Challenge #00201: A Kiss of Home

“ How long has it been since I’ve stood in the rain? ”

Lyr could only predict that the individual who called herself Shayde would ‘bring trouble’ if they let her out of her isolated environment. However, since the genetechs had concocted and released a super immunoflu that once again vaccinated known populations against extinct diseases like measles, they had increasingly less reasons to keep her there.

Humans were considered insane by the larger populations of the galactic scene. And this creature - who, by all accounts, was only biologically human when she couldn’t help it - was beyond the normal levels of human insanity.

Case in point.

It was raining in the Elemeno, and most citizens who went there were staying under shelter and conducting their business in a hurry.

Not Shayde. She was dancing around in one of the upper-level parks and jumping in puddles with every sign of childish glee.

Lyr adjusted her weather-hood and closed in on her on an I’m-harmless vector. Powers, she was singing. An odd little jingle, halfway between happy and sad whilst containing elements of both.

Do dee do do doodee doodee do dee doot do…

Shayde spotted her, and wound to a halt partway up a decorative lamp-post. “Jus’ singin’ and dancin’ in the rain,” she caroled.

“Any particular reason for this… exhibition?”

Shayde climbed down and sighed out her previous buoyant mood. “Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve stood in the rain?”

“Longer than ten subjective years?” Lyr guessed.

“I was holdin’ me babby brother’s hand…”

Lyr gently took hold of an elbow and steered Shayde towards a bath shop. They had towels, there, for as little as ten Minutes. It didn’t take much reasoning to fathom that this creature was homesick, and halfway towards dangerously insane from whatever journey she’d been on.

Proof positive, Shayde just licked some rain off her palm.

“Does'nae taste like home,” she said, “but it almost feels like home, ye ken?”

Odysseus… Lyr thought. He, too, had spent too long trying to get home and found it greatly changed when he finally got there. The conclusion to Shayde’s journey would be no less heartbreaking for being five hundred common-years long. “You’ll be able to take a trip once your identity’s been established beyond reasonable doubt. With an escort for safety.” She decided, in a fit of diplomacy, not to mention whose safety she was concerned about.

Shayde handed over an Hour for six cheap towels and wound up her smoke-white hair in one of them. “I saw the rain fallin’ and I thought… It’s been too long. No matter how ye measure it, it’s been way too long.” Another towel mopped up the puddle she was creating on the floor while a third was used in an attempt to stop the rivulets pouring off her body. “If there’s one lesson to learn,” she added. “It’s that life’s too short to stop bein’ childish.”

Lyr could think of other lessons…

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