Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday Fiction for August 14, 2009

Welcome to Friday Fiction, hosted this week by Yours Truly (provided I can figure out McLinky and make it work correctly). Please post your links, and enjoy the submissions now that everyone is home from the Faithwriters Conference.

This excerpt is from The Eridanus Dream, and takes place the second morning following Y’La’s arrival at Pisces.

Morning Prayers

From The Eridanus Dream

By Rick Higginson

Morning disturbed him far too early, and he dropped to the floor to see Rory sprawled haphazardly in the middle bunk, his bare bottom protruding from beneath the disheveled bed linens. Sean faced the other way as he pulled his jumpsuit on, having seen more of the commander already than he would have preferred. He felt Y’La calling to him from just outside the door, and found her waiting in the corridor for him to emerge. He made her wait long enough for him to use the CF, and then allowed her to take him out to the edge of the slate where she had gone the previous morning.

She lifted her face and began her morning prayers with him listening uncomfortably. While she spoke congenially with God, he had wondered until just two days before if God existed or even cared anymore. Even so, as she canted the traditional liturgy he found himself longing for the feeling of peace she exuded, and clumsily began a prayer of his own. Silently in his mind, he ventured a petition while feeling much like someone who was trying to reconcile with an offended friend.

She finished her first prayer and waited with her eyes still focused on something unseen. When he finished his own awkward attempt, she gently took his hand and began her next prayer, an exuberant one of praise and thanksgiving. He was aware from her touch that men did not recite these and that in many ways she was flouting centuries of tradition by including him in the practice. Turning his eyes to look in the direction she was looking, he hoped to catch a glimpse of whatever held her attention so firmly in the distance.

Seeing nothing but empty sky, he closed his eyes. In the phrases that rang in his ears and in his mind, he found a memory.

“Why, honored priestess, do we stand and look towards what we cannot see when we pray?” the little girl asked.

“It is an exercise of faith, Y’La,” the elder woman answered patiently and kindly. “We look to what we cannot see because we know it is there, and we direct our prayers towards that place where God has planted Her Name. If we cannot have faith enough to direct our prayers towards the Temple, which we or our mothers have seen, how can we direct our prayers towards God whom we have not seen?”

“But the Temple is so far away,” Y’La objected. “How can God hear us through the deep forests?”

“The Temple is far away, but God dwells wherever Her people call on Her. You cannot go so far that God cannot hear you, child. If you could travel to the farthest reaches of the sky, God would still hear you.”

He didn’t notice that she had finished canting the prayer as his mind wandered to a memory of his own. He recalled sitting in the church as a young teen-ager, attending more to make his mother happy than for any reasons of his own. He could not remember what the pastor had been talking about, but his attention had been attracted when he heard the stars mentioned.

The words that had followed rang clearly in his memory all those years later.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your Presence?

If I ascend to the heavens, You are there.

If I make my bed in the depths, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Her thoughts gently interrupted his memory. It is a beautiful psalm; perhaps you will share more of them with me later?

He nodded agreement, and she began the next prayer. He yielded to her memory, and his voice joined hers in the words.

5 comments:

Joanne Sher said...

Wonderful descriptions. I could definitely feel his confusion and picture where they were.

Not sure if it was me, but it FELT like you were head hopping. I went back and saw that you weren't, but it still had that feeling to me. Thought you'd wanna know.

Thanks for hosting, Rick!

Hoomi said...

In this story, there is a certain amount of "head hopping" between Sean and Y'La because of the B'sela which joins their minds. It's a bit clearer in the context of the whole story, but in this scene, Sean ends up picking up on her memory, while she is likewise aware of his recollection of the Psalm.

Patty Wysong said...

I could feel his confusion and discomfort as well as that connection, Rick. It was a haunting sort of feeling/thing.

Thanks so much for hosting for us this week!! :-)

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Oooh, MORE please! (and you figured out the linky thing just fine, lol) I love Y'La and her memory and the way you show their memories/thoughts shared for that moment. It's wonderfully done-I especially liked that Psalm...it's one of my favorites. The hints in which you subtly bury in this story makes me want to read it all. Kudos!

Dee Yoder said...

I love the slow and meandering feeling of this moment between the two characters. The past and present together. His journey is just beginning.