Yes, that time when we attempt to write a novel of 50000 words in a months is finally here again!
This post really should have been up yesterday.
I am ashamed.
Anyway, I’ve decided to take a leaf out of the book of a friend and post excerpts of my efforts on my blog, in the hope that it will inspire me to keep going and actually, just possibly, finish this event for once.
Miracles, as they say, take a little longer, but perhaps I might just be able to stay in for the long haul.
In any case, here is a sample of my work. First draft, naturally. Enjoy 🙂
(Yes, I know it is not anywhere near 1,600 words. What comes after is not really fit for anyone’s eyes yet.
Not like that, you little pervs. 🙂
The fish were presented not in a tank but in an actual miniature fountain. A fountain with actual wheels, that presumably had a brake to stop the gift from rolling off unexpectedly. The brightly coloured fish stood out against the pale stone veined with gold; there was even a statue of Jessick placed right in the middle of it, water jetting up from the feet and her head thrown back in ecstasy, creating the illusion that the figurine was breaking the surface of a lake or sea. That had to have been a quick commission, albeit from a definitely human artist.
Anyway, Jessick, from what he could see, looked extremely pleased with the fountain, its contents and most of all herself. And she had every right to be, he supposed; she’d spent practically their party’s entire sojourn on this planet avidly watching just about every body of water with fish in it that they’d passed. She’d even licked her lips on occasion, even if the thought of actually eating these mortal fish made her feel sick.
All her acting had paid off. In fact (he noted as he respectfully approached to take his turn at watching the constantly circling gifts) it seemed the very mortal hosting this party, no doubt keen on gaining influence with a rapidly rising star in the train of Ambassador Nepherru, had scooped up the prettiest of the latest fish that Jessick had been admiring in his atrium earlier this evening, and plopped them into the fountain as part of the offering.
Jessick grinned, not entirely for show, and dabbled her fingers in the water. There were darts of colour as at least four of the fish hurried to nibble at her fingers – although what they thought that was going to get them, Oyuun had no idea. Who knew what went on in the minds of mortal fish? If anything at all. They were certainly very attractive, their scales covered with patterns and designs that clearly owed more to genetic tampering than anything nature and evolution had been able to come up with.
Pretty they might be, perhaps even delicious as well, but Oyuun wondered if Jessick would even bother to bring these presents back to the Celestial Waters, let alone the rather cumbersome fountain. (Even if it was on wheels.) Could these laboratory created decorations really contribute anything to the ever continuing project? They were ornaments, essentially, and probably not designed with nutrition in mind.
Still, the possibility was always there…and it couldn’t hurt to introduce some new genes, however fabricated. If he ate Fish himself, perhaps one day he’d be consuming a descendant of the gulping carp losing interest in their new owner’s nails.
Oyuun turned away from Jessick’s absorption with her latest offering to walk towards the rows of devotional gifts that guests had placed at the foot of Nepherru’s dais. A lot of them were gifts of food – Nepherru’s status as a food ‘goddess’ was a running theme with any gifts offered to her – and he examined cuts of meat, plates of rice mixed with herbs, couscous with coriander and pomegranate, yogurts and dipping breads, any number of samovars bubbling with tea, sweets and cakes and various baked goods.
And most of all, he was unsurprised to note, fruit. Fruits in salads, fruity desserts, fruits that were glazed or dipped in various concoctions, frozen fruits made of colourful crytals. Sometimes, just fruit in attractive bowls, wooden bowls, glass bowls, metal bowls.
Offerings to the ambassador and buffet, all in one. Oyuun loaded a plate, playing on the safe side and choosing nothing that might be seized upon by those who might be watching him, nothing relating to Food. No fish, though there was a lovely stew that smelled exquisite. Nothing that had too much honey. Nothing too evidently filled with herbs. He stayed far away from the fruit, choosing a sticky pastry.
When he felt quite full, he went to look at the artwork, all the various creations that had no doubt been entered into and won various competitions in order to even be presented at this party, let alone possibly chosen as a tribute by Ambassador Nepherru. Sculptures were by far the most numerous, but there were photos and paintings as well, of Nepherru either at present or harking back to previous roles she’d occupied, both in the planet’s history and in their species’ culture in general.
Oyuun found himself absurdly pleased by how many Mother and Child pieces there still were, even though Nepherru hadn’t been playing that angle up for decades now. Perhaps it was because religions and cults always seemed to need at least one opportunity for Mother and Child iconography, or because it was reassuring for humans to see that an alien species reproduced the same way they did, with a bond between parent and child. Perhaps it was just because they’d appreciated seeing Nepherru unabashedly happy for once.
There was one very fine painting that evidently copied that famous icon, Nepherru with her baby held up high as if the infant were flying, both of them crowing with delight. Oyuun leant closer to examine it, pretending to focus on the brush strokes while really looking at the baby’s face.
Shit, how old was I when they painted the original? Eight months? A year? It was hard to tell. Probably nearly a year old. I was quite cute back then. What happened?
Although really, he knew what the answer to that question was; probably he’d been all but soaked in Ambrosia in order to make him appealing to every living thing he encountered, including the original artist. You couldn’t have the masses noticing things like a god alien baby’s drool or snot, his messes or farts. Especially not when capturing his image for posterity.