O2. Nemo’s Children

It took a while for Nakayama to explain exactly what she wanted Nemo to do to the egg. When he finally got the idea, he stepped behind a bush and she obligingly turned away. Nakayama knew the new humans would need more space, so she used razor-sharp wings to clear trees from the top of the island and stack the logs. Atop the island the trees were mostly tall pines. 

She heard Nemo scream, first in pleasure and then in terror. Nakayama hurried to his side.

Full grown adults spilled from the egg. Nemo covered his horrified face. “Congratulations.” Nakayama made her left wing into a blowtorch and lit a cricket for him to smoke, but he was distracted by the emerging men and women. “You’re a father now. Say hello to your family. Omedetou.

Soon a nude crowd filled the clearing. They were as varied as humans on Earth, but each seemed superficially healthy. Nakayama picked them up to check for defects in their ears, eyes, noses, and throats. Nemo followed closely and shook hands with each person as she put them down, just like Nakayama had greeted him on the sandy island.

Still more people spilled from the egg. Nemo eventually just let his children crowd around him for their handshake. “Name Nemo,” he said to them, “Nemo name.” Then he gave them their own names. His children shook hands with each other and introduced themselves.

When the crowd was so thick Nemo couldn’t find hands to shake, he pushed his way out of the clearing and climbed a tree. He yawped for attention: “Ora, ora, ora!” He bit an apple and showed his children the interior flesh. He licked sweet juice from his chin. He tossed the apple and a woman caught it in her teeth. She smiled and shared the apple with the man beside her. Nemo sat on a branch and showed how to peel bananas and oranges.

Nakayama hefted a man from the crowd to check his health. The man screamed. None of the other egg-born had screamed. Nakayama dropped him in surprise, but caught him by the ankle before he hit the ground. “It’s alright, it’s alright!” she promised, but the man kept screaming. The crowd turned to watch Nakayama try calming him. “I understand—the first few hundred humans saw me alongside them, but now so many humans crowd us that you’ve only met your own kind. You’ve established your sense of normalcy, and this is your first time seeing… me…”

Nakayama set the man down and examined herself. She was a giant, peculiar bird-creature. How could she convince people with no language that her presence was acceptable?

“Ora ora!” Nemo waved his hands. The crowd turned to him. He pointed to the sky. The crowd squinted at the sun. Nemo whistled. His pitch started high and became deep like a falling object as he pointed to Nakayama. Then Nemo mimed shaking her hand.

The crowd oohed and aahed. The screaming man now mutely shook Nakayama’s wingtip, and opened his mouth to show his throat. Nakayama covered her beak in disbelief. “Thank you, Nemo.” Before she inspected more islanders, she performed a quick headcount. Five hundred islanders were already present and the egg only spewed more. The clearing would not be sufficient. “Nemo!” She gestured for him to approach, and the crowd parted for him to pass.

Nakayama showed him the pine trees she had cut from the clearing. She flattened her wings into scoops to shape a log into a rough canoe. She made oars from branches.

“You have more children coming,” she said to Nemo, “and they will not fit on this island. Gather a group and row this boat to that island over there.” She pointed to the mountainous island. “I’ll send the rest, boat by boat, as I inspect them.”

Nemo didn’t understand, so Nakayama pushed the canoe down the slopes and it splashed in the ocean. “Ah! Ah!” Nemo understood. He chased the canoe and called for others to follow him. “Ora ora ora!”

Akayama carved canoes so quickly there was always a boat voyaging from the fruity island to the mountainous one. Nemo stood on the capes to welcome each boatload of islanders to the coast.

This island had more fruit trees which hundreds of islanders climbed and plucked clean. Giant birds lounged by the beach laying eggs which islanders cracked open and drank.

“Nemo! Nemo!”

Nemo turned. Three of his children ran to him panting with their hands on their knees. “Oran Dora,” said Nemo.

“Nemo,” they urged. They led him a mile up the mountain to point at the branches of a pine tree. They cupped their hands around their ears to tell him to listen.

Nemo heard a creature in the canopy. “Aaaugh, how does she land? This was a bad idea.” With the sound, Nemo saw it clearly: it looked like a hanging vine. It was four feet long and the width of his arm. In fact, it seemed to be an arm, with two double-jointed elbows. Its fingers clutched a branch.

Oran Dora,” said Nemo.

The arm flopped in the tree. “Is someone down there? I can’t see you. Can you catch me?”

“Name Nemo,” said Nemo.

“Oh, you’re Nemo! Nakayama told me about you. I’m your god now! Catch me!” The hand released the branch. It crashed on the dirt. “Ow! Goddamnit!”

O2 pictb

Nemo squatted and inspected the arm as it writhed. The other islanders backed away.

“Not your fault, kid,” said the arm. Its skin was pink and its palm had a mouth in it. The back of the hand had an eyeball with pupil but no iris. “You’re not smart like I am, yet. Here, follow me. I’ve got something to show you. Come on.”

Nemo watched the arm bend its elbows to crawl. He walked after it and the three islanders followed him, but Nemo shook his head and pointed them back to the coast.

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