Chapter 13 - Sold

How many days had passed since Cylor had been trapped in this room once again? He’d slept a few times, but had no way to track time. 


The fact that he had been here so long and not once felt hungry surprised him. Had he just imagined his boredom so much that time seemed to stop? The symbols on the wall remained the same for him, though on the opposite wall, species were added and removed from the list. He checked every time he woke.


Tynun, Neyr, and Guile still appeared on the list and that brought him some relief. Or should he have wished them to be set free from the list? What did it mean once they were removed? Were they killed? Freed?


“Voice, what does it mean when one of the species disappears?”


“There are multiple reasons why one’s data could be erased. Traded to a new human’s Parti Collection. Released back into the wild. Or death.”


“What does Parti mean?” Cylor inched himself closer to the wall with the list of Higher Beings.


“Parti is a simple term for the data and programs that process life and display the information down to the smallest molecule. Within this pod, you are made only of Parti. Your physical body disintegrates and is rebuilt every time you enter and leave.”


Cylor had no concept for anything that was being said, but he had a single thing on his mind. “So, can humans be trapped within here too?”






“Humans created Parti, and therefore control the rules. When a Parti Tab hits a human, it does not activate.”


Cylor frowned. “Would there be a way to ever get one to work on a human?”


“Yes, but the creator would have to change the rules.”


Cylor dragged himself back to his comfortable corner. He tried to process the conversation he had, but no matter how hard he thought of it, he grew even more confused. They had been so naïve to even confront the humans; they had no chance from the start. Cylor couldn’t even escape this one room.


The scenery changed.



He was outside with the human he recognized as his captor. It smiled at him in a place so unfamiliar that he had nothing to compare it to. Large structures were everywhere and as Cylor looked around, he noticed more and more humans. They were very different from the ones he had seen before. The new ones stood before a black gate of immense size, wearing bright and clean cloth. Why did humans always wear cloth? So far he had never seen a human without them, or was the cloth their fur?


“Dhasum, starting today you will be part of the royal family.” He held a glowing stone rectangle and passed it to a younger human. “He’s all yours—jigjai jgfisj ai”


Cylor looked back at his previous captor, no longer able to understand him.


“Come on, Dhasum!” A high-pitched voice said. “Follow me!” A group of humans moved out of Cylor’s way and he followed the human down a comfortable purple blanket that lay out before him. What was going on? Is this what being sold was like? Did he get to stay outside of that small room now? Would Tynun, Guile, and Neyr have a chance to join too? And what about Sarby? Did he make it back to his village?


Cylor entered an enormous building. Flames clung to the wall, illuminating the halls. Pictures of humans and Highers alike—bordered in garish frames—peered over him as he flopped his way deeper into an unfamiliar abyss. A scent crept through to his nostrils of something pleasant; his mouth watered.


“Only a little ways to go!” The human’s voice lilted with cheer. Still, Cylor proceeded with caution. He remembered stories of how happy humans were when they caught a new Higher, and he remembered what could happen next.


They trekked through hall after hall. Cylor resorted to using his tail to help propel him along in hopes the human wouldn’t get angry for his sluggish gait. A door opened and the human leading the Dhasum waved its arms. “Come in!”


Cylor inched his way inside and found that his appearance became one with the theme of the room. Everything was purple: the bed, floor, every piece of unfamiliar furniture.


“Here you are! Your new home. I’m Alicia! I’m a human girl! I’ve heard you are called a Dhasum. You can understand me, right?”


He nodded hesitantly, then took in all the vivid colors of the cloth that hung from her body. Many shades of purple and even green on the outer edges. Was she trying to make Cylor feel more comfortable by looking like him? Though her long blonde hair that draped down to her mid-back made it obvious she could never be anything like a Dhasum.


“Yes! I heard that if you have one of these new Parti Tabs you can have your Zinnal understand you! Technology is moving so quickly these days.”


“What is that term, Zinnal?” Cylor said, forgetting his words were meaningless.


“Aww, your squeaks are so cute! Maybe in the future these Parti Tabs will let me understand you too!” She sat down on the ground next to Cylor. “I wonder what I should name you…” The human placed her hands around Cylor and lifted him up into her lap. He immediately pushed himself off and tried to get away. He made his way through the room and toward the large bed. There was a cave-like entrance with enough room for Cylor to squeeze himself into under the towering mattress.


“You don’t need to hide from me, I’m not going to hurt you. But, I understand, being around new things is difficult and often very scary.” The human smiled at Cylor, who had slid himself halfway under the bed, looking back at Alicia. “If you don’t believe me, that’s okay, I’ll wait. There is one other place I want to show you today, though. You should follow me, I think it will remind you of your home.”


Alicia walked out of the room, waving her hands forth. Cylor timidly crept out from under the bed and followed her. Did he really have a choice? It was that or stay in that room for who knows how long. Once again, it was a long journey through the building. Chatter of human language came from behind doors along with the bustling of feet. More humans passed by, this time instead of bright colors, these were in black cloth. Cylor ducked and tried hiding behind furniture that lay scattered throughout the area, though the humans only smiled at him and continued to walk by.


Alicia opened a large door and carpet turned to hard floor. The moisture in the air brought Cylor a familiar feeling. His flippers plopped with each move forward, and then he saw it. A lake.


“I think you will like it here. We like to swim a lot, but as of now, the pool is all yours if you wanna dive in.”


A door on the opposite side of the room opened, and another human walked in.


“Oh, did you receive a Zinnal from those men too, Ratho?” Alicia said.


After speaking indecipherable words, the other human tossed out a Parti Tab and a familiar face zapped out. The Shuraek that Cylor had fought previously.