Thursday, March 19, 2015
Read the 1st Chapter of Mark Carver's Colony Zero Series O story- "Olympus" RIGHT NOW!
The Story of Althana
by Mark Carver
“Althana! Hurry child, we are going to be late!”
Althana hastily raked the brush through her raven-black hair. “Coming!” she called out, studying her reflection in the mirror.
It only took a few seconds for her to decide she looked awful. Her flawless, sun-golden skin looked pale…there were circles under her eyes…her hair was a mess…and it looked like a pimple was starting to blossom on her cheek.
Her eyes traveled downwards to her neck, then lower…
That’s where the real blemish was.
The door chirped and she jumped. “Yes?”
Her aunt’s voice seemed to hover in the room like a ghost.
“Althana, can I come in and help you?”
“No, I’m all right,” Althana answered, hastily gathering her robe to cover herself.
The door dissolved in a shimmer of electrons and Aunt Merilite entered the room. She was tall, statuesque, radiating elegance in a purple gown that looked like it was made of liquid that would fall away from her body at any moment.
Althana didn’t turn around. She watched her aunt in the mirror, unable to staunch the flood of jealousy that flooded her young heart. Aunt Merilite was almost sixty years old, more than three times older than she was, but she knew she would never reach her aunt’s level of beauty. Or perfection.
There was nothing Althana could really complain about, though. She missed her parents but her aunt took good care of her. The only thing she disliked was her aunt’s proclivity towards parties, which she was often wrangled into despite being someone who preferred to stay at home and practice her resonaro. Music was her only real friend.
She could feel Aunt Merilite’s gaze burning into her bare shoulders. After several moments, she realized she was holding her breath.
“Do you need help getting ready, angel?” Aunt Merilite asked.
Althana shook her head vigorously. “No, no thanks.”
Aunt Merilite waved her words away. “Please, child, let me help. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are not realizing your full potential when it comes to your appearance.”
Althana exhaled slowly. “I…I don’t know how to use it correctly. And I would feel strange with lights sparkling around my head.”
“Because you’re an angel, and angels have halos. All the girls your age are wearing them and when it’s done right, it looks amazing.”
Aunt Merilite slid her fingers through Althana’s hair. Althana tensed, and her aunt moved her hand away. She set the aural on the table in front of the mirror.
“We’ll leave in an hour,” she said quietly, then turned and left the room.
Althana let her shoulders relax. She looked down at the aural, feeling slightly nauseous at the thought of stumbling around on ten-inch mag heels while holographic stars sparkled around her head. She suddenly felt the urge to fling the little machine into the incinerator. Why did people think such ridiculous things were important?
She glanced down again. Ridiculous things…
Her lips drew tight. Why did she have to be born in the 28th century? She remembered paying close attention in her history class module when the holo instructor described the laughable abomination that appeared in the 20th century called “cosmetic surgery.” People paid exorbitant sums to mask their physical flaws, even though their family and friends usually knew about the operations. This fad grew exponentially until genetic engineering entered the mainstream in the mid-21st century. Althana felt her heart lurch within her mal-formed chest when she learned of this. Why couldn’t she have been born seven hundred years earlier?
And if they weren’t, they were shipped off-world by the Relocation Ministry. Out of sight, out of mind.
Althana looked at her reflection. She was undeniably beautiful – gorgeous skin, extraordinary bone structure, large, shimmering eyes, luxurious black hair. Her figure was a sculptor’s dream, with sensuous hips and long, athletic legs. Her beauty was in full bloom, but part of her refused to blossom. With standardized puberty being the social norm, her parents had tried not to show their worry, but Althana could sense the anxiety behind their smiles and reassurances. She had heard the stories about incomplete pubescent development, about how occurrences seemed to be on the rise, about how families with untainted genetic heritage stretching back generations were suddenly being afflicted with malformities.
The Relocation Ministry did not show mercy. Their goal was simple: the total cleansing of the human race. The world was a pristine parlor and even the slightest speck of dust was immediately eradicated.
But I’m not a speck of dust. Althana clenched her fists. I’m not a disease. I’m just like everyone else… So why can I be like everyone else? Why me? It’s not fair!
She lashed out at her reflection, her fist passing harmlessly through the holographic mirror.
“Althana!” her aunt’s voice floated through the room. “Are you ready yet? We cannot be late; you know how important this party is.”
“Yes, I know. I’ll be right down.”
She rolled her eyes, then grabbed her hair in a bunch and rammed the aural through the curls.