This story is by Lynn Bowie and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Erintopia stood on the Mediterranean hillside, watching a teenage boy. Olive trees flourished in the valley and tenacious licorice root grew wild on cliffs. Golden autumn hues introduced another successful harvesting season.
“A bountiful orchard, indeed,” she thought, breaking off pieces of woody licorice root growing below her feet. She enjoyed its sweet sugary flavor.
His frivolous laughter echoed around her. Wild and carefree, he danced in harmony with nature. Most alluring though, were the vibrant colors emanating around him.
He had a companion. A dirty white piglet frolicked at his side, rolling around and running between the boys’ legs. His pink snout rooted, while his huge ears canvassed their playground for friends and foe. He sprouted a contented Mohawk as the boy scratched his ears, rubbed his belly and lavished him with kisses.
“You are King of all this Land!” the boy declared, getting down on one knee. Bestowing snippets of an olive branch, the piglet accepted the honor. A wreath encircled his tiny head. The piglet strutted about, gallantly boasting of his newfound title. Piglet was the King, and the boy his knight in shining armor.
Spellbound, curiosity and amusement overwhelmed her.
“Erintopia!” Autumn leaves repeated her name in musical rifts. Trying to get her attention, the wind blew affectionate kisses. The sun signaled her. Soon it would be time to leave this place.
“Okay, Okay!” she called back impatiently. Catching her obstinate behavior, she softened. “Before I go, I have to know. Who is this boy so filled with joy?”
The wind and leaves harmonized. “This Earthling is special, Erintopia. This one is exceptional.”
Erintopia peered into the life of Graden. “What colors are these? Can you tell me, please?”
“His aura is different from other Earthlings. This boy is magical.”
“Even though he plays in the mud with his piglet, he creates a charm so powerful, a rainbow so brilliant, beams so commanding, that it hurts my eyes! What magic does he disguise?” She demanded an answer.
Erintopia watched as they lay down to rest and cool off in the muck beneath the trees. Eyes closed, they were unaware of the hilltop spy. Moving forward, she became snagged; the licorice root pulled her down. “Stay away! Stay away!”
She lost her footing, tripping and tumbling down the hillside into the direct path of the unsuspecting pair. Landing within inches of the piglet, his Mohawk bristled in self-defense.
“Klutz! Putz! She scolded herself, too polite to curse. Her buoyancy balanced her fall. Hucephs’ can defy gravity.
“What?” Graden, startled, also felt a presence nearby. He cradled King Piglet safely in his arms, stood up, and stared in her direction. Floating oils of aqua and blue, edged in ultra-violet light, danced before him.
“I am invisible. Impossible!” Erintopia assured herself, knowing she had gotten too close to the Earthling. Nervous that she was detected, her voice pulsed with a musical cadence only she could hear.
Or so she thought. “Is someone there?” Graden asked, feeling something special was about to happen.
King Piglet squirmed and forced himself down, running toward the illumination. Only animals have a profound ability to see a Hucephs’ glory. Graden saw something too, as he witnessed the first stages of a Hucephs’ transformation into its true life form.
“Hello?” Neither surprise nor fear controlled him.
Erintopia dared not move. She tried to ignore the snorting piglet circling her. Although Earthlings cannot see Hucephs’, they can at times feel their presence. Often, they play games with Earthlings. They whisper in their ears, tug on their hair, and invade their dreams. This taunting behavior is frowned upon; antics often delivered by bored Huceph children.
“Impossible, terrible, this is unbelievable! Because humans don’t possess senses pure and keen, one of our kind can never be seen!” Both mystified and curious, she thought a moment. “Maybe, he needs my support…an opportunity, of sort.”
Missed opportunities for Hucephs’ are stored between layers of the universe and used later at their convenience. Sometimes, like Earthlings, opportunities are lost forever. She decided to use her opportunity now.
Erintopia squirmed with logic, not sure which direction to take. Direct contact with humans could cause an interruption in time. Stressed with emotional conflict, and without apology, she expelled a loud burp.
A colorful inky substance surrounded them. A combination of his energy, wet ink, and her electromagnetic charges caused a power surge. The two made unavoidable contact. Their atoms fused. They became one.
Explosive images filled Erintopias’ mind. Visions of judging people, angry bullies, and mocking strangers raced through her head. In an instant, she understood the resilience of this tenderhearted boy born with Down Syndrome. She witnessed his pain transform into an unrelenting desire to save others. Driven by a heart saturated with courage, a chromosome abnormality was his only limitation.
She gasped at his mental powers. A force to be reckoned with, he developed an amazing coping strategy. Ridicules were deflected by a psychological onslaught of fire balls, causing them headaches and disorientation. Saturated with overwhelming feelings of love and hope, forgiveness and friendship, his enemies were morally defeated. In time, they retreated, avoided or accepted him. He grew more powerful. Analyzing deeper, she realized that this unusual power was not to destroy hate, but to engage it.
“Crushed by their own dark hearted souls.” She smiled.
Erintopia was well-versed on this contagious disease of humans. They were a burden to Mother Earth, already struggling to survive so many unyielding and heartbreaking changes. Mankind was spinning out of control, while her kind struggled to straighten out their mess.
Hucephs’ tried to alleviate catastrophes driven by climate change, animal extinction, and ecosystems destroyed by oceanic pollution. Poisons emitted by overflowing landfills, rainfall destruction, and bombs were taking their toll. Ethnic cleansings, decimation of ancient relics, and religious conflict continued. Disease, famine, and war prevailed, politically motivated. Greed, callousness and narcissism controlled humanity. The inevitable reality of nuclear war approached.
Unable to further interfere without detection, Hucephs made a choice. Fear of extinction guided their decision. Most already left and relocated throughout the multiverse. Erintopia was one of the last to go. She loved the beauty of Mother Earth, its brave people and the infinite possibilities.
Graden’s destiny was revealed to her. He was a revolutionist. Their fusion removed all his cognitive and physical delays. With her help, he could stand among nations challenging malevolent forces. Earth’s future depended on the equilibrium between good and bad. Evil can be redirected, suppressed and even understood, but never eradicated. They knew this.
Erintopia needed him to comprehend her, an energy life-force capable of travel between universal planes. Half human, half Cephalopod, Hucepths’ began to evolve from deep ocean depths, millions of years ago. Highly intelligent, Hucephs’ are capable of unlocking an infinite number of ever changing puzzles when challenged. Void of adversaries and no longer predators, they bypassed the continued infantile stages of Earthlings.
Erintopia was cautious. She didn’t want Graden’s visual of her life form to be terrifying. Hucephs’ possessed a great sense of humor. Hoping to calm his befuddled experience, she created a snapshot posing with her octopus features. Four spongy arm-like tentacles framed an oversized cranial. A mischievous flat face with horizontal violet pupils flirted. A sheepish grin exposed her comical personality. Three hearts pounded in her chest while translucent blue blood flowed visibly under her transparent skin. With caution, still smiling, her human arms and legs unfolded from her underbelly. The remaining four arm-like tentacles supported her body as she eloquently stood before him.
Smaller than humans, light and airy, Hucephs’ take up less space. They are culturally sensitive to Mother Earth and utilize only the resources needed. Their energy creates the massive ability to travel through the galaxy, soaking up solar energy from the sun and stars. At night they glide through the atmosphere, collecting the moonlight in their suckers. They are self-sufficient, energy efficient, and continually evolving to the next level.
A windstorm of fallen leaves formed a funnel around them. It was a message, she thought. It’s time for her to move on and leave this human alone. Erintopia backed off. The leaves fell. She stood in her all-encompassing beauty. He witnessed her omniscience. King Piglet rolled around her, squealing, not in fright, but with delight.
An Earthling and a Huceph stood powerful, together in time and space. Graden felt mindful, liberated, and exhilarated. He knew he needed to make a decision.
“How could his cosmic meeting ever be explained, except for a global coup d’état?”
He was afraid to move, waiting for a telepathic answer. This was no dream. There was hope for mankind. This was proof that love exists. They embraced again. Graden flushed a soft pink, not with embarrassment, but with affection. Erintopia could not resist him, cuddling and inhaling his essence. They were now universal rebels, two forces to be reckoned with.
“I will never let you go. Mother Earth will heal now, this we know.”