03. Gods at the Well of Souls

03. Gods at the Well of Souls by Jack L. Chalker Page A

Book: 03. Gods at the Well of Souls by Jack L. Chalker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jack L. Chalker
that she knew couldn't be anything from nature, although she didn't  know how she knew. And on the water, too, in the distance, things seemed to  float, lights up upon the water rather than deep below it. 
    Boats, she understood at once, although again she had no idea where this  information was coming from. 
    I've lost my memory, she realized. Something, some accident or shipwreck or  something like that caused me to lose my memory. She had no idea who. or where,  or even what she was. 
    She ran her hands over her body in the dark. It was a woman's body. It wasn't  that this was wrong so much as basic information about herself that she had had  no sense of before. Somehow, she hadn't seen herself as a woman, and there was a  sense of wrongness about it somewhere deep inside her. 
    She knew so many things! There were all sorts of facts and behaviors and other  pieces of information swirling around in her head, yet about herself she had no  information at all. No past, no memories of actually being anywhere, doing  anything, interacting with anything or anybody at all. I am a woman became the  first, and so far only, definition of herself as an individual. It seemed to her that there had been Another somewhere, somebody very important.  A girl ... Another girl? That didn't seem right. But who and what? She cast about with her mind, never even considering speech, but there was no  response from the immediate area. She was alone on the beach, without memory,  without anything at all, in a place she couldn't remember for reasons that were  a total mystery. 
    Perhaps ... Perhaps out there, among the floating lights? She cast a mental net  and caught far more than she expected. Thoughts ... Lots of thoughts from what  seemed to be lots of different creatures. Their words, then- very sounds would  mean nothing to her-she knew that-but thoughts were assembled from stored  information into holographic concepts before they were translated as sounds, and  those she could pick up if she concentrated. 
    The power came naturally to her, although something inside said that it was a  new thing, something she hadn't done before, yet something she had done before.  That didn't make sense. Nothing really did. 
    It seemed somehow indecent to peek into their thoughts, to see who was tired,  who was bored, and who was thinking of killing the captain. Indecent but kind of  fun, too. Some thoughts, though, were a lot harder to figure out than others;  some of those creatures out there weren't even close to her form, and their  thinking wasn't much closer, either. 
    She cast about for others of her own land but found none. Wherever she was, she  was more than merely unique in her own psyche; she was one of a kind. No, that wasn't true. There were others. Something told her that. Men, women,  children ... But not here.  
    In the general casting about, though, she found spots where in fact not only  words but complete sentences came through to her as if spoken in her native  tongue-whatever that was. But it took some mental fine-tuning until she could  fully understand those thoughts, kind of like tuning a radio. 
    Tuning a radio? Where had that come from? God! She sure knew a lot for somebody  who couldn't remember anything except what was discovered by direct examination. Maybe they knew. Maybe they were looking for her. If so, she'd better find out  if it was in her best interest to want to be found. 
    "... Still getting reports from the Dlubinians that there is a great deal of  damage and loss of life below ..." 
    Those underwater lights. There were people of some kind who lived down there! If  that explosion that seemed to start her existence wasn't just some metaphysical  memory, then ... Oh, God! 
    "... No previous indication of volcanic activity in the area in any recent  period, and it's monitored as closely as you can in a semitech hex ..."

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