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Passing By

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April 3rd 2017  |  0  |  Category: Adventure  |  Author: KyZan  |  188 views

“What the hell is going on here?”

Zal looked at the creature and pondered.

“Beats the crap out of me.”

Remyulak looked at Zal coldly and defiantly. He refused to repeat the question.

“You tell me,” said Zal, just as defiant.

“How the hell would I know?” he spat.

“You seem a lot smarter than me.”

Remyulak was not impressed.

“This is your god-damned planet!”

Zal paused a moment. His eyes were curious and mocking.

“Is it? I wonder sometimes…”

Remyulak declined to help Zal. He looked around with overwhelming disgust.

“Hey, I hate them worse than you do,” said Zal.

“I seriously doubt that.”

Zal considered this. Despite the singularity of the situation, he hadn’t heard his interlocutor say anything noticeably untrue or shocking. “I still think you can explain it all better than me. I’m totally baffled.” He added: “I always have been.”

The two sentient beings stood there looking at each other. Both were speculating about the nature of the other, and neither was willing to give an inch. Finally, Zal thought he detected a hint of sympathy.

Remyulak admitted: “Well, maybe you are genuinely ignorant.”

That didn’t quite sound right. But Zal didn’t relent.

“You bet your alien ass I am.”

That, in turn, didn’t sound entirely right to Remyulak. But he wasn’t going to back down either. “They’re your awful, miserable, repellent people. How in god’s name did they ever fall into such a state?”

Yet again, Zal wondered. Yet again, Zal drew a blank. But he refused to concede a single thing. Instead, he looked right at his adversary. He neither spoke, nor blinked, nor even breathed.

At last, Remyulak almost seemed to sigh. He decided he needed to move it along.

“Are you the only rational and civilized guy in the place?”

“Evidently so.”

“That’s tough.”

“Tell me about it.”

“So how did that ever happen? And how do you survive now, and maintain yourself intact?”

“Not easy, pal.”

“I can imagine.”

There was a pause. Then Zal confessed.

“I don’t know that I have survived. Or maintained myself intact.”

Remyulak looked him over carefully. He was pretty good at sizing people up. Even wholly novel ones.

“I think you did okay.”

“Thanks.”

There was another pause. Remyulak was waiting. Zal seemed to owe him a better explanation.

“Call it sheer intransigence. Never-say-die resistance and defiance. That sounds about right.”

“That doesn’t sound like much fun.”

Zal thought about it, and smiled. “No, it doesn’t, does it?”

“Everyone should have fun. Otherwise, what’s the point of living?”

Zal looked at Remyulak with a ray of genuine hope. It was the first one he had had since…well, ever.

Remyulak seemed to read Zal’s mind. He decided to stop torturing him for a bit. Again, Zal thought he saw a flicker of empathy on the space alien’s face.

“So, you want to get the hell out of here?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Remyulak smiled. “Well, I’m still trying to size this whole situation up. How is it that this whole benighted planet is filled with nothing but savages and beasts? Seems kinda strange.”

Damned strange. Off-the-chart incomprehensible. To me, at least.” He added: “But maybe no longer worth wondering about.”

“Quite.”

Zal looked at his new buddy. He was waiting. And definitely he was hoping.

“Are you ready to go?”

“More than ready.”

“Need to gather some stuff first?”

“Like what?”

Remyulak grinned. He was starting to like this guy. “Let’s go then.”

“With pleasure.”

They both transported up to the ship. Zal looked out the viewer at Earth. Then he looked back at his new friend. He studied him carefully, drawing in quite a bit.

“So…you guys live forever, then?”

Remyulak looked at him with mockery and considerable disdain. Zal looked back, calm and unperturbed.

“Thought so.”

There was a pregnant pause.

“You too, now, of course.”

“Thanks.”

Remyulak engaged the ship.

“Well, off we go now.”

“About damned time.”

Zal looked at the rapidly-shrinking Earth with overflowing loathing and relief. Off they finally went!

 

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