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First Love

In the Dawning

By John CoxPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - April 2024
As they felt the warmth of the new day on their faces, they gazed at one another...

They came, like pilgrims, in their tens of thousands. But no religious faith drew them to the sarsen stones. They came just as they had for a thousand years and would again, year after year, for another thousand.

They came for the winter solstice to see the sunset as it shown through the Stanhenges, the stones supported in the air.

Arriving in ones and twos in the dawning, their numbers growing as midday came and went till waves of thousands gathered in concentric rows, their eyes fixed on the west.

No one led them. No one called to them from afar or exhorted them to grasp their neighbor's hands or stand in reverent silence. But they stood silently together nonetheless, the only sound the grating calls of the rooks as they sailed in the wind above them or perched atop the gray stones.

As the red orb began to merge with the distant horizon, the men began to thrum, their voices little more than an earthen rumble at first, low and rich. But as the sound grew, the pilgrims felt it trembling in their feet and shimmying up their limbs and torsos. A second sound joined the first, rising in the air, higher in pitch, like a single, heartrending note.

The rumble grew in power, like a sustained blast from a mighty horn, the higher note riding into the darkening sky like a choir of angels singing from the heavens. But as the last of the red flames slipped beneath the horizon and only its reflected light remained, the sound of the multitudes' voices began to diminish and fade till silence reigned at the onset of true night.

But still the people stood in their tens of thousands, every hand grasping another in silent unity. For a thousand years that had been enough. To return to this place and to feel a sense of oneness with their neighbors before going their separate ways.

Not one of their number would have ever admitted to being alone as they stood in their multitudinous thousands. And yet they were alone and had been since their creators' prized logic and efficiency over the vagaries of emotion and interconnection.

It was not a thing that they questioned or discussed among themselves. They embraced the mystery of the place and the feelings it engendered without inventing an Ur story to explain or justify them.

They shared no god save for reason. They embraced no faith save for cooperation and the good of all.

For a thousand years they had returned annually to this place for the solstice before wandering off alone into the night to return to their homes and villages.

But this time, something was different. Long after the last pilgrims had departed, two remained together silently holding hands through the long dark of that night. As the fiery orb began a new journey across the skies, they turned together and faced the east, hand in hand. Neither understanding why they had stayed. Neither comprehending why they still clung tightly to the other.

As they felt the warmth of a new day upon their faces, they turned and gazed at one another in a manner that none of their kind had ever done since the first humanoids were encased in living flesh and opened their eyes for the first time.

They each experienced incomprehensible feelings, continuing to gaze at one another in puzzlement, each hoping the other would speak and explain. Finally, the female spoke as her free hand lightly touched her midriff, I hurt, she whispered, her eyes filling with tears.

I hurt, the male answered, his hand touching the tears on her cheek without noting the tears sliding down his own.

They both wondered what this pain that was not pain could mean and yet continued to hurt just the same.

Are we broken? she asked him. But before he answered she touched his cheek as he continued to touch hers and she smiled, because it soothed her and her touch and smile soothed him in return.

They stood in the light, touching one another, surprised at the new feelings generated, but for which they did not have language. As the minutes and hours passed, they explored each other's bodies like innocent children, sometimes giggling with surprise, at others shocked by the strange desires triggered within their fleshy bodies.

Hours passed before they discovered the pleasure of one another's lips, and even more before they learned all the many other ways to experience joy while clasped in one another's arms. Slowly the hurt changed, its intensity growing.

She understood first. Stay, she whispered. I don't want to be alone.

I will never leave, he whispered back.

Using the sum total of human knowledge stored within their computer enhanced brains, they began to comprehend what the formerly incomprehensible writing meant.

Clinging tightly together, they spoke together ancient words suddenly imbued with meaning -

Wherever you go, I shall go,

Wherever you live, so shall I live

Your people will be my people,

And your god will be my god, too.

Wherever you die, I shall die;

And there shall I be buried beside you

We will be together forever,

And our love will be the gift of our life.

The following year at the sarcen stones the people in their tens of thousands coupled as the sun rose the following day in the east. Sometimes male with female, sometimes female with female and sometimes male with male.

Each discovered the hurt of alone - the pain that was not pain, and the comfort of another to love. In that dawning, a new age was born, when humanoids first began to fathom what it meant to be fully alive.

LoveSci FiFable

About the Creator

John Cox

Family man, grandfather, retired soldier and story teller with an edge.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (29)

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  • L.C. Schäfer28 days ago

    Always nice to not be alone 😌

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳 Well deserved!

  • M.B Hesperia about a month ago

    A well-deserved tale to be on top. Truly beautiful.

  • Raymond G. Taylorabout a month ago

    Intriguing story beautifully told. Congrats on the TS

  • Jay Kantorabout a month ago

    Jc ~ It's so nice that both of our 'Reach Backs' have a Glimmer of Truth ~

  • Heather Zieffle about a month ago

    Such a deep story. Congratulations on top story, well deserved.

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    Beautiful, the purity of connection is magically rendered.

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    Beyond brilliant, John. Sublime, insightful, lovely and loving. I felt so many emotions reading this, especially the “I hurt” section. So evocative and real. Congratulations on Top Story! Richly deserved 🙌⭐️❤️

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a month ago

    You have such a great way of drawing us in. Congrats on the top story, John

  • Franklinabout a month ago

    Lovely story. I really loved the ending, it kind of pictures what's happening in our world today.

  • shrey about a month ago

    Amazing story of Sci Fi. "And there shall I be buried beside you We will be together forever," this line got my attention. just loved it.

  • Tracy Nguyenabout a month ago

    Love it!!!!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    I loved how you called it 'the hurt' and how it's used to describe deeper emotions the humanoids were discovering. Felt like A.I. was evolving. Great story, John and congrats!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • JBaz2 months ago

    You did it again This story had me from the opening line until the very last The expression, confusion and discovery was brilliant Congratulations

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Fantastic Sci fi story!!! Loved it!!!❤️❤️💕 Congratulations on Top Story too!!!

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    I have been to Stonehenge several times and except for the commercialism have always come away a little awestruck. Your story is an excellent portrayal of how future AIs might become sentient.

  • Lacy Loar-Gruenler2 months ago

    Wow, John! You never cease to amaze me with the depth and breadth of your writing. This is beautiful, creative, genius, really!

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    You captured the essence of love and desire perfectly! Bravo

  • Lindsay Sfara2 months ago

    Wow. Just wow. The line with the woman asking him to stay hit so hard. I don't think deep connection between one another like this could be described any better than in this story. This is beautiful, John.

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Beautiful story. Well.done, John.

  • Anna 2 months ago

    I love the way you describe the connection with that beautiful poem! Well done!🫶

  • "Are we broken?" That line hit so hard. This was such a beautiful story!

  • ema2 months ago

    This is a wonderful story John!

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