Flash fiction by Caroline Noe

Carrie Noe is an amazing new scifi talent out of the UK. I stumbled upon her work on the socials and I am so very glad I did.  Noe has a wonderful way with words. She gives you just enough detail to catapult your mind into far away worlds with treachery around every corner. Her characters are multidimensional, her plots believable and engaging.

As she releases the final installment of the Canellian trilogy, I’m delighted to share an extract of the first novel. But first a warning: you won’t want to stop reading!!

Prologue from Canellian Eye: Prophecy

Is every Eden destined to fall?

Long ago, when the stars were young and everything was possible, there was a grand jewel of creation. The sapphire radiance of the planet Canellia reflected the brilliance of two suns as it passed between them on its, seemingly, endless orbit of bliss. Perpetual light waxed and waned from season to season, but never left its blessed inhabitants in darkness.

With most of its surface covered by water, Canellia teemed with aquatic life. Creatures of all shapes and sizes thrived in the sultry climate, racing through vast depths of ocean or basking in bays of vividly coloured flora, swaying in the surging current.

Canellia’s sentient beings lived on islands; people as varied and full of life as the sparkling waters surrounding them and as green as the plants intertwined with every dwelling. On the largest of the tiny oases stood a city, its undulating sculpted architecture soaring above and plummeting deep beneath the waves. On Canellia, function and aesthetics existed in perfect harmony as technology and transportation achieved a living art form.

The city swarmed with as much life as the sea, yet the people lived at a slower pace than their aquatic friends, savouring the beauty of the day and relative coolness of the lesser day as they went about the joy of living. Work, play, rest; these words bore no meaning for a people alive in wholeness. At the border of land and sea, they moved in water with the same natural grace and bodily flexibility as on land. Dancing, singing, love making ­- the sea caressed as readily as the rays of two suns.

Verdant green skin of all shades reacted to endless light by giving back energy to the atmosphere which, in turn, fed the waters in a symbiotic dance of harmony and unity. Children were born with the deepest and most radiant hue, giving off the strongest energy in their play. By the end of their lifespan, the colour had paled to a gentle pastel, with wisdom replacing vitality as their gift to the community.

Death held no terror; it was perceived as returning to the loving embrace from which they were birthed, having lived, grown and expanded. A celebration of music, art and feasting accompanied each passing, the traveller crossing the divide surrounded by multiple generations and the memories of those who had gone before.

Living in the deepest sense of community, there was no need for hierarchy or gender divide and no concept of jealousy or prejudice. Each individual discovered their own voice in the living orchestra and was allowed to flourish there. For millennia, countless pairs of jade eyes had surveyed paradise and seen that it was good.

Only one voice had ever pierced the peace of Canellia.

Erulia found her voice even before developing her ability to swim. Almost from the first, she had sung forth a stream of unintelligible words, until it gradually began to coalesce into something none had ever experienced before: prophecy. In a society rooted in the present, the future had never been predicted and was barely considered. Erulia’s prophecy hung in the air, heavily laden with a warning that none could understand. Having no idea how to deal with the anomaly, the Canellians strived to include their wayward child in the only way they knew how: Erulia’s prophecy was carved into a magnificent stone artwork, given respect and a place, before fading into legend.

And then it came to pass…

Imperceptibly, at first, one of Canellia’s twin suns began to diminish. On a planet bathed in sunshine, rays penetrated a little less of the watery vastness and life cast a weaker shadow. Whilst millennia rolled onward, the planet grew colder until, to the surprise of her bemused population, a new phenomenon appeared at the poles: ice.

As with all life undergoing a slow erosion of heritage, the people simply adapted to the arrival of night and deepening seasons. There came a day – even the ancestors could not recall exactly when – the ailing sun no longer shone and the ice thickened.

By the time the second sun began to fail, all Canellian people had migrated to the warmth of the equator and raised a generation of scientists to deliver a prophecy of their own: the coming of a deadly ice age.

As aquatic life slowed and decayed under the onslaught of glaciation, Canellians hurried to stay alive within the one remaining city, its former beauty buried beneath the need for warmth and almost perpetual darkness.

With storms of terrifying power lashing the city, the elderly, weak and sick perished in the arms of hopeless loved ones. The birth rate plummeted, as though nature was assaulting them from inside and out. As plant life disappeared, every animal became carnivorous or died.

Facing annihilation within a generation, Canellia poured what was left of her resources into a last, desperate bid for survival. She remembered the Prophecy and prayed to her God to reveal the Eye.

Then, when life was at its most desperate, Jehul answered.

*  *  *

The heart-searing cries were so loud and visceral that they penetrated the mighty thickness of crumbling walls and floated into the howling wind beyond. A new born child struggled into life, but the wailing didn’t originate in that tiny body. Meto steeled himself against the harsh action to come; he knew what that sound signified.

Snow sprayed into the swirling air stream as he heaved on the door’s solid weight and entered the dwelling. Once inside, he peeled back his hood to reveal a face whose sage skin had weathered more than his twenty eight years would suggest. These latter times had been long and the living harsh, making endurance a lottery of hardness.

The owner of those cries had long since given up the fight to survive and succumbed to despair. Cort was six years younger than Meto, but clung to the blood-stained dead body of his wife like a living corpse, howls punctuated by the hacking cough of the dying.

Knowing, from bitter experience, that there was nothing to be done to save either the dead or dying, Meto scanned the tiny dwelling for the child. The emerald face of the new born baby peeped out from between its parents, smothered by their bodies and emitting no sound. The hollow eyed family stood back, pressed against the walls, making no move to comfort the grieving. Despair engulfed most of Canellia, despite Meto’s best efforts to provide an escape from oblivion.

“Cort, enough,” Meto snapped. “Silence!”

He dragged the whimpering Cort off his wife’s corpse, hauling him away from his child. Family glared, grieved by the harsh act, but did nothing to intervene. Meto placed his fingers against the female’s throat, checking for a pulse, but her open eyes told him she was already gone. Cort crawled into a far corner and curled into a foetal ball.

“Did you send for the healer? Has anyone checked the child?” Meto demanded, scanning the faces of the watchers. They all avoided his gaze.

Without the dead weight of his parents smothering him, the naked child was revealed as male. His tiny legs kicked out with force, showing him to be surprisingly robust and healthy, despite his continued silence.

“Let him die,” Cort moaned. “It’s a mercy.”

Meto sighed; he had heard this morbid pronouncement from ruined parents more times than he cared to recall. They feared dooming their children to a life of frozen hell.

“We’re building the ship for…” he began.

Cort cut him off. “Not enough time. We’re dead. All of us.”

Meto stared at the faces surrounding him; all displayed defeat. A gurgle drew his gaze back to the wriggling baby, still lying on the body of his mother. Meto gently wrapped the child in a fur blanket and drew him into his arms. He felt no particular love for the tiny scrap of life; he was simply doing what needed to be done. Using a clean corner of the cloth, he wiped emerald blood from the baby’s face.

“Jehul.”

The use of their God’s sacred name, coupled with Meto’s shocked expression, penetrated Cort’s delirium.

“What? What is it?”

He scrambled to his feet and peered down at his son.

On the right side of the child’s cheek, just below his eye, was a singular birthmark: three intersecting lines in the form of a Y. It was a design recognisable to every Canellian; they witnessed it every day of their lives, carved into stone. The birthmark was almost identical to the pictorial ancient symbols of the language of Erulia.

The mark was that of the Eye.

————————-

About Caroline Noe

Caroline Noe is the author of Science Fiction & Fantasy novels.

She lives and works in London, having earned her living as, amongst other things, a tour guide for Wembley Stadium, shoe salesman, dog walker and keyboard jockey.

Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama & Theatre Studies from RHC, University of London, she became an actor and singer, where she swiftly learnt the difference between dreaming and hard graft.

She is a keen photographer and film buff, having once reviewed film for live radio broadcast.

Caroline loves Science Fiction & Fantasy and would, if she could, live in Hobbiton and work in Gotham. She believes that real life is also epic and mystical, if you work hard enough at seeing it that way.

Her first novel was the time travel fantasy, Firestone Key, and her sci fi Canellian Eye trilogy recently completed with the publication of Chosen.

www.carolinenoe.org

 

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