Dannie and the Monolith

As I have written earlier, I read and post comments to Ann Linquist’s blog. Below is a writing prompt that she recently posted. I thought I should post my comment to her request here as well. I think it is a nifty one. I renamed the post from her blog post of The Cherry Trees are in Bloom! The new name of Dannie and the Monolith seems more appropriate now with my addition.

Writing Prompt:

The cherry orchard was in full bloom. Rows and rows of white-flowered cherry trees lined up very agreeably, both in straight and diagonal lines. Dannie rested her back against a tree, closed her eyes, and let a grin expand wide enough to end in a chuckle. Live was good. She didn’t have to work today, she had a good book, and the sun was just warm enough. She opened her eyes and her book, but before she bent her head to start reading, she spotted something high in a cherry tree peeking out at her a couple rows over. It was black and about the size of a box of Cheerios.

My Response:

Dannie loved to read her books when the orchard was in full bloom. The bloom only lasted about a week. Soon the petals of the cherry blossoms will fall. But now she could relax with her book. Her only distraction was the buzzing of the bees and chattering of birds.

Today was unusual. The miniature monolith drew her attention. She no longer heard the buzzing bees or the bird chatter. Thumping with increasing speed, her own heartbeat was all that she could hear. Otherwise, her complete attention was on the blackness. The emptiness of the void where the monolith perched.

Only seconds later she found herself standing about five feet from the monolith. She no longer had her book in her hands. Her head was tilted up at the black mystery. Rapid breaths were pulled in and out of her slightly opened mouth. Her hands hung limply beside her body with no use any longer. A thrumming vibration, so low that it wasn’t a sound, but a feeling, was matching her heartbeat.

The light of the sun no longer burned in the sky. The white blossoms of the cherry were all gone. Dannie and the monolith where all that existed. Though she had no light to see by, the emptiness of the monolith was bleak against the black nothing that surrounded her. Its shape still calling to her in that hum and thump that matched her own heartbeat. She wasn’t frightened. The only thing that existed was the monolith. She had to be with it. Near it. In it. Her longing wasn’t love or lust. But an ethereal oneness that exceed love.

A rumble shook the darkness around her. Dannie was now surrounded by the stars. The monolith still only five feet from her. She tore her eyes from the emptiness of the monolith. Below her feet was the blue planet shrinking from her. The grayness of the moon flew past her right side. The rusted orb of Mars was now just to her left. The stars were turning into white lines as her speed increased. The monolith thrummed.

The white lines bent around her. Left. Then right. Her gaze moved back to the monolith. Thump. Thump. Thump. The sun broke free from the black. The bees were buzzing. Birds chirped and chattered. Dannie blinked. Looking around she found that she was still sitting by the tree. Her book was opened in her hand. There was no longer a monolith perched in the tree. The wind sung softly through the branches.

She looked up to the tree where the mystery was perched before. A short pang of loss hit her. A fading memory of the void and passing through the galaxy with such speed was tugging at her. She wanted to remember. As the seconds rolled on, she lost those memories. She wrestled in her mind to understand the meaning. Only to be left with a desire. An overwhelming desire to explore and seek the understanding of the mystery of the void.

Assimilation Report

Quivering at a meager five feet and 9 inches tall, he stood to give his presentation. “Barksdale, reporting assimilation progress.” Clearing his throat, he waited for the response.

The oval table in the room held comfortably 12 people. However, today there were only four present. This included Barksdale and his three superiors. This meeting was a special meeting. Barksdale is an assimilation reconnaissance field agent for the company. His job, as it has been for a considerable time of his career,is to evaluate social assimilation within indigenous species. Barksdale stands at the opposite end of the table from the other three.

At the head of the oval table sat the larger of the three. His gaze was firmly planted on the report in front of him. Lowering the report, his eyes bored through the air across the table. With a grimace, his upper lip separated from the lower. “Report it then.”

A tiny bead of sweat rolled down Barksdale’s left temple. “As you know, the first assimilation team studied the atmosphere, soil content, temperature variations and potential collision paths with all know space debris.”

The upper lip of the boss was still cocked in a grimace. His head tilted slightly to the left and down, He spat out, “Get to the point.”

A tiny bead of sweat rolled around his hairline to his cheek. Barksdale reached up and swiped it with a shaky hand. He sucked in a short breath. “Yes, sir. The dominant inhabitant of the planet is a species that closely matches our own. They communicate similarly as we do. Eat comparable foods. They even procreate in most the same fashion as we do.” Pausing to take two short breaths and wipe the collection of sweat beads that were now forming on his forehead he continued. “However, there is conclusive evidence that many are born with an affliction.” Barksdale rocked back onto his heels. “Of these, many are terminal.”

The boss’s forehead wrinkled as his eyebrows rose to his question. “What? There has been no report of a wide spread disease. If so many are afflicted, as you are saying, how are they maintaining dominance?”

Barksdale looked directly into the eyes of his boss. “The affliction isn’t really a disease. It does not directly affect the longevity of the afflicted.” He turned slightly to the left and right to look at the other members of the meeting. He reached a clammy hand to this back of his neck and gave it a gentle squeeze. “It is actually remarkable that the minority not afflicted support and maintain those who are. Not always directly, mind you. However, even with the support those afflicted still find ways to demonstrate their affliction. Many to their detriment.”

“Are you telling me that there is something on this planet that will not allow us to assimilate?” The bosses head rolled to the center of his shoulders and forward slightly. His hand still gripped the report.

“Sir, to summarize the conclusion of the report, our findings indicate this potential host planet-” he looked to the ceiling of the room. He took two more short breaths, “this reconnaissance team recommends-”

“Just spit it out, Barksdale!”

“Well, sir, all indications point to : Some people are born stupid and never get over it.”