Chapter XV: Shy


Another excerpt from
Diary of the Shy
Entry 17: 281
Date 64 of 7499 SC


The moons were out early, watching us with craters like the shiny eyes of an insect. Wind tossed my hair about. Hazel curls fell against short blond hairs. It was like a sun-kissed hill of dry grass, waiting for rain. I ran my fingers through his hair. He sat in my embrace, upon the plaid blanket.

Intuitive sat cross-legged, on the other side of the food. Behind all the jokes and stories, anecdotes and well-intentioned sarcasm; she looked at me with unmistakable envy.

I had found something she had lost. There was a pining loneliness in her eyes. A broken sense of love that longed to be repaired.

Yet another ant crawled across the blanket, carrying a fallen crumb of pita like precious ore. Its tiny face bore sharp, black pincers. Its feet moved mechanically. I looked away.

Tender tipped his head back and looked up at me, his head resting upon my breasts. "Are you okay? Your heart's beating faster."

I pointed at it. A moving speck of black, following a trail of pheromones back to its nest.

He untucked his feet from mine, "Should I step on it? It looks like a bulbous, skinny little roach!"

I laughed, "No, no. We came here for them."

Intuitive nodded. "Mmmhmm... follow it."

That we did.

Fork to the pie. Fork to the mouth. Pie to the mouth. Crust, apple, cinnamon; chewing, chewing, chewing. It was still warm. The odour teased my nostrils as my fork dove in for more.

Slowly, the ant made its way back home.

Fork to the pie, edge digging in. Fork to the mouth of another. He laughed, trying to chew properly. Neither one of us had been fed by anyone but ourselves since we were infants in the Nursery with our assigned handlers.

And there it spread, where he lay upon me. It was warmer than the pie, yet it was not warmth. Perhaps it was another sensation altogether. Different from temperature, different from pleasure, but akin to both. I felt as if I truly belonged where I was, as who I was, with whom I was with.

Intuitive was preoccupied, kneeling over the ant, which was making its way off the picnic blanket and onto the grass.

Tender washed the pie down with some sweetened cranberry juice. And then his fork came up towards my mouth. He held it just out of reach of my lips. I leaned my head forward, and it darted away. And then something altogether different met my lips, pressing against them with a passionate rhythm.

I don't think I'll ever forget that moment. The warmth filled me. It should have burned me, it was so intense, but there was no pain, and it was not warmth. It was something better, something I had been missing all my life.

His face was pressed against mine, pressing closer still, narrowing the gap between us until our mouths were open to each other.

From the corner of my sight, I saw Intuitive kneeling down at the base of a tree, paying no attention to us.

I slid my body out from under Tender, keeping our mouths locked as his tongue and mine slowly pushed against one another. I moved onto him with a confidence I found in some previously unknown part of myself.

I pulled back, grinning mischievously and staring down at his head where it lay against the blanket. He was mesmerized and uncertain of his own actions.

His hands moved onto my back, as they had in the store, yet I took them in my own and lifted them up behind his head, holding them down with my own weight. And then I kissed him again, thrusting my tongue briefly into his open mouth and then pulling out to avoid the painless teasing of his teeth.

I was lost in those eyes. Green, uncommon and relaxing. He too, was lost in mine. Blue, full of depth and mystery.

His tongue then entered my mouth, and I felt a hunger for something other than food. I wanted to know his taste and his scent. Pushing my head against his, pushing his deeper against the blanket and the clovered grass below, I sucked lightly on his tongue.

I knew true peace tonight. No matter what the Clergy said. No matter who treated me with disdain for my solitary, introverted nature. I knew I was loved, I knew I belonged and I knew I had purpose.

Intuitive dissected an ant hill for the next half hour, with a small shovel. In doing so, she came to the conclusion that we were indeed a colony, and that the use of the word implied that there were other machines, women and men out beyond the confines of the Inner Wall. She called us an independent unit. Independent of what? That was the question.

Mother watched. All grounds within the Inner Wall had her cameras. All along, she'd been watching with a perfectly rounded orb. It was not like an insect's eye. Rather, it was a black obsidian pearl. Empty and void like the night sky. Every angle. Every action. I wonder, now, as I write this: Is there any place where Mother cannot see?

I spent the rest of the evening, before returning to my quarters and writing this entry, out walking around the forest with Tender. He spoke quite fondly of the Children he'd met that were his 'family', biologically similar due to the breeding arranged by Mother that kept our quarters populated. They had remarkable intrinsic similarities, and I longed to meet them as well as my own respective relatives.

And so, it was a shock when I got back to my quarters for the night and asked the system to pull up my biological links.

I ponder this now as I rest my head upon my pillow: Why hadn't Intuitive told me that it was her womb from which I had been born?

Thus ends my final diary entry under the name of Shy.

The End

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