Title: Another Life: Enoch Chapter 3
Series: Another Life
Enoch tentatively stretched out his legs. He was wrapped in a cocoon of blankets and was lying on something soft. Like a mattress! Astonished, Enoch's mind thought back but couldn't remember the last time he'd slept on a mattress. He remembered stiff canvas cots in the shelters. But the shelters closed down long ago. Too many desperate people needing help; not enough resources; no longer any hope for a future.
He snuggled a little deeper in the warmth. He knew he should open his eyes and prepare for the day to come. Enoch had always tried to be aware of his surroundings. That's how he'd stayed alive for so long, while others perished. To lay here in comfort was a luxury that could only bring death.
But he didn't want to open his eyes. He wanted to lay here and rest his body. His muscles hurt as if they'd been worked too hard. His body was sore and exhausted. Even if there was danger, death, Enoch thought it would be better to die in this dream of comfort than to wake to the grey, painful world that awaited him. Enoch stilled as he heard movement. Is this it? Will someone kill him to take what pitiful little he had in hopes it would save them?
No, he'd accept death, but not as a coward. Opening his eyes, Enoch was startled to see two large men next to his bed.
"Good morning, Pais," a large man said in greeting.
"It's afternoon," a man even larger than the first growled.
Enoch could only stare. He'd never seen men so large. Or so healthy looking. Their faces were full. All the people Enoch had ever met had the sunken cheeks of those who were starving to death. Then what the bigger man said about it being afternoon rang alarm bells in Enoch's mind. Sleeping during the day? No, he couldn't have been. Daytime was the best time to walk toward safety!
"Afternoon?" Enoch croaked out. His throat was so dry he could barely speak.
As one of the men offered him water to drink, the larger man opened the window.
Enoch drank deeply, soothing his parched throat. The open window caused a bit of panic to rise in him. "Please. Shut the window," he begged. The ash from the volcano would surely be outside. They needed to protect the air inside the room. They needed to get somewhere safe.
The bigger man quirked an eyebrow. "The fresh air will do you good. You've been out for over a month."
A month? Enoch thought. His mind couldn't understand what he was hearing or seeing. He needed to ask questions. "Who are you? Where am I?"
"Do you not know?" the smaller man asked. "You have seen us, yes? In your mind's eye?"
Enoch shrunk back. He had dreamed of these men. But no, they couldn't be real. The dreams he'd had of these men were just wishful thinking and the fantasies of a young man. He remembered fantasizing about them as he walked along torn asphalt of a broken world.
"No. No, I don't know you," Enoch insisted weakly.
"It's ok, Pais. Calm down," the smaller man said, sitting down and gently stroking Enoch's arm. "We spoke of this a few days ago."
Enoch vaguely remembered but he couldn't be sure of what was real or not. Often he dreamt of things but couldn't reconcile the dreams with what he knew to be true.
"You were very sick. Sicker than the others. The traveler's flu hit you harder than the others. Then you've had the seizures," the bigger man said. "I am Chandir. That is Wryn."
Chandir. Wryn. Enoch tested the names in his mind. He recognized them, but wasn't sure if it was from a few days ago, or from years ago. The scent of sweet summer air drifting in reminded him that the window was still open. Weakly pushing himself up, he implored, "Please, shut the window. The ash from the volcano will be here soon."
"Volcano? No volcano has erupted," Chandir said.
"Yellowstone. It exploded days ago. Everyone said it was the largest on the continent," Enoch tried to explain.
Wryn stroked his arm again. "Yellowstone was on earth, Enoch. You are no longer on earth. You are on Gliese now. You are safe."
"Not on earth? Gliese?" Enoch shrank back against the bed. These men had lost their minds. He'd seen it before. Men broken from the horrors they'd experienced, at the end of their tether and ready to hurry death along.
"You know this, Enoch," Chandir said sternly. "You've seen this before."
"Chandir," Wryn warned and then turned to Enoch. "Enoch, you've been shown, but maybe you didn't understand. You are on Gliese. A planet that your ancestors visited many years ago. Years before earth's history."
"My ancestors visited? Before history?" Enoch repeated.
Chandir spoke. "Yes, they came here. But they were greedy. Wanted nothing but to exploit Gliese for what it could give them. They left to find a place to make their own. That place was earth."
"But they didn't cherish what they had. They didn't have discipline; not within themselves or for others. They exploited the terra that would have supported them for eternity. The Historians of old had told them this. Had warned them. They would not listen," Wryn said sadly.
"Had they embraced the rewards of discipline and listened to those who carried the genes, earth and all that lived upon it could have been saved," Chandir stated.
As the two men talked, Enoch felt the truth in his soul. He knew this. He had always known this. But no. They were just the imaginations of a lonely, frightened child. The stories he'd made up as a child had continued, expanded, become more intricate, as he'd grown into manhood. But they were just stories. Not reality.
"Those of you who had the genes were brought here, to Gliese," Chandir continued.
"Those of dominance and submission. Everyone on Gliese has a strain of dominance or submissiveness. You are of submission. You are our submissive," Chandir said with possessive pride. Then he frowned at Enoch. "You know this. You've been shown this since birth. You are not only our submissive; you are a Historian as well."
"You've said that before. I'm not a teacher. Of history or anything else," Enoch confessed. He didn't want these men to think he was someone he wasn't.
"Not a teacher. A Historian," Wryn explained. "A guardian of history. You see what was. You see what is. You see what will be. Just like Chandir and I. We are Historians as well."
Chandir stalked toward the bed. "Enoch. You. Know. Listen and obey. You've seen. You've seen the death of your world. You've seen us. You know what was. Know what is."
The truth of what the men said burned inside Enoch, yet he still denied it. "No. It's not real. It's impossible," Enoch whispered.
"Not impossible if you but open your mind. The impossible becomes reality," Wryn said. Then suddenly, he stated, "She is here."
Enoch was confused. Who was here? Just at that moment, he heard a knocking.
"Go, agape. Do what needs be done," Chandir said to Wryn. "I will stay with him."
The smaller man sighed, squeezed Enoch's hand, and then left the room.
"Am I your prisoner?" Enoch asked.
"No, why would you ask such a question?"
"As I slept, one of you has always been with me. Even now, when you have a visitor, you stay with me." Enoch knew, but didn't know how, that one or both of the men had been with him since he had arrived.
Before Chandir answered Enoch, they heard a woman's voice. "Please, Historian Wryn, will we have a child? You must tell me."
Enoch watched as Chandir walked to the door and closed it.
"Who is that?" Enoch wanted to know.
"She is Wryn's niece, she's wants to know if she'll have a child. They've been trying for several years."
"Why ask Wryn?"
Chandir frowned at Enoch. "We've told you before, we are Historians. We are granted the sight of the past, the present and the future. Caryn and her husband have tried for many years to have a child. She shouldn't have come here. She knows better."
Enoch shook his head, trying to understand. "Why shouldn't she come here? Why won't he tell her?"
"With our gift of sight comes great responsibility. We cannot step in and change what is seen unless we are shown more than one path to the future. We must have restraint. We have to be disciplined. Moreso than anyone else," Chandir said.
"I don't understand. If he can ease her mind, her suffering why won't he just tell her?" Enoch was desperate for an answer. He wanted this to make sense. If they knew the future, why didn't they tell others? Would they not listen? Enoch knew if only people had listened when he'd tried to tell them, lives wouldn't have been lost.
Chandir's stance grew taller, wider. "Enoch. Stop. You are not listening to what you know. You are not listening to what I've told you. If we see different options of the future, then we can give guidance to those who would be affected. But for the most part we cannot interfere. We cannot change the paths of what is to be anymore than we can change the path of what was. That is why discipline is so much greater in our lives."
Enoch closed his eyes. He wanted to shut out Chandir's words. He knew them to be the truth. He just couldn't understand why discipline was greater. A greater need? Why would knowing need discipline? What was discipline?
"There are two types of discipline needed," Chandir rumbled out.
Enoch's eyes flew open. He didn't know whether Chandir had read his mind or if he'd spoken the words out loud. Before he could ask, Chandir was speaking again.
"Discipline is a branch of knowledge. Historians have the knowledge of knowing. Discipline is also a code of behavior," Chandir explained. "When that code is broken, punishment is used to fix the link in that code, to make reparations."
"Punishment?" Enoch stammered.
"Do not worry, my agape. Nothing dire. A sore hind-end is the most effective way to fix the break in the code," Chandir assured Enoch.
"A sore hind-end?" Wryn asked as he walked back into the room. "Already? What could have happened in the time I was occupied?"
"Nothing has been earned yet," Chandir chuckled. "I was just explaining what punishment would entail. Where is Caryn?"
"I told her again that the knowledge she seeks isn't for me to reveal," Wryn said.
"Do you know?" Enoch asked. "Will she have a baby?"
Wryn shot Enoch a considering look. "Yes, I do know. As do you. You have been shown as well as I. Listen. See. Feel. Know."
Enoch stared at Wryn. He felt Wryn's power and knowledge flow over his own body. White, misty vapors started to fill the room. Caryn's sweaty face filled with pain appeared before him. Even though Enoch had never seen the woman, he knew her to be Wryn's niece, Caryn. Panic flared inside him. His muscles tensed and started to shake. Lightning flashed through his mind. He was nothing but red hot pain. Searing him. Engulfing him. Another seizure was upon him. Then blissfully he fell into blackness.
"AUGH!" Wryn screamed out as he felt pain lance through his own brain. He was thrown to his knees. His head held in his hands like a vice, trying to squeeze out the pain. Again and again he opened his mouth. Screaming in his mind, but no sound came from his mouth.
"Wryn! My love. My agape. What is it? What do you see?" Chandir was on his knees, holding his husband.
Wryn could feel Chandir's voice wash over him. His voice was cooling. Calming. A balm to soothe the torment that was inside him. That was inside Enoch. Suddenly, Wryn knew that this wasn't a vision. This was Enoch's mind, his soul.
As Enoch descended into the blackness, Wryn was released from the terror.
Wryn tried to speak but his voice was rough with the silent screams he'd felt. "I know why he's having the seizures," Wryn rasped out.