A note from camcleod99

Hi and thanks again for keeping up with Heart Song. This week sees the start of the new release schdeule. Every month will see the release of four chapters, effectively keeping the schdeule without forcing you, dear reader, to wait.

Thanks and see you at the end of 1-08!

Craig A McLeod

The first sun rose in the orange sky and flooded Yujo’s room, and her face, with a bright light. A protest out slipped out of her lips. As she turned to move her face away from the window, she wound her bed sheets around her body.

The clock projected from her Terminal ticked over to 06:30. Taking the form of a holographic baby chick the alarm screamed out at a volume far too loud to make sense.


“No…” Yujo mumbled and turned over again.

She shifted in the bed, trying to stay asleep before suddenly, she sat upright, threw her hands forward and screamed “IMUP!”

In a half awake daze she turned around and looked at herself in her wardrobe mirror. What she saw in the mirror looked like a wet Selk covered in brown seaweed.

Yujo greeted the creature in the mirror with an annoyed grunt. Undoing herself from the mess she grabbed her wash bag and towel to begin her morning ritual.

At half six in the morning she would be the only person using the wash room and that suited Yujo. The room separated the showers into their own cubicles. As the warm water of the shower rained down on Yujo’s body, every ache in her body floated away into nothingness. With a sigh she began to piece together her plans for the day.

It was a light schedule. All she had was the hour service after breakfast. She had no other duties for the rest of the day. Yujo leaned her hand on the tiled wall of the shower to stretch out the last of yesterday’s aches and pains. The last bit of the pain came out in the form of a contented sigh.

Then her terminal, sitting in the washroom’s sink shelf, chirped.

Yujo turned the shower off and reached for the towel. After rubbing herself dry, she tied the towel around her body. Covered from the bust down as she walked towards the sink stall to read her terminal.

She tapped the terminal. In response it spitted out the image of a piece of paper marked as being from a “John Smith”.

Yujo closed her eyes as she remembered the name. She had met ‘John Smith’ a couple of days ago.

The two met at the weekly market that took place in Abraham Island's capital city.

People from all over the republic's southern islands came to the market to sell their wares. From T-Shirts to music, gadgets and toys, all were selling their wears with the hope of getting the attention of one of the larger conglomerates. They had had the infrastructure to do business for them on a republic wide scale.

For Yujo it was convenient as it was neatly sandwiched between her hobby and home.

She opened the stall for herself after gotten her diving license. From it she sold prints of her dive photos, vanity shots, landscapes and all other sorts of shots both in the sea and on the surface.

It did enough business for Yujo to allow her to dive more often and get the occasional luxury for herself. It couldn't come close to make even a quarter of the month’s rent for the orphanage.

That sort of money would need a high paying, regular client.

That meant she needed a contract.

She met 'John smith' at the last market she went to. He was tall, award man with a face strewn with half shaved stubble. Yujo knew that the name 'John Smith' was shady as was his request.

All he wanted was photos of sea animals.

She would have chased him off if not for the rate he was offering for the rate he was offering. It was far too good to ignore.

It was a suspect request but right now the money was the important part.

With a swipe of a hand over her terminal, the message opened, and she started to read it.

‘So, yoo goot som photo, yes?’

Yujo’s face scrunched up as she tried to read the message. John Smith’s typing was not particularly elegant. In fact, it was was hard to call it readable.

After a moment she decoded what the message was asking and sighed. She knew that she had nothing to show for her trouble after she had her photographs confiscated.

This, of course, meant no photographs and no pay from her client.

Yujo commanded her terminal to listen to her reply and started to dictate the message.

‘I was diving yesterday but my photos got confiscated.’

It took only a few seconds after she sent the reply for the terminal to ping again.


Yujo repeated the word, uttered ‘what?’ under her breath. It looked like he meant to say clears and tried to correct himself and only got it half right. She shook her head, whatever his feelings were about selk were had nothing to do with her or the contract.

‘Something like that, yes.’ She dictated.

‘I don’t have any photos for you, sorry.’

She walked over to the mirror and started to brush her hair and teeth. After cleaning her teeth to a white shine she brushed her hair back into the puffy strawberry blond plume that covered her back. Then she started to pull her eyebrows. She squeaked out a yelp of pain as she pulled out an errant lash as the terminal bleeped again.

‘Actuly, Ifu coud gat som pic today?’

Yujo looked at the message and bit her lip. That wasn’t going to happen. As her legal guardian Rosemary held a tight leash on her finances. She would never allow her to go diving twice in one week even if she was doing well for her self at the market.

The spat between them didn't help.

Yujo shook her head. Rosemary’s heart was in the right place but that sentiment was going to end up destroying her life’s work.

That was something Yujo could not sit back and watch happen. She could never hope to pay Rosemary back for everything that she had done for her but she wasn’t going to let Rosemary give up without a fight.

Another bleep from the terminal.

‘Lookin for som selk tho. Pay dble?’

That clinched it.

A single photo of a selk at that rate would give her enoguh money, combined with her savings, to afford to pay the month's rent.

If she could show Rosemary that even her apprentice could get the money together it could just be the thing to inspire her to fight on. She could even end up finding a solution to the problem that she wasn't seeing in the effort to stay afloat.

Yujo nodded to herself, bundled her night clothes into a ball and threw them into the clothes bin situated at the door.

With a sense of confidence in her voice she gave her response.

‘Send me the contract, I’ll do it.’

By the time she got back to her bedroom a final notice had appeared on her terminal's projector. It was a new contract between herself and John Smith with the new terms.

Yujo nodded to herself, pressed the 'accept' button that appeared under the contract and started to change her plans for the day.

She knew Rosemary would be spending the day watching her like a hawk but she had one advantage over her guardian. She knew where she could slip out of the orphanage undetected.

As she was growing up Yujo would spend the time that Rosemary was busy and unable to take care of her. She used that time alone to explore the old building's halls. Over the years she had found quite a few nooks and canines that she could slip away through.

Today was going to be the day that all that exploration paid off.

She was going to go for a dive and she wasn’t coming back without something to show for it.

Support "Heart Song: Ballad of the Ambassador"

About the author


  • Scotland
  • Craig A. McLeod

Bio: When he's not bashing out stories on his keyboard, Craig A. McLeod is designing website for clients all over the world.
Avi Art: @lunaofwater

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