Realm of Dreams by

The Homecoming

Sarah regained consciousness on the other side of the portal. She was lying on the ground. It took a few minutes for the buzzing in her ears to stop and her vision to clear. She looked up to see the woman stranger looking down at her.

“Welcome to your new home,” the woman said smiling. “Let me help you up,” she said as she reached for Sarah’s hand.

Sarah held the offered hand and stood up shakily. Several other Olders stood around in groups looking dazed. Sarah noticed they were standing on an open plain. As she gazed up to the sky she saw it was azure blue and there were two moons. The sun was as bright as Earths and felt just as hot on her skin.

“What do you call this place?”, she asked.

“This is Ortus.”

“What is your name?”

” I am Nephele. We need to get you all moving. It is will be a long walk to get our city.”

“Why did we land here out in this barren land?”

” We found it was too disruptive for our citizens when Outworlders arrived in the city.”

Sarah and the other Olders walked along with their Ortusun guides. Sarah noticed she did not feel tired. It is probably all the adrenalin pulsing through my system she thought.

After what seemed like an hour she saw some tall structures in the distance. As they came closer she noticed the sleek outline of a towering building.

“This is the Central Ministry. You will be processed here,” said Nephele.

The Olders were led into the main entrance. They stood in a large hall looking up at the interior of this vast structure. Circular balconies reached up as far as they could see with several doors on each level. In the center was a large chamber with clear walls. Their guides took them to it and, after they were all inside, it began to rise rapidly up several levels. They exited onto a balcony high inside the building and were taken into a spacious hall.

“This is the intake center where you will receive your identification chips and have your health scan.  Once we have determined you are all healthy you will be assigned to your reorientation families.”

“What if some of us aren’t healthy?” a man asked.

“Our medical care can cure Earth illnesses and will have some rejuvenating effects as well.”

“What about the reorientation families?” asked Sarah.

“You will be sent to live with some of our citizens who have volunteered to help you adjust to our society. We see it as a learning opportunity for both the Olders and the Ortusuns. After the reorientation period you will be assigned to your permanent living spaces. You will be matched with a young citizen who shares your talents and you will mentor them. There will be a welcoming ceremony once you complete the reorientation and are ready to be matched. We call it The Homecoming. It will coincide with our Spring Festival.”

Time passed quickly for Sarah as she adjusted to this new world and culture. The Ortusuns did not work as Earth people did. All the work needed to keep the society functioning was performed by machines. They devoted their time to pursuing individual interests, travel, exploration, science, and the arts. It sounded like an ideal life but for the short lifespan of 30 years.

Sarah made friends with another Older that lived near her orientation home. James was an artist that lived in the same section of the city as Sarah. They discovered that they both enjoyed being out in nature and meeting other artists in the community. Sarah found it very easy to talk to James and their friendship developed quickly.

It was time for Spring Festival and The Homecoming. The Olders gathered on the plain where they had first arrived. The ceremony was to take place on the night of the first Full Moon of Coerulus, the largest moon.

A circle of statues enclosed the ceremonial site. They were crowned by flaming urns, and carved with strange animal faces whose eyes seem to glow from an internal fire.

In the center was an ornately decorated dais. The night sky was full of stars. Music was playing with a steady beat that Sarah felt pulsating through her core like the beat of a human heart. Nephele stood to address them.

Mozart_magic_flute painting of stage set by Karl Friedrick Schinkel via Wikimedia

“This is the night of our ancient Spring Festival when we celebrate fertility on our world. This year we are welcoming the Olders back to their place of origin. They bring us the promise of long life.”

Nephele addressed the Olders,” You are welcomed back to the home world of your ancestors, the place of your origin. You are bringing the gift of our genetic seed back to us.”

Some Ortusuns entered the circle and offered each of the Olders a goblet of ceremonial wine. Sarah found the drink pleasant tasting but soon felt the ground swaying, like a boat riding a swell. She looked around and to see James walking off with a young Ortusun woman. Sarah turned her gaze back to the young man who was standing in front of her.  She took his hand and they went out into the night.

It had been four months since The Homecoming and Sarah’s memory of that night was still clouded. As she entered her studio she felt an odd flutter in her belly. There was a knock on the door.

“Your student is here,” announced Alexia her android.

Sarah remembered she had scheduled a meeting with the young sculptor she had agreed to mentor. “Have the student come in here,” she replied.

Sarah could hear Alexia directing the student to the studio. She looked up as he entered the room. She realized she had seen this young man before. It was on the night of the Spring Festival. ” It’s you!” she said as the heat rose in her body.

This post is my contribution to the WEP August Challenge Reunions 

The WEP challenge is hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.









Featured image ‘Realm of Dreams’ via, Ministry building is via Foundry on, Statue is a Cham pedestal from Museum of Cham sculpture( image altered) via wikimedia, Image of ceremony is Painting of stage set for The Magic Flute by artist Karl Friedrich Schinkel (image cropped).

Word Count: 991

Full Critique




36 thoughts on “The Homecoming

  1. Denise Covey

    Hi Deborah!

    When you go through a portal, beware. This new life of Sarah’s is fraught.
    You’ve created a new world for your readers to enjoy with names that suit. I always am amazed at the world building it takes to write a sci-fi-type story. The attention to detail. The images help, too. How amazing they are.

    I’ve had your story open ever since you posted it, pondering the story. More used to the fast pace of a romance, I duly struggle with the sci-fi genre (or is it fantasy?) Or a crossover?

    But never mind, the last paragraph gave me hope that romance springs eternal. Hope I’m right!

    Thanks for posting early for WEP. I’m loving the extra time to ponder the entries. I’ll put mine up next week I think.

    Denise 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Thank so much, Denise, for your thoughtful comment. I think this is sci-fi and it may have some romance at some point. I am not sure Sarah wants to have a relationship with her student but she is experiencing these awakened desires which started with the Spring Festival episode. I think she feels very uncomfortable about them and what happened that night. This story is about what happens to Sarah and the other Olders as they blend in with this alien culture. I am carrying over from The Final Transition and it is part of an idea I have for a longer story. Looking forward to reading your story.


  2. hilarymb

    Hi Deborah – I feel unsettled for Sarah – it must be so difficult to adjust from earth’s society to the Ortusan world … and now I see she’s pregnant – which does make sense. Interesting – and certainly draws me to read more – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      It is a big change for Sarah but she appreciates the opportunity to have a life on Ortus. And even bigger change with pregnancy. Happy to hear you found this story interesting! Thank you, Hilary. 🙂


  3. Yolanda Renee

    World building in a flash fiction piece is no easy task, but this is superb! I see a possible novel building here. A new life, a new love, and I’m switching places with Sarah in a heart beat! Great story telling, Deborah!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nilanjana Bose

    A fairly complex narrative arc expertly caught in a flash. I liked the well-crafted, detailed world building, the thoughtful selection of names, and I especially liked the rather subtle nod to the prompt coming in right at the end. The images help the story along. Very well done, kudos!

    Just a couple of tiny suggestions for you to consider – 3rd para the word ‘noticed’ is used twice in quick succession – may be worthwhile taking a relook. Also a visual break *** would help mark and reinforce the time lapses, where the narrative jumps forward over a time-span, before
    ‘It was time for Spring Festival and The Homecoming’ and ‘It had been four months since The Homecoming..’ Thanks for a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Thank you very much, Nilanjana. Thanks for noticing that I used “notice” twice close together. Glad you pointed it out because I do try not to do that with words. Good suggestion about visual break. 🙂


    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      The evolution of genetic manipulation is progressing fast in real life and I am trying to stay ahead of it in my story. There is going to be an interesting part of the story with the natural reproduction from Sarah. Thank you very much, Pat.


  5. Toi Thomas

    I love that this piece is a continuation of your last WEP piece. Did you plan it that way? Will you continue this story and tie in the challenge theme each time?
    I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the story and can’t wait to see if there’s more to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nancy Williams

    An interesting concept. I wonder, is Sarah’s life also limited to 30 years? Do they go through yet another portal? If so, the possibilities of endless lives is something you could play with. Perhaps it is a struggle to remember who they were, where they originated. I write fantasy so we are close cousins, though my WEP story this time isn’t fantasy and I’m late putting it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Sarah is an Older who traveled through the portal from Earth. This is a continuation of the story I started with The Final Transition but I realize you might not know that. She was 55 years old when she came through the portal. I am thinking that the Olders may have greater longevity than on Earth because the healthcare is advanced on Ortus and there may be special effects of the planet on them. Thank you, Nancy. 🙂 Look forward to reading your entry.


  7. zuzuandboo

    Hi Deborah, what a lovely world you are painting for us here! I am intrigued and fascinated by this otherworldly culture and the possibilities it holds.
    I’m also a new member of the IWSG so I look forward to reading many more of your posts. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dolorah

    This is developing into an intriguing world. I love the idea of “DNA seeds” scattered through the universe, and the after life a reunion with our origins. Not that we will particularly like our “creators” once we meet them. This will be an interesting world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      The Olders are still alive. They came through a portal, worm hole, from Earth to Ortus to continue their lives on Ortus. I should put a link to the first part The Final Transition. The Ortusuns brought their DNA to Earth in the past and now The Olders are returning to Ortus. Thank you, Dolorah. 🙂




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