Inaugural

Hey, the first story of May. OK that rhymed and wasn’t intentional. Anyway, the story this week is one that changed quite a bit from the idea to what it is now. That’s because I sort of envisioned it as more comedy, but didn’t come out like that as it was being written. Reality is, I don’t think I can write comedy. Which is fine. It is what it is. Anyway, this is a story about aliens. Wow, so original. Well, no but it was fun. I also used a couple other bits that had been floating around for a while, like some made-up words as the alien language. I could go into more detail but I’d probably spoil the whole story, so I’m not going to. Have fun!

Screeching of alarms, the kind that alert of impending fatality, deafen the inside of the plummeting space-faring vessel as it spirals toward whatever rock it might be that the would-be captain and sole member of the crew fired it toward.

Odzok thinks of no such things as he glides back and forth from sparking console to darkened panel jabbing and slapping at every option presented to him. Truth is he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing. He isn’t a pilot. He was a worker. Only reason he is here, on this ship, is because the ancient hunters of his people returned for the last culling and Odzok didn’t want to suffer such a fate. It’s why he stole this ship. Yet, can it be considered stealing if your civilization is in ruins, being systematically eradicated? He thinks not.

None of that aids him now. Nor does it soften the impending fear that soon, if he doesn’t manage to achieve some victory, he will be as dead as his neighbours who waited for their ends at the hands of the Grand Bipeds. A nickname for the Nazarine, a species of towering bipedal aliens who for countless eons have invaded and slaughtered the Jaltot, the species of which Odzok is a member of.

Suddenly the alarms abate. Odzok breathes a sigh of relief from between his vertical lips. He believes himself safe. Danger averted. No idea how but it matters little for survival is the key. Sadly, no sooner has such a thought shot through his mind then a new set of alerts blare.

Immediately Odzok concludes he preferred the sirens with their deafening volume to the frantic repetition in the tongue of his people.

I might be the last, is all he manages to think in the moment prior to the bulky seed shaped vessel silver and ochre punching belly first into the ground sending an enormous eruption of dirt and stones spewing high into the air like a fountain. This same high flung debris obscures the ship and its spiral roll spin which sends it careening across the land creating a deep carved wound until a rock formation deflects and sends it ricocheting off partially back the way it came, spinning like a bullet, throwing Odzok round and round inside.

The poor alien of two foot seven had been unable to grasp a hold of anything sufficient enough to endure against the forces being exerted. However, he did mercifully pass out as a result but a few fractions into the ordeal, due to the excessive forces that were exerted upon his body.

Having carved a path that bisects the initial trench first hewn through the wide open space of what had once been a combination of grass and crop fields, the ruined vessel finally comes to rest, somehow on its nose, a wide stubby affair.

Inside Odzok lies motionless with sparks firing, tubes crumpled, wires drooping like lazy snakes soaking up the midday sun. Outside light is falling fast as the single yellow sun slides below the horizon to signify the end of another day.

“Did you hear that?” Benjy exclaims with delight, his arms high and wide as he leaps repeatedly up and down with excitement.

“How could we not?” Linara replies with more than a tad of sarcasm, learned not fully understood.

“Sounded like an earthquake!” Says the bespectacled Ewan in the seconds prior to him re-enacting it with little comparison to what was actually heard by the trio of children all aged between nine and eleven.

“Not like that, like this!” Is the prelude to Benjy too joining in on giving his own interpretation of the sound.

It too has little in common but Ewan does concede, silently, that Benjy’s attempt was the better one before moving on by suggesting, “Let’s go see what it was!”

“No! Are you mad?” Linara replies with a chastising tone she learned from her grandmother. The look to accompany her words is far less convincing as it betrays hints of intrigue from the girl with short brown hair whose arms are folded neatly across her chest clad in a loose fitting tatty vest, grey in colour to contrast with her brown shorts and rugged black boots.

“Come on, like you don’t wanna look, Lin.” Benjy, the mouthy one of the trio, shouts back because he’s already broken into a run in the direction he thinks the massive sets of booms and roars came from.

“Huh. Boys.” Linara blurts with a deep sigh, her shoulders dropping as she wonders why on earth she ever thought it a good idea to hang out with these two, especially since she is the oldest. Alas, the reality is she’s new in Hallbrook County and the first, only, people her age who had been willing to introduce themselves were Benjy and Ewan. She understands now, a week into being in the county, why there is only the two of them. They’re the weird kids, the outcasts and now she’s almost certainly considered to be one too. Fitting, for Linara has never really fit in anywhere. Principally that is because she is never anywhere for long enough to have chance to fit in. Likely it’ll happen again, probably in a couple months; though it could be less, as little as a few weeks. It’s why she isn’t worried about being counted amongst the outcasts. If things were different, if her mom didn’t have to keep moving them all over the map then she might think differently but…

“Are you coming, Lin?” Ewan, your typical quiet until he is overly excited sort of child, asks while stood roughly beside the young girl with short hair. By contrast Ewan has longer hair, gold in colour, with a pair of mismatched eyes, brown and green.

“You two are so slow! Come on.” Benjy the long dark haired self-appointed ‘leader’ of the group roars having slowed to a walk, which he is now performing backward with hands cupped around his mouth to amplify the demands he is issuing back to his friends suggesting they make haste.

It’s almost as if he thinks whatever caused all the racket is going to disappear, vanish. Yet, he hasn’t the foggiest as to what might have resulted in such a monstrous cacophony. An earthquake seems like a sound bet, though can you see the result of a quake? He doesn’t know. At ten, just seeing as his birthday was a few days ago which made him the oldest until Linara came along, he’s never seen an earthquake.

When he found out he wasn’t the oldest anymore he was far from thrilled. He’d always been the oldest and thought he might be supplanted as decision maker as a result. Thankfully, Linara had been in no way inclined in such a manner, as yet.

“Isn’t Benjy worried it might be dangerous?” The pouting eleven year old asks with hands on her hips.

“I don’t think so, but do you think it will be? Dangerous I mean.”

Looking Ewan in the eye Linara immediately regrets her choice of words for as well as being quiet the youngest, by 2 weeks, is also the one who is most fearful. She knew that but didn’t think before opening her mouth. It’s why she quickly forces a smile upon her face and assures, “It’ll be fine. We’re together.”

A smile appears across Ewan’s face. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to reassure him but boy does he need it periodically once his uncertainty sets in. It’s probably why he used to get picked on all the time at school. That was until Linara arrived and made the bully of bullies eat his own fist a few days ago.

A smile rips across her face recalling that ‘fight.’ Not only did the boy, bigger than her in every dimension, not want to hit a girl, he looked flabbergasted when she deftly inserted herself between him and Ewan, grabbed his fist and forced it back, hard, into his own face. Since then he’s steered well clear. Unlikely it’ll be forever but something is better than nothing she thinks.

“Time we get going, don’t want Benjy having all the fun, do we?” Is the encouragement Linara provides breaking into a jog.

Her statement has the desired effect as Ewan quickly catches up and then rushes past, determined not to be left behind. Laughing, Linara too speeds up the pumping of her legs over the uneven ground, not a care in the world they crest the hill, exhausted, and… stop.

Jaws hanging lose, mouths gaping, Benjy, Linara and Ewan stand in an unintentional neat little row across the hills peak looking down at the devastation that has been wrought across two conjoined fields.

“Uuuuuum, I don’t think an earthquake did this.” The youngest of the trio manages between stutters and worried pauses while he fidgets nervously.

“I think you’re right Ewan.”

Ignoring the flow of conversation Benjy announces, “Let’s get a closer look.”

“Wait, it might not be…” It’s too late the long black haired boy of barely ten is gone; barrelling down the steep incline of the hill toward the devastation.

The sight is unlike anything Linara has seen previously in her short life. At least without massive machines, dozens of them, being present, and you would know if they were because of their size; impossible to hide.

“We should go after him, shouldn’t we?” A concerned sounding Ewan asks, his voice little more than a squeak.

“Yeah.” The girl admits with trepidation of her own.

“Think it’s safe too?”

Turning to lock eyes with Ewan, Linara replies honestly, “Wish I knew.”

Resignation appears on the young blonde boys face. It makes him look older. Linara can well imagine that as the years go by Ewan might end up looking older than he is due to all his worrying. Doubtful she’ll see it. She’ll more than likely be long gone before that happens. Sadness, large and heavy, materialises in her gut. It weighs her down. She hasn’t felt this in a long time, since she was six or seven when she’d had to first start moving from one place to another because of her mom’s work. The girl barely recalls those friends she was so upset about losing. Admitting that only adds to the pain she feels. It’s part of the reason her and her mom barely speak anymore. Not that they get much chance with how little they see of one another.

Maybe it would be different if her dad were still around. Linara never met him, at least that she can recall anyway and her mother refuses to discuss him other than to say he died abroad helping others. Not much to go on and without a name it’s been close to impossible for her to dig anything up. Her mom doesn’t even seem to have photos of him, so Linara hasn’t a clue what her dad looked like.

“It’s going to be OK, Ewan. Benjy will be fine. We all will. Plus, I know you want to find out as much as I do what did this.”

Encouraging the shy quiet boy has the desired effect as he a smirk appears across one side of his face. It’s an unsurprising revelation but a welcome one, plus it distracts her from the anger she feels welling up inside of her toward her mom’s lack of transparency on the matter of her father. She has a right to know who he was, what he did, how he died.

“Let’s get going then.” Linara commands with a gesturing jab of her head a few short moments prior to them both beginning the descent.

In no way could said descent be called controlled as both children hurl themselves down the hill in pursuit of their long haired friend, and hopefully answers as to what made this mess too.

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