Hello, everybody! I finally gathered up the courage to post my own story for the Entry Challenge. I hope you enjoy it and I would be extremely thankful if you could share your honest opinion :)
‘It’s actually the Milky Way’, said John. If that was his real name. It was so generic that it had to be made up. Gods, I’m so paranoid. Just because I give out fake names doesn’t mean that every stranger I meet in the Galaxy does too. Besides, he looked innocent enough. His excitement to have finally entered the Milky Way seemed genuine enough.
‘Where to now? Any particular planet you have in mind?’. Mind you, conversing with stowaways wasn’t really a habit of mine. In fact, he should have been dead right now or thrown overboard... which would also lead to his death. But instead here I was - giving a lift to... well, I don’t exactly know what John is. I’ve never seen anyone from his kind before. He didn’t mention where he came from and I didn’t ask. Frankly, the less we know about each other the better it will be for us both. Though I can’t stop wondering how, in Murphy’s name, did he get on my ship.
‘Have you heard of Earth? You can drop me off there, if it isn’t a problem.’ said John, his face still glued to the giant window, eyes sparkling. I almost choked. Earth?! What could he possibly want to do on Earth? He’s obviously never been there, otherwise he would’ve known that I am an Earthian. From all the wondrous places he could go to, he wishes to visit a planet in the midst of a civil war. A planet that isn’t particularly kind to foreigners.
‘You’re obviously not up to date with the current affairs there. I would suggest picking another destination. Xoathea is pretty nice this time of its year.’ What am I saying? What do I care what happens to this guy. If the wants to go to Earth just let him go to Earth. But still...
‘No. It has to be Earth.’ The excitement had left his voice. He seemed serious, for the first time since I met him. Interesting.
‘If you don’t mind me asking, what work could you possibly have there? It’s crazy out there. Its world leaders are destroying the planet as we speak. Earthians hate their own kind, imagine what they would do to some like-‘
‘My mother is on Earth.’, said John, his face still turned to the stars. I could see his reflection in the glass. He wasn’t joking. So that’s why I couldn’t recognize his species - he‘s a hybrid. I’m driving a refugee hybrid across the Galaxy. As if I don’t have enough problems already. Gods, if they find him I’m screwed.
Calm down, breathe. This isn’t the first time you’ve transported something illegal. You’ve got this, you’ll be fine. We can still throw him overboard. Shut up. Or better yet, sell him at the black market on Diabos. I know some people who would pay a pretty penny for a hybrid. We’re not selling the guy, Zero. How long have you been awake?
‘Are you alright?’ John had turned his back to the window and was looking at me now. No, dude, I’m not alright. I probably look like a maniac right now. When Zero starts to interfere I always look like that. I could feel our souls swirling in me, his trying to take control over mine. He’s not strong enough though. All he can do for now is stir up my temper... For now.
‘You still haven’t answered my question,’ I looked John right in the eyes. He held my gaze. Impressive. ‘What are you going to do on Earth?’
He looked me up and down, as if assessing whether or not he could trust me. What the hell does he have us to doubt about? We’re not the ones running from the law. We don’t know if he’s running from anything at all. He should be. A hybrid doesn’t belong anywhere. Racist much? This was a lot easier when you were asleep.
John darted forward. He grabbed the side arms of my pilot’s chair and leaned over me, his face inches from mine. I leaned back in my chair, surprised at the sudden movement. So much for looking innocent. His face was calm and serious as he asked:
‘Can you keep a secret?’
‘I haven’t reported you yet, have I?’
‘You won’t report me. You would never risk getting involved with the Black Ties. They have too much dirt on you. Are you even allowed to enter the Milky Way?’. Ah, yes, the Black Ties. Just a fancy name for the intergalactic police. And it’s just that - a name. Nothing but a bunch of buffoons, none of which can do their jobs properly. Can’t believe I wanted to be one of them when I was younger. So no, smartass, I couldn’t care less about the Black Ties. They haven’t caught me so far and I doubt they ever will. But he is right about one thing - I am not allowed to be here. I’ve been exiled from the Milky Way for two years now. And unfortunately, it’s not the Black Ties that take care of people like me. If they find me, I won’t be so lucky as to be just exiled this time.
Don’t show him you’re scared. I’m not scared. I smirked, trying to look confident.
‘If you knew all that, why enter my ship? Wouldn’t it have been safer to hijack a legal galactic vehicle?’, I was smiling, but I wasn’t sure what to think of this guy. He was still leaning over me and it was making me uncomfortable. Worse, it was making Zero angry. We didn’t like to be cornered. As if sensing that, John moved away, turning his back to me and facing the stars again.
‘Because you’re my only hope of taking back what is rightfully mine.’
…Wow. Dramatic much? He can’t be serious, right? I think he is. And I think he has lost his marbles. Someone like him couldn’t possible have anything, especially not on Earth. Now who’s being racist. I rolled my eyes.
‘If you want me to take you to Earth, you would need to be more specific.’
‘You don’t want to know the specifics’, said John, facing me again, his hands behind his back, looking almost... smug. Where was the jolly boy I met a couple of hours ago? ‘You want to know what’s in it for you.’
What the-? Who does he think he is? As if he can give me anything. As if-
‘Oh, I can give you a lot of things. Once I retrieve what was stolen from me, I will repay you handsomely for your help.”
Wait, wait, wait. Did he just- Read our mind? I jumped from my seat. My hand reached for the blaster on my belt. Stop it! Kill him now!
‘It would be in your best interest to keep me alive, I assure you’, John’s smile quivered, as if he wasn’t sure he was convincing me. And he wasn’t. Mind-readers were a rarity, and I’ve never met one until now. I didn’t know how far or how deep his powers could reach. But I lowered my hand. For some reason I wanted to listen to him, wanted to know more. He seemed important somehow. I felt it the moment I met him, that’s why I didn’t kill him back then. He had a role to play in my future and I had a feeling I couldn’t kill him even if I wanted to. Who was this guy? If his mother was from Earth, then who or what was his father? What did they steal from him? I wanted to know. You idiot, he’s tricking you. Get a hold of yourself! I shook my head, as if that would silence Zero up, but of course it wouldn’t. Nothing ever did. I leaned over the control panel, setting a course to Earth, turning the auto-pilot on. I turned to John, motioning to the sitting area in the back of the ship.
‘You better explain everything.’
He let out a breath in relief. I hadn’t noticed he had been holding it, how tense he was. He looked at me and smiled a genuine smile.
‘With pleasure, Michael.’