The field was filled with old ones. We could see them as we lay flat, noses barely visible at the edge of the cliff above. “What are they doing down there?” Annaka whispered.
Lelala turned a shocked eye. “What they do every year at this time. Don’t you pay attention in History class?” Annaka shook her head no, causing a sharp “Tsk!” to rise from Lelala’s lips. We all looked down as it echoed across the canyon and every head below slowly lifted. They knew we were watching.
From far away, Volzka the First called out. “Come down!” He was the most ancient of the old ones and we knew better than to run away. Our world was considered the least desirable of the 20 circling the twin stars because we did not rely on technology, but what the naysayers did not know was that we had perfected the art of telepathy. The irritation of the old ones was palpable, like an itch on the back of my head, except it was inside my skull. The six of us—Annaka, Lelala, Skortch, Farwar, Neene, and me—made our way quickly. As we stood at the edge of the field, Volzka called out again. “Closer!” We moved in until we were before him. His eyes gleamed out from beneath bushy eyebrows and glued themselves to me. “Viska, you know better than to be out on Gathering Night.”
I looked at the fertile ground at my feet and glanced at the other old ones in the field. They had been here forever, a part of the earth. I wondered how they survived with their bottom halves in the ground like plants. “I’m sorry, grampa.”
He scowled. “What are you all doing here?! It is forbidden!”
Annaka spoke up. “We wanted to learn!”
Volzka’s smile was bright and sudden. “You are the ones!” We looked at each other with fear and confusion. I felt a huge soft hand wrap around mine and turned. My grampa gripped me with tears in his eyes. “My child, look there.” With the other hand he pointed to the side of the field, where five statues stood. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the statues were the remnants of five old ones; they looked like chipped stone and were, without question, no more. “Do you want to know the wisdom of the stars?”
I looked at my friends and back at my grampa. We all nodded, seemingly at the same time. We had just committed to something much larger than ourselves. I grabbed Annaka’s hand. She grabbed Skortch’s. He grabbed Farwar’s. Farwar grabbed Neen’s and Lelala’s. We walked as a group to a small open corner of the field, where we let it take hold. By the time we were two feet down, we were connected to everything and everyone. By the time we were as old as they, we too would hold all the knowledge of our universe and beyond.
AR Neal lives in multiple dimensions, and you can find her in any one of them at any given time. She is the Cave Mistress here at The Scribe’s Cave. She writes book reviews and other things for Flash Fiction Chronicles. She puts out pieces of flash fiction at her regular blog. She lives to serve a house full of four-legged and two-legged creatures (known as dogs, cats, a soon-to-be-on-his-own son and a very artistic husband). She reads more than she sleeps.