Author : Phil Manning

The light above the door flashed green and she stepped into the hall. Synthetic grass covered the floor, a lush carpet which sprang up, undamaged, after each of her hesitant steps. A vast pool lay in the centre of the hall; the scent of salt water touched her nostrils.

Her yellow skin gleamed under the harsh fluorescent light, a simulation of a life bringing star long extinguished. The yellow skin was tattooed with a swirling mixture of codes and writing blended together to create an alien set of tribal markings.

On the edge of the pool a dull grey box began to shake and break free of the floor. Rising up to the height of her chest two black cables emerged from the sides of the box. The box’s grey exterior began to darken to an earthen brown and the once smooth surfaces were now scarred with texture. The cables snaked on the floor until she stood in front of the earthy pillar then lifted into the air to attach securely to her temples.

She took handfuls of earth and began to rub them slowly onto the top of her skull. Instead of falling to the floor the earth clung to her strands of hair. As she placed more of the mound of earth onto her skull her hair began to rise. The hair formed the outline of mountains and valleys which shifted and writhed, filling with trees and vegetation. When the mound was half broken away she stopped placing the earth onto herself. Taking small handfuls she cast the earth out over the pool. Islands and continents were shaped, shifting against one another before coming to rest in odd and beautiful land masses. The cables fell from her temples into the pool. They swirled and drifted beneath the surface of the water. Waves crashed against the newly formed land further changing and shaping the formations.

Sitting beside the pool she hummed as she cropped at the synthetic grass with her hand and tossed random handfuls of her harvest over the pool and newly formed surface. As her humming grew louder, the tune became more complex. The shape which had formed on top of her skull began to slow in its growth. The markings on her skin began to shift, dancing in and around each other. Changing patterns, words, codes, language swam on her skin. She opened her mouth and broke into a crescendo of song which harmonised with the sound of her humming still echoing throughout the hall. Small creatures began to appear in the mountains and valleys which sat upon her head. The patterns on her body danced up her skin and disappeared into her temples. Blue electricity crackled above her head as her body drained itself of the markings. The small creatures began to evolve; some grew wings, others leapt for the pool, and they began to hide and hunt. A small group began to think and stumble forward, upright and afraid.

She finished singing and started to whistle softly as she stood and reached for the shape now pulsating with life atop her head. As she broke the shape away from her skull it fell into four pieces. She floated each one toward a different area of the pool and the newly formed pieces of land. As life began to take hold and shape itself she slowly walked around the pool, whistling soft gusts over the once empty surface.


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