Legacy of Korr
Copyright © 2016 by M Barlow
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
To my wife, who loved my first draft and encouraged me to finish the novel and publish it. To the little one on the way, Baby Emilia.
December 20, 2030 - Perth, Australia
Phil lumbered along to his high rise in East Perth. He stopped, grabbed the wall, and closed his eyes to stop the street from spinning. One more block to go. At the intersection, the cool breeze from the river lured him in. After a scorching, forty-degree day, Phil didn’t resist. He crossed the park and sat down on an old, wooden bench by the Swan River. The bright lights of the city skyline—a handful of commercial buildings and residential high rises—reflected on the calm water surface.
A ring of green light appeared in the water.
Faint at first, the light was hardly visible over the bright skyline reflection. Within seconds, it glowed brighter until it covered the water surface. Phil looked up and saw a circle of green light high above the river. Air rippled around it the way water rippled after a stone was thrown in, and something emerged from the circle. A silver airship the size of a large SUV, round with two small wings on the sides and a square base at the bottom. The light around the airship faded and disappeared.
Phil retreated to the park, squeezed his chubby body behind a tree—well, most of it anyway—and watched from safety. No reason to be a hero. The short sprint left him out of breath, and thoughts ran through his head faster than his hazy mind processed them. Here came the headache. The kind of unfair headache he suffered when he had spent a week's salary’s worth of Corona in one afternoon. Phil rubbed his eyes hard and opened them. The ship was still there, hovering above the river.
Is it a hologram?
Projected images were practical jokes that kids played on the unsuspecting public and uploaded the videos online later for money or kicks. Couldn’t they be more original? An alien ship above the Swan in the heart of Perth? Not to mention he didn’t hear a thing. What kind of ship made no sound?
Fake or not, it was entertaining. He squinted to get a better look. The ship was made of a shiny, silver metal with no windows or a glass shield—another creative error. Part of the ship slid up, and Phil saw the inside, two seats and a silhouette of a person in one of them. Had to be the pilot.
The silhouette floated forward through the opening in a quick move before he hovered below the airship. He turned around in a full circle to scan the area—the river, the high rises, the foreshore, and the parks. Then he descended to hover a meter above the water.
Phil felt a cold shiver down his spine. He tightened his grip on the tree, and his breathing sped up. He saw her. Yes, she was a woman. She was short and thin with long, green hair. She stared at the river and followed it with her gaze into the distance. Then she swung around and looked in Phil’s direction with bright, green eyes that occupied half her face.
The park spun around him. Phil jerked his head behind the tree and closed his eyes. His body tensed, and his heart beat faster. If those imaginary kids had any decency, they would stop now.
Maybe she didn’t see him. Maybe she was looking at someone else. Oh god, please let it be someone else! With his luck, she looked at him, and she would do more than looking. A minute passed, and nothing happened. Phil peeked to see where she went.
She was two meters away from him. Green glow surrounded her body like a halo. The park spun again, and his head became heavy. He might pass out any second now. Phil resisted. Any sudden move would set her off. The bright eyes examined his trembling body, and the green light penetrated his head. Then her eyes faded until they were two gray eyeballs, and she disappeared.
One second she was there, and the next, she vanished.
Phil’s jaw dropped. His heartbeat raced. A few drops of sweat ran down his cheeks, and his legs gave in. He let his body fall against the tree, and for a minute or two, he sat there. He closed his eyes and tried to relax until his breathing slowed, and his heart rate returned to normal.
Did that just happen? Was she real? Or was he drunker than he thought? He should’ve learned his lesson after what happened last break. Phil had woken up to find his toe had been cut and patched up, but he couldn’t recall what’d happened. He needed to slow down—he was thirty-five not eighteen. If he cut back on his drinking, he’d lose weight and maybe he wouldn’t die alone. Of course, his genes were to blame as much as alcohol, with the stocky figure, the balding head, and the freckled, pale skin.
Phil got to his feet and looked around the park. She wasn’t there. He strolled to the river. Her ship was still there, but it was fading. Within seconds, it disappeared. Phil shook his head and faltered back to his apartment. As far as he was concerned, he’d imagined the whole thing.
He unlocked the front door, and…
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Wide-eyed and terrified, Phil retreated to the hallway until his back was against the cold wall. The lady pilot—the one he’d just seen at the park—stood in his living room. How did she get into the apartment? The door was locked. He made sure of it when he left this afternoon. Phil took a deep breath to calm his nerves. If she tried—
A soft, feminine voice sounded in his head and interrupted his thoughts.
Her voice was comforting. And judging by a quick glimpse he’d caught before he retreated to the hallway like a scared cat, she was easy on the eyes. His fear subsided and gave way to curiosity. He summoned enough courage to walk into the apartment.
The lady was petite with a nice, oval face and a wide forehead. Her green eyes were big and bright, but they weren’t as enormous as he thought earlier. A smile covered her small, round mouth. Phil didn’t know if her smile was a friendly or a mocking one. A tight, one-piece suit of gray, metal armor covered her body and hugged her curves. His hand reached for his forehead to wipe off imaginary sweat.
“Who are you?” He asked coarsely, although he didn’t mean it that way.
A long stare answered him. Then her eyes lit up which made him nervous. He’d seen enough movies with people shooting laser beams from their eyes to cause him to worry. Was she going to hurt him? Could she? He was a big guy, and she was five-foot tall, five-two at most. He would take her if she attacked him.
The thought didn’t comfort him when she swung around and hovered around the dining table. She touched the wooden tabletop with her left hand, a hand with four green fingers.
She was an alien.
Should he take a picture of her?
It would be worth a fortune, and provided he disabled the flash, she wouldn’t know what hit her. Phil reached for the phone in his pocket and glanced at it. The battery was dead, just his luck.
She approached, stopped in front of him, and smiled as if she knew what went through his head. Her eyes were a bottomless, green ocean and her smile a bright, rising sun with so much light and warmth to give. Her subtle, feminine smell turned him on, even more. She examined his face as if she’d never seen a human being before, then she spun around and hovered away.
His eyes followed her—the way a child’s eyes followed a candy bar in his parent’s hand—until she stopped between the coffee table and the entertainment center. Her firm, round butt was hot as. She touched the entertainment center. The TV switched on to a local news show.
Her eyes dimmed and lit up again. The channel changed. He didn’t blame her. Local TV was only good for weather and traffic reports. After going through a few news channels and a cooking show, she ignored the TV and floated toward him.
Phil swallowed as she inched closer. The apartment door behind him was still open. He spun around to leave as gracefully as an angry whale in a glass house. The door slammed shut in his face, leaving the bedroom as his only way out. With some speed and two truckloads of luck, he’d reach it before she caught up with him. Instead of giving their most sparkling performance, his legs became numb. She was right in front of him. He had nowhere to go.
“If you touch me, I’ll call triple—”
She touched his forehead with her hand. It was soft, silky, warm, and comforting. Her eyes lit up. Phil looked away. The light blinded him as if he looked straight into the sun. A pulse of sharp pain traveled from his forehead to the back of his neck. When the throbbing pain rocked his brain, he screamed.
Phil gasped for air and screamed again and again, but none of it left his throat. He tried to push her hands away, but he couldn’t. She was strong. The pain was unbearable. It felt as if she cracked his skull open, shoved a large vacuum cleaner inside, and sucked out his brain. His childhood, school, first crush, university, dates, and work flashed before his eyes. Sweat ran down his face. His eyelids became heavy. His legs collapsed under his bodyweight. Phil fainted.
hil drowned in deep water. A green hand with four fingers pulled him to the bottom. He struggled, freed himself from the tight grip, and swam to the surface. The light became bigger and brighter. It split into four smaller lights. He reached the surface and inhaled at last.
He opened his eyes to find himself lying on the couch. Phil stared at the four lights in the living area for a moment. A merciless headache pounded his brain. Like an unwelcome guest, hangovers came at least once a week, whether he liked it or not.
With a hand on the armrest and the other on the cushion, Phil got to his feet. He hobbled to the kitchen and swallowed two painkillers with a glass of cold water. The pills left a bitter taste in his mouth.
He glanced at his watch, two in the morning. Phil closed his eyes and sighed in relief. He didn’t have to work until Tuesday.
With the same wobbly steps, he walked to the bedroom. The tricky part was trying not to shake his head. The only thing on his mind was the comfortable, queen-size bed. The thought was enough to give him a boost of energy he needed to complete the five-meter Marathon to the bedroom.
His jaw dropped, and his eyes opened wide at the sight of her.
“No, no, no!”
The alien lady sat on his bed. She held his brand new tablet in one hand and swiped the hologramic web pages with the other. She wasn’t a drunken dream. The gummy leg syndrome kicked in again, so he held onto the door frame to steady himself.
She leaned back against the headboard and looked up. “Are you going to faint again?”
For a second, the headache, the room, and the walls faded. Phil could only see the gorgeous alien in his bed, then reality came crashing back.
“You invaded my apartment,” Phil said, and rubbed his temples with his free hand to keep the headache at bay. “You scrambled my brain and took my stuff. What’s next? Are you going to kill me?”
She rolled her eyes and lowered her gaze to the tablet. “My mother was mistaken.”
“She informed me that men on Earth took pride in not complaining, but I see things have changed.”
Blood rushed to his face. She could kill him if she wanted. “We have a word for the way you’re acting.”
Her mocking smile widened. “I know. The same word describes you perfectly.”
Phil’s nostrils flared. If she’d been human and weak, he would’ve knocked her teeth out. But he was too tired and hungover to even come up with a clever quip. He noticed she spoke English with a mild accent, not inside his head as she did before. The headache intensified. He’d admire her flawless English another time.
“I just want to rest. My head is killing me.”
She moved to one side of the bed, freeing up space for him to lie down next to her. He resisted his fears and dropped like a rock which, on second thought, was a bad idea because his headache flared up again. He grabbed the covers, closed his eyes, and hoped his long day would end.
“I’m Shara,” she said, her voice soft.
Her timing was impeccable, introducing herself as he dozed off. He cursed under his breath and opened his eyes.
“Nice to meet you, Shara. I’m Phil.”
“I apologize for earlier. I didn't realize it would hurt you.”
Phil glared at her. “It’s ok.”
Maybe she had tormented him for hours, but he wasn't the toughest guy on the block. He’d once called a workmate to remove the world’s smallest frog from his room at camp. His embarrassment continued when the loyal friend who’d promised it would be their secret told everyone at work the next morning.
The mine foreman put a picture of a frog on his hologram when he stepped out of the office. A large, slimy, green frog that beat the smaller ones and ate their lunch for no good reason. He’d told Phil the picture would help him overcome his fear, but Phil had suspected the foreman had wanted to see the terrified look on his face. Phil had jumped and fell from his seat. The story entertained everyone on site for months.
Negative thoughts aside, this wasn’t too bad a night. The last girl in his bed—for a short while—was Alicia, who was cute. Despite being alien, Shara was a gorgeous girl, one of a kind. And as far as the dangers of sleeping next to an alien went, small talks were best-case scenario.
Shara put aside his tablet and tapped the bed space between them. “Sit.”
She was an odd duck, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde rolled into one. To avoid another round of jokes at his expense, he forced himself to sit next to her. The headache worsened.
“Ok, this won't hurt,” she said.