Extract from original novel 'Species' (performed live at NLS in September 2017)
Remedy paced her room in the Great Tower, no longer in the mindset of an excited child as she was 3 weeks ago. Constant thoughts of Katiren being hurt were swimming around in her brain and a horrible, looming creature was hanging over her head at the idea of him avoiding her on purpose. The thought of the latter made a pain rise in her chest as she imagined life without him in it. Thoughts crossed her mind of her family, and how they would have reacted to her having a friend from the city. The very people her mother and father were murdered by in cold blood. Katiren wasn’t the one who killed them but the idea of telling her brother who was still living with the colony was more than she could take to think about. Her brother was the one who had always looked after her during the invasions – he even stood beside her as their mother was made a display of to prove the city's strength. Though during the most recent bombardment of the barrier, her brother had been old enough to go to battle and followed their father, only to come home alone. Blood had stained the clothes he had gone in and his face was one of defiance, as if it hadnt mattered that his own father had just died in his arms, and that his blood was on the clothes he had been given by him – the clothes their father had fought in himself at her brother's age.
Suddenly a thought struck her mind. She could go and see Katiren. Cutting her ridiculous pacing abruptly short, she went to the door and held onto the intricately detailed handle carefully, stopping for a few seconds to collect her thoughts.
Why had he been avoiding her in the first place? Was he afraid of keeping her secret? Had he already given up and told someone that she wasn’t who she said she was, and that she was actually a Fanara from the other side?
In that moment she decided to break the toxic thoughts of the young man she knew. None of these thoughts would help her if they weren't true, and if they were – well she would have to run from the danger of Carius anyway. That was the most terrifying thought of all. Having to leave Katiren was something that she never wanted to think about.
She tugged at the handle, opening the frosted glass door and walking calmly up the corridor to the bedroom of the man whom she had been dreading the death of for the past 12 hours that he hadn't come to see her. Arriving at his door, she searched past the glass as much as she could, not seeing any blurs of colour that differentiated from the theme of the bedroom itself. This heightened her concern quickly and she opened the door – Katiren wasn’t there.
The dark thoughts that had been haunting her mind suddenly caused her to lose all rational thought as she burst into a sprint through the ornately decorated hallway and almost broke her ankle speeding down the marble steps to the bottom of the Tower. Her breath was almost gone as she ran straight into a citizen of the city, glancing around her at the normality of Cenetara as multiple people stared at her with concern. Trying her best to calm her burning throat and lungs, Remedy attempted to look calm and apologised to them quickly while scurrying quickly past the public.
“That's the Supreme Son's partner, is it not?”
“Yeah. She's probably looking for him.”
She growled a little as she considered going back and asking them if they had seen Katiren but continued moving towards the barrier.
Images of Katiren laughing appeared in her mind. His coppery blond hair standing out vividly in her memory - the way he wore it down despite it reminding her of his older sister Mylia – surprisingly attracting her to him even more. It wasn’t so long when she thought about it rationally, but if his features weren't so sharp she was pretty sure he would look like a woman even with it tied back.
Running past the market as quick as she could, she then ducked under the lights of the guard towers and snuck past the chunks of genetically modified muscle – designed specifically with the goal of crushing people like her into the dirt like ants – who were standing beside the Remedy sized hole which she had cut into the wiring. There was a ringing sound as the metal part of her boots hit the stone strip of the barrier and before she could process the sound, alarms were going off all around her.
The gruff voice of the Urita general sounded causing her electric green eyes to widen. She couldn’t lose this chance to see Katiren. Scaling the wall, she leapt over to the other side and sighed in relief. No soldier ever crossed the barrier unless there was a real attack – the fear of the apparent "disease" her people carried made most city dwellers weak at the knees and it was only a ploy to stop traitors emerging and joining the other side – so she would be safe once they saw no one was on their side of the barricade. Staying flat against the stone portion of the wall until she heard the onlookers boots going in the other direction, Remedy wandered calmly to where she knew the cocky male would be hiding.
The girl glanced at the line of Lycanro flowers that were growing along that side of the barrier. Lycanro was a universal sign of peace for every clan and civilians planted one for each of their own lost in the 12 century war. They called it the Memorial Line. When a flower died it was known as the point of passing to the next life in the Dartes faith, and every clan had joined in the sentiment by laying them for their own. The only beautiful thing for miles until you reached the Fanara colony – even that was just a clan trying to live off destruction.
As Remedy walked through the trees when she reached them, she stared up at the leaves while trying to think of Katiren.
Those beautiful, big chestnut coloured eyes as deep as the depths of the vast oceans of old Earth, scarred and swollen-
She cut herself off as she realised what she was saying and stood for a minute in silence while staring at the man she knew. His eyes.
Katiren flinched when he heard leaves crunching beneath boots. He knew it was Remedy from the way her breath caught in her throat when she saw him.
"I know." He spoke sadly, looking down again – ashamed of the way he looked.
He couldn’t stand not being able to see her face again, his heart smashing to pieces as he could sense the tears in her eyes. Suddenly despite his self doubt, he felt her hand touch his cheek and winced when her thumb hit the wound across his eyes. Remedy flinched back and pulled away from him again, the loss of her touch saddening him.
“It's okay, don’t stop.” Katiren retorted quickly, reaching out to where he thought her hand to be and taking it as he felt the skin underneath his own tremble.
He thought back to what had happened those hours previously to this moment. How he had laid in his room, crying over how he had failed and how he had been weak and how much danger he had put Remedy in now. It had been too much for him to bear for her to see him in this state.
“It was Carius, wasn’t it?” He felt Remedy move his hair away from the slashes – her stare penetrating his soul despite not being able to look at her while she did.
Nodding weakly, Katiren held back tears when she sat with him, feeling her stroke the damaged skin gently.
“I'm worth nothing, Remedy…” He spoke quietly, glancing away from her – he assumed.
The male Lemure felt her freeze a little before he sensed her shift closer to him, the weight of her body sitting on his lap and the weight of her head resting on his shoulder.
“You're worth everything on Saturn, Earth, everything in our Solar System and the galaxies beyond. Believe me, Birole.” The hairs rose on the back of his neck as she whispered in his ear.
He chuckled quietly though.
“It's actually Absel, I had to take my uncle's name to keep up his act.” He snorted at his stupidity, leaning into Remedy's hands as he felt them travel through his long hair.
“I like that better, Katiren Absel…” He could tell she was smiling and smiled back, thinking about her features to make himself more comfortable.
“I remember when I was young, and I used to sit up late and watch the lights of the city from outside my treehouse. I thought they were the most beautiful thing in the world, bright and colourful. When I met you I thought about that, I just couldn’t believe that I got to the lights, that I found a light that didn’t hate me for where I come from…” Remedy's soft voice made Katiren smile.
He moved the blood encrusted hair away from his face and sighed. When the blonde girl sitting in his lap bumped into him that day in the street - he just couldn’t breathe. Partly because he had been winded by her strength that was enough to send him to the ground, but also due to her incredible beauty. He didn’t think about ever finding a partner, he thought the concept of them was stupid. Just another way for his uncle to take Dreams from people – another of his ways to control good people.
He jumped when she spoke again, laughing awkwardly.
“Sorry, spaced out.”
“It's alright. I like the dreamy look in your eyes when you do.” The girl giggled a little and Katiren felt her lips against his cheek.
He winced at the pain of his injury and flinched away without meaning to, feeling tears glisten in his eyes as the situation dawned on him again.
“Save me from the dark, Remedy Vamonite…”
“I'll try my very best, my partner.” He felt her lips turn up into a smile.
Leaves crunched under feet close by. They both froze.