Song of Teeth 1: The First Voice

BOOK: Song of Teeth 1: The First Voice
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Song of Teeth 1: The First Voice
The First Voice
 
By Eve Hathaway
 
Published by Publications Circulations LLC.
 

SmashWords Edition

 

All contents copyright (C) 2013 by Publications Circulations LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this document or the related files may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, companies and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

 

~ ~ ~ ~

 
Prologue
 

EXCERPT FROM THE DIARY of Adalina Espanosa, April 13th, 1604. Translated from the original Spanish by the South Carolina Society for the Preservation of Historical Documents.

 

"AH, WHAT A SURPRISE today! My hands are still shaking as I write this. I must calm my nerves. Even Mama is getting nervous from watching me. But I don't dare describe to her what has happened, or her heart might start beating too fast and she may pass out, as she tends to do."

 

"Where to begin? All the events seem mad, even as I prepare to write them-I must get them down soon, or I will stop believing them myself. From the beginning, Adalina."

 

"Today was abnormally, atrociously hot. Every time I begin to adore the deep mystery of these jungles, the next day I am reminded why I despise this pestilent, moss-drenched place. Ah, my Espana, how I miss you! Today was one of those despicable days. I was absolutely dripping through my clothes while doing my chores, before the sun had even reached its high point. So, after collecting the eggs and helping with the milking, I went to The Spring to cool myself and draw some fresh water for the house."

 

"I filled the buckets, and then decided to sit for a while on the edge of the wall and rest. Have I described The Spring before on these pages? It is a mystical place, where the water bubbles up from deep beneath the earth all the way to the surface. We did not even have to build a well to extract this fresh and pure water. One need only recline peacefully on the stone ledge that we raised around it, and reach in for a palm full of the cleanest, coolest water you could hope to find in this cesspit. Father Miguel says it is an unholy spout from the depths of Hell, though this has never stopped him drinking from that water instead of the swamp. I always enjoyed the serenity there, but after today, I am inclined to agree with Father!"

 

"As I was relaxing on the stone ledge, trailing my hand in the cool water, I suddenly felt a horrible pinching on my fingers! It felt as if my hand was being crushed by the blades of two saws smashed together. Terrified, I withdrew my hand from the water and held up a baby crocodile, its jaws snapped tight around my three prominent fingers, my blood spilling between its teeth! Never have I screamed so in my life, and may I never scream so again, by the blessing of Mother Mary!"

 

"Yet, I hold off on the most terrifying description of this horrible, horned lizard, for I fear the workings of the Great Deceiver Himself, and I fear attracting His attention. Give me pause, for I must steady my nerves."

 

"All right, I have returned. A dram of sherry sits in my belly, fixing me against fear. I will now describe the true nature of this monstrous creature, which I am convinced was a spawn of demons, swimming up through the bowels of the earth to gnaw upon my blood."

 

"All together, the creature was perhaps as long as my forearm, half of that length consisting of its tail. Its eyes sat upon the crest of its head, its jaws stretched long and awful, lined with so many teeth that I can not see how it could have possibly closed its mouth. At first, it looked very much like the treacherous alligators that we have sometimes encountered in the most brackish, evil of waters, often mimicking a log floating by. However, this creature was more gruesome by far."

 

"First, its cold skin was not dark brown and log-like, but pale. So pale I could see the movements of its inner parts through its skin-like the skin of Death's horse that will come for us all in the End Times. Even its eyes were so clear that the blood shone through them like the gleaming red eyes of Lucifer."

 

"Worse than its color were its hands. Yes, hands! They were somewhat like the webbed lizard claws of the alligators, but its fingers were stretched long and thin, like the hands of a human. I shudder to recall this, but it had its cross-breed hands wrapped around my thumb even as its jaws clenched firm against my bones, as if it were a human infant grasping its mother's hand while suckling! My stomach churns just thinking of its ungodly, mutated form."

 

"Like a fool, I had not thought to bring a companion with me to fetch water, so no one heard my screaming as I flailed around, trying to fling this creature off my hand. It held on stubbornly and I became dizzy from the excruciating pain, heat, and loss of blood which splattered down my arm and all across the ground. I screamed and screamed until my throat burned. I was so frightened that the thought of trying to walk back to the fort alone, with that thing crunching my bones had paralyzed me. Then, in the midst of my screams, I was stopped cold by a sound more terrifying than anything I have described thus far."

 

"For a moment, I thought I was hearing an echo of my scream, which would have puzzled me more-being in the open jungle-had I the wits to contemplate it. Soon, however, I realized I was not hearing an echo, but the crocodilian creature itself was screaming! Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was mimicking my scream, for the tone was pitched perfectly to my own."

 

"I hardly need say that this astounded me so much that my body froze completely, and in that moment, the creature released me from its jaws and dropped to the ground. I cannot say if the sound emanated from its throat, for its mouth did not move, but it wailed a sustained note at me for longer than a goodly animal should be able to breathe. Were it not coming from such an abhorrent thing, I would almost imagine the sound to be a chime from a cathedral organ. I suspect the creature may have bewitched me with this tone, for I was too astonished to move as it crawled up the stone ledge and dove back under the water. How my skin shivers to remember its hands gripping the stones like a human!"

 

"All day, my mind has been in a daze over this. When I had my hand treated and bandaged by the doctor, I told him it had been crushed by a rock. What else could I have said? To my great relief, he assured me that my fingers were not damaged beyond repair and I will have full function of them again."

 

"What worries me most is the knowledge that a nest of these creatures lives beneath our precarious settlement, in the very water that sustains us. For surely, any place where this youngling would be must also house its parents and siblings. Who knows but there might be an infestation of them, ready to ambush us whenever we draw water? I do not know who to consult on this matter. Mama will likely die of fright, and Papa is too quick-tempered for matters such as this. One thing I am sure of, we must proceed cautiously for we know not how many of these creatures exist, nor how large they may become. He is a bit of a soft-skinned fool, but Father Miguel may be my only reasonable option. Tomorrow, I shall describe the entire incident to him and ask his advice. I can only pray that he will believe me."

 

In Spanish, La Fuente, the original name for Archopolis' underground water source. Historians believe the name referred to a natural spring, rather than a fountain.?

 
One
 

Present Day

 

"HEY, MARK," Aaron nudged his side with an elbow, "there's that weird girl I was telling you about."

 

Mark turned in the direction of Aaron's elbow. A frazzle-haired girl wearing worn jeans and a tee shirt was just turning into an alley across the street. She clutched a small notebook below her chin, and her head fiercely swiveled down, up, down, up, as if her eyes were photocopying the entire landscape directly onto the paper. As she stepped into the alley, just before her skin perfectly melded with the dark shadows against the brick, she looked back over her shoulder. Her searching glance almost immediately found Mark and Aaron as they watched from their cafe table. The furious brightness of her eyes, even from that distance, stabbed Mark's breath and held it in his throat. He felt a wave of guilt, as if she was accusing him of invading her privacy, but she quickly continued around the corner out of sight.

 

Both Mark and Aaron exhaled at the same time. "See what I mean?" Aaron raised his eyebrow. "Kind of...off."

 

"Um, I guess." Mark nodded slightly, still watching the alley entrance. "What's her name?"

 

Aaron scrunched the corner of his mouth. "Her name? She's just the weird girl. It's too bad you're not in my biology class, so you can hear the bizarre questions she asks."

 

"What kind of questions?"

 

"Ah, I can't remember. Always about lizards or something. No, crocodiles! Yeah, she's always going on about crocodiles, no matter what the teacher's talking about. The other day we were starting the chapter on '
reproduction
,'" Aaron drawled the word out for emphasis, "which is pretty much the only time we get to talk about sex, right? And there's lizard girl interrupting to ask how alligators lay eggs or something. What a weirdo, right?"

 

Mark tilted his head in commiseration and chuckled. "Very strange. Maybe not as weird as you, but then again, she is prettier than you."

 

Aaron gasped melodramatically. "Me, weird?" Switching into a high-pitched British accent, he whined, "Why, whatever gave you that idea, good sir?"

 

"Oh, just a gut feeling I've always had about you. Plus, I've watched you snort a packet of mustard for a dollar."

 

"Now, now, wait; let's not get distracted by my talents here. Back up. I think you just said lizard girl is pretty! Do you have a crush on her now?"

 

Mark rolled his eyes and quickly slurped his ice coffee, wincing at the cold jab to his forehead. "Whatever. Let's get back to studying. My test is tomorrow, and I have to be at work in an hour."

 

Always quick to be distracted, Aaron went back to quizzing him on battles of World War II. Mark tried to concentrate on pronouncing French names, on the sweet chill of vanilla coffee and on the heavy sun; but a pair of eyes kept cutting through his mind-their vivid clarity against the damp afternoon.

 

 

AS MUCH as he hated the lingering stench of ketchup that clung to his clothes after work, Mark hated even more the stale, faintly rotten air that always drifted up when he opened his front door. Old mildew, tired carpets, fetid remnants of food long since thrown out of the fridge. It was the unmistakable odor of a house that had stopped caring long ago.

BOOK: Song of Teeth 1: The First Voice
4.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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