Calling on the Old Ones
Harry Fountain squatted at his listening place to gaze over the emptiness that was the northern end of the Gibson Desert. Changes were coming. He’d been feeling it for some time and now it was here. The others were listening. George and Alex and Wendy were listening – they knew something. What was it? He settled lower – his toes pressing harder into the rock, and as he rested onto his heels the light air balanced in his ears. There was news. Fiona had been calling them with news. What was it? Why couldn’t he hear it? Was he, too, failing. Fiona was failing – they all knew that. Was he going too? He stopped wondering. He listened.
Fiona was struggling. She was calling on all their reserves, all their memories -for what? Was she dying? Why would she need help in passing? There was no effort in passing. What was happening? Again he stopped thinking to listen, then to give. He yielded up all his mental power to her in her need. He just gave and gave until he, too, was exhausted.
In the Desert
Meira stopped walking. She was tired – not tired enough, but some of the way. She climbed a small hill to squat on an overhang and turn until the air balanced. There were forces at work. She listened until she could hear the music. It was in the music. The unravelling of forty thousand years of human development was in the music, but she didn’t have the memories. She didn’t have the templates by which to compare. There were some templates. There was enough to recognise discord and to tell her when to run and when to hide; there was enough for survival but there was so much more to find. She squatted there for a long time before she realised she was into an area that was not already in her mind. She was outside of her stored memories. She had to draw on the Old Ones’ memories. She had to learn – not just remember – not just to connect the synapses – she had to learn.
Slowly it came, in dribs and drabs, but consistently – as if from a long, thin, pipe. In the process there was a realisation. She was communicating with the Old Ones – she really did have contact with distant minds. The hard thing was not to wonder. She needed to stay focussed on the inflow – to sort it, arrange it for later use. This was a huge exercise. Her whole brain was active, drawing on her heart and lungs. She was breathing rapidly to match her pulse. Her brain was using all the energy, all the glycogen from every part of her body. She wanted to wonder how long she could continue but there was no spare capacity: not a spare drop. As she lost control the music started – softly but growing. It was growing – filling her head. There was more; there was scale. There was sonority, not booming, gentle, as with tonal language, and there was rhythm. That, too, was growing. The rhythm was growing as was the scale. Sounds grew higher, and lower. The whole was growing out and down and up and through, everything was larger and large and larger and ever larger . . . She was being introduced to an incredibly subtle collection of new sounds: Sounds that would take years to fully understand. She slept.