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   Eazee Life published by SpellBound Books
  20th September 2023
   YA Dystopian/Steampunk
   Eazee Life

 

Chapter 1

Benedict - What is our reality?

 

Opening his eyes, Benedict shied away from a scalding light that hurt. It was the softest blue, he knew, although a blind man just moments before. But not natural. Not sky. An electric light above him.

         The slime from the containment tank was towelled from his skin, now prickling with goosebumps. He stared at the proud, standing hairs on his arm.

         ‘Welcome to Eazee Life, Benedict,’ said a voice.

         Again, as if awakened from a soundless sleep, he recognised words. Focusing on the being beside him, he took in the characteristics, deep voice, stubble on his chin and cheeks, flat chest. Man.

         ‘It’ll be a bit of a jump of consciousness for a while, but I’ll be with you every step of the way to your full rehabilitation.’ The man handed Benedict a pile of coloured objects. He fingered them, feeling softness, warmth, textures. Opening them, he scrutinised each one. They were strangely shaped.

         ‘Clothes?’ Yes, must be. Benedict heard his own voice for the first time.

         The man peered intently at him. ‘Do you need help to get them on?’

         Was he assessing his reactions? He was, after all, programmed to respond, to assimilate. ‘No. I’m fine.’ He paused. ‘Thank you.’

         Glorious words, rolling like a dropped basket of ripe fruit; round, burgundy glossy cherries, purple blackberries, strawberries that made you want to bite into them; all those shapes that meant something; all the nuances and textures; all the juicy mango words, the sharp and tart lime words, the fuzzy peach words. Benedict could see them, taste them, savour each expression. How incredible that man had the capacity to communicate in such deep layers.

         ‘Well done,’ said the man. ‘Yes indeed, you are fine. I’m Jonah.’ A loud sound erupted out of his mouth, which made Benedict jump. ‘My mother was really into Biblical stories.’ Again, he stared at Benedict.

         ‘Jonah and the whale.’ Benedict accessed his memories, untouched until this very second but opening up to him as if it was a vault. ‘The Lord God told Jonah to preach repentance to the wicked city of Nineveh, although Jonah didn’t want to as they were enemies of Israel. He ran away from the Lord and boarded a boat going in the opposite direction. God conjured a terrible storm, and the crew sacrificed Jonah to save themselves. God sent a whale, and Jonah sat in its belly for three days until it vomited him safely onto land. He then went and preached to the Ninevites, who all repented…’

         ‘That’s very good, Benedict.’

         ‘There’s more—'

         ‘No, that’s fine.’

         Humans can speak. Myriad languages. A thought formed.

         ‘Do animals speak in their own, secret, furry language?’ He felt the delight of the words rolling off his tongue. ‘Did the whale complain that he had a terrible stomach ache because he’d eaten something nasty?’

         Jonah nodded a couple of times. ‘That’s called wit, Benedict. Well done.’ He did a strange thing with his mouth as it expanded sideways. A smile.

    

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