It wasn’t until the world was pitch black that I noticed how light I had felt before. The word “uninhibited” comes to mind, but only with regards to my physical senses. My mind definitely feels more clear now. The previous realm, “Limbo” as it was called, was somewhat mentally oppressive, but indeed contained no physical sense of self, no weight of body. Here, reincarnated into my new body, my mind is free to think, and things seem easier to process. Physically, however, this body feels heavy.
“How long is he going to lie there?” An actual voice! Feminine, pleasant on the ears, but definitely annoyed. I should get moving, clearly.
I open my eyes, and I find myself in… some sort of wooden structure. If I was to remember those trees you see woven together indoors in expensive hotels or hospitals (we always used to call them money trees), and you took a hundred of them, and wove them together, the trees themselves, already pre-woven, not just the initial weave, for… well, it must have taken tens, if not a hundred or more years, enough to make a house with windows, sills, stairs, rooms, everything. This is what I see. The light coming in from the windows is adequate, but dim. I marvel for a moment, and slowly look towards the direction the voice had come.
“Ah, the prodigal man awakens.” Leaning in the doorway, with her back to the rounded arch opening, stood a fairly toned female figure, silhouetted against the light streaming in. Clearly not unfamiliar with exercise. And she sounds annoyed. Also, prodigal? What have I spent excessively on recently?
Feeling slightly perturbed, I attempt a response, but my throat feels dry. I feels like it hasn’t been used in weeks, as if I’ve been on a solo hermitage. It doesn’t hurt, mind you, but I start speaking, and find myself clearing my throat and trying again. “Well, that was somewhat disgraceful.” Even the second try is somewhat of a croak.
She smiles wryly at me, my eyes adjusting to the light coming in the doorway reveal her face. “Did you just rise from the dead or something? Get a drink and lets go. The Elder informed me that I would be escorting you today, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stand around till the dusk waiting for you to feel ‘up and at it’”
Uh. Something tells me it’s probably not wise to talk much about my situation at this juncture. So I smile, and test flex my arms and legs briefly before getting up. It appears I was on some sort of bed in the middle of the room. Like everything in this building, woven from structure of trees itself. What appears to be the mattress is a giant rectangular leaf of some sort. Deeply green, soft, fuzzy, and containing ridged veins spiralling from the corners. I glimpse between the leaf and frame, looking under. It looks a bit like a shallow pit ending in an inverted cone of roots. This building is a marvel. Maybe this is why I am a ‘Prodigal’ to her. This does seem quite extravagant.
I stand, more easily than I anticipated. It seems I am getting used to this body. It does not feel unfamiliar. In a way, it feels almost the same as it did in my previous life. When I look at my arms, though, they seem more toned, but only by a bit. And my skin is tanned, not a pinkish-basement-computer-geek-white.
Walking to the door, I continue to marvel at the structure’s composition, much to the curious look of someone standing in the way. “If you’re done inspecting the ambassador’s quarters, we should get going. The Elder wanted to meet you before we ‘Head off’ as he stated. Not sure where to yet, doesn’t seem I’m privy to that. My name is Mika by the way.” She held out a hand, presumably to shake. Does that custom exist in this world as well?
I hesitate for a moment, and think ‘You… don’t only live once?’; Uh… Hold on, ‘carpe diem?’ Yeah, i think that will work. Not knowing the customs and being young enough to make mistakes; to redo some of my actions that had become regrets; this is a great opportunity. I was always afraid of the opposite gender in my previous life. It’s a wonder I had a wife and kids, but looking back, my wife and I never seemed to get along very well, though I acquiesced to her demands more often than she did mine. I could feel my smile becoming solemn as I thought back while reaching for her outstretched hand.
“Hmm…?” She makes a questioning noise at me.
Screw it. I’m not doing this. Everything is gone, and I get a new life. I’m going all in, I was told that was acceptable, right? I move quickly to pass by the hand, and embrace it’s owner in a hug instead.
And there is a knee in the groin, and a heel in my instep, and an elbow in the gut, and down I go. It was a beautiful set of moves as she spun around with those three attacks. I am speechless, probably because I have no air in my lungs. Also, in pain, a lot of pain. But the look of dissatisfaction on her face, and the red flushed face and ears, and indignity, it’s heavenly on her face. This story and memory will be worth it when the bruises heal.
“PERHAPS A NAME FIRST, MR. FRISKY.” Yeah, I deserved that one. She is not happy…? I look closely at her face, hoping for the reaction I was aiming after. No dice.
I catch my breath, and I must be smiling from ear to hot, flushed, embarrassed ear. It first starts as a snark, and then like contagion, I can’t control it, i just start snickering, and then laughing outright.
“UHG.” She makes a disgusted noise. I can’t help it and keep laughing, it hurts from the injuries, but I can’t help it, it’s uncontrollable. She gets fed up, and kicks me while I roll on the ground laughing, right in the gut. I still can’t stop, so I roll over the other way, and open up my back to another kick. That helps me tone my attitude, and laughter, back inline.
“Sorry, sorry…” I state, getting up, and wiping tears from my eyes. I’m not sure if they are from the pain or from the laughing, but it was totally worth it. “My name…” I go blank for a moment. Darn it, I forgot that I don’t technically have a name in this life yet. I always wanted a kid named ‘Tristain,’ let’s go with that. “… is Tristain. Thank you for… the entertainment.” I can’t help but smile devilishly.
She clears her throat. “So, Tristain, we should go meet the Elder.” Her face is still flushed, and she looks agitated, but she motions through the door nonetheless.
Standing, bruised, and plenty happy, I step through the door.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! When I have 20 chapters backlog, I’ll start releasing twice a week until I’m back down to 10 (maybe never!) Until then, however, I will continue to release on Tuesdays.