Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
Esk returned to Sam’s cabin home, still upset. Sam, concerned, sat down in his recliner to join him. Esk stared at the ashes in the fireplace.
“Esk, I know ya’ been havin’ a hard time lately,” Sam said.
“That is what you call an understatement,” Esk mumbled.
“Bein’ an angel must be hard, huh?”
“Yes. Very much so.”
Esk could not read English, and he asked Sam to read to him from his religious text about angels. He wanted a better idea of how humans viewed them. Perhaps I can use my influence as an “angel” to persuade a few choice humans I know to cooperate… Sam read all the passages about angels he could find in the Holy Bible and taught Esk to recognize a few words while doing it. All knowledge was valuable to Esk, so he did not mind the lesson and the information.
Hmm… heavenly beings. I would count as a heavenly being to this species, so I am not lying. As far as being sent from God, whoever he is, he is in a position of power, no doubt. I can also attest to the fact that I am under a superior being and was sent here by them. Once I find the Council, all will be well again there. So I am technically an “angel”. All I must do is allow my glow to shine through my armor. Good. I have not lied to Sam.
Esk slept in the recliner that night and realized the next morning was Sunday—church day. Sam and Esk dressed in their Sunday best and headed for the church edifice after breakfast. The Chief Gossip halted them outside.
“Where d’ya’ think yer goin’?” she asked.
“Ta’ church service, Ms. Bandersnatch,” Sam replied, “So let us by so we can go an’ siddown b’fore it starts, so we’s not late.”
“Oh, no. Not b’fore ya’ tell me ‘bout this Esk fella’ that’s with ya’ all the time. No unclean thang can enter the presence a’ the Lawd.”
Sam elbowed Bandersnatch to the side and ascended the steps, staying between Jean and Esk for Esk’s protection. She followed them right up the steps in hot pursuit.
“Ya’ listen here, Sam Wilkins. I will find out ‘bout yer friend an’ when I do….”
“Can it, Ms. Bandersnatch,” Sam said as he escorted Esk inside.
What Sam did not know is that Jean Bandersnatch herself was not invited into church by the other Gossips. They would not say a word to her due to the situation between her and the Reverend. The Chief Gossip was not welcome in her own tribe.
The Deacon Pritchard conducted the service that morning and announced that the search for a new preacher would begin immediately, citing the recent events and the Reverend’s current situation. It was a dud service, and everyone walked past the Chief Gossip on their way out, nobody saying a word to her as she pretended to be distraught. By now, it did not matter if she was genuinely hurt. No one was buying the act anymore. Even Old Mrs. Fink passed her on the green carpeted steps without acknowledging her. The Reverend’s wife blamed Esk, and this only enhanced her rage toward him.
Esk told Sam that he had to go for the afternoon to see someone. Sam did not ask any questions. He respected his friend’s privacy. It seemed to Esk that Sam was the only human who attempted to do so in this middle-of-nowhere hamlet.
Esk translated himself back to the moon to question Lod again. This time would be different, though. He would question Lod from the inside out. It had occurred to Esk during the church service that he had not yet formally examined Lod, and that it would be easier to assess his neural connections if he simply performed the standard procedure on him. Esk decided he would be gentle and enter through multiple pores instead of infiltrating Lod the “old way” through the orifices. It would be less traumatic, and that was key, since Esk would be keeping Lod afterward. Esk did not feel like dealing with what the clones usually took care of—namely, calming the subject of the examination down and erasing their memories of it.
Esk entered Lod’s chamber and waved his hand to raise a metal slab in the middle of the room.
“Aw, not again, Esk.”
“Take off your clothes.”
“What have I done to you to deserve this torture?”
“This is not torture. You have not seen torture. Given enough time, you will see it if you anger me, Lod. Now take off your clothing, or I will take it off for you.”
Severius stripped naked and laid down voluntarily on the slab, not knowing what he was getting himself into. Esk dimmed the lighting and attempted to retract his armor, but found that he could not. What is going on here? He tried again to assume his native DNA form, to no avail. Lod. Lod has done this to me with his poison. I must get the antidote! But how? His thoughts are only what he tells me if I cannot examine him via protocol. What has happened to me? Is this permanent? I must press Lod for answers.
“Lod, what have you done to me?” Esk asked.
“What do you mean? I’m the one on the cold metal table strapped down naked. What’s your problem?”
“Lod, you know that I cannot assume my native DNA form. You did this to me. With that poison that you injected into me. Where is the antidote? Tell me!”
Esk was beginning to glow again, as he had with the Reverend earlier. Severius had never seen such a phenomenon. He was enthralled by it and curious about how Esk was producing the light.
“Esk, what are you?” Severius gasped.
“I am… an angel. That is what your kind call me. An angel,” Esk decided to say, as Sam’s explanation was as good as any the humans might be able to understand.
Esk was beginning to think that Lod might be human after all, as ill-informed as he was concerning things outside the prison psychiatry realm. He looked for signs that Lod believed him. Terror filled Lod’s eyes, and he could not speak.
The Reverend was bored. He had prayed himself silly and had nothing to read, not even a Bible. He would ask for one when he saw Esk again. In the meantime, he was restless. The Reverend paced. He jumped on the bed, investigated his surroundings, and even began doing jumping jacks. That was what Esk found him doing when he went to check on him.
“What are you doing, Reverend?” Esk asked.
“Jumpin’ jacks. Ain’t ya’ never done ‘em? Not even in school?” asked the Reverend.
“No. I have not performed these maneuvers. Are they for combat?”
“Combat?” laughed the Reverend. “Naw, these is jist exercise ‘cause I’m bored stiff. Can’t ya’ give me somethin’ ta’ do if yer gonna keep me here?”
“Well, you could keep the moon’s orbit in check if you behave yourself, I guess.”
Esk was hesitant, but needed someone to assist him while he dealt with the other problems he was facing. The Reverend was excited at the prospect of such an important task. He promised he would keep the moon revolving as it should around Earth. Yes, the Reverend had gone half mad at this point. Insanity was a distinct possibility. He did not fully understand the impact of his actions.
Esk took the Reverend to the orbital control chamber and sealed him in after explaining that he did not have to—and should not—touch anything. All he had to do was to observe and yell for Esk if something was amiss. The Reverend nodded in excitement with his front-row seat to the viewing of the earth from the moon—a beautiful sight. Soon, the Reverend began to wonder if he could zoom in on Fletcher with a telescope of some sort.
“This thing’s gotta have a telescope,” the Reverend muttered as he explored the chamber.
The Reverend touched a nub on the face of the chamber, and the whole chamber rocked violently. He was knocked off his feet and dished onto the floor.
“Well, that ain’t it,” the Reverend said. “I wonder what this does…”
Meanwhile, Esk began rushing to the control chamber, knowing that something was terribly wrong.
I told that idiot not to touch anything! Why can these humans not follow instructions? How do they survive all their blundering?
The moon rocked again, this time throwing it onto its side. Esk leaped from one chamber wall to another, slipping and sliding across the slick surfaces.
This is a disaster. I must right the moon at once or the sea turtles will begin to hatch!
Esk finally reached the control chamber. The Reverend had broken off the stalagmite that controlled the moon’s angle to the earth. He sat on the wall staring at it in horror, knowing that he had made a grievous mistake.
“What are you doing?!” Esk yelled.
“Uh, I didn’t mean no harm. I—”
Esk cut the Reverend off and grabbed the stalagmite out of his hands. Unsure of how to fix it, he fit it as best he could back onto its base and righted the moon’s angle… mostly. The angle was still a bit off, but now Esk could work on getting the orbit fixed. The Reverend watched in awe.
“We’re really in the moon?” the Reverend asked.
“Yes. We really are in the moon,” Esk replied, annoyed.
“Wow, jist wait ‘til they hear ‘bout this back in Fletcher!”
“You are not going back to Fletcher.”
“Whaddaya mean I’m not goin’ back ta’ Fletcher?”
“Just that. You are not going back there.”
Esk did not, at that point, know exactly what to do with the Reverend. He knew he could not allow him to tell anyone on Earth what he had seen. Without his ability to assume his native form, he could not erase the Reverend’s memory of the experience, either. Esk continued to right the orbit of the moon, weighing his options.