Septemus 68


Dear Sept,

I know you and Xirra have been wondering why I’ve been sleeping so much. It isn’t just to give the two of you time alone to talk. That’s a welcome side-effect.

It’s because I’m tired so much. I’m tired until I wake up full of energy. So full of energy that it shines from inside.

Yes, I think something’s going to come of my last visit with your folks.

I asked Octavius if he wanted another brother.

“Septy good brother,” he said. “Nother brother like him?”


“Like him. Or maybe like you. Only little! How would you like a baby brother?”

“But I the baby!” he protested.


Maybe you can help me, son. You and Xirra. Do you think the two of you can persuade him that a new addition to our family will be a good thing?

I know he wants a puppy, but a baby brother should be just as cute, and almost as much fun.

It’s been gratifying to see you talk with Xirra. All these questions I’ve never known how to even consider, she’s got answers for them all.

You asked me if I minded that you were “hogging her,” as you put it. No, son. I am glad. I’m glad for every moment you have with her, the sister of your bizaabgotojo. I’m happy for you to expand your family.

And frankly, Sept, I am more than a little relieved not to have a lot of time alone with her.

I just don’t really know what to say.


That time we spent together on the ship, when Octy was conceived, that was like nothing I even have words for. It was–well, I didn’t know it was so possible to get so close to someone.

Now, here we are, and… that closeness is there between us, like the elephant in the room.

I am not too sure how to proceed.

“I understand congratulations are in order!” she said this morning.

“Does it show?” I asked.

She laughed. “No, no! Shésti has been singing to me. You made quite an impression on her!”

Where is the rock I can hide under? Please?


She wasn’t jealous. She was happy for us.

“Octy will be such a good big brother!” she said.

Xirra has been so cheerful, I hardly know what to make of it. She even smiles and hums happy songs when she’s cleaning the bathroom.

“You don’t need to clean!” I keep telling her.

“Oh, but I do!” she replies.


I love to watch her with your brother, Sept. The two of them are so peaceful. Octy is nearly always a happy baby. But with his mom. I have seen nothing like it.


I wish you could have had that when you were a little guy, Sept. I know I tried to do my best for you. We had Miko and you loved her, but that wasn’t the same. You and I, son, we’re both motherless boys.

I think of the man that Octy will grow into. It must be something to be a man who has had a mother watching over him.


Our little family is growing again, Sept. And it’s a good thing, my son.



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Septemus 59

It’7 Octaviu7 7even7


The baby’s here. I thought I’d feel jealous. I mean, he got to have what I’ll never have: an actual birth parent. Baby brother got his umbilical the honest way. He was born with it.

We are already talking. True, he mostly communicates feelings, but what feelings they are! There must be nothing more pure, more strong, than a baby’s love.


“Why do you love your big brother?” I asked him.

He cooed and giggled. Then he sent me wave after wave of memories he had while he was inside of Pops of me talking, singing, touching Pops’ belly. Ah, no wonder! We are already bonded.


I can’t be jealous of a little guy who loves me!

“You’re gonna do great things!” I told him. “Even if all you do is sit in a chair and think, you’re gonna be great! You are great already.”


I love the color of his skin. It stirs memories in me–I don’t know what memories they are, or where they come from. Some feel like soul memories, from long ago lifetimes when I was blue like that, living in those wide purple meadows, singing with my gojotugo in a circle under seven moons!

Some feel like cellular memories, stirring in the spaces between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Pabatuotuo awoke this body to the memories of its cells, and now, with this brother, these cells’ songs find lullabies from ages’ past.

It’s like everything I know: How do I know it? It’s lying latent in me, ready to awaken when stirred by stimulus.

The ancient song of wind and leaf:

Shishi shésti.
Shésti shishile.

Tharistei situkoda
Steithari miki.

E payake.
E payake.
E paya-shishi O.
E paya-shishi O.


I have a brother to sing the old songs with, and he is a blue I know in my soul, and he comprehends the old hoploho in his bones, in his cells, and he will sing with me in the spaces we share inside!

E inna-inna Octy. Mopagoto.

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Septemus 18



I keep waiting for you to say you want to meet the other kids. I’m getting to know some of their bizaabgotojoto from the forums, and I’ve been telling you all I’ve learned about your siblings.

Most are quite a bit younger than you. I guess some were still infants during the crash and were kept by the agency until they were old enough to be placed in homes. Some were in cryogenic pods during transit and brought out once agency scientists had a chance to test the technology.

Only a few others are in your cohort. One, Cheddah Cheese, is even older. He’s already a young adult. Aging and development seems to happen at different rates. I haven’t been able to find out what causes this yet.

I’ve been expecting you to ask to get on the forums.

So far, you haven’t shown any interest. You’ll eagerly listen to everything I want to share, but you don’t yet want to read the forum posts. I’ve decided that, as with most things, we’re taking this at your pace.


I guess if there’s one thing I learned in Early Childhood Education courses, it’s that the kid knows: Kids know when they’re ready to learn new skills, try new things, and stretch their boundaries. Often, the best thing we can do as caregivers and educators is to observe, listen, and respect.

I’ve noticed that you spend a lot of time standing on the porch with your eyes closed.


I asked you about it this evening.

“What are you doing when you stand there, quietly, with your eyes shut?”

You paused a moment before you answered. I could feel you were weighing up whether to tell me and how much to reveal. I can’t read your thoughts the way you can read mine, but I can read your energy and your feelings. And at that moment, you were deciding how much to trust me.


I put my ego aside for a moment: You’ve got every right to decide to keep some things to yourself. Just because you’re my son, that doesn’t mean I’ve got a right to know everything you do, every moment. Your feelings, your dreams, your ideas, your power when you close your eyes–that’s yours. You decide what to share.

As I was thinking this, you smiled. You closed your eyes, and I felt a burst of blue love. I saw a moon-blue rose open inside, and it shot blue light all through me.


Iamsingingtoallofthem,” you said. Then you remembered spaces without me having to remind you. “I am singing to all of them,” you repeated.

“All of who, munchkin?” I asked.

“All the bizoopagotogo,” you said.


“Do they hear you?” I asked.

“Oh, yes! Squeegee!” you said.


You told me that you don’t sing the black hole song, and you don’t sing the pearl eyes song.

“I sing a song about kittens, sometimes,” you said. “Because, kittens! I like when they purr, and the song’s got a chorus about purring.”


“That sounds like a happy song,” I said.

“Yeah,” you said. “And I sing about you!”


I chuckled, and the blue rose inside got bigger.

“It’s really a song about your hair,” you said. “Like, you know Medusa? She had hair like yours, only hers made kids turn frozen-rock. So, what’s the opposite? Hair that makes you warm. Happy hair.”

“You sing a song about happy hair?” I asked.

“Yeah. Kinda,” you said.


“That’s a little bit weird,” I said. I felt a little embarrassed, to tell the truth.

“No, no!” you said. “It’s a great song!” And you sang it for me, aloud in your echoing, bubbling voice:

“Five hundred black snakes
All tight and twirly,
Some tickle long style,
Some tickle surely!

“When you see black snakes
Tied in a bunch, yeah,
Then you know ‘Bastion makes
Happy fries all curly!”

“Because you always tie your hair back when you cook!” you said.

“This is the song you sing with your eyes closed to your little siblings?” I asked.

“Yeah,” you replied. “They love it.”


You started laughing then, with your mischievous glint in your eyes. Oh, kid! You got me good on that one!

Serves me right, prying into your sibling songs. You keep them secret, Sept. You kids deserve to have your songs for yourselves.

Your loving, gullible dad with the happy black snake-hair,


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