Justana had been twelve for almost two hundred years. She was ready to grow up.
A Short Story
Velm slammed his palms down on the floating tabletop in front of him hard enough to cause an echo that spread outward throughout the whole room. That cause the other Slogins there to stop talking to each other and face Velm.
“You know why we are all here,” Velm spoke to the other Slogins sitting in rows of hovering seats in front of him. Only he kept his eyes on the hundred image monitors that floated in a semi-circle around the side and back rows of Slogins there.
“We are here to discuss how we are going to celebrate us living on this human planet.” Velm continued a few seconds later. “It has been almost two hundred years since we had to transport ourselves onto this planet before our spaceship was destroyed by them.”
Velm sighed. “We lost about half our population when our spaceship got destroyed. Only about five trillion of us got transported down here before it happened.”
“Every since we got here we have been killed by pinched fingers, from swatting hands, or from swatting devices. We started with trillions, and now we are less than twenty million worldwide. It’s time we fought back. That’s how we are going to celebrate us being here.”
A male Slogin stood up. “How are we going to do that?”
“That’s easy.” Velm smiled. “Every year they gather their Ground Food about this time. This year we are going to inject it with death. At least it will be death for some of them, but most will only get sick by it.”
“What about us just getting off Pelvon?” Justana asked after getting up from her seat.
Velm sighed again. “We aren’t here to discuss that. We’re here to talk about our celebration.”
# # #
Justana sat on the edge of her sleeper staring out her window when Velm came in. She didn’t look at him as he walked up to her. “I was wondering why you insisted on going to that meeting,” said Velm. “Now I know why.”
“I did it because of The Walkway.” Justana continued staring out her window. “I know there is a walkway that will lead us off this planet, and I know where it’s at.”
“Who wants to leave Pelvon? This is our home now. Only you and some of the other Before Adults want to leave. You have been trying to do it ever since we got here.”
Justana sighed. “It’s not just some of us. Almost every one of us want to leave. We always have. I’m twelve, and I always will be while we are on this planet. I want to grow up and get old, but I can’t do that here.”
# # #
This time it was Justana who stood in front of the Slogins there. Only now it was the other Before Adults in that village seated there. The ones on the hovering monitors too. Justana leaned back on her three webbed fingers against that tabletop. Her four webbed toes, feet, shuffled as she spoke.
“You all heard what one of my adults, your leader, said a few days ago about our upcoming celebration. I agree we should fight back, but I disagree with how he wants to do it.”
“Most of the adult Slogins here on Pelvon feel the same way that I do.” Justana continued a few seconds later. “I want to know how you all feel about this celebration decision?”
A female on one of the monitors spoke first. “What do you think we should do about it?”
“Just what I tried to say at the adult meeting. I think that we need to find The Walkway.”
# # #
“It’s around here somewhere.” Justana led about a hundred other Before Adults along a narrow path in a Wooded Area. “I’m not sure where, but I know it’s here somewhere.”
Clakin, ten, walked just behind Justana. “We have been in this part of the Wooded Area that surrounds our village several thousand times. What makes you think we will find The Walkway this time?”
“We know that there was a race like us who lived here a few hundred years before us, and they created our village that we now live in. Also, we know they created The Walkway that leads to a spaceship they planned on using after their mission was completed. Only the humans here killed most of them off before they completed that mission.”
Justana continued a few seconds later. “The ones that weren’t dead yet made The Walkway disappear to stop the humans from finding their spaceship and destroying it too.”
“They all died shortly after that. We know that because of what we have found out about them in the last two hundred years. Up until recently, I thought that we would never find it either. Then I found something very interesting about The Walkway. I found out how to find it.”
# # #
Velm led a large group of adult Slogins toward about fifty rows of Ground Food. Just before getting there he gestured for the other Slogins to split up. About a thousand per row started attacking that Ground Food. Each Slogin entered one side of the Ground Food and came out the other side.
It only took a few minutes for them to go through all those rows of Ground Food in that area. Once the got through an area they moved on to the next one, and they did the same thing to that one. By the end of that night, they had visited every Ground Food areas in that region.
While the adults took care of the Ground Food area’s the Before Adult took out the Ground Food that had already been collected. That was harder to do because it was locked up in special human buildings to keep it cold. Getting into those buildings wasn’t too hard for the Before Adults to do because of their size.
Justana led the Before Adults, and it took them longer to visit the collected Ground Food. The adults were back in their village several hours before the Before Adults got there. Once back Justana went directly to Velm. “We visited every collected Ground Food there was.”
“That’s good,” replied Velm. “It shouldn’t take too long before we find out if we have something to celebrate or not.”
# # # # #
Suddenly Justana stopped just before she fell into some thick fallen leaf trees that covered a small opening. Her right blue leg did sink a couple of inches into that hidden opening before Clakin and Hooc, also twelve grabbed her just above her hairy section between her waist and her upper legs and pulling her back to safety.
Justana fell back and landed on Clakin and Hooc. “Clakin and Hooc, thank you for stopping me from falling into that opening.”
As Justana continued getting up she smiled. “I think that we have just found The Walkway.”
“We have been by this opening several thousand times, but it was never hidden by fallen leaf trees. That can mean only one thing to me. It has got to be The Walkway. Now, all we have to do is wait for it to reappear again.”
# # #
A partially built structure sat just beyond the trees near the covered opening. Basically, it was a small three-sided Slogin-made structure with a roof and an open back. Clakin and Hooc sat on two small seats looking through an opening in that building at the covered opening when Justana and Orrani walked up behind them.
Orrani, eleven, placed her hand on Clakin’s green shoulder made him jump. “Would you quick doing that?” Clakin asked as he turned toward her.
“Sorry about that,” Orrani apologized. “We are here to take over watching for The Walkway to reappear.”
Hooc and Clakin got up and exchanged places with Orrani and Justana. As they started walking away it was Hooc who stopped and faced Justana and Orrani. “Nothing new to tell you. The Walkway still hasn’t reappeared. I don’t think it ever will.”
Justana and Orrani started looking through the structure opening. Suddenly, Orrani looked at Justana. “Hooc might be right. It has been over a week since we started watching this covered opening, and The Walkway still hasn’t reappeared. Do you really think it’s ever going to reappear?”
# # #
“I’m never going to stop watching for The Walkway to return,” said Justana as she continued looking out at the covered opening. “I know that it’s been almost two weeks since we started watching it, but I still think The Walkway is going to reappear.”
“I think that it will return too. I’m just not sure how soon it will happen and how long it will be with us.” Suddenly, Clakin looked at Justana. “You never did tell us how you found out about The Walkway.”
Justana didn’t say anything for several minutes. “It started when I was going over what we know about The Walkway. While I was doing that I discovered The Walkway did exist. I also discovered that it’s invisible.”
“At least it is for most of the year.” Justana continued a few seconds later. “I’m still not sure why, I may never know that, and I don’t know how long it last, but every year during the collecting of the Ground Food it reappears. I think they did that because the humans were so busy with their Ground Food they didn’t have time to look for any spaceship. The other Aliens did it so that a race like ours could leave here if we wanted to do it.”
Clakin smiled. “We might just find out if you are right about that or not. Look,” said Clakin as he pointed his three webbed fingers at The Walkway that had suddenly appeared.
# # #
Not only did The Walkway reappear, but the Wooded Area around it also reappeared. Once The Walkway returned, Justana and Clakin contacted the others. Within an hour there were about a hundred Before Adults standing in front of that Walkway.
Justana led the other Before Adults in a single line across that Walkway. They moved slowly because of their size, but eventually, they got to the end of that Walkway. By the time that they did, Clakin had joined Justana. Justana suddenly stopped.
“It was all for nothing.” Justana continued to stare at the Wooded Area in front of them. “There is no spaceship here. No way off this planet.”
“I don’t believe that,” said Orrani. “You have been right about all this so far. I think there is a spaceship here. We just haven’t found it yet.”
# # #
Once again, Velm stood before the other adult Slogins from that village. “I have heard something about the humans. The humans have started getting sick from their collected Ground Food. A lot of them have already died because of it.”
Velm stared at the other Slogins there as they started to mumble among themselves and each other. Their faces looked human. They all had long blonde hair with red streaks within it that stopped about halfway down their backs. Velm saw that when they swiveled around in their seat to mumble to someone behind them. All of them looked male from the waist up. The only way to tell them apart was their skin color: Males were green, and females were blue.
“It’s only a matter of time before they find a reason for their sickness and deaths.” Velm continued a few minutes later. “We need to discuss what we are going to do once they do that.”
Just then Justana appeared on all the image monitors in that room. “Sorry to disturb your meeting, but it was the best way to contact all the Slogins on Pelvon at the same time.”
A few seconds later Justana continued. “We found our way off this planet, and the spaceship is big enough for everyone to leave Pelvon. Both Before Adults and adults can leave if they want to do it. If you do just let us know.”
Word Count = 1,994