Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ally and Trypp (A plot outline) (Warning: This is a dark story.)

The barbarians move across the SatEye.

Momi’s soft palms hold my wet cheeks “Close your eyes. That’s little Threo’s dome.”

I shut my eyes as the dome bursts. She’s only in fifth grade, but we are in the same ballet class. Threo holds here legs so straight her knees just disappear. The barbs swarm. Through the smoke, I can see dolls and tutus burning, melting, and making more black smoke.

Momi looks at Trypp, sitting on the other side of me, “See they always separate the hundreds from the fifties. You must stay with Ally.”

Trypp holds my hand, tighter than usual, and nods silently. The distant flame bounce up and down on Trypp’s flat, silvery face.

“No matter what,” Momi seems to be in a dream, “No matter what.”

On the SatEye, two circles of barbs form outside the burning dome. One fills with hundreds, certainly only women and children, in the other, shiny gold and silver and metallic blues and green fifties. Trypp, who’s been with me since I was a tiny baby, is green. I love Trypp.

Fire sprays over the fifties. The circle around the hundreds shrinks. I can’t see what’s happening, but the SatEye picture gets redder and redder. My stomach feels sick. The air rumbles as the dome struggles to cancel the noise of the explosions outside.

The SatEye flickers. Momi swallows a handful of pills and kisses my forehead, “Stay with Trypp.” I’ve never seem her touch Trypp, but she holds his face and kisses his metallic face, “Now. Go. Remember, no matter what.”

Trypp picks me up and runs. I hear Momi’s slow, sleepy voice fade away, “I love you.”

Trypp’s sleek green body unfolds and he tucks me inside like a joey in a kangaroo’s pouch. He smells so good, warm and sweet, like fresh apple pie.

“Release the girl!”

The barbarian is covered in red armor. If he wasn’t so close, I might mistake him for a fifty, but I can see wet eyes and blood where he lost a hand. The other hand holds a large weapon pointing at Trypp.

Trypp raises his palms, as all fifties do to show obedience, but his palm show lasts too long, like an old fifty. Trypp was upgraded for my twelfth birthday, he must be weighing “Release the girl,” and “No matter what.”

Trypp covers my eyes. The weapon flashes. I smell sweat. The barbarian screams. I’m covered in blood. The weapon flies into the air and explodes. Trypp sets me on the ground. I’m okay. The barbarian’s wet eyes sit in a pool of blood.

Trypp puts on the red armor and we rush toward Threo’s dome.

“Stop, you’re going the wrong way.”

Trypp stops palms up. All around us I see black smoke and hear fighting. What should we do? Where can we find safety? I realize that Momi must be dead, maybe Dadi too. I crawl into Trypp’s pouch, “Whatever.”

Tripp drops his palms and dives into the smoking wreckage of Threo’s dome. He crawls past pink silky ballet shoes, their ribbons burnt away and soft gray koalas with singed ears and tails. He goes deeper and deeper into the ashes until we’re buried under her bed.

The air smells like the time the recycler exploded spraying poop all over the yard and a little like grilled steaks at a summer picnic. I hear Threo screaming, “No! No! No!” The grownup women are also screaming.

All night and the next day the screaming continues and we stay hidden in the ashes. The following day, it’s quiet, but we don’t move.

“I’m hungry.” Trypp extends a tube into my mouth and I swallow the sweet mixture. It tastes like strawberries and cream. I just love Trypp.

(Include a scene of the difficult and dangerous travels to the mountains?)

Each morning, Tripp’s face dilates and the screen lights up. “SATELLITE SCAN: ONE LOCATED. CARRIER DETECTED. SIGNAL ACQUIRED. NO BROADCAST CHANNELS. NO COMMUNICATION CHANNELS.”

Today is my birthday. I’m sixteen years old. I haven’t spoken to a hundred since the barbarian attacks three years ago. Trypp and I live in an ancient ruin, high up on the cliffs. During the summer we plant corn on desert floor.

“Trypp, time to water the crops.” Palms up, he fetches a ceramic jug. I rest in the shade as he climbs down the narrow path to the valley. All morning I watch the shiny green spec fetch water from the tiny stream and scurry across the valley to our tiny plots of corn and beans.

Each morning, palms up, I send Trypp to be the farmer, and each evening, palms up, he’s the hunter. In the fall, he harvests whatever was not found and stolen by the barbs. Each evening, he is the hunter catching an iguana or a snake for my dinner.

Most afternoons I sit Trypp in the hot sun to recharge his batteries with his face dilated so I can continue my studies. I think I’m ready to graduate high school, but I’m so lonely. High school graduation: no prom, no party, no ceremony. Momi and Dadi would be proud of me.

When my lesson is over, Trypp shuts his face and I can see tears streaking down my face.

Today is my eighteenth birthday. Trypp’s face dilates; no signals at all today. “Trypp, I’m so lonely. I wish there was even one person to talk to.”

The screen says, “WOULD YOU LIKE A BABY?”

“Baby? Are you serious? Can I? Can you? Baby?”

I curl up in a little ball and cry. Trypp’s upraised palms move towards me.
“Don’t touch me! Go tend the crops!”

It’s a full moon tonight and the owls circle high above our cliff. A bobcat leads her cub to the stream. The owl dives, his talons flashing and deadly mouth open, but the cub dives under the mother and a maternal claw swats the owl sending feathers into the air. I fall asleep thinking of Momi.

The next night a yowl and a hiss wakes me up. I look to the sky. The cub wasn’t so lucky tonight.

“Tyrpp, I want a baby.”

His upraised palms gently hold my waist. I close me eyes and think of the dome and Momi and Dadi. He palms are so warm and my belly relaxes. Now my belly is so warm I fall asleep and dream of dolls and dancers.

(Include a scene of the birth and/or infant care.)

Agrinine is talking! I’m so happy to have someone to talk to. We talk all day. I’m teaching him the names of everything, saguaro, adobe, rattlesnake, moon, water, lichen, fifty, nose, sandstone, trail, and owl, just everything.

He loves to talk. He even talks to Trypp. “Get me a drink of water,” “Catch me a rabbit,” “Bake me some bread.” It’s so cute, when the palms go up and Argi sits there and laughs. I love Argi.

In the mornings Argi and I go for walks. His feet are tough and he can run up and down the rough trails. He’s getting taller and reminds me of Dadi. In the afternoon, I teach him lessons, numbers, and letters. We draw in the sand with sticks.

Argi sleeps in my arms. I just love Argi.

“Trypp, Argi is so wonderful, I’m going to have another baby!” I can see his palms, but not as quickly or high as they used to go. I better start the next baby as soon as possible, before his batteries die.

“Tonight, do it tonight.” His arms shake, but finally I see his palms.

I go to sleep early, “Wake my when the full moon is at the top of the sky.”

I dream of oceans and children running along the beach. A big wave roars towards the beach. I scream and the children run, but the wave grabs them and washes them away.

The next morning I’m alone. Drops of blood lead down the trail to the valley and I can see a circle of vulture far across the desert.