Chapter 7



…“And then he sat down. I eventually got up too and sat down in my seat by the control panel. We didn’t speak much the rest of the day, and finally arrived back near River Cliffs, you know, like 1.8 miles away, the same spot as before. He positioned Ha-Ta to line up with those cylinders and--”

“Oh my God,” Jenny said, “what happened there?”

That response was a bit delayed. “Yeah, exactly, that’s what I thought.  I know what you mean.”

“I thought you were helping HIM! He was the one who seemed so hot for you, the night before!”

Trenae sighed. “Yeah, really. I felt terrible. But…I guess he wanted us on a civilized, friendly level, for us to keep our distance more, except, like when he held my hand or something. And phew! I was glad, actually. See, that night, when I was lying in bed, I kept wiping my mouth over and over and spitting, trying, ya know, to get rid of his germs?  I mean, Jenny, what the heck was I thinking? The guy’s an alien, for crying out loud!”


“And then…I made a promise with myself, that I would learn to adjust, get along with this guy, and hang out, do his research stuff. Even though really, I wanted to leave him. Just survive, be strong and make it. I had to look at the positives. I was alive and safe from Willson, had a place to stay, food to eat. So…until Ra’am left earth, I needed to get a grip and be strong. And that night, I slept by myself. Sure, I was scared, but I made it. I figured things would be all right, from there forth. At least…I hoped they would.”

“That’s good. Good for you, really. But…”


“Do you know what those words meant, that Ra’am said?”

“Yes, something along the line of ‘this is wrong, we are not the same, it is wrong.’ Something like that. Just like what he told me in English, before he said that. But it didn’t matter. I figured I’d keep my distance from him, except on a friendship kind of level. You know?”

“Yes, good idea.” Jenny smiled a moment. “Say, did you ever take a shower?”

Trenae laughed a little. “Yes, I did, finally. Not that night, but the night after. It was like our showers, just better.”

“That’s good.” Jenny sat back more cozily in her red sofa chair, continuing to hold the note pad in her hand, the recorder running on the table. “But that night, after everything happening during the day…”

 “Well, like I said, I slept alone in my room.” Trenae became serious again. “I slept pretty fitfully, waking up a lot, but I did sleep.”

“With the door open?”

“Yes. And then finally, I could see some faint daylight, I guess coming from that viewing window, khalon. I didn’t see L.B. But I got up. I still had the dress and pants on, although I took off my leather jacket and slippers. But then I put them back on and left the room, looking for both of them.”…



…After Trenae used the bathroom, she walked toward the control panel. Arriving there, she paused, observing the view on the khalon. It must have been warm out last night. Early morning sunlight was sending rays through pine trees, sparkling eventually on tiny water droplets scattered on the ground, droplets scattered over a few brilliant gold quaking aspen leaves and numerous dried pine needles. Nothing appeared frozen.

Had Ra’am moved their location again? Or was the khalon just showing some other view? She couldn’t see any people. A few birds sat in the trees, chirping. But no other sounds could be heard.

Something caught her gaze, on the left. She turned. A long silver ladder-like object flowed out of the delet tekrah, hanging nearly to the floor. So this is how I escaped that first night. She hurried over to the object and began to touch it, feel its texture, up and down. It appeared to consist of the same similar substance as the rest of Ha-Ta, only differing in color, and had one central bar with wide rungs placed at equal locations on the bar. The ladder’s rungs had grooved impressions for the feet in its middle area, while the sides of the rungs had indented areas that easily accommodated the fingers. Harmless, yet quite useful.

Her gaze rose up. Light was coming from the opening above. And suddenly, a dog face appeared. L.B.’s cute floppy ears looked so fuzzy from above, his head dangling down over the sides.

“L.B, L.B.!” she called out in a loud whisper.

L.B. began a low friendly growl, sounding ready to bark. Well, Ra’am must be outside, for he wouldn’t leave his cherished pet alone. For that matter, she also felt certain Stiles and his goons shouldn’t be near. I had better climb up the ladder, before L.B. makes a huge barking hysteria. Heck, I climbed it the other night, when I was drunk! Could it be that hard?

Climbing the first five or six rungs to the top of Ha-Ta proved uncomplicated enough. Her eyes scanned the tunnel. More than enough space existed to move about, as the hole appeared about 4 or 5 feet in diameter. As she climbed more, strange sights appeared. Circular walls of the hole leading to the surface, probably 10 or more feet up and beyond the top of Ha-Ta, consisted of a layer of hemoom prodoh. It was hard to determine how thick, however, due to its transparent consistency. Nevertheless, the hemoom prodoh miraculously held back massive amounts of clay and dark soil. And the ladder she climbed was merely a protruding extension of the hemoom prodoh wall, even though composed of a silver-colored substance, dissimilar from the wall. Incredible.

The thrill of the moment suddenly spoiled, as she looked back down the deep hole. Never before experiencing a fear of heights, now, positioned high above the long, narrow, dark hole, her palms began to sweat. She almost froze. But then she remembered the promise to herself, to be strong, to adjust to her new environment. Taking a deep breath, she continued climbing, all the way to the top, staring straight up.

Once on the ground, she inhaled gratefully, feeling eased by the cool, crisp air. Pine needle fragrance perfumed the surroundings, making her feel refreshed and more alive. She looked around; she stood at the far upper area of the long clearing, near the beginning ascent of the mountain. Then, she saw L.B. He was standing next to her father’s quaking aspen tree, sniffing the ground, about 100 feet away from her.

“L.B., L.B.!” she said softly. She trudged around rocks and forest debris, ran a little, down toward the stand of quaking aspen trees and L.B. Ra’am was nowhere in sight.

She arrived. She smiled at L.B., motioning her hands for him to come to her. He jumped and hopped over to her, exuberant as ever. She petted him briefly.

But then she looked past him, where he had been sniffing the ground. Huge, ugly clumps of black dirt yet remained on the ground, tossed sporadically. She walked closer, to get a better look, though regretted so upon arriving. Stiles hadn’t covered the hole completely. A narrow, deep hole punctured the ground, bordered on most sides by broken and crushed tree roots. Lamentably, a picture entered her mind, of Stiles digging and thrashing dirt about, along with the other men, to fetch their prize, her father’s box. She shuddered, but then quickly seized control of herself.

Apparently, either her father’s box had sunk down deeper all these years or the quaking aspen tree had forced it under with the growth and outstretch of its roots. How ironic, to have such beauty, all these vivid, golden aspen leaves, this pretty forest floor, occurring in the same scene as my father’s destroyed grave. Again, she shuddered. Keep strong, keep strong!

She heard voices.

 Ahead, through the pine trees, and toward the cliff, the indistinct image of Ra’am and a man appeared. The man must be Dod.

Trenae tiptoed over the ground and around the trees, with L.B. following not far behind. She often enjoyed slipping secretly through her surroundings, as though invisible. It made her feel safe and secure.

But soon, she could hear their words distinctly. Although she enjoyed being invisible, she didn’t like eavesdropping. She would have to do something, quickly.

“Did you tell her yet?”

“No, no I did not.”

“Well, you should, you know.”

Are they talking about me? What should I know? She decided to call out. “Ra’am? It’s me, Trenae,” she said. She kept moving forward, in their direction.

Finally, she made it to the small clearing before the cliff, about 20 feet from the cliff’s edge, where both beings positioned themselves.

“Trenae,” Ra’am said. “Come here, I want you to meet my friend.”

To her right and the east side of the small clearing, across from Ra’am, stood a tall man. He appeared 6 feet tall or more, maybe 6’2” and had black hair. His skin was tan and he definitely had the semblance of a Native American.

The man came forward, holding out his hand. Ra’am walked closer to Trenae.

“This is Dod Whiteclay, Trenae,” Ra’am said.

She held out her hand. Dod squeezed it quite firmly, kind of hurting her. But he gave her a broad, friendly smile that made it all better.

“Hello, Trenae!” he said enthusiastically, shaking her hand up and down. “Nice to meet you.”

“Thank you,” she said, “nice to meet you too.”

Ra’am stepped near her left side, standing, looking down at both of them for a moment. “You two get acquainted,” he said.  “I need to get samples from the tree, scientific information. I will be back shortly.”

Dod let go of her hand. He had held it for a while. He looked up at Ra’am as the alien began walking away. “What sort of scientific info?” Dod asked.

“I will tell you later,” Ra’am said, walking toward the large clearing. “Come, L.B. Come!” The rambunctious dog followed his master.

Curiously, as she watched Ra’am disappear behind the trees, she noticed both males appeared to be wearing the same jacket. Both jackets were waist level and black, with hoods. And each jacket had a fluffy, white layer on the inside, since both male beings wore their jackets unzipped.

“Hey,” she said, “you guys have the same jackets.”

“And you noticed the boots and jeans too?” Dod asked. He placed his hands in his pockets and smiled broadly again at her. “I bought them all for the two of us, although it’s always quite hard getting his size, especially in shoes!”

She looked at Dod’s boots. They exactly resembled Ra’am’s boots. And the jeans looked the same too- plain, straight-legged blue jeans. But the difference lay in the sweater shirt Dod was wearing. It was tan, with white vertical stripes, and looked expensive. Actually, so did Dod. He smelled of expensive cologne and had an aura and presence of money, especially due to his clean cut hair and perfectly shaven face. Yes, a lot of money.

She studied his face for a moment. This man overflowed with fullness of life. His whole face smiled- his eyes, his cheeks, his mouth, and his nose. He seemed unbelievably positive and happy. She quickly felt a huge sense of relief.

“So,” Dod said, still smiling. “You have had the honor, I see.”

She turned left, to see Ra’am. Phew! He’s out of sight. She looked back at Dod. “He’s an alien!” she said. “Can you believe that? An alien, from another planet! It just seems so…impossible!”

“I know, I know. Tell me about it! The day I met him, when I was walking through Frank Church Wilderness, well, I didn’t know what to think. He was so big, so quick, really smart! And powerful! I thought for sure I was a dead man,” he said, nudging Trenae with his elbow a bit.

“You did? So did I! I thought he would kill me too. But, obviously, he didn’t.”

“I was out hunting, and we ran into each other. Boy, I’ll never forget that day!” His words carried great enthusiasm.

However, she became pensive. “Dod, what is going on? How can this be happening?”

Dod lowered his head a little, getting closer to her. “I can’t explain it all myself. Ra’am will tell you everything. But all I know now, is he’s my friend, and hopefully, he will become yours too.”

She gave Dod a perplexed look. “My friend?”

“Yes, look. I don’t have much time before he comes back, but what you need to know, about Ra’am, is he comes on kind of strong, at first. But after you get to know him awhile, you will find he is an indispensable friend. He’s kind of, well…let’s see, how should I put this.” He glanced down for a second. Then he looked in her eyes with a happy face again. “He’s like the month of March. You know, comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.”

She noticed a slight accent. “Yes, I do. I hope, you’re right.”

“Sure I am.”

“Are you…?”

“Native American? Does it show? All those blankets on Ha-Ta.” He shook his head a little, in a humorous way.

“You mean, are you Nez Perce?”

“Actually, I’m half. My father is Nez Perce, or Nimipu, as we refer to ourselves. And my mother is half Chippewa and half French. So, I’m a mutt.”

“You’re kidding! I’m part Chippewa too! And some French also, on my father’s side.”

“Well, I like you already,” Dod said. His eyes glanced downward, below her neck. It was no surprise; she had become used to men spying on her body. “You must be cold,” he said. “Is that all you have? It’s about 45 out here.”

“Yes,” she said. She looked down at her open leather jacket, barely covering cleavage from the tight green dress. “You must recognize the pants. Ra’am said they were your wife’s.” She lifted her head, discretely closing her jacket at the same time.

Dod looked down at her legs briefly, with a serious expression that still seemed funny. “Mmm, maybe. You know, I don’t have a good memory for her former clothes.” He lifted his head. “But that’s it, huh, that’s all you have?”

“Well, yes, and the shirt that matches these pants.”

“Then I think we should go, today, since it’s my day off, and buy you some clothes. And anything else you might need. I’ll go tell Ra’am.” He began stepping away. Besides being friendly and positive, he also behaved a little hyper.

“No, wait,” she said, grabbing his arm. “I need…to talk.” Ra’am still wasn’t nearby.

“What is it?” he asked. He lowered his head closer to her face.

“I…I don’t think I can stay with him.”

Dod stared into her eyes. “But where will you go? Ra’am told me about the trouble you’re in.” He placed his hand on her shoulder. “There is no safer place on this whole planet for you than with him. He can protect you, really protect you. You have to trust me on this. I have known Ra’am now for 7 years.”

“Seven years?” she asked wearily.


With both her hands, Trenae grabbed Dod’s arm, the arm that touched her shoulder, and hugged his arm tightly. She couldn’t control it; she started crying a little too. This isn’t like me; I normally would never be so assertive with a person I just met. But so desperately did she need to hold another human being right now, a kind human being. “I’m sorry, but I’m so scared,” she said, lifting her head. “Can’t I stay with you?” Her tear-filled eyes scanned his face.

Dod wrapped his other arm around her back, lightly. His happy countenance changed to one of puzzlement and concern. “No, I’m married and have four kids,” he said. “And we wouldn’t mind if you came to live with us, under different circumstances, but now, with organized criminals after you, and the others involved, I could never risk that. Not with my family. I’m truly sorry.”

She took a deep, heaving breath, yet clung to Dod’s arm. Darn, it’s unfortunate he’s married. Although he looked a little old, like in his upper 30’s, he was handsome and charming, funny and nice. The good ones are always taken! But regardless, she knew he was right. He had children in his home.

After taking another deep breath, she wiped her eyes and nose with one hand.

“Do you know what he did to me yesterday?” she asked.

Dod gave another puzzled look. “No, what did he do?”

“He took me into the center of the earth,” she whispered loudly, “you know, the earth’s core?”

“I’ll be darned, he’s never done that for me!” He whispered too, with exuberance. “You’re lucky!” 

“Are you kidding? Lucky?” Her voice became high pitched and her face felt so tired. She removed her hands from Dod’s arm and crossed her arms under her breasts.

“Look, Trenae, his civilization is extremely advanced,” he said gently. “You had no reason to fear anything. I know you weren’t aware at the time, but--”

“How do we know he can even do that? Maybe it’s all, you know, some sort of optical illusion, or holographic image! I mean, come on, it’s impossible! Maybe he just wanted to scare the crap out of me, cause…” She held up her index finger, shaking at him. “Because, I’ll tell you, he sure did!”

“But he gave you proof, right?”

“Oh, so he did tell you,” she said quietly. She looked down. The two of them obviously exchanged information. She looked back up at him. “And what’s this about, ya know, telling me something? I heard before I came.”

Dod crossed his arms, and formed a serious expression. “I don’t remember for sure, since there were so many things I asked him if he had told you yet- you know, just comparing what I know, notes, you know, to what he’s told you. But, we did talk about that he moved the galeel khayeem over here now, while you slept. So now you can be near your father’s gravesite.”

“Really? That’s nice…I guess.”

“Maybe that’s what you heard. But listen, okay? When I first met Ra’am, he was a lot tougher on me than when you met him.”


“Yes. His voice, mannerisms, movement. You’re a female and so, I’m sure, he’s acted accordingly. And look at us now- that was seven years ago, and I’m not dead and he’s never hurt me! And, he’s my very best friend. Do you see what I mean?”

Trenae stuck her cold hands in her leather jacket’s pockets. She looked over to her right, beyond a few trees, at the cliff her father and Darin used to sit by. Before, it always gave such pleasant memories. But now, things were so different.

After a few seconds, she looked back up at Dod. “Yes, I guess you’re right. But YOU have to understand- I’ve been marked for murder…” Her words trailed off, speaking the horrible ‘M’ word. Could that word really be about me? “And…and now, with everything.” She took a deep breath, trying to prevent another crying spell.

“They’re not here today,” Dod said. “Thank God.”

She stared into Dod’s eyes. “Are you sure? Did he check?”

“Yes. It was the first thing he talked about, when he came outside and saw me. But he checked a good 15 mile radius, and, no sign.”

“He can do that?”

“Well, but of course,” Dod said with a bright smile. He turned around, apparently searching for L.B. or Ra’am.

She looked too, through spaces in the woods, and could see that Ra’am walked by some trees, quite far away, down the by the large clearing’s edge. The silly dog ran in the woods, near a dried grass trail.

Dod looked back at her.

“Can we go sit over there?” she asked, glancing toward the cliff. Though frightening memories haunted her from the night she fell, for some reason, she still felt drawn to its edge.

“Of course,” he answered. He began walking, leading the way around some trees.

Once near the cliff, she chose a large, smooth boulder on the left. Dod chose the boulder on her right. They sat down. At first, when she looked at Dod, she saw her father, sitting on the rock while he looked across the river canyon, smiling. But then, catching herself, she quickly shrugged the image away.

“He’s leaving soon, you know,” she said, speaking about Ra’am.

“I know.” A tinge of melancholy tainted Dod’s voice. “December or January, I believe.”

“Well, so, why do I have to stay with him then? He’s leaving anyway, so Willson’s guys will get me eventually.”

Dod folded his arms and looked down, beginning to dig in the ground with the tip of his boot. His countenance appeared less positive now. He looked back at her. “I’m confident we can work something out, so you’ll be safe. I’ll work on it, don’t worry.”

“Yeah, but, why does he tell me that I can’t leave, because I know too much? But then what about you? He says our government and stuff, you know, that ‘men in black’ thing, will know. But yet you’re coming and going here.”

“A good question. I guess the best I can tell you is that Ra’am and I have a very trusting friendship. At first, he worried that either one of us would be discovered. But it hasn’t happened yet and it’s been 7 years, like I told you. And I am very good at keeping secrets. My family has no idea whatsoever of my meetings here. They believe they’re hunting trips, hikes.”

“Yeah, but did he trap you in his ship when he first met you?”

“No, but we did go in it. He told me the circumstances, and we both worked on them. And everything has been fine…He wants to protect you, Trenae. You are in danger, I was not. Don’t you see, there’s no alternative for you?”

No alternative, no alternative. The words began resonating back and forth in her mind.

“Besides,” Dod said, “I am also an excellent woodsman and back-tracker.”


“Yes, taught by my grandfather. I listen well in the woods. And it’s very easy for me to know my path to and from, and to know when someone is following me or has been somewhere before me. For instance, I knew rather quickly this morning that there had been men here, quite a few men. And they had a dog. And that they had fired some guns. Was I right?”

Trenae looked at him. Then, she looked at the cliff. “They fired their guns? I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, it appears they did. A few bullet marks in some trees, down near the road.”

“But whatever” she said half-heartedly, staring down. “You’re right though, they were here.”

She realized Dod meant well, and that he would try to help her. Yet somehow, the cliff appeared to have much more certainty than either Dod or Ra’am. Arising from the boulder, she slowly careened toward the cliff’s edge, just enough to look down below.

“Trenae, be careful,” Dod said.

“No…I’m fine.” The stony stream below, its water flowing around and over rocks and pebbles, all looked so tranquil, so benign, so real, so--

“TRENAE!” She jolted back from the edge and flung around to find the voice. She felt like a scolded child again. “Dod, get her away from there, NOW!”

Dod shot up, took her hand, and yanked her away from the edge. She searched and saw Ra’am. What’s HIS problem? I wasn’t that close to the edge. But worse, how had he seen me from so far away? Oh, those robots.

Ra’am charged toward them, an unstoppable freight train. His eyes were livid, his eyes were worried. “Dod, please, keep her away from there,” he said. His words came stern, yet polite toward his friend. She thought for sure he was about to yell at Dod.

Immediately, Dod hurried her farther away from the cliff, holding her hand tightly, bringing her closer to Ra’am.

“I should have told you,” Ra’am said to his friend. He completely ignored Trenae. “She should not be by that cliff!” 

“Hey, what’s the problem?” she asked. “I used to come here all the time. I wasn’t that close!”

She watched Ra’am’s face. He stopped in his steps and glared down at her. His eyes pierced her with crushing fierceness. “Let’s just say I do not trust you also!” Ra’am said. “Stay away from there, you hear me?” He looked back at Dod. “Please, keep her away.”

She observed Dod. He appeared noticeably frazzled. “Sorry, sorry,” he said. “You’ll forgive me?”

Ra’am turned back at her, glaring. She blinked her eyes and secretly swallowed. After a moment, Ra’am looked back down at his friend. “It is all right,” he told Dod. “I should have forewarned you better.”

“She really wasn’t that close, Ra’am.”

“I know. But she believes the worse, do you not Trenae?” She looked back up at Ra’am. What does he mean? His eyes pierced again; it actually hurt. Unable to look at him or give an answer, she lowered her head, watched the ground, and held Dod’s hand. Ra’am didn’t question her again.

“Listen, Ra’am, you finish what you were doing,” Dod said, his voice trying to lighten the air. “I’ll watch her like a hawk. But I want to ask you- she needs clothes and shoes. Probably other items too. Should we leave after you’re done, find a mall or something far from here? What do you think?”

“I think that is a good idea,” Ra’am said. “I was planning it anyway. Just keep her safe. I am almost done.”

She heard Ra’am walk away, unable to look up at him.

When the alien had walked a considerable distance, Dod released her hand. “You all right?” he asked.

She looked up at Dod. Though she felt like crying again, that dried out, exhausted-tear feeling inhibited tears; nothing remained. Ra’am’s temper and accusation, even his uncanny ability to know her inner thoughts, had made her feel about 2 inches tall. Her heart raced a little, but strangely, she also felt a small sense of relief. “No, not really,” she answered.

“I know. Here I am trying to convince you he’s okay and it’ll be fine, and then he gets mad. He, well he…” Dod paused.


“He has a slight temper. I’ve only seen the tip of it a few times, but its there, hiding. He wasn’t mad at me though, just some hunters. He wants to be righteous, so he’s controlling it.”

“Oh great, that’s all I needed to know.”

“No, no. He would never really use it on us, like hurt us. It’s just, there, if he needs it. Sorry you saw a little bit of it.”

Trenae looked away, up the mountainside. “Great,” she said sarcastically.

“So let’s go stand over there, by the opening. I see a couple of lodgepole pine we can lean on. Ra’am shouldn’t be too much longer. Are you warm enough?” He started to walk.

She began following him through the trees to the large clearing. “Yes, I guess,” she said.

While walking, she closed her jacket across her chest and folded her arms over it. Eventually, Dod found a cozy spot where three tall pine trees towered above. He leaned himself against one of the trees. She copied his action and did the same, leaning against the tree on his left. They both faced down the hill, toward the trail where she had left the stolen car.

“So, what do you do?” she asked, staring down the hill.

“I own a computer system design, technology, and consulting company.”

“Gosh.” She looked at him. “That’s a mouthful. No wonder you two are friends.”

He started laughing heartily. It was clear; Ra’am’s show of anger hadn’t dampened Dod’s spirits. “Yes. I call Ra’am my ‘techno-nerd-reggae-scientist.’ You know, reggae, for the hair?”

She continued to stare at him. “And he lets you?”

“Sure thing!” Cupping his hand near his mouth, he leaned over, closer to her ear. “Believe it or not, he does have a sense of humor,” he said, sounding comical and spy-like. “He can laugh at himself, since he realizes he can be anal at times.”

She smiled a little. “I hope…he can laugh more.” She shyly glanced at the ground, but then lifted her head. “So where’s your company? What do you do?”

“My employees and I do networking, voice, and data communications, some computer repair, cabling design, database design…and let’s see…” He tilted from side to side, pausing. He drew in a quick breath and continued. “And we do consulting, Novell and Microsoft engineering, and, ladies and gents, a whole lot more! I could go on, but you get the picture. I’m a computer geek.”

She laughed a little.

“I have an MCA computer science engineering degree, and have been working with computers for around, oh say, 15 years now. But the best part of my job is traveling and taking on other jobs. And because I’m the owner, I have a lot of freedom to figure my hours, plan vacations, etc. More time with Aileen, my wife. And of course the kids too. I’m very happy with the business.”

“That’s great, really. But where is it? Where do you live?”

“Actually, we’re based in Spokane, near where I live, but now my employees and I are working several projects in Lewiston. We also go down to Boise and Twin Falls occasionally. It just depends. But you get the picture. I’m off a few days, Monday and today, since I start another project on Thursday, so I came here.”

Spokane, he said Spokane. Why did he have to mention that city? “Oh my gosh,” she said “Spokane. That’s right. Ra’am DID mention you lived there.”

“Why? What is it?”

Grabbing her mouth, she looked down. She felt like crying again, but secretly dug her nails into the left side of her cheek, beneath her hair. Dod couldn’t see her do it. She removed her hand and took a deep breath. There, that stopped the urge. She looked at him. “Can you do me another favor, since I know you said you would check on where I can go, after Ra’am leaves?”

“Sure, I’ll try. What is it?”

Take another deep breath. “My Aunt Heather…I think Willson’s men might have…well, maybe…” She barely got the words out. No, not again. Her eyes poured forth tears. No. Even so, she sniffed her nose, wiped it gently, and looked back at Dod.  He would have to understand. “I think they hurt her. Can you please find out?”

Weakness struck her body. Slowly, she leaned forward, her head and body falling slightly. And then, it happened; she started wailing, really wailing. Trying to hide her embarrassment, she held her face in both hands.

It seemed like forever until she heard a voice. “Trenae…Are you all right?”

Someone grasped the fingers of both her hands and gently peeled them from her face. She opened her eyes. It was Ra’am’s hand.

“She asked about her Aunt Heather,” Dod said.

She continued staring down, Ra’am still holding her hands. Gently taking one hand away, she wiped her eyes.

“Yes. It appears they may have forced her aunt to give this location, of where Trenae’s father’s memorial box was buried,” Ra’am said. “We do not know if she is all right.”

“I can certainly find out,” Dod said. “I just need her full name and address.” The two males both became quiet. Even out in the cold air, Ra’am’s hand felt warm, his tender grasp yet holding her hand. Little by little, however, he released her hand.

“Are you finished with your work?” Dod asked.

“Yes, for now. We just have to acquire L.B. I already brought most of my Pseudotsuga menziesii samples below, on Ha-Ta.”

“You’re what?” Dod asked comically.

Trenae slowly looked up at them. She blinked her eyes several times to clear away remaining tears. Dod had his hands on his hips and a ridiculous expression on his face.

“You know I use scientific terms,” Ra’am said.

“English man, English,” Dod said. “Or else you’ve left us behind, in the dark!”

“All right. My Douglas Fir samples. Better?”

Dod laughed at his serious friend…



…“I finally got my composure back, you know, stopped crying.” Trenae sighed. “Dod’s interaction with Ra’am, and how they got along, made me feel a lot better. And Dod really did kind of goof on Ra’am now and then. It was funny.” She gave a quick smile. “But he seemed careful. He never really did an all out insult thing to Ra’am, just a little. But it really helped.”

“So you guys went in Ha-Ta?” Jenny asked.

“Yes. We found L.B. and Ra’am created this hemoom prodoh disk, that we all could step upon and then float down gradually to the bottom.”

“In that hole?”

“Yes, that’s right. Kind of like an elevator. He had to remove the ladder first, though, and enlarge the hole’s diameter. The ladder was just hemoom prodoh, so it dissolved back into the walls of the hole. I remember asking him too, how the soil on top returned to its normal shape and position. He said it was due to the miniaturization process, farther down the hole, away from the roots. Near the surface, some sort of folding and layering process took place, that when released made the ground bounce back, just as it was before.”

“Wow, that’s cool…Did you tell Dod your aunt’s name and address?”

“Yes, I finally did. It was hard, though. I kept thinking they killed her. I was depressed for a while. But…I gave him her name- Heather Devorak, her married name of course. And her address. Dod right away had an idea where she lived. And he said he would definitely check her out. It gave me a little relief.”

“That’s good.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Trenae looked down at her fingers and touched her nails, sighing again. “I just gradually thought less and less, about her, like before. I had to.” She lifted her head. “So, when we got down there, Ra’am gave us all a quick breakfast of some of his food. After we finished, he set up the blanket again for L.B between the seats by the control panel, and then we left. I sat in that same seat as before, to Ra’am’s right. And at first, Dod sat on the evesmol, but then he came over and leaned his arms on both the inner sides of our seats. It was pretty relaxed and all.

“And,” she said, “Ra’am questioned us both as to where we thought a safe place would be, but something that we were familiar with. I picked the Rimrock Mall, in Billings.”

“Billings? Really!” Jenny said. “I’ve been there a few times.”

“Yeah, my father brought me there, just me though, when I was like 9 or 10. It was fun…Anyway, all three of us talked a bit while we traveled to Billings. I learned some more stuff, about Ra’am and all. First though, Dod asked about the election. I think it was like October 24th that day, and the election for Willson was on November 7th. So, he wondered about it.

“Then Dod asked how the heck I got involved with Willson, you know, like you wondered. I basically told him about my mom and Darin, how they were abusive. He seemed pretty shocked, which felt nice, his concern I mean. But then I said how my dad had been great to me. But…then I explained how everything led up to meeting Willson. And I told Dod, Ra’am too, everything else, up to the point on the cliff. It felt weird telling, but I figured they should know the truth. At least it made me look less of a slut or something.”

Jenny crossed her arms and formed a concerned, yet disgusted expression. “Now come on,” she said, “no name calling.”

Trenae smiled. “Okay, I won’t…As we were going, I learned something cool about Ra’am. Dod started telling me that his name, Ra’ammahkar, which Ra’am just shortened, means ‘he who brings a strong voice to the future’. They both then explained that Ra’am found both our planets are linked through history and God, same as other planets with intelligent life. You see, Ra’am used to be called Makhraham, but his military guys, you know, those in charge over him, gave him the new name as a sort of Medal of Honor or increase in rank, to signify something important. It was neat, I thought.” She shrugged a little.

“Yeah, that is interesting.”

Jenny then asked Trenae to spell the other name. She did.

“And the other cool thing was that Dod, well, his real name isn’t Dod. His little brother used to call him Dodger instead of Roger, I guess because he was too young and couldn’t say it right. So, his family just shortened it to Dod. And then I told them how my name was suppose to be Renae, but you know, like I told you…and I told them my middle name was Resica. It was weird. We all had names that began with R.”

Jenny laughed a little. “Yeah, that is a coincidence.”

“And, let’s see, what else?” Trenae looked toward the ceiling, thinking. “Oh yeah, we also talked about that tse makh yerape. Dod asked me if Ra’am had explained. See, Ra’am had finished his research, about a month before, if the plant could be used to treat humans. I told him that he had used it on me. And then Dod seemed impressed, I guess because Ra’am had worked on it awhile, because he wanted to make sure it was perfectly safe for humans. I was a little freaked out, but I stayed quiet. Ra’am explained that it could treat diseases like cancer and AIDS, anything really, but that he and Dod had to figure out a way to get it to our health officials.

“Ra’am gave some examples, of how it works. He said tse makh yerape could figure out how cancer cells were able to prevent apoptosis, a sort of natural suicide of cells, which prevented the cancer cells from dieing like they should. And also how cancer cells secreted this molecule that prevented cytotoxic T cells--”

“Hey! You’re sounding just like Ra’am again!”

Trenae smiled. “Sorry.”

“No, that’s okay. You obviously learned quite a lot from him. But go ahead, what was prevented?”

“Okay, well, see, T cells are a form of immune system cells. They can’t kill the cancer cells if that certain molecule was on the cancer cell. And then he said that AIDS had a similar problem, because the disease causes a decline in the number of CD4+T cells, which are also immune system cells. The HIV virus only invades maybe 1 in 100,000 CD4+T cells, but then the rest of those cells die by apoptosis. Our scientists don’t really know why for sure. But tse makh yerape will enter the cells and figure the whole thing out, for cancer or AIDS or anything else. It’s really amazing. And he talked to us about blood coagulation, and how tse makh yerape could accelerate that process too, to heal wounds. It would accelerate the body’s processes many times faster.”

Jenny yawned, a much-exaggerated yawn.

Trenae smiled again. “Okay, okay. I know. So anyway, it wasn’t that much after--”

“But you know,” Jenny interrupted, “I do think that’s really good. But when do we get it? Oops, never mind. We need to keep it chronological. Sorry, go ahead.”

“So…we finally got to Billings. Ra’am had to use his computer and maps to figure out a place where we could enter, because there were underground plumbing, sewers, other contraptions. He didn’t want to make too long of a tunnel through the ground. So, he finally found a spot on this back alleyway near the mall, on a gravel road.

“And then, Ra’am did something that was probably the most amazing thing yet.”

“More than that earth core trip?”

“Well, maybe not that amazing, but incredible anyway. You see, he was just wearing this tee shirt, a different one.”

“Oh, he changed his clothes, hey?”

Trenae smiled. “Yes. I think it was a white tee shirt with a design, but it’s been awhile. But the main thing- his koaksekhel was exposed. Dod told me to watch the koaksekhel and I did. The kaleidoscope area opened, and something slightly invisible came out, a light form of hemoom prodoh, and spread around him. And then rather quickly, Ra’am’s skin turned human! You couldn’t see the geed’aso anymore or the dark aqua of his eyes and his hair looked more like a bunch of braids! And then…then…”


She gave Jenny a direct stare. “He looked human. But not only human, a very handsome human. I remember being mesmerized for a moment. I couldn’t stop staring at him. And he even looked a little familiar, like I’d seen him before, but I knew that was impossible. He was just sitting there in his seat for a moment, talking to Dod. I finally caught myself staring and turned away. And, eventually I realized how stupid I was. He’s not really human. I shouldn’t stare.” She looked down at her fingers.

She looked up. “But I couldn’t help telling Dod once we were walking to the mall.”

“Ra’am actually went with you guys?” Jenny asked.

“Oh yeah, definitely! He was our protection. He just put his jacket over, you know, to cover the koaksekhel.”

“He couldn’t cover that too, with the hemoom prodoh?”

“He could, but just decided to have his jacket cover it. But he looked very human, just really tall and massive. And L.B. was fine. Ra’am left him behind on Ha-Ta and confined him to his room with some food and water. He was fine.

“But anyway, I told Dod how I thought Ra’am looked so human. I said it quietly, secretly, just to him, so Ra’am couldn’t hear. But Ra’am did hear and then both Dod and Ra’am explained how ometvaheem and humans are made of the same basic elements, like carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorous, and some others. Yet both of our species just have slightly different configurations with these elements, especially with certain proteins or protein mineral usage. And also Ra’am explained how most of our organs are similar, except some ometvah organs are a little larger or different than human’s, especially the cecum.”

“Cecum? What’s that?”

“It’s a part of the large intestine, positioned right after the small intestine enters the large intestine. In humans, it’s not that large. But in ometvaheem--”

“Wait. Can you spell it?”

Trenae did, and Jenny scribbled it down.

“But anyway,” Trenae said, “yeah, their cecum is larger because their diet is so high in vegetable matter, you know, all that fiber?”

“Yeah, I know that feeling.”

Both women laughed a little.

“And ometvaheem,” Jenny said, “I wanted to ask. Is that plural only for the males?”

“Well, yes and no. I gave you the other plurals, like for ometvehar, almehneh. But actually, ometvaheem also means plural for ometvah, the species, males, females, and almehneht.”

“Oh, like human beings covers male and female, gays too?”

“Yes,” Trenae said. “You’re right. And you know, Dod told me, reminded me actually, that Ra’am had 5 fingers and 5 toes.”

“How nice of the guy.”

Trenae smiled. “But finally, we got to the mall. Oh shoot, you know what I remember?”

“What’s that?’

“That I had to walk in with those pink slippers on, not to mention my ridiculous dress-leather jacket combo and those yellow pj pants!”

“Shit, what did you do?”

“Well, Dod told me not to worry. No one was going to say anything with Ra’am around. And besides, it was really early, like 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning. So, he thought probably not many would be there.”

“Was he right?”

“Actually, I think, just remembering…” She paused a bit, looking down. “We went to the mall directory, looking for a shoe store, my first stop of course…and as soon as we were in the mall, I expected to get my usually feeling, of…feeling out of place, like everyone was better than me, like I always felt before when I went to the mall.” She lifted her head. “You know, feeling like the loser, the unpopular girl.” Jenny frowned a little, but said nothing. “I was especially upset that day, with my super ridiculous outfit on and my depressed thoughts of Aunt Heather.

“But then…I remember looking up at Ra’am. He looked so incredible, Jenny. So tall and regal-like, like a king or prince or powerful celebrity. Not conceited or anything, but instead…he looked so confident and impressive. Right away, I felt better. Besides the fact that I felt safer because of his presence, I also suddenly felt special and important. I mean, and this was kind of funny, really- everyone else in the mall, besides Dod and I, didn’t know who this guy really was! Only we did! It was our little secret. Heck, it was MY little secret.

“I don’t know,” Trenae said, shrugging and looking down again, “it kind of made me feel high, like I was floating…magical. I can’t say I’ve ever felt like that before.” She lifted her gaze. “Ra’am held my hand a lot too, when we were walking. He somehow had a way of making me forget my problems then. It was just a good experience there.”

Jenny smiled. “That does sound nice. And so you went to the shoe store?”

“Yeah, Dod went in with me. Ra’am stayed by the entrance, always keeping watch for any possibility of Stiles or any of his people showing up.”

“But he didn’t know what the rest of them looked like, right?”

“No, he just kept watch for any suspicious activity. He would stand there, just looking around. We had gone to one of those sports shoes stores and I picked out a good pair of running sneakers and a pair of hiking boots, water-proof hiking boots.”

“Expensive! Who paid for them?”

“That’s a good point. Well, Mr. Computer Company covered all the bills with his credit cards. But then I found out later, after we left the mall, that sometimes Ra’am would duplicate money for Dod.”

“You mean like counterfeit?”

“Well, kind of. You see, Ha-Ta had certain nanosystems, certain proodat t’notah on board that could perform duplications of some matter. Not all matter, but some things. Like money. He could make bills for Dod, sort of like a pay back, but Dod would only use them infrequently. He really worried about getting in trouble.”

“I don’t blame him. That’s illegal.”

“Yeah, he told that to Ra’am. They didn’t do it very much. Ra’am did seem conscientious about obeying our laws.”

“Well, that’s good.”

Trenae took a deep breath and leaned back on the sofa. “Yes, it is. But Dod really was very nice to buy me all the stuff. And I mean, I got a lot!” She leaned forward again. “Gosh, let’s see…he bought me jeans, shirts, both long and short sleeve, a few warm sweater type shirts, socks. We went to Penney’s and Herberger’s. Even some makeup, perfume, although I doubted I’d ever wear them, around Ra’am. I also had to buy underwear things too. That…was a little uncomfortable.”

“How so?”

“You know, Ra’am always tried to stay right near me and watch me really well. But when I tried on clothes, he and Dod just stayed at the entrances to the dressing rooms, but they told me to take a room close to the entrance. So, that wasn’t so bad. But when I had to select bras and underwear, it was harder. Ra’am still kind of followed close, but not as close.

“And I also bought a blue coat and a thin brown jacket, that zippered in the front. I had absolutely no clothing with me and of course could never go back and get my stuff, either at Willson’s or my mom’s, so…”

Trenae touched her chin for a moment. “I wonder what ever did happen to my stuff at Willson’s?”

“He probably threw them out,” Jenny said, sighing. “Or, most likely, gave them to the other girls.”

“Yeah, probably. And so after we were done, Dod wanted to get a bite to eat. So we went to the food court.” She smiled broadly for a moment. “Dod…Dod was funny then. He asked me if I was hungry and I said yes. But when he asked Ra’am, Ra’am said he doesn’t eat that food. Dod got all flustered with him, in a nice way, and asked ‘What, they don’t have enough salad here for you?’ It was funny- you had to be there.”

Jenny smiled.

“Ra’am just claimed he would eat later, but told me to go over with Dod. He stood behind us some feet away, holding all the bags of stuff…and there were a lot of bags of stuff, believe me. Ra’am just made certain I was okay, while we were in line. And while we waited, Dod quietly told me he’s always been a little peeved at Ra’am and his very strict raw diet thing, especially since he would never try any of Aileen’s cooking, like muffins or something, that Dod brought over a few times.”

Jenny laughed.

“But anyway, Dod and I ordered sandwiches. He told me that sometimes he and Ra’am would go fishing together. Ra’am would cut up the fish, after he killed it, and immediately eat it raw. Needless to say, that kind of made me less hungry, but…I asked what was the deal with the raw food, while we were still waiting for the sandwiches. He told me that Ra’am’s world considers cooking of food a spiritual and nutritional disaster and that food was to be appreciated and respected, as it was in nature, as it came from God.” She looked directly at Jenny. “It was then, before we got back to Ra’am, that I asked Dod about God, and Ra’am’s world. But Dod said I would have to ask Ra’am myself. He said it was complicated.”

“Hmm, that’s interesting.”

“Yeah. I really didn’t want to know then anyway.”

Trenae furrowed her brow and touched her mouth lightly, remembering. “You know, there was something else, of significance. As we were walking with our food, Dod and I, back to Ra’am, I saw these two girls. They were young, like me, like maybe 18 or 19, and both very pretty, slim and shapely, and dressed kinda’ scantily, with short dresses and high heels- they looked pretty mischievous, on the prowl. Well, sure enough, they had their eyes on Ra’am. I mean, how could you not! I think one of them said ‘Hey, baby’ or something like that, as they walked by him, in front of us, before we got to him. Ra’am did look at them and notice their actions, but…it was weird. He gave them a cold, emotionless expression, like he just didn’t care. He didn’t say anything too. The girls then looked rather intimidated and walked on by. I was surprised. I started thinking either he really doesn’t like human women or maybe he’s gay…but then…”

“You never know,” Jenny said. “But his reaction sure seemed a little different from earth guys.”

“I know, that’s true. Well, I sneaked a glance at Dod, watching Ra’am’s actions, but Dod didn’t seem concerned in the least.”

“Wow, hmm…I’m sure you’ll tell me later, but I’m dieing to know now!”  Jenny scowled a bit and gave a silly whimper.

Trenae smiled. “I can tell you now, if you want.”

“No, no, no, just keep going.”

“Well, actually, now that I think of it, those girls weren’t the only ones who noticed Ra’am. Many people stopped or slowed down as we walked by, staring up at him. And one time, when we were by the coats, a little old lady thought Ra’am and I were a couple. She talked to him a bit and he was nice to her, said a few nice words. She even asked about his height, that his mother must have fed him well, things like that. And she said I was lucky to have a boyfriend, like him. It was a cute scene. But I just continued looking at the coats and ignored Ra’am a bit after that.”


“Yeah.  And so, after that, we left. Ra’am wanted to get back to L.B. as soon as possible. Ra’am carried most of the bags, while Dod and I carried the rest. It was so nice of them both, to help. And it sure felt great to have those running shoes on, and those jeans and new shirt too.”

“I bet.”

“We finally got to the same location, since Ra’am found the spot with his koaksekhel. Then, he opened the ground…I’ll tell you Jenny, you have never seen anything stranger than watching the ground below you, that you always trust to be solid and unmovable, suddenly swirl open like a kaleidoscope and form a hole. Very weird!”

“I’m sure…Hey, did you guys ever see any of Willson’s mafia men?”

“Actually, no, we didn’t. Later though, after we left for Spokane, we worried about them again.

“Anyway, once we entered Ha-Ta and checked on L.B., who was excited but happy, we left Billings.”


“Yeah, see, Dod reminded me about what to eat at Ra’am’s, since his raw food diet and all. So, we decided to go to a supermarket too. Dod said it would be safest and best if we went to Spokane, since he knew the stores there and doubted Willson’s guys would be near. Ra’am agreed, and we went there. Ra’am allowed Dod to go, although he made sure that the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah viewed him at all times.

“It was funny- Dod knew we could see him, and kept making funny expressions and faces, and saying silly things. I laughed a bit, feeling a lot less depressed now, and even Ra’am laughed too. I felt surprised, at first, but his laugh sounded sort of like a human laugh.”

“Hmm, that’s interesting. He laughed like a person.”

“Yes, it did sound similar, just deeper, and maybe with sort of a metallic clang, or vibration. It’s hard to describe, you have to hear it. Also, it was then that Ra’am took off the hemoom prodoh camouflage. I guess Ra’am realized I felt sorry to see it go, cause he asked me if I didn’t like his ‘integument’.”

“Integument? Haven’t heard that in a while.”

“Yeah. It means ‘outward appearance’. But I told him, although it was kind of a lie, since I did like him better with the mask on, that I thought he was quite handsome.”

“Shit, Trenae,” Jenny said quietly.  “Weren’t you asking for trouble saying that?”
            “I don’t know…After the way he rejected me the day before, when I made a move on him, and then after he brushed those girls off, rejected them, I felt pretty safe to say it. I mean, it WAS the truth. I did think he looked very, very handsome.”

“Oh, that much?” Jenny asked slyly.

Trenae laughed a little. “Yeah,” she answered, smiling. “I did, I admit it. But…he still scared me, with his geed’aso, his dark eyes. I preferred the other way, with the camouflage. But anyway, he told me ‘thank you’. And you know, he really meant it. I felt, I don’t know, kind of bad for him again…Anyway, Dod was almost finished. Oh, you know what else?’


“Yikes!” Trenae felt her face flush a little. “I had to ask Dod to get me sanitary pads,” she said quietly.


“Yeah, and shampoo, and other personal items that we couldn’t get at the mall, or I forgot at the mall. I remember feeling pretty embarrassed, but I knew I HAD to get it. I mean, I couldn’t have Ra’am dealing with an accident like that on his spaceship! THAT would be even MORE embarrassing”

Jenny smiled.

 “But Dod said ‘don’t worry’, kind of quietly to me- that he always gets it for his wife and is not embarrassed and I shouldn’t be either. I asked him before he left.”

“Whoa. It still sounds…difficult.”

“True…Well, he finally made it back from the store okay and I felt better, much better about having them. And then we went back near River Cliffs, though not the same spot as before we left.”

“How come?”

“Well, see, Dod parked on this side road not far from Calendar, and then walk into the woods. I asked Dod about it, and he said he normally parked there or on other roads and hiked the couple miles distance, or greater, depending on his last known location of Ha-Ta. Ra’am would easily find him, meet up with him, since the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah always checked the area- so Ra’am would always see him coming.”

“Yeah, I was going to ask how Dod got there, or how he knew to go there, with Ra’am’s former position.”

“That’s true. But before Dod left, Ra’am said he wanted us to stay below, while he went up and checked out some other trees, possibly for scientific samples. He said it wouldn’t take long.”

“What about any of Stiles or Willson’s men?”

“Well, actually, Ra’am had programmed the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah to monitor the area while we were gone. He checked and no one had been there, so it was safe, but Ra’am wanted us to wait below anyway, just in case.”

“That’s nice of him.”

“Yeah, I know. And while Ra’am wasn’t there, Dod and I went over more details about Aunt Heather, like who her husband is, where they worked. And then…he also told me to be careful with Ra’am.”


“Well, he warned me of two things, which made me pretty worried again. But Dod reassured me that he was just making sure, that everything should be fine. He said- don’t make him mad and don’t challenge him.” Trenae took a deep breath. “I think I realized then, I had already violated number two, the challenge. That must be why Ra’am so stubbornly went to the earth’s core.”

“Wow. Probably.”

“Yeah. I figured that from then on, I had better walk on egg shells. But that wasn’t too hard for me, since I’m usually quiet and mellow anyway.

“So, finally, Ra’am arrived back. Then all of us, L.B. included, walked through some woods to Dod’s pickup. And then Dod left. We went back into Ha-Ta. Ra’am said he needed to go back by River Cliffs, where the galeel khayeem were located now anyway, and retrieve some further sampled pieces of the tree he downed. So, we did. Once there, he brought down chunks of the Douglas fir tree trunk and sliced--”

“Sliced? What do you mean?”

“Yeah, well, he used this small instrument, called a khermak, kinda shaped like a small handle. It fits in the hand, and illuminates this bluish light from the bottom part, under where your hand is. Then, it becomes like a large flat, oval or circle of light that would slice things, like the tree. It was neat. He cut many slices of the tree’s trunk, and some branches, and then examined them in the eyzkher tagleet.”

“The khermak wasn’t a hemoom prodoh thing?”

“Yeah, sort of. It had proodat t’notah, other components too.”

“I get it.”

“And there were other just plain tools and things, very high tech though, that he kept in the greenhouse and eyzkher tagleet for experiments and research.”


Trenae paused, and took a deep breath. “So I watched him for awhile, in the lab room. He acted kind of distant, quiet, so I played with L.B. around the corridor, tossing a ball Dod gave. But eventually, I became pretty bored, so Ra’am accessed satellite TV on for me, on the khalon.”

“Satellite? Definitely better than cable. I have it.”

“That’s for sure. Of course, he could access ALL the channels. I had all the movie channels you could think of! It was pretty great. And so after we ate supper, some more raw food for Ra’am, some of my food Dod bought me, which, by the way…Ra’am made a refrigerator-like compartment for me in the eyzkher mazon, just on top of  the counter. It worked good!”

“Cool. This guy can do anything.”

Trenae smiled. “Yeah, you could say. And L.B. ate too. I remember Ra’am didn’t say much that evening, while we ate, not like Mr. Talkative the first day we met. He was more quiet, which was good. And so after a while, I told him I was going to take a shower. Then I stayed alone in my room, tried on some clothes. Ra’am also produced a mirror for me in my room, right on the wall. He even produced a mirror above the bathroom sink, too, since there wasn’t one before.”

“Nice of him.”

“Yeah, I know. And he gave me a giant plastic container with a lid, you know, like they sell at the department stores, that--”

“Don’t tell me, from Dod.” Jenny formed a funny expression.

“Yeah, you guessed it.” Trenae smiled. “So, I put my clothes in it and placed my other items, like my sneakers, boots, or coats on top of the lid…Hey, it worked.” She shrugged a bit. “Only temporary, I realized, but anything was better than still enduring Willson’s place or my mom’s place.”

“At least you were alive.”

She gave Jenny a direct stare. “Exactly. That’s what I kept telling myself, again and again, and it kept me going.” Becoming quiet, pensive, she glanced down at her fingers. “But I didn’t really know what for, since my future was worthless, really. Once Ra’am left, I was going to be exposed to the same crap again, from Stiles and Willson. But, still, I realized I had to keep going, try to help Ra’am with his research, and at least I would have a few months of relative peace. Of course, that depended on Ra’am too, since I still didn’t know positively sure he wouldn’t hurt me or experiment on me.” She lifted her head. “Shoot, for all I knew, Dod was some alien guy too, in disguise. Maybe they were in some sort of conspiracy together. I couldn’t be sure, you know?”

Jenny became serious, looking down and folding her arms. “I can’t even begin to imagine,” she said, “how it felt.”

“No,” Trenae said. “I guess no one can.”

Jenny lifted her head.

“But anyway, one more thing happened that night. Just before going to bed, I opened my door up, you know, to sleep with it open. And Ra’am must’ve heard me- he walked down from the eyzkher tagleet, holding something. It was that rock, from the core…supposedly from the core. I still couldn’t be sure. It looked black and had a triangular-square sort of hunk-ish shape. And had some brownish and reddish or silvery slight streaks in it. Before giving it to me, Ra’am told me to be really careful, because it weighed approximately 22 pounds. And then he placed it in my hands- it WAS heavy, yet only like 4 inches wide!”

“That is heavy!”

“But I managed to hold it, feel it too. It felt twisted in form and had rough and smooth areas, I guess depending on where it was broken off. But it did really appear authentic. And so I took it, and put it on the floor. I thanked Ra’am for giving it to me, though in my mind I kept remembering what I prick he could be, like how he got mad at me during that whole core thing, or when I was by the cliff with Dod…And then Ra’am left. I went to bed finally.”

“Did Ra’am bother you that night?”

“No, he didn’t. And I slept better, more normal. I also remember thinking, while lying there, that I just had to let a human scientist examine the rock, and then I would know for sure if it was real or not. But if I could just get to one.”

“Wow, heavy,” Jenny said, smiling. “No pun intended.”

 “Yeah, right! You know you meant that!” Trenae smiled too.

Jenny giggled a little. She then suggested they both go in the kitchen, for a small break.


















                                                                      Chapter 8



              Jenny led the way into the living room and they both sat down on the same seats as before. Due to Jenny’s offer of food again, Trenae felt even more comfortable around her. She knew this was ultimately a business arrangement between the two of them, yet constantly hoped it could become a friendship arrangement too.

            With the recorder turned on, Jenny picked up the note pad. “So,” she said, “you slept another night there.”

“Yes. Like I said, I slept better, if I remember right. I think just seeing Dod’s relationship with Ra’am helped a lot.”

“That’s good.”

“Yeah, it was. I remember getting up, putting on some warm clothes and the hiking boots, and walking out to find Ra’am and L.B. I finally found them in the eyzkher mazon.”…



…Trenae stood at the doorway and leaned against it for support. She crossed her arms and snuggled against herself, a chill snaking through her body.

Ra’am stood by the counter. L.B. eagerly gobbled food out of a bowl on the floor, oblivious to her presence. The tall alien wore a brown tee shirt and jeans. He turned around. “Come in, Trenae,” he said. “Sit down. I was hoping you would have some of my food again.”

Not saying a word, she simply did as asked and sat in the seat closest to the doorway once more.

Ra’am placed a plate of raw food before her. Various sliced vegetable and fruit items lay on the plate, from both Harkoav and earth, along with some different earth nuts. After this, Ra’am turned and put a plate for himself on the table likewise. She quickly noticed enormous quantities of food on his plate, in heaps as high as small loafs of bread, far more than he gave her. She also noticed no eating utensils, like at other meals with him.

He sat down across from her. “I know what you are thinking,” he said, his deep voice filling the room. “Yes, I do eat a lot. After all, consider my size.”

“I know, I understand,” she said softly.

Staring into her eyes, Ra’am brought both his hands together and placed them before his plate, at the table’s edge. “If you do not mind, I would like to say a prayer and thank God for this meal.”

She gave a perplexed, sideways glance. Yet Ra’am didn’t flinch a bit, continuing his penetrating gaze. “Well, okay,” she said. In a similar fashion as Ra’am, she brought her hands together and then looked down. She closed her eyes.

“Creator of this universe,” he said, “we thank you now, for what you have provided for us, and pray you will continue to provide again for our next meals, as you also follow our paths and guide us through our day. Ah-menh.”

She opened her eyes and looked back up at him. His eyes still remained shut. Then he flung his eyelids open, far too fast. Her mind flooded with numerous questions. Yet Ra’am started to speak before she could.

“You stare, deeply and curiously this morning,” he said. He picked up a slice of ketoomahgas and put it in his mouth.

She looked at him for a moment, and then glanced down and picked up a piece of food too. Not even watching what she picked up, she simply placed it in her mouth. Just seem busy, avoid his question. Hey, I’m not that hungry.

“Trenae, Touch my face.”

She looked at him again. “What?”

“Please, I want you to. Touch my face. I know you are inquisitive.” He gradually leaned down and forward until about 12 inches lay between both their faces. But he stared toward the table, apparently being considerate.

Great. Now what? I’d better listen to him. What’s the worse that could happen? She lifted her right hand from the table, while chewing on a mouthful, and slowly, hesitantly, placed her fingertips upon his left cheek.

She felt less intimidated, since he yet avoided eye contact, but worried and confused nonetheless. Feeling gently in one area, than another, she could feel geed’aso tendons, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch in width, beneath a layer or two of skin, a soft human-like outer skin layer covering a taut, stronger under layer of skin. And his previous words rang true; not only could she feel thinner, mesh-like tendons crisscrossing the visible, larger ones, but other thinner, tightly-packed tendons filled in the spaces between visible, larger tendons. Focusing her eyes clearer, she could even see these other, thinner blue ones, when gently indenting with her touch. She understood better now how his geed’aso functioned as a powerful exoskeleton.

She also noticed areas around his face that had smoother, flatter clear or light blue geed’aso. Maybe areas where the tendons attached to bone, or were under thicker skin? She wasn’t sure. Especially the tip of his nose, two arched areas at his forehead/hair line, the tips and sides of his chin, and even small, prominent areas on his cheekbones. She needed to ask about these new discoveries. Her lips formed words.

Whip! A gust of wind slapped her face. She blinked her eyes.

Opening her eyes fully, she saw Ra’am’s right hand wrapped around her right wrist. She hadn’t even felt him grab her! Her eyes opened wider still. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Go ahead, try to free your hand.”

“But why? What for?” Heat radiated from her lower back and steamed through her body, her mind feeling nervous, alarmed.

“You now can witness the great superiority of an ometvah’s refractory period and how it enables us to move faster and deliver nearly indomitable strength. Please, try.”

She looked into his eyes, eyes now possessing a fairly crazed and intent glare. With their burning intensity, she had to look away, instead looking at her captive wrist, held by Ra’am’s enormous blue-tinged hand. His koaksekhel glistened deviously, sending sparks of light into her gaze.

She began to struggle. First, she tried to move her wrist to the left. Then, right. Yet quickly, her struggle proved useless.

“Trenae, is that all you have?” he asked. “Come on, try again! Harder!” His loud voice, so close, so demanding, shoved panic inside her.

Thoughts tangled in her head; sweat developed under her arms and on her back. Take a deep breath, calm down- try to have a sense of adventure and playfulness here, not allow negativity to derail everything. After all, they had fun yesterday. Could Ra’am have changed so much since then?

With all her might, she fought against his grip. But again, it proved worthless. His arm didn’t tremble or shake to the slightest degree. In fact, like the time she tried punching him, his arm belonged to a stone statue. Unmovable. Frightening.

“Okay, you can let go now,” she said, “I get your point.” She lowered her gaze and looked only at the food on her plate. Ra’am continued to hold her wrist.

He wasn’t letting go. She looked back up at him. His crazed gleam was gone, replaced now by his usual piercing, dark stare. None of this made sense. But instead of cowering from his aggressiveness, Trenae became angry. The unusual heat she felt at the onset of Ra’am’s wrist grab now steamed toward her own aggression instead. “What do you want from me?” she asked, her voice stern, decisive.

With her chin tilted down a little, she boldly stared upward, into his eyes.

Yet Ra’am didn’t waver a bit. He did lower his upper eyelids a little, and blinked his eyelids twice. Instead of anger developing in him, as she anticipated, a scant smile curled the corners of his mouth.

He loosened the grip around her small wrist. “I simply want you to be my friend,” he said. He removed his hand, placing his right arm back on the table.

“Well, you have a funny way of showing it,” she said, angry. Bringing her arm near her body, she began using her fingers, sorting through the food, trying to find an item she could possibly eat now.  “Don’t you ometvah believe in utensils?” She looked at him.

Ra’am picked up a piece of food likewise and placed it in his mouth. “We do, but I no longer have any here on Ha-Ta. I traded the few I had with Dod.” He paused, staring. “Trenae, I apologize. I know my behavior is unpredictable for you at times. I will try harder to accommodate your sensitivity. I simply wanted you to see, just how our muscles differ. Did you notice how my muscles did not tremble, even in a contracted poise?”

She sighed and gave him a surrendering glance. “Yes,” she said, “I noticed.” Even though realizing he wasn’t trying to hurt her, as her wrist didn’t feel any pain and only a slight pressure sensation, she trembled. She hoped he wouldn’t notice; however, at the same time, she hoped he would. Will he keep his word, at being more pleasant? Her thoughts became more confused. “Please, I’m…I’m not too hungry. Can I leave now?”

Concern showed on his face. He shot up from his seat. Trenae watched him. He walked toward her. She arched her head back, as he approached.

Great. What does he want now?

But Ra’am didn’t stand above her. He knelt by her seat’s side and rested his arms on the table. He picked up her right wrist and held it within both his large hands, feeling it tenderly with his fingertips. She could see his black nails and blue geed’aso lines so close, making her a little dizzy. “Is your wrist all right?” he asked, his deep voice thundering around her.

She shuddered.

“There you go again,” he said, “shivering when I am near, making me believe you are cold.”

“No…I’m not cold,” she said, looking down. “But yes, my wrist is okay. You just scared me a bit, that’s all.” She kept her head down.

He continued holding her wrist. “I am sorry. I should not have startled you like that. I will learn to control myself. Please, trust me.”

She lifted her head. His demeanor still appeared powerful and stern, just slightly less intense. “Yes, okay,” she answered, softly, child-like. Her voice defeated her again. She hoped for understanding, as his presence made her weak. Is he trying to be sociable and civilized? Or is there another reason? Does my voice disturb him?

He released her wrist. Quickly turning his head toward L.B., Ra’am soon turned back, facing her. “I want to do some research outdoors today,” he said. “Are you capable of coming with me?”

She thought a moment. “Yes, I think so. But what about Stiles and Willson?”

“I already checked earlier this morning, and they were not here. And they are still not here, even as I check now. You should put on the glove and hat Dod bought you, as well as your coat. Do so while I finish eating. We will probably be hiking to high elevations, with deep snow.”

He arose from the floor and eventually sat back down in his seat. Like he had suggested, Trenae lifted herself up, left the eyzkher mazon, and walked toward her room. She turned around several times to see if he was following her. But no, he wasn’t.

After putting on the items Ra’am had suggested, she walked back to the eyzkher mazon. L.B. began prancing around, appearing excited. In the meanwhile, Ra’am removed the plates from the table and placed them on the counter.

“All right,” he said, when finished. “Let me get my jacket, and we will go.”

He left the room, found his black jacket, and then walked over to the evesmol. She followed him, with L.B. tagging behind, and watched closely as Ra’am created a hemoom prodoh vertical tunnel that flowed down from the delet tekrah. It appeared as a clear, vertical elevator cylinder. Immediately after the tunnel was in place, a doorway emerged.

She peeked inside, moving her head all around to get a better glimpse of the tunnel’s interior. It appeared that the floor base of the tunnel consisted of hemoom prodoh too. “You made an elevator?” she asked.

“Yes, that is right.” Ra’am began passing her, stepping through its doorway. “Come L.B. We are going outside, your favorite!” L.B. obediently followed Ra’am. She walked in as well.

Ra’am gently held her glove-covered hand as they traveled upward to the surface.

Once at ground level, he released her hand, allowing her to walk freely. L.B. darted off into the pine trees and left them alone.

“What about Stiles?” she asked. Worry burned her nerves. “Did you check for them again?”

“Yes,” he said firmly. “No areas nearby display their presence.”

Ra’am sealed the hole in the ground. As before, it was as though the hole had never existed, with dirt, rocks, and dried leaves and grass remaining instead. Though wonderful to observe, Trenae’s mind targeted on other matters. She turned and began staring down the expanse of the clearing, toward the other hole in the ground, the one by a single quaking aspen tree.

“Follow me,” Ra’am said. “We will be heading up the mountain.”

She heard his words, yet couldn’t respond.


She felt a gentle grasp engulf her right glove-covered hand once more. Looking down, she noticed Ra’am still wore no gloves. She looked up at his face.

“Do you want me to completely cover the hole?” he asked. “It is a disturbing reminder.”

“Yes, can you?” she asked. She looked toward the quaking aspen tree. “Can you please?”

Ra’am began leading them across the clearing, toward the aspen trees.

After a few minutes, they arrived. He removed his jacket and handed it to her. He raised his right arm, still holding her hand with his left hand. She watched as the kaleidoscope opening on his koaksekhel widened fully. Facing the koaksekhel’s opening downward, a nearly invisible light spray of hemoom prodoh shot toward the ground, like clear, silvery dust, and powered the soil around the hole. She looked down and observed a large circular area of the silvery clear substance begin to sparkle and flow across the piles of soil, and then, miraculously, move them back in the hole. After about 20 seconds, it appeared as if Stiles never violated the ground with his hatred.

“How does it do that?” she asked, amazed.

“Simple.” Ra’am rested his right arm by his side. “It registers the temperature and moisture content, as well as other variables, and quickly determines the exact original locations of all the soil particles.”

“Oh…well, simple for your world, I guess.”

“Will this help you, to associate your thoughts on other more positive ideas?”

Trenae looked up at him. “Yes, I think so.”

She placed the black jacket back in his hand. Once holding it, Ra’am scanned his gaze around the clearing and let go of her hand, turning himself around.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing. Do not worry, no one is nearby. I was examining the flora again. There are a few quaking aspen trees locally, but for the most part, we are surrounded by lodgepole pine and Douglas fir trees. You see,” he said, leaning down closer to her and pointing his arm in different directions, “most of the full grown trees, that are quite tall, anywhere from 20 - 100 feet high, and do not have any branches from the ground to where their branches begin, are either Douglas fir or lodgepole pine. They make up the majority of the trees around here, in the 2500 feet elevation to 5000 feet elevation area. And as we travel to higher elevations, we can see whitebark pine and subalpine fir. The whitebark pine resembles the trees here, whereas the subalpine fir trees have branches that reach nearly to the base of the tree, most resembling traditional Christmas trees.”

She smiled at the mention of Christmas. “Well, that’s good. You’ll have to show me them when we get there.” She looked at his face. “Are we walking or taking Ha-Ta?”

Ra’am straightened himself upright. “We will be walking. Exercise is important to ometvaheem just as it is to humans…and, Golden Retrievers.”

She smiled, as he pointed toward L.B.’s location down through the trees. Ra’am took hold of her right hand and began leading them toward the clearing’s end, near Ha-Ta’s entrance.

“Which way are we walking?”

“In a general north-eastern direction.”

“Oh, that’s right. My father used to tell me. So the cliff is, well, more north?”

“Actually, more north-west.”

Once past Ha-Ta’s ground entrance, they started a trek up the pine-covered incline, running parallel with the cliff side of the incline. Both she and Ra’am had to maneuver themselves carefully between some smaller, younger trees with heavy, lower branch growth. However, Ra’am’s description seemed accurate about the larger, mature trees, as long gray-brown trunks, rising up near the sky, had few or no branches below their high green pine coverage. What branches the tree trunks did have below their green coverage, anywhere from 10-30 feet below, were broken or dried up, without any fresh pine needles. Smaller pine trees in the area were simply young trees of these larger ones.

Oddly, the only quaking aspen trees seemed to be by her father’s burial site. Never had she noticed this before, from former visits to River Cliffs with Darin and Dad. Her eyes and mind now opened to new vistas.

“Ra’am?” she asked.


“There is something bothering me, that I have to ask you.”

“Certainly, go right ahead.” He held his head high and looked straight ahead. With quick reasoning, she realized he wasn’t ignoring her, but simply acting himself. He seemed to be in a good mood.

“Why did you come here? And more importantly, how can you believe in God?”

She studied his profile. A slight smile formed on his face, his motion continuing to lead them up the mountain. “Do you remember how you twice used the word ‘impossible’ since you have been with me, once when I described our miniaturization technique and the other time when we traveled through your planet’s core?”

“Yeah, sure,” she said. “How could I forget?”

“As impossible as those two situations appeared to you, there is something even more impossible that the scientists of earth insist on propagating. Actually,” he said, chuckling a bit, “this theory and your planet’s stubborn insistence to persistently follow its guidelines, is the laughing stock of other intelligent beings in your galaxy that are familiar with it. These intelligent beings often use it against your people, in their desire to dominate and experiment upon them, even though they are fully aware it is not true.”

She looked up at him, while walking. “Don’t tell me. It’s evolution, isn’t it. You said the first night I was here, that it was--”

“Not possible?”

“Yes, but how? I don’t get it?”

“I see a clearing up ahead. Wait until we get there and I will show you.”

Wondering anticipation took her mind, as they closed the distance between their current position and a lighted area up ahead, beyond the trees. Gospel Hump Wilderness tended to have large sections of wooded areas surrounded here and there by smaller clearings with low-lying rock and grass coverings instead of pine trees. Aunt Heather said this was especially true at the higher elevations. She had hiked a few lower elevation trails with her dad and Darin when she was younger, in this wilderness area, and also in the Nez Perce National Forest, of which Gospel Hump Wilderness resided in. So she had some familiarity with the land here.

When they arrived in the clearing, Ra’am paused a moment, releasing her hand. He looked around and then stood very still.

“What is it?” she asked quickly. “Is there anyone nearby? Stiles?” 

He didn’t answer, only lowering his head a little and staring toward the ground. He must be receiving information from his koaksekhel, she thought.

“Is it L.B.? Where is he anyway?” she asked, searching around through the pine trees. 

“No, L.B. is fine,” he said. “I observed him running through the woods, to the southwest of us. But I also observed two grizzly bears about 5 miles from here, and, what I believe is two men hunting them.”

She looked up at him. “Really? Grizzlies? That doesn’t sound right. They’d be up north more, near Canada. That plan to reintroduce them to the Rockies…never got voted in.”

“Yes, I am aware. But we will deal with that later. Come here, stand close to me. I am going to encircle us in hemoom prodoh.”

She walked near him and stood only several inches from his left side. Ra’am removed his jacket again and allowed her to hold it. While she did, he brought his koaksekhel forward, opened the kaleidoscope hole, and swerved his arm to the right in a quick, short spurt. The silvery clear substance circled them. Similar to when she viewed Willson and Stiles, they soon stood in a clear, oval enclosure, hemoom prodoh even near their feet.

But the substance soon changed, forming a scene.

A circular, silvery metallic room surrounded them. Directly before Trenae, stood two ometvaheem, their backs facing her and Ra’am. Both had the similar square shouldered, powerful body structure as Ra’am had. However one had shorter hair than Ra’am did, while the other ometvah had long hair tied back with a silver shfoferet yedet. The two ometvaheem wore black clothing that appeared as one entire suit, with thin yellow stripes following along their arms and legs. Silver rims or lines covered their joint areas on the clothing, like the shoulders and elbows, and even covering their rib, waist, shoulder, and neck area. A long sleeve existed on the left arm, but only a partial sleeve on the right arm, ending just above each ometvaheem’s koaksekhel.

“Who are they?” she asked.

“They are ometvaheem from one of our universities, although this is actually a military base. This scene was taken approximately 10 earth years ago.”

“Oh.” Wonder filled her mind.

An oval-shaped screen lay on a wall before them, similar to the khalon on Ha-Ta, only differing in its shape. Beneath the oval screen, there appeared to be a shleetah maksheer, similar again to the one on Ha-Ta.

“Is this on a Memadshakor?” she asked.

“Yes, you are observant. These ometvaheem are positioned in a suitable location, in Harkoav’s solar system that will enable them to receive a nearly perfect image of earth’s surface. Your planet had been located previously, yet because of earth’s rotation and revolution in space around earth’s star, as well as other cosmic interferences, such as other stars, planets, planetary debris, nebulae, or cloud cover on earth itself, they could not receive a clear image. But on this day, as you are about to witness, they finally captured their prize.”

She continued to watch the two ometvaheem, their hands manipulating buttons on the shleetah maksheer. Yet she felt puzzled. “I don’t get it. They were in the Andromeda galaxy, your galaxy, when they did this, right?”

“Yes, they were. They are using ayeen meyard, an extremely powerful telescopic magnification system that involves the use of billions and billions of molecular size aerial robotic telescopic apparatuses, called proodat t’notat eyn geedool, having large yet extremely thin light-capturing shields. Ayeen meyard would appear invisible in space. They capture the faintest and nearly nonexistent of light particles, from trillions of positions in space, both in our galaxy and outside our galaxy. They are programmed to synchronize upon a specific point or celestial object, such as earth, and then each of their own particular data is downloaded into a computer system, greatly enhanced and ultimately developed into a clear image.

“On this particular day, they found this view. They kept it there for as long as they could, adjusting the view frequently for earth’s rotation.”

The image surrounding them soon became the oval khalon screen. And then, instantly, changed to a view of space. All around them now it was black, eerie, except for the sight of an occasional star. Yet soon, a tiny blue dot appeared. Almost immediately after that, the view hovered directly above the blue dot in space. Now she knew; it was earth. Yet as the ayeen meyard dove even closer, a strange continent appeared.

“Is that…is that North America? It doesn’t look right.”

“That is how it looked 2.2 million years ago.”

“Oh yes, that’s true.” She said it, yet still felt puzzled.

Now the image zoomed toward earth. In an eye blink, she witnessed what appeared to be white, snake-like jagged lines; but then, they were gone. “What was that? I mean, what did I see, that was white?’

“Snow capped mountain ranges.”


The two ometvaheem had obviously picked a good earth day; no cloud cover could be seen toward the apparent designated target, the image flying ever faster and closer to earth.

Soon, the targeted area appeared to be the northwest of the United States, close to where Idaho should be. Varying shades of green, black, and brown on the surface eventually became the tops of trees while the image drew even closer. Finally, the ayeen meyard focused on a surface area of ancient earth that appeared to be an auburn, wind swept field of tall grasses and other dried vegetation, with some trees dotting the landscape on two sides of the field.

“This is approximately a 45 degree viewing angle during midday of rotation,” Ra’am said. “In addition, earth’s Northern Hemisphere, where this scene was observed, came in perfect revolutionary position. The height of this view, from the ground we are observing, is around 2 building stories high, or about 30 feet, the height of a small tree.”

“Oh my gosh. This is…so strange,” she said slowly.

A few small animals appeared, scampering about in the open field. Both she and Ra’am were like passengers on a quiet helicopter, casually hanging their feet out the sides, sitting motionless, watching the ground below them. She widened her eyes and watched closely.

“Now, the view you are witnessing was kept active for many hours, adjusting often for rotation, which is why the scene will periodically appear choppy and change its angle of view,” he said. “The two ometvaheem expected to see nothing, other than the scene we are now observing, with the small animals running around and a light breeze occasionally bending the tall grass.

“But they were greatly mistaken- for as you will now observe, something unusual occurred. Keep in mind, however, that this incident occurred approximately 4 earth hours later, yet was sped forward in our view now for the time element.”

Like a double, small explosion, two flashes of light appeared, quickly disseminating into long light beam fragments that came from a central point. Instantly after that, the central points of light ballooned and became two white spheres, each sphere about the size of a single car garage. Both spheres floated close to the ground, possibly only several feet above the surface.

“Shoot, what is that?”

“Wait, just watch,” Ra’am said gently.

Dark shadows or shapes appeared within the sphere’s interiors, soon forming details. Long and narrow horn shaped objects started emerging from both balls of white light. At first, they seemed to pull something; however, she judged incorrectly, for the objects did not pull, but rather, the objects pushed.

Ultimately, it became clear they were not even being pushed as well. Instead, both long horns weren’t horns but massive white tusks of two elephant-like creatures, creatures possessing long, knotted, bumpy trunks likewise. Slowly and delicately, the two large beasts, one from each lighted sphere, placed their flat feet upon the grassy ground, leaving their former magical dwellings, and eventually walked some distance away.

Another flash occurred. The lighted spheres quickly vanished. She gasped, but stared on.

She studied the big animals. Yes, they weren’t elephants but rather two full-grown mammoths, one a little larger than the other one.

“They are Mammuthus meridionalis,” Ra’am said, “the Latin scientific term your world ascribes to them, the ancestral mammoth.”

She glanced up at him. “Mammoths? You mean like those woolly mammoths?’

“Not exactly, but similar.”

The two large creatures gracefully traveled to a nearby tree, lifted their long trunks, and started to remove leaves from the tree’s branches.

“Okay, Ra’am,” she said, shaking her head. “I’m totally confused. Where did they come from?”

Ra’am lifted his right arm and allowed the hemoom prodoh to zoom back into his koaksekhel. Once again, they stood in the clearing, pine trees bordering.

“Come on, I will tell you as we keep moving,” he said. “Time is limited.”

She followed him.

“Hey, wait a minute,” she said. “Don’t you want your jacket? Aren’t you cold?”

“It is 43 degrees Fahrenheit, a little cold. But no, it does not affect me as much as a human. But let me have it anyway, for I need to cover the koaksekhel, in case we are seen.”

“Yeah, but what about just camouflaging it, or camouflaging your skin?”

“Normally, I do not disguise my koaksekhel, as it impedes the rapidity of its function.  And I will worry about camouflaging my skin when I detect people nearby, within a half mile from our location.”

L.B. dashed out of the trees up ahead of them and raced like a crazy fool toward Ra’am.

“L.B., you silly dog!” Ra’am said “Calm down, come here!”

Yet L.B. didn’t obey. The dog simply came to a sudden, wild halt in front of Ra’am, and then sped roughly, playfully to the right of them, toward some thick woods.

 After a few, quiet chuckles to herself, Trenae spoke again. “So, what about my question?”

“I was instructed to come to earth at the same general coordinates where the two mammoths were detected,” he said. “Since there have been many geological disturbances from that time, in most part due to volcanic eruptions from the Yellowstone area and along the Snake River Valley in southern Idaho, as well as the Grande Ronde Eruptions in most of Washington state and Oregon state, around--”

“Volcanic eruptions?”

“Speaking figuratively, since those states did not, of course, exist 2.2 million years ago. We observed earth 2.2 million years ago, since that is the time dilation which exists between our galaxies. There is light reflected from a planet’s surface which travels through space that we can magnify and acquire with the ayeen meyard.”

“Oh, sorry, I understand, the speed of light. But, go ahead.”

“And of course there was earth’s Ice Age, spreading massive glaciers over Canada and parts of Idaho and Montana, and so the coordinates were well disguised by new land formations. But the Nez Perce National Forest contained the general area for the emergence of the mammoths, especially in the prehistoric digging site in Tolo Lake in Grangeville. And so, that is why I am here.

“As time proceeded,” he said, “and I studied more of earth’s geological history and paleontological research, I became aware that Mammuthus meridionalis apparently did not appear on this continent until approximately 1.7 million years ago. Earth researchers concluded that the mammoths made their way here through the Bering Straight, between what is now Alaska and Russia. But as I just showed you, we saw them 2.2 million years ago. Now actually, in the time scheme of things, a few million years here and there is not too important, especially when the Pliocene epoch and Pleistocene epoch--”

“Wait a minute, hold on,” she interrupted, looking up at his face. “Dod was right about you.”

“What do you mean?” he asked. His deep, commanding voice cut the air, scaring her a little.

She looked down, yet walking, and swallowed secretly. “Well, just that…you tend to talk too technical all the time.”

Ra’am took a deep breath. “I know. Dod tells me frequently.” She looked up at him. “Let me summarize then. Yes, there is a discrepancy as to when the mammoths appeared. But the main question- how did they get here?”

“Yes, exactly. That’s what I want to know.”

“Number one possibility- they were transported from another dimension or planet, a process not only requiring intelligent beings with advanced technology, but with advanced technology present either millions of years ago or an advanced technology able to manipulate time.”

“Time travel is possible?”

“Yes, but only under special circumstances. But that is another story.”

A thick, populated pine grove obstructed both their paths. They had to duck and step sideways to avoid wayward branches. Ra’am kindly took hold of her hand, her steps falling behind him a little.

“Now,” he said, “you can keep up with me better.”

“Thank you,” she said, smiling a little.

Finally, the trees began to diminish in population and allow more freedom to walk easily. At the same time, the mountain’s surface developed more of an incline, the ground becoming more rocky and treacherous. Ra’am held her hand even more firmly. Good thing he’s being polite, she thought. 

“And then, there is number two,” he said, leading her onward. “The two mammoths, both male and female, were created by God. It is the second prospect which most scientists on Harkoav, including myself, believe is the true possibility, judging by all the evidence we have obtained.”

“Are you serious?” she said slowly. Shock rippled through her. “No way! I mean, I’m no scholar of the Bible, but I know it says that God created the earth and everything in 7 days. Are you saying that, in a way, God lied?”

“If there were no earth and sun before God created them, then by whose measure do you call a day?”

Trenae became quiet and thought for a moment. “I see what you mean. A day. I never thought of it that way.”

“To a spiritual being who has always existed and will continue to forever exist, then a day could be a thousand earth years, or a million, a billion. Time is very relative. But to writers who lived in a primitive society, words needed to be understood.”

She shook her head, though watching the ground carefully, avoiding any pointy and precarious stones. “But…but this is so insane. I mean, why would God create the mammoths? Or the dinosaurs, or prehistoric animals or those Cro-Magnon men or Neanderthals?”

“I cannot give you all the answers now, but I can tell you this- there are planets all over the universe that start off the same way as earth, or Harkoav, with prehistoric periods in which strange and exotic life forms are present. We call them Koavlek Kadeem. Or, we call them tsadee tet nakhodeem, meaning .99’s. Since we believe all intelligent life forms have already been created, if we discover any of these planets now, they are set for the future, our future.

“And furthermore, I do not want to seem crass or insensitive, but all life forms which are not of our intelligence and emotional level, are merely biological robots created to maintain the environment and act as food sources for intelligent beings. These lower life forms are supplied at varying ages and geological development for each planet capable of supporting life. That is why dinosaurs and prehistoric life forms were present on earth- they were needed then, at that particular time period, to maintain the environment.”

“This is just too bizarre.” She stared up at his face. “This can’t be right, can it?”

Ra’am stopped in his tracks, turned back, and looked down her. “You must trust me on this. Besides, I am not finished explaining everything.”

Studying his face, she saw a serious expression that begged to be believed. “Well, okay. I’m sorry. I’ll listen.”

“Let us keep walking.” Ra’am stepped forward and continued holding her hand. “Are you aware of the language I use, to describe terms from my world- does it sound familiar to you?”

“Well, kind of. I think.”

“It is a language based originally on cuneiform.”


“Yes, a wedge-shaped writing system, formerly based on hieroglyphics or pictorial words.”

“Oh sure, I’ve heard of hieroglyphics.”

“Good. Gradually, cuneiform developed a consonantal base, and finally became more similar to how it is today. And how it is today, is a language very similar to earth’s Hebrew language.”

“Really, the language in the Bible?”

“Yes. Now I do not know precisely how both our worlds originally received these languages, since it appears from earth’s historical documents that Hebrew was not the original language of the Hebrew people, but rather a language from the Canaanites, acquired after the Hebrews conquered them. And you see, we have a bible too, very similar in information to your Bible, which was originally written in nearly the same language. Our historical records do not seem to have a precise origin or continent whereby the language was obtained, although it appeared to follow the same path from hieroglyphic to cuneiform. So, in conclusion, I do not know exactly how both our worlds used nearly the same language. Only that…it had to be inspired by God.

“And our two worlds are not the only ones with a form of Hebrew,” he continued. “Other intelligent life forms on other planets have the same evidence. And each time, there are varying differences of the language, yet with the language maintaining its original integrity. For instance, we use vowel markings freely, where as Hebrew on earth does not. And our language, called Ra’yonah--”

“Gosh, that’s a nice name,” she said, gently interrupting.

Ra’am paused briefly anyway to maneuver the two of them around a tree with low branches.

“Yes,” he said. “And as I was saying, Hebrew is read right to left, where as our language is read from right to left and left to right and even up and down, depending. We find it saves time, especially with extremely complicated technical documents. And where as Hebrew has only masculine and feminine genders for nouns, adjectives, and conjugating verbs, we have a neutral gender as well. And there are of course other differences, such as the words themselves or even the amount of actual letters used to create words, showing many differences in both our languages. But the common roots of many words can be seen. There are also some differences in the indefinite article and definite article, as well as singular and plural words.” He looked down at her. “I must be boring you.”

“Well, actually,” she said, stepping carefully over a downed tree trunk. Ra’am held her glove-covered hand firmly as she did so. “You’re not boring me. I like language subjects, along with science and math, my favorite subjects in school. I just don’t use what I learned, much. I’m not stupid, although…I…”

“No, I do not think you are stupid. You simply never had an opportunity to use what you learned.”

“Yes.” She looked up at him again. “I think you’re right. But getting back here- I don’t get something. I mean, I’ve heard some really horrible things about aliens. Not you, but those other ones. Have you ever seen ‘Fire in the Sky’, a movie we have? It’s based on a true story.”

“No, but I have seen some other movies. Dod made me.”

She giggled a little. “He made you? Was it that bad?”

“No. It just took me away from some research, distracted me. But Dod is my friend, and so I complied. But what are you trying to say?”

“Well, that movie scared the heck out of me! Those aliens did some really nasty things to this poor guy. And I guess my point is…how or why could God create such horrible things?”

Though Ra’am looked straight ahead, she could a smile form on his profile. “You do not need to ask me that. You already know the answer.” He stopped, turned, and looked down at her.

“I do?” she asked. “What do you mean?”

“Who created Clark Willson? Who created Stiles? Or how about Hitler, or earth’s serial killers Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, or Charles Manson and his followers? Or the ruthless, sick murderers on my planet and other planets? And was there not a beautiful spiritual being, or lok khomrey havat as we say, who desired power and omniscience over God, and thereafter became evil, and recruited other spiritual beings with him?”

She looked at the ground and became quiet. She couldn’t speak at first, needing to think deeply.

“I did not mean to upset you,” he said. “Are you all right?”

She looked back up at him. Their travel was beginning a descent, and the view through the trees and over the far away mountains captured her gaze away from him. But she wanted to answer him nonetheless. “Yes, I’m okay. But I still don’t completely understand what you mean.”

Ra’am sighed, human-like. “I dare say,” he said, “and of course, I am by no means perfect myself and judge only imperfectly, that God has but one fault- he is too merciful. He allows all his intelligent creations, both havatey khomer and lok khomrey havat, or physical and spiritual beings, who have turned from him, a second chance. God allows a period of time in which they may make amends and return their commitment and love to their creator. Free will.

“But during this time period, his other creations can suffer. It is similar to a family, in which the mother and father love their children, equally and fully, yet the children themselves fight amongst themselves. And in particular, there are one or two children that cause all the trouble, even though it is a family of, say, six children. The father hopes greatly, that some day the problem children will become good…he gives them time. But in that time, they cause trouble for their siblings.”

She couldn’t speak again. She watched the ground and then looked up and searched around quickly for L.B.

“Make no mistake, Trenae,” he said. “All intelligent beings know right from wrong.” She looked up at his face. “Now, the aliens who commit horrible acts against humans may not be the majority on their planet. They may be the few. But obviously, they give their kind a bad reputation. It is one of the reasons you fear me so greatly. And I will add, that some alien beings may not even be created by God originally, but may be the result of genetic, robotic, or other form of engineering. Some alien creatures may even be just mere robots, created by alien beings.

“Harkoavians have seen this time and time again- it only takes a few alien beings to start an interplanetary war or to give an entire species a bad name. And yes, we have also seen evidence of genetic or robotic engineering on other planets. And unfortunately…we have even done one of these deeds ourselves.”

“What do you mean?” she asked. Shoot, this isn’t good.

“We have tried genetic engineering only…I know you still wonder if I am part robotic or mechanical, but no, I am as God created me. We decided approximately 800 Harkoav years ago to try eliminating the almehneht and only have males and females. Well, it turned out to be a terrible disaster. There was overpopulation, alterations of our males’ and females’ physique, rampant domestic abuse, crime, famine, environmental destruction, increases in other crime, and wars between separate factions and groups, something not seen in much in our history. And more than anything else, my people missed the almehneht. We needed them far more than we realized. The governing officials back during the beginning of this time period had decided they wanted to be a fresh new world, bold and unafraid. A new beginning, and enable all males to marry and have female partners. It was their goal. Yet as they say here on earth, be careful what you wish for.”

Trenae smiled. “Yeah, that’s a saying around here, in the U.S. It’s true, I guess. I mean, look at me- I wanted prince charming to save me and carry me away. Willson, I mean.” She stared down at the ground. “But in the end, all I got was some goons wanting to get rid of me, permanently. It doesn’t pay, sometimes.”

“Yes, it does not,” Ra’am said firmly.

Coming from behind the trees, L.B. charged straight over to her. She reached down and patted him on the head a second. Ra’am continued to hold her other hand and lead her between the pine trees, heading down the mountainside.

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“Toward the general area of the grizzly bears.”

“Oh, okay.” She became quiet, thinking. “You know, I don’t get it though.”

“What do you not get?”

“I just still can’t understand, why God would create other intelligent beings. And more importantly, not let us know. Why?”

“Simply because, he can. He loves to create. Our bible does not contain evidence of intelligent life on other worlds as well. But we must trust him, because he is loving and merciful. The answer will be revealed to us some day.”

“What do you call God, in your language?”

“We often refer to him as Lo Zmarh, which means ‘He who is without time’.”

“That’s rather beautiful, Ra’am.”

“Yes, I think so too.”

“So, what you’re saying then, is that all those intelligent creatures out there, like us, are either heading for heaven or hell? Won’t it be kinda’ crowded up there…or down there?”

Ra’am laughed briefly. His deep, strong voice echoed through the trees. “First, Trenae, there is no hell.”

Her eyes watched his face intently as they walked.

“A loving God would never torture his creations for eternity in a lake of fire,” he said. “But not only that, the dead are dead and are conscious of nothing at all, as written in our bible. And it is explained in your Bible as well, in Ecclesiastes 9, verses 5 and 10, ‘the dead know nothing and that there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave’. And in Psalms 146, verse 4, it says ‘when the spirit departs, a man goes back to the ground and his plans are nothing’. Even your world’s interpretation of the word ‘soul’ is mistranslated- it says in Ezekiel 18:4 in the King James Version that ‘the soul that sins will itself die’. Soul apparently means ‘body’ in your Bible.

“However, God will hold our thoughts and personality, and when we are brought back to life again on our planets in the perfect universe, in new yet similar bodies to our former, then we will be whole again.

“And furthermore,” he said, “hell is merely a mistranslation of various Greek and Hebrew terms in your Bible.”

“Really?” she asked. “Gosh, you read our entire Bible?”

“Yes, I have. Understand, there was a place called The Valley of Hinnom, on earth, outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem, also called Gehenna. It was used as an area to incinerate dead animals, garbage, and even executed criminals. God’s first creation, who your world calls Jesus, often referred to it in a loosely literal terminology, that I can see might have confused people today. But there were also words such as the Greek word Hades or the Hebrew word Sheohl that defined the common grave of mankind, or even the Greek word ge’enna--”

“Like that place?”

“No. Ge’enna means eternal destruction.  All these words were translated to appear as hell in the Bible most of the time, when in reality, they defined entirely different places or things. It is unfortunate. But in conclusion, the dead feel nothing and there is no hell.”

“Really. Gosh, umm, that’s hard to believe. I’m glad to hear it, though…but then, what about heaven?”

Ra’am continued guiding her through the woods, briefly turning around, looking down at her, and then facing forward again. “Heaven is the place for lok khomrey havat.”

“Spiritual beings?”

 “Yes. We are havatey khomer, physical beings, you and I. God’s spiritual creations, the angels, as well as his first creation, dwell in heaven.”

“But…what do you mean? We can never see them?”

“Before I give you an answer, let me ask you a question.” Slowing his pace, he led them both to a downed tree that lay on its side and was slightly elevated by some rocks beneath it. “Are you tired? Would you like to sit down for a little while?”

“Yeah, I guess, a little. Are you tired too?”

“No, but it is getting difficult to speak and yet keep us walking. We have some time, as the bears are distancing themselves farther away from the two hunters.”

“Oh, well, okay,” she said.

After letting go of his hand, she began searching for a clean and dry spot on the downed tree trunk. She found a suitable spot and they both sat down together. Ra’am sat on her left. A slight chill ran through her body, as the day had little sun, being mostly cloudy and a slight bit damp. She wrapped her arms around her jacket.

“Are you too cold?” he asked. “Do you want to return to Ha-Ta?”

“No, not really. I kind of like it out here.” It was the truth.

Ra’am bent himself over slightly, so that he sat more near her eye level. He placed both his hands on either side of the stump next to his legs and looked at her. “Who do you think would qualify to rule the entire universe?” he asked.

“The universe?” she said, smiling a bit. “Gosh, I don’t know.”

“How about Clark Willson? Would he be a fair and honest ruler?”

“Uh, Ra’am, are you kidding? He’s a full blown lunatic!”

“So is that a ‘no’?” he asked. He stared deeply into her eyes.

“Yes. A definite no.” She was serious.

“What about the Queen or Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?”

“Those guys? I don’t know anything about them, really.”

“So, a probable ‘no’ then, correct?”

“Yes, I can’t say. So sure, no.”

“What about a celebrity or famous person in the United States, or a CEO of a corporation?”

“Well, again, Ra’am, I don’t know, because I don’t know them well or how they would be as leaders.”

“How about the President of the United States?”

She smiled and looked up at him. “I don’t know.” A touch of fun and curiosity flavored her words. “Where are you going with this?”

“This will just take a little longer. What about a leader from my planet?”

“Well, those are all people or beings I don’t know that well. Heck, you’re talking to someone who doesn’t know much about politics or government, only the small amount I learned helping Willson’s campaign.”

“All right, that sounds fair. So then…what about your father, could he be this leader?”

Quiet took her. She looked toward the ground and began to stare at the varying sizes of the rock and stones, searching for any colorful autumn leaves.

“Trenae, are you all right? Did I speak inappropriately, to mention your father? I apologize, if I have.”

She looked at him. “No…no, you didn’t say anything wrong. I just had to stop, to remember. Actually, I’m glad you even considered him. He was religious, you know.”

“Yes. You told me yesterday. Do you still want to speak of him?”

Trenae shrugged a little. “Sure, I can. I know my father died a long time ago. It just bothers me what Stiles did…but I need to get my mind off it.”

“Yes, just remember the good.” He smiled at her. “So, could your father?”

“Yes…I think my father could. He changed his ways, became a pretty good person. He tried to be kind. And he seemed like he could be a good leader too. So yes, I believe he could do it.”

“Do you see the comparison I am trying to make?”

“Uh…” She thought for a moment. Somehow, she understood. “Yes, I do!” A little lost pride returned to her soul. “We need to know the leader of the universe well, or else how could we trust him to be this leader? Am I right?” 

“Yes, you are right.” He smiled briefly. “And that is what we learned, in our bible, in many sections of our bible, about God’s first creation. There is mention of his personality and his relationship with his creator. Many intelligent life planets, in their bibles, mention God’s first creation and how he will someday rule the universe, make it a paradise. There will be no more suffering or death. All who are found worthy to return from the grave, will live forever in this paradise.”

She could only stare at his face.

“But we do not precisely understand,” he said, “that is, when I say we, I refer to the leaders on Harkoav, and myself…why your planet, earth, was chosen to allow God’s first creation to become a havatey khomer, physical being. True, he gave an excellent example of how he will treat his creator’s intelligent havatey khomer, by healing the sick, the injured, and even resurrecting several who had died, and displaying kindness, forgiveness, and mercy.  And ultimately, by giving his physical life for others. And he also showed his creator he could be trusted and remain obedient even under severe conditions. But why your planet was chosen for this demonstration over others planets? Again, we do not know for certain. But the information from your Bible is being translated, read, and transmitted to other planets Harkoav has alliances with. That is one of the reasons my name was changed, because of this significant find.”

“That’s good,” she said. “But…what about heaven?”

“Heaven is the location of the government, where God’s first creation will rule, along with a large number of representatives from each intelligent life’s planet, representatives such as faithful prophets of God and others who have shown themselves true servants of God, who Harkoav has had in its history, just like earth and other worlds. When these special individuals die, they will instead be transformed into lok khomrey havat and brought instantly to heaven, instead of remaining dead and awaiting their resurrection in the paradise universe.”

“Huh?” She felt puzzled. “I still don’t get it. Why?”

“One thing you must understand- only lok khomrey havat, spiritual beings, can be in God’s true presence or actually see him…and live. Havatey khomer cannot- they will die. You see, we believe God is a special or spiritual realm that is not matter, not time, and not dimension that we call lo t’khloom. However, lo t’khloom behaves as a form of anti-matter, an anti-matter of a separate, unreachable dimension. We call God’s lo t’khloom ee-khomrey mehka’ad.”


“Yes. When anti-matter and matter meet, they annihilate one another, or rather, destroy one another. However, if God and a physical being, havatey khomer, were in the same presence, only the havatey khomer would be destroyed. God would live on.” Ra’am stared forward. “God was alone, originally, and he created Yekomekhd, a lo t’khloom being. We call Yekomekhd’s lo t’khloom ee-khomrey mehka’ad havat. It is a lo t’khloom similar to God, yet different and separate, more like other lok khomrey havat.” He looked at her.

“Yeh- kom- et?” she said, trying to pronounce the word properly.

“Yes, that is close. It is our name for God’s first creation, or Jesus. Yekomekhd means ‘One Universe’ or ‘United Universe’. We also call God’s first creation Ha-Ekhad, which means ‘The One’. The two of them together, God and Yekomekhd, created heaven, Memsayah, possibly a special lo t’khloom plane, where God could visit. They also created other lok khomrey havat, as a form of go between amongst havatey khomer and God--”

“Angels?” she asked quickly.

“Yes, correct. That is what your Bible calls them. We call angels Havatey Memsayah. They are another form of lo t’khloom, which we have a term for, but…I do not want to over burden you. Havatey Memsayah apparently resided in heaven and obtained their energy or essence from there, where they could also communicate with God and Yekomekhd. God needed them, as helpers and intermediaries. For his plan was to create a physical realm, the universe. Havatey Memsayah could visit both physical beings in the universe and God or Yekomekhd in Memsayah, and have neither affect their form.

“But”, Ra’am said, “as his intelligent physical creations, havatey khomer, chose to ignore God and choose their own ways, God determined to one day establish heaven as the seat of government, where Yekomekhd would rule.”

“But why not just have God rule?” she asked, puzzled. “And besides, I thought God and Jesus are one anyway.”

“No, they are separate.” Ra’am seemed patient with her. “God realized he could not ever visit his physical creations in his natural form, and so he needed Yekomekhd and Havatey Memsayah to do so, which is why they are separate entities. Understand, Trenae, we feel that God IS the universe, in a manner. We believe ee-khomrey mehka’ad, Lo Zmarh himself, occupies the universe’s entirety, holding it all together, in a realm unseen, unreachable, yet which can be actually detected, from our side.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, so curious.

“The farther one travels downward in the subatomic realm, there arrives a point by which matter and anti-matter are one, time will not exist, all mathematics cease to function, and all dimensions become one. Harkoav’s scientists have detected the presence of this realm or lo t’khloom, but only for the briefest of time unit. It is this realm that we believe is God, as we have even detected extremely small subatomic particles arise from this realm and instantly perform their particular tasks.

“God must be very large, Trenae, as large as the universe, or larger. And we believe he may have grown with the universe, from the beginning explosion, or Big Bang, as your world labels it.” Ra’am looked down at her.

“Oh my gosh. I never thought about that! His size, of course! So he is definitely not some old guy on a throne, right?”

Ra’am laughed a little. It made her feel warm inside. “No, for certain. That sounds more like a description of Yekomekhd. God has no form. Yet he has personality, for ‘those who do not love, do not know God- for God is love’. And of course, he can experience sorrow or anger, other emotions. And he is intelligent.” She studied Ra’am’s face carefully. “And that is what he gave us, a personality similar to his own, what we share with him.”

 “So let me get this straight,” she said, looking at the ground, trying to summarize everything. “God is all around us, and he is a spiritual being, like the angels and Jesus, yet different. Right so far?”

“Yes, go on.”

She looked back up at him. Something still troubled her. “Although we can’t be in God’s true presence, what about when we pray. Does he hear us?”

“Oh yes,” Ra’am answered. “Again, like you said, he is all around us. However, we just cannot see his true form. Only Havatey Memsayah will reveal their physical form to havatey khomer. Or, as Yekomekhd did previously, when he was on earth.”

“Oh,” she said. “And heaven is where the spiritual beings dwell, where the government will be…hey, wait a minute. Where is that?”

“We do not know, no one knows. But when Yekomekhd establishes his rule over the universe and the universe transforms into a paradise state, it is believed that the government will be felt, but unobservable. Again, Yekomekhd literally means ‘One Universe’ or ‘United Universe’. It is a condition we still do not fully understand, but it is a promise, of a paradise united universe, or Ensofyafah, as we call it, that we can believe will come. For God does not lie. We do not have all the answers, on Harkoav, as your planet does not. Yet possibly, we can help each other fill in the blanks, so to speak.” Ra’am smiled.

“Okay. But two more things,” she said. “Where is Satan then, and why did God create all of us, if we just ended up messing up things so badly anyway?”

“Lok khomrey havat, both good and bad, have free access to the entire universe, where they can use their subtle influences, however it may occur, for either good or bad. We call the bad lok khomrey havat, Afelot. God promises to destroy the Afelot eventually, before Ensofyafah is established.”

“So…both good and bad lok khomrey havat, travel within God?”

“Well, yes and no. They do not hold the universe together, as does God, nor are they a part of the universe. However, they can pass through or travel within the universe. We also assume their composition must be of a diminished size.

“And to answer your second question- each planet we have encountered with intelligent life seems to begin its history with much turmoil and disorder, especially concerning their association with God. It appears that in all the early histories, intelligent physical beings cannot establish a continuous connection with their creator, most likely due to their physical form, and therefore induced rebellion and apathy toward God. This is ultimately followed with a promise that someday in the future, they will live again in a perfect state or universe, where God will establish order and govern their worlds. But, in the interim, there will be suffering and death. Now we do not know if these are actual literal accounts, of each planet’s early history, but they do seem to follow a pattern.”

“What do you mean?” she asked. She squinted and gave Ra’am a sideways glance.

Ra’am looked down at her. “For instance, on your planet, Adam and Eve were the original beings created. But after they disobeyed God, their whole lifestyle changed, and death was their final reward, instead of eternal life.” He lifted his head. “And on our world, there was originally a male and female being, called Alat and She’ar. But the female, She’ar, tried to kill the male, in direct disobedience to God. And the male in turn tried to murder the female thereafter.

“It was then that God decided there would be a large rift or gulf between males and females on Harkoav, with our females being smaller, fewer, and far weaker, and a third gender created, emphasizing the rift. And God called our almehneht his favored servants, as they would concentrate their lives on serving him and transmitting knowledge…And there are similar accounts from other planets, of a certain disobedience occurring, and thereafter, God producing changes amongst the beings and their planet.”

Ra’am took a deep breath and looked at her. “What we believe, as do other planets, is that the lives we live now, in this universe, are but an example of what life is like without God’s direct influence. In other words, we are given this time, now, since our very beginnings, our planets’ original history, to see whether we can govern ourselves, successfully and peacefully, without God. But can we?” She blinked her eyes, thinking. “Your planet’s history is drenched in violence and disorder, and my planet is not much better. Peace is hard to establish. It is only when intelligent beings follow the guidelines of God, specifically for them, that peace can be obtained. But peace is fleeting, for soon death catches us all, and the peace dies with the beings.

“Yet ultimately, we have two choices for our future- we can live forever, or be dead forever. It is our behavior while alive, which God will judge eventually, to determine that choice.”

“But,” she said, glancing down, “I still don’t get it, really.” She looked at him.

“It is easy. Imagine God had never allowed his intelligent physical creations an opportunity to have free will or try to govern themselves. Would they not always wonder, what it would have been like? Or picture this,” he said, smiling. “Your father told you, you cannot ride this bike, because it will hurt you. I will put it away, he tells you, so you can never use it. It is for your own good. How would you react?”

Trenae lifted her head and took in the grand mountainous view before her. She felt even more confused and puzzled; her father did take her bike away, even before she ever learned to ride it. Could it just be a coincidence? “Well,” she said quietly. She stared down. “I guess I would be very curious. If never given a chance, how do I know, I can’t do it?” She looked back at him. “But then, if I can do it, then I was right. I mean, suppose some planet’s beings CAN pull it off and have a peaceful world? What then?”

“Then, they are fortunate. God will judge them accordingly. But they yet cannot defeat death and live forever. Only God can do this.”

“Yeah, you’re right about that. But why have people suffer and die, when he can stop all of this?”

“When we die, it will be but a fraction of a second, and we will be in Ensofyafah- for time is immeasurable to the dead. And then life, eternal life, will begin, at least for those deserving of eternal life. I believe, it all will have been worth it, the suffering, the trouble of this universe. We will know the before and after, and see the difference. God’s purpose is beyond our complete comprehension. But if he is love, then we must believe…he knows best.”

“You sound more like my father’s pastor than an alien now,” she said, smiling at him. “I feel I know you somewhat better, anyway.”

Yet Ra’am didn’t seem appreciative of her overt attempt to draw them closer. He quickly appeared uncomfortable, a little agitated and indifferent. He stood up. “We should continue walking. It appears the two hunters have gained ground between us. Do you need help getting up?” He held out his hand.

Though she felt a little shaky and confused, she decided to stand on her own. “No, I’m okay.” She rose up, watching his face. Maybe I’ll never relax around him. Glancing down, she swept the tree bark particles from off her pants legs and her gloves.  “Where’s L.B.?” she asked.

Ra’am stood still for a moment. “He is nearby. We will probably catch up with him as we walk downhill. Follow me.” He began walking away.

 “Hey, Ra’am,” she said loudly, feeling a little bolder.

He slowed his pace, yet continued walking. “What is it?” he asked.

“Did I say something wrong? You seem…well…”

“No, no Trenae,” he said. Like before, he held out his left hand. She rushed up to him and took his hand. Even though her gloves disguised it somewhat, the pleasant warmth and comfort from his hand she sorely desired now.

“Well, what’s wrong then?” she asked. They began stepping carefully around large tan and gray rocks and under low pine branches, the mountain leading them into its next obstacle course.

“It is just that…I am far from perfect myself,” he answered. “Here I am, telling you the knowledge of God, and you may believe that I am good natured.”

She looked up at him, yet only for a moment, since she needed to watch her feet. “You’re not, you mean?”

“I am no leader of a congregation, if that is what you think. Let us just say, like a familiar human expression Dod told me, that I am a work in progress.” He led her around a huge boulder.

She followed his lead. “Well, at least you’re trying. That’s all any of us can do, right?”

Ra’am halted his movement, turning and looking down at her. “Yes, you are correct,” he said, squeezing her hand and smiling. “I am glad you understand.” He turned forward and continued their lead down the mountain.

“Well, I think I do. As long as you’re okay to me, I guess.” She shrugged a bit. “Then it’s okay.”

“You never have to worry about that Trenae.”

She looked up at him. It appeared he hadn’t looked at her while speaking those words, since he watched both the precarious ground and view straight ahead. Yet, how he said them, quietly, thoughtfully, felt unusual.

“There is another problem too,” he said.

“What’s that?”

“Harkoav’s government desires to gather information from other planets about God. Every world has its own prophets of God and own interpretations of God. As long as it is a religion based on one Supreme Being or God, monotheism, and the religion is accurate, we attempt to acquire the knowledge. Yet, however…” He paused, leading her around some low branches again. The pine trees were starting to become quite thick. “We do not claim it to be completely accurate with our information. It is only what we have obtained. We transmit the information to other worlds, as I said.

“But there are problems that develop, both on Harkoav and other planets, because of so many differing versions of one God. It can cause confusion and mistrust. So, it makes me wonder. Should I tell others, and risk confusing them? But then, God wants us to tell others about him and his promise for the future. It is one of his commandments. And since, I can only tell what I know, what I believe to be the absolute truth…then, that is all I can do. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I know we must witness. My father used to tell us that too. But if all you have, is what you have, then…” She shrugged again. “Because, if something is the truth, then it needs to be told, right? I mean, what you just told me about our Bible and your bible, and other planets, is SO much more believable…and makes sense, than anything I’ve ever heard. You should be glad you told it.”

Ra’am became quiet. He kept his head focused straight ahead and continued to lead her.

“On Harkoav,” he said, breaking his silence, “though we know all life in this universe was created, there is still much dissension and disbelief about God. This is due mainly because many ometvaheem cannot understand how there can be so many, many versions of the same knowledge of God, from all the different planets. It has caused the confusion I spoke of previously. And…many now even doubt that God exists.”

“But how can they? What else is there?’

“Absolutely. That is what I say.” He spoke calmly. “But, I cannot explain their behavior. It baffles me. Rest assured, even if your whole planet, earth, suddenly learned the truth about evolution, there would still be many unbelievers. This life cannot supply all the answers.”

“Well, sure. But from now on, after you leave, Ra’am, I’ll tell them. I will tell as many as I can what you’ve told me.” She gazed solemnly down at the ground. “That is, if I stay alive long enough.”

“Do not worry about your future,” he said quickly. “We will find a solution. And thank you for wanting to tell others. I appreciate it. And so does God. And ultimately, you are right. The information we know, to be true, should be revealed, whether it causes disagreement or not.”

“Well, that’s what I think…but you know, I wonder?”


She took a deep breath of the cool, refreshing outdoor air, overflowing with the scent of pine needles. “I wonder, what God must think of me, you know, my past.  I know what my father taught me, about being a Christian, and how God will forgive us, but you said if we are found worthy…Is it what we did our entire life, or what we do before we die?”

“God simply wants us to come back to him, our originator. But yes, he can forgive. As long as we make forward progress. Are you concerned about your former life as a stripper and at Clark Willson’s home?”

Her hand’s palm, Ra’am holding so close, began sweating under her glove. “Yeah maybe…Hey, sorry, but can we change the subject? What about L.B.? Where is that dog?” She glanced to her left, away from Ra’am. Surprisingly, she caught a glimpse of L.B. racing through the trees, in the same direction as the two of them. “Hey, what’d ya know, there he is!”

“I see him too. He really loves to run through the woods. It is good exercise for him, and sometimes he even captures a small animal, such as a snowshoe rabbit, rockchuck, or marmot. But that is if he is very lucky, since most of those small animals are too quick.”

She laughed a little, her mind switching gears from other thoughts. “I hope you don’t mind, but I have to let go of your hand for awhile. My hand is sweating too much!”

Ra’am slowly released her hand and turned around, looking down at her. “I can feel excessive warmth through your glove.” He turned and faced forward once more.

She decided to take her gloves off. “Can you wait a minute?”

“Yes, go ahead.” Ra’am stopped in his tracks.

“Why is your body so warm?” she asked, removing her gloves and placing them in her pockets. “It’s cold out, and you’re not even wearing gloves.”

“Ometvaheem handle the cold better. Harkoav is slightly colder, overall, than earth, so we are more used to it. And our normal body temperature is closer to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which can account for a difference.”

“Oh…well, I’ll remember that if I ever have to treat you for a fever,” she said sweetly. Maybe I should give him a smile too. She did.

He seemed appreciative, yet distracted. “Thank you, Trenae…I do not think we will be able to observe the grizzly bears today, but we will most likely see the two hunters.”

“Why? Where are they?”

They began walking again, entering another clearing. Ra’am slowed his pace. Mostly sand, gravel, and varying rock sizes covered the clearing’s ground, while the ground’s elevation rose slightly higher than the immediate surroundings.

Before long, the tall alien came to a complete stop and proceeded to remove his jacket.

“What are you doing now?” she asked. Gravel crunched beneath her boots as she walked on the clearing’s surface, coming closer to Ra’am. She stopped near him.

“I need to produce a holographic image. Here, can you hold my jacket?”

“Yes, sure.”

She took the black jacket into her arms and held it close, near her face. She breathed in. A faint scent of copper and cologne floated above the jacket. For some reason, she had to bring it closer still, breathing in the jacket’s fragrance, visualizing scenes and memories from the past, the present. She closed her eyes, opened her eyes. No! Out of her eye’s corners, she noticed Ra’am watching her, his fingers pressing some buttons on the koaksekhel.

She began lowering his jacket. What am I doing? Search, fast, for a way to change the subject! “So, what do you need to see?” she asked, looking at him. She lowered his jacket farther, until right near her hips. At the same time, she shifted her stance to the side and faced him directly.

“You see, right there, two men.” He pointed and looked down at the image. “Let me enlarge it.”

She stepped closer. Two male hunters walked through a few pine trees.

“Damn, look at them! They look like a couple low-lifes from Idaho City, like me!” she said. “They also, umm…don’t look so nice though. They’re obviously hunters. I see their rifles.” One of the men, the taller one, had messy shoulder length blond hair, partially balding on top of his head. He also sported a scruffy beard and mustache and wore a dirty tan coat, black pants, and boots. The other man, also rather messy, had short curly black hair, a blue plaid jacket, jeans, and high cut brown boots. They both emanated malevolence, with their beady piercing eyes, red faces, and gruff body language; though they appeared to tiptoe and avoid making noise, just the way they moved and held their guns felt wrong or evil.

She looked up at Ra’am. He didn’t seem intimidated in the least by their appearance. Instead, as she studied his face, he seemed upset with her. He gave an intense glare.

“What’s the matter?” she asked. She gave a sideways gaze, a gaze she hoped appeared cute and harmless.

“Why did you call yourself a low life?” His voice blared stern, frightening. “You are not like them!”

She jolted her shoulders a little. “What? I don’t know. It’s just what I think of myself, you know, like where I’m from and all. I grew up poor.”

“Your former life is not who you are now. Do not…say that again, you hear me?” He was quite serious.

Trenae bowed her head down, yet holding his jacket in her arms. “I’m sorry, okay? I really wish you wouldn’t get mad at me. It scares me,” she said quietly. His eyes had hurt her again.

“I understand.” His voice was calmer now. “I know, I promised to be easier on you. But I need you to do something too, for me.”

Slowly, she lifted her head. “What is it?”

“Try not to demean yourself. All right?”

“Sure, I’ll try,” she said softly.

His expression mellowed a little. “But we should hurry now. I want to see what these men are planning. I fear they want the grizzlies, dead.” He lifted his right arm. She observed the image disappear into the koaksekhel, but the kaleidoscope circle remained opened. Lifting her head, she saw why; Ra’am camouflaged himself again and now appeared human. “Let me have my jacket back. No need for them to see my koaksekhel.”

She handed the jacket over. “How close are we to them now anyway?”

“About half of a mile.” He put his jacket on.

She caught herself staring at his handsome face again. No, don’t! She seized control, forcing her eyes away, towards the woods. The hemoom prodoh camouflage convinced too greatly. Ra’am was human now. “Wow,” she said. “That’s rather close, isn’t it?”

“We can catch up to them, especially if we can run.”

Looking at the black jacket covering his body, she noticed Ra’am no longer had rapid access to his koaksekhel. Worry hit. Those two rifles, held by those two men, forced into her thoughts. “You know, like I said, those guys looked pretty mean,” she said. “How are you going to do anything without your koaksekhel?”

“Yes, I realize. They both carry M14 rifles and appear very capable of using them. But please, do not worry. I can protect you. I prefer not to use weapons, however, although my koaksekhel can become a weapon.”

She took a deep breath and stared up at him. “Well, okay. But you know me. I’m, well…don’t expect me to act very brave. In fact, don’t be surprised if I run the other way.” She looked down again, putting her hands in her pockets.

“I can best protect you if you are near me. Come.” He took her right wrist from the pocket and grasped her hand. “Do you think you can run a little?”

She glanced up at him. “Yeah, sure.”

Ra’am began leading them beyond the gravel-covered clearing and down the incline. L.B. promptly discovered their fluid movement, following them, running besides Ra’am and occasionally attempting to grab Ra’am’s jacket sleeve with his teeth. But the tall alien didn’t seem bothered by L.B.’s playfulness. Eventually, L.B. tired of his repetitive antics and again left the two of them alone, running off to the right, into the pine trees once more.

Good thing I did all that aerobic exercise while working at Fontel’s, she thought, running, huffing and puffing. Nevertheless, 5 months had since passed since she last exercised. She never had the opportunity at Willson’s ranch; it was a completely an unfathomable consideration at that nut house.

Ra’am continued dodging and shifting their motion around and through the pine trees, leading them in a near race. He grasped her hand firmly, even at times tugging her a little too hard. Yet she simply increased her speed at these moments and created a balance between his pulls and her jogging delays. Small, young trees or numerous tall, branchless trees seemed to produce the most obstacles for them. Before, at higher elevations most trees stood solitary. But in this area, the trees produced thick, almost impenetrable woods, along with the occasional downed tree trunks and broken limbs. Jagged rocks, jutting from the soil, also blocked the way. Yet Ra’am seemed very adept at gliding them along, positioning himself so he leapt over the high rocks and left the smaller ones for Trenae. His movement proved amazing, considering his large size; they were ducking, jumping, and sprinting.

Although she worried about falling, it never happened.

Finally, Ra’am slowed his pace to a quick walk. Most of their run had been downhill, for now they walked on a near level, lower elevation. The terrain burst with tall, older pine trees, short brown grasses, and areas strewn with bare soil and sand. A few baby trees grew here and there.

Ra’am still grasping her hand, she noticed his breathing came slow, steady. She, on the other hand, gasped for gulps of air as deeply as her lungs would allow. “You’re…not…breathing…that much,” she said. “Why?”

“Consider the difference between earth’s gravity and Harkoav’s gravity, and I think you can figure an answer.”

Her mind raced for a reason, while she watched the ground below and allowed Ra’am to lead them forward. Actually, it wasn’t hard to determine. “Oh, I know…like the moon…when our astronauts were there…it was virtually effortless…because they…were used to this gravity…right?” After speaking, she took a deep, heaving breath, trying to silence her hard breathing.

“Yes. I use less effort than an ometvah is accustomed to on Harkoav. But after 9 earth years, it will be interesting to see how I adapt once more, when I return.”

“Oh…sure,” she said quietly. 

Ra’am stopped moving.

“What…is it? What’s wrong?”

“I see them, ahead. Do you have good eyes?”

“Well…I don’t…need glasses, if that’s what you mean.”

He began moving the two of them behind a lodgepole pine tree, just to their right. Carefully, gently, he pulled her behind him.

Her rapid breathing began calming.

“Peek your head out a little,” he said. “Can you see them now?”

Moving smoothly, she did as asked. She COULD see them! One of the guys, the one with the blond hair, held a cigarette and lighted it, walking along. This felt very wrong, since hunters shouldn’t taint the air with unnecessary smells. Fear she had felt around Willson’s men exploded from within, making her skin crawl and leaving her weak and chilly. “I don’t like this Ra’am.” She looked up at him. He had his hands on the tree and stared at the men. “Aren’t they going the wrong way too? They’re coming toward us.”

“Yes, they are. They either gave up or are on a false lead. Actually, they should be heading south, which is to our right now.”

“Well, so, do you really have to see them? Why do you want to mess with them? Does it really matter what happens to those grizzlies?”

“It matters to me. I am puzzled why the grizzly bears are here. I want to find out, but the grizzlies will not do me much good if they are killed and carried away. Besides, grizzly bears are one of God’s beautiful creatures, put here for a purpose, and do not deserve this kind of brutality.”

“Oh, so you’re against hunting?”

“Yes, unless it is for food…They are getting close. I hope L.B. stays away. He could complicate things.”

Worried. Scared. She felt her breathing increase again. “What do I do? Do I have to come?”

Ra’am turned, looked down at her, and smiled. “You will be fine, I assure you. Follow me now, act normal, and try to stay close.”

“Okay, okay,” she said. She stood up straight and took a nervous deep breath.

Leading the way, Ra’am stepped around the tree and began to walk toward the men. He no longer held her hand. Fine with me, she thought. Now I can run away at any moment!

The two men appeared about 100 feet away. Their voices traveled through the air. Trenae noticed that the blond-haired man searched around as he walked, while the other man stared at the ground below him.

“Let me do the talking,” Ra’am said.

They continued forward.

“Sure, no problem,” she said. “I don’t want to talk to these guys.”

It wasn’t long before the blond-haired man spotted them between the trees. His eyes locked on them like a vice grip. Elbowing his partner, the dark-haired man lifted his head and became alert and curious too. Trenae felt very uncomfortable.

After a few more careful steps, she and Ra’am stood within earshot of the two men, in a small rocky clearing surrounded by tall trees. About 10 feet of space lay between her and Ra’am and the two men.

“Hey man, what’s going on?” the blond-haired man asked. His voice grumbled deep, hoarse.

“Not much,” Ra’am answered. “Are you guys hunting?”

“Yeah man. Hope to sling some bear or elk,” the blond- haired man answered.

The two men stopped, eyeing her and Ra’am suspiciously. Ra’am stopped moving too. Although Trenae made concealed attempts at viewing their intentions, she tried not to stare too long. She noticed the men’s rifles hung loosely at their sides. A good sign, for now.

“Grizzly bears,” Ra’am said. “Have you seen them?”

The hunter’s attitudes changed. They lifted their guns slightly. She inched closer and somewhat behind Ra’am’s enormous body.

“Yeah, man, we saw them. What’s it to you?” the blond-haired man asked. He stared straight ahead at Ra’am and sucked in a puff on his cigarette. “You sure are a tall bastard. What are you, Indian, Mexican?”

She noticed Ra’am cross his arms and stand solidly.

“No, I’m not,” Ra’am said. “You’re just hunting black bears, I’m assuming.” A change in his voice could be heard. Was he adapting to the men and their conversation? “It’s illegal to hunt grizzlies. But you knew that, right?”

Both men looked at each other and started laughing.

“Yeah, sure,” said the blond-haired man, his cigarette dangling haphazardly from his mouth. He lifted his rifle up and held it horizontal, close to the front of his body. “What are you two doing here? I don’t see any guns on the two of you, unless you’re packing heat under that coat.”

Trenae noticed the black-haired man now stared at her and smiled. He nodded his head up and down, as if acknowledging something.

“Hey, Tom,” said the black-haired man. “I know this chick, man.”

Tom, the blond-haired man, still holding his rifle, turned to look at his friend. Yet now Tom held the barrel skyward, at the same time sneaking a glance at the trigger and a glance at Ra’am. “Whata ya talking about?” Tom said. “We never met these people before!” His words shot forth with anger, the cigarette still dangling from his mouth.

Horrible memories returned to Trenae, as the cigarette smoke burned her senses.

“Fontel’s House, man. In Boise,” said the black-haired man. “She’s a stripper there, or used to be…Haven’t seen her there awhile.” He gave a slimy grin, ignoring the anger of his friend and keeping his eyes on her.

Not able to tolerate his lustful stare any longer, she looked up at Ra’am. She could only see a sideways view of his face, but he appeared irritated.

“Look, you two,” Ra’am said. “I don’t know exactly what you’re up to, but it doesn’t appear good. I am a scientist, and we are very interested in seeing those grizzlies, ALIVE. So you need to back off!” His last words startled her.

Tom squinted and dropped his jaw, showing grimy teeth and almost losing his cigarette. He took hold of the cigarette. He tilted his face back a bit, relaxing his strained and angry face. It felt odd. She became more afraid. “Hey, man, I don’t like your tone, ya know?” Tom said. “You one of those damn IDFG Conversation Officers?”

Moving her body forward slowly, attempting secrecy, she looked up at Ra’am again. His eyes now appeared as squinted slits too, though their edges resembled burning blades. Great. Whose demeanor should I fear more?

“Ra’am, maybe we should just leave,” she said softly. “Okay?”

He didn’t answer.

A quick motion hit the corner of her left eye. She slowly turned to see it. The black-haired man now pointed his rifle at her.

“Nah, darling, I don’t think you should go anywhere,” said the black-haired man. “Hey, Tom, I know. Why don’t she just strip for us now, here?  I’m sure her scientist friend there wouldn’t mind. Heck, he’d probably like it too.”

Tom laughed.

Ra’am gradually lifted his left arm up and gently, yet securely took held of Trenae and pushed her behind his back. She could no longer see the two men.

“Unfortunate for you damn scientists, we need those grizzlies dead.” It was Tom speaking again. She heard him shift his gun around. No, he’s pointing it at us! “See, there’s some foreigners who’ll pay us a nice fee for bringing them back. Now, we really don’t want to hurt you two--”

“Ahh, come on Tom!” the black-haired man interrupted. “I wanta see that pretty girl strip for us. Come on, Rah-ahm, let’s see what she can do. Don’t keep it all to yourself!”

Trenae closed her eyes and leaned against Ra’am’s back. She pressed her hands on his black jacket, laying her face against it. The pleasant fragrance she had breathed in earlier from his jacket brought little comfort now. Tears started seeping from the corners of her eyes. Her hands started shaking; her whole body started shaking.

She felt Ra’am turn to his right. “Trenae, do not lean against me,” he whispered. “Just stay behind me.”

“Oooh, are we speaking little love poems to each other?” Tom said.

With quiet, stealthy movement, she eased away from Ra’am’s back.

Tom let out another laugh, filled with evil. Footsteps began crunching gravel. They were coming closer, closer. “No, I have a better idea, than having her strip,” Tom said. “Why don’t we just make these two pay us, for the time we’re losing here? Time is money, man!” He was the one moving closer. “Hey man, you armed?”

Why wasn’t Ra’am answering them?

“Yeah, whata you got under that jacket?” It was the black-haired man. His steps echoed his friend’s, coming closer.

Ra’am did not move. She looked at his back. He stood solid, with not one fiber in his body trembling, a stone statue. Yet what good could this be? Would standing motionless stifle his movement, if they had to leave quickly? She closed her eyes.

“Hey, what was that, that light?” asked Tom. She opened her eyes.

She thought Tom attempted to speak again, but didn’t complete his words.

Ra’am’s body came alive, diving forward with severe force. The next thing she knew, he was gone. She now stood alone.

“MOTHER FUCKER!” Tom yelled. “Give us our guns back!” 

“Over here! Come and get them!” It was Ra’am’s voice.

Struggling to balance herself, so confused, she searched for Ra’am. He walked backwards, to the right, toward the south side of the clearing. Both the men’s rifles he secured in his hands, the barrels facing down. She looked at Ra’am’s face and saw his eyes quickly scan all of them; his stare shifted first toward the two hunters and then back to her, over and over. And then she realized why. The black-haired man was edging his way over to her, while Tom walked cautiously toward Ra’am.

She began to back away.

“Don’t even think about,” Ra’am said loudly. “Move away from her, NOW!”

She shot her gaze back to Ra’am. Now both rifle barrels pointed directly at the black-haired man and Tom, one for each. Ra’am’s fingers hovered by the triggers. The two men stopped dead in their tracks and stared at the tall being.

Trenae’s eyes darted back and forth, between all of them. She started feeling dizzy. No, please, not now.

“Hey, man, we don’t want any trouble,” Tom said. “Just give us our guns back, and we’ll be on our way.” He waved one of his hands up and down, signaling submission.

“Not a chance, man,” Ra’am said. He stood about 6 feet away from Tom, gradually decreasing the distance as he walked toward the two men. Since Tom’s position was closer, he walked backwards quicker than the black-haired man, who had stepped a few feet behind his friend. But both their stares locked upon Ra’am, not making the slightest attempt to glance at Trenae. It’s a good time to back away farther, she told herself.

Doing so, with her eyes on all three males, she bumped up against several pine trees behind her, losing her balance. Terrifying memories of that night by the cliff seized her. Though attempting to grab for something, anything, she nevertheless fell backwards, hard. Dizziness had won.  Somehow, she ended up on the ground front first, with her body and legs twisted. But that wasn’t important now. She darted her gaze back between the trees, at the three males.

Ra’am quickly turned his head toward her. “Trenae, are you all right?”

No, I’m not, she thought. Her hands hurt. “Yes, I’m okay,” she lied, to prevent any distraction.

“Hey, how did you do that anyway?” asked the black-haired man. Both men still remained stationary. “I’ve never seen anyone move that fast, not even in those movies. Is that karate?”

Ra’am only stared and didn’t answer. The two men began stepping backwards, cowering. 

Trenae watched them, at the same time gradually crawling to a tree on her right. Not only did her hands hurt, but her knee gave her pain as well. She grabbed the rough, striated bark of the pine tree and lifted herself up. She looked down. Her right pant leg had blood on it. As she held the tree with her right hand, she leaned down and gently touched the area surrounding the blood and found that her brand new jeans had a large hole in them. A small jagged, broken branch on the other tree was the culprit; blood droplets stained its tip.

She looked to the ground, where she had fallen. Little pools of blood covered a few sharp stones. Uh-oh. Turning her left hand over, she saw that it had been cut too. Blood streamed around her hand, dripping to the ground. She looked back on the tree; a red hand print tainted the bark. I should have had my gloves on still! Stiles’ words haunted again. Clumsy, an idiot.

“Yeah,” Tom said, sounding smug. “I’ve never seen anything like this too.” Trenae looked back at the three males.

“And I bet you never saw anyone do this before,” Ra’am said. Right after he spoke, he whipped both rifles up, wrapping them together with his hands. His large right hand secured the barrels together, his other hand encompassing the trigger areas, an area just before a rectangular metal piece on each weapon. SNAP! With minor effort, Ra’am broke the guns in two. Small particles of wood and metal flung outward, dusting the air, showing the guns’ great displeasure at being destroyed.

“Hey, you know how much those guns cost?” the black-haired man asked, his voice shrieking. “We…we want them back, right now!”

“Forget it, Rich,” said Tom. “They’re useless now! You gonna reimburse us, man? You are some sort of IDFG guy, aren’t you?”

Trenae remembered her father explaining that the rectangular metal pieces were magazine clips. Ra’am now held both halves of the rifles. In one hand, he held the metal barrel ends and a portion of the wooden stock covering it. In the other hand, he held those portions of the rifles from the clips on down to the butt ends of the weapons. But what about the bullets? She felt amazed; none of them went off.

A defiant glare in his eye, Ra’am walked toward the two befuddled men. Even a half smirk appeared on Ra’am’s face. The two men continued backing away from him. She could see both fear and puzzlement contort their faces.

“I’ll tell you what,” Ra’am said, a slight growl in his voice. “Like I said before…you want them, come and get them.” A smirk yet lingered on his face.

“How could he do that?” said Rich, the black-haired man. She could barely hear his voice. Could Ra’am hear him? “There’s no way…even with someone his size!”

“Yeah, it was like they were twigs,” Tom said. “We should just leave.” He looked back at Ra’am. “Look, man, I guess we’ll just go.” Tom voice was louder now.  He and his friend continued walking backwards, away from their guns, occasionally glancing behind them. “But I’ll tell you what…we’re not happy about this. We have friends, dangerous people. You shouldn’t be fucking with us like this. We’ll be meeting up with you two again, and this time…it won’t just be us.” He gave Ra’am a sideways glance. “And you’re weird man, you’re weird!”

Ra’am suddenly lunged forward with his right leg, just his right leg. The two men jumped back. Rich fell down.

 “Come on clumsy,” Tom said, angry. “Let’s just go. Get up already, will ya?”

Rich grabbed a tree and shot up. Both men started running away. Ra’am finally stood still and smiled, laughing at them.

Tom turned around, pointed his finger at Ra’am, and ran at the same time. “YOU’RE A DEAD MAN! YOU HEAR ME, A DEAD MAN!” he yelled. Rich just sprinted away and didn’t look back.

“That will be interesting, since I am no man!” Ra’am said loudly. He leaned back and let out a thundering, rowdy laugh. His voice reverberated, filling the woods with a strange, metallic noise. The two men quickly turned back and stared in horror. Then, they spun forward and sprinted madly through the thick woods.

Eventually, she couldn’t see them anymore.

Ra’am looked at her. His expression and mannerisms quickly changed.

He rushed over to her, concern and worry on his face. After laying down the broken rifles, he rose up slightly and touched her leg with his hands. Like an eraser, his behavior made Stiles words vanish from her thoughts. She changed inside.

“Damn, Ra’am, where’s L.B.?” she asked. “Do you think he’s all right? And why did you tell them you’re not a man? Isn’t that taking a chance?”

He didn’t answer. He caressed her knee, studying the injury.

“Oh Trenae,” he said, gently peeling back the ripped jeans and looking at her wound. “I never meant for this to happen. I never wanted you to sustain an injury.” He looked up into her eyes. “I am very sorry.” At the same time, he noticed her bleeding hands. He stood up and softly grasped her hands.

“It’s okay,” she said. “If you hadn’t told me to stay off your back, I guess it would’ve been worse. I would have landed on the ground hard, face first! You move fast!”

Ra’am kept his gaze on her hands, ignoring her comments.

 She shrugged a little. “None of these cuts really hurt, now…I guess, because of the heat of the moment. But they will probably hurt later.”

“No, they will not.” He looked into her eyes, still holding her hands. “I will use tse makh yerape. And you will see, your wounds will be gone in mere minutes.”

 A deep breath overtook Trenae’s lungs, her gaze yet looking up at him. She noticed he seemed truly distraught at what had happened. She stared into his eyes.

Behaving as though shy, he turned away from her face. Is he embarrassed?

“I need to bring Ha-Ta here,” he said, looking back at her. He still held her hands.

“You…you can do that?”

“Yes.” He released her hands and turned around. “But you are right. Where is L.B.?” He stood quiet and bent his head down a little, apparently concentrating on his inner computer network. “He is far, but not near those men. He must have picked up a scent trail.”

“He does that?” she asked.

Ra’am glanced back at her, smiling. “Yes, many times.”

Stepping closer to her, he reached into his jacket’s pocket. He removed two tissues and handed them to her. Then he removed his jacket. “Wipe away some of the blood with these. Ha-Ta will be here shortly.”

He turned sideways, held his jacket with his left hand, and brought his right arm out lengthwise.

“Do you always carry tissues from earth on you?” She thought it funny that he always had one available.

“Yes, I do. I would have preferred to give you an areegah refoo’eh, a medicinal cloth that absorbs blood, but I do not have one with me,” he said, not looking at her. His words sounded emotionless. “But Dod has given many tissues to me.”

“Oh, I see,” she said quietly. She checked to see if the tissues looked clean; they did, and they also appeared neatly folded. She gently wiped the blood away with the tissues. Another question entered her mind. “You know, I heard you talk differently to those guys. You can talk like a regular person. So, why don’t you do it all the time?”

Still holding his right arm out, Ra’am turned his head and looked down at her. “You are referring to my use of contractions.”


 “Yes. Don’t, won’t, can’t, couldn’t, word such as those. Normally, I do not use them, for two reasons. My mind functions so much quicker than a human's mind, saying each word distinctly helps me to slow my mental functions down slightly. And secondly, not using contractions helps clear my mind of emotions.”

“Emotions?” She felt perplexed. “Why no emotions?”

“I am a scientist. I use them only when they are necessary. It you ever find me speaking differently, it is either because I need to adjust to local area colloquial language, or because I am feeling strong emotions. Besides, I speak as I am most comfortable with. Maybe…it is a way to remain connected, with my home planet. If it were my mission to blend in completely with the local inhabitants, as I can speak any language on earth very successfully, then I would change my speech. But now, it is not necessary.”

She glanced back down at her hands. “Oh, I understand, really,” she said, wiping the blood again. “You should do what you want to do, what you’re most comfortable with. I believe that.” She looked up at him. “Does Ra’yonah use contractions?”

“No, not really. It is language already full of brevity, as we must speak and think quickly in an ultra-high technological and mathematical world.”

“Then aren’t you already used to short cuts, with language?”

He smiled at her. “I suppose that is another reason…I need to slow down. For years now, since my koaksekhel nerve was implanted, I have been thinking and reacting very quickly. Around humans, like Dod, I needed to slow such processes down. Hence, speaking each word deliberately, helped…and besides, I am the ‘techno-nerd reggae scientist’. It fits me.”

She laughed a little. “Yeah, well, you and Dod might think that, but after seeing what you did to those guys, I wouldn’t call you a nerd. They were really scared of you!”

Ra’am smiled. But then, for some unknown reason, he became serious and quiet, giving her a piercing, frightening stare. It made Trenae feel a little scared. She quickly looked down at her hands…



…“Hmm, the change in his personality is puzzling,” Jenny said.

“I know, really,” Trenae answered. “I figured then, even with his belief in God, that I could never feel comfortable around him.”

 “Did Ha-Ta finally show up?”

“Yes, rather quickly. And underground! We weren’t there too much longer, maybe 2 or 3 minutes at most, and then…it was there! Ra’am detected its exact location underground through his koaksekhel, and then he helped me limp onto a hemoom prodoh disk. He held my hands as we went down below.”

“And those two losers were totally gone?”

“Yeah, apparently.”

“I have to say, Trenae. Your alien friend has my kudos for getting rid of those guys. I definitely have this thing about hunters- can’t stand them! And here these guys wanted to shoot grizzlies? I probably would have killed them. Ooo, they make me mad!” Jenny’s face looked it.

“Yeah, Ra’am really didn’t like it either. I’m, well, not too sure, unlike you, how I feel. My dad used to hunt. So, I’m a little partial, I guess. But he did it for food.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I’m not really one to shove my opinion down other’s throats. But Ra’am liked grizzly bears, huh?”

“Yes. He told me, after we got on Ha-Ta, that it was a mother bear along with her two-year-old son. He said they would be hibernating soon. But mainly, he wanted to know how they got there. And me too.”

“Yeah, I agree. But you guys never saw them that day, or did you?”

“No, not in person. Ra’am showed me them on the holographic image. They looked big and aggressive, not very cuddly.”

Jenny laughed a bit. “Sure, they’re not teddy bears!”

“Yes, for sure. And let’s see…I’m trying to remember what else happened.” Trenae stared down at her knees and the blue and white striped sofa. “Well, Ra’am couldn’t really decide what to do with the broken M14’s. He even asked me, since he didn’t want to actually steal the guns, even though he just busted them up--”

“I’ll say!”

Trenae looked up at Jenny and smiled. “I know, he took them and broke them, so really, who cares? But he had to do that. Ra’am said he had made sure to grab the guns just when both men’s fingers moved away from the triggers, so not to tear their fingers off. That was nice of him.”

“Sure, a heck of a guy.”

 She smiled again at Jenny. Then she became serious. “I know they would have tried to kill us, maybe. I told him he should just bring the guns on Ha-Ta. And he agreed with me, because that way those two guys couldn’t find them or any sort of evidence about Ra’am.

“I started thinking,” Trenae said, “about what Ra’am said, you know, that he said he was a ‘work in progress’.  He did get pretty mad at those men.”

“Well, it’s understandable.”

“Yeah, I guess. While he was healing my knee and hands, I asked him about the future, and the paradise universe. I asked him when it was supposed to occur, and basically he said that no one knew for certain. There were some signs, like vast disorder on all planets in the universe- you know, like wars and earthquakes, food shortages and other problems--“

“Wait a minute. That sounds like what I’ve heard in our Bible, right?”

“Yes, very similar. But what year or century or millennium, no one could say. Heck, his planet, Harkoav, had been waiting over 7000 years and nothing happened. He told me they thought for sure, when his planet tried that genetic alteration stuff, to eliminate the almehneht, that the time was near…but, it wasn’t. He also told me that many on his planet had lost faith that it would ever occur, because it had been so long.” She shrugged a little.

“I have to tell you though, Trenae,” Jenny said, folding her arms and leaning forward in her red sofa chair.

“What is it?”

“What you’re telling me, about what this alien knows about God and the universe, is confusing me. Not so much confusing me, as making me second guess my beliefs.” Jenny sat back against the chair, releasing her arms. “But that’s my thing…So, he healed you? You saw it?”

“Well, once we were on Ha-Ta, Ra’am brought some tse makh yerape leaves from the lab and put them directly on all my cuts, gently pressed onto my skin. He told me to just leave them there, and in a while, they would be healed. He then apologized again how negligent he was, to have let me get hurt. He seemed really sorry. I told him it wasn’t his fault, that I just fell.  I sat on the evesmol seat…I still remember it clearly. He went to the control panel and searched down L.B. We finally did find him.

“But anyway,” Trenae said, “I was able to watch this time. It was really amazing. The leaves just slowly absorbed right into my skin!”

“Really? Did it hurt?”

“No. It was more like a stretching, pulling sensation- it itched a lot too, but Ra’am told me to not scratch, just let it be.”

“How big were these leaves?” Jenny asked, leaning forward again.

“Not too big, about 2 to 4 inches wide and very thin. They looked like small red and green cabbage leaves, with a few small purple and brown streaks through them.”

“And they didn’t hurt your body, or give you any toxic or chemical side effects?”

“No. I worried about that, but I was fine. No pains in my body, just the funny sensations by the cuts. The leaves took some of the injury pain away too. And I think it was about 5 minutes, and then the leaves completely vanished, into my skin, through my skin. And once they were gone, so were my cuts! The cuts were completely healed!”

“Wow, that is incredibly,” Jenny said excitedly. She crossed her arms again. “It’s hard to believe.”

“I know, tell me. I kind of freaked out after the leaves were gone and my cuts were healed, but Ra’am came over and sat by me and looked at my hands and knees. He said everything looked fine, I didn’t need to worry a bit. Then he told me I should go change my pants, wash the blood off. So, I did.

“When I came back, I sat in my usual seat and we went back to the cylinder rooms, you know, by River Cliffs now, and Ra’am backed Ha-Ta into the cylinders again. And I think that was all we did that day, except I asked him some more questions.”

“Do you remember any?”

“Well, maybe one. I asked him how he could move so fast, even though he was so big, on either our planet or Harkoav. It still didn’t make sense to me, you know?”


“He explained that I had to picture him being only 2 or 3 feet tall, though with the same bodily dimensions, and having the speed and agility of someone that short, combined with extra strength and speed. Then I could better understand how he could be so large, and yet be so fast and strong. It helped a little.”

Jenny picked up the mini recorder from the coffee table and turned it off.  She also picked up her note pad and quickly jotted down some words. Done, she sat up and looked at Trenae. “I’m rather thirsty. And I’m sure the water I gave you isn’t the greatest. You need a soda?”

“Sure, that would be great. And could I use your bathroom too?”

“Go right ahead.”

As Jenny left for the kitchen, Trenae walked to the bathroom.


















                                                                      Chapter 9



It was 4:15. Finished with the secret glance at her watch, Trenae quickly pulled up her black sleeve over her wrist. Jenny was just returning from the kitchen.

“And here you go…one can of generic-brand lemon-lime soda form the local supermarket,” Jenny said, placing the can on the coffee table in front of Trenae. “And there is one for me too.” She placed another identical soda can on the table near her red chair. A playful smile brightened her face.

Trenae smiled back at her.

 “I saw you check your watch,” Jenny said, sitting down. “Did you want to quit now?”

Darn. Trenae felt her face flush a little. She looked down at her fingers, allowing her long hair to cover the sides of her face. “No, we don’t have to yet.” She looked back Jenny. “Unless you want to?”

“No, I’m fine. But maybe you’re wondering about supper?”

“Well, I am getting somewhat hungry. I appreciate that you gave me lunch, though, and really don’t want to intrude again--”

“Oh, nonsense! How do you feel about pizza?”

“Well, I guess that’s okay.”

“Well then, it’s settled.” Jenny stood up from her chair. “I’ll be right back. I’m gonna order out.” She headed into the kitchen again. “Just wait here,” she called back.

With Jenny gone, Trenae sat back on the sofa and took a deep breath. She tried to remember everything that happened after the first four days with Ra’am. Some memories were quite disturbing. But Jenny would most likely inquire of all the details and in chronological order too. Yet most of the scenes that she could recall had now become a blur of similar pictures, as one day flew into another day. Summarize it, somehow.

“I ordered one large pizza. Half with pepperonis and the other half with mushrooms, peppers, and onions, since I know you eat mostly vegetarian,” Jenny said, arriving back. “Does that sound okay?”

“Yeah, sure. I like vegetables a lot. Thanks, Jenny.”

The reporter sat down once more. She turned on the recorder and readied her note pad. All day, Trenae had observed the tiny recorder, just sitting in its lonesome on the table, while their conversations had been long and full of information.

“I don’t want you to feel bad about all the time this is taking,” Jenny said. “Heck, I had nothing else to do today, so try to relax.”

Does my body language show again?

“Go ahead, have your soda, before we start,” Jenny said. She picked up her green can. Trenae then did the same, and they both plucked opened the cans at nearly the same time. They took a drink from the cans at almost the same time also. “But, so getting back. Did Ra’am finally dispose of those M14 pieces?”

 “Yes, he did.” Trenae placed her soda on the coffee table. “He finally decided to just place the pieces in one of those peshokh lo n’rah containers, in one of the greenhouse galeel khayeh.”

“Oh, you mean that garbage disappearing thing?”


“That’s a good idea.” 

“Yeah, it was.” Trenae smiled.

“So, what other important events happened?”

She inhaled and looked down. “Well, we basically established a daily routine, which I’ll tell you more about in a moment. But what I remember next is two bad things.”


“The first thing, as we all know, Willson won the election on Nov. 7th. I felt so devastated by that, because I knew what I nasty crook he was…a murderer. Ra’am and I talked about it, and of course, he told me not to let it upset me, try and forgive the guy.”

“Yeah, that sounds typical of a godly person…alien, rather.”

Trenae smiled. “Actually, I just upset your chronological order a bit. I found out about Wilson after...well, Dod--”

“Nah, don’t worry about it,” Jenny said, flicking her fingers down. “I’ll forgive you.”

A smile warmed Trenae’s face again. “See, Dod came by the very next day, after the mall, on Wednesday.” Her smile vanished. “He looked pretty upset, and believe me, this was unusual for him, since he behaved so happy-go-lucky. I think I kinda knew right away, what was wrong.”

“Your Aunt?”

Trenae clasped her hands together tightly and didn’t look at Jenny. “Yeah…He told me there was an accident. Dod had gone to both the police in Spokane and to see her husband, at their floral shop. The police said it was an accident, that she had been speeding, apparently, lost control of her car and hit one of those concrete embankments under a bridge on the interstate. She died instantly. But her husband, my uncle, told him that some witnesses said they saw terror in her eyes, that she couldn’t control the car…and…”

Jenny’s hand reached forward and touched Trenae’s knee for a moment and then she sat back again. With her gesture of concern, Trenae struggled harder to control her emotions.

“It’s okay,” Trenae said. She took a deep breath. “I’m rather over it now.”

“What you’re saying,” Jenny said softly, “the police are certain it was an accident, but your uncle feels it was deliberate?”

A bit of tears welled Trenae’s eyes. She quickly wiped them away and sniffed her nose gently. “Yes. Dod said my Uncle George swore his wife never would speed and that she seldom, if ever, took that particular stretch of highway. He knew something was wrong, but the police were absolutely sure my aunt did it herself. My uncle wanted the police to conduct a better investigation, but they told him he needed counseling, that he was in grief. But…Dod said he believed too, that Stiles and his men did something…and that maybe the police in Spokane, or at least some of them, were under their influence too.”

“Wow,” Jenny said. “That’s just out there, man,” Trenae lifted her head. Jenny’s eyes were wide open, her face serious and concerned. “I’ll see what I can find out for you. But I doubt I’ll find much, if the police don’t want to cooperate.”

“Thank you, Jenny.”

“Are you all right, to keep going now?”

“Oh, sure. I would really prefer if we do. You know, gets my mind off it.”

“I understand. So, you and Ra’am established a routine around River Cliffs?”

“Well, to be honest, we weren’t there, by River Cliffs, the whole time and--”

Jenny flung her palms up. “Remember my hang-up with chronological.”

“Sorry,” Trenae said, smiling. “But, after the day with the hunters, we started to establish a daily routine. So, the days all kind of blend together, you know?”

“No problem, I get it. Just tell me the everyday routine then.”

“Well, okay. During November, we were mostly by River Cliffs, you know, in Gospel Hump Wilderness or the Nez Perce Forest area. Ra’am’s main objective was to categorize, classify as many plant and animal species as he could, for Harkoav’s databases. He told me this information was not to use against us or to take over our planet, which was never Harkoav’s plan, but just to have the information, just like we want to know everything about the universe too. So that was our main goal everyday and we fit it in around other things we did too.

“Basically, I got up between 6:00 to 7:30 am, depending on when the first light and sounds came in Ha-Ta, since Ra’am left the khalon on all night. Ra’am was usually up already, since he didn’t seem to need as much sleep as humans. But anyway, I would take a shower, get dressed and then the two of us would have breakfast.”

“Breakfast huh. What was that now?” Jenny’s question sounded silly, skeptical.

Trenae smiled at her. “Well, through most of November, I ate the food Dod brought me and other food he would come by with. He came by about every 2-4 weeks and brought food, gifts, other stuff, like eating utensils, so we did see him a lot. But also, I gradually started to eat more and more raw food, like Ra’am did. Ra’am even made some raw food dishes for me, since Harkoav did have a raw food cuisine. And I have to say, some of it was quite good! And I noticed that it made me feel better and sleep better, have a better memory and think clearer. So, it was worth it. Ra’am always told me I should give it a chance, and I’m glad I did.”

“Did you eat just his raw food or some from earth too, like oranges and apples?”

“Both. Ra’am didn’t mind, as long as it was raw. But I didn’t like to see some of the stuff Ra’am ate raw, like raw fish or insects.”

“You’re right. Me neither!”

Trenae giggled a little. “But that was only occasionally. He mostly ate vegetables and fruits. But like I already mentioned, he sure ate a lot!”

“Yeah, you said.”

“He ate a huge breakfast and a huge lunch and supper, as well as many large snacks in between. I began to see why he needed those greenhouses! And by the way, I helped him grow and take care of the plants in the greenhouses. We mostly did that work in the evenings.”

“But after breakfast?”

“Well, we would often go for long walks and runs, depending on what or how many people were in the area. We took L.B. too. We had to be very careful though, about checking for people everyday, like Stiles and his men, or those two idiot hunters we met up with. Or even other hunters, because of the varying hunting season days or weeks.”

“Oh, those bitches,” Jenny said irately.

Trenae smiled a little and continued. “Yeah, I know. We had to watch out for their dogs too, if they had them. But, some deer hunters, or elk, black bear, even mountain lion hunters…they would either be just a few people, or on horses, in groups. Ra’am was careful. We just avoided them and went to areas where they weren’t or headed in the opposite directions of their locations. Ra’am left them alone, as long as they hunted legally.”

“That’s good.”

“I would never eat too much for breakfast on these days when we went running, although it didn’t seem to bother Ra’am if he ate too much. Because I’ll tell you, we would exercise a lot! Usually we would jog or run together. But other times, Ra’am would do this neat thing.”

“What’s that?”

“He would run ahead, very, very fast, you know, with his incredibly speed, and then L.B. and I would have to find him. It was fun! Kind of like hide and seek.”

“You mean, he finally stopped running and waited for you?”

“Yes, or sometimes, when I couldn’t find him, he would come back. But we only did this on days when it was completely safe around- you know, no dangerous wild animals, like mountain lions, or bad people or hunters. Like I said, Ra’am would always check, everyday, many times a day, before we went anywhere to see if anyone was around.”

“Have to be careful.”

Trenae nodded. She paused a moment, remembering. “Sometimes too, Ra’am would practice his planet’s form of martial arts in the morning, before we went running.”

“Really? What was that like?”

“In a few words? Very, very fast. Way quicker than any of those karate guys on earth. I mean, he moved so fast I couldn’t see him move! It was a blur. He moved like he was small, almost weightless, not like the huge guy he was. You know, like he said.”

“Oh my gosh. So did he practice hitting things? Was it like earth martial arts?”

“Yes, he did hit some things, like trees or rocks. But he was always careful with hitting the trees, not to kill them. And yeah, it was similar, I guess, to earth’s martial arts. I’m no expert. He said they had to learn it in his military and all, keep practice at it sometimes.”

“But then you went running or walking after?”

“Yes. And these longs runs or walks Ra’am did would lead us to where he wanted to be for the day. And we would study the plants or animals, mostly plants, microorganisms, and insects we could find, since November was rather cold. And then we would eventually have lunch. Ra’am would either bring Ha-Ta over, underground of course, so we could go beneath ground and eat lunch. Or we brought food with us…some for L.B. too.

“And then after lunch, we would do some more research work, in the same general area, or some other place, and then eventually, we would come back to the same spot, by River Cliffs. We would either hike back or have Ha-Ta take us home. You know, home meaning where the three cylinders were located.”

“And don’t tell me…then you had supper?”

“Yes, you’re right.”

“I’m curious though. Ra’am seemed to follow the same eating patterns as humans. Is that because he had been around Dod, or because both our worlds have the same meal times?”

“Yeah, I asked him that too. He said that normally they don’t eat breakfast on Harkoav, but they do eat three times a day after that- one meal around half way through the morning, the other meal around mid-afternoon, and then an evening meal. Ra’am had gotten more accustomed to eating breakfast, because of Dod…that’s all.”

“Oh, okay.”

“And then after supper, we would either be in the greenhouses, helping the plants, or Ra’am would do some research in the lab room and I would either be watching TV or looking on the Internet.”

“The Internet? How did you do that?”

“You’re right! No keyboard!” she said, smiling at Jenny. “See, Ra’am programmed his computer system to receive my voice commands, to make it easier, so I didn’t have to worry about any manual input. But he also taught me a few things on the control panel, although he never seemed to be keen on showing me that much, on the control panel I mean, or his koaksekhel.

“He would also teach me other things in the evening, like about his language or bible or other things, but mostly we just kept to ourselves…And then, I would usually go to bed around 9:00 pm, since I was usually pretty tired from all the activity every day and the early rising.” Trenae leaned over and grabbed her soda, lifting it to her lips.

“Kept to yourselves? What do you mean- was he more or less the silent type, not talking too much? Did he make any advances?”

“Advances?” Trenae asked. She swallowed carefully. The carbonation always hurt her throat if she didn’t swallow right. She placed the can back down.

Jenny gave a serious expression. “Any sexual advances, like trying to rape or take advantage of you, see you naked?”

“Oh, no…he didn’t see me naked, at least not that I’m aware, with those micro robots spying. But I wouldn’t think so, with his attempt to be righteous.” She tried to keep eye contact with Jenny. “And he definitely didn’t rape or take advantage of me. But he did touch me, yet that was only to hold my hands or lift me up when it was necessary. He was just generally respectful of me, and I eventually became a little more comfortable around him. But yeah, he WAS rather distant and silent though.”

“That figures,” Jenny said.

“Yeah, but Ra’am never really ordered me around like I thought he would. He treated me more like an equal, which was amazing, considering how much smarter and stronger he was than me. Still, I felt inferior to him and he always seemed to have this underlying superiority aura to him…yet it seemed he tried to treat me good. But…he was unpredictable.” She looked at the soda can. I need another drink. “Even though he tried being godly and wanted to be good, I could occasionally see the bad in him.”


She lifted the soda again. This time, it was staying in her hand. She glanced back at Jenny. “Well, sometimes a bit of temper came through. Not at me, really, but at things not working the way he wanted, stuff like that. But, the bottom line is…yes, Ra’am had faults, but I was never treated this good by any other male, except my father. True, he wasn’t perfect. Yet I felt he was really trying.”

“That’s good.”

Taking a deep breath, Trenae looked down. “I guess…there was this invisible wall between us, for some reason. I wanted him to talk to me more, tell me more than he was. Maybe he knew I feared him, and just wanted to stay aloof. Or maybe he just wanted our friendship to stay more business like, like I simply worked for him and that was all.” She lifted her head.

“Like your boss.”

“Yes. Like my boss. A nice boss though, considering what’s out there. But anyway, at least I was safe and alive.”

Jenny stared intently. “Are you sure he didn’t make any sexual advances?”

Could Jenny sense underlying feelings from me? “Well, actually, something happened…nothing bad, but it happened in December, and I didn’t want to tell you yet.”

Jenny nodded her head, rolling her eyes up. “Sorry, I see.” She looked at Trenae. “So what kind of research did you do? Can you give some examples?”

“I was basically his helper.” Pausing, Trenae took another sip of the soda. Its bubbling lemon-lime eased her soul. “Like I would hold things for him- these bags or containers he would put specimens in. Or, I would bring items to him or back down into Ha-Ta, when Ha-Ta was near. Or try to control L.B. when he got out of hand, so Ra’am could get a hemoom prodoh mold of an animal.”

“Hemoom prodoh mold?”

“Yes, this was really cool.” She leaned forward, readying one hand to describe the details. “See, we would locate an animal and very carefully sneak up on it. And then when we were close enough, or Ra’am ran up quickly to get closer, he would shoot a huge amount of hemoom prodoh upon the animal and it would instantly stop the animal in its tracks. The hemoom prodoh would form about a ¼ to ½ inch thin cover of the substance all over the animal, except by the eyes and nose. Then, very quickly, the hemoom prodoh would capture an instant mold of everything about the animal- it’s DNA, organ structure, bone structure, brain composition…everything! And since the hemoom prodoh was still attached to the koaksekhel, once Ra’am had received everything he needed, he would instantly retract the stuff and it would go back into his koaksekhel. And the animal would go free and be completely unharmed!”

“Really? That is cool. But would the hemoom prodoh cover the animal’s face, so it couldn’t breathe?”

“No, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t cover the nose and eyes, like I said.”

“Sorry, yes, you did.”

  “No, that’s okay,” Trenae said. “Hemoom prodoh would leave an opening, as soon as it detected where the animal breathed, had eyesight. But Ra’am was very, very careful not to hurt any living thing. He really loved our animals, especially our mammals.”

“Why is that?’

“Well, you see, on Harkoav,” Trenae said, taking another soda sip, “the animals there are mostly insect-like, with a type of hard skinned exoskeleton, and they’re not very soft or cuddly. But our animals, especially the mammals, Ra’am became very fond of, because of their softness. One time, when we caught a mountain lion, Ra’am wanted to go up to it and touch the fur. He kept most of the hemoom prodoh on it, but allowed this area where he could feel the mountain lion’s fur for a moment. But then he backed away and let him go. The mountain lion roared a bit, but then ran away. So you see, Ra’am didn’t want to hurt any animal.”

“That’s good, really. What other animals did he capture?”

“He caught birds too. The hemoom prodoh would simply remain still, in the air, like a long stick, once the bird was caught as it flew. And then Ra’am would release it again. And we caught elk, deer, some fish even, black bears…and even a timber wolf once.”

“A wolf, really!”

“Yes, and let’s see,” she said, thinking. “A buffalo once, mice, other small animals like rockchucks, marmots, ground squirrels…lots of different animals.” 


Trenae touched her chin lightly and stared off toward the side, at the stairs. “But you know, there was one time when we had a pretty close call with an animal.” She looked back at Jenny. “You know how I fell, when those hunters were there?”

“Sure, you just told me a bit ago.”

She smiled at Jenny. “Well, I almost came close to that again, with a moose!”

“A moose? Those suckers get big!”

“Tell me about it! This guy did not want to run away…Did you know that the scientific name for the bull moose is Alces alces?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“One of my favorite names. But anyway, we captured a moose in a nice snow-covered clearing, up along side a mountain with lots of pine trees around. Ra’am caught him easily enough, but then, when he removed the hemoom prodoh, the moose turned around and started snorting at us. See, the thing is, the hemoom prodoh also produce a kind of tranquilizing effect on the animals too. But this moose didn’t seem to have received much of it, or had a high tolerance to it. Ra’am said at first maybe he should capture him again, but then the moose started to charge. Immediately, Ra’am stood in front of me, to protect me.”

“That was nice of him. He did seem to want to protect you.”

“Yes, that’s true. But the moose charged right at us. I expected to end up on the ground, because I had to back up or something, but Ra’am didn’t budge at all. He became this concrete wall between me and the moose. I couldn’t see everything that happened, but did see Ra’am stop the moose from coming my way. He told me later that he just took hold of both antlers, and then pushed the moose away. I think he pulled him back first a little, and then forced him forward. All I know, the next thing I saw was the moose sliding backwards on the snow, first on his hooves, then on his rump. Then he lay on his side for a moment.”

“Was he all right? And how could Ra’am do that? Don’t those animals weigh like 1 or 2 thousand pounds?”

“Yes, they can be around 1000 pounds, give or take some. This moose was 1056 pounds from the hemoom prodoh calculations. I guess that just shows again how strong Ra’am is!” She took another soda sip. “I mean, I’ve seen Ra’am pick up and move really huge rocks or boulders like they were hunks of Styrofoam! So this was nothing for him.

“But no, the moose wasn’t hurt at all. In fact, as soon as the moose acted disoriented on the ground, Ra’am quickly took hold of my hand and then encased us in this half bubble of hemoom prodoh, which moved with us, but did not touch the ground. Ra’am felt certain the moose would charge us again. And sure enough, as we were backing away, the bugger did. But it was really amazing…I mean, this clear shield was not touching us or touching the ground, just floating around us, yet it did not budge one little bit, even when the moose butted against it!”

“Really? Wow!” Jenny said with surprise. “That’s weird.”

“It was like the moose had hit a tree! And he charged us quite a few more times. Finally, Ra’am felt concerned the moose would hurt himself, so he programmed a mild electrical charge within the hemoom prodoh. The big guy finally left us.”

“Was it a male?”

“Yes, it was.”

“Hmm…And so, what other animals or plants?”

“Well, we checked out microscopic organisms, all the plant life Ra’am needed to check on that he hadn’t before he met me. And other things, like plant diseases or animal diseases. Ra’am would bring a lot of those organisms back on Ha-Ta, where he did experiments in his lab with them. One of them was the Spruce Beetle, a beetle which infects Spruce trees.”

“I’ve heard of it before.”

“And also, Ra’am seemed to be very interested in the symbiotic bacteria which lived in the root nodules of trees. Apparently, this was very significant for his planet, since the trees there did not have the bacteria in the trees, but in the soil instead. But during heavy rains or other natural environmental disasters on Harkoav, these bacteria could be washed away and thereby affect the trees. Only certain small plants, which grew by tree roots on Harkoav, could stop it.”

“Can you explain this? I don’t understand?”

Holding the soda can in one hand, Trenae again used her other hand, explaining details. “Well, you see, plants need nitrogen. But since nitrogen is inert, which means it has no real chemical activity by which the plants can absorb it, it needs something else to break it down, make it usable. So trees have this symbiotic bacteria, a bacteria that lives within its host. The symbiotic bacteria helps break down the nitrogen so it can be used by the tree or plant. This is called nitrogen fixation. But, I guess since the trees on Harkoav don’t have it, and it’s in the soil there instead, Ra’am became very interested in it. And actually, there were many, many things he was interested in, along that line. You know, with bacteria and viruses and microorganisms. That’s why he used the lab so much in the evenings.”

“Oh yeah, I understand now. That is pretty interesting.”

Trenae smiled, remembering something. “I used to hold the containers for Ra’am, as he would dig out a tree root section, with just his hands and--”

“Just his hands? No shovel?”

She laughed a little. “No, just his hands. But a lot of times, for some reason, L.B. would always come over and lick Ra’am’s face or try and play whenever Ra’am tried digging the tree. It got Ra’am a little mad sometimes, a little frustrated, but he always treated L.B. patiently.” She smiled again. “He loved that dog.”

Jenny took a deep breath and sat up straight for a moment. “Boy, I hope the pizza comes soon…So, did you go anywhere else? Or did you stay in Idaho?”

“Yes, we did!” Trenae answered excitedly. “We were mostly in Idaho, but we did travel all over the world, underground of course. But we only stayed in these places for very short time spans, like 15- 30 minutes. We went to the Amazon Rain Forest of few times, Antarctica once--”

“Antarctica? Was it cold?”

“Yes, extremely! Like I said, though, only there for some minutes. Ra’am took samples of microorganisms there. And let’s see…” She paused and thought for a moment. “We traveled around the U.S., like Washington State, Oregon, Nevada, and California again, Montana…and we also went to Canada a lot. And we went to Africa, some of Europe and Asia, and even Australia- Ra’am was very interested in marsupials. But mostly, we were around Idaho.”

“Wow, Africa and Australia, my dream places. Did you see kangaroos, lions, giraffes?”

“Yes, but Ra’am was more interested in the vegetation there. He had already taken hemoom prodoh mold samples of most of the exotic animals on the earth in the 9 years before me.”

“So, it was mostly Idaho then?”

“Yes, we mostly stayed nearby…Shoot, I almost forgot! See, Ra’am also took many soil and rock formation samples, like along mountainsides, and also underground soil samples, by using the hemoom prodoh as a tubular collector he would program to burrow into the ground. He said Harkoav was interested in obtaining further geological information of the terrain when those two mammoths appeared, millions of year ago. Plus, Harkoav wanted mineral samples too.”

“Yes, I suppose that makes sense. So, did Ra’am mention any more about God?”

“Well, like I said, he would tell me things from his bible, and yes, we did talk about God now and then. But he certainly didn’t overdo it…I mean, he mostly liked to talk about science stuff.” Trenae took another drink. “One thing he told me...Ra’am believed that somehow all the different versions of a one-God religion on earth, monotheism were connected, like differing monotheistic views on other planets. All were just different interpretations of God, from different prophets with different personalities and views, and it would be nice if we looked for the similarities, instead of the differences in each religion. Ra’am felt amazed at how many wars occurred on earth over this problem.”

“Yeah, I’ll say.”

“But, he understood, since Harkoav had religion problems. Not due to different religions on their planet, because most of Harkoav believed the same, but because of all the differences in one-God religions on all the other planets in the universe. Some of his people felt confused and lacked faith, like I told you. So, he understood how it could get complicated.”

“Hmm…Did he ever pray with you again?”

Trenae smiled. “Yes, he did. But mostly only at supper though, not every meal. Sometimes we were in a rush. But he did try to pray often.”

Jenny leaned forward a little, resting her arms on her knees. Trenae noticed a happier, calmer expression on her face. “That’s good, Trenae…Did he say it--”

Knock! Knock! Knock!

Trenae’s heart jumped. “Who is that?” she asked quickly.

Turning off the recorder, Jenny sat upright and formed a puzzled, yet calm expression. “Relax, it’s probably just the pizza guy.” She stood up and started toward the door. “Hold on, I’ll go check.”

Trenae stood up too and followed her. I don’t need any surprises, not now.

Jenny parted the curtain by the front window and looked on the porch. Trenae peered over her back, peeking too. Nope, only the pizza boy stood by the door.

“There, see? No bad guys,” Jenny said, looking back at her. She walked toward the door, but turned her head back. “I understand, though,” she whispered, “how you’re still worried. I’m not messing with you, okay?”

“No, I know, I know,” Trenae said, taking a quick shallow breath. “I just had to make sure.”

Jenny opened the door, paid the young man, and received the pizza. Hot steam and enticing aroma escaped from the red and white pizza box, circling through the living room as Jenny walked over to the coffee table. Once there, she placed the box on the table.

Trenae sat before the pizza, partaking of her own particular slices while Jenny did the same. Since they both were thirsty, Jenny went in the kitchen and grabbed a few more sodas too.


















                                                                      Chapter 10



            “Do you want to keep going this evening, or call it a night?” Jenny asked. They had both finished eating. A few more slices of pizza remained in the box, but Trenae couldn’t eat another bite. Nor could Jenny, it seemed.

Trenae thought for a moment. “Well it’s almost 5:30. Are you tired or have to do something else?”

“No, I’m fine. Believe me, if I didn’t want you to stay, I’d let you know. I’m not shy about expressing my opinion.”

“Yeah, I pretty much sensed that about you,” Trenae said quietly.

Jenny held her head up high, in exaggeration. “Yup, comes with the territory, at work.” She smiled and looked at Trenae. “So, do you wanta stay, or you wanta go?”

“I guess I can stay. I can tell you what happened in December, before Christmas, when we went to New York.”

“New York City?” Jenny asked, perplexed.


“What did Ra’am want to study there?”

“No, he didn’t want to go there…I did.”

“You did?”

“Yes. See, umm, I needed to get out, with people. I was really feeling cramped in and missing, well, some of my old lifestyle. Not at that strip club or Willson’s, definitely not that!”

Jenny smiled briefly.

“But, I missed when I use to go out with friends, do night clubs. You know, drink, listen to music. And especially to dance.”

“Oh sure, I understand.” Readying her note pad, Jenny turned the recorder on again. “But, before I forget, I want to ask you- did you ever see Stiles or Willson, or the others?”

“No. Ra’am never detected them again, during November and most of December. Of course, we weren’t there the whole time, but the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah showed no evidence of them too.”

“So, none in November and December…most of December. I see, there’s more ahead.”

Trenae smiled. “Yes, but you have to wait,” she said, shaking her finger a little. Jenny smiled.

“So, tell me about the trip to New York City.”

“Well, one Saturday night, before Christmas, December 16th , I had been watching TV on the khalon, and well, like I said, I just needed to get out. I had been thinking about my Aunt Heather again, and knew there was nothing I could do to change her situation- I needed something to change my thoughts. And also, I was kinda tired of always feeling inferior to Ra’am. Even though, in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t very Christian-like, to go out clubbing. I just needed to dance, do something I WAS good at.

“So…I went into the eyzkher tagleet, to see Ra’am.” She paused briefly. “Do you mind me using his language to describe things, or English?”

“No, it doesn’t matter. If I don’t remember the word, I’ll ask.”

 “Okay, that sounds good. But anyway, Ra’am was working on something, I’m not sure what.  I asked him would he mind if we went out. It was still rather early, like around 6:30 or 7:00, so I thought it wouldn’t be too late to ask.”

“And what did he say?”

“The first thing he asked- aren’t you worried about Stiles or some of his men seeing you? And I said yes, but that maybe we could go somewhere far away, to avoid them. And then he asked what I had in mind. I said New York City.”

“New York City, wow. Made a great recovery since 9-11, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, well, I wanted to see the new buildings there too. Plus I’d never been to New York before. Ra’am didn’t want to go, at first, but then he said I really did deserve to get out, since I had been helping him so much and had been a good companion. So, he finally agreed. And then he said it would also be a good time to demonstrate how he could miniaturize Ha-Ta, since he had never shown me before.”

“That’s incredible,” Jenny said enthusiastically. “I have to hear this.”

Trenae smiled, remembering a particular scene.  “Oh, Jenny, it was incredible…Ra’am very, very quickly raced around Ha-Ta, putting away the lab samples, clothes in both our rooms, valuables, and other organic or important items. L.B. barked at him while I just stood in awe. It was like he was Superman or something! I told him later, and he smiled, said he was aware of that superhero from earth’s information.”

“Yeah, come to think of it, there are a lot of parallels!”

Trenae giggled a little. Jenny smiled.

“But before he put everything away, we had to check on the Internet about what place to go to and what to wear. We decided on this place in Manhattan, not far from The Village. The place sounded pretty casual, since it had a dance floor on one floor, a bar and lounge above the dance floor, so you could watch the dancers, and then had a rock floor, on the lowest level, a third level, which had local bands play live.”

“Cool. So what clothes did they require to get in?”

“Well, no blue jeans for guys, but it did say okay for black baggy pants made of denim material, which Ra’am had a pair of, from Dod. And then for girls, they wanted rather dressy, so I decided to just wear the strapless green sparkly dress I met Ra’am in. It was weird. When I put it on, it brought back some very scary memories. But I forced myself to push them aside and try to keep happy. I had nothing else to wear! I never found a need to buy dresses at the mall.

“And Ra’am put on a black tee-shirt with a design on it, and then put this nice sort of dressy plaid, long-sleeve shirt over it, so he could hide his koaksekhel once his jacket was off. And I wore my black leather jacket, same one I wear at your house.”

“Yeah, I was wondering that!”

“You like it?”

“Yes, it’s nice.”

“Thank you. I like it too…but anyway.” Trenae looked down, turning her feet a little. “I had also bought some low-heeled shoes at the Billings mall, since they were on sale. They were sort of black pump things, with skinny heels.”

“Sounds nice.”

“Thanks.” She looked at Jenny. “They were definitely comfortable for dancing or walking in. I also put on some makeup, something I hadn’t done in awhile. I noticed Ra’am look at me closer, at first, but then he just treated me like usual…Ra’am programmed the taktselekh on Ha-Ta, so that it gave both of us photo ID cards. They came out of the memadgeemel.”

“Really, he could do that?”

“Oh yes, with the kleeproodah system called proodat t’notat e’tekh, which could replicate nearly anything. Within reason, I guess. Like the money for Dod.”

“Oh yeah. Awesome,” Jenny said.

“Sorry I didn’t tell you about it before.”

“Nah, no worry.” As with the other times, Jenny asked the spelling of the new word. She scribbled on the note pad, a note pad becoming quite filled with new words.

“After Ra’am had put everything that could not be miniaturized into the storage cylinders, we were ready to go. We headed east, to New York. And on the way, we also had to check on the Internet for available kennels for L.B.”

“Ah-ha, of course. L.B.! I was beginning to wonder if Ra’am left him in one of those cylinders.”

Trenae laughed a little. “No, not his precious pet. He would never do that. He loved that dog too much. But he seemed to care for me too, so I could see he was willing to always compromise to make us both happy. So we found this place, called Karen’s Kennels in a small town, Sparta, New Jersey, that could take dogs on short notice for a few hours.”

“They actually have that?”

“Yes, they do! Really interesting. Ra’am called up the place from Ha-Ta, and talked to the lady through a kleeproodah system which controls sound, so I could hear them too…you know, in Ha-Ta’s interior, like a speaker phone?”


“It made me laugh inside, since this woman,” Trenae said, smiling, “had absolutely no idea who she was talking to. Or from where he was! But, she seemed nice and said we could bring L.B. by that night. So, we did.

“But…there was a problem. The kennel was on a side country road, out in the woods.”

“You’re kidding.” Amusement brightened Jenny’s face. “New Jersey has woods?”

 Trenae smiled. “Yes, believe it or not! And quiet dense woods, actually, I guess in some spots, like by this kennel. And so, the only place Ra’am could find for us to come above was in the woods, nearby. He tried hard to find a spot away from too many tree roots, not to kill the roots. Ra’am had a leash, to connect to L.B.’s collar, so it wouldn’t be a problem getting L.B. there. We just worried what the woman would think, since we had no car and very few other homes were in the area.”

“You mean, like how you walked L.B. there from a far distance?”

“Yes. But, the kennel lady didn’t seem to notice. She didn’t even seem to care much about Ra’am’s height. She just seemed happy to take L.B. She put him in a nice, clean and warm kennel. Ra’am seemed pleased with the place.”

“You know, I have to ask. Was Ra’am in disguise?”

“Oh yes, absolutely! Otherwise, that poor woman would have been totally freaking!”

Jenny laughed a little.

“And so we left. We casually walked down the kennel’s long driveway toward the main road, and I mean long driveway. When we neared the road, we walked down it a bit and went into the woods again.” Trenae inhaled a deep breath; many upsetting details lay ahead. “Eventually, we got back on Ha-Ta and left for New York City…



…Trenae sat back in her chair and leaned into it comfortably. She looked to her left at Ra’am, who, now sitting, began pressing buttons on the shleetah maksheer.

“Are you sure you still want to do this?” she asked cautiously.

“Yes, I am sure. As I already said, you deserve to go out. You have helped me greatly. I want you to have fun. And as long as you stay near me, you will be safe.”

 “Well, okay.” She studied his face; he seemed content. “Thank you again…for taking me. I hope you have fun too.”

“It will be interesting. And educational, that is for sure.”

She smiled. She looked down at the tiny brown leather purse, only 4 or 5 inches wide on her lap. The purse’s long thin strap, probably 2 feet long from the purse’s edges to the looped ends, curled up like a thin brown snake on top of her green dress. “I’m sure glad Dod bought this purse for me. I’m rather lost without one.” She lifted her head and looked at Ra’am again. “It’s just the way we are, earth females, that is.”

He gazed over at her and looked at her purse. “I understand.”

She studied his eyes, yet only briefly. He stared too intensely. Even after living and working around him for over a month and a half, she still could not completely relax in his presence. Yet she had learned coping skills; when his stare pierced intensely, she would simply look away, preventing his eyes from hurting her and then skillfully speak appropriate words to help them both feel more comfortable. She noticed too that using humor worked rather well. But, only sometimes.

“So, umm, do you think L.B., will be all right?” She looked back up at him again.

Ra’am stared at the khalon. “Yes, he will be fine. But I do not want to leave him there too long. Two hours, at the most.” He looked at her. “Will that be all right with you?”

“Oh, sure. Two hours is fine.” She swallowed secretly. “On Harkoav, do they have dancing?”

“Yes.” He leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms, yet staring at her. “But only for married couples and only on rare occasions throughout the year. We also do have music. Music is very important in our churches, and many will join together to sing. We also enjoy listening to music while we work, since it can often help alleviate stress and repetitiveness, and make the day seem brighter.” He smiled at her.

She smiled back. “You must have listened to our music, here…what kind of music do you like?”

“You mean what genre of music?”

She gave him a sideways glance. “Yeah, I guess.”

He turned away, apparently thinking. “I like Rock, Country, and Classical the best, although even these forms of music cannot compare to my world’s music.”

“Well, I already figured that.” She smiled again.

He looked at her.

“But which of those three,” she asked, “do you like the best?”

“Probably Rock, although I do not always like the lyrics the songs have. I am looking forward to viewing a band, live, on stage. It will be a definite learning experience for me.”

“Yeah, me too. I haven’t seen a stage performance in a while.” She lowered her head and gazed at her purse. Darkness suddenly spread through her mind, as she realized her life would never be the same again. Everything she knew from the past, or had experienced from the past was becoming a distant, unreachable memory, thanks to Willson.

“What is your favorite type of music?” Ra’am asked, his words spoken gently.                             

He seems concerned for me. She lifted her head and looked his way.  “Well, basically, I like what I like…I mean, it doesn’t matter what kind or music or what genre, just the song itself. Sometimes I like a group or singer too, but mostly it’s just the song itself. But I like more older stuff, like Tonic, the Gin Blossoms. And Journey, even though they’re way older. Heck, what girl couldn’t like Journey.”

“Why is that?”

“Because their songs…their songs speak of love and relationships, that sort of thing.” She tried swallowing in secret, but couldn’t. He noticed. Change the subject! “I also like Jewel, a woman singer, because she came from a poor background, like me. And I like other female singers who try to make an important point or message in their music. Or other older music from different eras, like from the 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s. But I like some rock, rap, some country, and even some classical. It just depends on the song. I also like dance music a lot.”

Ra’am continued staring at her, not saying a word.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” she said. “I do have one favorite song.”

“What is that?” he asked. His deep, commanding voice made her uneasy now.

“It’s called ‘Sara’, by Fleetwood Mac, another older group.”

“Why do you like this song?”

She smiled and looked down. “I’m not sure, really. I guess it brings back good memories, from happier times, when my father was still alive. And the words are nice.”

“I understand.”

She looked at him. “Do you think you can dance, to some fast dance music…maybe even with me?”

“We will see. It depends on the circumstances.”

“Circumstances?” she asked sweetly.

“Yes. Whether there are questionable people around, how crowded the dance floor is, whether they even let us in the nightclub. My main concern is still to protect you.”

She studied his face. For a brief moment, she searched his eyes, his mouth, his other facial features. Sometimes, like now, she still couldn’t believe all this was happening. How could I be with him? And why does he want to help me? Yet his face didn’t appear to be lying. Nevertheless, she felt confused, but acted polite. “Thank you, Ra’am. I’m glad you’ll be with me. Believe me, very glad.” She turned away, looking down. From her eye’s corner, she saw him lean forward and run his hands over the control panel. Pattering sounds entered her ears.

“It looks like we are here,” he said. “Right now, we are passing under the Hudson River and traveling beneath Manhattan. And…it appears just as I assumed.”

She quickly lifted her head. A 3-dimensional map above the memadgeemel displayed the lower levels of Manhattan. All the street names were intact, and places of interest as well, such as Central Park. Ra’am programmed the map to increase and decrease in size as he searched.

“Assumed what?”

“There are far too many obstacles, such as subway tunnels, sewer and water pipelines, electrical, phone, and cable lines- and even steam and natural gas lines. We will have to enter the surface from a different location of New York City, or try Central Park, and probably walk or take New York City mass transit systems to arrive at the club.”

Trenae leaned back in her seat and sighed. “Oh…oh, well. Do you want to just go back?”

“No, we do not need to. Unless you want to”

“I, really would like to go,” she said, looking at him. “But if we have to walk, and we’re exposed to the areas, could you shield us from, say, someone shooting a stray bullet in our direction?”

“Yes, that is no problem. But people walk around this city all the time and are unprotected.”

She sensed a slight challenge from him of her overt sensitivity. “Yes, but they don’t have you with them,” she said sweetly.

“True, they do not. I can produce a protective shield.”

“You can, really? With hemoom prodoh?”


“But can we still walk all right?”

Ra’am turned and smiled at her. “Yes, I will show you. And believe me, if you have any doubt about Harkoav’s technology, you will not after tonight.”

“Oh really,” she said, smiling at him. “You’re gonna impress me again?’

“I hope to. But you can let me know.” Reaching forward and pressing a button, Ra’am enlarged the 3D image. She turned toward it. “Here, in Central Park,” he said. “There is an area in the northern portion of the park, with good tree cover, not appearing to have too many underground obstacles.”

“You know, I’ve never been to New York. This is kind of exciting!” She studied the map image, drawing closer to the shleetah maksheer.

“I am going to place us in a wooded area, with few buildings and pedestrians nearby. It is a relatively quiet and motionless area.”

Her mouth and throat felt dry. She swallowed again. “Yeah, and hopefully pretty safe.”

“But you are with me,” he said, pressing some buttons on the shleetah maksheer.  Eventually, he ceased his motion. “There, we are in position.” He looked at her. She had been watching his every move. “All I have to do now is put on the hemoom prodoh camouflage and we can go.”

“Okay,” she said softly.

Lifting her purse and standing up, she simultaneously observed Ra’am’s skin change again, as he had done before their visit to the kennel. A handsome, tall human being stood before once more. Like usual, the shfoferet yedet tied his hair back in a thick tail, though his hair strands now appeared as human hair in braids. He dove his arms through the long sleeve shirt, covering his koaksekhel, and then put on his black jacket.

He walked toward the delet tekrah. Trenae followed him. While they walked, she watched the ceiling open up, creating the familiar hemoom prodoh disk and tunnel, a transparent tubular elevator shaft.

Ra’am stepped on first, but then took her right hand, gently tugging her on with him.

Traveling to the above ground, he remained eerily quiet. She only held his hand and tried to remain calm.

They arrived, darkness enveloping them. Ra’am stepped on New York soil first, then Trenae. Looking up, she noticed leafless trees surrounding their exit portal, producing dark, scary silhouettes pitted against an orangey, reddish-tinged night sky. She looked down. There had obviously been no snow of late, for the ground appeared dry, covered with old leaves. But with the dark, details were sketchy.

Though the trees shocked malevolence, with her gaze scanning around, she quickly took relief from the lack of any people close by.


She looked up at him. Ra’am’s stare aimed behind her.

“Can you tell me what you see, a light, through the trees?” he asked.

She turned around. She did as he requested, squinting and noticing a distant light through the scary, dark tree arms. Actually, it was lights, not just one light that surrounded some sort of building. Sounds of Ra’am moving behind her, doing something took a bit of her concentration away.

A sudden bright flash stunned her eyes. “Ouch,” she said, shutting her eyes, flinging her left hand over her eyes, covering them. Blue blotches remained after her eyelids shut, brightening her eyelid’s darkness, blinding her.

She felt Ra’am take the purse from her right hand, in place grasping her hand firmly. “Are you all right?” he asked.

She opened her eyes. “No, I can’t see well,” she said, blue brightness impeding her vision. “What…what just happened?” She tightened her grip around his hand, steadying her balance.

“You observed a bright blue light?” he asked.

She looked up at him, deciphering a few of his facial features in the darkness, though the blue brightness took predominance. “What the heck just happened?”

“I apologize for the light flash.” His tone was sincere. “But it is a surprise. I will tell and show you later, when we are ready to enter Ha-Ta once more. The brightness in your eyes will subside shortly.”

Clinging to his hand, she smiled at him. The blue brightness was beginning to subside. “Oh, I know. This has something to do with Ha-Ta’s miniaturization, right?”

He handed her purse to her. “Yes, you are right,” he said. “We need to walk through the trees and either toward Fifth Avenue or Central Park West. Are you ready to do so now?”

She looked down, taking one step. The low heel of her shoe sunk into the soft, unfrozen soil, crackling and crushing dried leaves. As long as Ra’am holds my hand, she figured, I should be able to walk all right. Little light illuminated the area, so her steps would have to glide carefully over the ground.

Ra’am stood still, waiting for her response. She looped her purse’s thin, long strap over her head, then on her left shoulder and across her chest, so the strap went between her breasts. There, that should keep it in place. She looked up at him, still holding his hand. “Sure, I can walk okay now. As long as you hold my hand.”

He began leading them forward. “That is no problem.”

She blinked her eyes, trying to make the remaining blue blotches disappear. She remembered something. “Ra’am, what about that shield, for any bullets?”

They walked toward some lights.

“Yes, you are right,” he said. “Stop for a moment.”

She did, in the midst of several muggy-scented dark trees.

            He released her hand. Ra’am quickly removed his jacket and handed it to her. He began rolling up the sleeve up on his right arm. She watched intently, as the koaksekhel’s kaleidoscope circle opened wide. A fine lighted mist flowed from the opening, spreading outward. Though barely perceivable, the mist revealed a dotting of extremely tiny light blue particles. The particles instantly surrounded them, her gaze turning and scanning their immediate area. She glanced up, seeing the particles floated even above Ra’am. The particles seemed to hover about 12 inches away from every point on their bodies.

“Here, let me have my jacket back,” he said. She handed it to him. “The blue color is a temporary indicator of the shield’s presence. It will soon disappear.”

While Ra’am placed his jacket back on, she noticed that the blue particles moved forward or backwards with him, maintaining the same distance from their subject. “That’s different,” she said.

“All right,” he said, once his jacket was on. He held out his left hand. “We can now walk.”

She gently slid her small hand in his enormous grasp. Ra’am tightened his hand, and led them forward again.

“At least it’s not too cold out,” she said, walking with him. “It feels like it’s in the 40’s or 50’s.”

“It is 48 degrees tonight, here. Fairly typical of New York City winter weather. But your hand is cold. Is that leather jacket enough for you?”

“I think so. But we should be in a taxi soon, right?”

“Yes, that is true.”

They stepped between the dark trees and toward a walkway farther down from their ground entrance. She felt in awe again, at how reassuring Ra’am’s hand felt; the top surface of his skin felt smooth, even a little soft, yet directly below resided his powerful tendons, his geed’aso, gripping around every single cell of her hand, their indomitable presence known with a silent roar. However, though her hand felt safe in his grasp, she knew at any moment if Ra’am so desired, he could destroy her hand with one brisk squeeze. She knew his strength well now; there was no doubt. And there lay the marvelous reassurance for her. Yes, he could hurt, severely, if he wanted to, this alien from another planet. Or, he could protect, immensely. And he chose to protect, and protect her now. He had even protected me from the bright light, she realized, of whatever he did with Ha-Ta. As they continued walking, holding hands, she realized he existed as a unique study in contrast and irony.

Just as Ra’am had foretold, the tiny blue particles had vanished. She could no longer see any evidence of the shield surrounding them. She could freely move her left arm without its presence. “What if someone tried to grab us, or mug us,” she said. “Would this shield stop that?”

“No, this particular shield is designed to prevent combustible explosions, as from a bullet. But as I have told you before, as long as you are near me, no one can hurt you…physically, anyway. I cannot stop verbal assaults. Although, I can try.”

She looked up at him and smiled. “Verbal, huh. Is that your Achilles heel?”

“Possibly,” he said, glancing down at her.

She held his hand tighter. “Well, I’ll try not to let anyone bother you, okay?”

“Thank you, Trenae,” he said. He turned and faced forward, seeming distracted, unaffected by her words of comfort.

They neared an asphalt pedestrian path. Old fashioned-looking street lamps, with tall, thin, dark bodies and brightened white heads, situated themselves at varying intervals along the walkway and brought a stark contrast against the dark. Crooked, snaking tree limbs became less frightening, since fewer trees nestled near the park’s walkway, allowing a clearer opening for the light from the street lamps.

The opening also provided, for the first time, a view of New York’s tall buildings, dotted with lighted windows and hovering high and proud above the trees of the park, displaying insignificance toward any tiny beings dawdling within the park.

She felt goose bumps speckle her body. “I can’t believe I’m in New York! I always wanted to come here,” she said excitedly, in a low tone. She didn’t want to sound too obvious.

“I am happy for you,” he said. “But I do not understand something.”

“What is it, Ra’am?” They now stepped on the pedestrian path, her shoes clanging a muffled, crunching noise.

“If you desire this city so greatly, then why did you not choose from the many other offerings it has- like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is very close now, or a Broadway musical or Madison Square Garden? Or the Empire State Building or a visit to the Times Square area? Or other museums and major attractions?” He looked down at her.

She stared up at his eyes, thinking. “Well, most of those places are probably closed now. And yes, they would be nice to see too. But…I just kinda came up with this idea at the spur of the moment, to go to a nightclub, something I’ve done before and am familiar with, and thought of New York.” She looked straight ahead; his eyes stared quite intense tonight. “Heck, it’s far enough away from Willson, I’m guessing, to most likely not have any of those idiots around…so…”

“But now that we are here, why not do some shopping, like in Greenwich Village? Or maybe we could go to a restaurant together.”

For some reason, she suddenly felt giggly and silly; she giggled a little, while yet holding Ra’am’s hand, their steps continuing. “Oh, come on. First of all, what about money for buying things. And secondly, you won’t eat earth food, except if it is raw, and mostly vegetarian. So, how would that work?” She looked up at him.

He avoided her curious gaze and stared straight ahead. “I am sure there are raw food restaurants around. In fact, there are, as I now check the proodat t’notat taktselekh’s databases. And secondly,” he said, looking down at her and smiling, “I do have a lot of money with me, in my pants pocket.”

“You do? Why didn’t you tell me…well, stupid me.” She looked down. “How else would we get in- the cover charge, at least, and never mind the other--”

Ra’am squeezed her hand, ceasing her words. Puzzled, she looked up at him. He looked upset. “I thought you would not demean yourself anymore,” he said.

“Oh, sorry.” She glanced away. He lessened the tightness on her hand.

“So, is that acceptable? Would you like either one of my suggestions?’

Taking a deep breath of the cool, yet slightly exhaust-filled New York air, she thought again. His ideas sounded okay, but maybe a bit too intimate. Somehow, he seemed different tonight; and it was a ‘different’ she didn’t want to encounter alone, or at least not in the presence of just a few people. Besides, she needed to dance, show her stuff. “No, I’d rather go to the club we chose. It’s not too large a place, and you can listen to rock, and we can dance too.” She looked up at him again. “Please, don’t you want to?”

“It is up to you,” he said, his tone emotionless.

“Well, we could still go back to Idaho, if you want to.”

“No, I want you to have fun. But I must warn you…whether we go back or stay, I am still with you.”

What the heck did he mean by that? She shot her gaze up at him, yet quickly regretted it. An intense stare burned in his eyes. He MUST know my thoughts. She turned her eyes down toward the walkway; a shiver surged through her body. Something shouted run, yank your hand from his grasp, run like lightning to the nearest policeman or group of people! But she couldn’t. What’s wrong with me, what’s going on?

She lifted her head, but kept her eyes straight ahead. Though desiring to ask the true meaning of his words, she felt much too intimidated. Instead, she wondered for something else. “Which way are we heading?”

“Toward Fifth Avenue. I determined it would be the fastest route, since we are heading toward the Greenwich Village and East Village area.”

“Oh it’s…what, south of here?”

“The club we chose? Yes, it is.”

“Are we almost there, to Fifth Avenue?”


Within Ra’am’s grasp, sweat oozed from her hand. “So, how big is this park?” she asked.

“843 acres.”

“Oh, is that all? I thought it would be a lot bigger…just kidding.” She looked up at him. “That’s a large chunk of land!”

He looked down and gave a warm smile. “I suppose it is fitting for one of the largest cities on earth.”

“Yes, I think you’re right.” Phew, I feel a little better now, she thought. Maybe he just had a bad memory or something.

They began to talk less and observe more, Ra’am behaving less intimidating. He let go of her hand a few times, since he felt its wetness and wanted her to allow it to dry.

They walked onward. Their intended destination led them along curving pedestrian trails that infrequently crossed regular park streets and several small, quaint bridges. An occasional nighttime jogger, couple, or group of friends would pass by them. And every time, each person would look up, if only for a quick, secret gawk at the tall being holding her hand. It made Trenae feel proud, yet also reminded her of whom she was with, and how dramatic his presence.

Eventually, she could make out an area of the nighttime park, to her right, surrounded by rows of leafless hedges. The closer they walked, a garden appeared past the hedges. Although still under dim lighting, she could see some kind of central fountain, surrounded by four identical garden sections of winter-crisp plants.

“What is that place?” she asked. They walked past it, heading east.

“It is the Central Park Conservatory garden. We are seeing the north garden, or French garden. There are three distinct and separate gardens in the whole 6-acre area, but we are only seeing the French one. The fountain in the center is the Untemyer Fountain, or Walter Schott’s Three Maidens Dancing. It depicts three women dancing while wearing wet dresses.”

“It does?” She chuckled a little. “Gosh, you sure know a lot.”

“You would too, if you had continuous access to computer systems through your brain. I wonder sometimes, how much is knowledge that I have acquired on my own, and how much is knowledge I am given.”

“Well, however you get it, it sure comes in handy. I mean, you know more about earth than the people living here.” She looked up at him. He gazed straight ahead. She lowered her eyes again. Sounds of the cars, trucks, and buses rushing by entered her ears, calming her confusion.

They continued following the curved pedestrian path along the garden until they were finally viewing tall buildings before them. She tilted her head back, up, way up. It was Fifth Avenue.

Once on the sidewalk, Ra’am led her to the right. On their right side, or the sidewalk’s west side, lay Central Park; to their left or east side, lay the bustling city street. Now, motions and smells accompanied the sounds of the vehicles too. Various streaks of colored cars, especially yellow cars, lighted by streetlights and other vehicles, zipped pass them while they walked southward. The vehicle’s hurried noise and frantic movement startled Trenae’s system. Quiet, peaceful surroundings of the Idaho wilderness- that’s what I’m more accustomed to, she figured.

“Wow, this is loud,” she yelled up to Ra’am.

He leaned down slightly, closer to her level. “Yes, I can hear you,” he said loudly. “We are not used to this, are we?”

Still holding her right hand, Ra’am drew them closer to the right side of the sidewalk, farther away from the street. Besides all the noise, he must feel I’m safer over here, since my position is closer to Fifth Avenue. She knew he needed access to the koaksekhel on his right arm, as his left hand held her right hand.

“I guess we should try to get a taxi,” she called up to him.

The vehicles appeared to be slowing down. A small traffic jam started developing.

“Do you want me to signal for a taxi?” Ra’am asked, the vehicle noise quieting down.

“I don’t know. I guess we could both try. I’ll try first, though.” She stopped walking and looked up at him, remembering something. Ra’am tugged her forward a little at first, but then stopped and turned. “Come here,” she said, motioning her left hand. Ra’am leaned down closer. “What about that shield we have on? Do we still need it, I mean, if we get in a cab?” She darted her gaze down the street, observing many pedestrians coming their way.

Ra’am released her hand. She looked down, observing him lift the sleeve of his jacket, nearest his right wrist, and hold it up for just a few seconds. She felt an odd, static-like flow of air circle around her while briefly witnessing a few tiny blue particles sweep under his jacket sleeve.

“There,” he said. “The shield only surrounds you now.”

“Oh…well, good idea.” She looked up at him. “Wish me luck.” I can’t believe I’m doing this, she thought. “I’m gonna stand closer to the curb.” She walked away from him.

“Trenae, wait.” 

She spun around. “What is it?”

“There is a taxi stand, where taxis congregate, not too far from here,” he said. “We just need to keep walking.”

“Yeah, but in case you haven’t noticed, there have been lots of these taxis driving by. I’m sure I can get one to notice. It’ll be a lot quicker, don’t you think?”

“Yes, but be careful.”

For some reason, she just felt a human should do this. She caught glimpse of a yellow taxi heading toward her. All the cars were heading south, since Fifth Avenue obviously functioned as a one-way street by Central Park. Because of this, she could easily see the yellow taxi heading her way, down the lane closest to the sidewalk’s edge. The light on the taxi’s roof was lit. “Ra’am…is it, is it free?” she asked, calling back to him. Yet she kept her eyes on the taxi.

“Yes, it is,” he called out.

Carefully, she stepped her black, low-heeled shoes to the curb’s edge. Closer, closer, the taxi approached. She lifted her right arm, waving her hand from side to side. “TAXI! TAXI! OVER HERE!” she yelled. “WE NEED A RIDE!” 

Laughter filled her ears. She turned right, south, toward the laughter’s direction. About 20 feet away, a young guy, maybe about her age, having spiked blond and red hair and wearing a black leather jacket, walked with a short brunette woman. They both stared at her, laughing. She meekly lowered her arm and turned around, looking at Ra’am. He stood about five feet behind her. Although Ra’am didn’t look at the two rude people, he stood very still, his arms folded across his chest, staring only at her. She looked back at the man and woman.  Not only did they still laugh but now they also shook their heads in a comical manner, the woman even pointing at Trenae.

She turned back toward the street. The taxi apparently had seen her and was now slowing down near the curb. Relief flowed through her- she could now avoid the man and woman’s laughing and sneering.

Yet as the taxi came to a halt in front of her, she had to turn around, to find Ra’am. She turned and looked back. She saw that Ra’am had turned to look down at the man and woman, the two just walking past him. His arms remained crossed over his chest. Although she couldn’t see Ra’am’s precise expression, one look at the leather-clad guy gave her all the answers; the man’s happy, mischievous face darkened into an austere, spineless demeanor. He coughed, covered his mouth, and lowered his head. The woman beside him shoved her hands in her jacket pockets and lowered her head too. And Ra’am hadn’t spoken one word to them.

After a few seconds, the two miscreants had passed by them completely. Now just some older men and women who moved and talked not too far down the southern sidewalk came into view. There didn’t appear to be anyone heading in her or Ra’am’s direction from the north. The sidewalk again seemed tame.

Trenae hurried to the cab and opened the back passenger door. “Hi there,” she said, smiling.

“Just two?” asked the driver, an older man.

“Yes, my friend and I.” She turned around to get Ra’am. Yet she quickly realized they could have a small dilemma, looking up at his face. She turned back to the cab driver. “Umm, can I ask you something? My friend, he’s over 7 feet tall. Will he fit in here?”

“Trenae, do not worry,” Ra’am said. She looked back. “I can squeeze in there.” He stepped closer and placed his hand on the top of the open door.

“Yeah miss, don’t worry,” said the driver. “I’ve had a couple of tall basketball players in here. He’ll fit.”

She stood upright and looked at Ra’am. “Do you want to get in first then?”

“Hey, I’m kinda holding up traffic here,” the driver said. “Can you guys hurry up?”

Ra’am gently took Trenae by the shoulders and moved her backwards. “You are right,” he said, “let me get in first.”

After moving around her, Ra’am bent his head down low and entered the cab.  He practically crawled on his hands and knees across the back seat, finally positioning himself on the far left seat, by the window. His knees were bent at an angle, positioned more toward her side of the seat.

But he reached toward the door with his right hand. “Trenae, come in,” he said. Urgency sounded in his voice, appeared in his eyes. Does he really care that much? Quickly remembering the impatient cab driver, she took his hand and pulled her body in, slamming the cab’s door behind her.

Once sitting, she felt a swirl of air pass around her. She looked at Ra’am. He had raised his jacket’s sleeve with his left hand. Oh, that shield. Fortunately, the driver didn’t seem to notice.

Not waiting a second, the taxi sped into traffic. “Where to?” the driver asked. “And if you could give a close intersecting street, that would be even better.”

Ra’am released her hand and leaned forward, stating the precise address, with a nearby side street and even the complete name of the nightclub.

Ra’am sat back.

“So, what was their problem?” she asked. Trying to get more comfortable, she removed the long, thin strap from around her body, placing the small purse in her lap. She zippered up her leather jacket and adjusted it, so it wouldn’t jumble and fold around her body.

“Are you referring to the man and woman who laughed at you?” Ra’am asked, his voice rather loud.

She placed her hands on her purse and stared up at her tall friend. Within the short, tight confines of the taxicab, not only did Ra’am’s voice boom, but his large appearance devastated.

“Yes,” she said quietly. She hoped the cab driver wasn’t listening.

“It is not necessary to holler or wave your arm for a taxi,” Ra’am said. “Simply standing still and raising one’s arm is sufficient.”

“You got that right,” the driver said. “We don’t need much…as long as you pay us, of course.”

Trenae laughed a little, for the driver’s benefit, but then became serious. “Well, I wished you had told me,” she said to Ra’am.

“You are right. I should have.”

Well, no one said he was perfect. She looked out the window on her right. “I can’t believe we’re in New York,” she said quietly.

“This city is known to be special, at least from what I have learned,” Ra’am said. “Somewhat aggressive and unpredictable. I assume I would fit in well here, do you think?”

She looked at him. Fortunately, he smiled. Nevertheless, his words disturbed her. “Yeah, I guess you would,” she said softly. She turned to her right again.

Regrettably, no tall buildings displayed themselves in the view out the window. All she could see was the east side of Central Park, their drive heading south on Fifth Avenue. The night’s darkness didn’t help much too. What she could see was a scattering of pedestrians, moving along the sidewalk, and many of the trees bordering the park. But when she looked straight ahead, hundreds of red-lighted vehicles, viewed from their tale ends, and myriads of Christmas decorations in the form of lights, colors, and decorated Christmas trees brightened the view. And soon, she could see, to her right and through the trees, a large body of water within the park.

“What’s that lake?” she asked Ra’am.

“The Central Park Reservoir.”

She turned left. Ra’am had just turned away from his window, and now looked in her eyes. “Once we past the park, you will see more of the city,” he said.

She clasped her hands together and smiled at him. “I can’t wait to see more of the tall buildings. I’ve never been around really tall ones.”

“You will see some, although most of them are in the downtown area.”

“Well, I’ll take what I can,” she said cheerfully. She turned and looked out her window, placing both hands on her purse.

The taxi began weaving in and out of many traffic lanes, stopping often to accommodate for stalled traffic at intersections. Trenae just continued absorbing all of the scenery, regardless of the taxi’s situation, busying herself with knowing and wondering about a city she had never been to before. Obviously, Ra’am was right again; she observed many museums and places of interest, which she had regrettably avoided. Places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art that passed by her on the right, residing in Central Park. If only to announce to others, in the future, that she had once been there, a visit to this museum would have been worth the effort. But she had made a decision and a goal already. And the goal was to dance and hear music, and not much else.

Finally, the last section of Central Park passed away from them.

Gazing up or forward, she noticed they appeared to have now embarked into the true concrete jungle, where trees grew scarce and towering steel, glass, and cement buildings ruled the Manhattan Island. She had to arch and contort her head in many different angles, to see up and out the window at each building’s great height. Again, however, she noticed how Christmas had temporarily overtaken the concrete jungle, all its bright greens, reds, and whites, and faux Santas, and store windows filled with Christmas ornaments. Cheer and goodwill flowed from every corner and every street, producing positive, uplifting feelings.

If only the two people who had laughed at her, before entering the cab, had felt the same. Oh well.

Her thoughts became entrenched with enjoying the Christmas spirit and tall buildings of New York City, forgetting her other problems. She faced toward her window, mesmerized.

Something crinkled and tickled by her head, breaking her concentration. A light touch smoothed her hair, flowing down its length. She jolted slightly, forgetting where she was. She turned left. Ra’am’s hand was near her cheek.

He lowered his hand from near her face and placed it on her left hand. He lifted her hand up from her purse, soon resting their clasped hands on the seat next to his legs. She smiled and stared down at their hands together. Oh, he’s just being nice.  No, wait. The way he began wrapping his fingers around her hand, caressing her hand tightly, proved far from usual. Her smile disappeared.

Slowly, she lifted her gaze, turning to see his face. Ra’am’s eyes stared through her with an intensity she had never seen before, scorching, delving ruthlessly. Even though his eyes appeared human now with the hemoom prodoh shield disguising them, she quickly envisioned how much worse they must be without the shield, as they would appear dark, piercing, and unforgiving. His eyes continuing their glare, she noticed his upper eyelids lower, his gaze now scanning her body. Then he raised his eyelids, directing his piercing stare through her again. Her skin crawled, suddenly feeling she sat in the limo again, with Stiles, Willson, and Traferro, their deadly glares crushing her. An undetectable shiver cut up her spine and it wasn’t Ra’am’s calming touch. She was scared.

His gaze continued burning with frightful intensity, at the same time he squeezed, then embraced her hand. She could feel his grip tighten and loosen, first feeling her fingers and then carefully moving his touch across her palm. Then he would completely encase and capture her hand, holding it close for many seconds. Although his grasp wasn’t hurting her, the pressure he exuded felt troubling.

Long seconds past. He began moving his large hand away from her palm and fingers, across her wrist, and onto her forearm, over her jacket’s sleeve. Panic sneaked around, circling her.

She looked down. His dagger glare hurt too much. She could see his grasp slinking, inching up her forearm. “Ra’am,” she whispered, “why are you doing this?” Don’t dare look back at him. Just watch his hand!

She waited for an answer, but silence came. He tightened and loosened his grip on her thin forearm, still inching his hand toward her upper body. She suddenly felt very weak. Her breaths increased. Oh come on, I’m beyond fearing Ra’am, right? No, I’m not. The helpless feeling she used to experience, prior to either Willson or Stiles’ assault upon her body, took her again. Trenae felt herself leaving her body, floating away. Why was Ra’am doing this?

That strange, jabbing, aching sensation, when their bodies had been close before, like her first night on Ha-Ta and after the earth’s core trip, tortured her abdomen.  She placed her right hand over her stomach and closed her eyes, moaning quietly, quickly realizing she still was very much in touch with herself. Just remove his hand, get him away! Yet she couldn’t; her will was paralyzed. She couldn’t even lift her head. Helpless. Weak. Water seeped from her eyes. Was the cab driver watching this?

After more hour-long seconds, something broke in her soul. Trenae finally realized the inevitable; she had lost. Trying to explain Ra’am’s behavior or finding a way to stop or prevent it was futile. And she realized something else. The first night on Ha-Ta, when Ra’am held her close and she felt the caring and warmth of his arms and body, embracing her tightly, she would have allowed him to do anything to her. She was wrong; this was not like the horrible experiences of Willson or Stiles. If Ra’am wanted her now, so what? Why fight this?

With lingering motion, she opened her eyes and lifted her head, slowly looking into his stare again. Though Ra’am’s eyes no longer burned and even seemed a little concerned, his stare yet frightened her. She began trembling more noticeably, but forced herself to gaze into his eyes. She allowed her body to lean back, pressing against the seat. Ra’am moved his hand down from her forearm, once she leaned back, his palm and fingertips gliding firmly across the top of her jacket’s sleeve. He soon tightened his fingers around her small left hand.

Can he see the tears in my eyes? But she continued to stare up at him, as no other choice existed. Nothing else remained but surrendering to whatever it was he wanted from her. I don’t care anymore, she thought. She leaned her head back against the seat, giving him the demeanor of someone he could have entirely, devour completely. Not a challenge, but a plea. Though her heart raced, her breathing now slowed, causing her eyelids to weaken. She gazed up at him through half-opened eyes. She could feel her lips part; her lips were wet.

Ra’am began leaning down, his motion slow, closer to her, his grasp continuing to embrace her hand firmly, warmly. She tried responding back to him, gripping his hand too; she found she couldn’t. Ra’am’s hand had tightened and secured her hand into submission. All she could do was struggle to stare deeply into his eyes, her eyelids growing ever weaker.  

Please, take me in your arms, she thought, hug me tightly. Please, this is overwhelming me, please, please. I need your comfort, your reassurance, even though you are the one causing this to me. 

But then Ra’am paused his motion, only sitting quiet, staring. He started backing away. Before long, he sat upright against his side of the seat. His eyes lost their intense glare, softening, becoming more normal. She was losing her potential comforter and the closeness he could give her, even if it occurred with fear in her heart. No, please don’t leave me, not now.

But it was too late; the secure grip of his hand loosened.

Ra’am looked down, away from her. “I am sorry, Trenae,” he said quietly, his deep, powerful voice gently surrounding. He began removing his hand.

She grabbed his hand, halting his motion. “But…why?” she asked softly. “You want something from me. I can see it in your eyes, how you touched me…what is it?”

“You…you are my friend.” He looked back at her. His eyes stared far less frightening now. “I just…needed to touch you, that is all.”

“Then why don’t you just hug me?” she pleaded quietly.

She yet held his hand gently. Ra’am looked down and turned his head toward the window. He seemed embarrassed and ashamed. “I cannot…right now,” he said. “I am sorry. We can still hold hands though.” He slipped his fingers around her hand, embracing her hand warmly. He placed their hands together on the seat, his gaze still aiming out the window.

She looked at him. He’s not being totally honest with me. Yet she could not pry him further. In reality, she didn’t really want to know the facts. Though, true, she feared him less now than when she first met him, more than a month and a half ago, this incident raised some concern, some further fear. But what bothered her even more was that she could no longer rationalize or battle this fear. The battle was gone, entirely, and she could not stop the fear from entering her mind and doing whatever it wanted. Only Ra’am could save her from his own presence and the fear he instilled, only he could. Although she shuddered to believe it, her body and soul lay in his hands now, and whatever he desired of her, she could never prevent. And suddenly, though she endured the violence and atrocities of Hegemony Hovel, utterly helpless to fight those evil men and their heartless deeds, her lost battle against Ra’am made her feel more vulnerable and helpless than ever before.

His grasp continued sealing their hands.

The great desire to observe New York’s tall buildings had been squashed. Instead, she could only look at Ra’am. He either stared downward or looked out the window. She quickly felt compassion and concern for her unpredictable friend. A strong yearning to embrace him and help him with whatever struggle he was dealing with entered her heart. But then she remembered the last time, when she tried to be close to him, after the earth’s core, when she kissed him and held him. He coldly refused her and spoke those odd words. Nope, not trying that again.

So what is his malfunction? She continued to stare at him.

Ra’am turned his head and looked at her. “Why do you keep staring at me?” he asked gently.

She couldn’t turn away, mesmerized by his eyes. “I don’t know. I keep wondering…what you are thinking.”

Ra’am released his hand from her hand. He placed his hand on her left shoulder. She melted into his touch, wanting it to last forever. “I am all right, really,” he said. A slight smile warmed his face. “We have almost arrived at the night club.”

He gently let go of her shoulder, turning to look back out his window. Her heart sank, but she also felt some relief. He placed his hand on his lap, next to his other hand. Good, stay there. But even so, for a moment, she wanted to seize his hand back and hold their hands together for hours. No, cancel that impulse. Remember, he’s an alien Trenae!

Their journey through New York kept its trail southward on Fifth Avenue. More and more large buildings began to materialize in her view. She watched the lighted, Christmas-adorned buildings pass by in the nighttime air, trying hard to get her mind off Ra’am and their strange incident.

A hand pressed her left knee. She looked down. The touch was only for a moment, maybe an attention getter, since Ra’am quickly took his hand away. “Look, there is the Empire State Building,” he said. She lifted her gaze to see his face. He looked straight ahead, up, and to the right slightly.

Following his path of vision, she saw it too. “Oh my gosh, yeah! It’s so tall! And it’s red and green on top!”

“You two definitely must be from outta town,” the driver said. “They do that every year, for the holidays.”

Trenae leaned forward, closer to the driver. “Oh, thank you. I didn’t know.”

“He is right,” Ra’am said. She leaned back and looked at Ra’am. “They do,” he said.

Continuing on Fifth Avenue, the cab driver informed them of other interesting tidbits about New York until their trail led them onto the famous Broadway. Trenae watched eagerly out her window. She allowed Ra’am to continue the conversation with the driver. Amazingly, it was nearly impossible to tell it was evening, as light from the buildings and advertisement billboards illuminated the city with incredible brightness. Incredible likewise, numerous people walked on the sidewalks, even at this late hour of the day.

Before long they headed east, off Broadway, toward the East Village and the Lower East Side of New York City, Ra’am and the driver keeping her informed. The height and size of the buildings began diminishing. She also noticed large areas of graffiti on walls and other structures or objects. And the streets became narrower and had fewer pedestrians.

Ra’am’s conversation with the driver ended.

“I want to thank you again, really,” she said, turning toward Ra’am. “I am very grateful for you taking me here.”

He looked at her. “I told you, Trenae, you deserve this, for all the help you have given me.”

“Well, thanks again…but, I hope we know what we’re getting into now. I’m kind of nervous. How about you?”

“No, not nervous, but very curious.” He smiled a little. “And I hope you are not going to make me dance.”

She smiled back at him. “But of course I will!”

After several more minutes, the cab driver announced they were on the nightclub’s street. It appeared a rather quiet street, not too much traffic. Both sides of the apparently one-way street were lined with parked cars.

But up ahead, Trenae could see their nightclub. She quickly wondered how the driver would let them out, with all the parked vehicles in front of the place. However then she could see a fire hydrant directly in front of the club, right by the curb. A sign near it stated ‘no parking’.

As she anticipated, the taxi driver stopped in front of the fire hydrant.

“Okay, we’re here,” the driver said. “Have fun.”

“Go ahead, Trenae, you can get out,” Ra’am said. “But wait for me by the door.”

Doing as he requested, she opened her door. She took her purse and stepped first on the road, then hopped upon the sidewalk. There, before her, about 15 or 20 people stood in a line. She instantly felt a little embarrassed by their stares. They were all lined up against a dark, brick wall, to the right of the club’s entrance.

She turned back toward the cab. Ra’am was maneuvering his large frame from the taxi’s interior. Once he stood outside, he turned around and leaned back inside the cab, handing the driver something.

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…”

She lifted her head up and looked down the street, from whence the sound came. Again, as on Fifth Avenue, but in a smaller, less dramatized way, Christmas decorations adorned the area. Obviously, someone wanted music in the air too. She found herself being lifted, then floating, flying from the sounds, smells, and ambience all around her; she forgot about the people in line. Christmas music brought back fond memories. Where was she again?


Her thoughts fell to earth. She turned and looked up. Ra’am towered over her.

“Yes?” she asked.       

“We need to stand by the wall, in line. All right?”


Ra’am gently placed his hands on her shoulders and led her toward the line. She once more welcomed, melted into his strong, kind touch. Shortly though, he let go of her. They now stood behind the other people in line, against the dark, brick wall.

She leaned her back against the wall. Pounding vibration from the music inside entered her body.

She looked up at Ra’am. He stood so human-like, with his hands in his pockets and his head turned away from both her and the people in line, looking to her left, down the street. His proud and aloof, yet keenly aware attitude made him seem like both a New Yorker and a regular, strong male human, all in one fell swoop. She again felt very proud and fortunate to be in his regal presence.

Lowering her head and looking forward, she noticed that a man in front of her, in line, accompanied by two women was gawking up at Ra’am. He appeared about 5’10” and wore a brown leather jacket, similar to Ra’am’s jacket, only varying in color and material. His hair was black and short, his skin rather pale, and his eyes big and bulging.

“Excuse me,” the man said to Ra’am. She looked up at Ra’am too. Ra’am shot his gaze down at the man. “Wow, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help…” the man said carefully. “Are you a basketball or football player, one of those wrestlers?”

“No, I am not.”

“What do you do then, for a living?” the man asked, now appearing uncomfortable.

Trenae suddenly became a little worried. Realizing Ra’am didn’t want to lie, due to his closeness with God, the wrong answer could cause some trouble.

“I am a scientist, primarily an astro-biologist,” Ra’am calmly answered. Good response, she thought.

A smiled lighted the man’s face. “Really, you mean like a scientist who studies life on other planets?”

Ra’am kept his hands in his pockets. “Yes, that is right.”

The line then began moving forward slightly and the man and the two women, she and Ra’am too, followed along.

When the line stopped, the man turned around again and looked up at Ra’am. “How do you do something like that,” he asked. “Get samples from other planets, I mean?”

Trenae noticed the two women stared up at Ra’am now too, giving him smiles. Both of them appeared young and pretty, with attractive short haircuts. Yet that was unimportant; she again worried about the man’s new question.

“We examine samples of bio-matter, which our probes pick up and return to us,” Ra’am answered. Again, she felt relieved. And again, he really didn’t lie.

“You mean NASA?” the man asked excitedly. “You work for NASA!?”

More worry hit. Her stomach flipped and knotted.

“No,” Ra’am said. “I do not work for NASA, but an independent agency of the military.”

Then all three people, the two women and the man, exclaimed either “cool” or “awesome,” nearly in unison.

“Wow, you mean like a secret agency?” the man asked. He developed a funny, serious expression. “You’re not supposed to be talking about this, then, are you?”

Ra’am smiled at them. Fortunately, his teeth looked white. He didn’t appear the slightest bit concerned or distressed. “No, probably not,” he said. “But I try to be as honest as I can, to a point.”

“Yeah, honesty is good, sometimes,” the man said. The two women laughed a little.

The man looked at Trenae. “Hey, you’re a pretty fortunate gal to have this guy for a friend. He must be incredibly smart!”

Trenae smiled, from under a few loose hair strands hanging by her face. “Yes, he is very smart. I’ve learned so much from him.”

Again, the line moved more. It became apparent that they were finally nearing the entrance.

“Don’t worry,” the man said, walking and looking back at them. “They don’t pick those they want or don’t want here. They just need to make sure there’s enough room for everyone to fit in, and that you’re okay.”

“Oh, okay,” Trenae told the man. “Thank you.”

“Well, nice talking with you two,” the man said. He began entering through the doorway. His two female friends had already entered the club. “Have fun, and have a great holiday season!” he called back.

Trenae thanked the nice man, as did Ra’am.

She turned around and looked up, smiling at Ra’am. She wanted to talk to him about the questions and his answers, but not now.

They neared the doorway. She quickly noticed a man standing on the left, just inside the entrance. The man, an African-American stood tall and powerful. He was obviously one of the club’s bouncers.

Actually, the doorway entered into a small, dark foyer, with the club apparently residing beyond the foyer and the bouncer, through another door. As Ra’am lingered a little behind her, she felt he wanted her to enter first. She walked in.

“Is he with you?” the bouncer asked.

Sneaking a quick gander at his body, she noticed the light colored tee shirt the bouncer wore revealed some very large, muscular arms. Definitely not someone to mess with. “Yes, he is,” she answered, looking in the bouncer’s face.

“Can I see your ID?” he asked.

She quickly lifted her purse, opened it, and plunged her hand in, searching for the ID. She found it. Ra’am had made the New York State driver’s license perfect in everyway. So, she wasn’t worried. She handed it to the bouncer.

He eyed it for a moment and then gave it back to her. “You’re okay.” He looked up at Ra’am. “And what about you, big guy?”

She walked forward, into the foyer, a foyer larger and roomier than it appeared from the street, and turned around to see Ra’am. He began handing his ID to the bouncer.

The bouncer received it and carefully studied it. He looked up at Ra’am, handing the ID back. “Twenty dollar cover charge for the two of you,” the bouncer said.

Ra’am handed him a twenty-dollar bill.

“Okay, you guys can go in,” the bouncer said.

Ra’am began passing the bouncer, heading toward her. She stood a little beyond the bouncer and watched Ra’am walk toward her. Her eyes widened. Damn, Ra’am’s about 6 to 8 inches taller than the bouncer is!

Without warning, the bouncer plunged his hand toward Ra’am, grabbing Ra’am’s upper left arm. What? She felt stunned. Ra’am’s eyes pointed straight ahead, yet in quick motion not humanly possible, he whipped his right hand around, cutting the air with a crisp sound, and seized the bounder’s wrist. No!

The bouncer nearly lost his lower jaw, dropping it open so fast. Whites colored his eyes, bulging out of his head. He stared straight up at Ra’am’s profile. Even so, the bouncer still clung to Ra’am’s arm. “Hey, uh, sorry, but I don’t want any trouble from you tonight,” the bouncer said. “Comprende?”

Trenae quickly assumed the bouncer did this often when big, menacing-looking men entered their club, judging from his tone of voice. But this time, it backfired.

Ra’am swung his head, again too humanly fast. He stared straight down into the man’s face with severe intensity. The bouncer’s eyes became even wider and he developed a puzzled, troubled expression. Secretly, Trenae searched outside, to see if anyone else had been watching the two beings. It appeared only the few people behind them in line, who had showed up during their conversation with the man and two women, could see what was going on. She hoped Ra’am realized what he was doing, and what he had already done.

“I will not cause you any trouble,” Ra’am said. A stalemate between the two male beings seemed to have occurred, both beings locking their original grasps in place.

Ra’am commenced to end it. Slowly, effortlessly, he began removing the man’s hand from his arm. But the bouncer appeared to fight it, his muscles struggling, resembling arm wrestling. Yet Ra’am’s arm remained perfectly relaxed. She realized this was unnecessary and probably against the club’s protocol, but the bouncer no longer acted as the club’s employee; he did this out of his own pride and interest in a challenge.

The bouncer lost.

“Hey, let go of me!” the bouncer said.

Ra’am yanked his hand free. He peacefully brought both his arms to rest against his side, standing relaxed and tranquil.

“Should that not have been my line?” Ra’am told the bouncer. He gave the man a sly grin

“Yeah, you’re a wise guy, huh? What are you, some extreme body builder or something?” the bouncer said, feeling his own wrist. “I’ve never felt muscle strands like that before.”

“And hopefully, you never will again,” Ra’am said. “May I go in now with my friend?”

Ra’am adjusted his jacket. The bouncer stared at him in awe, still holding his own wrist.

“Yeah, but there better be no trouble,” the bouncer answered.

“I already gave you my answer.”

“Yeah, go on…go ahead.”

Watching Ra’am come forward, Trenae noticed the bouncer appeared confused, worried, and suspicious. Great, our time at this club is probably going to be short-lived.

She turned around and opened the door. Like a strong swoop of wind, loud music rushed toward her.

She looked back up at Ra’am, giving him a smile. He smiled back. The only way they could talk now was by yelling into each other’s ears.

Walking farther inside, a happy feeling blanketed her, erasing Ra’am’s troubling bouncer encounter. Blue, red, purple, and orange lights flashed ahead of her on the open dance floor. Many people danced and moved about, bringing back good memories.

“Can I take your jackets?” someone shouted. She turned left. A pretty woman walked toward them, her arms outstretched.

Should she or shouldn’t she? Nah, Trenae thought, I’ll remain covered up.  No point in having her breasts attract attention now. “Thanks, but, I’m cold,” she yelled back at the woman. She looked up to see Ra’am’s opinion.

He didn’t speak a word, but merely smiled at the woman and shook his head, signaling ‘no’. Well done, she thought.

The song playing as they entered the club finished. Another one started right away. In a flash, she recognized the song’s beginning; it was ‘The Rhythm of the Night’, by Corona, one of her favorite older dance songs.

She grabbed both of Ra’am’s hands. “Come on, I LOVE this song,” she spoke loudly, looking up at him. “Please, come on the dance floor…please?” She could feel a little resistance from him, his arms pulling back a bit.

Ra’am leaned down. “Right now?” he asked. His voice thundered in her ear. He appeared a little confused and disoriented.

“Yes, come on.”

Placing herself on Ra’am’s side, she took his left hand with her right and led him down the few steps onto the dance floor. She could see the man and two women they met earlier, up ahead a ways. They waved, and she waved back and smiled.

She searched for a clear spot for Ra’am and her. Quickly, she spotted one, not far from the steps and on the right. She led her tall friend toward it.

At first, Trenae simply placed Ra’am in one spot, in front of her. Then she backed up a little to allow space between them, yet still face him. Slinging her long, thin purse strap over her body, like when she walked in Central Park, she started swaying slowly to the music. She closed her eyes to feel the rhythm, remembering how she used to dance to the song. Gradually, she found a playful, near jog to get going with. She moved her hips slightly, but mostly used her arms and shoulders to flow with the music.

She opened her eyes and looked up at Ra’am. He moved slightly, using mostly his shoulders, his arms too, and a little of his hips. But he stared deeply into her eyes. She felt a little uncomfortable and lowered her gaze, watching just his body and his hips. Even though he wasn’t very demonstrative in his movement, she quickly noticed he could feel the beat quite well.

After watching him a short time, she closed her eyes again, lifted her chin up, and smiled. She really felt the music now, swaying her hips even more. Freedom from shyness rapidly overcame her, just like when she stripped-dance on stage for a while. However, her former strip club memories she pushed away, remembering only the times she went out with friends.

Either way, dance music had a way of really overpowering her inhibitions. With each beat that went by, she became more and more an aggressive, confident dancer. She smiled more and began to make complete turns with her body, opening her eyes and watching all around her as she turned. Her mind worked like crazy, inventing new ways to dance during the song. And she was very successful.

This was her arena, her area of the world where Ra’am couldn’t dominate with his knowledge or prestige. She felt incredibly free. Yet she couldn’t forget he moved in front of her. Although often keeping her eyes closed to feel the music and beat, she still gave him an occasional glance. Each time she glanced up at him, he was staring directly back at her. His motion became a little looser and more natural, but still not overt. She would look at him as long as she could, smiling, but then eventually look away or close her eyes, returning her mind to her own dancing.

Before long, excess heat layered around her. Trying not to lose her rhythm or motion, she quickly removed her jacket and small purse. Where do I put them now? Ra’am held his hands out, politely taking them for her. That’s a nice surprise. She looked up at him and smiled, continuing to dance.

With her jacket and purse gone, she felt too free; she began sliding her hands over the sides of her hips and thighs, in a highly sensual motion sure to attract attention. Leaning her head back or to the side, hair flowing around, she then began circling her hands over her lower abdomen, even seductively groping between her upper legs, all the while sashaying her hips from side to side with the music. She even began gliding her hands over her breasts, caressing them briefly, seductively. She looked up at Ra’am, giving a sexy, daring gaze. She quickly sensed he didn’t appreciate her behavior. Feeling unusually brave, she smiled back at him, ignoring his displeasure. Hey, this is payback bud, for the way you went at me in the taxi. Enjoy it!

Boldness overtook her, forcing her erotic behavior to continue. She glided her fingertips around her waist, down her back, cupping her buttocks, then smoothing around her hips, all while yet moving sexily to the music. Her gaze caught motion; she noticed Ra’am now looked away from her, instead scanning around the room. Wondering, she turned her head too. Not far away and all around were the stares of countless men, gawking like drooling wolves all over her body. But she didn’t care. She closed her eyes, smiled, laughed a little, and kept going.

Ra’am took hold of her right hand. She opened her eyes and looked at her grasped hand. She looked up at him. He smiled at her. This was strange; he hadn’t been smiling until now. He slung her jacket and small purse over his right forearm. Still moving to the music, Ra’am placed his other hand, his right hand, on her middle left side, wrapping his fingers securely around most of her small waist. Not certain what he was up to, she nevertheless adjusted her body and danced with him. She smiled at him and swayed back and forth, her right hand melding into his warm hand, while his other hand secured the side of her waist.

Ra’am began sliding his hand completely around her lower back, pulling her closer, although some air still lay between them. Trenae felt a tinge of worry, but quickly got over it and continued to dance.

She began swaying her hips very sexually again, wanting to entice him, drive him desirous. A sudden, strange jolt shot into her lower back, shooting a mild, entwining pain down her legs.

“Ow,” she said.

Her legs lost their feeling. She could barely stand or move, falling against Ra’am’s lower chest. For the briefest moment, laying her face against him, she could feel him tighten his arm around her back and hold her close.

Ra’am slipped his right arm under her arm and began leading them away. She could feel the flat, silver hardness of the koaksekhel beneath his jacket. His other hand still held her right hand. Whatever he’s doing now, it doesn’t matter- the song she liked was now ending, another song mixing in with the former. Fortunately, the new song began softly, so they could hear each other, if speaking.

Terror quickly entombed her; her legs were barely cooperating. She still couldn’t feel her feet or lower legs, although her upper thighs had some feeling. She looked up at his face.

“Ra’am, what did you do to me?”

“Can you walk on your own?” He spoke normally, with the lower music.

Is he crazy? Fearful, she stared into his eyes. “No, Ra’am, please, I can’t feel me feet!” Her words came quiet, urgent.

Ra’am pulled her closer. “Do not worry,” he said. “There are some booths over there. I will take you to them.”

Walking slowly, keeping his arm secured under her left arm, Ra’am was able to bring Trenae along, even though her feet proved useless. He made her legs move, somehow, with his motion and balance. Startling. Regardless, she kept her gaze down, unable to look at the other people in the club. I’m sure they can see something is wrong. This is so embarrassing!

They made it to an empty booth. Trenae lifted her gaze. Some people sat in the booth to the right of their potential seats, but they ignored her. She took a deep breath. Ra’am laid both her jacket and purse on the table.

“Here, let me get in first,” he said. Releasing his arm, he turned slightly and took hold of her right hand. He slid across the seat first, the right seat as they faced the booth, and gently pulled her after him.

Holding the table for balance, she moved onto the seat with him.

Ra’am glided his arm around her bare shoulders and pulled her next to him. Her eyes widened, her heart pounded. She stared down at the table. “Are you all right now?” he asked. His words rumbled into her right ear. Of course, he’s leaning down, close to my head. The music began raising its tempo and volume.

Slowly, she lifted her head and turned. He face loomed so close now, his stare piercing into her eyes. Wanting to turn away from him, somehow though, she couldn’t. She gently cast her gaze all over his features, searching for some meaning in his conduct. How handsome he is, her heart avowed. As before in the taxi, she felt her lips part again, involuntarily. Her lips felt dry.

She ran her wet tongue over her lips, closing her mouth a little at the same time. “Yeah, I’m okay…I think, now,” she said, searching his face yet avoiding steady eye contact. “What did you do to me?”

Then she looked into his eyes.

“I gave you the calming touch. When you are relaxed and not experiencing stress, it can nearly bring you to an unconscious state.” His gaze stared mercilessly. Slowly, he lowered his eyes, staring longingly at her lips.

No, this is too much for me. I have to get out of here! My legs feel better now, anyway. She turned and looked down at the table. Her breathing increased. Her body trembled slightly, and she knew he could feel it, his arm still lying gently across her hair and bare shoulder. Unlike earlier in the taxi, she didn’t melt into his caress. “I’m thirsty,” she said. “Can I have some money?” She continued staring at the table.

Ra’am slid his arm from her shoulder, his motion taking too long. He brought his arm down, next to her right side, and began digging his hand into his pocket. After a few seconds, he brought up a wad of bills and placed them on the table.

“Damn, you really did come prepared!” she said. “What are those, all twenties?”

Ra’am sorted, unfolded the bills. Finally, he handed her three twenties.

She quickly seized the money. Then again, this was no compensation; she needed the truth. “So why did you do it, give me the calming touch?” she asked coldly, looking in his face.

“You are a good dancer Trenae, very good. But when you dance like that, you are asking for trouble. I felt it was in our best interests to stop you.”

She looked down again, counting the money. Though she wanted to thank him for his compliment, her mind wouldn’t allow it; she felt slightly irritated with him.

“Besides, I want to go below, to the rock floor,” Ra’am said. “Hopefully, we can hear a live band. Certainly something I have never seen or heard before.”

“Yeah, but, I kinda wanted to dance more.” She still ignored his face.

“We can come back, later. We just arrived here.”

She looked at him again. He was smiling, happiness cheering his face. A certain innocence flowed from his demeanor. Well, she figured, why not. After all, he brought me here. “Okay. Let’s go now.”

“Are your legs able to stand?” Ra’am asked.

His concern felt comforting. “Yes, I believe so. Let me stand up.”

She removed herself from the seat and stood by the table’s side. Right away, her legs really did seem normal again. She looked at Ra’am and told him so.

Picking up her purse, she felt a cool breeze from somewhere, chilling her body. She laid the purse back down on the table and lifted her black leather jacket and put it on, yet leaving it unzipped, allowing both jacket sides to move freely.

Music crackled much louder again, as she walked from the booth. Ra’am followed her. Roaring, clanging sound waves banged again and again on her eardrums, paining them. It had obviously been awhile since Fontel’s.

Ra’am took her right hand and led them both on the dance floor. Once there, he led them up the few steps to the entrance area. He searched a bit, and then led them down a darkened short hallway leading to the club’s main stairs. They ventured in that direction, eventually having Ra’am politely escort her down winding stairs.

Soon, yet holding hands, they arrived at the bottom floor. Directly to their left and across a broad and dark area resided the rock floor’s stage. Several young guys moved around the stage, either placing large objects on the floor or carrying musical instruments to different locations, clearly just preparing to play. Quietness dominated this floor, though the music and vibration from the dance floor above boomed through a bit.

“Over here,” Ra’am said, leading her. “I see several booths.”

When they arrived in front of an empty booth, Ra’am gently released her hand and gallantly motioned for her to take the first seat. Trenae did as he desired and moved across the seat to the wall. She expected him to sit next to her again, but he didn’t. He sat across from her. Her heart sank again. Remember, he’s an alien.

“Maybe it will not be long before they play,” he said.

“Yes, umm…do you mind if I go to the bar, and buy a drink?”

“No, but try not to use too much of this money. The serial numbers and other items on the bills can cause suspicion to those with experience in counterfeit money. It is best, if you only buy here one or two times. So, combine your desires in one or two trips.”

“My desires?” she asked, smiling. “You mean, you don’t want me to get drunk on ya, right?”

Ra’am leaned forward on his arms and gave a penetrating stare, though he smiled. “That would be nice. But I am not drinking, so I can take care of you, if you get too inebriated.”

Yeah, I’m sure you will. Take advantage of me, that’s what. She drew a deep breath and looked at the money in her hand again. With care, she placed the money in her purse. “Okay, I’ll be right back.” She lifted her head and looked at him. Then she turned to her left and scanned around the large room. “I’ll be at that bar, over there.” She pointed over the table, beyond Ra’am.

He turned around and then stared back at her. “All right, I will watch you. Be cautious of anyone staring at you or following you.”

She felt a little frisky again. Standing up, she adjusted her purse provocatively over her shoulder, giving him a sly gaze. “Oh, you mean like you?” She made sure to speak with a touch of humor.

Ra’am smiled at her, though giving a steely stare.

Okay, I’m out of here. She turned, leaving him. She ambled her way through the empty floor area, presumably a rock dance floor, and surveyed the room. Unlike the people on the dance floor, most of the people on this level appeared a little older and seemed more interested in just sitting in the booths. But a few wild looking guys and gals appeared here and there, periodically letting out quick yells and inappropriate shouts, maybe tired of waiting for the band. However, she didn’t notice anyone who seemed suspicious. Trying to occupy her mind, she attempted to guess the colors of the room, during daylight hours. Now, the walls just displayed dismal blacks, reds, and purples, with the occasional wood tones on the trim, bar stools and table booths. Nope, it’s probably ugly during the day too.

After buying a beer at the bar, she walked back to Ra’am. Just as she approached their table, the band gave a talking introduction over the microphone. It was loud. She suddenly desired a quiet place to think.

She leaned over on Ra’am’s side of the booth, placing her beer glass on her side of the table. She moved close to his right ear. “I need to use the bathroom,” she said loudly.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“No, I think I’ll be all right. You watch the band.”

Backing away from him, she noticed concern on his face. For all his faults and troubling surprises, she again sensed that he truly cared for her. But, right now, she just had to leave him.

A waitress near the stairs pointed her toward the bathroom, on the main floor, near a hallway behind the dance floor booths. Clutching her tiny purse, she jogged up the stairs and eventually found her destination.

After using one of the bathroom stalls, she walked over to the sink. The ladies’ room was awash with pink, white, and purple paints and designs. If it hadn’t been for all the graffiti plastered everywhere, she actually could like this restroom. Pink and purple were her favorite colors, so similar to rainbow colors. She loved rainbows.

She washed her hands. Stepping over to grab some paper towels, she heard someone leave one of the stalls and walk over to the sinks behind her.

“Excuse me, can I ask you something?”

Trenae grabbed a few papers and turned around. There was a girl, a little younger than herself, wearing a revealing, short red dress and platform shoes. She had long brown hair and a ton of makeup.

“Hi,” Trenae answered, wiping her hands. “What did you want to ask me?”

“That really big, tall guy you’re with. Is he your boyfriend?” The brown haired woman began brushing her hair. But she kept her eyes on Trenae.

“Well, no, not really. Just a friend, I guess…why?”

“My friend and I, she’s in the stall, were wondering if we could talk with him. It’s because my friend and I have this thing for tall guys. We adore basketball players.”

“Oh, really,” Trenae said quietly. She looked down at her purse. What an odd request.

“Yeah, it’s our thing. So, how bout’ it? Would you mind if we join you two?”

Trenae lifted her head, hearing footsteps. Another girl approached, a little taller than Trenae, who looked quite beautiful, with long, whitish-blond hair. She had a nice dress too, yet not much makeup.

She looked at the two of them. The blond-haired girl smiled nicely at her, while the other girl simply begged quietly and eagerly with her make-up laden countenance. “Well, I’m not going to be around him for awhile,” Trenae said. “I’m going upstairs, to the bar, so…if you want, I guess it’s all right. He’s downstairs, listening to the band.”

“Thanks so much!” the brown-haired girl said excitedly, smiling.

“Yeah, thank you. That’s nice of you,” the blond girl said. “Don’t worry, we just want to flirt with him a bit. You can still go home with him.”

Yeah, good luck, she thought. And don’t be surprised if he scares the crap out of you! She wanted to warn them, she really did; but her body felt too tired. “Well, maybe I’ll see you guys later,” Trenae said, shrugging. She walked toward the door. “Bye.”

Once out the door, she hurried to the stairs. Now I really need to be alone. Was I supposed to have acted jealous over that?

Her mind began to wonder; was it a lack of courage, or an overflow of kindness? Sometimes, she could never be sure about herself.

Walking up the stairs, she soon arrived on the third floor.

The club’s Web site didn’t lie; the lounge on the third floor, with its U-shaped balcony overlooking the dance floor below presented a stunning view. Several people were lined up along the edge of the wooden balcony, farther down left from where she arrived. Trenae rushed straight ahead, at the U’s bottom, leaned over the balcony’s side, and watched the view below too.

After a moment, she turned left and headed for the bar along the far wall. She had to move between many unused small tables and chairs, until an opening materialized between the tables and the bar. She scanned the bar. 

She found a comfortable and quiet spot along the bar, without any strangers nearby and climbed up on the tall wooden chair. She placed her purse on the counter and looked inside for the folded bills.

Waiting for the bartender, she turned around. Diagonally to her right, across the expanse of the small tables and chairs, many soft, comfortable dark blue sofa seats, of varying lengths and sizes situated themselves next to the balcony. The several people she had seen by the balcony, leaning over its side, now instead sat on the blue seats. Though the seats looked far more comfortable than the hard bar stool, she needed peaceful solitary now.

“What can I get fer ya?”

She turned toward the bar. A male bartender stood before her, behind the counter. He was big. In fact, he wasn’t far off in size from the bouncer’s size.

“I’ll have a Strawberry Dawn, if you have it,” she said. She hoped to drink it slowly, not allow the alcohol to catch up with her sensibilities too rapidly.

“Sure, I can make one,” said the bartender. “Be right back.”

He left her alone.

While he made her drink nearby, she noticed a large woven basket filled with many red ribbon-clad wine bottles, sitting across from her, on the bartender’s counter. A smaller basket filled with little stuffed animals sat next to the other basket. Leaning on the counter and looking closer, she could discern a golden-colored dog in the basket of animals. “Excuse me,” she said to the bartender. “Could I ask you something?”

Stopping what he was doing, the bartender returned.

“Those little animals there,” she asked. “Are they for sale?”

“Yes, ma’am. Would you like to buy one?”

“Yes, actually. Could you give me that little golden dog?”

The bartender turned and retrieved it for her. Placing it in her hands, eureka! It is a small, stuffed golden retriever! The small stuffed dog, molded into a standing position, measured only about 4 inches long by 4 inches high. It also had a tiny red ribbon around its neck. She fell in love with it. “Thank you,” she said. “And are those wine bottles for sale too?”

“Yes, they are. They’re bottles of Beaumet Champagne. We have them as Christmas gifts.”

“How much are they?” she asked.

“40 bucks. And the dog is 5 bucks.”

“Can I pay for them here?”

“Yes ma’am. And you can pay for the drink now, if you like.”

After counting the money, she handed it to him. The bartender gave the correct change and handed the champagne bottle to her. He walked away.

She glanced toward both ends of the long, curved bar counter. Only one lone man, to her right and way at the end sat at the entire bar. She sat more toward the left end, but not exactly at the left end, by her lonesome.

A few minutes passed by. The bartender walked toward her, holding a glass. “There ya go,” he said, clanging it on the counter. He turned around and busied himself with other activities.

She took a slow sip of the drink. It had been quite awhile since she had tasted such pleasure.

Done with an ample sip, she put the glass back on the counter. She looked at the champagne bottle on her left. Lifting the little golden retriever, she placed the small, stuffed dog next to the bottle, giving herself some room and allowing a better view of the little dog. She smiled at it.

A dark shroud circled and covered her temporary happiness. What on earth was going on with Ra’am tonight? Laying her arms crosswise on the counter, she looked down, her long hair falling onto her arms. She began to think deeply. Okay, so his behavior was unusual. He definitely seemed like he wanted her; no other explanation existed for the looks he gave her, his body language. Ahhh, what am I thinking? He’s an alien. Nothing he does could be human. She inhaled a deep breath and tried to relax.

I need another sip. She took a large mouthful and placed the glass back down.

But worse yet, I had to go and dance like some sort of slut right in front of him! What was I doing? And he’s taking me home- heck, I live with him!

And what was that bright light, after they entered Central Park? Did Ra’am do something terrible with Ha-Ta that he needed to hide from her? Of course, he did say he would miniaturize Ha-Ta. But when? Where? He had supplied few details.

Another troubling thought entered her mind. Why hadn’t she noticed any cute guys tonight at this club?  It had not even occurred to her, until now. Of course, maybe Willson and Stiles had permanently scarred her in that area.

Her hand trembled slightly as she took another sip. And of course, she thought, to top off the night’s current events, I’m now drinking and about to get drunk. The two girls in the bathroom entered her mind. Maybe they could entertain Ra’am, keep him busy, with whatever. “Hmm,” she said aloud, softly. Yeah, I’m not jealous. Or otherwise, I would have said something to prevent those girls…from…whatever.

She lifted her head, looked straight ahead, and sighed.

Finally, she decided there was only one thing left for her to do. She needed to leave the club and get away from Ra’am, run away! Here was the perfect opportunity. Sure, he could follow her with those dumb micro robots. But in a cab, driving away, how could he keep up? He would eventually have to expose himself to the U.S. public in his chase for her and hamper his scientific study of earth. Yes, this was the perfect time. And Stiles couldn’t be around, for New York City existed far, far away from Idaho.

And ultimately, she wouldn’t have thought of leaving him if it wasn’t for his aggressive, passionate behavior tonight. Heck, back in Idaho, he treated her kindly, sure, and never tried anything funny; but tonight, things had become different. Her greatest fear was that he would rape her, take advantage of her when they were back on Ha-Ta, just like Willson and Stiles. And like she realized in the taxi, she could never fight him off. Sure, maybe this was just a simple misunderstanding of his actions; he did seem to care for her, so possibly he only wanted to be near her. But why didn’t he simply hug her then? No, something wasn’t right. She felt too worried. Ra’am had brought me to this breaking point and now, he’s going to pay! It was his fault!

Of course, it would feel rather creepy walking around New York City by herself. But she had been in worse predicaments.

Bringing the glass up to her lips again, more strawberry and coconut flavored gin tingled her taste buds. The liquid flowed smoothly down her throat as she swallowed it.


Trenae startled. She turned right, from whence the noise came. The man at the far end of the bar had decided to sit himself on the stool next to her. His drink now occupied the counter too.

“Good evening, miss,” he said. “I saw you down here all alone. I figured you could use some company.”

She looked at him. He appeared friendly enough, just a regular older fellow, probably about 40 or 45 years old. He wore a nice blue suit and tie and had thick and shiny dark blond hair, though no bald spots. But his skin appeared weathered and leathery, with a slight tinge of red, resembling skin she had seen many times before.

“Hi,” she said.

“I’m Eric Keller.” He lifted his hand over the counter.

She felt obligated. “I’m Trenae,” she said, shaking his hand. “Nice to meet you.” She quickly took her hand back, yet not impolitely.

“You live around here?” he asked.

“Well, no, not really.” For some reason, his question seemed a little odd. She started to shake very slightly, but struggled to hide it. “I live in N.J…Sparta, N.J.”

“You’ve come quite a distance tonight,” he said, lifting his drink. She watched him. Somehow, the sideways glance he gave her, his lips taking a sip, revealed a less friendly man than she had thought.

“So, where d-do you live?” She smiled, hoping to hide her stutter.

“Oh, New York born and bred.”

“Really? You…you don’t seem to have an accent.”

“And you don’t seem to have a ‘Joisey’ accent.”

She smiled and looked down at her drink. Nervousness captured her body. The room began to spin a bit.

“Bartender, I’d like another drink,” Eric said loudly.

Once the bartender arrived, Eric gave his order. At the same time, Trenae began slinking herself off the barstool. Gradually, she placed her purse over her right shoulder, also seizing the champagne bottle and the little dog. All the while, she tired to keep an eye on Eric. He removed his wallet from his pant’s pockets and began placing it on the counter.

“Woops!” he said. The wallet and the wallet’s contents flung apart and fell to the floor. Perfect timing! She completed slipping off the stool.

“Oh, gosh,” she said. She took her belongings and kneeled to the floor. “Let me help you.” Not really wanting to help him, she also didn’t want to appear like she was rushing to escape neither.

Eric got off the seat and knelt down too. “No, that’s okay,” he said quickly. “I can handle this.”

The wallet’s contents, mostly credit cards and some paper bills had scattered across a wide area on the floor just behind their two seats. After placing the champagne bottle and the little dog on the floor, Trenae began picking up the items around her barstool.

Once she collected all the items she could see and find in the dimly lit room, she began handing them over to Eric. He was just standing up from the floor.

She arose too. She casually read the top card, her hand slowly reaching out across the empty space between herself and Eric. It was one of several white business cards, which she had nonchalantly placed on top of the credit cards. ‘Kahn Motors, We’re your import, export experts!’ the card read at the top. The skin on her back crawled. How many countless, countless times had she heard those words, in singsong fashion, on the Kahn Motors commercial back in Idaho City, on her mom’s TV. She scanned further down, to see the address. ‘Boise, Idaho. Eric Keller, assistant manager.’ Her heart nearly stopped.

Though keeping the slight smile on her face first placed there before handing the cards back, Eric’s expression showed he saw right through it.  His eyes widened a little, his eyebrows raised. He tilted his head a bit to the side. “Thank you, Trenae,” he said calmly. He took the cards, never once looking down or away, locking his stare on her. “Why don’t you sit back down now and finish your drink?”

“No, that’s okay,” she said politely, still smiling. “But, nice meeting you.”

As she began turning around, Eric grabbed her wrist. “Hey, what a minute,” he said. “I want you to meet a friend of mine.” She looked in his face. Now all signs of his sociability had vanished. Even though trying to hide it with a crooked grin, his face reeked of guile, danger, and stubborn determination.

She tugged her arm. “No, that’s okay,” she said, between heaving breaths. “I really have to leave.” Her tired heart raced.

“Nonsense,” he said. He tightened his grip so hard she felt sure her wrist would snap. “You have to stay.”

Panic clutched. She searched frantically behind the bar counter. “Bartender! Bartender!” she said loudly. “Help me, please!” Terror and sobs etched her words. She began crying.     

The bartender spun around from the far left end and sprinted to their location. He leaped over the counter with an amazing fluid motion. She could have gushed at his physical ability, considering his large size, but instead only stared in terrifying and helpless silence.

He whipped out a handgun, pointing it at Eric. “Okay, let her go!”

“Whoa, bartender! This woman tried to rob me!” Eric said. “I demand you call the police, now!”

“Not till you let her go! Now!”

She looked at Eric. Anger coiled his face, yet he became compliant. With a crisp, rough motion, he freed her wrist.

“Did you take anything from this man?” the bartender asked Trenae. He kept the gun pointed at Eric.

“No, nothing,” she said, crying. “I was just helping him pick up the stuff…from his wallet.” She wiped her eyes with trembling fingers and heaved a quick breath. “And then he grabbed my wrist and said I had to meet his friend.”

The bartender stared back at Eric. “I believe her. She was here alone. You approached her.”

“Hey, she still tried to rob me,” Eric said. “Think what you like!”  Holding up his arms, Eric began to back away. His expression displayed someone trying to appear harmless and innocent. “And I’m consulting the police and my lawyer on how it is this club allows...allows bartenders to have a gun, and point them at defenseless customers!”

Still keeping his eyes and gun pointed at Eric, the bartender leaned down and with one hand, picked up Trenae’s stuffed animal and the bottle of champagne. “Here miss,” he said. “I suggest you leave now. Please.” He stepped over and handed them to her, his gun yet pointed at Eric.

“She is with me,” said a deep voice. “And she is not a thief. I will take her now.”

Trenae spun around. Ra’am stood behind her. She looked up at him.

“Yeah, okay,” the bartender said. She turned away from Ra’am, looking at the bartender. “It’s best you two leave, immediately, before I do call the cops. The doorman was not too sure about you, Mr. Tall Guy, so don’t tempt me. We don’t need any trouble here.”

“There will be no trouble,” Ra’am said. He placed his hands on Trenae’s shoulders and gently began moving her around.

Ra’am pointed her toward the stairs, placing his left arm around her shoulders, grasping her upper left arm with his huge hand. Suffering from severe exhaustion, she eagerly rested her body against him and continued walking. She clenched the champagne bottle and small dog in her hands.

They approached the stairs. She noticed another man coming toward them, from down the stairs, similar in age and attire to Eric Keller. Walking up, step-by-step, closer, closer, he gave Trenae a malicious, determined stare. It has to be that man’s friend. She pressed closer to Ra’am, looking away, the stair’s dark right wall capturing her gaze. Ra’am responded and held her tighter. She grasped the bottle and dog even firmer, until her fingers hurt. Although she realized Ra’am could protect her, she felt paralyzed inside. The man passed by her, rage seeping from him, the smell, his agitation, wafting in the air. It made her cringe. Apparently, being foiled was very enraging, especially when Willson or Stiles handed you the demands and instructions.

Ra’am didn’t hesitate one second to remove them from the club, once they stepped on the main floor. He rushed the two of them out the door. The bouncer attempted to say good-bye, but Ra’am hurried by them too rapidly. Her legs could barely keep up.

Sights and sounds of Christmas quickly caught Trenae’s senses again, while they walked to the right, in the opposite direction from where they originally arrived. Ra’am released his grip on her upper left arm and instead reached down and removed the champagne bottle, placing it in his right hand. He allowed her still to hold the little golden dog. He grasped her right hand.

After some time, he slowed them down to a more normal, fast walk, his left hand tugging her gently.

“Where are we going?” she asked quickly.

“I know a good location, nearby, after studying the maps. We will jump up, on the roof.”

Her breathing came hard. “The roof…what?”

“Do not worry. You will see.”

“That man…he was from Boise, but said he was a New Yorker.”

“I know. I read the card too. I came up as soon as I could. I had a small problem.”

She looked up at him. “Small…problem?”

He glanced down at her, but then stared ahead. “Yes. Those two girls you talked to.”

Oh, damn. He had seen that too! “I’m sorry…I didn’t…know what--”

“It is all right,” he said quickly. “You were honest.”

“But…what did they do?”

“Put their hands on me, rubbed my body. Asked me to take them home.”

She burst out a small laugh, covering her mouth with the dog in her hand. Right afterwards, she leaned down a bit, continuing to walk with him. She remembered something. “Hey…they said they wouldn’t go home with you!”

“I know,” he said. “I heard them the first time, in the bathroom.”

She looked up at him. Ra’am turned around, still hurrying them.

“Anyone following us?” she asked.

“Be careful, we have to cross,” he said. She looked forward. They were in an intersection. She looked both ways. No cars nearby, he had them cross the street.

They crossed to the street’s other side. “No, no one so far,” Ra’am finally answered. “But I am not taking any chances.”

Releasing her hand and lifting his right jacket sleeve a little, tiny sparkling blue particles flowed from under Ra’am’s jacket and around their bodies, soon becoming invisible.

“The shield…good idea,” she said between breaths.

He took her hand again. They continued walking, nearly jogging.

“One of the girls, the brunette, tried to touch between my legs,” Ra’am said.

She looked up at him. “You’re kidding!” She laughed a little. For now, fear from Eric Keller and his partner had nearly vanished. “You know, I’m sorry again. I didn’t think they would be that aggressive.”

“I know. It gets worse, however. When I knew you were in trouble, the girl to my left, the brunette, named Sandy, would not let me leave the booth. She grabbed all over my body…everywhere, and practically begged me to take both of them home. She said I could not leave. Finally, I had to lift her up and out of my way. It was then that she threatened to call one of the bouncers. I did not hurt her, but knew she was intoxicated. They both were. My only goal at that moment was to reach you. Which I did, finally, but wish I had been there, when the man grabbed you.”

“No, it’s okay, Ra’am. But thank you, really.”

Wanting to thank him more, she didn’t; she worried how he would take it, what it could lead to. For now, she felt stuck in the middle. Glad for not leaving the club alone, for most certainly she would have been accosted and captured by those two men, she yet at the same time had not desired to go home with Ra’am. Her fate again no longer lay in her hands, but in Ra’am’s hands.

             They continued walking. It also puzzled her why he didn’t seem to like those women, yet seemed attracted to her tonight. But then, he’s not human.

            Ra’am turned to the right, down another city street. Dimly lit, the street gave off malevolence, yet she had no choice but to continue with her alien friend, his grasp safely holding her hand. A few cars passed by them on her left, but no one appeared to be interested in the two of them, from behind the car’s windshields.

After walking farther down the new street, Ra’am led them right once more, down a dark alleyway. She shivered.

“Trenae, do not worry. You are with me.” She looked up at him. He glanced down at her. “Or are you cold?”

“I th- think, a little…of both.”

Dearth of light, high brick buildings, full of numerous creepy, skeletal-like fire escapes, walled the alleyway. Obnoxious odors from long overdue garbage entered her nose. She could faintly see the outlines of white crumpled paper balls, silvery beer and soda cans, and other various forms of refuse, the objects lining the ground edges of either side of the dark alley. A few large dumpsters appeared in several locations, cardboard boxes lying near them.

Several lights dotted the alley, though their light was insufficient to lighten anymore of the dark alley abyss than what she could already see. She raised her head skyward, viewing the staggered roof surfaces of each building. Like a giant’s steps they were, leading an escalating path to the ceiling of New York and the nighttime sky. While Ra’am held her hand, leading her, she continued holding her face skyward, noticing too that the night sky yet had a smoky, orangey haze, silhouetting and contrasting the dark building surfaces.

“All right. This will work,” Ra’am said, stopping. She looked at his face. He glanced toward the buildings’ roofs.

“What will?”  

“Here, hold your champagne bottle, while I remove your purse.” He placed the bottle in her hands and gently began removing the purse’s strap from her shoulders. She quickly took over, bringing the purse down into her hands, along with the bottle and the little dog.

She glanced up at his face again. He looked down at her. His face disappeared, a flash of dark passing around. Abrupt pressure locked behind her knees and upper back. Feeling dizzy and light-headed for a moment, she soon readjusted her equilibrium and realized what had happened. Ra’am had picked her up, quickly.

She looked around. He bent down slightly, the brick walls moving from her sight line. No, this isn’t good! Like a rocket launching, she felt them explode toward the sky.

“Eeeekkkkk! Shhhhhhhiiiitttt!” she shrieked, G-forces jerking her head onto Ra’am’s arm. She squeezed her eyes shut, unable to watch. I didn’t even see this coming!

FLACK! A loud sound echoed from below.

Trenae opened her eyes. It became apparent; Ra’am’s feet landed loudly, yet safely. They were at the top of a building. In front of her, she could see the edge of the buildings’ roof and the lights of other buildings below it, from across the street, the same street they left before making the right turn down the alleyway.

Ra’am let her down. She looked up at him, standing to his left.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yes…I think so. That force was pretty great, but…I think my neck is fine. My stomach is a little weird too, but okay.”

“The gravity force was a little unexpected for your body, which is why I supported your head well.”

“So, you are Superman! Why didn’t you tell me you were doing that?”

“No, I am not Superman, because I do not have a red cape and I cannot fly horizontally, just a few feet vertically.”

She giggled a little. His humor really could hit someone off guard.

 “And as for your second question,” he said, “I could not have told you, because you probably would have been too frightened and hesitant. Correct?” He smiled.

She smiled back. “Yeah, probably. But why are we up here?”

“To enter Ha-Ta. You will see it soon, upon this roof.”

Holding her belongings, she scanned around. Some light poured down from bordering buildings, allowing her to decipher a few details. The building’s roof seemed old and worn, though she wasn’t positive with the scarce lighting. It appeared spacious, like a wide dance floor or small gymnasium, with a few hooded exhaust fans placed here and there. A concrete or brick mini-barrier, of about 15 inches high surrounded the roof’s rectangular perimeter, in the area toward the street and to Trenae’s left. But on the additional sides of the roof, other buildings that stood taller butted against the barrier. 

She and Ra’am stood near the edge, by the alleyway, yet far enough from the edge for any accidental falls.

“How many feet up are we, or stories?” she asked.

“Three stories. I can not jump much higher, at least not on earth.”

He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders, holding her snuggly. “Stay exactly where you are now,” he said.

Ra’am lifted his right arm out, parallel with the roof’s floor. She stared, curious. “When we use khelh lo neerh particle wave moments,” he said, “a type of particle path actually…when we use these wave moments in space with Memadshakoreem, a subatomic opening must be enlarged to accommodate a spaceship the size of Ha-Ta. We call this process neegoodey khomer, which allows large matter to exist in the same realm as subatomic matter, as long as both matters do not touch one another. The material we discovered to accomplish this process is a certain form of exotic subatomic matter, as your scientists refer to it, which we call khomron ravkoakh. In khelh lo neerh travel, it enlarges the subatomic realm. But now, with Ha-Ta, it has formed the reverse, forming a miniaturized realm.”

“What?” she asked. The sliding door on his koaksekhel opened. Then, the thin line within opened. A bright light quickly spread around them. She shut her eyes. “Ouch, that light again.”

Ra’am squeezed her shoulders tighter. “Yes, close your eyes. This will be brief. I will tell you when.”

A few seconds past.

“Open your eyes,” he said.

She did. The brightness was gone. She gasped. There, about 3 feet away in a straight line from his koaksekhel, attached to a thin rope of hemoom prodoh, appeared a miniaturized Ha-Ta, in a strange, heavy black, a black metal maybe. But she recognized its form and texture, remembering from the underwater scene. However, it was eerily only about 2-3 feet high and 8-10 feet long. Yet Ha-Ta began growing, moving away from them. “No, that can’t be,” she said slowly. A disturbing chill rippled through her body.

Ha-Ta then ballooned in size, silver color cascading across its surface, the hemoom prodoh rope shooting and growing farther away from Ra’am too. Now Ha-Ta resembled more the size of a large living room, around six feet tall. For certain, Ra’am couldn’t fit in it! “Ra’am, where…where did this come from?” Nausea bubbled her stomach. She clenched the little dog, her purse, and the champagne bottle tighter.

“From my koaksekhel.” His tone was matter-of-fact. “I thought you knew.”

She looked up at him. “What? That can’t be. That’s im--”


She began struggling, trying to move away from his embrace. Why, she wasn’t sure.

Ra’am tightened his grip even more. She looked up at him. “Where do you think you are going?” he asked, his deep voice thundering.

Movement. She turned forward. Ha-Ta had become its normal size once more, floating gently above the roof, floating high enough and in proper balanced position to accommodate its enormous size in the space bordered by the buildings.

She swallowed. “Ra’am, that’s creepy. I’m sorry, but I don’t like it. This is far too weird. And to think…to think, that Ha-Ta was inside your koaksekhel, when your arm was by my body…” Her throat tightened, hindering her breaths. “I’m…I’m…”

“Relax, Trenae.” He stroked his hand on her upper arm. “I had to hold you, since touching Ha-Ta in miniaturization form would have killed you.” His tone was kind.

The hemoom prodoh rope snapped itself from Ha-Ta’s exterior and yanked back into his koaksekhel with a soft swoosh. Slip! The small koaksekhel doorway sealed. Ra’am lowered his right arm near his side.

“I’m sorry, really,” she said, looking up at him.

He looked down at her. “I understand. But, if I release you now, you will not run off the building’s side, will you?”

“Ha-Ta is safe now?” she asked. Her throat felt better. “We can touch it or enter it?”

“Yes. Can I release you now?” 

“Yes, definitely, I’ll be all right.” He lifted his left arm from her shoulder. She looked down.

“A Memadshakor can only be miniaturized by approximately 10% of its normal size,” he said. She gazed straight ahead, at Ha-Ta. It shone brilliant with its silver, textured surface. “Khomron ravkoakh brought Ha-Ta into the koaksekhel at the size you just observed, before Ha-Ta became its normal size. Normally, Memadshakoreem are only miniaturized in military operations, as a convenient way for soldiers to carry their spacecraft with them. And only a certain type of koaksekhel allows such a procedure.”

“Yeah, umm, that’s…incredible.” Though what he said amazed her like never before, she thought of something else. She looked up and around. “Ra’am, you do realize many tall buildings are above us? There’s a ton of buildings here! With tons of floors, and I see lots of lights, so…people are home and could be looking--”

“I do not care, anymore,” he said. “I will be leaving soon, from earth. What does it matter?”

She shrugged and looked at his face. “That’s up to you. But, will we still be safe, if the government finds out, like from those satellite images? They’re probably taking photos right now, and saw you jump! And the whole miniaturization process!”

“Trenae, I have told you before. You are safe with me. There is nothing your world can do to harm me, other than hinder my parameters and areas of exploration and scientific discovery. Besides, once we enter Ha-Ta, I will form an invisible shield around its exterior. No one will then be able to detect its presence.”

Ha-Ta continued hovering above one of the exhaust openings on the roof, about 20 feet away from where they stood, as though it had been there all along, never within his koaksekhel.

“Come, Trenae. We should go on board now. The delet yahmon is on the opposite side.”

“It’s definitely safe now?” she asked, Ra’am leading her toward Ha-Ta.

“Yes, I assure you.”

“And it’s not gonna collapse on us, and miniaturize itself, once we’re aboard?” she asked worriedly.

“No. Miniaturization of Memadshakoreem can only occur from an exterior command, never an interior command. You will be completely safe.”

Soon, they arrived before the delet yahmon, its rectangular doorway already protruding from Ha-Ta’s side. Hemoom prodoh stairs flowed down, once he opened the doorway. Ra’am allowed Trenae to enter first, walking in behind her.

Once both inside, Ra’am quickly told her to sit in her usual seat. He sat in his seat too, pressing several buttons. Ha-Ta commenced to move.

Ra’am explained they would travel through the atmosphere, just above New York City, until he found a suitable entry position on the surface of the Hudson River. During this time, Ha-Ta’s shield would remain intact, so no one could see the spacecraft and panic. Never mind them, she thought. I’m still in shock and panic over what just happened! She looked up, around. Imagine, this whole vessel resided in Ra’am’s koaksekhel the entire time we were at the nightclub! Could his koaksekhel be that powerful? Her skin crawled, just thinking about it.

Ra’am said once below the Hudson River they would then reenter the ground and head toward Sparta, N.J., to retrieve L.B. from the kennel.

But as they left the building’s rooftop and began maneuvering around and above the other buildings, Trenae needed something to distract, get her nerves off what just happened. She thought of checking out the former WTC area, and see its new structures, but opted for something else. She asked if they could have a view of the Statue of Liberty. To see it in person, instead of just pictures from school books- that would be great! Ra’am complied, heading Ha-Ta toward the southern tip of the Manhattan island.

She attempted to open the champagne bottle, watching the beautiful nighttime views of the city and surrounding bodies of water on the khalon. “This really feels no different than traveling underground,” she said, wrestling with the bottle’s cork. “You still can’t feel the motion, or the speed.”

“Once again, you are impressed with Harkoavian technology.”

She looked at him and smiled. His occasional arrogant outbursts were cute. “Ha, ha, very funny,” she said. “And yeah, I was impressed with that miniaturization feat, but it really, really creeped me out. Sorry about that.” The cork yet fought with her.

“No problem, Trenae,” he said. “Here, give me the bottle. There is an easier way.”

“What’s that?” She handed him the bottle.

Ra’am took the bottle with his right hand and positioned the corked end under the shleetah maksheer, almost in the middle between the two of their seats. He pushed the corked end directly onto the panel’s underneath surface. A molding, rubbery hand, some of the shleetah maksheer flowed down vertically and engulfed the cork and bottle, withdrawing the cork and absorbing it into the panel. Yet no champagne gushed from the bottle.

“How did…how is that…” she said

He showed her the bottle’s top. “You see, there is an invisible, harmless seal on top. I can remove it now, if you want.” She looked in his face. His eyes were questioning. “But I have to ask you. Why do you want to drink more alcohol? You had a drink at the night club.”

Hey, I have my reasons. For one thing, it’s your fault! She stared directly in his eyes, though his gaze frightened with his camouflage now removed. “I want to, that’s all.” She smiled a little. “Are you gonna stop me?”

“No. I will remove the invisible seal. I know you have been through much tonight, so maybe you need this.”

The seal magically vanished, a small amount of champagne bubbling onto the floor. He gave the bottle back to her.

She looked at the floor, where it spilled. “Oh, sorry. Will that hurt the floor?”

“No…look, Trenae. The Statue of Liberty.”

She directed her gaze toward the khalon again. There it was, The Statue of Liberty, in all its glory and beauty in the night sky. Light coming from the torch, which Lady Liberty held high up in the sky with her right arm was the first thing Trenae noticed. In her other arm, Lady Liberty held some type of tablet. The flowing gown she wore, draped around her shoulders and left arm, presented a study in contrast, as the light from various areas around the statue and its pedestal helped illuminate the statue against the dark background.

They flew closer. Trenae could see Lady Liberty’s face and the seven-pointed crown above her head.

“There are 25 windows in the crown, where you see the light coming from, representing jewels,” Ra’am said. “This is also where visitors can observe the high view of the surrounding area, only, of course, after they climb the 354 steps, or 22 stories leading to the crown.”

“How many, 22 stories?”


She continued staring at the head, their view drawing closer yet to the statue’s face. A greenish tinge covered the statue’s skin.

“It is quite an engineering accomplishment, for your world,” he said. “Approximately 90-100 tons of copper compose the statue part we see, which is why the surface has greenish tint, from the oxidation of the copper to the exposed air. Beneath the stature’s exterior, there is approximately 125 tons of steel skeleton holding the statue in place, for an approximate combined weight, of exterior and interior structures of 225 tons.”

“Wow, damn. I am kinda sorry we didn’t come in the day, and in a better situation, so I could’ve seen more.” She leaned her head back, taking a large gulp of the bubbly champagne. Her eyes searching, she looked at the statue’s lower area. “Hey, Ra’am, what’s on the bottom?”

Changing the view on the khalon, Ra’am displayed the scenery below the statue. Lighting around the statue’s base shined on several tiers, tiers that supported the statue. The statue itself stood upon a tall, square pedestal that stood on two plain tiers, which in turn stood on top of an 11-pointed star base.

“Cool. So that’s how it’s held up. And the whole thing is on an island. I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, it is. Would you like me to fly around it again?”

“Yeah, sure. Do you think anyone can see us?”

“No, probably not. They may notice a bent, wavy appearance surrounding Ha-Ta, but is very unlikely. Besides, they will just attribute it to weather phenomena or rising hot air.”

While she guzzled more champagne, Ra’am traveled around Lady Liberty’s head once more. He put the statue’s upper view on the khalon again, instead of the ground view and traveled at a slow pace. This is more enjoyable than I thought, she figured.

“How tall is the statue itself?” she asked.

“Approximately 151 feet, not counting the pedestal supporting the statue.”

“Damn, Ra’am, you’re invaluable on a travel tour.”

He laughed a little.

Before long, she decided she had seen enough. Ra’am agreed.

“Ha-Ta’s taktselekh has determined the best location to enter both the water and the river’s floor beneath it,” he said. “And it appears to be a little north of the statue.”

“Oh, good,” she said, taking another drink. Somehow, drinking from a bottle feels a little uncivilized and lacks finesse, but, ahh, what do I care now. I’m still with this lunatic alien! The only escape is to drink into an intoxicated delirium. Yeah, maybe he’ll still want me then, or maybe he won’t. But, at least I won’t be present.

Doing as proposed, Ra’am steered Ha-Ta a little north, pass Ellis Island and close to the downtown area of Manhattan, pointing out various landmarks to her while they traveled. Soon, he aimed Ha-Ta toward the Hudson River’s surface, in area devoid of any boats or other human inhabited vessels. She couldn’t feel motion or gravity pulls once again, even as they shot directly down toward the water. Even when they plunged into the splashing river, she couldn’t detect the slightest iota of turbulence or motion.

They were underground shortly, heading toward Sparta, NJ for L.B.

Trenae placed her small purse on the floor and leaned back in her seat. She picked up the little, soft Golden Retriever with her free hand and studied it closely, swigging a hefty champagne guzzle at the same time. “Hey, Ra’am,” she said. “Can I put my feet on the control panel, ya know, to relax and stuff?” She looked at him.

He turned his head, confusion on his face. “If you can avoid any buttons…yes, go ahead. Never mind that- I can cancel the shleetah maksheer and simply use my koaksekhel. That way, we will not have a tragedy occur.”

“Oh, you mean like an accident? Could I cause that, little old me,” she said, pointing to herself. She smiled at him.

Ra’am turned away, observing the control panel. “No, not now. Feel free, go ahead.”

“Well, sure.” She placed her feet on the control panel, crossing her legs. “Hey, ya know what?”

“What, Trenae.”

“I got ya somethin.  It’s a Golden Retriever. Merry Christmas.” She lifted the little stuffed animal and casually moved it towards Ra’am.

He gently took the dog from her hand. “Thank you, Trenae. But I do not respect earth’s Christmas holiday.”

“What? Are ya serious? How anti…anti…”

“My reason is because Christmas was originally a holiday, by another name, celebrated by non-godly people. But, later in history this holiday was incorporated by earth’s Roman civilization and their church around 400 A.D into a holiday celebrating Yekomekhd’s human birth. However, his human birth did not occur on December 25th…it is in earth’s history books, for all to know. But, I would rather not discuss this now. I believe you are getting intoxicated.”

“What? Nooo…come on. I’m fine,” she lied, gulping another drink. She laid the bottle on her lap and looked at him. “But will ya keep it, even though, to remember me, when you leave?”

He eyed her. “Yes, I will. I will always keep this little Golden Retriever.”

She smiled.

Time passed by. They arrived in Sparta. Ra’am parked Ha-Ta in the same location as previously and then asked Trenae that she leave her champagne bottle by her seat. She obeyed him, reluctantly.

He led her out of Ha-Ta and on foot again for the kennel. Walking through the dark and eerie woods, she was happy she had left the champagne, for her balance was becoming unstable.

“Here, let me help you,” Ra’am said. He wrapped his left arm around her upper back and shoulders.

“Thanks, babe,” she said half-consciously. “You’re the best, ya know?”

“Thank you, Trenae…I must tell you, I did not really enjoy the nightclub.”

“Really? Why?”

“I was not used to viewing males and females, most of whom were not married, dancing with each other, touching each other. The two girls at my booth and their behavior, disturbed me as well. What about you?”

She tried to look up at him, but he was moving too much. But she focused her eyes on him anyway. “Oh, I don’t know. I guess what I thought I missed, well…it was gone. Where? I dunno. Hey, but you liked that band, right?”

“They were good. But I could not concentrate on the music, because I worried about you too much. And then the two girls showed up.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s something.”

Ra’am continued guiding her, passing through the thick growth of lifeless, winter trees. Darkened rocks and fallen tree branches hindered her balance too. But finally, they arrived at the long driveway leading to the kennel. She only needed her hand held now, with the smooth, clutter-free surface of the asphalt. She asked Ra’am to remove his arm from her. He did.

They walked toward the kennel.

Once inside the kennel’s office, Ra’am politely paid the kennel lady the proper amount. The kennel lady then cheerfully brought L.B. to them, the dog bounding over with intense energy. Ra’am removed L.B.’s leash from his jacket’s pocket and hurriedly clicked it on his frolicking dog friend, at the collar’s clip.

Trenae felt relaxed and comfortable watching the scenes unfold. Aware of her growing drunkenness, she tried hard not to speak or move too much, just stand near Ra’am and L.B. Nevertheless, the kennel lady seemed the kind and forgiving sort.

Ra’am led all three of them toward the door.

“Excuse me, but,” the kennel lady said. “How did you two get here? I didn’t see a car pull up.”

Trenae slowly looked up at Ra’am and waited for a good comeback.

“We wanted to get some exercise, walk a little,” he answered.

“Oh, dear, but you must have walked far, because it’s miles before you get to a house on this road.”

“Yes, that is true,” he said. “But no one will bother us, not with me around.”

The kennel lady laughed, from behind the counter. “Yes, I suppose that’s true, with your size. No one would want to mess with you! Well, you have a nice walk then. Come back again.”

“We will, if we ever need your kennel again,” Ra’am said.

The walk back to Ha-Ta became a blank, blackboard slate for Trenae, which needed chalk input, yet that she couldn’t create nor visualize. The next thing she knew, they were on Ha-Ta, her body nestled cozily in her seat. Ra’am had sat in his own seat; L.B. had lain on the floor between both of them. It made her feel down right mystified. This called for another drink. Finding it on the floor by her seat, she lifted the champagne bottle to her lips again.

Time disappeared. Suddenly, they were back by River Cliffs. Ra’am had backed Ha-Ta up to the cylinders and then stood up from his seat. The darn guy keeps moving too much and looking blurry, she thought, watching him. He walked away, behind her, and headed toward the cylinders. L.B. followed him.

Oh well, alone again. But, no problem. Ra’am doesn’t realize how smart I am.

She looked behind. Ra’am was just turning the corner, vanishing from view. She stood up. She leaned across the control panel and pressed the button she had seen Ra’am use numerous times to open the delet tekrah and release the ladder.

Immediately, the ladder poured down from the ceiling, on her left.

She stood up from her seat. Clutching her champagne bottle, she sauntered haphazardly to the ladder. Now, if only the ceiling entrance tunnel opened at the same time, I’m in business.

She looked up, once near the ladder. Sure enough, the opening had occurred. Plush, long branches of nearby pine trees, lighted dimly from Ha-Ta’s interior, framed the circular opening, far, far up, the ladder diminishing to just small circle at ground level from her view.

Yes, it would be dark and cold outside, but for some reason, she needed to be near the cliff.

Carefully, quietly, she climbed the silver ladder toward the top, the hemoom prodoh tunnel reflecting Ha-Ta’s light from below along the way.

Arriving, she climbed on the ground and stood up. Light from Ha-Ta fortunately shone upward from below, its ground entrance remaining open, lighting the nearby area. She zippered her black leather jacket. It felt great to be back in Idaho, even though danger lurked, in the form of Willson’s goons. Yet it wasn’t much safer in New York. So, if she had to choose between the two, the rugged, natural wilderness of Idaho won hands down.

She kept her eyes toward the sky, stomping haphazardly through the long, dark clearing, heading toward the cliff. She yet clutched the champagne bottle.

Lowering her gaze away from the stars, she took a few drinks. 

Time passed, unaccounted time. Trenae suddenly wobbled near the boulders, by the cliff. She wanted to sit on one, but instead decided to stand and gaze down at the cliff’s edge.

At first, the cliff loomed malevolent, bringing back horrifying memories. “Hey,” she said, “you used to be my friend. But I’m not afraid of you now- I have worse things…men wanting to kill me and spaceships miniaturizing into someone’s arm. So…” She lifted head, shrugging away the fear, and stared across the horizon. “HEY!” she yelled. “IS ANYONE OUT THERE?” Her boldness, loud voice, surprised her. But she needed to shout again. “HEY!”

She gulped another drink. Done, she shook the bottle a little and looked at it. She couldn’t see it well, in the dark, but heard it. Not much champagne left.

Raising her head, she readied her voice again, inhaling deeply. “HEY…YOU KNOW…I’M NOT A LOSER…I just don’t really belong here, that’s all, even though…though…YOU HEAR ME? I DON’T REALLY BELONG HERE…I’VE HAD A BAD LIFE, OKAY!” She took one more sip. “It’s not a good one, and it keeps causing me problems. And I bet there’s others like me…so, STAND UP AND SHOUT! LET ME HEAR YA!” Ha, how stupid I sound. She laughed heartily, her silly chuckle echoing across the small canyon.

Well, that exhausted me. And now, I’m dizzy too. Great. Eyeing the closest boulder, she slumped down, sitting on it. She raised the bottle and guzzled another mouthful of the bubbly champagne.

“Trenae, there is no one out there now. What are you doing?”

She looked up. Ra’am stood near her.

Trenae turned, gazing toward the mountain again. “HEY, EVRA'BODY, IT’S MY FRIEND, RA’AM!” After another champagne sip, she looked up at him. “You know, I don’t belong here, in this world,” she said, her voice normal.

Ra’am kneeled next to her, on her right. “What do you mean. On planet earth?”

She smiled and looked down. She started laughing. “No, no, no, no. Not this planet!” She lifted her head. “Not any planet. Not any life. Life is just not for me, ya know? I don’t fit in…anywhere.”

“That is the alcohol talking, and your mother and Darin. You are a good person, Trenae. Do you hear me?”

“No, no, no, silly! No alcohol. Don’t you know alcohol speaks za truths? Come on, I thought you were zmarter.” She smiled at him. “Besides, if I were sooo great, why do men treat me so bad…huh? If they knew my personality, because I’m weak, they don’t care. No one wants a good person. Why do you think…I danced like a slut? Because that’s what they want from me. That’s what they always want from me. And just like you! Yeah, you’ll probably rape me tonight.” She took another guzzle, pointing her finger at him. “Yeah, I know you guzes.”

“No, Trenae, I will not,” he said. “You have my word. I am an ometvah of honor.” He looked down, shyly. “But I am sorry for what I did tonight. I was out of line. You just, you just looked so pretty…I wanted to touch--”

“Ha, HA!”  she yelled. She shot her gaze back across the cliff. “MAYBE MY MOM AND STILES WERE RIGHT…I AM A LOSER!” She looked back at Ra’am. “And don’t you give me those evil eyes. I’m not afraid of you now. I’m drunk. And so yeah, so I called myselfs a name…Big…freaking…deal!  Soooo what, what are you going to do? Hmm?” She gulped another sip.

Bringing the bottle down from her lips, Ra’am snatched it from her. He flung it out across the expanse of the stream below them. Crash! It must have landed on some rocks.

“Hey, what’d you do that for? Are ya nuts?”

“You are drunk, remember?” he said. “You do not need the champagne anymore.”

“Yeah, but…” She searched longingly toward the cliff, feeling dizzier. “Oh, what’s the use. I can’t fight you anyway.” She lowered her head and stared at her knees. “I can’t fight anyone. I couldn’t even keep those girls away from you tonight. An’ ya know…I’m not stupid. I know a lot.”

“I know, Trenae. You are a fast learner and have a good memory. You have learned so much since I have known you.”

“Yeah, whatever.” She lifted her head and pointed her finger at him again. “But I know I’m supposed to witness, about God. My father told me, and you…and my Aunt Heather…but she’s gone, and it’s my fault. But that’s what happens, when you’re so…so…” Her words became quiet. “So cowardly.”

Ra’am caressed both her hands, touching them gently. “Please,” he said.  “Can we stop this now?”

She looked into his black and dark aqua eyes. “I just want someone to like me for me, you know,” she said softly. “Not because I’m sexual or something, but who I am, who…”

Ra’am turned his eyes skyward, yet holding her hands.

“Hey, whata ya looking at?”

“Kadoorey Baheer, my galaxy.”  He released one of her hands and raised himself to a higher position, so his face became level with her face.  “It is amazing. It never ceases to fascinate, how different our night skies appear.”

She studied his face. “Yeah, so where is it? I don’t see it.”

Ra’am glanced in her eyes. “Because you are looking at me, silly. Look, up, I will show you.” He pointed his right hand a little left of the cliff, his other hand still embracing her right hand. Slowly, she followed the line of sight, from his raised arm all the way to the tip of his pointed finger. “Kadoorey Baheer, or the Andromeda galaxy, is near the Andromeda constellation and the observable portion of the Milky Way galaxy. The best way I can show you, is simply to point and have you see…You see that fine, blurry object, which does not twinkle like the stars, near my finger?”

He placed his face very close to her face, nearly touching their skins. Even though intoxicated, she felt uncomfortable. His thick, tied-back hair strands pressed lightly against her head. Then he released her hand, gently cupping his left hand on her head’s left side, softly turning, moving her face so she could observe from the same angel as he. She tried rolling her gaze toward his face, to see him, yet couldn’t; he was too close. But she could feel him. She looked straight up, blinking and focusing her alcohol-hindered eyes. Normally, she would be a wreck right now, with Ra’am so close. But the champagne circulating through her body, she could only feel uncomfortable and perplexed.

“Can you see now, to where I am pointing?” His voice sounded so strong and powerful this close, vibrating within her body, like other times their bodies were near. She even noticed the pleasant scent of his breath.

She struggled to focus, her vision still blurry. But finally, her eyes cooperated for a moment. A fuzzy, oval object came into view, exactly where Ra’am pointed, in the dark wilderness sky, just near the bright band of Milky Way stars. “Oh shit, I do see it! Wow, so, that’s great!”

Ra’am released his hand from her head and moved in front of her. He grasped both her hands, his body still kneeling. She looked in his eyes. “That is where my mother and father are, and my siblings and friends,” he said. “And soon, I will be returning to them.”

“Yeah, that’s really, really…great, Ra’am.” His eyes, their human camouflage now gone, frightened too much, even in the dark. Though drunk, she couldn’t stared in them for long. She looked down at his hands. But after inhaling a deep breath, she forced herself to look in his eyes anyway. “You know…I could probably be attracted to you. If it wasn’t for those, those lines…geeso…uh…I can’t talk.”


“Oh yeah, right,” she said, smiling. “Yeah, you’re pretty good-looking. But you’re a darn alien. Ain’t that some shit?”

“Okay, no more alcohol for you,” he said quickly. “Come on.” He stood up, holding her hands and lifting her. “Besides, it is cold out.” He placed his arm around her shoulders, guiding her, leading them away from the boulder and toward Ha-Ta.

“But don’t get me wrong,” she said, staring up at him, “I am eternally grateful for everyfing, everyfing…” She burped. “You’ve done for me. It’s unbelievable!”

“Thank you, Trenae. We need to get you below.”…
















                                                             Chapter 11



…“Sorry, I told you my drunken ramblings. The only reason I remembered most of it, was because Ra’am told me later what I said.”

“No, that’s all right,” Jenny said.

“In fact, he followed me the whole time outside, walking to the cliff, making sure I was all right.”

“That was nice of him.”

“Yeah, I didn’t know he was behind me, but…” Trenae felt embarrassed. “Just please keep all that off the record, and all the stuff I’m about to say. Okay?”

“Oh, no problem, no problem.” Jenny appeared concerned, yet curious, turning off the recorder. “So, you decided to forgo seeing where the former World Trade Center buildings were.”

“Yeah, right. Those jerks at the nightclub pretty much ruined that attempt. I wasn’t thinking straight. But, at least I saw the Statue of Liberty.

“Anyway, all I can remember from the cliff is waking up, in my bed. I immediately searched my body, and realized I still had the leather jacket over my dress, zippered up, and then a blanket on top of me. It appeared Ra’am had not touched me, like I feared.”

“Yet he put a blanket over you.”

“Yes, but that was all.”

“Well that’s good.”

“True. Anyway, I started staring around Ha-Ta, so amazed that the thing could be miniaturized! I just still couldn’t believe it. So freaky!”

“Tell me. My skin crawled too when you described it.”

Trenae smiled. “So, anyway, after calming myself down about that miniaturization stuff, I looked at the doorway and saw that Ra’am had left it open. I checked my watch…it was around 5:00 in the morning. That’s early for me, especially after being out later than usual. But then it occurred to me why I woke up.”

“Why’s that?”

“I was nauseous, quite nauseous. I guess my body wasn’t used to it, drinking again.”

“Didn’t Ra’am give you tse makh yerape, for your drunkenness, like the first time you saw him?”

“No, I guess not. I guess he just wanted to leave me be.”

“So, what did you do?”

“Well, I got up slowly, very slowly.” Trenae grinned sheepishly. “Then I realized I’d better hurry, or Ra’am was going to have a huge mess all over! Fortunately, he removed my shoes too.” She became more serious. “I ran out and down the circular hallway, to the bathroom, as fast as I could go. The door was shut, like usual, but I quickly made it open. And not a moment to spare! I flew to the toilet.”

“Did you make it on time?”

“Just barely…then, I was almost finished at the toilet, when I heard a voice.”

Jenny leaned forward in her red chair, placing her elbows on her knees, drawing closer.

“Ra’am was in the bathroom,” Trenae said.

“Oh my gosh!”

“Yeah, really. I carefully lifted myself up, holding on to the sink, when I heard his voice again. Apparently, he had been calling me even before that. I guess I was vomiting too much to acknowledge him. And it was then, too, that I heard the shower running. But no steam, since it gets absorbed somehow. The sliding door thing to the shower must have been closed too, when I came in, so I didn’t notice right away. Plus, the way I was feeling.”

“So he was in there, taking a shower?”

“Yeah, exactly. He said, ‘Trenae, are you all right?’ So I turned around, and saw that he was peering out, from behind one side of the sliding shower door- fortunately, the door was solid, not transparent. So I couldn’t see all of him, just his face and upper body.”

“What did you do?”

“I quickly turned around, not facing him, and said something like ‘I felt better’ or something. And so I got up, apologized, I think, for disturbing him, and headed for the door. But just as I was walking out the doorway, I felt really, really dizzy and weak, and I fell down.”

“Oh no. Did you get hurt?”

“Yeah, it kind of stung. I landed smack on my stomach, boobs, and chin. My hands didn’t do much good. I hate when that happens.” She smiled at Jenny. “But, what happened next, well…was interesting.”

“So, come on, tell me,” Jenny said, implying hurriedness with her hands.

“Ra’am, of course, came rushing over to see if I was okay. I was already starting to get up, but…I looked to my side, my left, and there he was, naked! Naked, Jenny!”

Jenny smiled at her. “You sly cat, Trenae. What did you do?”

“I was on my hands and knees by then, but I did get a look. I remember looking at him, and he was kneeling, water dripping everywhere, and seeing him all wet and mostly blue, at first, you know, due to his geed’aso, but then…” She cleared her throat a little,  comically. “I saw his private area. Only for a split second, but it is forever blasted in my mind.”

“And so, what did it look like?” Jenny asked aggressively. It made Trenae laugh a little.

“I was amazed. It was not much different than a human males’. I mean, I was expecting some difference, but…maybe the color was different, but his penis was similar and well, his testicles looked smaller, I think, yet similar…can you not print this, please?” she asked. “It’s definitely embarrassing.”

“Sure, Trenae, see...” Jenny showed some words she jotted on her note pad. “So you’re safe now. But tell me, what about his body?”

“Yeah, I got a quick look at that too. But you have to remember- I was mostly in a state of panic and shock, and not feeling too well. I mean, I just wanted to get away from him as fast as possible, after seeing him like that. But, his body had no hair, anywhere, and looked mostly dark blue, with blue lines parallel with muscle strands. There were areas of lighter blue, like by his wash-board stomach, a line down his middle more, where I guess the geed’aso attached to the bone or connectors things. He also looked extremely strong and sinewy, muscular. And not any fat that I could see.”

“Even with his large weight? His weight does make him sound well…possibly fat.”

Trenae smiled. “No, definitely NO fat. But yeah, I asked that later- it’s all his different bones, geed’aso, adding extra weight. He just looked…extremely powerful and big. I think…I think…”

“Yes?” Jenny asked gently.

Trenae gazed down, away from Jenny’s prying eyes. “Oh, nothing. I just had that one brief look, and I quickly turned away, back toward the floor or ahead of me. I kept telling him to please, stay away, I’m all right, and he kept asking me if I was hurt and needed any help.” She lifted her head, smiled a little. “I started crawling away, toward my room, and I kept throwing my arm back at him, telling him to stay away, you know, that he was naked, as he kept asking me things. It was pretty disturbing. I think I even closed my eyes and felt my way there. I know he was being nice and all, but somehow, it felt odd…and--”

“Sure, he could have put a towel on!”

Trenae laughed again. “Well, probably not, because it happened so quickly, how I fell. But finally, he got the message and went back into the bathroom. I turned around, saw he wasn’t there, and lifted myself up…and, holding onto the walls, made it to my bedroom. I closed the door…and crawled into bed.” She touched her face lightly with her fingers, pausing a moment.

Silence spread through the living room. Jenny didn’t say a thing.

After some time, Trenae moved closer to the left side of the sofa, closer to Jenny. She glanced down and then looked at Jenny. She glanced down again. She began to draw imaginary designs on the sofa’s armrest with her fingertips. “I covered myself completely with my blanket, so my head and everything was covered. I mean, sure, I smile about this, but in reality, it hurt me.” She looked up. “I…I feel I can tell you this, Jenny, even though we don’t know each other so well. You’re almost like a friend.”

Confusion molded Jenny’s face, compassion too, though. “Sure, go ahead…I’ll just listen and keep it off the record.”

“You see…after Willson had sex with me, and then later raped me, and then later Stiles, the abortion…and the other men, those creeps, I basically died inside sexually. I hadn’t thought about it, except that night when Ra’am held me, and then the next day, after traveling to the earth’s core, when I embraced Ra’am. But the rest of the time, it was completely out of my mind…and I didn’t even think about it with other guys at the nightclub. But after I saw Ra’am, naked…and I know this sounds strange, because he’s an alien, but…I wanted him…in my arms…right then.

“But…” She glanced down. “At the same time, I was terrified of him too. That he could force himself on me, hurt me. I started crying and shaking a lot, and just kept the cover over me, so he wouldn’t see me cry. It was so confusing, the way I felt…to want something, and yet be so afraid to have it.” She sighed and lifted her gaze. “But, anyway, sorry to weigh you down.”

“No, that’s okay.”

“But…I eventually fell asleep, and Ra’am never bothered me. And I realized it wasn’t unusual for him to be up then, taking a shower, since he needed less sleep.”

“Ometvaheem require showers a lot too, huh?”

“Yes, since their skin is similar to ours. It needs to be kept clean.”

“Oh, I see.”

“Anyway, I eventually woke up. You can put this on the recorder again, by the way.” Jenny turned the recorder on. “It was Sunday morning. After I sat up, I noticed Ra’am had put my clothes back in my room, you know, that plastic container thing. Ra’am only kept his clothes in the storage compartment, in the one of the cylinders, so…we were casual about it.

“I got dressed and left my room. I found Ra’am in the eyzkher tagleet, as usual, doing something. I felt really embarrassed, at first, to be around him and just stood by the doorway. But he turned around and told me to come in. Then he said he was very, very sorry for alarming me like that, when he came out naked. He just said that he didn’t have time to cover, that he thought I was really hurt or sick, and wanted to help me. But he said he knew it embarrassed me, and once he was positive I wasn’t really in trouble, he left me alone. Yet…I still kinda thought he did it deliberately too.”

Jenny smiled. “Yeah, me too.”

“It was snowing hard that morning, and really windy, so we had to stay inside. Ra’am told me about my drunken ramblings by the cliff. I felt stupid. I also remember feeling pretty depressed that day, about my drunkenness and just about everything else, but especially because of what happened with that man at the nightclub. It reminded me more than ever, of how doomed I was, after Ra’am would leave. I was a sitting duck, and no one could save me then. I guess that’s why I freaked out, and said all those dumb things by the cliff. You see, I blamed myself, for everything that happened to me.”

“But how could you? It was like Ra’am said- your mom, Willson, and the rest.”

“I know, I know,” Trenae said, shaking her head a little. “But then, back then, there was a black cloud over me. I was scared and depressed…so, I started walking around Ha-Ta, staring at the stupid green color everywhere. L.B. followed me a lot. Ra’am eventually came out of the lab room, and was by the control panel. And I asked him- ‘Why does everything have to be this icky green color?’”

“What did he say?”

“He said it doesn’t have to be that color at all! I was like, ‘what?’ And then he told me to sit down at the shleetah maksheer.”


“Yes. So, I sat down. And then he asked me what color I wanted.” Trenae watched Jenny’s face carefully, making certain she understood it well. “At first, I didn’t comprehend how it could happen, but then he told me color merely depended upon what light photons were absorbed or reflected. And the taktselekh could easily change, through a certain proodat t’notah system it enabled, what was reflected or absorbed on Ha-Ta’s interior surface. It was just that he preferred the green color, since it reminded him of these huge wall-like mountain rocks, near his home, where he grew up.”


 “I said I was sorry about what I called the color. But he said it was okay, that I didn’t know. But I also told him he should have told me sooner, that the color was important to him. And that he could change the colors too.”

“You probably never asked, right? So he never told you.”

Trenae smiled briefly. “Yeah, exactly. I think HE said something like that too…And so, he asked me what colors I would prefer. The first, if I remember right, was orange. He touched a few buttons on the control panel, and then the whole place became orange, even the seats and control panel, although the buttons kept their own colors. But I looked around, and how awesome, Jenny, how everything became the new color!

“And then I felt like shaking things up a bit, so I asked him to make everything black. Oh, man, that was weird! Way too creepy! L.B. started nuzzling Ra’am and I, acting wound up. But then Ra’am added some stars and other celestial objects, and finally had the whole interior looking like the nighttime sky we saw the night before. Incredible, really.

“But then I wanted him to try some other colors, and so we went with basically all of them, like blue, yellow, red, violet, brown, tan…you name it! And varying shades of each color. It was fun! And then I asked him if he could produce patterns or pictures or designs, and he did that too.”


“Yes. It was awesome…you had to be there. And Ra’am even produced the outside scenery. The more he changed the colors or made pictures, the more it reminded me of a PC screen, you know, how you change the background or wallpaper. Right?”

“Sure, I get it.”

“Finally, I asked him if he could make everything into a rainbow, one of my most favorite things.”

“That’s true, you said before.”

 “Yes. And so, he did. And I don’t know really, but, it did something to me. I had to get up off my seat and walk around. He hadn’t just made rainbow arcs, like you see in the sky, but different shapes of rainbows, that had a very balanced look to them everywhere. Like circle ones and U-shaped ones and straight-line ones. And the colors were so light and bright, yet so vivid, like the rainbows after a rain shower and the sun is shining again. I kept walking around, past the eyzkher mazon and Ra’am’s room, you know, just circling Ha-Ta. I just had to get up and see, to see the beautiful colors.”

“What did Ra’am do?”

“Well, he got up too, and started to follow me. I could see he smiled at me. I was smiling too.” Trenae gazed down. “And I started acting kinda silly, stretching my arms out and spinning around slowly, while looking up at the ceiling.” She looked back at Jenny. “And then I looked at the walls, the floor. I started getting giggly too. L.B. started barking at me.”

Jenny smiled.

“And then I passed the bathroom and my bedroom. I kept moving, twirling around. I know this sounds stupid, but I just couldn’t get over the beauty of the colors. I felt different, happier, because of it.”

“No, it’s understandable,” Jenny said, her tone reassuring.

“But anyway, I started heading back toward the control panel, pass the lab, twirling and walking backwards. When suddenly, I bumped into Ra’am.”

“Did you hit him?”

“No…I turned around, and there he was. I could just see his shirt at first, ya know, how different our heights.”


“But I was pretty dizzy, from twirling- I started to fall. Right away, Ra’am took my hands. I looked up at him, waited for my dizziness to stop.  And then I thanked him, for making Ha-Ta so beautiful, and for making me cheer up. And he said ‘no problem’. He was polite usually.

“But then…he held my hands tightly again,” she said, holding out her hands. “I looked down at my hands. I couldn’t get free.”

“Oh damn, Trenae. What was he up to now?”

“Well…” She gave a quick sigh, relaxing her hands on her lap. “I looked up at him again and I expected to see his piercing, powerful stare. Instead, he gave me this sad, desperate look with those eyes…like he wanted to say something. He didn’t look mean or angry, just…it’s hard to say. I had to look away from him, at the floor or my hands or something. I remember feeling a little uneasy and embarrassed, for him and myself.”

“Wow, so what happened?”

“He still held my hands. I looked up at him again and asked him if he was all right. He said he was, and then slowly…he released my hands. I wanted to take hold of them again, or hug him, but I always felt worried, because he rejected me that other time. So, I let him be.

“But, as I watched his face, he just kept looking so…sorrowful.

“And then he didn’t look at me anymore, and turned away. He walked to the control panel. I went after him and asked him again what was wrong. He eventually turned around and told me nothing was wrong, just that he was glad I felt happy with the colors, and we could keep them…something like that. But when he sat down, he gave me his steely, penetrating stare again. Even though I wanted to, I didn’t ask him again. His barrier was up.”

“Being that dark, silent type?”

“Yeah, exactly.”

“Shoot, this is killing me, what this guy’s problem is. I want you to tell me now, right now! But, then I violate--”

“Your chronological order thing,” Trenae said sweetly, not wanting to upset her possible new friend.

Jenny laughed a little. “You know me.”

“But anyway,” Trenae said, shrugging a bit, “I guess you could say I didn’t care what Ra’am’s problem was. You know, if he didn’t want to talk about it. Just as long as he was being good to me, and didn’t trap me or hold on to me…and not let me go. I was happy with the rainbow patterns. And then the rest of that day went pretty much like any other bad weather day, with Ra’am in the lab and me either watching TV or on the Internet, since we couldn’t go out.”

“Did you guys keep the rainbow pattern from there on?”

“No, we eventually got tired of it. We tried other colors and patterns, changed it frequently.”

“Any more episodes with him showing up nude or coming in your room, or you going to his room?”

“Jen nee!” Trenae said slowly, smiling.

“So, come on?”

Trenae smiled and gazed down. “Well, I don’t know. I mean, it was puzzling- first his behavior toward me in the taxi, and then the way he held my hands during the rainbow. Only, in the taxi, he looked aggressive and dangerous.” She lifted her head. “But with the rainbow time, he appeared, like I said, sad. I began to think he was going to miss me, maybe. And as far as his naked incident, I really believed it was a one-time thing. There was never another incident like that again. And we never went in each other’s rooms.”

“But what about you? What were your feelings for him?”

Trenae drew a quick breath and looked across the room, at the dark, silent TV screen. “Well, after that time I saw him naked, and felt those feelings, I eventually just buried them again. You know…” She looked back at Jenny. “Like I told myself all the time, he’s an alien! I had to get a grip, not worry about sexual stuff and just concentrate on figuring out where my life would be after he left.”

A disturbing memory came. “And besides, there was something that really, really started bothering me about him. Not that day, with the rainbow stuff, but a few days later.”

“What’s that?”

“It was before Christmas. Actually, like I already told you, Ra’am didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. But I still did. So, I found this little pine tree, outside, not far from the cliff, kinda going up the mountain a bit. It was only about four feet high, but cute. Well, I put some popcorn string and some other colored string decorations, that Dod had given me. Plus some small pine cones I painted with some poster paint, also compliments of Dod.”

“Good ‘ol Dod.”

“Yeah, really. But anyway, I just wanted some sort of remembrance of previous Christmas times, with my dad. Ra’am didn’t care much, really, although he did tell me his feelings about Christmas again. I guess he realized it was something I had to do, something to make me feel better.

“But, the main reason I’m telling you this…” She stared directly in Jenny’s face. “About 4 days after we went to New York City, Stiles and Traferro came around again with some other guys I’d seen before, like Mr. Finley, and started searching the area. Well, right away, they knew something was up, not only because of my Christmas tree, but because of our footprints in the snow, and L.B.’s prints. They stared at, followed my footprints, but especially Ra’am’s too. Ra’am told me, while they were fishing around, that he should have made our footprints vanish.”

“He can do that?”

“Yes. But then, it was too late. If he made them disappear while they were there, they’d know something was up for sure.”

“Yeah, but at least they wouldn’t have hard evidence, to keep around,” Jenny said. “I’m sure your life was more important than his scientific experiments or revealing his presence. It was better for them to think you were gone or dead, because after Ra’am left, well…”

Judging from her face, Jenny seemed to dislike or distrust Ra’am. This seemed a little understandable, considering everything Trenae had recounted so far.

Trenae shrugged a bit. “Yeah, you’re right. But, I still think it was too late. They knew I was around. You see, Stiles started talking to the others, about someone who had seen me. I right away assumed it was those two guys in New York, although he never actually said it was them. But the worst thing…they discussed that my father’s box was empty of its valuables, yet full of stones, dirt, old dried pine needles, and leaves.”

“What?” Jenny asked, bewilderment graying her face. “That’s weird.”

 “I know! Except for that dirt and other stuff, my father’s belongings were gone, there was nothing inside they said. No treasures or anything. Stiles then cruelly told the other men that I screwed up, by tricking them, and that I had some major pain coming my way.”

“Oh my God, they thought YOU did it,” Jenny said slowly. “But you already knew that, that he would….maybe torture you…”

Trenae inhaled a deep breath. “Possibly…yeah, it was so horrible. I asked Ra’am again to do something, to kill them, cripple them, whatever, but he said he would not, because it was wrong. But that…that there,” she said, leaning forward, “was when I started thinking, hard. Here we were, in New York City, and all of a sudden, these guys from Idaho find me. I mean, what are the chances of that happening?”

“You know, I was gonna say.”

“Yeah, believe me, I know! I thought, was Ra’am involved? He didn’t want to kill or harm these guys! I started to really, really worry, that this whole thing with him was some sort of ploy or deal with Willson. And that Dod was involved too, and that’s how he found out about my aunt! My mind went crazy…but I hid it well from Ra’am.”

“Shit, that’s terrible.”

“Yes. But, finally, while Willson’s goons were still there, I asked Ra’am if the times he was ever near River Cliffs- if he’d ever seen anyone take my father’s box, steal the contents, replace with that dirt stuff. You know, if while searching for Dod, he’d seen. He said no, he hadn’t. But…” She shook her head. “After that, he wouldn’t look at me much or speak to me much, when I talked to him about it. Something…felt wrong.”

“Hmm. Who would want to do that to your father’s box? Any enemies, of your father or you?” 

Trenae thought for a moment. “No, not that I knew of. People were mean to me in High School, but it wasn’t like vengeful stuff or anything. Plus, I never told anyone about what I did at River Cliffs. And everybody liked my father…But you see, many people, from time to time, came to River Cliffs. We saw hikers, or hunters, or whatever, but there were other people. Aunt Heather and I didn’t bury the box that deep. So…I should’ve known something was wrong, when I couldn’t dig it up right away when I first came there, my suicide night.

“So, Ra’am probably just never saw anyone do it or wasn’t near the area when it happened. And then I figured, if he was involved with Willson or even someone out to get me, then he would‘ve turned me over by now, or done something bad to me. And besides, with his religious beliefs, why would he lie?”

Jenny leaned back against her seat and crossed her arms. “It sounds logical, but…”

“I also thought, maybe Ra’am felt bad, for not having protected my father’s box. But heck, even if he had seen someone take it, he didn’t even know me then, so what would he care?”


“Still, my trust diminished for him. But when I asked about New York City later, he said it was just a coincidence that we showed up with those guys there. He said, kinda sweetly, that I was just popular with people. Someone always noticing me, something like that.”

Jenny smiled.

“I had to keep reminding myself, over and over, all the help he had given me, how he had saved my life. And finally, I started trusting him more, after a week or so, to my trust level before New York.”

“That’s good.”

“Yes, it was. But anyway, after Stiles and his guys kept showing up, for like 3 days and stomping all over our area, and bringing a few helicopters too, Ra’am realized we couldn’t leave Ha-Ta. He decided we should leave the River Cliffs area, especially since Stiles and the others even began to dig in the ground where our footprints ended, because I guess they had exhausted everything and everywhere else…Ra’am was worried they would dig too far down, and kill themselves on Ha-Ta’s miniaturization process. I was like good, great, let ‘em die! But…he couldn’t have that. Against his beliefs,” she said, a slight, disgusted smirk frowning her face. “So, we loaded the galeel khayeem in Ha-Ta, and left the area.”

“Where did you go?”

“To an okay spot in the Frank Church Wilderness.” She smiled at Jenny. “Nothing was as good as my father’s area. And besides, there were plenty of distractions.”

“Willson’s guys again? Did they find you in the new spot?”

“Nooo, no,” Trenae said, shaking her head. “Fortunately, we never saw them around there. But, we did have a visit from two ometvaheem.”


“Yes. It was then, that I knew for sure, that Ra’am was definitely not from earth, like some genetic or cyborg experiment. It was a few days after Christmas, still in that other location. One morning, just as we were about to go outside, the shleetah maksheer made a strange beeping-like noise. It startled me, but Ra’am said it was okay. He said another Memadshakor was coming, and that it would be here soon. Well, I was nervous. He said they visited him about 2 times a year, but this visit was a little unexpected. But, he assured me, he would handle it. They didn’t know that I was living with him, although they were aware of L.B.

“But mostly, I was wondering what they would look like. I was worried they would look exactly like Ra’am or something, and that they all looked the same on Harkoav!”

“Yeah, that would be weird!”

“Well, eventually they arrived. They came underground, and docked their side entrance with our side entrance. Ra’am had me sit on the evesmol, and hold L.B., while he stood near the shleetah maksheer.”

“He didn’t try to hide you from them?”

Trenae canted her head for a moment. “No, he was trying to be honest, although he knew it would cause some questioning. Well, they came in, two ometvaheem, and immediately bowed down, on their hands and knees, with their faces looking at the floor. They stayed like that for just a bit, until Ra’am spoke to them in his own language. It was really interesting to hear him speak it…he spoke fast, and so did the other two! But after he spoke, they stood up again. And then they embraced Ra’am, in a quick hug, and smiled at each other and talked some more in Ra’yonah. They acted…human.”

“What was up with the bowing?”

“Well, Ra’am told me later it was a form of respect for those ometvaheem held in high regard. With all the contributions Ra’am made in science, military achievements, and religion for his planet, which was why they changed his name, they--”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right.”

“That…well, that and the fact his father was a well respected governing official on Harkoav. So, there was a lot of honor there.”

“Geez, you’re right, so much like humans, huh?”

“Yes, so much.”

“So, Ra’am wasn’t following his dad’s footsteps in politics?” Jenny asked, smiling.

Trenae smiled too. “No, obviously. But anyway, I watched the ometvaheem faces. And they did look different! They had the same geed’aso and hair as Ra’am, but different features, so you could tell them apart. They both looked Polynesian or Native American, but one had skin that was a little lighter than Ra’am’s, while the other’s skin was a little darker. And one was a little shorter and stockier, while the other was a little taller and thinner. They both had on the same kind of clothes as those ometvaheem using the ayeen meyard, to see the mammoths.”

“Hmm, interesting.”

“Well, finally, they looked at me. I kept holding L.B., although he was fidgeting a lot, and felt really uncomfortable as they stared at me. They had similar piercing, dark eyes as Ra’am. But, while they looked at me, Ra’am turned around and smiled at me. I felt a little relieved.

“Before they came, Ra’am told me to say- ‘brakhot ometvaheem’. So, I did tell them that, once Ra’am turned around. They didn’t smile at me, but bowed their heads slightly, like a greeting. And then Ra’am turned back around and started conversing with them. They were making these strange noises as they spoke. Ra’am told me later that like Hebrew, Ra’yonah uses lots of guttural sounds.”

“Oh, yes, I know what that is.”

“After they spoke a bit, Ra’am told me to come over by them. He then introduced me to them, by name. One was Teknay, and the other was Emsa’ah. And then they both shook my hand. Their hands were just like Ra’am’s hand- huge! Ra’am told me later that he had them shake my hand because it was a custom of our world. But it was uncomfortable for them, because they were normally extremely restricted from ever touching females, even though Teknay was married.”

“Yeah, but you’re human.”

“Yes, and that’s what Ra’am told them. He wanted me to feel more comfortable around them, and I guess to see and feel that there were really others like him. Right after I shook their hands, L.B. started acting up. Ra’am told me to bring him and myself to my room and stay there.”

“Probably that was best.”

“Yes, it was. L.B. became pretty rowdy. And also, Ra’am needed to talk with his people awhile, and normally, males will not discuss important information in the presence of females. But Ra’am told me later, after they left, that they did not approve of me staying there. He told them repeatedly, though, that I had to stay there, to save my life. Yet they still didn’t think it was a good idea. But Ra’am said, although I don’t remember his exact words, that he could care less what they thought.”

“Well, that was nice. But what did it matter, if you two were together? You’re not the same species.”

“I know. He told them that a lot. But it’s just their way, on Harkoav, something about respect and separateness for females.”

“So, how long were you in your room? How long did they stay?”

“Just a couple of hours. They left around noon, since they came in the morning.”

“That’s a rather short visit, for traveling 2.2 million light years, don’t ya think?”

Trenae smiled. “Yes, I know. But Ra’am told me their trip was virtually instantaneous, except for some maneuvering and traveling around our solar system. And he told me this was their last visit, until he returned to Harkoav.”

“Wow, so he was leaving soon. You know, not to sound trivial, but, were those ometvaheem good-looking too, like Ra’am?”

“That’s a good question! They were nice looking, in their own way, but not as handsome as Ra’am. At least, not to me.”

“Oh, I see,” Jenny said slowly, a sly smile forming.

Trenae smiled back at her.

“So, what happened after they left?”

“Ra’am came and told L.B. and me to come out of the room, since I had the door closed. He had given me some books to read in there too, from Dod, so it wasn’t too boring.

“But right away, I could see Ra’am didn’t seem too happy. He said his father wanted him home, in one earth month. His father, who like I said was a governing official, also apparently had some charge of Ra’am’s duty in the military as well. Apparently, there was civil unrest on a planet Harkoav occupied, about one light year away. It was called Makhtah, and a military leader that Ra’am knew of was leading some sort of revolt against Harkoav there. So, that was the main reason his father wanted him home soon. I mean, Ra’am knew he had to leave soon anyway, but he was hoping for a little more time here.”

“For what?”

“I know, really, that’s what I thought! Well, he said he wanted to study some more animals and other things. But there was something else too.”

“What’s that?”

“At first, Ra’am wouldn’t tell me. He was very quiet, focused inward, while we ate lunch. After lunch, we went outside to find some small animals, but he still was quiet, distracted, and rather uninterested in what he was doing. Finally, he said he wanted to go back on Ha-Ta and travel over to River Cliffs.

“I was concerned about that, especially because of my worry over Willson, and that maybe Ra’am was involved with Willson.”

“Sure, really,” Jenny said, sounding curious.

“I guess he noticed how worried I looked, but told me he would check thoroughly for any of Willson’s guys. He just wanted to go there and think, talk to me. So, he checked the area, and there was no one, not even any hunters or hikers…but, of course, it was near Christmas time. We got there around 4:00 pm, I think, since it was still a little light out. We left L.B. on Ha-Ta.”

Crossing her arms over her stomach, Trenae sat back and gazed toward the TV. “When we went outside, Ra’am led me by the hand to the cliff. I remember it was snowing and cold out. We both had gloves on.” She looked at Jenny. “Ra’am had us both sit down on a few of the large boulders near the cliff. He sat near me, on my right, but stopped holding my hand. He clasped his hands together and looked down, behavior I never really saw him do. I asked him what’s wrong? At first, he didn’t answer. He just looked up at the sky…and then at me. I asked him again, what’s wrong? He said ‘I have failed’. And I was like, failed at what?”


“He said he had been here so long, yet hadn’t witnessed to our world, what he knew about God. I was glad to hear that, since I thought he was going to say something about Willson. But anyway, I reminded him that he did tell Dod and me about God. But he said that wasn’t enough, that he’d been too selfish. He then stood up and started to pace by the cliff. I told him he should just worry about his own planet, and let our people worry about this planet. But that didn’t seem to help him. He just became more upset, because he said we didn’t have all the truth here.

“He paced a while longer, and then, all of a sudden, he picked up the boulder on the right, that Darin always sat on, like the size of  L.B…” Trenae widened her arms, showing the size. “He whipped the boulder around, threw it out across the from the cliff, over the river canyon below. At the same time, he yelled ‘No!’”

“Oh my gosh, he was freaking out.”

“I know…it scared me!” Trenae said, her eyes widening. “I mean, he lifted a rock that had been imbedded in the frozen ground and surrounded by snow. He lifted it like it was a sack of clothes, weightless! It left a large hole in the ground. I told him, right after he did it, carefully of course, that I didn’t think God would be too happy about him messing up his planet.”

Jenny smiled.

“As soon as I said that, though, he turned around. His eyes were on fire. I mean, he was really worked up, breathing hard. It wasn’t a pretty sight, to see his temper. With his size, speed, and strength, you didn’t want to get him mad!”

“I’ll say.”

“But he wasn’t mad at me I realized. After a few minutes, while he just stood there, staring at me, he finally said there was no one down there, and no animal was hurt by the boulder. But I was still shook up. I just looked away mostly, but did notice him finally turn around and look out across the cliff.

“After some time, I asked him if he was all right. He came near and looked down at me. His eyes were still dark and frightening. I told him, after I had thought a bit, that we could go talk to my father’s minister, a pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in Boise. He didn’t care anymore if any earthling saw him now, so I thought it was a good idea.”

“Are you talking about Pastor Jeff Crenshaw?”

“Yes, you know him?” Trenae asked eagerly.

“I had to do a news story on his family. You knew his wife and 18-year-old daughter were killed about a year ago?”

“Yes, I know. In a head on collision with a semi, on an icy road near Sun Valley, right?”

“That’s right.”

“Yeah, I heard.” Sadness swept through Trenae. “It’s such a terrible shame.”

“I spoke with him then,” Jenny said. “He seemed like a good guy, but very upset of course, given the circumstances.”

“Yes, my father always liked him. I found him a little too opinionated and tough, myself, but he’s still a good guy. But he was the only pastor I knew, and I didn’t know who else to suggest to Ra’am.”

“So, what did Ra’am say?”

Trenae sighed, brushing off her sad feelings. “Well, he still wasn’t too happy. He asked me what good it would be, for him to seek counseling from a human servant of God. But I said no, that he misunderstood me. I meant for you, Ra’am, I told him…to counsel the pastor. He then looked away from me, and slowly his expression began to mellow. And eventually, he said he was sorry, that he shouldn’t have lost his temper.

“I told him he was probably just homesick or something. He said yes, he missed many things from his planet and galaxy, but he would miss many things from earth too. He was drawn to both. Maybe another reason he was upset and angry, since he felt confused, I guess.”

“So you went back into Ha-Ta?”

“Yes. And everything was pretty much normal that evening. We talked a little more that night. But in the weeks ahead, things were not exactly normal”

“You mean into January?”

“Yes, January, the last month for Ra’am. And although he was more depressed or sad, he did try to be happier. You see, one day, a few days after his temper outburst on the cliff, I asked him if there were any profound literary or poetic authors on his planet, just like on earth. Like Robert Frost or Earnest Hemmingway- someone famous, important. And he said yes, there were many, just like here. And artists and sculptors as well. But you know, as profound and significant as their works were, he believed there was something far greater than a famous saying or poetic passage- he believed, if someone could make another person or being laugh, than that was the greatest literary or artistic achievement of all.”

“You know, Trenae, you’re right,” Jenny said seriously. “We can all remember some famous line in a poem or a passage from a story, that helps to get us through the day. But it’s so much easier to remember a funny TV show or book. Or funny movie.”

“Exactly, how true!” She felt glad Jenny agreed with her. “I told Ra’am we should get a funny movie, for him to see. I figured it would cheer him up a bit.” Trenae smiled. “And the first one I thought of, that he might like, was Spaceballs.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jenny said, smiling too. “I‘ve seen it. It is funny.”

“On New Year’s Eve, we went to Grangeville. There was this DVD store there. Ra’am disguised himself, brought that fake ID and some fake cash, and went outside, from the ceiling entrance. We parked near the store, by some trees. I stayed on Ha-Ta. He allowed me to view him on the khalon, through the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah, so I--”

“The micro robots, with the cameras?”

“Yes…But, anyway, I could watch and see he was okay. And after he rented it, he walked outside for a moment, found a secluded, dark spot, and then removed the DVD from the plastic case. He encased the disk in hemoom prodoh, for just a second. Apparently, that was all he needed. After that, he went back in the store and gave the DVD back. The clerk had a weird look on his face, but Ra’am said he could keep the money.”

“That’s nice, clever.”

“Yeah, it was! And so then, he came back down. I told him he would probably really like this movie, since it dealt with space stuff. But I told him it was mostly a parody of older space and sci-fi movies and series. But he understood. Since he had studied our culture so much, he knew of Star Trek, Star Wars movies, and others.

“And so we watched it. And…and I was so happy, to see him laugh, a lot!”

“He did? Really?”

“Yes. He sounded so human, even though his laugh is different, like I told you before.” Trenae beamed, remembering one particular scene. “At one point, because we were sitting in the seats in front of the control panel, he had to get up and lean over the back of his chair, since he was laughing so much. It was so funny. I laughed at him too, besides the movie! His face looked so much happier. I was glad we did it.”

“Yeah, that nutty Mel Brooks. He’s good.”

“True, but my favorite is Rick Moranis in that movie.” Trying to relax, be more comfortable, Trenae leaned back in the sofa. She was beginning to get tired. “But you know, something else happened. As we laughed together, I felt some sort of bond between us, that I had never felt before with anyone. I still…in the back of my mind, had a lot of distrust issues with him. But that time…that moment together, laughing…well, it made me hurt inside too.”


“Because I knew he was leaving soon. And he hadn’t discussed with me where I would go. It was like he didn’t want to talk about it. He said we should just wait, see how things transpired, before knowing exactly what to do. But…it made me sad and worried.”

“Well, seeing as how he cared for you so far,” Jenny said, “ I wouldn’t think he’d drop you on the side of the road.”

Trenae laughed a little. Then an involuntary yawn overtook her. Heeding to its power, she yawned deeply, cupping her hand over her mouth. “Oh, excuse me. I’m getting tired. But anyway, after that night, watching the movie, I thought Ra’am’s mood would improve a bit. But actually, he became serious again and into continuing his research, the days after.

“Yet one day, after about the first week of January, he came up with this idea. It seemed to cheer him up a bit. Apparently, he had been researching the Internet. He found this professor of paleontology, at the University of California in Berkeley. Ra’am was able to determine that this professor, whose name was Dr. David Stein, had a site on the Internet, under another name, stating how evolution was inaccurate. But yet, this same professor still taught his students evolution status quo! This made Ra’am mad, but he came up with an idea.”

“What was it?”

Trenae yawned again. “Oh, gosh. I’m really tired. Sorry. Do you think we could go over it on another day?” She glanced down at her watch. 11:05 pm.

“Hey, sure. Let’s see, today’s Saturday…” Jenny looked down, quiet. She raised her head. “How about Monday night, at 7:00 pm again? I’m hoping no unusual story or assignment will pop up on me that night.”

“Yes, 7:00 is okay.”

After gathering her belongings, Trenae thanked Jenny for the food and the day, and left quietly into the night.

















                                                         Chapter 12



Jenny glanced at her on screen computer clock. 3:20 pm. She was just readying for calls to the local area police, sheriff, and fire departments, her typical procedure every weekday for a news reporter working at The Examiner, a morning paper.

She leaned back in her chair. Phew! The day had been long. Instead of having worked on a few long-term crime research projects Warren needed, Jenny had spent this entire Monday, until now, researching Trenae Lafayette’s story. Of course, she could never completely verify Trenae’s account of her alien friend, but that wasn’t Jenny’s interest today. Her interest today was to verify what she could. And unfortunately, what she could verify centered on the organized crime conduct and other information surrounding Governor Willson.

“What did you find out?” 

Jenny looked up, to her left. Phil was back. Maybe he had found out more information, since he offered to help after she had given him the most current details of her interview with Trenae, when they both arrived in the morning.

Phil sat in his seat, rolling it near her. Jenny leaned back in her chair. “Well,” she said, “the first thing I did was go to Fontel’s. I talked to a girl I’d interviewed before, on that piece about the strip clubs, remember?”

“Yes, absolutely.”

“And she said…she knew of Trenae, confirmed she had worked there, but she didn’t know why Trenae left. And the girl who was Trenae’s friend, well, she left not too long after Trenae did. And Trenae’s brother’s girlfriend…she no longer works there also. Apparently, turn over is high.”

“What about her mom and brother?” Phil asked. “Did you call or go there?”

“Nah, didn’t have time today. Maybe I’ll try to drive up there tomorrow, if I can. I’m really behind. But the same girl I interviewed at Fontel’s, right, told me she heard Trenae’s mom and brother were really nasty and involved with a rough crowd, although she wouldn’t specify…I’m gonna have to talk to Warren, tell him the seriousness of this situation.”

“Yeah, but you still only have hunches, no hard evidence. Or do you, did you find anything else?”

Leaning forward, Jenny turned her seat to face Phil. Fortunately, no one hovered near their cubicle, as typical. “Okay, well, I went to the police station, after Fontel’s and asked what I could from Simon.”

“The cop you know?”

 “Right. He gave me some access to computer data and paperwork, some files. And there seems to be no reports or investigations of organized crime, though there are plenty of drug related crimes and investigations, especially all those drug labs popping up around, manufacturing the stuff.

“I was able to access Spokane’s accident reports from the computer there, and yes, Trenae’s aunt was killed in an auto accident. But that’s just it- they called it an accident, that she was driving too fast. No evidence of foul play, at least from the police report.”

“So, nothing so far,” Phil said quickly.

“No, wait. There’s more,” she said seriously. “And this is why I want to talk to Warren. It seems, after doing some cross-referencing from various sites on missing people, like from the FBI, police records, that national data bank, etc…”


“Well, like I said, I crossed referenced it…I was trying to find young women, like Trenae described at Willson’s, with their problematic backgrounds, and see if any were last seen in the Idaho or Boise area. And Phil, there were a lot!”

Phil said nothing, only staring at her.

“A lot of missing females, young, like in their late teens, early twenties, especially from Canada, but from around Midwestern and Western U.S. They were originally prostituting or ran away from home or involved in drugs, even some strip joints or other seedy places, in some city or town. Ya know, society’s throw-aways. But they were last seen in Boise, Spokane or other areas of Idaho, even though they weren’t originally from there!”

“But like how many?”

“I counted 18 of them, though some I wasn’t too positive of.”

“That is a lot,” Phil said.

“Or, there were reports of parents unsure of their daughter’s whereabouts, since they received these troubling calls from foreign countries, like Japan, Asian countries or Russia, Europe, with their daughters mysteriously getting jobs there, and then calling to let their parents know. But then the parents didn’t hear from them again and the girls either never gave a number for them to call or when the parent’s did call a number, it’d been disconnected! Now in these cases, a lot of times, but not always, the girls were last seen or heard from their parents in Idaho or Spokane…before they ended up across the ocean. Weird, huh?”

“Yeah, but that could be coincidence.”

Picking a pen off her desk, Jenny began to flip it around with her fingers. “There were about 8 of those particular cases…I don’t know. Just doesn’t look good. And after I did that, I called the Governor’s office, see if Willson would talk to me. Or if the Lieutenant Governor would talk or anybody else, like his secretary. But I got nowhere. They were all busy, but I can try again tomorrow…try to get an interview with Willson, just talk about a few minor things.”

“But be careful, if you get an interview,” Phil said. “Don’t say the wrong thing, or Bartell will hyperventilate.”

She put the pen down and stared Phil directly in his eyes. “I also called Payette Technologies, Dod’s company.”

“Oh yeah, the guy who knows both the alien and Trenae.”

“Right. But I did something sneaky.” She smiled a little. “I disguised my voice as Trenae’s, and said I was Trenae, and wanted to speak with Dod. It was early, like around 6:00am, since Spokane--”

“The time difference.”

“Yes…I wanted to get him early, before he left anywhere. Someone else answered first, some guy, and I said her name, and then Dod got on right away. He asked how I was, where I was, when I got back. He was just as Trenae described- sort of hyper, energetic, nice. But he definitely knew Trenae, no doubt there. I don’t know what he meant with his line of questions, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. Believe me, I wanted to ask him about Ra’am and Trenae so badly, but knew he’d never tell me, soon as he found out who I really was.”

“So, what did you do?”

“I just hung up, after he got all excited and all. I never said a word.”

“Oh, you female dog, you!” Phil looked funny.

“Yeah, yeah,” Jenny said quickly, snickering a little. “And what did you find out?”

Adjusting himself in his chair, he leaned over closer to her. “That guy I know, Jimmy, who did catering for Willson’s estate…he pretty much helps your story here, with the missing girls. He says from what he saw, the parties were very elaborate. His catering company never did a whole lot, since Willson had those maids, yet…he saw many different young women, on different occasions there. They all looked rather pretty and dressed to the hilt, with expensive, revealing dresses, great makeup, pretty hair, expensive jewelry. But, they didn’t fit the part, he says.”


“You see, he expected to see snobby, educated, upper class faces, like of rich girls…but instead, saw expressions of tough, worn out women, who seemed insecure and scared, like out of place…like expensive gems stuck on costume jewelry molds. It didn’t fit. Of course, it’s just his opinion, but I thought you should know.”

“Did you describe Trenae, did he see her?” Jenny asked excitedly.

“Yeah, I described her, but he wasn’t too sure. He saw a lot of them. He can’t really remember.”

Feeling a little deflated, Jenny hung her head, shaking it slightly. “I don’t know, I don’t know, Phil. Something’s not right here.”

“Well, check this out,” Phil said eagerly. Jenny lifted her head. “I did some research too, on the Internet, and there actually have been cases of a whole town or area slowly controlled by the mob, like in Youngstown, Ohio. Do you remember hearing about their sheriff, back in the early 80’s, who took campaign contributions from two different mob organizations, and then was later busted by the FBI?”

“Yeah, I think of heard of it, just in passing. Didn’t he later become a congressman, only to be busted again, like in 2000 or 2001, and then kicked out of congress in 2002?”

“Right, and see, the whole civil arena of Youngstown, during the 80’s and 90’s, like judges, police officers, prosecutors, city lawyers and engineers, were puppeted by these mafia guys…so what Trenae’s saying isn’t off the wall.”

“But here, Phil, in Idaho?” she asked, her voice high-pitched a little. “I thought we used to have problems with those neo-Nazis, not organized crime. And besides, those mob guys in Youngstown were mostly typical Italian mafia. And what Trenae’s saying, if she knows what she’s talking about, all nationalities visited Willson’s.”

“They’re just all working together, Jen,” said Phil. “Something new, maybe, I don’t know. And if Willson really is involved in something like this, then the guy’s a total idiot, and it’s not going to be long for the whole thing to blow. Someone’s gonna talk, like one of those girls, maybe, if they can.”

“I keep thinking about how they went through her,” Jenny said. “You know, first Willson had his way with her, at first acting like her beau, but then turning on her when she wouldn’t do certain things. And then he let the rest of the guys have her. What do you think?”

Phil crossed his arms and sat up straight. “It almost sounds to me…” He turned, looking toward the lunchroom, and then glanced back at Jenny. “Like Willson felt obligated to them, because they whacked off his wife for him…or, more so actually, they all, in effect…tried Trenae out, for prostitution or something.”

“Something big, something international maybe,” Jenny said. “Weird.”

Phil nodded.

“Is Willson’s estate still for sale?” she asked.

“Yes, last I heard.”

“Hmm…strange, since the place stayed so long in the family. Wonder what his family thinks?”

“That’s something to investigate too,” Phil said. “Hey, did you check on Stiles, and the other guys?”

Jenny sighed. “Nothing really, on any of them, on any of the FBI Most Wanted or any of the other sites. Although…”


“This one guy, Frank Stilleto, who looked a lot like how Trenae described Stiles…but without seeing him personally, I can’t say.”

“What he’s wanted for?”

“Extortion, attempted murder, manslaughter, fun stuff like that.”

“Just a regular hoot of a guy, huh?”

Jenny smiled and laughed quietly.

“It kind of sounds like it works,” Phil said. “Whatever it means- Frank ‘Stiles’ Stilleto. You should download and print a photo of the guy, let Trenae see if it’s him.”

“Yeah.” She eyed Phil carefully. “You’re right. I will.” She looked at her computer screen, thinking deeply. “But probably the most confusing…and disturbing thing today, was when I checked for Trenae on the police or missing persons records. I found no arrests, although her mom and brother had a few minor arrests and violations.” She moved a little closer to Phil. “But no missing person report was ever filed on Trenae, by anyone.”

“Hell, you’d think her mother…wouldn’t you?”

“That’s just it,” she said, staring in his blue eyes. “Either her mother didn’t care, which is possible, or else, she thought Trenae was still living at Willson’s estate…or maybe, just maybe, Trenae made this whole story up, using some grapevine hearsay about Willson’s estate for her own personal gain or purpose.”

“But what about all those missing girls, who were last seen around here?”

“That true.” She shook her head. “I don’t know for certain how they and Trenae fit in. I…I don’t believe her, or everything she’s said.”

“Or else, maybe she’s the one, Jen, who’s willing to talk and expose Willson.”

Jenny turned her chair toward the computer. “Yeah, maybe.” She looked at him. “But listen, Phil, thanks for your help. I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening. I’m seeing her again tonight.”

“Sure. Talk to you later. I have a load of work to catch up with.”