This is the 6th instalment of a speculative story of a voyage to Mars, and its initial settlement. The others, in order are:
Oceaxe was an odd girl. Now, at 15 years of age, she was of middle height, but somewhat gaunt and bony looking. Long jet black hair partly obscured her eyes, which were remarkable in themselves. A little too large for her small face, they had the darkest irises I had ever seen. She had cultivated the habit of glancing sidelong at people, and seldom looked at anyone directly. My first impression was one of shyness and avoidance, and perhaps the way she had her hair cut served to reinforce this. That was soon put to rest, however, when she seemed to take a shine to me at times. Although something about her caused me to like her, I did feel a little uncomfortable under the open gaze of this enigmatic fifteen year old.
Oceaxe was something of a celebrity at the outpost, because of her discovery in the canyon caves, but did not have any close friends that we knew of. Most were a little put off with her strangeness.
Her singular name was explained to me by her mother, one Eleanor Ariana. She and her husband Carlos had arrived on Mars some seventeen years ago. Although they were not permitted large quantities of personal effects on the voyage, Eleanor did bring some of her precious books with her. She had been in love with space since childhood, and it had meant her life to be selected for this grand theatre. The book in question was entitled
A Voyage to Arcturus, and it was a very romanticized and stylized account of a spiritual journey by a group of individuals from Earth, under the thralldom of two charismatic men who had a mysterious connection with a planet that circled that star. The plot is not sanguine to this story, except to say that one of the “women” they met on this distant world was named Oceaxe (pronounced Oh-see-AKES). Aside from being a shape changer, she was beautiful in her simple form, resembling what we think of as an Amazon. Extremely strong of personal magnetism, she as well had the capacity to read the minds of those around her. Add to this her ability to “absorb” the souls of those she determined as weak, we are asked to believe that she had selectively imbued her own with many masculine characteristics, meant to make her the complete person of power.
Eleanor had been sufficiently moved by this character that she chose that strange name. Her husband Carlos had raised some mild objections, wanting something more conventional like Jane or Joanne, but he went along, thinking that they would not, when she was born, have much to worry about in the way of schoolyard bullies who would surely latch onto something like this and run with it.
The name proved eventually to be fateful, and the girl strangely grew into some of her namesake’s qualities.
To be continued……
© 2018 Lee Dunn