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A short story to explain the origins of a novel series

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Feb 19th, 2016
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  1. Root Kit (A short-story and precursor to the novel series I plan to write called 'Hacking Kit')
  3. Along the tangled mangrove roots of the amazon river, a young native man, unknown to the rest of the world, drifts gently downstream in a hand-carved canoe - a spear in one hand at the ready. His goal was not only to catch a fish, but also to keep his mind blank, not even to think, or he may miss the ripple of an oncoming fish - at least that's what Buntu, his father and the tribe's spiritual leader told him.
  4. "You worry too much over something that doesn't exist; there is no fish until the fish makes itself known. You probably spend so much time thinking about the fish that it can hear your thoughts!"
  5. "But the fish can't hear my thoughts." Kit argued "I even tried yelling at them once and they did nothing, but as soon as I struck they were all gone."
  6. "Kit, my son, you aren't a bad fisher because you can't fish, you are a bad fisher because you try to hard to be good at fishing!" Buntu groaned, frustrated with kit's endless drama between him and his own mind. "Besides, your voice only makes a ripple in the air of this plane, your thoughts, however, can make ripples on many planes."
  7. "Like the ones you visit when you take Ayawaska?"
  8. "Potentially, but it depends on where your mind is."
  9. Kit let out a sigh upon realizing that he had gotten distracted by his own father's words. His muscles were also twitching from holding the spear for over two hours, so trying to stay perfectly still didn't seem very appealing. Feeling frustrated, he relaxed his posture, sat back in his canoe, and focused on the gentle rocking of the boat, provided by the cool refreshing wind. Kit loved being out on the water. For one thing it was the safest spot to get some alone time (it's quite rude to approach someone while they are fishing) and that was super important when the only people you see everyday is your tribe. He once asked his Father if there were other people out there. His response always sent a chill down his spine.
  10. "Yes, I have traveled the world, and there are many, many people of all sorts of types. Some are good, but the majority of them are the devil. They hate the Earth and animals, they take what they want and don't care about others, they are obsessed with building tools to kill each other better, there's no escaping hateful words simply because you are not like them, and worst of all they only want what others have."
  11. "But why would people live like that?" Kit asked, perplexed at never wanting to hurt anyone, even killing animals for food was not desirable to him.
  12. "It seems that they are always scared, of the Earth, of each other, of the dark, and spirits even. They try tirelessly to collect all these things in order to make themselves feel less scared and to appear better than one another, but it never does any good. They only end up having to fight each other more and thus they become more scared."
  13. "Will they take what we have too?" Kit could recall his heart racing at the thought of murderous demons taking his tribe by storm in the night.
  14. "Maybe, but I'm confident that the forest loves us like we love her, so she will keep us safe unless we leave her sanctity."
  15. It occurred to Kit that being squished between two steep mountains was the ideal spot to be protected from outsiders. Kit had never been down either end of the river and so he had no idea how close other people could be. Buntu made it clear that no matter how much Kit wanted to stray from the shade of the mangroves that he shouldn't. He could recall vividly how his father once took him to the edge of a clearing in the woods, pointed to a white bird high in the sky, and said "You see that bird up there, high in the sky, the one which only flies straight and doesn't flap its wings?" His father's voice trembled slightly, which was rare and strange to Kit "They are giant eagles that never come back to Earth except to eat us."
  16. "Why would they do that?"
  17. "Because they belong to the devil."
  18. That had been enough to scare a young Kit into not leaving the cool shade of the forest, but after he became a man his yearning
  19. to see more grew with him. He was beginning to wonder if those demonic eagles belonged to the other 'good' people, and not just the devil. His frustration at possibly being lied to led him to make news plans for when he arrived home - he was going to ask his father for permission to leave.
  20. Upon storming into the community Kit was greeted by his wife, Kalia. A somewhat heavy-set woman with the beauty of someone half her age, her warm brown eyes smiled at him from a distance and helped him feel at ease as he got closer to embracing her. She really was the only person he wanted to see every day. After embracing her for several moments Kit decided that his plan to confront Buntu could wait, he would rather spend time with his wife. After a delicious meal they went to bed. Kit softly began to kiss her neck, knowing that she liked that the most, and cuddled really close to her.
  21. This was their routine, and he often wondered whether he really needed more than this or not - however this time something was different. Kalia seemed tense and distant. He sat up to look at his wife. Somehow she seemed more beautiful than the entire twenty years they had spent growing up together. Even though they both grew up with more than ten boys or girls, Kit and Kalia had only ever wanted to be friends with each other. All the other boys were so obsessed with being violent and the girls wanted to be more delicate, and none of this appealed to either of them. Kit was more focused on finding new adventures in the forest and Kalia enjoyed accompanying him on his expeditions. He thought back to how his wife looked then, and even still he couldn't put a finger on why she looked so much more beautiful now. Still, he was bothered by the fact that she seemed so off.
  22. "What's the matter?" He asked softly
  23. "Nothing," she responded, "my stomach just hurts."
  24. Kit knew his wife well enough to know she was lying. The fact that he couldn't fish, let alone hunt as well as the others made him secretly suspicious that she was going to be unfaithful to him.
  25. "Are you hungry?" Kit asked with a deliberately irritated tone.
  26. "No, you know the community has plenty of food right now."
  27. "I bet you'd feel differently had I brought you some fish." Kit murmured.
  28. Kalia sat up and initially gave Kit a look of surprise, but then her eyes softened and teared up. Sobbing softly, she spoke between the breaks "I'm sorry that I have a stomach that hurts sometimes... okay... normally I don't care... this isn't about your hunting skills... the fact that you're not like the others jerks... is... is.. why I love you so much"
  29. KIt began to cry too. He brought his wife close to him and they swayed back and forth for some time. Kit let out a sigh and started to cry even harder.
  30. "I'm sorry, it's not your fault. I just feel so weak compared to the others, and I'm worried you might decide to leave me for them."
  31. "I would never do that, I'm can't stand those cowards." Kalia said with a look of disgust on her face.
  32. Upon seeing the look of confusion of Kit's face she smiled with her beautiful eyes and said "They are too weak to cry." Kit began crying much harder at this, and he placed his head onto her lap. Kalia began to play with his hair, which she knew would always console him no matter what.
  33. Still, something did not sit right with him. "There's more to your stomach ache, isn't there?"
  34. Kalia's tears were enough of an answer to Kit. He sat up once again and held her close, rocking her back and forth until she felt better.
  35. "You can tell me, you know" said Kit, "I won't get mad because I know you wouldn't do anything to hurt me."
  36. "You might though.."
  37. "Then I will get mad if you don't tell me."
  38. Kalia looked down in shame. Kit liked that she wasn't a good liar, especially since his dad thinks his secrets are safe with her. She bit her lip so hard that Kit could see it turn white even with only a few candles illuminating her face. He could tell she was thinking very hard about what to say."
  39. To his surprise, she didn't waste any time avoiding the truth, "I'm probably pregnant, and your dad agrees."
  40. "What!?" Kit yelled as he jumped out from the furs and pulled at his hair. "Why didn't you tell me?"
  41. Kalia remained calm, she knew Kit would respond well to reason.
  42. "I didn't want to make anything official until my body started showing signs."
  43. Kit took a deep breath and sat down again. He searched long and hard for the right thing to say. He could see why she would wait, he had grown up watching more than half of the babies in the community die, even within months of being born.
  44. He would say nothing, however, because a faint humming sound began to resonate throughout their hut. He had experienced earthquakes before, but this did not sound like the work of nature.
  45. Suddenly he was tingling with fear, and strangely excitement.
  46. 'Could it be?' he thought.
  47. He bolted outside, still naked, to see a very bright light moving towards him. The dull groan soon became a massive roar, with a white light blinding him just as much as the sun. Kit thought the massive sun bird was going to dive right at him, but he was paralyzed with fear so he did not move. Instead the sun bird flew right over his head, so close the trees tried to go with it, and he managed to catch a glimpse of it's back. it's was blue red and white, and the body was green. It's markings were strange, almost as if done by a human.
  48. "It is the demons!" he thought.
  49. He raced back to the hut and told Kalia to stay put. Kit then ran to Buntu's hut, but saw him along the way, trying to get people to evacuate. "Don't try to fight them! They will kill us all. Get away from here before too late."
  50. While approaching Buntu, Kit noticed that many of the men were already preparing for battle. The tribe had never been in a battle, but Buntu had taught the men some techniques after returning from his journey. He said there were great beasts roaming the land and they needed to be prepared. The training had made them eager to fight, now the men were too pumped up to listen to the man who taught them everything.
  51. Buntu saw kit and and immediately ran to him. He was crying, he looked scared, and Kit had never seen his father so undignified. He got on his knees and begged Kit, "Please, my son, I'm begging you, no one else will listen. That bird is just the beginning. The demons are coming, and they will wipe us all out. You have to do exactly as I say. Take the women and children to your canoe. Load them on there and have them set sail. You must, and I mean MUST stay behind and kill anybody who sees them leave. They will hunt them and they will kill them or worse if they are caught."
  52. Kit couldn't think, let alone make up his mind. All he could see was Kalia's eyes, and the bright sparkle they had, even under a dim candlelight, right after she told him she was pregnant.
  53. All Kit could manage to say was "well what about you?"
  54. "I must join the men I so foolishly sent into battle." His voice was trembling strongly, he put his hand on Kit's shoulder. The grip was stern, yet warm and comforting. It made him okay with the fact that his father, even himself maybe, was about to die. While gazing deep into his father deep brown eyes one last time, a distant rumble quite like the last began to approach. The look of pride that momentarily over-shadowed his father's fear was gone, and now Kit had never seen his father so scared. Kit look ed in the direction of the sound and saw three bright lights at an indeterminable distance through the trees.
  55. "I have to go get Kalia," said Kit.
  56. "Yes, and after I die I will guide her and...." Buntu paused, and Kit recognized that he was being read by his father. "And your son too."
  57. This time Kit put his hand on his father's shoulders. "I know you will," he said.
  58. Just then ten or so women and a couple of kids came running up to Buntu.
  59. "Buntu," one woman shouted "We can't find the others, we think they ran away!"
  60. "Some of them are fighting as well," he replied.
  61. "That's stupid, don't they know we need to get out of here?"
  62. "Yeah, well there's not enough time to worry about that. Kit is going to get Kalia and we're going to get out of here."
  63. "Yeah's already well there's not enough time to worry about that. Kit is going to get Kalia and we're going to get out of here."
  64. "We already spoke to her she's packing some thing."
  65. Kit looked towards his hut to see Kalia lugging two bags that seemed to be too heavy for her. Just then the groans of the sun birds became crystal clear and a bright llshone onto Kalia. Kiit ran towards her, and took the bags. "I packed your stuff too, we're going to need it."
  66. Kit winced at not having the strength to tell her. Just then a sun bird came over the canopy, engulfing the entire area with white light. A whistling sound from the sky became increasingly louder and out of instinct they both ran towards the group. Just as they had turned away a large boom came from their hut, knocking both of them over. Kit turned back to to his hut to see it had turned into a bunch of small fires. 'What is this demonic power?' he thought.
  67. When they had both gotten back to the group Kit was saddened to see his father had left. Just then he remembered that his father was guiding, and suddenly he felt capable of doing anything.
  68. "Let's GO!" He instructed, leading the group into the woods. He looked behind to see small white discs popping into the sky, there were people hanging from them, and they had some sort of weapon or magic that made a lot of flashes and popping noises. Kit knew it wasn't something to watch, and he continued to run. A small girl tripped over some roots and Kalia put the girl on her back and continued to run at full speed. Kit, being at the back to provide protection for everyone ran up to her. He wanted to say so much at that moment but rather he decided to say something sweet and short. "That right there is the reason I love you," he said, not missing a beat despite having sprinted for almost two minutes now.
  69. Suddenly the biggest smile Kit had ever seen on her face came about, and he felt even less optimistic about telling her what his father had told him to do. They reached the canoes, with loud pops and what sounded like barking coyotes not far behind. Kalia was the last one in the canoe. She turned around to see him kicking the canoe away from shore, tears streaming down his face while sputtering out that he loves her.
  70. 'Why!?" she pleaded, "our child needs you!"
  71. The sound of her sobs hurt more than anything. Kit bit down on his tongue as hard as he could, not caring if he bit it off. Then, he realized he owes her an explanation. He gave mercy to his tongue.
  72. "Because Buntu is right, they will follow you all and hunt you if I don't kill them first."
  73. At that moment the women in the canoe started paddling.
  74. "NOO!!!" Kalia shrieked. He could see in the moonlight the sparkling tears drop from her face like a downpour. He dropped to his knees and held his hands to his heart. He shook his head slowly, knowing that words weren't the answer here.
  75. "No you can't I love you!" she screamed, even the echoes of her voice could be heard over the loud pops and coyotes. Kit could even hear voices approaching now.
  76. "Don't you see, Kit?" She pleaded desperately. Neither of them could swim so it was pretty hopeless. "This is the the reason I love you so much, you're so brave."
  77. Tears began to pour out of Kit's eyes. He could hardly see his wife now, but it didn't matter because she was too far away to even make out facial features.
  78. Kalia turned to the rest of the boat. "Turn this thing around RIGHT NOW." She raised her fist and stood up, rocking the canoe perilously. She was stronger and bigger than all of them. "Don't make me do this."
  79. Kit could just barely make out the figure of a small child standing up to her.
  80. "How could you want to turn back!?" the young girl pleaded. Kit realized it was the same girl Kalia had picked up. "They're all going to kill us and you have a child on the way. The only way your husband can make sure your child has a future is if he sacrifices himself."
  81. Kit was surprised to see Kalia immediately back down. She sat down and began to cry the most painful tears Kit had ever heard.
  82. As the boat, and Kalia's sobs disappeared into the darkness, Kit realized that he had to make sure to kill the people following them.
  83. 'They really are demons,' he thought.
  84. Kit grabbed three spears and turned to face his approaching opponents. He decided to not bother with the coyotes and just spear the assailants. For some reason he also cleared his mind instantaneously, his mind was even too clear to feel bewilderment or question why it was happening. He could just make the shadows of the demons when a flash of light and a loud pop came from one of them.
  85. A devastating thud sent pieces of bark and wood flying towards the side of his face.
  86. 'Must be some powerful magic,' he thought..
  87. He heard a demon shout that the boat was getting away. That made him want to throw the spears immediately but a small voice in the back of his mind said it would be too soon. He listened to his last breaths once more, then suddenly he could feel the moment was right to strike. He threw a spear at one of the dark figures, and it hit him in the leg.
  88. "He hit my artery, HELP!!!" cried the figure. Neither of the other two figures seemed to notice or care. Instead they flung more magic at him, and then suddenly he was hit by it. He felt his body try to shut down but he knew better. He cleared his mind and threw another spear. He hadn't even really aimed but it was apparent that he had struck the demon is the chest. The third demon roared at kit in a different tongue. Kit closed his eyes, focused his mind on the sound of the voice and threw his spear. He didn't open his eyes to see what had happned: he either missed and it wouldn't matter or he had hit him and it wouldn't matter. The lone sound of him gurgling made the entire forest seem too quiet now - until the demon flung more magic, hitting Kit in the neck. The force knocked him back so hard that he thought he had died, he passed out for a couple moments, but opened his eyes to see a blood hound licking his hand.
  89. "Now you're a funny looking coyote" he said. Seeing a new animal really made him want to travel all of a sudden. Suddenly, the moment came into focus and Kit rolled his head back against the muddy ground to see the river.
  90. "Guess the river keeps flowing even when I'm dead" he chuckled, "How beautiful."
  91. Kit didn't want to die out on the bank, and he always wondered what it felt like to be under water. He had almost drowned once so he was never too keen to try again, but at least he had nothing to lose this time. Kit got up, feeling a very strong burning and stinging sensations where he was hit. It seemed pointless to him to even react by wincing.
  92. 'Cowards,' he thought. 'Can't even have a real fight.'
  93. As he crawled into the water he was relieved from his discomfort by the coolness of the water. The moon reflecting off the ripples of the water hypnotized him into keeping his mind clear. When he was laying under the water he let out his breath and tried to breathe. Despite his lung being filled with water and his body thrashing about, he was at peace. Within a few moments his body seemed to share the feeling and Kit realized that he finally was feeling what it was like to be under water. His dying thoughts were 'so this is what a quiet mind is like.'
  94. Those were the last thoughts of Kit.
  95. Well, at least for this incarnation.
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