Authors: Saxon Andrew
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Alien Invasion, #First Contact, #Galactic Empire, #Genetic Engineering, #Hard Science Fiction, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Space Marine, #Teen & Young Adult
he female Kerit rode into the village square with a wagon full of bundled flowers. The locals stopped what they were doing and watched her as she moved toward the village center; the males were amazed at how beautiful she was. Her long white hair hung down her back to her waist and her black features were dainty and…perfect. Her arms hung below her hips and were slim, just like the rest of her body. Her green colored eyes were bright and her smile was dazzling.
The wagon was being pulled by a Pogo that was larger than any in the village. Its single horn stuck three feet out of the center of its head with a perfect curve arching up over the top of its large head. The large animal was in perfect health; its horn reflected the sun’s light in beautiful colors off the brilliant gleaming surface. The horn always revealed the health of a Pogo; this one’s horn had no flaws.
The two large black eyes on each side of the Pogo’s head were constantly moving looking for danger. Its nostrils were wide open smelling for a threat, as well. However, it did not appear hostile to the other Kerits in the village. The Pogo’s six legs were huge and the villagers knew it was capable of high speed if the situation called for it. Many wondered what a female was doing traveling alone with this giant Pogo. Everyone knew she wasn’t from their community; she was a stranger.
She stopped the wagon next to the fountain in the center of the small community and pulled a sign out of the wagon and hung it from two hooks on the side; Bouquets for 5 Minor. She smiled and looked at the Kerits watching her. The Village Elder, who watched her enter the village, walked off the sidewalk in front of his store and approached the young female. Eight young males joined him but respectfully walked behind him. “Who are you?”
She smiled and looked the Elder in the eyes, “My name is Amelee and I’m traveling from village to village selling flowers I’ve gathered in the wilds.”
The Elder shook his head, “I thought travel between villages is forbidden.”
“The Master of my village gave me permission to do it.”
The Elder shook his head, “Your Master isn’t here. His permission carries no weight outside your village. Our Master makes the decisions that guide us and you have not received his permission.”
“AND YOU BETTER NOT FORGET IT!” The nine males immediately went to their knees and the young female joined them. The purple colored being walked out of a building across the community’s square from them wearing a long purple colored robe with a hood over its head. It walked up to them and saw everyone, except for those on their knees, had disappeared. It smiled and lowered the hood. The large hairless head appeared and it stared at the female on her knees. Its single central eye blinked as it listened to the thoughts of the small gathering. Its purple colored skull also reflected sunlight and it glanced at the Pogo. This one was well trained. It was frightened but it remained still and didn’t look directly at the telepath. The animal had a high level of intelligence compared to most of its kind. The same couldn’t be said for its owner. He could see that the males thought she was beautiful but there wasn’t much going on in her head. It had initially hoped she would be a good meal but she wasn’t worth the effort. He understood why her Master had allowed her to leave.
He looked at the Village Elder, “This one’s mate was consumed by his Master. He should have eaten both of them but he didn’t. This one is young and needs to have children but she can’t get over her loss in the community where she lived. She has been sent out to find another mate.” The Telepath looked at the Female, “You may stay as long as necessary to find a mate. If you don’t find another, you may leave. However, you will not be given a long time to find your new mate. You may go to four more villages and then you will be consumed if you haven’t found a mate. Do you understand?”
The Telepath had just fed and wasn’t hungry. If it were hungry, it might not have been in such a giving mood. It turned and walked back toward the house it emerged from to finish its meal. It pulled the hood over its head and entered its dwelling.
The Elder waited until it disappeared and stood up, “Do you know just how lucky you are?” Amelee smiled and shook her head. The Elder shook his head and saw she possessed little more than a simple mind. He sighed and looked at the males, “She is under my protection. You may take time to get to know her and I hope some of you will purchase her flowers.” The Elder looked at Amelee, “Meet me at the store across the street when you’re ready to settle down for the evening.”
Amelee continued to smile and nodded. She turned to the males, “I have flowers that will greatly impress any female you might be interested in. Would you like to buy a bouquet?”
The Telepath listened to the male’s thoughts and saw that they could quickly see that the female, though beautiful, was about as dumb as a stump. He hoped none of the males in his territory would be interested in her; he needed children born with high intelligence. He was certain this female would do little more than whet his appetite. Consuming her would be like eating a stupid animal; filling but tasteless and empty. He turned his attention to the two he had chosen to consume for the month’s meal. They were both pretty much stripped of their memories and all that remained was the fear that overwhelmed them at their coming deaths. Ahhh, their fear was tasty. He took his time and enjoyed his meal. That dumb female would probably be too dumb to feel fear. He forced her out of his mind and started on the male.
• • •
By the end of the day, every single-male in the village had come and checked out the new female. All of them left her standing by her wagon and Legune decided that she needed to go and help her. Legune was also beautiful but had put off having a family; she couldn’t bear seeing them killed by the Master. “Amelee.”
Legune shook her head, this one smiled at everything. “You should have your Pogo pull your wagon over to the store and release your Pogo to graze tonight.”
Legune took the bridle on the Pogo’s nose and it snorted. Legune smiled as she spoke soothing words to it. It settled down and Legune led it over to the store. She took off the bridle and leather straps holding the large Pogo to the cart and said, “Go and eat.”
The Pogo looked at Amelee and she said, “Eat your fill, Ander.”
The Pogo walked away and Legune led Amelee into the store. The Elder looked at them and shook his head, “Legune, will you take her to your quarters and allow her to sleep there? I’ll replace what she eats tomorrow.”
“Yes, Elder.” Legune led Amelee down the street to a small hut and opened the door. Amelee walked in and saw the simple living quarters as Legune closed the door behind them. “The only ones allowed outside at night are those protecting our livestock from the Grondons.” Legune showed her the bed where she would sleep and began preparing the evening meal as Amelee sat down on the grass filled mattress.
“Are you not mated?” Legune looked at Amelee and shook her head. “Why not, you are beautiful and of childbearing age?”
Legune sighed, “I will probably be forced to choose a mate shortly. The Master will insist I have children.”
“What will happen if you don’t?”
Legune shook her head and wondered if this female was really this stupid, “There is no possibility of refusal. You should know that.” Amelee nodded and waited for Legune to finish preparing the meal.
Later that evening, Amelee turned and looked at Legune laying on the floor beside her. “If you could avoid having children, would you?” Legune opened her eyes and wondered at the complexity of the question. “Would you?”
“I don’t want to see them die.”
“Perhaps the Master will wait until you die to take them. Will you help me in the morning?”
“Help you do what?”
“Ride with me to the edge of the village’s territory and show me the road I need to take to the next village. I don’t think anyone here wants me.”
“I’ll take you to where the road splits about four miles away. I’ll send you on the right path and walk back.”
“Thank you for your kindness.”
• • •
The Telepath smiled, “Good riddance.” She would probably take the wrong road even if she was told the one on the left was the right one to take. Evidently, this one had taken the wrong road before arriving here. It turned back to the female and savored her final struggles.
• • •
The Elder looked at Legune and shook his head, “Elder, I need to take her to the fork and send her on the right path.”
“I will, Elder. I’ll be back by mid-afternoon.”
The Pogo looked back at Amelee, who lifted the reins and slapped them gently on its back. It dug its feet in and pulled the wagon forward. The males working in the fields next to the village watched them leave and shook their heads as they moved out of the village. What a terrible waste of a beautiful female. There was no cure for stupid.
• • •
An hour and a half later, the wagon arrived where the road forked into two directions. Legune pointed to the road on the left and looked at Amelee, “That road will take you to the next village. She turned to go but stopped, turned around, and hugged Amelee, “Good luck. I do pray you find another mate.”
Legune released the female and her saw her smile disappear, “If you could never marry or have children, would you?”
“That’s not a choice, Amelee.”
“But if you could, would you?”
“I’d rather die than live and watch all the ones I love killed in the Master’s mental embrace.” Amelee nodded and stepped off the wagon. She took the bridle and reigns off the Pogo and laid them over the side of the wagon. Legune watched her and started shaking her head, “What are you doing?”
“Just sit on the wagon and remain silent.”
“Do as I say. Whatever you do, you must be silent.” Legune shook her head as she saw Amelee look out into the wilderness next to the road and stare into the high brush. In a few moments, Legune heard something moving through the underbrush and it wasn’t small. Amelee said without looking at her, “It’s very important that you make no noise. Sit there and be still!” Legune’s eyes narrowed at the big change in Amelee’s demeanor. Suddenly, a giant Grondon came bursting out of the brush. She opened her mouth to scream but put her hands over her mouth and bit into her right palm to prevent it. The Grondon rushed up to Amelee and stopped. It went down on all fours and lowered its head. The Giant had tusks that were at least seven feet long and the teeth in its double row inside its giant maw were at least a foot long. The giant kept shifting colors and, after a moment, it turned a light grey and stayed that color.
Amelee rubbed the giant carnivore’s head between its four eyes and smiled. Legune quit biting her hand and sat in shock. Amelee looked at the huge Pogo and said, “Go and find a mate.” The Pogo hesitated and Amelee smiled, “You have finished your duties and now you are free to go and live in freedom. The Pogo ignored the Grondon and rubbed its head against Amelee. She smiled and rubbed it just above its single horn and pointed toward the wilds, “Go, my friend.” The Pogo turned and moved quickly into the brush.
She turned to Legune, “Get down from the wagon and move away very slowly.” Legune stumbled off the wagon and saw the twenty foot tall Grondon watching her. She slowly backed up the road keeping her eyes on the giant beast and stopped about twenty yards away. Amelee looked at the Grondon and stared into its eyes. She stepped to the side as she removed the bridle and leather bindings from the cart; the Grondon took its two upper legs and pushed the wagon over. All the flowers spilled out and two bodies fell out on top of them. Amelee held up the bridle and leather straps as the Grondon swept its front claws across them and cut them into pieces. Amelee picked them up and scattered them up the road. She looked at the Grondon and smiled, “They are your meal. Thank you for your help.”
The Grondon turned and pushed the wagon into the brush, grabbed the first body and began devouring it. Amelee looked at Legune, “The Master at the last village was sated and he threw those two bodies out; they were still alive but mentally dead. He ordered the community to not bury the bodies until the next morning. I had my friend here put them in the cart so I could make it look like it ate them.”