For those of you that enjoyed The Sea’s Embrace, here’s a short I wrote called "The Orbs."
Lauren’s footsteps echoed as he made his way down the steel walkway. Lit only by an orange sun and a hazy moon shining through glass walls, the corridor seemed empty and endless. But he continued without hesitation and without glancing at the view outside, for he was too high above the earth, and he was terribly afraid of heights
A terrible task was at hand. He cursed under his breath at the thought of these ignorant people he visited once every few months because they couldn’t get their magic right. Failed magic—and the poor tiny souls experimented on were stuck in an eternal prison, an orb of metal and—the Gods know what horrendous things they were put through!
He shook his head and sighed as he approached the door to the room. He hated this place for it stunk like sulfur, and his feet always stuck to the floor as if he walked on a thin layer of tar.
“Lauren,” the man in the doorway greeted him when he finally arrived. “You’re here just in time to receive my latest invention. A few days earlier and you might have come too soon.”
“I am curious, Mr. Lee,” Lauren replied with a quaint grin as he followed him into the room.
Chi Lee always welcomed him in the same place and in the same manner every time he came. With his large bifocal glasses, and drab brown hair tasseled in every direction, as if he’d stuck a finger in a socket, he couldn’t pass as anyone other than an inventor and scientist.
Lauren always admired his gadgets strung out on the counters, wondering what each one did, though he dared not touch them. He’d made this mistake once during one of his first trips. By pushing one of the various buttons on what looked to be a simple dinner plate, he unknowingly sent a scatter of nanites into the air to gather for an entire meal.
It would’ve been fine if he hadn’t kept pressing the button swearing whatever Mr. Lee had invented didn’t work. And so they feasted that night, but the leftovers could have fed the entire city, and quite possibly the small manmade world he lived on.
Chi was known throughout many worlds, including his own, for his brilliance in harnessing ancient magic, and could alter any substance into a masterful work of art. Or in this specific matter, he’d created a tool for the lost.
“Your city must be overrun with these failures by now,” Chi said breathing out a disappointed sigh. “If only the idiots were intelligent enough to quit conducting experiments on these little bodies. Lucky for you, we’re running out of them. But unfortunately the bastards are going to destroy every last one of these gentle creatures.”
Lauren followed him into his simple looking office, but amazing light beamed from the ceiling cast by small metal orbs, humming like a symphony of bumble bees.
“This is new,” Lauren said, bewildered by the astounding display.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?”
Both men gazed at the floating lights for a moment until Chi cleared his throat, returning to the task at hand as he picked up a small pair of pliers from his desk. He reached up and pulled one radiant orb from the air and held it carefully in his palm. With the small instrument, he pulled the metal tie from its place, carefully twisted the container loose, and then gently opened it.
Lauren had never seen the inside of one, so this was a real treat to see this newly constructed globe. Chi obviously took much pride in his work as he breathed out with a hearty grin, and then his eyes lit up in delight.
“The soul of a faerie,” he spoke softly as he gazed down at the small light inside what looked to be a thick glass ball. “There’s a control inside the glass that operates a tiny engine, so they no longer have to wear themselves out using their own will to keep afloat.” He touched the small propeller and gently twirled it, careful not to run his finger over the glass. “It runs only on magic from the person, or creature, or whatever else it’s instructed to follow and changes colors with each enchantment. Whether it’s good or evil, all emotions inside is let out through the exhaust system. That’s the light you see.”
“Astounding,” Lauren announced as he watched Chi carefully put the orb back together.
“I’m sorry to say there’s a large amount of them this time.” He sighed as he opened the door to his gardening room behind the office and let out hundreds of them.
He turned to face Lauren with a half-grin. “I’ve heard their whispers,” he said, chuckling lightly. “They believe you’re some sort of angel that’s come to guide them to the heavens.”
Lauren watched the amazing display of color with tears in his eyes. Whites, pinks, teals, and even a shade of blue glowed magnificently as they danced around him excitedly. And for the first time in the many, many trips he’d made to this stagnant futuristic world, he was honored to guide these lost souls to their new home.