Verse VIII: Re: Snouts and Smell

The djuka meander out of the forest escarpment as though it is only a coicidence that a man from their antiuniverse is standing in wait for them. Who knows with those guys; maybe their continual dealings with extradimensional personnel really is just a matter of course.

“Did you bring the relic or not?”

Medina cannot account for the awkwardness that takes hold of his motor functions, something like a prolonged attempt to shy away that has been stunted by a knowing that he must look these men in the eye or not at all—but damn it, he notices that neither of his female associates suffer the same affliction of posture. “I mean, yeah. Yes. I got what you were looking for.” It is a misplaced empathy, a compassion towards the people he hopes to betray in the end. Fred never feels guilty for anything, but he is wary about what will come of his dishonesty towards the indigenous persons of this backwater Caribbean country. “It turned out to be a meteor that had fallen in my world.” Shame occurs. He is tempted to speak as though they were dull-witted, elaborate upon the word ‘meteor’ by saying ‘space rock’ with abundant enunciation, maybe point at the sky, repeat each word slow.

They speak perfect English with barely any accent.

“Show me.”

Fred reaches into his back pocket for the shard of Meteor that Solinis had given him, holds out the shimmering antimatter with his left hand.

A dark woman with wild hair and emerald clothing stalks forward, nabs the thing as though she were pilfering from an unwilling holder. Granite eyes assess the stone momentarily. “This is it.”

The elder takes out a steel firearm from underneath his ceremonial sash. “Seize him.”

“What the—”

Fiona cries out in pain as a flanking tribe member draws his gun first and grazes her hand with a bullet as she goes for her own nine millimetre.

Kate manages to depress the panic button in her pocket before putting her arms over her head.

“The women can leave but you must stay.”

“Why?” The query is automatic and spoken in a nasal whine. Although he knows they may torture and kill him, the situation feels more akin to a grounding from an unfair parent.

The elder roves over the other man’s face once more. “You say your name is Frederic Medina?”

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