Chapter 8: The Deceivers
Daisy was held in the grey interrogation room for hours. She was certain they would make her sleep in there. Hugh’s mom popped in and out with a few meals, but the McDonald’s like food tasted like greasy ash. One thing this alter-Earth did not have was good-tasting food.
After Daisy refused to eat, Hugh’s mom came in with paper and Crayin’s—yes Cray-ins. Everything on this alter-Earth was messed up, as far as Daisy was concerned. However, she did like to draw.
Daisy had always drawn flowers. But today, she drew a picture of Hugh, hanging out of the spaceship in the woods behind her house. She drew a picture of the Glugenal suit. She drew herself and Kyle looking at him. Then, she burst into tears.
Daisy had never cried the way she cried this time. She blubbered and sobbed for what felt like hours. She would try to stop, but then the realization of where she was and where Kyle was not, brought up all the pain and the tear-works would start running again.
“You will stop this crying.”
This time, Hugh’s mom’s voice was harsh and unkind.
“We will not listen to this anymore. We only care about the Glugenal suit!”
“I don’t have it!” Daisy yelled. “I just want Kyle back and I want to go home!”
Static came over the sound system. Then, a deep voice cleared its throat. “Daisy. It is George. Very bad things will happen to you if your brother does not return with the Glugenal suit. Tell us what you know about it.”
Anger overwhelmed Daisy’s crying reflex. She glared even though she didn’t know who she was glaring at. She grabbed up her picture of Hugh and crushed it into a paper ball. She threw it at the police-type glass that she couldn’t see through.
“That,” she yelled. “Is all I know. Glug, or Hugh, landed in my back yard. He fell out the bottom of the ship. He fell out of the Glugenal suit, pointed to his chest, and died.”
I stood before a very interesting creature. It was not the sloth-like army I was escorted in by. It was a man—of sorts—except that his head was very large. Like a bowling ball. His body was very thin and his bone structure a little uneven, nearly lopsided. His right shoulder was too high and his left shoulder too low. His right hip looked higher as well and his right foot was larger than his left. The irises of his eyes were a bit too large so that very little white showed. Disturbing.
“Welcome Kyle. I am Sir Vander-Kelp. I see you have told the truth. You are indeed a human from Earth. How did you come to be here at Kelpsin in an alter-Earth spaceship?”
I gulped. I don’t think I had ever gulped before, but I did this time; just like in the books I’d read. The man’s voice was quite friendly. But, I was afraid to trust him.
“It was by accident, Sir. A spaceship landed in our backyard on Earth and my sister pushed a few too many buttons while we were exploring it.”
“Who crashed the spaceship?” The man asked.
“A boy named Hugh, Sir. He was an alter-Earthling wearing some weird, slimy, green suit. But he died. The spaceship took us back to his planet and the people there were sending me back to Earth to retrieve the suit, but I hit a few wrong buttons. Now, here I am.”
“You maneuver the ship well for a regular earthling.” Vander-Kelp said.
“Well, George taught me. He told me if I encountered any Kelp I would need to protect myself. But, honestly, I learned most of it playing video games at home.”
Sir Vander-Kelp laughed. It sounded so funny. Almost like a donkey hiccupping.
“Sit down Kyle.” Vander-Kelp suggested. He held out his right hand and motioned to a chair nearby. He sat too. “I want to talk to you about the Glugenal suit.”
I sat down, cautiously. But, something about Sir Vander-Kelp was very easy to trust. Even though he looked like the aliens I’d expected on alter-Earth, he was nicer. I was sure of it.
“What does it do?” I asked.
Vander-Kelp smiled. It was crooked, like his body. “The Glugenal suit is from the Glugens. They are a race of sentient oceanic creatures from Kelpsin. They are incredibly intelligent and exceedingly kind. They do not differentiate between friend and foe. The suit, Hugh stole, is the skin of a Glugen.”
Kyle was stunned. “But why would the alter-Earthlings want to take the skin of a Glugen?”
Again, Vander-Kelp smiled. Then, he sighed. “Kyle, we Kelps are peace-keeping. But we are not without the resources and technology to defend ourselves and we do defend ourselves when we must. The alter-Earthlings are called by us, the Deceivers. They steal what doesn’t belong to them and alter it to fit their wants. They will destroy anything to have what they are too lazy to create on their own. They suffer from entitlement issues. They believe that because something exists they must have it and should not have to pay or work for it. They live a constant lie of mimicking the good that others have by taking it, but never really understanding true good or its purpose, or what is at the heart of it. They are a race of con-artists.”
“They are taking the Glugens’ skins for some benefit?” I asked. “What powers do the Glugens have?”
Vander-Kelp stood and pushed a big green button on the wall. In response, the entire wall broke in half and retracted. Behind the wall was an immense balcony that looked over a green-blue ocean.
“The Glugens’ skin has special powers. It absorbs the pollution in our oceans, digests it, and transforms it into micro-organisms that clean the water. Because of the Glugens’ special skin and this special micro-organism, we Kelps always have clean water. As well, no matter what illness or injury, the water heals us.”
I noticed that the shoreline of the ocean was untouched, like no one had ever walked there. Yet, I saw footsteps of all kinds. The ocean water itself was crystal clear. I thought I could see further into its depths than I had ever seen on earth.
“You mean, like a fountain of youth?” I asked.
“No, no. We still age and die. We still follow natural orders. We do live a bit longer, but not much.” Vander-Kelp said. “But, look at me. I got injured terribly in a fall. I’m a little crooked, but I’m still working. A great gift.”
“Are you telling me the Deceivers don’t know that this is what the Glugens’ skin does?”
“Not really.” Vander-Kelp said. “The Deceivers know through spying that these animals’ skins have powers. But, they don’t know that these powers don’t work once the animal is dead. As for Hugh, this boy you said came to your earth. He was a spy. We found a dead Glugen floating ashore a few days ago…without its skin.”
“But Hugh died from a laser blast. That’s what George said. He said you guys killed him.”
Vander-Kelp laughed. “Kyle, have you learned nothing yet?”
I looked around. “Yes. Yes…the Deceivers lied to me.”
“Yes. We never saw Hugh. We did not kill him.”
“What killed Hugh then? He bled purple blood and was injured in the chest.”
Sir Vander-Kelp turned toward me. “Follow me, Kyle.”
I followed the crooked Kelp-man through several hallways and passageways, up and down stairs, on two horizontal elevators, and into an aquarium. I saw a Glugen for the first time. My jaw dropped. If I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes I never would have believed.
A Glugen was…
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