Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Learner by Alan Nayes


The alien saw me.

For a fraction of a second, I’d stared into the human I’WE’s face, just before entering my shut-down.

It’s not a problem, I reassure myself. My memory shield was in full force, even while I was in shut-down. He won’t remember.

As I move through the woods away from the carnage, I’m amazed at how rapidly my strength is returning. No more episodes of lightheadedness either. The tendons and muscles are mending, bones fusing, and all internal bleeding has been stopped. I pick up my pace. The broken bus is far behind me.

The benefits of being one-half Šumayin.

The ZYX, my rulers, are contacting me again. I ignore the signal from my junýe. I just want to be left alone and get home to Crystal Cove. It will be a week at least before I’m one hundred percent. But inside, I’m proud of my decision. When the ZYX, Tûc even, had ordered abandon—I’d remained. I made the correct decision to not leave my host body. Though, later, I’m sure I’ll catch hell for my insubordination. Screw ’em. See, I’m even thinking like a human, an I’WE.

ZYX: NayéLi, reply.

Damn them. I transmit a nanosecond message. “I’m fine.”

ZYX: We worry. Much time and energy is invested in the learner programs. You took unnecessary risks.

I don’t need to hear this. I sever the transmission from Šumaura.

Don’t they get it? I’ve been here nine Šumayin years. I can take care of myself. I’m doing my job. I’ve sent so much data back to my home planet, Šumaura could literally construct another Earth if they so desired.

I sense my frustration rising and stifle it. Then I see a single lane road. From there, I’ll catch a ride to Crystal Cove.

Waiting on the shoulder, I watch an ambulance zip by. More headlights. A big truck slows.

I smile and wave.

The truck stops. For a fraction of a second, fear jolts me as I imagine the driver rolling down the window, opening the door, and I see him, the I’WE, the human from the accident.

It will change…everything.

But it’s not him. The woman behind the wheel is middle-aged by my host standards and smiles pleasantly. As she takes in my appearance—torn clothing, residual bruises and abrasions—questions begin to cloud her expression.

“Kind of late for you to be out on such a secluded stretch of road, honey. Car trouble?”

I smile. “Heading toward Crystal Cove?” I ask.

“Can give you a lift as far as Red Pine.”

“That’ll work.”

“Climb in. You need a doctor?”

“No, but thanks.”

I don’t look at her, though I sense her watching me. I’m feeling better by the second. In a few weeks, all will return to normal, I tell myself.

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Genre – Sci Fi / Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG13

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