Disclaimer: I'll come out and admit it. I don't own the Predator franchise. Or the Alien franchise, for that matter (Though I do own a copy of Predator, Predator 2, Predators, and Aliens). However, this is the story I have chosen to write in that universe. It and the original characters therein are mine.
Author's note: I was gone for a while, I know. For this story, I'll be honest, it wasn't just writer's block. To me, that is the condition that is part I don't know what to do next, and part I simply can't put down the next few words, regardless of where I'm going. In this case, it was almost purely a blank spot in my head, between what happened last chapter, what was potentially going to happen in the next chapter (the one after this) what was going to happen several down the road, and then after that, and then the end. For those of you who couldn't keep up with that (I can't keep up with me half the time) the whole story except for sparing scenes was a blank spot. I have had time off, and now I know how to continue. Thanks for bearing with me, and off we go!
Lauren woke up a bit groggy, as was fairly normal. After a few minutes, she sat up in bed and stretched, yawning as she did so. She scratched the back of her head, and suddenly all of the events from last night came rushing back to her.
There was an alien in her barn. There was an alien in her barn!
She got up and hurriedly got dressed, pausing for only a moment to wonder if her rush was for nothing. After all, it could well have been a dream. She shook the thought out of her head. It had been real. It had to have been, even if it was too good to be true.
She rushed downstairs and out the door, not seeing wether or not her father was already up. She practically ran out to the barn, but slowed as she drew near. She remembered that although the spaceman had said he wasn't hostile, he was definitely outfitted to be hostile. She approached the barn door slowly and cautiously opened it.
She peered inside the unlit barn, searching for signs of life. When her eyes adjusted to the light, her smile grew wide. There he was, asleep on a stack of hay. She debated in her head wether or not to approach him. After all, startling a proven dangerous, half-awake alien might prove to be a bad idea. She settled for trying to get a good look at him for the time being.
As she remembered from last night, his yellow skin was striped. The stripes ranged from orange to brown to near black. He was very tall, she estimated around seven feet. His fingers ended in claw-like nails. He had a strange mix of what looked like advanced alien technology and tribal hunting gear on, though much of it was now resting near him on the floor. She noted a few very exotic looking feathers attached to what looked like dreadlocks.
Most striking was his mask. It wasn't so much what it looked like, it being smooth around the face area with two black lenses to indicate the alien's eyes, as well as the plate covering the top of his head, which was also smooth. What was strange to her was that he still had it on. Had he slept in it? Could he not breath the air on Earth? What was his home planet like that he couldn't breath here?
As she was pondering the numerous and piling questions about the visitor from outer space currently located inside her barn, she didn't notice that his head had moved.
"Lauren," said Tiger in greeting, startling the young blonde.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, jumping a bit. She felt embarrassed. "H-hi, Tiger."
"Hi," he repeated, standing up and stretching. Lauren was reminded of the imposing figure the alien cut. He popped his neck and rotated his arms. After clenching and unclenching his fists, popping all of his fingers in the process, he looked at her.
"What here?" he asked in his broken English. It took Lauren a moment to decipher that he was asking what she was doing here.
"I came to make sure you were real," she answered, smiling. Tiger cocked his head to one side, seemingly puzzled, and issued a clicking growl. "Re-al," she repeated, emphasizing the word, hoping it would somehow clarify things. "As in, here. Really here. Not imaginary."
"Mo Kwei," he responded. "Nan-ku." Lauren looked puzzled, so Tiger did his best to translate. "No tricky. Alive."
"Ah," said Lauren, nodding her head. "We need to get you some more English in there, buddy." She said this cheerfully, and Tiger was able to understand her. He nodded in agreement, as he had a great desire to learn the human's language. Suddenly they both heard a faint growling noise. It was Lauren's stomach. She gave a small laugh, her cheeks turning red.
Tiger was puzzled. This was the second time that this had happened to her. He double-checked his thermal imaging to be sure before moving back to the visible light spectrum. Her cheeks had warmed up. He wasn't sure he understood. He once again tilted his head and gave a clicking growl in curiosity.
"I, uh," laughed Lauren, "I was so excited to get out here that I forgot to eat breakfast. Come on inside with me and let's get us fed." Tiger just stood there. He was sure he'd picked up a few things, but was still confused. "Food," she said again, trying to clarify. "Eating?" Tiger nodded in response. "Well come on then."
She walked out of the barn, and, after checking around the property, motioned for Tiger to follow her. He moved very quickly, which surprised Lauren. For a creature his size, he was vary fast. She opened the door to her kitchen and beckoned him inside.
"Sweet Mother of God!" exclaimed Dad upon Tiger entering the kitchen. Everyone was frozen for a moment. After a short time, Dad released the breath he became aware he was holding. "Jesus..."
"What's wrong Dad?" asked Lauren.
"Honestly?" he asked, incredulously. "I kinda... kinda forgot he was real. Thought I had dreamt him up."
"Nope," said Lauren. "He's real. And since we have this guest, I think we should do our best to be good hosts. Have you got breakfast going yet?"
"Lauren you know as well as I do that I am responsible for dinner," said Dad, hiding behind his paper. Lauren rolled her eyes and checked the fridge. She suddenly halted and looked back at Tiger.
"Um..." she started, not sure just how to ask, "what do... how... hmm... What do you eat?" Tiger understood the word eat, and worked out she was asking about his diet.
"Amedha," he answered. "Uhhh... mmmeat."
"Oh, ok," said Lauren. She checked the fridge. They were actually low on meat at the moment, as she'd been planning on going grocery shopping today. "Hmm." deciding to save time, she motioned for Tiger to come over to the fridge. She pointed to the meager selection. Tiger took the hint.
"Sorry," she said. "There's not much here."
"M-di H'dlak," said Tiger, able to pick up the tone of regret in her voice. "Kv'var H'ka-se." She looked at him puzzled. Tiger did not know enough English to translate, but did know enough to try and explain. "Llleave. Come later." he said. With that, he walked back towards the kitchen door.
"Now wait a minute," said Dad. "Where exactly are you going?"
"Kv'var," said Tiger. "Going."
"But you'll be back later, right?" asked Lauren. Tiger nodded.
"Back later," he repeated. With that he left the house and bounded off into the forest." Lauren and Dad were left in the kitchen just staring after him.
"I really don't know what to think of him," said Dad. "It's really too bad that he can only speak a little bit of English."
"I know," said Lauren. "It's almost like... I mean he knows some, but not much. You'd figure if he was coming to Earth he'd be more prepared to hold a conversation."
"Remember," said Dad, "He indicated he couldn't leave last night. He could've easily crashed. Maybe he intended to come here some day, but he wasn't ready."
"Hey yeah," said Lauren. "Still, he only knows snatches and fragments of English. Do you think... do you think learning English was just a hobby for him?" Dad looked very thoughtful for a while.
"... You know what?" he said. "What if we were just a hobby to him? Like, learning about humans. He hardly seems like an invader. Too, well... polite. You know, in his own way. The point is, this whole thing could be an accident for him. He could have had bigger and better things to do before he got stuck here." They both grew silent.
"... Makes you feel kind of small, doesn't it?" asked Lauren. "I mean... we're so far behind his species that we're just a hobby to him."
"There goes my sense of achievement," chuckled Dad. Lauren grinned.
"What sense of achievement?" she asked. Dad rolled his eyes.
Tiger stalked his prey from up high in an old, sturdy tree. A deer, a big buck, waited below him. He was waiting downwind of the buck. He was eating a bit. He raised his head and took a few steps forward. Tiger narrowed his eyes. He had done a thermal check, and the only thing around for about a mile was this buck and some smaller animals. No humans. Good.
He jumped down, extending his blades.
Lauren heard the sound of the barn door opening and closing. She was fairly sure it was Tiger, but went out to make sure. As she got close, Tiger stepped out and quickly shut the barn door. He motioned for her to stay back. She stopped, puzzled, and then noticed there was some red on his nails. Blood?
"Mmmessy," he said, trying to explain.
"What's messy?" she asked.
"Kv'var amedha," he answered. She recognized the word amedha as meaning meat earlier. Had he been out hunting? Is that what Kv'var meant?
"You have meat in there?" asked Lauren. Tiger nodded. "Is that where the blood is from?" She pointed to his hand, and he looked. He nodded. "Oh. Well that's really not too big a deal. I can help you skin it if you like. My dad and I go out hunting often enough." He tilted his head to one side. He issued a clicking growl, which was becoming familiar to Lauren. He seemed to do it whenever he wasn't sure of something.
"Skinning," said Lauren, pantomiming skinning an animal as best she could. Tiger caught on, and began to laugh. It was a startling sound to her. It was a trilling sound, but she was able to figure out that he was amused.
"Mo neeeed help," he said. "Come see." He opened the barn door and beckoned her to follow him. She stepped inside and gasped when he pointed to his kill.
A very large buck (as evidenced by the antlers on the floor nearby) was hanging suspended from the barn rafters, cleanly skinned and with much of the blood already drained. Lauren looked the deer over. It was a very large specimen. It occurred to her that this meant her guest was strong enough to carry it all the way back to the barn, and as he didn't look strained, it must not have been too difficult for him.
She also realized that, in the minute it took her to get outside, he had managed to completely skin the animal, and the job didn't look rushed.
'He must be used to hunting for his food,' she thought. "Good job," she said out loud. "This is a big one." Tiger clicked, in a manner that Lauren took to mean he was pleased.
"Eat," he said. "Back later." She nodded, leaving him to eat in privacy. As soon as she closed the barn door, she heard him slide the wooden bolt into place. It dawned on her that she had yet to actually see his face, and that to eat he would have to remove his mask. That meant he would be able to survive breathing Earth's air.
Why, then, was he always wearing his mask? She decided then and there that it was going to be a small, personal mission to see the face of her mysterious guest from outer space. Her curiosity would not let such a mystery go unsolved.
She walked back into the house and went into the living room. Her father was just about to head out to work. "He back yet?" asked Dad.
"Yep," she said. "You shoulda seen what he brought home as food."
"What?" asked Dad.
"Buck," she said. "A huge buck." Dad stopped.
"An entire buck?" he asked.
"Yep," she said. "He had it hanging from the ceiling. Already skinned too. Might take Mr. Johnson's title as best hunter in the county."
"First off," said Dad, "I am gonna be the one who bags that prize come hunting season. Second, he can't take the title cause he doesn't exist, wink wink, and third, he's gonna want to be careful about hunting around here. Some people pay a little too much attention to the forest. Just warn him if you can figure out how." He gave his daughter a kiss on the forehead and headed out the door.
Lauren sat down on the couch, and wondered how she would communicate her dad's warning to Tiger. She simply had to start helping him learn English.
Tiger was enjoying his meal, and enjoying the feeling of air against his face for the first time since yesterday. He had needed to keep his mask on until now for a few reasons. He was fairly sure that his appearance would frighten his new hosts. On top of that, the air wasn't quite the same as it was on home. There wasn't as much nitrogen or oxygen, as he knew from his studies. It was strange to him that he could perceive the difference. The air felt lighter, like it didn't fill his lungs enough.
He finished his meal and put his mask back on. He looked to the remainder of the meat, which he'd cooked, and decided it would keep the rest of the day. He climbed to the upper floor of the barn and looked out at the house.
All in all, it was a good place he'd landed, and he felt very lucky. However, he had a nagging feeling that things would not stay this easy this long.
M'di H'dlak- no fer (in this case he meant it as no worries)
And there you have it. I'll be honest, I worry about this story a little. I just, I'm worried about it, you know? It seems to safe right now. But don't worry, that'll pass. Things are gonna start getting a little more intense soon. I mean, come on. This is a story based on an R-rated movie franchise.
And, by the way, as to my return. A friend of mine and I made a deal, and as part of the deal, I had to update all of my stories that needed updating. She and I have also made a continuing deal so that I will keep updating things, at least two updates a week. This story might take a back seat for a few weeks, but I will work on it soon. If you wish, you may thank my friend in your comments, and I will pass it along.
As always, stay tuned til next time.