A rush of emotions hit me. V’x cried out and jumped back. Then silence.
V’x cowered out of reach in the back of her cage. The greys were leaving.
“Wait!” I shouted. “Where are you going?”
One looked back over its shoulder as it passed through the door, then they were gone.
“Why did I have to do that?” asked V’x, her voice wavering.
“I’m sorry, Vix. I don’t know what happened.”
“They howled. They screeched. I thought it would never end! Why did you do that to me?”
“It was only for a moment. I didn’t think it would be so awful.”
“A moment? It was hours!” V’x trilled, tucking her beak beneath her good wing. “Why must we be here? I want to go home.” She cooed a song to herself.
“I swear it was only for an instant,” I muttered to myself. “Are you ok, Vix?”
“No,” she hissed, then returned to her cooing.
“Did you learn anything?”
“Leave me alone.”
I flopped back down. My neck and back were aching. I had no idea what had happened. Were they telling me the truth? Had I really broken my back? V’x’s song calmed me. “What is that song?”
“My mother sang it to me,” V’x whispered.
“I like it. Please keep singing. It’s soothing, and I’m in pain.”
V’x shifted peeking out from under her wing. “In pain?”
“My back is killing me. I guess I really hurt myself.”
“Yes. Yes you did.” V’x crawled closer to me and reached through the bars. I took her hand and held it tight. She started to coo again.
I shut my eyes and listened. The sounds swept over me and I grew drowsy. “I’m sorry Vix,” I whispered.
The cooing paused for a moment. “Why” she said, then returned to her song.
“I really didn’t think it would hurt you. To touch them, I mean. I’m really sorry.”
“I believe you, Nate,” V’x trilled in her song. “I am not angry.”
“I hope we can get out of here.”
V’x carried on singing. I fell asleep.
The room was quiet when something brushing my cheek woke me up. I blinked up at the brilliant lights. How I wished those lights would be turned down. My hand was empty. V’x was huddled asleep in her cage.
Something touched my cheek again.
‘Are you awake?’
A grey bent over me, entering my line of sight.
“Oh, hi,” I muttered.
V’x shifted and trilled in her sleep.
‘Does she sleep now?’
“Yeah, she seems to be out.”
‘We could not talk.’
‘It was chaos.’
“She’s very upset. It scared her.”
“She said you were yelling.”
‘The noise was unbearable. We tried. There was only fear.’
“Where’s everyone else.”
‘They consult each other.’
“Why aren’t you with them, then?”
‘I felt something they did not. I wish to try again.’
“Maybe with only one of you..”
‘It will be less chaotic.’
“What did you feel?”
The grey was silent. Disjointed images popped through my head. It was confusing. ‘Pain. I think. Fear. Pain.’
“They’re afraid of you. Some have died. Many have died. They don’t want to die.”
‘We do not want to kill. We do not want to hurt. We are lost.’
“And you want to try again? Do the others know you’re here?”
‘Probably. They ignore me. I want to try again.’ It was urgent.
“Vix?” I rolled and called into the cage. “Vix? Can you wake up?”
She trilled. “No.”
“Please wake up. Help us.”
V’x pulled her beak out from under her wing. “No.”
“They want to try again. Only one this time.”
“No!” shouted V’x, cowering back.
‘Please, let us try.’
“Just this one,” I said. “And I’m right here.”
“It… She… They… They know they hurt you. They want to understand.”
The grey slid over to the other side of my bed, close to the cage. It moved its hand from my cheek to my hand closest to V’x. It extended its other hand toward V’x, reaching cautiously though the bars. ‘Please don’t bite me.’
“Take its hand, Vix. They’re scared of you, but they want to talk.”
“It will hurt me.” V’x trilled and fluttered, pressing herself further away from the grey’s hand. “Don’t let it hurt me.”
“It won’t hurt you. Not intentionally. Please.”
V’x reached her hand toward me, scooting along the back wall of the cage to get closer to me. “How do you know? How can you know?”
“It’s told me.”
“When we touch, we can talk. It wants to talk to you.”
“There were too many. Now it’s just this one.”
V’x gripped my hand and pulled close. She was panting. The grey still held it’s hand out.
“Vix,” I whispered. “This may be the thing that must happen to free the Vrackel. I know you’re scared. But you can be a hero. You can change everything.”
V’x blinked at me. “I don’t want to die.”
“They don’t want to kill you. I know that for sure. They don’t want to hurt you. But they don’t know what to do. Try to talk to them.” I nodded at the grey’s outstretched hand.
V’x puffed and gazed at the grey. “You’re sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
V’x slid her other arm from beneath her feathers. Carefully, she reached out and took the grey’s offered hand.
Go back to the beginning.