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  • The smell of the clean linen pillow case on the down filled pillow made him think of his home of long ago. He opened his eyes to the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. She wasn’t human, but something better; lovelier than an angel. She was the first female Falian he had seen and her eyes were large and had violet centers. He was facinated by her long lashes that seemed to close and open in slow motion. She laid her long fingers across his brow and he began to remember.

    There was blood everywhere. The Captain and the mate killed the first beast, but it didn’t die without claiming its due. The stick in his hand was energized to full power and he thrust it into the jaws of the second beast. He must have struck a bone because the beast became rigid and fell at his feet. He swung the second stick in his other hand and put a full charge into the side of one of the other beasts as it landed on him and knocked him unconscious.

    When he came to he was smothering under the weight of several beasts and men. As he gathered strength, he wormed his way to the top of the pile of bodies. The four beasts were dead. So too were the Captain and crew. He was bleeding badly from a gash across his chest and his left arm hung useless at his side. Teeth marks on the same arm left evenly spaced bloody grooves. He was alive, but in bad shape. The bushes rustled behind him and he tried to spin around to face the next charge. He couldn’t see for the blood running into his eyes from a head wound, but he must have looked fierce as he yelled a bloodcurdling Highland war cry.

    He moved forward blindly, swinging his weapon in front of him and promptly tripped and fell on his broken arm. When he next woke, he was being carried on an improvised litter by four Falian men. His wounds were bound and he was tucked in tight as they moved fast across the valley. There were two other men who ran along with them carrying long sharp machete looking weapons. When he tried to speak, they shook their heads and put their hands up to silence him. It was obvious they were afraid of being attacked by the same type of beasts that had killed the crew.

    They traveled in silence until they exited the valley. There they had parked their own shuttle. As soon as we were all safely in the shuttle, the tension went out of the group and the questions started. Who are you? and What are you?, were the first important questions they wanted answers to. He began telling them about traveling through the wormhole from another galaxy far away. They listened politely and asked about his space craft. He spoke about the war starting and most of the fighters and their space craft being destroyed during the first few days of the attack. When they realized he was stranded here without a way to get home the questions stopped.

    All the while they were questioning him the shuttle was moving toward their settlement. It was a walled city and they had to pass through a high gate to enter it. They took him right to a doctor and that’s where his next nightmare began. Stitches without anesthesia was bad enough, but he passed out as they re-broke his arm to set it properly. That brings us back to the present with the angel taking care of him. At first he thought she was a nurse and he was in a hospital. But the noises outside his room were those of a normal household and the smells were of breakfast being prepared.

    She batted those huge eyelashes and he wanted nothing more than to hold her. She looked at him puzzled and put her arms around him in a gentle hug. He was startled and when she released him, he stared into her eyes and she nodded. He asked, “Can you really read my thoughts?” and she nodded again. His head was suddenly filled with her answer. “Yes” she thought back “The Falian women communicate with thoughts. Only the men speak aloud. They feel that it is too primitive and beneath them to use thoughts to communicate.”

    All the while she was holding his good hand in hers and he realized he was falling in love with her. She suddenly laughed in his head “You are so funny. Lost in a galaxy not your own, broken and wounded with no rescue in sight and falling in love with a creature from another planet” her musical voice bubbled over with amusement. “How do you know I am not taken by another?” she thought gently at him. “Because I have glimpsed the birthing of galaxies on my journey and don’t believe any God could be so cruel as to allow that to happen” he thought back at her. He was rewarded with seeing her cheeks blush and she kissed him lightly on the lips before rising and leaving. Just as she reached the door, she turned back, gave him her smile and was gone.

    The pain from his wounds came rushing back in his solitude. He had been concentrating on her so much that he was barely aware of the pain in the background. The door opened and the doctor came in to check his work from the previous night. “Not bad if I do say so myself” he mumbled aloud. “Now, I have heard that you are stranded here on our planet from somewhere far away. What were you doing in the forbidden valley? You are lucky you only ran into the wobboes. There are other, more dangerous creatures in that valley. Normally they stay in the valley and leave us alone, but we have learned to travel in groups and always return to the walled city by nightfall.”

    He told of accidently entering the valley and parking their shuttle in an old abandoned barn after fleeing the bombing at the tunnel. They hadn’t heard anything about the attack, but weren’t surprised. After all it was during the time of change from one sun’s influence to the other and it was common practice to attack whichever planet was vulnerable during that time. If they withstood this attack, the next time they would be doing the attacking.

    The doctor finally left him with a couple of pain pills to help him sleep. He took the pills, but sleep? How could he sleep with all that had happened. The enormity of his situation was beginning to settle on him. He was completely alone. No hope of returning to Earth. He was the only one of his species alive on this planet. His thoughts began to get out of sync as the pain pills kicked in and his last thought before drifting off was “I wonder what her name is?”…
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