Chapter 7: Follow Me
After Kyle left, Daisy was irritable. She played with the three, brown-haired alien girls named: Joan, Janna, and Jill. But she had played with them for two days straight now. She was bored.
The three J’s—as she called them—were so…nice. They had dolls resembling Barbies; except they had cat-like eyes and a green twinge to their plastic skin. They had Altanican Girl Dolls—yes, she and Kyle had landed in the alter-Earth equivalent of America. In fact, the Doogle family—Hugh’s family—was in possession of two dogs—with elf-like ears, one cat—with solid black eyes and a tail like a horse, and a tank of yellow-fish.
Daisy wanted to be excited. She wanted to have the time of her life. She tried. But she was miserable.
She was so mad at Kyle she could see red. But she also missed him and was afraid he had told the truth. Perhaps, he really wouldn’t come back for her. Maybe, just maybe, he would die on the Glugenal Suit mission. Horrifically, she might be stranded on alter-Earth for the rest of her life. That thought was enough to bring her to tears.
Daisy wished she had talked to Kyle or said something motivational for his scary mission. But, in her defense, the boy was so hard to talk to. He always—ALWAYS—tried to one-up her on everything. She could never sit where she wanted or say what she liked. He always had to do it better and prove it to her by pointing it out.
She couldn’t help that she, in turn, always felt the need to annoy him. It was the only way she could defend herself. You know, let her brother know she was tough—she could take it. But now she didn’t want to take it. She wanted to have Kyle back and she wanted to go home.
Daisy moved her alter-Earth Barbie around for a few more moments. Then, she put it down. “I want to find out what’s going on with Kyle. Can you guys track him?”
Janna nodded. “We can track his spaceship.”
“Can you show me?”
Joan shook her head. “No. You cannot see. Our tracking systems are not for aliens.”
“Me, an alien?” Daisy asked. “I’m not an alien. You guys are the aliens.”
Just then, the pink-haired mom came up tsking. “Now, Daisy. You really shouldn’t be so unkind. Surely you can see our point of view. If we let you see our tracking system…well, you could be spies for the Kelps.”
“How could I be a spy for the Kelps? You sent my brother out on a mission against the Kelps.”
“Yes, we did.” Said the pink-haired mom.
“He’s on your side then. Both of us…we are on your side.”
The three J’s laughed. Then Jill giggled. It wasn’t a friendly giggle.
“Why are you laughing, Jill?” Daisy asked.
Jill smiled. She blinked her cat-eyes. “We sent Hugh because he volunteered. No one else would go and he was willing. The rest of us, we are too afraid of the Kelps. So, we sent your brother as penalty for killing Hugh.”
It all made sense to Daisy then. “You think we are Kelp spies and we killed Hugh? You’re nuts!”
“Now calm down dear.” Hugh’s mom said. “You arrived at our planet after stealing our spaceship. Hugh was dead and the Glugenal Suit was mysteriously missing. We have no choice but to suspect you. However, we won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt us.”
Daisy, for the first time in her life, longed for Kyle’s annoying—but at least sane—help. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want to know where my brother is. I want to go home.”
The three J’s all looked at their mom. She looked back at them. Then, they all looked at Daisy. Then, they all started talking in what sounded to Daisy like Japanese. The mom nodded.
“Follow me.” Hugh’s mom said.
“Finally,” Daisy huffed. Then, she followed the women of Hugh’s family down a long sidewalk, past an off-color park with blue sand and bright green tinker toys, and into a metal building surrounded by yellow trees.
“This way!” the three J’s chirped in unison.
Daisy followed them into a barren room with only a chair and a table. The floor felt like soft linoleum to her feet. Everything was gray. It looked exactly like an interrogation room from Law and Order, a TV show she’d seen her mom watch back on Earth.
Hugh’s pink-haired mom smiled at her. So did the three J’s. Then, they all zipped out of the room and slammed the door, faster than any cats she’d ever seen on earth.
“…Wait a minute.” She said. “Wait!”
Daisy sat down in the chair. She started to cry. A voice sounded into the room over a hidden speaker. It was Hugh’s mom. “Don’t cry dear. I can’t stand it.” Daisy looked over to the large police mirror and stuck out her tongue.
Surrender was the last word I heard. Everything else after that happened in a blur.
First off, in the four hundredth of a millisecond that I had before my ship came under fire from the Kelps, I recalled all the maneuvering techniques George taught me. Then, I went into action. Well, my instincts—that are amazing of course—went into action. I hit buttons; I didn’t even know what they were. I simply hit them.
My spaceship lurched, spun, dove, and spiraled in three-dimensional movement as laser beams flew all about. Once I thought I was hit, but I tapped a random button and suddenly everything was right again. Don’t ask me how.
Second, in the small part of my brain that wasn’t engaged in a fight for my own life, I began to work out an escape. I couldn’t dodge heart melting laser beams forever. I needed to get out of there.
I was really proud of my space-ship-driving at first, but I began to tire quickly. My reflexes couldn’t keep up and my fight-or-flight response system was low on adrenalin. I reached out and grabbed the paper with the right navigational sequence and began to enter it in again—hoping that it was correct. But I never got to finish. My hearing turned back on and my ship lurched.
“Alter-Earthling. We are impressed by your skills. However, we now have you in our tractor beam. If you will not surrender freely, we will bring you in by force.”
“I don’t have the dumb Glugenal Suit that you want.” I said out loud never dreaming the spaceship would relay the communication—but it did.
“We aren’t after any Glugenal Suit.”
“Really?” I said. “I thought you wanted to steal it from the alter-Earthlings. It came from the Glugens after all. Well, the alter-Earthlings sure do want it back.”
There was a long, guttural laugh. I didn’t quite know what to think.
“They don’t even know what the suit does.” The voice finally said.
“What does it do?” I asked. Then, I got bold. “You can tell me. I’m not from alter-Earth after all. I’m from the real Earth.”
There was a pause. Then, I was sure I heard a distinct chortle. It was the kind of laugh grownups use when a kid says something ridiculous and they find it amusing. “What is your name so-called Earthling?”
“Kyle. The Kelps welcome you.” This statement was followed by a click. Communication was over.
My ship was being held by a long green tube of light. Suddenly, the ship lurched and began to be sucked toward the Kelp ship by the green tube of light. A large hole opened in the side of the ship and my ship was pulled inside and set down on a black metal landing pad. Then, from several doors, long lines of white, leather-clad beings marched in. They looked a little like sloths but they were exceptionally tall—probably nine feet tall—and uncharacteristically graceful for sloths.
I hit the button that opened up the lid of the spaceship and hopped out. I didn’t want to be dragged from the spaceship this time. I didn’t know what to do, though, so when all the marching lines stopped and faced me, I saluted. To my surprise, they saluted back.
At the head of the centermost line, a Kelp stepped forward. “Kyle. You will follow me.”
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