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Log of the Month for August, 2020

Island Therapy
Posted on July 15th, 2020 by Emilaina Acacia

// Content Warning: Suicide //

The Doctor had been putting this off, but as the end of her visit grew near she knew she had to get it over with. She found herself in front of the sage’s tent in her own village, its top tied up because the sun was still in the sky.

With a determined huff she cast open the tent flap and stepped inside. The Akosi sages had a large metal-and-obsidian sculpture of woven plants at the center of their tent, the rest much like a library designed to occasionally be open-air. Each of the sages inside glanced at the Doctor in turn until one of them did a double take, fixating on her.

Emily was briefly surprised to meet the eyes of a young girl, no more than fifteen. That would be the youngest she could have been, to wear the sages’ loose purple cape. She was blonde, so Emily could guess her name would contain a variant of the native words ‘visitor’s child’, but it wasn’t custom to exchange names.

The sage raised an open palm to Emily and she mimicked the action, the two briefly bowing heads at each other. The young girl made her way past some trees and shelves to the back wall of the tent, ducking out the back flap. Emily took a deep breath, swallowing her nerves and following the young girl into the jungle.

It was only a short walk to the cave. Purple fabric was draped over the entrance, vines and roots growing down to partially cover the fabric. The two carefully ducked into the cave, taking their time not to harm the roots of the cave roof’s tree. 

Inside the cave it was dark, save for the dim blue glow from a small silver cup of crystals that the sage had brought. She walked around the round room, dropping one of the chips in each of the twisted silver sconces on the wall, the room only dimly lit by the stones as they’d only had part of the day to sit in the sun, but it was still enough.

The cave was much like any of the tribal homes, it had a small kitchenette, a fire stove with a manual vent above it, and there were a number of plush chairs lining the walls. This place also had a good number of books, and a large dish of crystal chips sat in a silver dish in the center of the round cave. 

Emily poured herself a drink at the kitchenette, then sat down on the sofa so that she could slowly sink to lay down. The sage stood, watching the light occasionally streak in at the cave’s entrance when the wind would blow.

One stood and the other sat, both in silence for a long time. Emily finished her drink, and got up to pour herself another. She got comfortable on the couch, finally settling on what to say. She turned off her translator to keep it from confusing her, the two speaking only in the native dialect.

“It seems I will kill myself,” Emily began tentatively.

“When do you plan to do it?” the young sage smiled wryly, knowing the answer.

“I don’t want to,” Emily jumped slightly, waving her hands as she searched for the words, “it seems I’m destined for.. more difficult life circumstances than, perhaps, I had hoped.”

“You are a medic,” the sage agreed softly, “a difficult calling.”

“But a profession is just,” Emily tried to form the thought, but the girl cut her off.

“Did you choose your profession?” she asked, turning to raise an eyebrow at the Doctor. Emily thought about that, leaning into her drink a bit.

Emily sat her gourd jug on the side table, resting her chin on her hand, “Did you?”

“Certainly not,” the sage laughed. A beautiful laugh, almost a child’s laugh. Emily sighed.

A long moment of silence dragged on. The sage made her way over to sit by the bowl of stone chips, digging through it idly, “But you have always known.”

Emily wanted to ask ‘known what?’, but lingering on that thought distracted her. She took another drink before laying her head on the arm of the sofa. After a long pause the sage took a small silver bell out of her sleeve and rang it once.

Emily sighed softly, thinking for a moment before beginning again, “I had envisioned my life quite differently than it.. is going.”

The sage paused and nodded. She grinned slyly, prodding, “Three kids and a command post on a research vessel? Your own lab and a farm overlooking the ocean?” Emily bristled briefly, caught off guard.

“Something like that,” the Doctor mumbled into her drink.

“I do not see,” the sage finally selected a dark purple obsidian chip, turning it over in her hands, “how any destiny could interfere with a plan so simple.”

The young sage took a thin silver tool out of her sleeve and began to chip away at the obsidian, slowly and meticulously shaping it. Emily considered her words for a moment, thinking back on all the stories of fate and heroes she’d ever heard.

“It must be difficult,” the sage continued, “to be a story. Something exciting always happens. The happy parts, the peaceful parts, are in the margins. We may know why Alakai does what he does, but the story is less interesting if we see him at home with his family instead of on the hunt.”

“Mm,” Emily agreed, finishing off her second drink and setting the jug aside, “But I never imagined myself as the sort of person worth telling a story about.”

“Did you choose life on a starship?” the sage asked pointedly.

Emily gave that the proper amount of consideration before deciding, “No.”

“So your heart calls you to heal as many people as you can, taking you to the stars for it,” the sage turned to look at Emily and she was struck by something in her eyes. The young girl had never been off-world, and she’d found Emily’s ‘traveller friends’ very interesting, let alone the doctor with a human mother.

The sages were the recorders of stories and each one had a book they took notes in, usually about the people they met during their work. The young girl removed her book from her waist bag, pressing the obsidian chip against the other scales on its cover to see how it fit. The scales were half way down the cover, swirling in the pattern of a purple flower of her careful design, “We would tell stories about someone just for flying, alone.”

“I guess so,” Emily replied, humbled.

“So don’t kill yourself,” the girl added, with an attempt at a light-hearted tone, “at least not before you do whatever makes you worthy of a story.”

“Right,” Emily smirked lightly, shifting a bit in her chair. She still had a lot to think about, but it at least felt good to have gotten it off her chest. The two sat in silence for a while as the sage finished gluing the obsidian chip to her book before the girl got up and let herself out, leaving Emily alone with her thoughts and more than enough juice to put herself to sleep.


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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    Ah, the troubles of being a major character in a Star Trek story… The bit about the happy, peaceful parts being in the margins was some good insight from the young sage, who is clearly wise beyond her years. This is a great look into the cultural backstory you’ve built up, and I definitely want to see what’s next!

  •  Alexis Wright says:

    I admit confusion, but there is clearly more to this story that a reader cannot yet know. I agree that the cultural backstory is fascinating. The central theme of the discussion caught me off-guard and leaves me without much to say, but I’ll be (cautiously) watching to see how things unfold.

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