Her Birth and Mutation
Juliet ran, danced, sprite-like over and around the wooded mountain path disturbing nothing. If someone wished to follow her trail, he would meet with frustration. She passed as if never there. She harbored no fear someone would follow her, track her or even hunt her. She knew some people would. To some, she was seen as a threat to survival. To others, she was dinner. At five-feet six-inches and carrying little more than one hundred ten pounds, she wouldn’t make a viable entree for a typical tribe, she’d certainly sustain life for another day.
She was not malevolent though of a dominant emerging species seen as the enemy of all other human beings. Given her heritage, she was feared and hated on recognition. Juliet was called a mutant, a green-eye, Devil-spawn and many other names among the peoples she encountered. She called herself Transfigured. Other than the whites of her eyes being bright with an incandescent green, she looked like a normal human being. Vast differences lay behind her appearance.
Juliet leaped into a clearing, the blood-red full moon exposed through the trees. She crouched like a gargoyle, listening to the forest. Her acute senses, augmented by chemical and genetic manipulation, swept her surroundings for any sight or sound indicating an immediate threat. Satisfied with her solitude, she stood, raising her arms to pluck the moon from the sky, singing: “In the name of the Old Ones and the all that has brought this moment: By the east that is the birth, the south that is the growth, the west that is the endings of all things and north which is home –”
Juliet paused, warm sensations rushing over her, then continued: “The Circle is cast and set, in perfect love and perfect trust.” She drew on the life force around her, feeding back to creation, raising her awareness until she lost track of where her being delineated from creation. “That which is beyond that which is,” she whispered in trance. With little effort, Juliet found what she wanted, nurturing the vision. “Come to me now.” Like a marble statue from time humanity couldn’t remember, Juliet waited.
Juliet was born a normal human child into a world far from normal. The human race was dying. She didn’t know the history. She knew a history, fed to her with knowledge implanting long before her body felt the surge of puberty, but not the history. Her people, those she would call her people, had a truth not to be challenged. The mix of chemicals replacing her spinal fluid was to see to that, like with all her people.
Knowledge implanting stuck – anything else was unheard of. However, Juliet was an experiment as was the process. Unlike the great experiment of natural selection and creation, Juliet’s people took the reins, guiding the future of humankind. The nature of all things was running backwards – de-evolving, man’s path, as it was with the millions of years before, was both physical and social. Unlike the millions of years bringing Juliet into being, the slide backwards was quick. Relative to before, the slide happened in the blink of a cosmic eye.
Overnight, the life force sustaining creation’s progress drained back into the earth. The authorities scrambled to keep order where no order could be kept. The best scientists raced to understand what was happening. Science yielded no answers because the answers were not in the realm of science. In their haste, the scientific community could only guess a virus at work, ancient, released by the earthquakes that rocked the entire planet. Though the virus couldn’t be found, everyone came to assume it there. To combat the infection, slipshod and haphazard experiments – some gruesome more like vivisection than anything resembling science – were performed on the worst of the population. On the other side of tens of thousands of deaths and mutilations, a process seemed to work: Transfiguring – to transcend.
The process was three-fold. Small areas were removed from the brain, the spinal fluid was replaced with Compound 36, the bone marrow in the arms was radiated until destroyed and replaced with Compound a64. With the children, the DNA was manipulated on a cellular level with chemical infusions. Juliet was born to a human mother, whom she never met, and raised in a laboratory called a school. She met her father a handful of times. Juliet came to learn he was the director, the supreme position in the government.
Stomping and thrashing as if some giant beast was bent on destroying the forest pulled Juliet from her trance. She took a deep breath, preparing for the trauma soon to visit her body. “In perfect love and perfect trust.” She whispered to the moon again as a human male broke into the clearing. Well over six feet tall and massively built, he dwarfed her.
He froze at her sight, sniffed the air and finally growled. Juliet didn’t think he was much older than her – maybe twenty cycles, if that. In this, she knew he was born after the nature of all things changed, what she wanted. He threw out his bare chest flailing his arms, brandishing his club. Leering, he sniffed again.
In the time before history changed, he wouldn’t be seen as a human being. Juliet knew he was more human than she. She leaned forward into the moon’s cascading light so he could see her eyes. With her arms raised toward him, she sang: “In perfect love and perfect trust.” Juliet knew if this man ever confronted a Transfigured, the man would kill him or her, if he could. Transfigured didn’t mentally digress as the rest of the species. Transfigured had guns, augmented speed and strength.
He bellowed a cry of fear, bringing his club back.
Juliet smiled. “In the name of the Old Ones: Calm.” He stayed the blow, remaining poised. Stepping gently, Juliet came forward, reached up and put a palm on his forehead. “Be here, now.” She swallowed deeply of the moist forest air again, forcing her will into the vision of Circle.
The descended human being dropped his club, torn off what little covered his groin, ripped at Juliet’s clothes, taking her quickly, violently. “In the name of the Old Ones,” she whispered as he disappeared back into the forest. “In perfect love and perfect trust.” She groaned, pushing against the pain shooting through her body. “Hail and farewell.”
Juliet’s people had turned on her or maybe the other way around. As the human condition declined and the scientists sought the cure for the virus, they missed the obvious fact not just the human condition declined. All things were declining. The earth, the mother nurturing all life, was dying. Life was not renewing at the rate anywhere near what it had been since the dawn of time.
Once the Transfigured had the process staying their personal decline, their attention focused on the rest of the species, no longer seeing other human beings as human beings. The process was too involved and complex to treat the entire population so the people in power decided to gather the population into concentrated areas called Cities. In time, with failing food supplies, the Cities revolted.
The Transfigured nuked the Cities. This was not part of Juliet’s educational implanting, she knew as a witness.
Not all human life was in the Cities at the time. Small bands peppered the landscape. Of these bands, some of the people had not declined. Curious as to why, the Transfigured hunted down and gathered these groups as they could. After evaluation, dissection and chemical analyzing, they were unable to learn why some people were immune to the virus.
One such group managed to successfully pull an over abundant yield from the farm where they lived. A scheme was devised to plant someone on the farm so she might discover the secret. The director himself made the choice – his daughter. Juliet was the best of the best, though only fifteen cycles at the time. Something unexpected happened on the farm, something the Transfigured had yet to figure out. Juliet was awakened to her lost humanity. The director determined she was too much of a threat and gave the order to have her killed.
They thought they had succeeded.
Though Juliet was awakened to her latent humanity, she knew the ape-like man who inseminated the future within her was more human than she could ever be. She spent a short time with a handful of people she considered real human beings, human beings of the old way. In these short weeks, she learned her people, the Transfigured, didn’t have the answer to the future. She also learned her new friends, Makaila and her people didn’t have the answer, either. Makaila asked Juliet to design an Event Horizon – a plan built on a cascading matrix of events – to bring back the old way of creation. Makaila did not ask for anything simple. Juliet had to set in motion elements that would occur long after her death.
One such element festered in her uterus.
Makaila thought living the old way, the wisdom of Circle, was the way back – the cure for the decline of all things. For all she knew about Circle and the old ways, Juliet saw Makaila didn’t really know. Juliet read Makaila’s books, a slow and inefficient method of learning, Juliet thought, but reading the old wisdom and watching its practice were all she had. Makaila said some of the books were missing, lost in the attack by the Transfigured. Juliet knew by looking.
The wisdom of the old way contradicted Juliet’s truth. This was where her mind broke. Juliet realized two things could be true yet not agree. Her Transfiguring should have prevented her from seeing beyond her personal truth. Something happened the first night on Makaila’s farm, and it had to do with Circle. Juliet didn’t fully understand. She put these elements on her mental list of things to think about.
Magic was a wildcard that devalued any prediction or Event Horizon. This was the flaw in her people’s thinking. To the Transfigured, the world was black and white. Choices were made and lived by. Life was a process predetermined within the variable parameters of any given cause and effect. The Transfigured, like Makaila, couldn’t see they were feeding into the natural decline of all things as they attempted to stop the fall. In manifesting Circle as they did, Makaila’s people were attracting people, the darkness, by their light. What they thought would save them would destroy them.
Makaila couldn’t see this. Makaila asked Juliet for an Event Horizon that would recover what was lost.
“Never do Circle again,” Juliet told Makaila. “Ever.”
Makaila had to let die what was dead already. Juliet didn’t understand fully, but the books were clear. Juliet’s truth told her the books couldn’t possibly be correct, yet her eyes told her that her own truth was not correct, either. She melded the truths, vacillating between the contradictions in a mental dance that made her dizzy. Clearly, she saw what had to be done to achieve what Makaila asked of her. She was unsure of any absolute truth. Juliet took the next step, and then the one after, trusting events would fall into place – somehow.
Juliet, with a moan, arched her back and rolled to her feet. She closed her eyes to the night forest, confirming a fertile egg attached to her uterine wall, pleased she didn’t have to repeat the event. The Transfigured had been working on the process of external insemination and incubation. Juliet knew little of love and emotions, cleansed by Transfiguring. Slowly, her emotions were resurrecting, sometimes washing over her surprisingly. She knew much time would pass before she was used to the cascade of feelings.