Group of Trees. But if they are looking for me, which I doubt, the other seven Tree Groups in this Community would know I flew away from my house.”

     Khasundra finished her scan of what she could. Then she did it again in the other direction. All she saw was a very busy Community. There were a lot of giant humans on the many cement paths in front of the houses and businesses. But not as many as the Hovercrafts the zipped among each other on the cement Hovercraft paths. After completing her second scan, Khasundra flew toward a small group of giant humans.

     Staying at face level, Khasundra got within an inch or two of the giant humans. But only with the male ones. Khasundra did this for a couple of hours. Then she suddenly stopped. “Why am I doing this. I’m starting to think this was a big mistake.”

     “What was that? I thought I just heard something.” A giant human next to Khasundra asked the male next to her.

     “I didn’t hear anything. If you did hear something, it must have been a pest.”

     “You’re probably right. Some of them are so small you can’t even see them.”

     Khasundra smiled. “Especially when us pests are invisible.”

     The giant humans started talking to each other again like they did before Khasundra got there, Khasundra flew off toward three males and one female. Khasundra had to speed up a little to catch up to them because they were walking away from her. A small cloud of white trailed behind her. After that group, she went on to six more before she suddenly stopped again.

     “I’m hungry.” Khasundra started looking around. She flew toward a Play Area with a few trees surrounding it.

     Khasundra didn’t fly toward the trees. Instead, she flew at a family of humans eating at a wooden table. She flew at a piece of meat that was about to go into a boy’s mouth. Khasundra skimmed the top of that meat taking several bites as she flew past it. The boy about her age didn’t seem to notice as he put the food into his mouth.

     After doing that with four other giant humans, Khasundra left that Play Area. “That should be enough food for right now. I should be okay until I get something to eat before I go to sleep.”

     “I still haven’t found him yet. But there are several hundred thousand humans in this Community I haven’t seen.”

     Khasundra flew into another group of four males to zoom around their faces and heads. “He’s not any of them either.”

     After checking out three more groups, two with females among them, and two individual humans Khasundra sighed. “I know he’s here in this Community. But where is he? It’s a big Community. One of the biggest on Ghoith. There are several million males living here.”

     “I will find him. It might just take forever to do it. Then again, it might not. After all, I have only been living among the giant humans about a month now.”

     Khasundra sat on an overhanging shelf above a Fire Holder. She said, “TorHof,” as a giant human entered that living room.

     “Robbert, can you hear me now?” Khasundra asked. But Robbert didn’t respond. He just sank into a big fluffy chair and almost disappear.

     “Maybe you can’t hear what I am trying to say. But you should be able to see me now. All you need to do is look in this direction.”

     “Look at me, Robbert.” Robbert started getting out of his chair. “Yes, yes, yes. Look over here, Robbert.”

     Robbert just adjusted himself before he sank back into his chair. “What is that buzzing sound. I’ve been hearing it for about a week.”

     “It must be a pest in the walls. I will get some Pest Control tomorrow.”

     Khasundra sighed. “VogTriYu.”

     “You should be able to understand me now.” Khasundra began speaking the giant human’s language.

     “Who said that?” Robbert asked as he leaned forward and started darting his head everywhere.

     “I’m over here. I think you humans call it an overhang above your Fire Holder.”

     Robbert looked at Khasundra. His jaw dropped, and his eyes bugged out. “Who are you? What are you?” Robbert started getting out of his chair.

     “I am a Tree Dweller. And I need your help to sing.”

     Khasundra now stood on a small table next to where Robbert sat. Robbert pushed a button on the side of his chair. His chair swiveled around to face Khasundra. “What I meant was what Race are you?”

     “We are human, just like you.” Khasundra sighed. “The only difference between you and us are our size and where we live.”

     Robbert leaned forward. Now he was eye to body with Khasundra.
“You might look human too. But you sure don’t act like you are. At least not on Ghoith. And it’s not just your size. It’s also because you can fly like you did from the Fire Holder to this table. We can’t do that.”

     “I have so many questions I want to ask you. I’m just not sure where to start.”

     “I’m not sure if I can answer all your questions. But I’m going to give it a try.”

     Robbert didn’t say anything for about a minute. “I guess the first question I want to ask you is, why did you come to my house?”

     “Like I said almost an hour ago, I need your help. We Tree Dweller are singers. That how we communicate. But as you can see I can’t sing.”

     “Who are you? I know I already asked that question. But you never answered me.”

     “I’m sorry, I should have told you when I first made my appearance known. My name is Khasundra.”

     “Khasundra, that’s a very pretty name for a pretty little girl. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have called you little.”

     “There’s no reason to say you’re sorry about that. We call ourselves Very Little Tree Dwellers from birth to seven. Then we are Little Tree Dwellers from eight to twelve. And Big Tree Dwellers from thirteen to nineteen when we become Adult Tree Dwellers.”

     “How long have you been living on Ghoith? Not you personally, but you Tree Dwellers.”

     “I’m thirteen. But the Tree Dwellers have been here for about as long, if not longer, then you giant humans.”

     “In fact, we don’t know who came first. Was it you, or us, or did we come at the same time? Most of us think it’s both. I’m one of them.”

     “Why can’t you sing like everyone else? Is there a medical reason why you can’t?”

     Khasundra sighed. “I wish that was the reason. But it’s not. Every year about one hundred thousand of us are born. Out of that about a thousand of us can’t sing or hear music in our heads. I’m the only one from my year of birth.”

     “Did you just say a hundred thousand? How many Tree Dwellers are there?”

     “I’m not exactly sure about that. But I think there are about five million of us among our trees.”

     “There are that many! That’s over half our population. Are you all that there are of the Tree Dwellers on Ghoith?”

     “Oh, no. There are millions of Tree Dwellers in every Wooded Area on Ghoith. At five million, we are one of the lowest populations. Overall, there are about sixty billion of us.”

     Robbert's jaw dropped again. “How many did you just say?”

     “That’s only about a tenth of our population. But it’s still enough I hope we never fight each other. If we do, you would be very hard to defeat because of your size.”

     “I doubt that will ever happen. We are peace-loving humans. Besides if there was a fight, it’s not our size that you should be worried about. It’s the magical words. I used one of them to talk to you in your language.”

     “That’s one of the questions I was going to ask you. I was wondering how we were talking to each other.”

     “What other Wizard Words do you know besides that one?” Robbert asked.

     “There are about a hundred of them. But the six main ones we use the most are Another Location, Size Reduction, Invisibility, Speeding Up, Living places, and Language.”

     “I’m curious about all of them. But Invisibility most of all. Is that why I haven’t seen you until a few hours ago? How long have you been watching me?”

     “I have been doing it for about a week. It took me that long for me to ask you to help me to sing. Can you help me or not?”

     “It won’t be easy to do because of your size. And it will probably take two or three, maybe even four, times longer for me to do it. But I think that I can.”

     “It’s getting too late to talk. You have been answering my questions for almost five hours. We can talk more about how I can help you to sing tomorrow.”

     “I’m just not sure where you can sleep. I guess I could fix up something in one of my clothing boxes. It might not be too comfortable. But the clothing shouldn’t make it too bad.”

     Khasundra smiled. “That’s not a problem. You have several trees around the outside of your house. I have been living in them ever since I found you.”

     Robbert looked shocked. “You have been doing what? How can you do that? The trees are solid.”

     “We have a Magical Word for that. It makes us about a tenth of our normal size. And at that size, we can fly into any seam or crack. Once inside we say the Magical Word again, and we return to our normal size.”

     “I still don’t understand. How can you live in a solid tree?”

     Khasundra smiled again. “We can’t. Just before we become big, we say a Magical Word that turns the tree inside to Living Places.”

     “I’m still confused. All my trees are thin. There’s no way you can live in them.”

     “There is if part of the Living Places Magical Word makes it twenty times bigger than us. In fact, the Magical Word we use is twice as long as the others are because of it. It’s really two Words in one.”

     Robbert didn’t say anything for about fifteen minutes. He just stared at Khasundra. “Well, um. I’m going to go get some sleep. I will see you in a few hours.” Robbert got up and left that room. Khasundra flew right past him out an opened glassed hole in the wall.

     “Good Daylight,” Robbert said as he entered his living room yawning and saw Khasundra entering it from another entrance. “Give me a few minutes to fully wake up, and I will get us something to eat.”

     “You don’t need to get me anything. I have already eaten.” A few seconds later she added, “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to say, ‘Good Daylight’ to you too.”

     Robbert shrugged as he walked past the floating Khasundra. He walked down a hallway to the last entrance on his right. A few minutes later he returned to that hallway with something steaming in his hand. Khasundra was waiting for him. Together they started walking, floating, down that hallway.

     “What did you eat?” Robbert asked as he took a bite of some steaming meat.

     “I’m not sure. But it looks a lot like what you’re eating. I took it out of the Cold Box and put it in the Hot Box.”

     “How did you open the doors?” Robbert answered his own question a few seconds later. “Don’t tell me, it’s another Wizard Word.”

     “Yes and no. It is a Magical Word. But it’s not to open anything. I used it to float through it.”

     Robbert suddenly stopped and looked at Khasundra face to body. “Have you been stealing my food?”

     “We don’t call it that. But yes, I have been stealing it.”

     “Have the Tree Dwellers been stealing our food all this time.”

     Khasundra sighed. “Yes, we have. You don’t even realize we do it. But one of your pieces of meat, like the one you have been eating, can feed a family of four to six for about a month.”

     “How can you do it without us seeing you?” Robbert answered himself admittedly. “Another Wizard Word, right?”

     “It’s our Tenth Size Word. And it’s mostly the Adult Tree Dwellers that do it at night. But us Big Tree Dwellers do it during the Daylight too.”

     “I think you call us pest or flying pest. But while some of us do that some others take your food. We do it for the fun of it, especially us non-adults, but we mostly do it for the food.”

     “That buzzing that we hear. It’s you singing to each other. Is that how you know our language, by pestering us.”

     “We learned how to be Tree Dwellers from the adults and each other. But we learned your language by going to your Learning Centers.”

     “The Adult Tree Dwellers can tell us about our past. But we only know about the rest of Ghoith from your Learning Centers.”

     Robbert entered his living room and sat down in his chair to continue his eating. “I am curious about one more thing. Am I the only giant human to see you and talk to you?”

     “Unfortunately, it’s no to both. There have been a lot of us taken over the centuries. At first, they used Magical Words to escape. But once you found a way to stop them from doing that we had to rescue them. We did most of them, but there were a few didn’t make it out alive.”

     “I have heard comments about that all of my life. But I always that you were from another planet and you crash landed here. I never thought you were from this planet, until now.”

     ’How am’ I ’doing’ now?” Khasundra tried to sing her question.

     “I think you are doing great. It’s hard to believe you have only been here just over three months. Another month or two and you will be able to sing like the rest of the Tree Dwellers.”

     Khasundra sighed. ’I can’t’ do ’that.’ ’At’ least ’not yet.’ Khasundra lowered her head slightly and shook it sadly. ’I still’ can’t ’hear any’ music in ’my head.’

     Robbert didn’t say anything for about a minute. “Oh, yeah. I remember you saying something about that when we first meet. Sorry, I can help you learn how to sing. But I can’t help you with that.”

     ’That’s not’ a ’problem.’ ’I know someone’ who can ’do it.’ ’But’ he ’lives in’ a small ’Community about’ four ’hundred’ miles ’from here.’ ’And I’m not’ sure if ’I really’ want to ,do it.’

     “Why don’t you want to do it? Is it the distance or is there some other reason?”

     ’It’s’ not ’the distance.’ ’I mean’ it is ’sort of the distance.’ ’But that’s’ not the ’main reason.’

     Khasundra sighed. ’It’s hard’ to ’explain.’ But I will give ’it a try.’ ’I can get’ the music ’into my head.’ ’Only it has’ to be done ’medically.’

     “Is it dangerous?” Robbert asked. “Is that why you don’t want to do it?”

     ’No, it’s not.’ ’It’s more’ electrical than ’medical.’ ’Our minds are’ like Information ’Data Monitors.’ ’I was born’ without the ’knowledge of music.’ ’And I need an’ upgrade to ’be able to’ hear ’it.’

     “I don’t understand. If it’s not dangerous, then why don’t you want to do it?”

     ’The same reason’ why I ’had decided’ I wasn’t ’going to learn’ how to ’sing until Bethinne’ and her ’friends started’ teasing me ’about it.’ ’I don’t think’ I need to ’do it’ to be a ’fellow Tree Dweller.’

     ’How much longer before we know if it worked or not?’ Khasundra sang as she flew around what appeared to be a medical office that looked more like an examination room than an office.

     Ovon didn’t look up from the desk he sat behind. He just continued entering information into an Information Data Monitor on this desk. ’It should be almost any time now.’

     Khasundra sighed. ’That’s what you have been saying for the last three daylights. And it’s been almost a week since we did the update to my mind. Does it usually take this long?’

     ’It usually takes only a day or two to know the results. But I warned you that it might take you a little longer because of your age.’

     ’If you haven’t started hearing music by now, there’s a very good chance you never will. But you still might. Then again, you might not. Even if you can’t, that’s nothing to be worried about. You can still live a normal life without hearing music.’

     ’Why did you just tell me that?’ Khasundra sang.

     Ovon looked up at Khasundra. ’It’s because you should have started hearing music by now. It is very possible that you might end up living a non-musical existence.’

     Just then the entrance to that room slid open so that Yentai and Bethinne could enter. ’I’m happy that you are alive. But you are in a lot of trouble Khasundra.’

     Khasundra suddenly stopped flying around. First, she looked at Yentai and Bethinne in shock. Then at Ovon in anger. ’You contacted them.’

     ’Don't blame Ovon. I hoped that you would come here sooner or later. So, I contacted him.’

     ’It’s been almost half a year since you flew away from home. And we have been trying to find you ever since then.’

     ’That’s hard to believe. It might be true about you. I know it not with Bethinne. She probably started celebrating just as soon as I flew away.’{/}

     Bethinne flew up to Khasundra. But she kept her head down. ’No, I didn’t. I’ve been looking for you even more than Yentai.’

     ’It’s because I wanted to say I was sorry. I never really wanted you to fly away from home.’

     ’I’m not even sure why I did it. But it was probably because of my friends. We were talking. And the subject of non-singers came up. I was stupid and told them about you. After that, I don’t remember why I did what I did.’

     Bethinne looked at Khasundra sadly. ’I’m sorry.’

     Khasundra didn’t say anything for several minutes. ’I don’t acknowledge your sorry.’

     ’We have been looking for you everywhere. Where have you been for the last eight months?’ Yentai sang.

     ’I knew you couldn’t teach me to sing because of Tree Dweller rules. So, I went to someone who could.’

     ’You didn’t go to the giant humans, did you?’ Yentai sang.

     Khasundra sighed. ’Yes, I did. It was the only thing I could think of to help me learn how to sing.’

     ’That was stupid. They could have taken you for their entertainment.’

     ’Bethinne is right. Not about being stupid, but about the taken part.’

     ’I was worried about that too. So, I watched Robbert for about a week before I approached him. Of course, I didn’t tell him that.’

     ’Robbert never tried to take me. And he had plenty of time to do it. He was also willing to teach me to sing. I offered to help him with Magical Words in exchange for him helping me. But like us they don’t require anything for their help.’

     ’I’m just happy that you are okay. Let’s go home. We can discuss this later. Thanks for contacting me, Ovon.’

     Yentai, Khasundra, and Bethinne started floating toward the entrance. But it was Bethinne who sang next. ’I’m happy you can sing now. Can you also hear music too?’

     Khasundra looked around for Ovon. But he was no longer there. ’Yes, I can.’

     ’I hope I can hear the music within another week or two. Khasundra sang to herself. “But even if I can’t, Ovon was right, I can live a musical non-existence.’

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