Not knowing much, well, anything, about international copyrights, this could best be called fanfiction. The main character here, Nike, plays a not-insignificant role in my forthcoming novel, Defiant.
This story takes place in a world created by Yoshitoshi ABe nearly twenty years ago. It yielded an anime that – while dated – is one of the most powerful and compelling stories I’ve ever experienced. For a non-Christian, ABe had an amazingly Catholic vision.
And yes: I do know who’s in the cocoon.
Shouting again. He stood from the chair and walked over to the huge mass. He let his right hand rest on its side before moving his left ear to it. Yes, shouting. He didn’t know the language but whoever was in there was not happy about something.
Another bad cocoon dream, he thought, returning to the old, wooden chair. He reversed it to rest his arms across the chair’s back. Out the empty frame of the large picture window to his left, there was just the faintest red. Sunrise would be soon, so his relief –
One tap at the door frame – the door was long gone – before the young man came in. Nike’s grey wings spattered with black fluttered a bit.
“’Sup, Nike. Any change?” The newcomer asked.
From his chair, Nike shook his head.
“You’re gonna wear yourself out, pulling double-duties like this,” the other said. “Still claiming to ‘have a feeling’ about this one?”
The other chuckled.
“How do you know – ”
Nike cut him off.
“How do we know anything, Nozh?” He demanded. “About that; about these?!”
Nike pointed first at the huge egg followed with his left finger up and his right thumb back: at his halo and small grey wings.
Nozh relented with a shrug and a droop to his wings. He took a few steps towards the egg. At least a dozen feet in diameter, its leathery off-white form stretched from the floor to ceiling. Fibrous, root-like tendrils from it invaded the tiles below and the wood above. It was only ten days ago that Snaran, one of the few girls in Abandoned Factory, found it. It had only been a few feet across. Per their tradition, a schedule was made to keep an eye on it, so that whoever was inside would not come into the world alone. Those that did….
Nozh glanced out the empty window frame. There was now just enough light to see the Wall. He turned further to where Nike sat.
“I relieve you,” he spoke in an officious manner, glancing past his senior at the long-dead equipment that occupied the rest of the large room. It had been a machine shop, once.
“Thanks,” Nike said, standing. He stretched and made for the door.
“Hey, Nozh?” He asked, flicking the other’s gold halo with a *ting!* “Sorry about being a jerk just now. Likely you’re right: I’m just worn out! Later!”
Nozh watched him leave. Nike was the oldest one there… mid twenties, maybe? There were already whispers that he would never have his Day of Flight: those spots on his wings. Otherwise, he was unfailingly polite to everyone else at Abandoned Factory: a smile on his lean, olive-skinned face, crowned by dark, slightly curly hair that ended in white tips.
He dropped into the chair his senior had occupied, staring at the cocoon. Nozh had hatched from his just a little over a year ago. At first disoriented and confused; all that made worse after a few days when the fever started and his wings tore out.
Nozh shuddered a little at that memory.
And now, their eldest seemed inordinately interested in this New One…
Wait. What was that?
Was that… angry shouting from inside…?
“I don’t know who you are in there,” Nozh muttered. “But please, don’t let us – let him – down!”