by Mary Ruth Pursselley -
There is no peace under the great domes the strangers come from. Their very walls emanate anguish, animosity, and despair. One can sense it, even from a distance, hanging in the water like blood lingering after a shark’s kill. It is my curiosity—the force behind many things I do—that lures me there in spite of all. Curiosity… and pity. I don’t understand the unhappiness of the strangers. What has caused it? Can nothing be done to change it?
Or is this bitter aura their nature?
I am inclined to believe not. Today, as I hovered close over the domes, one mind stood apart from the others. It was not angry or tainted like the others. Its touch in my consciousness wasn’t septic like the others. Reaching out to listen more closely, I realized why this mind was different.
This stranger was happy. I listened as emotions rippled through her consciousness like bubbles in the deep ocean, and her mind formed peculiarly-shaped thoughts—the words of her language. The shapes, patterns, and rhythms of the thoughts were new and different, and made me laugh at their oddity.
Until one thought formed a shape I recognized.
The word itself, in the stranger’s tongue, meant nothing to me. It was the shape of the thought behind the word, the emotion on which the word stood, the precise harmony with which the thought and emotion were fused, that gave me pause.
The stranger thought my name. Her consciousness formed the exact shape and feeling of my identifying thought. But she did more than that. She gave my name a word in her language.