What the cliff might have looked like when Madjid, Issaca and Balthazar first found it. Before the city was built.
I am lying on a smooth surface looking up through a skylight. All I can see are shades of red, orange and yellow flowing, swirling around us.
“The colors are amazing, like we’re in the middle of a sunset.”
I begin to notice differences in the texture of the light. A bubble floats past, then another and another.
“That’s not light! It’s a liquid! Bubbles are floating upward.”
I look around me, expecting someone else near me.
“It’s me, Ruby.”
“I can hear you as if you were right beside me, not just inside my head. Your voice is beautiful, Ruby. Like, like, if I could hear light, that’s what your voice sounds like to me!”
“I think that is what humans call a compliment. I am supposed to say, ‘thank you’?”
I laugh as I look out the window again.
“And I’m supposed to say, ‘You are welcome!’ What are those?’’
What I thought were bubbles are stretching, developing sharp edges, and solidifying. They reflect the light, fracturing it into all the colors of the rainbow.
I flinch as a dark blob of stone bounces against the window.
“That is me,” Ruby. “That can’t be you!”
The blob approaches the crystals, but the crystals shy away from it.
“They are laughing at me, saying I am ugly, deformed, and - dull.” Her voice holds the remembered hurt of criticism and rejection. “Called me nasty names and refused to allow me near them.”
“But how? Why were you so misshapen?
“Creator hid my beauty from the other crystals because He had a special purpose for me, and He wanted to keep me safe until Time came.”
“You said Time like it is an entity.”
“I know, I asked Creator what Time was, too.”
“What did he say?”
“That I would understand - in time.”
“Seriously? Is that supposed to be a joke? Some humor!”
“I did not know humor then. I assumed He was making fun of me as did the other crystals.”
The lava has become sluggish, beginning to cling to Ruby.
“Time to get out of here!” Ruby.
The almost solid lava streams past above me. I am flattened against the floor.
We burst through an almost solid layer into an inky black void. As my eyes adjust, I begin to see pinpoints of light and realize we are in outer space.
“Ahhh! It’s so beautiful, Ruby! I’ve always wanted to come here.”
I stand so I’d be closer to the skylight, tilting my head back to see better.
“It’s cold,” Ruby says and shivers. I reach up to steady myself against the sky-light but pull my hands back with a gasp. They are stinging as if I’d placed them on dry ice.
“Told you! Sit down. I am turning around.”
The molten ball from which we’d just exited comes into view.
“It looks like it has a tail, like a comet!” I exclaim, standing again. “My neck’s hurting from having to tilt it back to see. Can you turn so I can stand on this?” I pat a facet that forms a wall beside me.
“If I turn off my inner gravity, you will float and bump against the sides of the prism. I won’t be able to protect you. Lie down. You will be safe and able to see well enough.”
I do as she told me and watch the comet-like ball soar through the heavens. Ruby gives chase. I notice one of the pinpricks of light growing bigger and bigger.
“It’s a great ball of fire!” I exclaim as I see flames leaping from its surface.
“Hang on!” Ruby suddenly skids sideways, and I slide across the floor. A giant dark mass passes between us and the fire ball.
“That’s what humans call Jupiter,” Ruby says.
“If that’s Jupiter, then does that mean the fireball is our sun?”
“Yes. Earth is the mass we just came out of.” br> “That was Earth? Where’d it go?”
“It is still a red-hot planet. It will be several billion earth years before it becomes the blue and green marble humans of your time see.”
Meat sizzle on spit
Voices - Men’s, women’s, children’s.
The Head man lounges at the table, watching his people rejoice and celebrate, for a child had been born. In this land of light and peace, this child will follow his father as leader.
Leather slapping on cobblestones
Smashing wood doors
The scene fades to outer darkness. A cloaked figure, shadow within shadow, slips through the shadows, clutching a bundle close to its chest. Bending, twisting, hiding. Running, hiding, it reaches the edge of the
lake and, now in the open, runs like the wind to the far shore. A wall and archway loomed out of the shadows – the temple! Safety!
Two sets of horses’ hooves thud across the turf, clattering up the marble steps. A man leaps from his saddle, snatching the bundle held so tightly.
“No! No! Not the child!”
Second rider slashes down with his scimitar.
Body falling lifeless
Sinking into shadowed water
Gold chain settling
Red light flashing
Did the chief heed the warning? Find out in RUBY HEART – The Legend Begins.
As was habit, I closed my hand around the ruby heart. It pulsed in my hand. I pulled the chain over my head, cupping it in both hands so that the moonlight reflected in its facets. Visions
came and went, coalescing and blending into meaninglessness, creating deeper angst in me.
“Even you are not behaving as usual,” I said. “What’s going to happen? Show me.”
But the stone went dark and stayed still for so long, that I was about to replace it and go back to my bed, when suddenly it pulsed and sent a surge up my arm so strong that I almost dropped it.
“You’re frightened?” I whispered. “I didn’t know you could feel emotions!”
As if in reply, the stone shivered, and I could have sworn I heard it whimper.