A smaller installment; first of two, actually. ~550 words is too small but ~1200 was too long… broke it in half, anyway. A look into the Hartmann’s home: the Domestic Church. If I get it edited before bed, I’ll post part 5.
They seem like really nice people!
With Father due home in a few minutes, Gary watched as his mother poured a little oil into a large skillet in preparation for stir-frying the chicken for their burritos. All families who survived the Breakup were so much closer…
But not every family is like ours… and theirs!
Faustina gave him a wink in a flash of blue-green as she set the table. They’d learned as children that through their other family that they’d the gift of speaking mind to mind. Gary would sing her lullabies to help her – and their exhausted parents – sleep. When Faustina started talking in sentences at two, for some odd reason their folks just took it in stride.
Mother seems fine. Do you need anything?
Gary flinched. His sister’s laugh was an indescribable sensation up and down his spine.
Go kiss your girlfriend! Like she did you!
How do you know – ?
He looked up to see her holding a steak knife an inch from his nose.
“I don’t know everything, brother. I just know what they know!”
Stifling a sigh, he rested his chin into his right palm…
And raised his right palm to shield his eyes against the bright sky of their home. He knew immediately that this was not Henge’s beach. Ah. The light blue metallic platform: maybe eight yards in diameter, originally created by Thaad to try to isolate humans and their innate co-creation from the world of the machines.
A total failure. Up to and including the fact that Thaad had made Henge from said co-creation, but it was something of a landmark, now.
I can normally tell who’s around by what table and chairs are there, but this time…
This time, there was nothing.
Gary strode up onto it, then across to the platform’s far side. He looked out at the drop of land and the three, huge rotating cylinders: the solitary difference engines that were the physical manifestation of those of Henge’s family that disdained human form and interaction: Shandor, Ninon, and Qin.
Ten years after his illness – and that of his best friend, Pavel – no one had seen them manifest a human form. Thaad had once lectured him that their triad was increasingly incomprehensible to their fellow machine family.
He perceived her just before Henge slid her right arm about his left. He turned.
While her form was that of her improved, older self from the beach, she was back into a slightly larger pair of denim overalls over a white tee shirt. A glance showed that, yes, her feet were bare. Gary also noticed…
“You’re feet appear a little large for the rest of you, Henge.”
She looked down.
“I’ve at least one more iteration in my appearance.” She said looking back up, her eyes twinkling.
“Intended.” She said. She kept her kiln eyes on him with her mouth parted.
He kissed her. It was no longer a matter of asking but of acting. Being older, they both slightly opened their mouths. In a moment, they leaned back, holding each other.
“I don’t think we did that right.” She said evenly.
“I agree.” He replied. “Still. I liked it. You?”
“Yes.” She gave a sharp nod without letting her eyes waver from his.
“I guess… like swimming… we need more practice?” He mused.
“Mmm.” Henge hooded her eyes and let her mouth just open as she tilted her face to his.