Zane’s Log 8/28/2038
When people realize I’m an alien I get three kinds of reactions:
- They make a joke referencing pop culture I’m only just now starting to understand.
- They tell me a long drawn out story about their friend who knew a guy who was abducted by aliens.
- They ask more questions than my kids and with just as little regard for privacy.
My usual responses:
- I usually turn the joke on them. “No, I don’t like Reese’s Pieces. I do, however, like the taste of human brains, especially when sucked out with a straw.” Mean? Maybe a little, but the E.T. joke stops being funny somewhere after the fifth time you’ve heard it.
- “I think you just described my great-uncle Zazoo. Abductions are kind of his hobby.”
- “If I told you, I’d have to kill you, but if you insist.” I then take out my laser gun and say, “I was born on Trusca Prime—“ I usually don’t have to go any farther than that. The whine of the gun as I thumb the settings up sends them running.
Katarina chides me for messing with people. Some days I think she forgets how isolated she once was. She’s still reserved with strangers, but once she embraced her birthright and had me as an empathic anchor, she dropped the rude, anti-social façade she used to keep people away. It infuriates me what she went through, and thrills me that she no longer has to hide who and what she is. Still, I envy her at times, because despite the pain and rejection she was loved, cherished, and protected.
I wasn’t. I’d rather spout bullshit that makes people steer clear of me than go into my sordid past. It sucks. Katarina knows it, and in her way is trying to help me get past it. I love her for that, but some things just don’t ever leave you.
Let me tell you a story…
The slam of the front door echoed through the house. The thin walls rattled, waking Zane. His threadbare blanket barely stopped halfway down his legs, so it didn’t drag the ground when he tucked it around his shoulders and went to investigate.
“Lehara!” a deep male voice called out.
A rustle sounded from his mother’s room and when the door swished open she almost ran him over. “Go back to bed, Zane.”
Zane pouted, but went back to his room as his mother told him to. The door to his room didn’t close behind him. More than once he had gotten stuck in his room until Maza had used the manual release. He kept it open now, because he wasn’t strong enough to use it yet. It irked being so weak, despite standing taller than the school-aged boys he would watch playing games from the window. Maza never let him play with them though. She said Truscans were shorter than humans or Braag, and those boys wouldn’t want to play with a little kid. He once asked if he could play with someone his age and she laughed at him. He still didn’t understand why that was funny.
Voices sounded from the kitchen and he heard the sounds of pots and pans. His stomach rumbled, reminding him there had been no food for dinner…again. Despite his mother’s command, he shuffled back out into the hallway. Maybe someone nice had brought food.
Men often visited Maza in her room and afterward she took him to the market for food. When no one visited, it seemed they never went to the market.
He stopped at the kitchen’s entrance, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the light.
“You there, come here,” a big, booming voice demanded.
Zane craned his head up to see a hulking, hairy man. He had so much hair on every exposed surface that Zane wondered if it were fur. He’d seen plenty of other species at market, so the hair made less of an impression that the man’s height and loud voice.
His mother huffed and slammed a spoon on the counter. “I told him to go back to bed.”
“It’s fine, Lehara. I want to inspect what we made together.” The man gestured. “Come here, boy.”
Zane shuffled forward, wary. The man yanked the blanket away, startling him. “Hey!” he inadvertently broadcast the thought.
The man’s bushy eyebrows rose. “Scrawny, but telepathic. Glad something of my genes bred true, because you can’t tell by looking at him that he’s my son.”
Zane frowned. Son? This man was his father?
“He’s almost old enough to fetch a good price,” Zane’s mother said.
Alarm shot through him. Slavery was illegal on Trusca, but that didn’t stop people from selling unwanted children to Braag slavers. His tutor warned him if he didn’t study his parents might sell him. That’s what happened to bad children.
“But, I did all my work!” he blurted.
His father leaned down and backhanded him across the cheek hard enough to send him crashing into wall. His face throbbed and tears stung his eyes. His whole body shook as he shrank back from the goliath.
“You don’t speak to me until the day I claim you—if I claim you. You’re nothing. Understand? Nothing.” His father turned to Maza. “We’ll keep him for now.”
Thirteen years later, the boy who had shaken with fear and dread, deleted the message from his father proclaiming it was time to become his son, instead hitting send on the evidence files of his father’s illegal activities.