Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Unexpected Encounter - Chapter 2

After about two months time I guess it's time tom post the second chapter of this novel.
I noticed when going through the post for the first chapter that the writing is very tiny and in some places large.
This is the preset style of the blogger I use and not the way I chose. :(

If there is enough interest I consider making this novel as e-book for all to read on their favorite devices.
Quick link to first chapter: http://michafire.blogspot.com/2012/10/unexpected-encounter-first-chapter.html

And now the second chapter:


-II-
Saturday


When Jason woke, it was bright morning and cold. Very cold. The sun was shining as promised by the "weather man" in the radio yesterday morning. And he couldn't feel any change in the weather coming soon. He quickly made a small breakfast, grabbed a bottle of water, put on his extra sweater and went for a walk in the autumn forest.
This was going to be a very nice and relaxing weekend for him with enough time to think about all that was going on in his mind right now. Here, he had no distractions through school or friends and family. He liked those quiet days. Somehow, they had become rare for him.
To be out in nature alone was something he had learned to appreciate some years ago when his parents first went with them to this lodge. At that time he had hated it, being away for three weeks during the holidays from his friends and the bustle of the city where they had lived.
Both his mother and father showed him and his sister how nice it was to be in the nature. And how much more fun you could have there too.
Back in class that year, he excitedly told his friends about this. But they couldn't follow his idea. By now, Jason understood what his parents were always saying about saving nature and "healing" the planet.
This was real life. The one worth living. Not the distractions of the busy city he grew up in.
*
Forbidden planet. This kept going through his head. Why is it forbidden? He just couldn't remember that lesson they had given to him. They had been very serious about it at that time.
He instead had been only thinking about the woman, he had seen the day before. For him a perfect match it seemed.
And now this! He would never see her again, if they crashed here! Well, he hasn't really seen her for some time already. Work and life kept them apart for long stretches of time. To think of her and knowing that she too was thinking of him and the short communications they had, helped him over those times without being close to her. He really missed her a lot sometimes. And now this!
Both his friends kept calling for him to hurry and repair the wires. He was doing his best in that small and stuffy compartment. He had to close the door to the main room to get to some wires hanging out the wall behind it. The voices of his friends now were muffled. The light was bad too. Soon he would be finished, and, he hoped, in time to pull the ship away from the planet.
He had a strange feeling though, that he wasn't fast enough. It was getting hotter in here. More than it should. And the angle the floor had was too steep too to be still in regular space.
They had artificial gravitation here, so the floor was always horizontal. Now it was feeling as if it was slanting downward, toward the front where his two friends were still shouting for him to hurry and help them. He really hoped that they weren't in the gravitational field of the planet already!
That, without being able to steer the ship properly, could be deadly for them.
Suddenly, there was a fast plunge forward (or was it backward?) and he hit the wall very hard with his right arm. That hurt and he was about to open the door and ask his friends what they were doing, when suddenly everything went black for him.

*

Jason enjoyed the fresh air, looking at the leaves turning yellow and red. With his feet, he rustled playfully through the ones that had already dropped to the ground.
Suddenly, he saw a white line in the sky coming closer and getting bigger too. No plane crossing would leave such a line. It seemed this line was coming directly toward him. And then it was too low to follow, going behind the trees.
A short moment later, he felt and heard a big thud, birds flying in the air and sudden quiet again. Very quiet! Too quiet for nothing to be wrong!
He started to run into the direction he thought this "thing" that had caused the line would be and were he believed the thud had come from.
Very soon he could see something shimmering through the trees and he thought, he could hear something like fire too. He kept running to get closer and finally reached this "thing". It sure looked strange: all silver and it radiated heat too, causing some dry leaves to catch fire. It was about four meters through the middle, he guessed. He wasn't sure. It could be bigger or smaller. The surface was not reflecting the trees. However, it was shiny enough to make it hard to see its actual size.
He went around it as close as he could because of the heat that came from it, extinguishing all the small fires he came across at the same time. It was big and shaped more like a ball: a big silver ball with no opening. Jason was puzzled for a moment that this "ball" shaped thing didn’t roll out of place on the uneven ground. Well, maybe it is resting in a small dent in the soil.
When looking up he saw no damage on the tree branches. This too seemed strange to him, assuming it was the object from the sky. He was nearly all the way around it, when he heard a soft sound behind one of the trees close by.
Quietly, so he didn't scare off what was causing the sound, he went into the direction he thought it came from. It was a kind of whining, as if some person or animal was in pain. He listened carefully and then he was sure it was behind this tree. He carefully went around the trunk.
His first reaction was shock! There was someone sitting on the ground, leaned with the back on the tree, the legs stretched flat in front. This person seemed to be covered with blood on the right side.
Had this person come out of that "ball"? Carefully Jason went even closer, whispering a timid "Hello, can I help?" at the same time.
The figure showed no reaction.
Jason called a bit louder, but still there was no reaction. He looked at him closer. The hair was dark with a slight purple touch to it and the skin was rather pale. The person wore no dress or skirt or had any other signs that would define it as female to Jason. This defined him as male, seemingly his own age.
The "man" was dressed in an overall in silver and was about his size.
The actual size was hard to judge for Jason though, standing there towering over the stranger on the ground, softly moaning.
The worst thing to see was the big gashing wound on the right side and the arm on that side hanging in a strange angle too. He really seemed to need help.
Jason put all his courage together and grabbed the man carefully on the left, seemingly healthy, arm, saying louder than before: "I’m going to help you. Don't be afraid. Just come along. My lodge isn't far away and I can treat your wound there much better."
He pulled him up half way.
The man suddenly started to fight back.
Jason was afraid, he had hurt him further or that the man maybe had injuries inside as well. He let go of the arm. The man simply started to fall back to the ground and quickly Jason grabbed him again, this time holding on strong. He dragged him away from the hot silver ball towards the lodge.
The man, half conscious now, stumbled along in Jason's hold. Sometimes he tried to pull free, but then again was just moving his feet so he wouldn't be dragged over the ground helplessly.
Jason didn't know how long it took them to reach the cabin. It couldn’t have been too long. The sun had not moved much and was still shining in through the window next to his bed as it had when he had woken this morning. He carefully dropped the man on the bed, glad he had managed to do this.
Now, he quickly tried to treat the wound. To his relief, it wasn't bleeding as much as it first had seemed. The man seemed unconscious again. His breathing was regular now. Jason dared to have a closer look at the wound by trying to push the material over it aside.
Suddenly he felt as if he had touched an uncovered electric wire. Ouch, that hurt. Was it coming from the material?
He tried again. But this time the man reached out with his left arm and stopped him. He made a face as if in great pain and said some strange words. His voice was nice, but rather high for a grown man of that size. The way the man spoke, urgency and tone of the voice together with the mimic, was enough so that Jason understood that the man didn't want to be touched.
"Look, don't be scared. I'm only trying to help you!" Jason noticed that the man had closed his eyes again and seemed to be sleeping. OK, so he wouldn't touch him. Who knew what would happen if he did while the man wasn't really aware of what was going on around him. The wound didn’t seem to be bleeding anymore too, so Jason just fetched the blanket he had brought from home and put it over the man.
He pulled a chair closer and simply watched the sleeping man for some time. What kind of "ball" was that back in the forest? Has this man come out of it? Is this an extraterrestrial even and the ball his spaceship? Well, he didn't look like an alien to Jason.
After some time, Jason got up and made himself something to eat. Looking at his watch, he noticed that it was after lunchtime already. He hadn't had a full breakfast and was very hungry. However, with all that had happened, Jason had not felt hungry until he started to eat.
As the man seemed to be OK for the moment, he decided to go and check the outside of the lodge for any immediate repairs. He had checked a bit last night but with the torchlight hadn't seen much. A hurt man on my bed won’t stop me!

*

Marq heard the door close again. Now he was finally alone. He tried to remember what had happened. The last thing he remembered was that he was in the ship, trying to get some wires attached and that it got hot and then – black.
He faintly remembered too, that there was a big thud. He guessed that it had not been possible for his friends to keep the ship out of the gravitation field of the "forbidden" planet. They must have been too close already when he had thought about checking on the wires. As result of all of this, the ship must have crashed on the surface of the planet they were trying to avoid. It was the only explanation he could think of right now.
The next thing he could remember was smoke that burnt in his lungs, that his right side hurt and he couldn't move that arm. Somehow, he had gotten out of the ship. It was a shock. He had no idea what would expect him. All he wanted was to get out of the smoke, not caring if the outside environment would kill him instantly too.
What he saw then, he only could describe as big brown sticks, in different thickness, some as tall as a house, all around. Those sticks had little winking green, yellow and red little things hanging on them, mostly high up. The ground was covered with those little things too. In some places he spotted those sticks in miniature. Feeling the heat of the ship in his back and afraid it might explode, he went around one of those sticks to take cover. Then everything went black for him again.
Slowly, he could recall more of the following events. It was a mixture of images, sounds and smells that he could sort out bit by bit and form into a storyline.
He could remember clearly enough everything from sitting on the ground right up to the point of this "man" leaving the place he was in now. He recalled the next moments:
After he had slumped behind that big stick, he, more automatically than really thinking about it, had started to stop the bleeding on his side. He kept waking up and going into that blackness repeatedly.
During the moments he was more awake, he checked on where he was and what it was doing to him. He was leaning against that stick that he had gone behind, with his back propped to it.
The surface he was sitting on was partly covered with those little things hanging from the sticks, mainly in red, yellow and brown hues and they felt soft to his touch.
He took a careful deep breath, consciously sucking the air in to catch the smell and other, maybe dangerous, substances. At least the air seemed to be suitable for him. He had heard of people dying because they got into a poisonous environment the way he did. He felt relived that he was still alive, even if hurt.
He would take care of the wounds in a moment. He let out a sigh and tried to concentrate with closed eyes on stopping the pain and finding all other damages in his body.
The next shock was when he suddenly was being pulled up. That hurt unexpectedly and he instinctively tried to fight back. Before he could actively do anything though, everything went black around him.
It couldn't have been for too long, as he could feel that this "thing" was touching him again and uttering some sounds too. Well, at least it was an intelligent life form and somehow he could feel that it meant no harm.
He opened his eyes a little to check on what that "thing" was and recognized it as a "man". It looked and moved similar to his own kind. He was relieved it didn't seem to be a wild animal that simply was having him as dinner.
He allowed this "man" to take him along to wherever that would be. It would be good to be away from a maybe exploding spaceship for a while. He kept drifting in and out of the blackness. Whenever he was more conscious, he tried to put some weight on his own feet to aid the "man", who was still more dragging than carrying him. He leaned heavily with his healthy side on the right shoulder of the "man", his own right arm dangling painfully at the side.
They were going in a rather straight line, passing more of those sticks.
After what seemed ages to him, they reached a structure and went inside.
The "man" laid him on a raised, flat surface. He was going to touch him on the wound. Marq had send out a protection field as a warning, but only very short. The "man" pulled his hand away and didn't touch him again. Inwardly Marq smiled, as this was another sign that this "man" was intelligent. Instead, he now covered him with something.
Marq ignored this and tried to concentrate on healing the wound and sort out what was wrong with the arm. He kept his eyes closed, breathing evenly. He heard that the man was pulling something closer and then sitting down on it.
Still, he should better do as if he was asleep. He wasn't sure if the "man" was afraid of him or just curiously watching him. After a while, he heard this man moving about and finally going outside through the opening they had come in.
Marq relaxed more.
Now he was here, alone, hurt, and had time to sort out how to continue. Well, this planet might be forbidden, but it isn't immediately deadly either.
Marq slowly opened his eyes and had a first look around.
It was rather dark inside. There were openings in the walls with light coming in too. Of what material the structure was made of, he couldn’t define right away.
After some time, comparing what he saw to what he knew, he could recognize it as a kind of dwelling place. There was heat coming from one place and lifting his head a bit he could see that the heat emanated from an open fire confined to a separate space in the wall.
It all looked rather low standard for a living place. Well, some of the "lower" people on his home planet (by definition of his father they were lower than the nobles he "belonged" to, not by his) had lived like this too. That was before I took care of it against the will of my father.
Lifting his head didn’t hurt his side as much as he thought it would, so he tried to get up. Just in that moment, the "man" came back in.

*

"Oh, so you're awake again." Jason greeted the man, already sitting up half way, with a smile and a friendly voice. He was bringing in some wood to keep the fire burning overnight. So far, he couldn't find any repairs that needed his attention. It left enough time for him to get to know this stranger better and think about what to do with him. Hurt as he was, Jason didn't want to throw him out of the lodge when he left tomorrow.
Marq tried to communicate with the man. "I need to go back to the ship to see if it can start again and what has happened to my friends. You know in which direction it is."
He was going to add some more, but seeing the puzzled face of the "man", he realized that he didn’t understand his language.
Jason did hear that the man was saying something to him, but he couldn't understand one word of it. If it was a language at all, with all those strange sounds in between. It didn't sound like any he had heard before.
Both looked at each other for a moment, thinking about this, when Marq started to make signs with his healthy hand to make the other understand what he wanted.
Jason understood that this man wanted to tell him something and that it seemed important. But those movements he made with his one arm? He just couldn't figure out what the man wanted.
Eventually, as the other kept repeating the signs, Jason went over to the cupboard, took a paper and pen they always had in there and put it on the table, pulling the chair closer. He helped the man, who was starting to get up anyway, onto the chair and gave him the pen. Maybe he can write down what he wants.
Marq realized that his signs had no meaning to the man and when he had finally decided to simply get up to go to the ship alone, the man went over to a thing in front of one wall and took something out, placed it on the higher structure standing in the middle of the room and pulled the seating device closer. Then he came closer to him and pushed or moved him over to what he had prepared and put something in his hand.
Puzzled, Marq sat down and slowly realized that the man wanted him to write down what he wanted. So, he took that small stick that was used as pen and made a few signs on that piece the man had put on the table.
When he looked up, Marq saw that the man still didn't understand.
He sighed. So, treat him like a child that can’t read yet. He made a rough drawing of the spaceship and two persons, one partly carrying the other and made an arrow line from them to the ship.
Jason's face brightened up. Now he understood. This man wanted to go back to that silver ball. It seemed to be important and he wanted him to help him. "Sure, I'll show you were that ball is and help you get there. I hope you feel strong enough for it!" he said to the man.
Marq saw that the other now understood and said something to him. Though now, it was his turn of not understanding any of the sounds this man made. This will be hard for both of us. There is a basis for communication at least. Both could use speech and with simple drawings make them understand each other. He smiled. With time, they would learn.
Jason took a small scarf out of a drawer and, after some resistance from the man, put it as a sling around the man's neck and the right arm through this.
Marq at first was surprised that this man was touching him again, but then realized that he wanted to do something for the arm. Oh, well, let him do it; but it sure isn't necessary. Without making a sound although it hurt to have this man move the arm, he let Jason finish binding the arm close to the body for stability.
Oh, now I understand what is wrong with my arm! Marq's face brightened up. I must have broken it. This man recognized that so easily! The bandage won’t heal it though, so I will take care of that later in a quiet moment.
Both went out of the lodge, with Jason leading. Marq walked on his own, feeling slightly dizzy for some moments. He made sure the other didn't notice though. He wanted to be independent and avoid the man to keep having to touch him to aid him to stay upright.
When they got close to the area, where the ship was shimmering through the trees, Marq, now forgetting everything else, started to run toward it.
"Be careful! You're hurt, don't forget that!" Jason called after him and started to run as well. But when he reached the ball, the man was nowhere to be seen. Jason walked around the ball and there was an opening now. Before, he was so sure, it had not been there. He went closer and put his head through.

When Marq had reached the ball, he mentally activated the opener. That still works, so there is still energy left. Relieved, he went inside. The sight shocked him. His friends were in their seats, both as burnt black forms. Nothing else resembled what they once had been. He slumped to the floor for a moment in total disbelieve. How have I come out of this nearly unhurt? Maybe because I have been in that small compartment?
Marq quickly got up, when he heard that man come closer, and kept his emotions concealed. With a quick check on some switches, he realized that the engine – actually most of the ship – were so damaged that he couldn’t start it just like that. This would require a longer repair and thus a longer stay on this "forbidden" planet. Oh, well, no way to change that now!
Marq saw that the "native" was inside, seemingly shocked and staring at the burnt bodies. Marq didn't care for him or his impressions right now. Instead, he searched for things that could be useful for survival here and other undamaged things that might be of value as well. He found a seemingly intact food package and some minor medicines.
Actually, he didn't need those for himself. They had been for his friends. And as long as he was with them, they too had no need for them. He could heal them like he healed himself. Marq had inherited the healing ability from his mother. With a sad grin, he realized that now they did not need his abilities. There was nothing he could do for them anymore.
He also found a small bag of tools. Something like this can always be helpful. He found a small computer. Maybe he could use that to communicate with the native. What he couldn’t activate though and had been one of his main intentions was the long range emergency call. No one back home would know that the ship had crashed and where it was now. Soon the ones back home might start to miss the information they were supposed to send back regularly.

Jason's first reaction after stepping inside and getting accustomed to the dim light was shock. There were two more persons, but both burnt black. What a horrible death. He slowly looked around. He noticed the man moving around swiftly, checking and picking up things and putting them into something like a belt on the suit he was wearing. So, this is really a spaceship. But, if this is a spaceship, the military radar will have seen it too and they are on their way here now. This man is an alien and in even greater danger than he was by the crash itself.
With this realization, Jason went into action. He called over to the man: "Hey, we better get out of here and back to the lodge. Maybe it's even better to get away from this place as far as we can and that rather fast too. The army is coming and I don't want think about what they will do with you, when they find you!"
Marq noticed the native saying something and it seemed to be important and he also noticed the motions the man made, pointing outside. Well, he was finished in here. Only his friends needed a proper burial. He went over to them and started to lift one up when the native pulled him on the healthy arm toward the door.
"We don't have time for this. Sorry, I know how you feel about it. But this is something we just don’t have time for. Hurry up!" Jason pulled the man out urgently and he reluctantly came along.
Whatever it is, this man is very concerned about it. And I'm part of it. Marq followed the man, but he kept looking back at the ship. He should go back very soon and bury those bodies. He mentally turned the switch that closed the door. No one else should disturb the death place of my friends until I can take care of their physical leftovers.

By the time they reached the lodge, it was getting dark.
Jason was still worried. If the army really came to investigate, they would know this lodge is close, too close for the crash to have gone unnoticed. They surely would come and check if anyone was here: either as a witness or as a hidden alien. He was restlessly watching the other put the things from the ship on the table and then drop on the bed.
Jason did not relight the fire. A small lantern was all the light they would have right now. He felt that it was better that no one could see or later notice that they had been here after the crash.
Marq felt exhausted. His situation was far worse than he had first thought. Maybe it would have been better he had died in the ship too; like his friends. He felt sorrow for the way their lives had ended. This is not a death one can go into prepared. It happened all too fast and unexpected.
What disturbed him about the situation right now though was that this other man was so nervous. Something else seemed to be wrong. Something that he didn't understand, but might have to do with the "forbidden" planet. He tried to ignore him and concentrated on healing the wound in his side and the broken arm. He was very exhausted and couldn't fully concentrate. He tried anyway. He sighed that it didn't work as easily as he was used to. It must be because of the exhaustion and emotional turmoil.
Jason paced all over the lodge, pondering their situation and finally made a decision. They would not stay here the whole night. The sooner they left, the better. Maybe, he could even be home with the stranger before the army found out whom this lodge belonged to and that he had been here. Now he was glad he had not left a notice at home. No "witness" that he had been here.
He packed the food and water bottles into the car and then wanted to pack the things from the spaceship away too.
Marq jumped up and stopped him before Jason even could touch the first item.
"Sorry! I thought you were asleep. Listen, we need to go away from here. Please pack those things in this box." Jason pointed at the box he had put on the table. "And then you better put on my spare clothes. The ones you are wearing are too strange to go unnoticed." With this, he handed him jeans and sweater.
Marq didn't quite understand what the man wanted from him.
Jason threw the clothes on the bed and started to pick up an item from the table.
Marq interfered again. But this time he understood that he was supposed to put his things into the box. And the things this man had thrown on the platform he had lain on? Maybe he was to put them on? They sure looked like the things the man was wearing himself.
Suddenly, Marq realized what was going on. They had to leave this place and that rather fast, although he didn't understand the reason. He quickly put his things in the box and tried to dress himself with those strange clothes. He left his own on underneath. At least for the moment. He felt "safer" this way. It was hard for him with only one arm and the man, noticing his clumsiness, helped him a bit.

They left the lodge.
Jason made sure the fire was out and the fireplace cold; all lanterns were out and windows closed as if prepared for winter. He wanted it to look as if no one had been here since the summer. In the last moment, he noticed the sheet of paper on the table and grabbed it, putting it in a pocket of his jeans.
He led the stranger to the car and opened the side door motioning for him to get in.
Marq stood there dumbfound. What was that thing he was supposed to get in?
Because he stopped, Jason put his hand on the box the stranger carried, trying to take it from the man.
Marq held on to it for a moment, but then let go of it. This man was only helping and just because he couldn’t talk to him in his own language didn't mean not to trust him. At least for now it was the only thing he could do anyway. As long as the man didn't seem to be threatening him directly, he would do as he wanted him to. He then sat down in the thing.
Jason closed the door, went around the car and got on the driver seat. He started the engine and the stranger seemed to be surprised and even a little scared as the car moved first backwards and then forwards onto the road out of the forest. Well, if this is an alien – he certainly is not used to our technology.
Jason tried to explain what he was doing. Seeing the look on the strangers face, he shut up again. No use to talk about such things right now. Once we can understand the language of the other it will be better. Jason continued the drive in silence.
For Marq it was a queer feeling to be moving in this "thing". He realized very fast that it was just a low developed vehicle. He had heard of similar things being used in very ancient times on his home planet. That was thousands of generations before him.
Just after they had reached the highway, Jason could see a convoy of military cars and trucks going into the opposite direction. He had been right. They had seen the crash and now were searching for the UFO!

*

Jonathan was irritated. Ever since they had called him over to the office in the midst of his work yesterday, he felt as if something was going on. Something important for sure; or why would they want his advice? He had nothing to do with military things or politics. He was just a simple scientist that had once said the there could be life on other planets as well. Such planets had been discovered just recently; but all so far away, that there was no means of ever going to them or even sending an unmanned probe and it sending any results back within one man’s lifetime.
So, what was all this about then? As far as he had been told, an UFO had been detected in Earth orbit and it was coming closer fast. And then this morning, he got news that it actually had landed. The observers had followed its course and estimated where it had landed. Now, they were all going there.
Jonathan didn't like this aggressive military way at all. He had told that to the officials and they only laughed. However, if there really were "aliens" on that UFO, this military procedure would certainly scare them and could even make them react hostile instead of friendly. Or so he believed it to be like.
He didn't really know what aliens would be like. He just hoped they would be better than the humans on Earth. If they were so advanced, compared to here, in their technology to go over such long distances between the stars, they had to be more advanced in their "behavior" too. That was his strongest believe ever since he had gotten interested in this subject of life on other planets. The way we live here on this planet can't be the way it was meant to be. This, he and his wife had always tried to teach their children too.
He still felt irritated and it got worse when he realized the convoy was going into the direction where his summer lodge was. When they turned off the highway into the street that went to the forest, he was sure. It was near his summer lodge.
He had tried to call Jason at home to tell him that he might not come home as planned on Sunday, but Jason hadn’t answered the phone. He had asked if he could go and check his son at home before going, but they refused.
Jonathan really hoped now that Jason had not had the idea of going to the lodge for the weekend. Although he very well might have gone there as the weather was so fine.
He was worried that something might have happened to his son and he had no means of checking until this "expedition" was over.
When they finally reached the forest, it was already very dark. So they decided to only send in a few "spies" to check where exactly the UFO was and the rest would camp for the night at the forest edge.
For a moment, Jonathan thought he had seen his car go in the other direction. But my car is not that special at all. Maybe an old model, but nothing special. It could have been any other car as well. But still, he felt very uneasy about the fact that this was so close to his summer lodge.
The military officials didn't know that he had a lodge here and he hoped that they would never find out. It would be possible though the way they investigated. Then he would have to find a new place for summer. He assumed that this forest would be "off limits" for very long for everyone once they found an alien UFO here. Actually, he was certain of this.

*

Jason drove in silence. The man next to him seemed to be asleep again. Well, it is better to sleep now after this crash. He will recover faster when he sleeps. But I really could use someone to talk to, just to keep me awake on this monotonous night drive. Finally, he decided to turn on the radio even if it might wake the stranger.
It was news time right now too. They reported about some UFO sightings. Now Jason was sure he had done the right thing, leaving the site of the crash as fast as possible with the stranger. He knew from his father, the reports and movies on TV how "evil" aliens would be treated once captured and he didn’t want this to happen to the man next to him. He didn't look dangerous at all and he didn't behave like an "enemy" of the human race either. Jason was sure that the ideas of his father were the better ones. The idea that aliens are "better" than humans.
Marq woke, hearing voices. They sounded electronic. He opened his eyes and realized they were still in the vehicle. He didn't know how much time had passed and he still felt so weak. Well, he hadn't had any food or drink since…
He couldn't remember since when. And his arm and side still hurt. He hasn’t had any chance yet to make a proper healing attempt. And the voices! They came from the front of the vehicle. This man seemed to listen to them. Then the voices stopped and strange sounds came instead.
Jason liked that song and turned the radio up a bit after a quick side check on his passenger. He was awake but looked, well, sick. "Do you want to make a stop and eat something? There is a restaurant ahead" he asked and the same moment realized that he couldn't really go with the stranger in there. They would have to wait until they got home.
Seeing that the stranger was trying to sleep again, he turned the music softer and went silent again. But what will I do once we get home? This kept Jason's mind busy for a while. Maybe he could ask his father how to proceed in this case. One thing was certain: he would not hand this man over to the military forces for investigations on aliens.
Marq listened to the sounds, but couldn't find any sense in them. The man seemed to ask him something; then changed his mind again. Yes, that communication problem is one of the first things after healing I will have to solve. He must learn to understand this man. And maybe the whole species as they only seemed to communicate through loud speech.
He had tried to ask the man questions with his mind or at least read what the other was maybe thinking as well as talking. But it was blank to him and the man didn't seem to notice him in his mind at all.
He sighed and closed his eyes again, allowing himself to drift back into a half sleep. As long as the situation didn't change, he would have nothing to do but be concerned about his health and recovery right now.

It was after midnight when Jason reached home – now it is my home – a safe harbor for him at this moment after that exciting day. He drove the car into the garage with lights turned off and softly woke the man, putting his finger over the mouth to show him to be quiet. One thing Jason certainly wanted to avoid: waking the neighbors in the middle of the night and seeing him come home with someone they didn't know.
Marq understood that they had arrived and that he was to be quiet. That gesture was simple and effective. He had to smile at that. Some things seem to be universal after all. He got out and only leaned the door close. He followed the man into this new structure. It was more like what he would call a place for living than the one they had been in first. He certainly would have to learn a lot about these people and the planet.
Jason was thinking where to place the man now, while he opened the door. The only place he could "hide" him until he had talked with his father, was his own room. Well, for the first night it would be OK. His father wouldn't be home now. So he led the man upstairs into his room and showed him his bed and gestured him to lay down on it. He would sleep on the couch downstairs tonight.
Then he had a queer thought. "Do you need to go to the toilette? I’ll show you where it is" and in his mind he added: and I'll have to show you how to use it, I guess.
Marq understood that he was to use this platform right now and he gladly went to it. The man asked him something and had blushed slightly at it, gesturing that he wanted him to show something else before he lay down.
Curious, he followed into a small room that felt cold. The man seemed to try to explain to him how to use the objects that were in this room. Marq shook his head. This sign he had so far recognized as a sign of denial.
He went back to the room with the platform and lay down. Whatever it was the man was trying to explain, he didn’t care. He would simply lie down and rest, and do the necessary healing right now.
He wasn't interested in learning anything new at the moment. Nor if anything could be dangerous for him. He felt safe with this man around and his place. Anything else would have to wait until later.
He closed his eyes, not caring anymore about what was going on around him, concentrating on himself. It was really the most important thing now. He simply had to trust that everything was going to be OK.
Jason had tried to explain how all those things in the bathroom worked. He didn't know if the "alien" would understand or even needed any of it. But he could have talked to a wall. The stranger shook his head and went back to the bed, lay down closing his eyes and was very still now.
Jason sighed and covered the stranger with a blanket. This, the man didn't seem to notice anymore. He went to his parents' bedroom and took a blanket and pillow from there downstairs with him to the couch in the living room.
He wouldn't sleep in his parents' bed, although that surely would have been more comfortable.
Very tired after that long day, Jason fell asleep fast. In the very back of his mind though, he had a strange thought: what if the alien only waits until I'm asleep, then attack and even kill me? No! He pushed that thought very far away. This alien is not like the ones in the movies!
He could and would trust him as much as the alien trusted him.


Drawn in 2007 as illustration sketch to the novel.