A Tale of Two Species: The MemoriesBy Faheem Fathah
December 17, 2018
She gasps. I break from my astonishment and look at her. She is not able to breathe properly. She struggles and twitches while I kneel down beside her, hopelessly staring in shock. “Hey, what’s wro-” I just realise that the Earth’s gravity and atmospheric pressure is too much for her. “No, no no no nooo!” I’m still helpless. “Should I uhh…” She suddenly glares at me and that brings a loud painful scream inside my head. It hurts every inch of my body. I can’t bear it. I crawl away from her as far as I could praying that it would lessen the pain, but no, it doesn’t. Voices boom inside my head.
“Sweetie, run!” Mom.
“Go! Now Zeki, go!! And don’t look back!!” I don’t want to!
I whimper. “What….are… you doing? It hurts…ugh.”
After a few minutes of what felt like an eternity, the pain stopped. I gasp for air. It takes a while for my vision to come back. I turn slowly towards her and find her standing, perfectly calm, with the same bloody blank expression she’s always had. “Okay,” I pant, and slowly get up, “I’m gonna need some explanation.”
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience I have cost you. For a moment, I lost control. This is my first time here after all.”
“Well, obviously. Hang on, how are you able to talk to me without contact?” She closes her eyes for a moment. Then looks at me. Her mouth doesn’t move, but, “It appears as if my abilities and senses have been tremendously increased.” is what I hear, as if she spoke. Listening to someone speak without their mouth moving feels super weird. Seems like she doesn’t have to touch me. So, my wild theory happens to be a fact. I hope she doesn’t turn green and monstrous.
“So, you can also store all this resource energy you get, right?”
“Yes, I already have.”
That was fast.
“Now, for my explanation.” I inhale. “Firstly, why have you brought us here? How did you know you wouldn’t die? And, this is my old house. Did you read my…oh wait, you can. Why my old home? What the hell is going on?”
“I understand your frustration, Zachary. You will understand everything, soon. Right now, we might have little time.”
Something tells me that arguing would be futile.
“Come.” Somehow, she understands that I’m ready to follow. I must get used to this.
We stop in front of the main door of my home. My old home. I glance around at the surrounding. I can’t recollect my memory, but I have a strange feeling that nothing has been touched since that day. The last time I was here was when my parents were still alive. For some strange reason, I don’t remember anything from my past. I try to open the door. Suddenly, a flash of memory hits me.
My parents are worried. I don’t know why. Dad suddenly kneels down facing me, “Run, Zeki. Go, now!” I run out to the main door and look back. Mom smiles at me. “You will be fine.” The next moment I am outside my home. I could hear muffled thuds, something breaks and a faint shriek echoes inside. I want to get back inside, but before I could move, a bunch of hands, I think two, grab me and then I go blank.
“Come, we have little time.”
I jolt back to reality. The door was open. Mom stands inside, with her usual warm smile. My heart stops for a second. I blink. She distorts into Sli, waiting for me to follow. I shake my head. Something is definitely wrong with my brain. I step inside. I totally forgot how this house looked, until now. Now that I remember, it seems untouched, except for almost everything being out of place, missing or broken. The main hall is huge, with a staircase to the left corner which leads up and down. The kitchen and the door to the backyard are directly ahead of us. A pair of large windows on the wall opposite to the stairs are the only source of sunlight, throwing eerie shadows all around. We walk straight through the hall, and then Sli takes a sharp left to the stairs and climbs down to the basement. I follow. I don’t even bother to ask how she knows her way around the house. “What are we doing here, again?” I ask.
“Searching for memory and material remnants.”
As if I would understand. I just realise, her voice is subtle and soft, but clear. I realise something else. There is a winter coat hung on a stand beside the staircase. Perfect. I grab that and follow her down. “By the way, you should probably put on some clothes,” I say as I pat the dust off the coat and give it to her, and then awkwardly look away. She looks at me, then accepts the coat and puts it on. Good, that takes care of a few things.
The basement is almost empty with one wide but short window giving insufficient light. Sli examines the area, the heads towards the wall on the left. She stands a foot away from the wall, then turns towards me. That’s my signal. I walk towards her and stand beside her. I look at her. She stares at me.
“Well?” I ask.
“you should know the command.”
“For what? What am I-” I freeze.
I stand beside dad. the same way I was standing beside Sli. He turns towards me and asks, “Zek, what are nocturnal animals?” I chirp, “They hunt other animals during the night!! That way those animals won’t know that they’re coming!”
“And how should these animals protect themselves from the nocturnal animals?” he swiftly turns to the wall and mutters something. I reply, “They should hide! They should…umm…conceal!!” I look up at dad, excited. “Good! You learnt the new word for today!” He smiles. He distorts.
Sli appears. I’m unsure why I think this is a good idea, but I look straight at the wall and say loudly, “Conceal!”
A moment passes. Nothing happens to the wall. No secret passages. I scoff, “Now, why am I not surp-”
The ground shakes and lowers down. I can’t believe this is happening. We get lowered down much further than I expect. An elevator door of sorts greets us. These doors open, and so does my jaw drop. The room is a cold behemoth and looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, except for one thing. It is empty. There are plenty of tables, but all empty. And Sli’s silence tells me they shouldn’t be. I suddenly notice something. The wall to our right is divided into several parts. One of the parts lowers down. Through the passage, emerges a man who looks old yet seems strong.
He coughs. “About bloody time.”
Sli seems distracted. “Is something bothering you?”, I ask. She turns towards the man. he looks back. They stay that way, looking at each other for about 30 seconds.
“Uuh, don’t tell me you’re both conversing. There’s another human standing here!”
Sli swiftly turns towards me. “Go with him. You shall get your questions answered.” I hear her voice.
“Hang on, you’re not coming?
The man intervenes, “C’mon boy! Your boss from mars already knows you’re here!”
A helicopter sound echoes, along with multiple vehicles.
“Go.” Sli’s voice booms. It isn’t soft anymore. I ask, “What are you going to do?”
“Keep them away, hopefully.” The man answers while he yanks my hand and leads me inside the passage. “She is perfectly capable of that. Now come!” For some reason, I don’t resist. I walk inside and look back at her. She goes back to the elevator. It rises. She still has that blank expression. The wall rises and shuts up. “What is this place? Where are you taking me? And how do you know she’ll be fine? And why do I have a feeling that the people I’m working for aren’t on my side anymore?”
“Jeez, boy, can’t you shut up? Martians aren’t known for their patience, I wonder how she managed you.”
“She said I’d have my answers.”
“Your mother will explain everything if you keep quiet now.”
“My…mother?” Now it gets more frustratingly confusing.
“That oughta shut you up.”
The helicopter lands while a dozen men fan out. Simultaneously, a couple of black cars and a military grade car drift to a stop, making a perimeter around the house. The general steps out of the helicopter and commands, “Spread out! And do not use lethal force! We need them alive!”
“Someone’s coming out! It’s a woman.”
“Keep your guard up! It might be the Martian and she might be hostile!”
Sli comes out of the house and walks calmly towards the fleet of men, all on guard.
“Identify yourself!!” The officer shouts.
She stops. Her voice seeps into all their heads. “You are all tensed. I mean no harm.”
“It is the Martian!!” The general speaks up, “We have been ordered to bring you into our custody. I request that you obey.”
She steps forward. “I shall not.”
The general gulps. He is scared. The rest of the men await their order, pressure building within them enormously. An uncomfortable tension sparks between her and the men.
She inhales. Lifts her hand.
Sli lands a blow to the ground and it sends a humongous shock wave.