Hollow Moon Part 8
- 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
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
“They assimilate the flesh and DNA of other creatures as sustenance!” Esk told the Council, still panicked from his emergency translation to the interior of the moon. “They even pray over it to commune with their dead before eating it!”
Esk was vibrating like an electron around a molecular nucleus in his native form before the Council. He was also more than a bit nauseated over the whole affair.
“Esk, do their dead transform the tissues into edible form for the humans?” asked the Council’s collective mind.
“I do not know this, but I do know that it is not only the Gossips that can commune with the dead. My friend—er—the human named Sam is also capable of communing with the dead through prayer. He called it a ‘blessing’ tonight before expecting me to assimilate the heated and slightly burnt muscle tissue of a creature the humans call a steak. I do not know if it was the entire steak or not. Permission to investigate this further is requested at this time.”
“Very well. Investigate, Esk, and find out about this communing with the dead. This is becoming disturbing to the Council. The collective mind thinks on it often.”
Esk again had the go ahead to do more research. He still had to reprogram the Bandersnatches. That was the next order of business. He could let it go no longer.
The Reverend was out tracting houses door-to-door on foot when he was translated most skillfully to the examination and reprogramming room of the moon. He was strapped to the metal slab that the visitors always used for routine procedures.
The Reverend looked around cautiously and slowly, noticing every detail of the utilitarian room. There were anatomical charts on the walls of creatures that he had never imagined and, he thought, could never forget. He realized then that he was a guest of what he called aliens—extraterrestrials—and was none too happy about it.
“Hello?” he timidly asked in a low tone. “Hello?” he raised his voice a bit. “Hello!” Finally shouting and struggling to loosen the bands that held him.
The Reverend could barely wriggle about with his head secured along with the rest of his frame. The bright lights went out, and the blacklight came on. The Reverend began praying aloud…
Esk entered the room in his armor. The Reverend Bandersnatch recognized him instantly. Like all humans, he begged Esk to free him, to let him go, and to get him out of the situation he was in. Esk had heard it from almost every human he had ever translated to the examination and reprogramming room.
“I find your prayers unnerving,” Esk said to the Reverend.
“What? Why would you find my prayers t’be unnervin’? I don’t even know yer name. Sam Wilkins won’t tell anyone anything ‘bout’cha.”
“Good. Sam is wise. You treated me badly in the church edifice. Explain.” The demand in Esk’s voice shot through the Reverend’s body like a lightning bolt. “I sense that you are thinking about lying to me and telling me false truths, Reverend. I would advise you to tell me the truth about why you treat myself and my friend Sam the way that you do.”
“Well at least you’re not kicked outta the buildin’ when ya’ come in. We could do that, you know,” the Reverend retorted.
“Very well. I will find out the truth for myself.”
Esk retracted his armor and presented himself as the bright green ball of naked glowing DNA strands that he was. He pounced on the Reverend before he could scream or object. Esk entered him through every pore. He would soon know enough to continue his investigation and to assist Sam in his battle against the Gossips and the Bandersnatches.
Here lay the problem in the Reverend Bandersnatch’s brain. It happened to be close to the surface of his thoughts, therefore Esk had little trouble finding it. One of the main Schwann-cell-wrapped neural pathways was so well-worn as to have practically worn the rest of the connections out. This singular superhighway in his brain was causing his brain to misfire, and often. The human’s thoughts were stuck on something or someone called “Jesus Christ.” Esk dug deeper. He had to wake the Reverend Bandersnatch’s subconscious to test the connections, though, and that would be no easy task.
“Reverend…Reverend Bandersnatch…” Esk uttered inside the unconscious preacher’s mind.
“Yes? Who…who’s there?” The Reverend was awake. “I gotta be hallucinatin’ or somethin’.”
“Who or what is this Jesus Christ that you think of so often?”
“Well, He’s the Savior of the whole world.”
“Is he dead?”
“Why, no, He’s not dead. He’s risen from the dead!” the Reverend announced loud enough for the sound to echo to the Council’s chambers.
“Can you commune with him?” Esk continued.
“Well, a’course I can commune with Him! We do it ev’ry first Sunday a’ the month when we eat a’ His body and drink a’ His blood. Is this God speakin’? Lawd, is that you?”
Esk immediately terminated the mind link and allowed the Reverend Bandersnatch to sleep off the effects of the highly taxing interrogation. He was troubled—intensely so—by the association between cannibalism and communing with the dead. How long has this “Jesus Christ” been risen from the dead, and how long have they been eating him? That poor creature! I must find out more from Sam when the time is right.
Esk was yanked out of his thoughts by the realization that he had left Sam with the steak creatures and wondered if they would harm him. He rushed to don his armor and translated himself back to the cabin only to find Sam asleep and safe in his recliner. Snoring…Sam was always snoring. The prayer, communing with the dead, and Jesus Christ would have to wait until morning.
Sam woke to Esk’s excessive snoring later that night and tiptoed to the kitchen for a bite of leftover steak. Both slept until late the next morning.
Esk had only come back to check on Sam’s well-being, and upon waking, translated himself again to finish his reprogramming of the Reverend before he was discovered missing. What he arrived to was abject chaos. The clones were trying to calm the Reverend, but he would have none of it. He was in a state of ecstasy and could not be moved from it.
“I seen the Lawd! I seen Him and He spoke t’me! ME! Oh, Lawd, Lawd, praise Thy very name!” the Reverend carried on.
“What is this?” Esk asked the clones.
“He has been rejoicing in this manner since he woke early this morning. We have tried everything to calm this human, but nothing is effective,” they said as one.
“Let me try something…” Esk said with a huff.
Transforming into his DNA form, Esk slithered onto the Reverend’s chest and wriggled vigorously. This tactic scared the average human so badly that they lost consciousness.
“Is that You, Lawd? Oh, Lawd, I praise Thee!” Bandersnatch continued.
Esk next tried to gag the Reverend with his tendrils. Bandersnatch laughed like a child at play. The clones were correct. Nothing was working. Then Esk hatched an idea. This coming Sunday is the first of the month. What if the Reverend communes with the dead with his Gossips this Sunday at the church? I could learn much from this. I will leave him in this state for now and let the experiment move ahead.
The Reverend Bandersnatch was on fire for “Lod”, whoever that was, for the remainder of the week. He knocked on every door in town to tell the citizens of Fletcher about his revelation from Lod. This was met with one of two responses—the door being slammed in his face or an invitation to come inside and tell them more about it. Esk was confused by the behavior, but it was critical that he did not interfere before Sunday’s service. After the experiment had run its course at church with the Gossips present, Esk could intervene.
Sam had been late to work the morning after he had grilled the steak creatures. His boss had chastised him harshly and left him feeling very low indeed. Esk sat with Sam in the living room, two recliners in front of the fireplace of the cabin, in silence. Sam was not angry with Esk, but he wondered why Esk kept such odd hours as a linguist. It seemed to Sam that Esk should want to be awake while people were talking. Esk, on the other hand, was worried that he had offended Sam and gotten him into trouble with the supervisor. If Esk was solely responsible for this transgression, he would consider it an egregious error in his friendship with Sam. Neither spoke, though. The flames danced in the hearth and mesmerized them both into a deep snoring siesta in the late afternoon light.
Esk was up late into the night with Sam’s technology—ancient technology relatively speaking—researching neurology and the known connectivity of the human brain. The knowledge was disappointing, as Esk already knew more than the entire scientific community of Earth combined. “Cutting edge” was a joke to Esk and he snorted at the phrase when it was used in reference to the cumulative wisdom of the world he was studying. He had to figure out more about psychopathy so he could reprogram the Chief Gossip Bandersnatch after Sunday’s service.
Sam arrived home early from work and flopped down in one of the kitchen chairs next to Esk, who had been searching for novel discoveries related to psychopathy since the wee hours of the morning. Sam had little knowledge of his own technology, chiefly knowing only that it was called a “laptop” and that he paid for spotty internet service every month.
“What’cha lookin’ up, Esk?” Sam asked.
“Psychopathy and its neural connections in humans. I can find nothing that I do not already know,” Esk replied, somewhat dejected.
“What search terms are ya’ usin’?”
“Well, psychopaths go t’see shrinks in prison. I reckon that falls under psychology, don’t it?”
“Psychology. Hm. You make a valid point, Sam. Thank you. I will look up psychology and see if psychopathy comes up in the search.”
“Ya’ might as well go talk to the shrink down at the prison. It’d be faster than that there searchin’ the internet. Here, let’s go. Get yer coat on. Chilly t’day.”
Image by Chouaib Saoud via Pixabay