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June 27, 2022

Anachronocity v5p3

By Josh Brown

Rendezvous with Calisto - Part Three

How does everything go so terribly wrong? When your name is Alexander Sterling, the question doesn't need pondered too often; life just works out that way.

Under the scrutiny of Mama's chubby fingers, Alex winced and tried to flinch away from the pain producing prodding only to find his chin grasped by inhumanly strong fingers.

"Stay still, dearie. Need to make sure the wound is clean."

The wound, a three-inch gash above Alex's right eye, left a gallon of drying, sticky blood on his face and neck. This butcher of a doctor already warned him there'd be a scar and blabbered on about something he refused to listen to because he was too busy trying not to scream. Screaming--now there was a concept this trip pounded into his psyche. All the pent up frustrations, the psycho people, the deadly confrontation--screaming provided relief to the suffering of a gentle being such as himself.

An hour ago, while minding his own freaking business, fiddling with a computer terminal in his own freaking work area, total anarchy filled the lab.

Splayed out in front of Alex were a series of wires--some stripped at the ends, others coated with reds and blues and greens. Interspersed between the wires in no particular order, nuts and bolts of varying shapes and sizes, thin translucent slivers of what Bethany explained to him as computer chips, and a dozen or so tools slim in size and shape created for working with delicate computer components. Off to the left of the table, pile of green boards with little spikes waited for him to invariably destroy them trying to figure out how to make them work like he wanted.

The plans for the machine his brother created were all stored in Alex's head. The fiery obsession he'd inherited after the death of Daniel had some merits; desire led him to memorize far more than he realized until now. Piecing together the semi-foreign technology was a challenge, but it finally gave him something to busy himself with and for that he was grateful.

As he slipped a green wire into the back of the terminal before him, the creaking of the door opening momentarily drew his attention away--long enough for him to give a muttered, "Hey, Bethany."

Then the dark shadow fell over his workspace. A thick cloud of old sweat accompanied the shade, along with an intense heat from such close proximity someone quite a bit larger than Bethany would have been. Swallowing hard, Alex leaned back in his chair, wire forgotten. He turned, eyes lifting every so slowly up along the length of the man that stood behind him. Up and up and up he looked, higher and higher still until at last he reached the man's face.

"Uh, hi," Alex squeaked. "Can I--uh--help?"

The towering monster had to be at least twenty feet tall, nearly as wide, too; a jumbled mess of grayed hair covered his face and head. Beneath the spouting jungle on left side of his skull, a ragged nasty scar peeked out.

"Franky look for Beth." The powerful sound reverberated down Alex's spine--a voice that could command a million-man army to lay down their lives needlessly without question.

Alex swallowed again. How had he missed this mammoth in all the time he'd been aboard the ship? "She's not--um--she's not here."

A hand the size of a car rose, causing Alex to flinch involuntarily. As it crashed down on Alex's shoulder, he felt sure the bones shattered under the weight. "Franky not know you."

"Right. Alex. I'm Alex. You're Franky. I've heard a lot about you."

Franky's eyes narrowed to scrutinizing slits. "Alex? Franky hear Beth--gib-gib-gib Alex-Alex-Alex. Never stops. She gib about you?"

Imagination or not--Franky's hand felt like an anvil on Alex's shoulder. "Me? Uh..."

"Come here!"

Alex slammed his eyes closed. Screw facing death like a man, when it came down to it Alex was fully prepared to face death like a screeching lobster tossed in a boiling pot of water. He felt tree trunks wrap around his body and hoist him out of his chair. Teeth chattered--partly from the outrageous fear flooding his system, partly from the air bursting out of his lungs as he was crushed against the girth of the beast and shaken like James Bond's martini. Then it dawned on him, his eyes cracking open a hair. Down he looked, far down, to see his feet inches off the ground. Not much mobility presented itself to Alex, as the enormous chest of the giant smooshed his faced.

"Franky pleased to meet such good friend of Beth."

Swallowing away an overwhelming urge to gag due to the noxious odors wafting off Franky's body, Alex submitted to the hug-of-doom. Why bother when there's not much of a chance to escape even if he tried.

After a few more shakes, Franky released Alex. Just let him go. The sudden freedom left Alex overjoyed with relief, until he remembered his feet were not on the ground. He dropped to the floor; one foot landed on Franky's foot. The bear of a man yanked his foot away with a howl, knocking Alex off balance so abruptly he had no time to react. The next thing he knew, his face came down hard on the corner of the table and the lights dimmed. The one time in his life he wanted to be unconscious ended up being the one time in his life he didn't enter the blissful void of unaware reality.

He was vaguely aware of Franky's shocked face and the sensation of something warm gurgling down the side of his head. Through blurred vision, he watched as Franky's massive frame loomed over him, then leaned down toward him. The next thing he knew, he was in the hall, jostled in Franky's arms as Franky ran bellowing for help.

Another blackout later, Alex found Mama cleaning his wound with the bedside manner of a vampire. If he closed his eyes, which he didn't dare, he was sure the woman would start licking up his blood.

Reliving the whole incident while Mama sewed up his wound with, unbelievably (or maybe not so), a needle and thread, didn't do much for Alex's outlook on life. "Euthanize me. Right now."

Mama yanked at the thread sending a pulse of pain through him. "Don't be silly! It's just a scratch."

To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-06-05
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