The Red Hand Part 5
by Shane Migliavacca
Part Five First Born
I listen as Maebh lays it out for me, about the beings from Far Away. A place at the center of reality. It's presided over by Father Eye. The giant eye thing I saw in my dreams. This Father Eye sees the whole of reality. Not only that, but it may well have created it! Beings existed there without form. Their abilities were godlike. Eventually they grew bored of their existence there. They found a way to breach the walls between dimensions. And where did they end up? Earth of course. At a time when humans worshiped Zeus and Odin and so many other gods and goddesses. Humans were amusing and intriguing to these beings. Wishing to interact and observe people they took human form. Pretending to be gods they lived among us. Part of their "experiment" involved interbreeding with humans. Maebh was one of the many children born from these "gods" mating with humans. Although not all of them were as successful as Maebh. Their first attempt was a disaster. As were the next few attempts. The failures got "sent away." The ones like the old woman lived among the people. Blending in as if they were "normal." Their otherworldly parents eventually grew bored of Earth however, just as they had of the Far Away. Leaving their children behind. These children passed down their gifts to their children. The blood of these "gods" was diluted over the generations. The old woman explained this is why there are humans with stronger psychic or physical abilities than others. This first generation aren't immortal. But they're incredibly long lived and have amazing regenerative abilities. Not to mention they were blessed with other abilities like Maebh's thought projection.
This was of course ridiculous and mind blowing. But like everything else in the last few days was becoming my new normal. I was silent for a while after she finished her history lesson, looking down at the table. Somewhere back in my history I was related to these Village of the Dammed rejects. How many of us have one or more of them in our ancestry? I look up at the old woman. Calmly sipping her tea.
"Can you read my mind?" I ask her.
She sets the mug down. "No. Only project my thoughts to whomever I wish."
This was good news anyway. The thought of her being able to hear everything that popped into my damn head was terrifying. Not to mention embarrassing.
There's been something I've wanted to ask her since we met yesterday. I haven't, hoping she'd tell me. But I'm not sure of her being very forthcoming with it. I decide to just ask.
"Why are you here?"
"I ran away."
It's not the answer I expected. This old woman just doesn't seem like the type to run away from anything.
"What could make you run?" I laugh.
"The man, Hagen who owns that house."
The house! The whole reason I'm here on this planet. I take a sip of my "tea." I wish there was something stronger in the mug.
"But from what I read he died in a fire. His son took over the house. Before he mysteriously disappeared."
"No. Hagen would not be done in by a fire. He's alive and he's finally tracked me down."
"He's one of you guys?"
She nods. "I knew him quite well. Many of us kept in contact through the ages. We had our own secret groups. It was better for us to be among our own kind. Especially back then."
It was during the end of The Great War on Earth that they found it. Maebh, Hagen and a few more of these children of the "gods." They sought to transcend Earth and explore other dimensions. Some out of curiosity. Some wished to seek out their parents. Others wanted to find the Far Away. And there were a few that simply wanted power. There were stories among them. Half-heard tales of that first hybrid child. The First Born. Born fully aware of the world and itself. There had not been any limits placed on it during its creation. Nor had they chosen a sex for it. Thus it was neither male nor female. Being born like this, a child with the intelligence of an adult was too much. It eventually drove the First Born mad. For some time it was locked away in a fortress created by the Far Away Ones. Sealed away with powerful barriers. But the First Born grew in power and intelligence. During this time it created objects and devices of various functions in an effort to escape its fortress prison. Eventually it did escape and a great battle with the Far Away ones ensued. They were able to combine their might and weaken their "child" a great deal before banishing it to another dimension. Locking it away there as they would with their other failures. But its fortress and the things it had created remained.
Hagen along with Maebh and their small group found this fortress. There they discovered some of the wonders created by the First Born. One was a red stone hand. A large living eye on the back of it. Another was a beating heart made of clay. They spent years there studying everything. Hagen locked himself away studying the stone hand, obsessed with it. Maebh and the others became aware that something was killing their group off, a hard task even for one of them. As their numbers dropped to only a few left alive in the fortress the discovered it was Hagen. He'd cut off his own left hand and grafted on the stone one. Tendrils from the eye on its back had drilled into his arm. He tried to kill the remaining few of them. With the old woman managing to sever the hand and escape with it.
I look at her stump.
"Did you...Use it?" I ask.
"Yes. To escape here. I couldn't let him have it. The hand, it has a mind of its own. It's like having another intelligence living alongside yours."
She rubs where her missing hand was attached.
"It took great willpower to cut it off."
The old woman cut her own hand off! What kind of person can do that?
"I hid it away here. On this world. After crossing through many realities."
"You think he's found you here?" I ask.
"Everything you've told me says he has."
"Why?" I ask. "What's so big about this hand?"
"Power, pure and simple. The First Born used it to break the barriers of the fortress."
"It could get me home?" I ask. Excited by the notion.
She doesn't answer me. Not willing to meet my stare she looks at the mug in her hands.
"It could right?"
"No. If he's here. It stays hidden. He can't get it back. There are other ways to get you home child."
"That's it then?" I try not to get mad. But I get the feeling she's holding back something. "It's not something else? Something you haven't been telling me?"
She seemed to be mulling over something. And then finally she answered. "Yes. You can't go home. Not yet. You have to help me."
"I'm no heroine. I wanted to be an interior decorator. But my dream never happened. I took goddamn color theory in college. How's that going to help? Only thing I was good at in gym was volley ball. So I could spike a ball into his face I guess. A good evening for me is sitting in front of the TV eating pizza. And you think I can help you?"
I get up from the table. I can feel the tears stinging my eyes. I don't want to lose it in front of the old woman, but I can't stop myself. I turn my back to her and lean against the cave wall. I start sobbing uncontrollably. I'm a freaking idiot! I can't even keep it together.
"If what you say is true, how did you make it here Serena?" I hear the old woman's voice in my head. "Your stronger then you know."
I wipe the tears from my eyes. "Doubt it."
I train with the old woman. Not only the crystal thing but she has me meditate. Plus I start doing sit-ups and push-ups. After about three or four days Tenth shows up with some food and supplies for the old woman. She stays and eats supper with us. Maebh has her spend the night as well. Before we get ready for bed the old woman approaches us with two cups.
"There is something that needs to be done if we are to continue, Serena? Tenth?"
She hands us the cups, they're filled with an unpleasant looking liquid. The smell coming from it isn't so great either.
"You must both agree to this."
"What?" I ask.
"I've mixed together a potion. It took some time to discover the right ingredients. But I finally worked it out."
Tenth says something in her language to her.
"What?" I ask.
"This potion will make it possible for you two to understand each other."
The old woman nods.
I raise the cup to my lips. Damn that smell is bad. But I don't want to think about it. Just want to get it over with.
"No not yet! We need to add the final ingredient."
Maebh doesn't answer. Instead Tenth and the old woman appear to have a conversation. Tenth doesn't seem all that pleased with what the old woman told her.
"So, what is it?" I ask. Swishing the stuff in the mug around. "This final ingredient?"
The old woman pulls out a small dagger. "Your blood." She replies.
I back away from her.
"I just need a drop."
"And you want us to drink this?"
"Yes. You'll be able to talk to one another."
"Okay. Just get it over with."
I stick out my hand and Maebh takes Tenth's cup and holds it under my hand. She pricks my thumb and it drips into the cup. Merging with the liquid. She then does the same with Tenth. Her blood drips into my drink. As she's doing this I suck on my thumb to stop the blood. If mom was here she'd holler at me for doing this. She'd tell me how unhealthy it was but that never stopped me before.
I take a deep breath. I look at Maebh and Tenth. "Bottoms up."
I gulp the whole mess down. It has a pulpy quality to it. The taste is something like syrup. I cough a bit as I finish it. I bend over as I nearly hack out a lung. My ears start to ring louder and louder till all I hear is a humming noise and then nothing. A shudder runs through my body.
Maebh puts a hand on my shoulder.
"I'm fine." I say. Clearing my throat. "Heck of a kick to it. Feel like I got drunk on cough syrup and mouth wash."
Tenth looks at me. "Does this one always sound so mad when it talks?"
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