This is a continuation of a story begun in the post “Chapter 1. Part 1.” If you enjoy it, please like and share it with others!
I still had trouble gripping the fact that I was talking to a beetle.
“You sir, are a human, not many of which manage to walk the fine shores of the City of the Syllogy of the Universe. Might I inquire into the nature of your visit?”
Again I was slightly confused by the beetle’s words.
“Why are you here?” Dr. Lee asked.
“Oh! Well, it’s a long story, but in short, I’m here to save the world.” I felt stupid saying it, but even stupider saying it to a beetle. “Not to change the subject or anything, but how are you talking?”
“The same way you are I suppose. Air passes over my vocal chords in a manner specified by my brain and my lips and tongue interrupt the flow at certain intervals to produce speech.”
“That’s not really what I was asking.”
“I know it wasn’t, but it was a silly question to begin with.” Dr. Lee seemed to be rather a know-it-all sort of beetle. “So you’re here to see Brew?”
“Yes,” I said suddenly remembering why I was standing there. “That reminds me, I’ve got to go inside, so if you’ll excuse me—”
I started to lean down to place the beetle back on the ground.
“Oh bring me along. I’m a good friend of Brew’s, and it saves me having to fly in the door after you. It is so tiring.”
“Alright.” I walked across a small patch of grass toward the blue door, opened it, and entered. Inside was a single open room with green walls that were slightly see-through—I now know that they were tinted windows—and rows and rows of beds stacked on top of each other three high along the outer rim of the circular room. In the center of the room was a jungle of contraptions and machines made from materials I have never seen on earth. I still don’t know exactly what they do. I saw Chak standing in the middle of the room next to a huge conical fixture. He was deep in conversation with the air next to him.
A haunting sight then met me. In the bed nearest me a pillow rose into the air and removed itself from its pillowcase. It then laid itself back down at the head of the bed and the pillowcase flew itself across the room to a pile of soiled bedsheets. I was staggered. I walked over to Chak and asked, “Did you just see that?”
“What?” Chak asked.
“That pillow just uncovered itself.”
Chak started laughing loudly. “No it didn’t. That was Flye.”
“Her actual name sounds like the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings.” He said it in the Umbili language and I could definitely hear the resemblance. “She’s an Umbili. You’ll meet her later. She’s part of the group I told you was coming along for the ride. There are about fifteen Umbili in this room actually. In fact, this lovely dade is Brew.”
Chak gestured to the air beside him. Understanding that Brew must be standing there, I focused hard on the empty space. After a few seconds a fuzzy outline of a petite woman began to form in front of me.
“Quit squinting kid. It’s rude.”
The voice startled me and I lost my concentration. The outline became fainter. Instead of focusing intently, I took a step back and took in the area around the outline. As I did, Brew’s body became more opaque. I could still see through her, but I could also see a dim gray light emanating from her small body. Her skin was not jagged like Chak’s, but smooth. She was about my height and wore a gray jumpsuit that tucked into a pair of brown leather boots. Around her waist was a gold rope, just like Chak’s. Her hair was similar to Chak’s, but instead of changing color it was a steady bronze. It twinkled in spunky pixie-like spikes, which gave a playful quality to her cute features.
“Can you see her yet?” Chak asked.
“Yes I can see her; she’s just kind of transparent and fuzzy.”
“Brew!” said Chak. “Come on, just let him see you fully. There’s no point in wasting time with this half awareness.”
“Not ‘til he apologizes for squinting! I don’t like squinty humans.”
“I’m sorry,” I said quickly.
“That’s better,” she said. Immediately she became fully opaque and I heard a small pop as she did. “So this is the guy huh? Why is he so short?”
“I didn’t get to choose the human based on height. I had one qualifier, and he qualified,” Chak said.
“He seems a little screwy. I betcha not even Teleon squints that much!” Brew replied. “But, whatever. Let’s get to work. I have all of your gear over there,” she flipped her hand toward her left shoulder, “and I think,”—she made two distinct, but hard to duplicate, noises—“are coming back from the showers now, so we can introduce him to the gang in a second.”
Dr. Lee cleared his throat, as loudly as a beetle can, and gave an indignant sigh.
“Is that my buddy doc?” said Brew looking around. I held him up and he flew over to Brew, landing on her shoulder. “How you been boy?”
“I’ve been quite well madam. You’ll want to take care with this one. Make sure to use small words. He doesn’t catch on very quickly.” The doctor pumped as much disdain into his voice as he could. “Still, he has a charming ignorance about him.”
Brew glanced up at me and I slapped a big dumb smile across my face.
“I see,” she said.
“So, how do you two know each other?” I asked, gesturing to the beetle.
“Oh we’re old pals,” she said. “He came flyin’ in here one day hopin’ I would save him and his family from a bug bomb somebody had set off over in the Gumption building. Boy, I hauled over there, but turns out his whole nest was gone, so I sorta adopted him, let him use the library and such. He got all smart and moved on, but he still visits me every once in a while, don’t ya doc?”
“Indeed,” said the beetle. “Everyone needs a friend in life.”
She started walking toward the equipment she had mentioned, speaking loudly to the beetle as she went. Chak and I fell in a few paces behind her. I leaned over to Chak and whispered, “Is she alright? She seems sort of,” I looked for the right word, so as not to offend, “energetic.”
“Ha! You haven’t seen anything yet.”
“I’ll take your word for it. One other thing Chak, just so I don’t look like a fool later. What’s a doctor?”
Want to keep reading? Go to the next section! >>> “Chapter 5. Part 1.”