A/N: This chapter is very random because we transverse from what is happening to Klaatu and then Helen and Jacob.
It wasn't plausible, he thought; the condition of his small shuttle. Here was now, damaged and broken in the woods. All hope of communication with his people was gone.
Night shrouded over the woods and Klaatu found - rather miserably - that the tenderness of his side had grown into a brutal ache. He winced and cringed wanting to grab it all the while, but each time he did so, the soreness scowled at his touch. It was a deep agony, one that came in little bundles of random pain. If he moved it hurt, if he breathed it hurt, if he stood still it hurt.
He slipped out of the fitted dark sweater-like clothing that covered his upper body - it was an uncomfortable endeavor - to look upon his side in the early mists before dawn, and he could see that the bruising was large in it's size, purple and swollen also. Along with the fault of his space craft, this too added to his list of dilemmas.
At least he still had his Photonic Journal, he thought. Twas a shame it didn't have a built-in communicator.
"I have made an inadequate landing. The shuttle suddenly shut down in the passing through Earth's atmosphere. It seems, from what I have learned from two humans who fed me, that I am somewhere in Maine. I have no way of communication and at this point no way of transport. I have no other choice but to travel to Lubec - a place nigh here. I hope to find more suitable shelter, clothing and food on my arrival. I will attempt to catch a ride somehow…if roads are within good distance. I took a harsh wound in my landing. My side is very bruised and from what little I can tell, my ribs may be fractured. The pain has worsened in the coming of hours, and it continues to get worse."
Klaatu closed his line, turning off the Photonic Journal and slipping it into a small satchel he had managed to pull out from the shuttle.
Before trailing off, he took a last moment to glance back at the shuttle, hoping that his journey to Lubec would be promising. He hoped to find some way to return - to repair the damage done - but for now he was in no condition to work, and his best bet - with food rations being low - would be to leave. And so he did.
In that deep place he went on in dire haste, finding a path beneath a southern wall of stone where there lay a narrow strand. And when night came, and the creek rushed on unseen, save for a glint of high stars mirrored in the dark water when the trees allowed for it, he rested and slept; for beside that water he felt no fear, though the pain to his side remained still.
Three years ago Helen Benson watched as the Sphere - the one of which had absorbed Klaatu - left the Earth. All that day it seemed she and Jacob sat quietly near that very spot, staring mindfully at the sky and thinking about Klaatu - not to mention all that had come to play in that one day. They were so grateful in their hearts and yet, so very overwhelmed. Neither of them knew that changing the mind of an Alien would be easy, and yet they had - well, Helen did.
When night came to pass, Jacob grew tired at last. The Military was everywhere it seemed, searching and scavenging through rubble - searching for civilians. As for Helen and Jacob, they were being guarded by a group of armed men, though both of them were almost numb to their presence. Their minds were far too drenched with other things for the time being. At last, one soldier had decided it time to take the 'hostages' to wherever. Jacob was tired and hungry and at last Helen stood - with the escorting of a soldier - and to the stars she looked one last time before they pushed her into the armed truck to utter;
That was three years ago.
Yes, Helen Benson might have become a national criminal had it not been for the President - with the encouragement of a few others - granting her pardon. It didn't hurt either that dear old Professor Barnhardt pulled a few strings to ensure her justice for the helping of an Alien.
Toady, Helen and Jacob Benson were living out their lives in a more quiet part of the country. In fact, this little place might have been the quietest of towns. It was after all, the farthest little town in the North East.
It was often cold here, but strangely it didn't snow like one might expect; and that reason had a lot to do with it's location being as it was, about the waters where it was always breezy, with mainly the sound of gulls calling about the shores. It was strange, this weather, because often, near the coast it was warmer. Yet, the further inland you were, the more prone to be cooler it would be. It was weird, but Helen like it.
Every night, since that final day, Helen and Jacob had found themselves taking at least an hour each night before bed, just star gazing in a quiet solace. But it was more than a mere therapy session and it was so much more than admiring the twinkling stars and bright moon, save when the sky was cloudy. It was a sense of closure for both of them, a way of looking on - they hoped - at the same stars Klaatu could be looking at.
In time however, Jacob had grown busy with other things. He had made several friends, some of them country boys that lived outside of town, others were just good kids that lived nearby. He was busy, and often he skipped out on star gazing with Helen. He went to bed earlier - wanting to awake early even on Friday night so that he may have more time with his friends who also woke after the rising of the sun. But Helen's promise of star gazing had not yet faltered, and in her heart she hoped that she would always be a star gazer, sitting beneath the warmth of her shawl upon the rocking chair on the porch. She laughed at herself at times, musing at how much she had become like her Grandmother, sitting on the front porch of an old house, wrapped in a shawl and sipping coffee or warm tea, watching the night soar by.
She liked it. There wasn't another place on Earth so peaceful as this, she thought. The only thing missing was her beloved husband. She knew that Jacob still longed for him as well; she could see it in his face on those rainy days.
Klaatu crunched and clamored through the woods. He wandered, it seemed, for endless days in circles. He was growing tired and weary and his small rations were not lasting as long as his hunger. Then in the coming of one night, he fingered angrily through the dark of trees, listening and following the faint sound of cars. At last, he stood and looked down from the hill of which he stood onto a dark, long stretch of road. He climbed down, clumsily and wincing with agony. His side ached ever on but it had died down a little. So, he went warily thither until his feet were but some small length of feet from the road. He stood all night, like a motionless scarecrow, his hand extended upward and his palm in a nonmoving wave. He remained in that stance until morning, and when afternoon rolled around a small car at last stopped.
The very young man inside, sitting in the drivers seat, rolled down his window and gave Klaatu a curious grin.
"Where ya headed?" he asked.
"Lubec." the Alien replied.
"Lubec? We're headed that way. You need a lift?"
"Yes." he replied.
"Get on in. There's room in the back."
Klaatu did so, and once inside he gave a solemn 'thank you' . It was then that he noticed in the front passenger seat a young girl, presumably the mate of the very young man, and beside Klaatu was a sleeping woman, perhaps in her twenties.
The very young man and his overly happy girlfriend took notice of Klaatu's curious staring upon the girl sleeping next to him.
"That's Molly." said the girl upfront. "She uh…got a little drunk." then, along with the very young man, she burst into a small snicker of mischief.
"So," the very young man began once they had begun moving down the solitary road. "You from around here?"
"Somewhat." Klaatu replied.
"What's your name?" asked the smiling girl.
"My name is my own affair."
"O-kay….?" the very young man furrowed his brows. "You uh, working undercover or something?"
"Somewhat." And with each following question they would only receive a mere 'somewhat', if even that. At last the couple grew quiet and cautious, no longer intrigued in questioning Klaatu. The smiling girl was smiling no more now and eventually she leant forward to whisper into her lover's ear.
"How much further to Lubec? This guy is giving me the creeps."
"Not much further." he assured her in the same volume of speech.
"This is far enough." Klaatu said. "Pull over here." The very young man did just that.
"This is a rest stop." he said, parking the car.
"This will do." said Klaatu. And like that, he was gone. The sleeping girl would've never known had it not been for her friends upfront informing her when at last she grew sober.
Klaatu knew he wasn't far now. A good walk of fifteen miles and he'd be there. Though reaching Lubec may or may not have been promising for him. His only way of knowing however was to go on.
"Jacob," Helen's voice called loudly over the steaming frying pan that scrambled a fine deal of cheese eggs. "are you coming down?!" she called, stirring and keeping her eyes focused on the cooking.
"I'm coming, Mom!" Jacob called back from atop the stairs, and not long after he came sliding down on the wide rail, swinging quite acrobatically into the breakfast nook of the kitchen.
"Jacob!" Helen fussed, scraping the eggs into two porcelain dishes. "How many times do I have to keep telling you not to do that?"
"Do what?" Jacob questioned, inattentively as he took his seat before the fine plate of hot food.
"I don't know," Helen said, placing one hand on her hip and looking over him, the frying pan still clutched in her other hand. "The railing. It's an old house. We have to take care of it."
"Come on, Mom. I was just having fun."
"Can't you save it for the skate park?"
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry."
"That's a good boy." she smiled, laying the pan back on the stove and fitting into her own chair. "Now, let's bless the food and eat. I'm starved."
The breakfast was savored with merry hearts, both of them carrying on about what they could do to amuse themselves this fine weekend.
"Why not go to the beach?" Jacob suggested.
"The beach?" Helen asked, biting down on her fork of waffle.
"Yeah, you know. We could have a picnic and maybe even fly our kites. Like old times."
Like old times….It seemed so long ago since their last visit to the ocean, even with them living here. The last memory they shared in going to such a place was with 'Dad'.
"Are you sure?" Helen wanted to be certain that visiting the beach wouldn't be too much emotional stress on Jacob. It was after all one of the favorite past times he and his father shared. She knew he had grown stronger, but that didn't guarantee that the pain was gone.
"Yeah mom." he said smiling, wiping his syrup-tainted fingers with the damp napkin. "I think that dad would like that."
At this, Helen smiled and Jacob turned away from her, an assuring grin upon his own face. He knew his mother was relieved. Yes, his mother. He had forgotten the Step-mom title.
"Alright," she said, "We'll go tomorrow."
"Cool." Helen said, and they both exchanged chuckles.
The following morning, the two awoke early, spending at least an hour and a half packing a fine lunch. Jacob gathered two small folding chairs from the shed in the backyard along with two kites while Helen put some towels in the back of the SUV in case Jacob wanted to get wet. She however preferred to stay dry. It was a bit windy in this May month.
"Okay kiddo, you ready?"
"I'm ready, Mom."
"Okay, put your seatbelt on. Pretty soon you'll be driving me around."
"I can." she teased. Jacob smiled and rolled his eyes.
The drive was nice, a relaxation for the both of them and they couldn't resist singing along to one of Jacob's favorite songs that was playing on the radio…Wild Thing.
Klaatu had arrived in Lubec fifteen minutes ago. His tired legs had held him up from arriving earlier, but he was glad to be here nonetheless. Looking around, he found this little place quiet, peaceful and quaint; but wherever he walked, suspicious eyes were upon him. This made the Alien wary for his own identity. He hoped that the humans would not recognize him as that wanted fugitive some years back - though Klaatu reckoned it to only be months since. Often he would turn corners or glance away, avoiding contact with these creatures as much as possible.
"I need suitable clothing so that I may blend in with this clan." He thought, and his eyes wavered about the street until they were cast upon a gruff bearded fellow, leaning against an old brick fish house, drinking a beer and laughing with two other old fellows. The man was dressed similar to most other men Klaatu had seen, wearing a flannel button up jacket and blue jeans.
"Taking clothes by force would be risky. I cannot risk my reputation in this small place. I assume these people of Lubec to be similar to the small, ignorant tribes found on the vast planet Nubeluca. They take notice of new things too easily." Klaatu took a turn round a corner until his wandering feet brought him to a shopping district. The streets were scarce of activity here as well, but a few cars came along every now and then. Then, walking along, Klaatu saw a shop window that displayed a fine outfit n the window - much like the one that one fellow wore. He went in, looking and studying the window display carefully.
"Can I help ya, stranger?" asked an elderly gentleman, perhaps the owner of the men's store. It was a sports shop, a place that mainly heeded to men's apparel and hobbies.
Klaatu turned, staring down this little man and unnerving him as he did.
"I want to try on this suit."
"Uh…suit? You mean that flannel shirt?"
"Yes. The whole attire. Including the shoes."
"Well," the old man swallowed, "That's just a display there, but if you'll wait right there I'll go and fetch it from the racks." the old man turned to leave him, but he halted, taking a moment to ask the following question. "What size?"
"The exact size as this one." said Klaatu, not really caring to tell the man and merely wanting to send him away.
"Oh, okay then. Just wait there and I'll go get it. You can try it on in the dressing room."
Once the little old man was out of sight and busy plundering through the back, Klaatu undressed the manikin and left the store with the clothes.
"Oh sir, sir?" the old man called, returning with a shoe box in his arms and a flannel jacket strung over his shoulder. "Sir?" He saw him nowhere and when his eyes spotted the naked manikin, the old man dropped all that he held and rushed to the phone, dialing for the police. "Yes, this is Joe…Earl, you aren't gone believe this but I think I've been robbed by a tourist!…What? What's that supposed to mean? I'm not a fool! Ah, forget it!" The frustrated old man threw the phone down and ran out of the store, but he saw the stranger nowhere. "Damn!" he spat before hobbling back inside.
"So," Helen said as she and Jacob trailed down the sidewalks of town, "did you have fun at the beach today?"
"I had so much fun!" Jacob beamed. His hair was damp and his clothes wet and sandy, a towel hugging his body. "Mom, I wanna do that more often."
"Me too." Helen said, throwing an arm over his shoulder. "Hey, why don't we go for an ice cream?"
"Yeah! Let's go!"
The two trailed into a colorful little café where they purchased a delightful desert and enjoyed it outside on one of the little tables that lined the sidewalk where blossoming dogwoods lapped and shadowed over them.
"Fish and chips! Come get your fish and chips! Only five ninety five a basket!"
A great line of twenty people waited their turn for the ordering of food at a large cart. The steaming flounder seemed to seep through Klaatu's nostrils and immediately he pushed his way to the front.
"Hey buddy! What the hell do you think you're doing?" a gruff, angry citizen demanded, clutching Klaatu's shoulder and bringing the Alien to fix his gaze upon him.
"I am hungry and need nourishment."
"What are you, some kind of freak?"
"Yeah!" shouted his wife, a stout, chubby female. "Get in the back of the line! We were next here!"
"You will be silent." Klaatu told them.
"Hey look here you little dipstick, you want something to eat? I'll give you something to eat! How's a knuckle sandwich sound?!" The gruff man, still clutching Klaatu's shoulder, clutched his fist and aimed his punch for the Alien's face; but Klaatu caught his fist like a strike of lightning and there he held it in his firm grasp until the frantic man could take the squeeze no more. "Hey, come on man! Let go, please! You can skip ahead of me, I don't care! My wife and me need to diet anyhow!"
"What in the hell is that supposed to mean?!" demanded his wife.
Klaatu pushed the man down to his knees and at last he let him go, releasing him also from his sharp, cold glare.
"Can I help you?" asked the woman behind the counter.
"Yes." said Klaatu. "I will take broiled fish."
"It comes with chips."
"I do not want chips."
"I'm sorry sire, they come with the order. You don't have to eat them."
At last, Klaatu nodded and the woman went to prepare his food. When she returned with the paper basket, she told him the price.
"You want anything to drink?"
"No. Can you give me some utensils?"
"Sure, hun." But whilst her back was to him, Klaatu took the food and walked away.
"Let's see, where are those forks."
"Hey! Hey lady!" the loud mouth began again. "He just took off!"
"What?!" the woman asked, leaning over the counter. "Oh my God! Hey! Hey you! Somebody go after him!"
"I'm not going after him. The guy's a lunatic."
"Well, isn't someone gonna go after him? I gotta run this stand!"
No one replied.
"What is it, Jake?"
"After I finish my ice cream, can I go and see if that new game is available in the video store? I wanted to check it out…see if it's as good as everyone claims it is."
"Sure. But while you're doing that, I'm gonna go pick up something for dinner tonight."
"Can we make spaghetti and meat balls?"
"We had that the other night. Why don't I at least make us a pizza instead…if you must have pasta?"
"Pizza sounds good."
"Okay then. I'll go and get that and you can take this five bucks and rent that game if they have it."
Helen walked alone now, her purse straddled over her arm. She smiled at each friendly passersby she looked upon and her bright eyes admired all that was around her. It felt at times as if she was taking all of this little town in for the first time, and yet it was so simple compared to New York. Never had she felt so enthused and excited by New York, and this was just a simple little world. Maybe it was the aura here, the positive electric vibes it sent through her mind.
Helen spent little of her time grocery shopping, save for the fifteen minute conversation with one of the overly friendly neighbors she had bumped in to. It happened to be the mother of one of Jacob's new friends and it just so happened that her son, Caleb, was with her.
"Hey Ms. Benson," Caleb interrupted, growing bored with the chattering of his mother. If only he knew how bored Helen was. She loved being a mom, but that didn't mean she wanted to be a clucking old hen.
"Caleb!" his mother scorned. "Don't interrupt me when I'm speaking!"
"I just wanted to ask Ms. Benson where Jacob was…geesh!"
"He's at the video store, Caleb." Helen smiled.
"Well in that case why don't you run along and find him. I don't know how much more of that complaining I can take!" his mother fussed. The boy fled from the store like an animal freed from the boundaries of a cage. Helen couldn't resist chuckling at this. She only hoped that her chance to escape Mrs. Howard would come not a moment too late.
"Well, I really have to go Mrs. Howard. It was so nice talking to you."
"You too Helen." said the woman. "Say, if you don't mind my asking…"
"Well, I do hate being nosey."
Since when did Mrs. Howard dislike being nosey, Helen thought.
"But, well, it's just that I can't understand why a pretty young thing like you doesn't have a boyfriend. You're such a young woman."
"Mrs. Howard," Helen sighed, a small laugh barely escaping her, "I don't need a relationship to be happy. I'm a very independent woman."
"I know, I know. But I must say, Jonathan Carter at the Library can't keep his eyes off of you. You know, I was in there just yesterday and he was asking me all about you…he's a very fine young man. I think he's only about thirty five."
"Mrs. Howard," Helen said, cutting her off before she could go any further, "I had a husband once…one I loved very much. And even though I'm sure Mr. Carter is a fine man, no one will ever be able to fill the gap. I had something special with my husband, and I don't think I could adjust to another love life. Besides, Jacob and I are too content."
"Oh, well…I guess I'll see you then."
"Goodbye, Mrs. Howard." And with that she left the baffled woman alone in the frozen section.
Helen carried on down the street, crossing the not-so-busy road and pushing on down the sidewalk opposite from whence she had traveled. On her arm dangled a somewhat small bag of groceries - ingredients to make a pizza of course - and her eyes were searching and reading the pages of some interesting magazine she had purchased during checkout. Twas a shame that Helen Benson, a casual woman minding her own business, had no clue whatsoever that she was about to collide with a tall man clad in flannel and jeans.
WAM! They hit like a train and Helen fell to her rump, hitting the pavement quite hard and pouting at the sight of spilt groceries amongst the ground.
"Oh no!" she cried. Her eyes wandered up to the stranger, who looked upon her in almost dismay…or was it shock? She honestly couldn't tell. But wait, this man was no ordinary man, nor was he just some random stranger, and as he looked upon her, this woman plopped upon the ground, it seemed to him that she was no ordinary human being.
"Oh my God." Helen heard herself utter. Her mouth was dry and after each bout of speech it remained open. "Kl - Klaatu."
To Be Continued.
A Further Note From The Author: Okay, I guess I'll end it here. If you guys caught any grammatical mistakes, please point them out! I was unable to fix them in my previous chapter! Darn! But I'm working up some romantic scenes for the next chapter! Yay!