"Where am I?"
Lumina stared almost intently at the boy that her uncle had found during the recent hunting trip. He couldn't have been much older than her - maybe only sixteen three-sixty-fives - but he seemed older and more mature than any of the other children she knew.
It wasn't often that a new person visited their camp - actually it had never happened. After what her father called the 'ReGreening', there had been no other people found.
It frightened her sometimes - that less than thirty people might be the only humans on the planet. She could count the number of families with children on one hand! But if they were the only people on the planet, where had this boy come from?
She had only just noticed that he was awake - how long?
He was staring at her - did he just ask a question?
"Where am I?"
"Ummm..." Lumina spread her arms wide, gesturing to the room, the land, the entire planet. To his puzzled gaze she said -
"Here! Just... here. We don't really have a name for this planet - this place. Some call it 'Earth' 'cuz that's what it's made of - some call it 'Green' 'cuz that's what it looks like."
"What do you call it?"
His lips twitched into a gentle smile.
He looked up from one of the maps he was drawing. It wasn't like they needed them... everyone knew where everything was but a hobby's a hobby...
"Sanchez? What are you doing here?"
"It's... It's not safe."
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Not safe... the enemy..."
"I'm gonna go get Violet. Are you alright?"
"The Ancient Enemy..."
"What do you mean...? How can you know about that? tell me... How can you-?"
"...Is among us..."
Jobs peered intently at Sanchez. Suddenly, he knew what to do.
"Jobs! He's just a kid, okay!"
"We don't even know where he comes from! He could be a Savage or an enemy Alpha - Newton or someone could've sent him - "
"Newton? He was probably dead a long time ago!"
"He could be one of them - he could be Duncan. We've never seen him before!"
"If he was Duncan, he'd be older than you! He'd have... evolved or something past human recognition!"
"Why are you so opinionated about this?"
Icy blue eyes met brown ones.
"Have you talked to Lumina lately?"
"She told me about how he didn't know anything about his past life at all, but he could still appreciate the beauty of this world. Then she started telling me how beautiful his eyes were..."
"She really likes him, Jobs. And besides... all the other boys are younger than her, way older or related.."
"That's no excuse! What if he's dangerous?"
"What if he's not and you banish him anyway?"
"But Lumina - "
"What about Lumina?"
"It just seems like I'm the only one she can confide in. I don't want to let her down."
"So it's about you now."
"No! Jobs, I - "
"Well you can tell her that he can't stay here."
"Forget it. I'm not gonna be your messenger."
"Well someone's got to tell her. It may as well be you."
"Who made you the boss anyway? She's not my kid. I'm not gonna hurt her for you."
The Ancient Enemy is among us
"I am the Ancient Enemy..."
The Ancient Enemy is among us
"I am the Ancient Enemy...The Ancient Enemy is-"
His eyes snapped open and he almost shouted;
Her face was flushed. She looked upset, brow furrowed and eyes clouded.
"Are you alright? What's wrong?"
She stared at him for a while. Without a word she approached him; She sat on the next to him on the bed and let out a shuddery sob.
"Dad says you have to leave."
"He's giving you three twenty-fours to heal, and then you have to leave."
An awkward silence suffocated them. Then -
"It's not fair!"
Lumina rose quickly from the bed and the boy recoiled, startled.
"I mean, one day... I never even got to know you! I didn't even ask you your name! I'm so stupid! I mean..."
She stopped, standing in the middle of the floor. She suddenly felt very alone.
"You're special. I've never met anyone like you before... I don't want to lose you so fast..."
She looked up at him, a puzzled expression framing teary eyes.
"That's my name. Arlan."
Three days is more than enough time.
You have already earned the trust of one of the Others. Perhaps... this may determine your.. success...
Possibly. Heh... probably.
And... you will not betray me?
I brought you to life! I created you from the three that had failed me before! It is my doing that you exist! You will NOT betray me!
Be calm! I was merely jesting! Of course I will remain faithful... I owe you... my existence.
Good. As long as we work together, we will succeed in our task.
"Father, please! You don't understand! He's a good person!"
"He may seem like a good person, but you don't know - "
"Even if - even if he was bad before, he's not now... He doesn't remember anything about his life, dad! He won't - He can't..."
"We can't risk it!"
"He's lost, He's alone, he's got no place to go... He won't be able to fend for himself if we just send him off! He'll get hurt again, he'll be killed... You'll go off on one of your hunting trips and you'll find him bleeding to death or already dead... What can he do? He's just one person, Dad... what's the worst he can do?"
"He's already got you talking back and yelling at your own father! You shouldn't be questioning me!"
Her emotional face turned suddenly stony, and she lifted a defiant chin.
"If that's how you feel about it..."
She gave a curt nod, as if obeying an unheard command.
"I won't question you, or talk back... I won't talk to you at all!"
She turned and stalked off, ignoring him.