Jacqueline Lichtenberg


This was written as a homework assignment for the Famous Writer's School, and is not a complete thing, but a fragment because that's what the assignment called for.

It was posted on the first website we had, which didn't have a name, then on Tecton Central, then on Zeor Visitor's Center. Then it should have been transferred to Rimon's Library...but seems to have gotten lost on the way.

To Strike a Spark

Sobbing with tears and exhaustion, Digen Farris never slackened his headlong scramble up the sandy slope. Obviously, such a big collie couldn't be hiding here among the brambles and small rocks, but he had come this way. Digen knew why the Gens, the normal humans, hated him, but he could never understand why they turned on Friend. Anyway, how far would a dog run on a kick in the ribs?

Grimly driving his numbed legs, Digen fervently wished he were a mature Sime so he could use Gen life-force to find Friend. Would he ever go through changeover and get tentacles like his parents? Or would he grow up a Gen . . . he gagged on the thought . . . Generator, a normal human.

At the top of the hill, he broke three fingernails scaling ten feet of sandstone boulder. The other side of it sloped gently into a valley that presented a tongue of smooth sand to be licked by the Pacific Ocean's ponderous fury. From his new vantage he could see the abandoned Korval Mansion five hundred yards ahead on the crest of the next hill.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and bellowed with all his ten-year-old voice and mind. "Friend! Friend!" The wind drank his voice, drowning it in the thundering waves so that he scarcely heard himself.

But, when he opened his eyes, there was Friend down in the valley, bounding toward him, streaking through the tufts of spring grass, leaping rain gullies and yelping his greeting.

To Light a Fire

Digen sprawled on the sun-baked boulder, nursing his exhaustion. He stared at the Korval Mansion Preserve, while Friend licked his face sympathetically. He'd run five miles! Eyeing the sun and scanning the beach, he watched three gulls hunting the incoming tide, and calculated he should be home already, but he just couldn't move.

He rested there, fascinated by the ancient house, a Gen Government Historical Monument preserved in time-stasis for posterity. What would posterity ever want with it? It ought to be used, not preserved.

His imagination caught on the conical tower at one end of the building and bounced to the antique chimney at the other, then riveted onto the sun-sparked, broken windows. What if it were fixed up like new, in real 19th century style?

Inspired by it for the thousandth time, he visualized himself graduating from New Harvard, the biggest, toughest Gen medical school. With his reputation established by his doctoral thesis spectacularly proving his people a natural mutation, he could easily claim this pre-Sime relic for his first hospital. It was an old dream.

With a very adult sigh, he climbed to his feet, resignedly facing homeward. Suddenly, a rising flash of nausea convulsed him in the most severe retching he'd ever known. When it was over, he wiped his mouth, stunned.

"Friend, that's it! Changeover's first sign. Come on, let's tell Mom!"

* These are the very first words of Sime fiction ever written.

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