Saaxx Alien Hybrid: A SciFi Romance
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“I never wanted a male but there is something special about the Human!”
Saaxx has been on her own since she was young. She's had to learn to fend for herself since her family was killed in a dispute with a rival clan, but that's just the way she likes it. Too proud to let males of her clan help her with physical tasks she's forced to buy a male slave of an unknown species to help her, even though she's been warned that he is damaged goods. But when her pheromones begin to release, announcing to the males that she is ready to be mated, she's astounded when it's her troubled slave who jumps to her aid and helps her ward them off.
Tex has suffered from memory loss and post-traumatic-stress-disorder since leaving the military service. A loner, he drives a truck for a living, the only job that allows him time to recover when he's suffering from a particularly bad attack. One night on a lone trip, he's abducted by aliens. He's furious at their audacity but also shocked by the fact he can understand them. But the abduction triggers something in him and he begins to get flash backs; strangely they're not from the war he was involved in on Earth. Kept for a while by his abductors, he's finally sold to a female alien who seems to be the only one who can help him with his mental suffering. To repay her kindness he's determined to help her fight off unwanted attention from her male clan members.
But what neither of them realise is Tex is not what he appears to be, and they are drawn to each other because of his unknown secret.
All the books set in the Perinqual Galaxy series are enemies to lovers standalone stories. They have everything--action, adventure, fighting, alpha alien males, feisty fiery Human females, romance, love, and of course - plenty of steam. But most important of all, they all have happy ever after endings.
Also in Human Female Abduction Series
Book 1 Xander Alien Halfbreed
Book 2 Taran Alien Halfbreed
Book 3 Drix Alien Halfbreed
Book 4 Qaza Alien Halfreed
Book 5 Zarros Alien Halfbreed
Check out the novella stories that feature the parents of male main characters from the Human Abduction Series
Perinqual Galaxy Aliens
Novella 1 Xixan and Nikki
Novella 2 Taun and Samantha
Novella 3 Dreez and Katarina
Release date: March 14, 2021
Print pages: 144
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Saaxx Alien Hybrid: A SciFi Romance
C. Y. Croc
I keep my eyes trained on the highway but I need matchsticks to keep my eyelids open, and with every minute that passes I’m finding it harder to stay awake. This stretch of road runs for a thousand miles through the desert so it’s going to be a long haul. It’s pitch black and apart from the odd fellow trucker, the only other people I’ve seen were at a gas station I passed a few miles back. According to my satnav, there’s a women’s penitentiary coming up very shortly but after that, there’s nothing again but the open road for miles. I hate this job but long-distance driving is the only thing that pays the bills, and right now with its unsociable hours it’s the perfect job for me.
Suffering from post-traumatic-stress-disorder and long-term memory loss I don’t know how I’m going to be mentally from one day to the next, and when I go through a rough patch, sometimes I’m holed up for days. This job allows me to drive when I want, and for how long I want, so for a loner like me, having no set hours and the luxury of just a deadline date to meet for delivery, this job is perfect.
I yawn and take my eyes off the road for a second while I lean my head through the open window to get a blast of cool air to wake me up, but when I turn back I’m instantly wide awake, shocked, and all of my senses are now on high alert.
A woman is standing in the middle of the road waving her arms above her head like she’s possessed. I slam on my brakes and they hiss and screech, juddering to stop. My heart jumps up into my throat. I’m twenty feet from hitting her and I can feel the trailer sliding out at the back over to the side, jack-knifing until finally, the truck comes to a stop ten feet from her.
I jump from the cab as mad as hell ready to unload a torrent of abuse, but my fury is instantly forgotten when I see what’s behind her.
My eyes bug out. A fucking spaceship is hovering about two-hundred feet off the ground just to the right of the road, and walking from it towards me and the woman are three short-hairy men, half the size of me but with shoulders a foot wider than mine, and at six-six and two-hundred and fifty pounds of hardened muscle, my shoulders are considerably big. The men look like they’re the product of an experiment gone wrong, combining men with rats, but these are no Frankenstein monsters, they can only be one thing—aliens.
My old platoon had always joked about Area 51 but if the boys could see what I was seeing now, they’d shit bricks.
The woman turns to face them and then backs up until my body halts her retreat, but as quick as she was to flag me down, she’s equally as quick to turn tail and leave me. She spins on her heels and sprints away into the distance. I watch her run and I know I should follow her but I have a compulsion to stay, so I turn my head back to the aliens ready to begin communicating with them. But I don’t get a chance; I’m suddenly consumed in a beam of bluey-white light that holds me frozen and unable to inhale a full breath of air.
The aliens walk up close and study me, talking to themselves in a bizarre dialogue, a cacophony of noise. The weird thing is, there is a brief delayed reaction as their words leave their mouths and my mind scrambles trying to comprehend them, but then I’m amazed when I realise I can understand every word they are saying.
“The Human male could come in handy. We could sell him to the Mandatons or the Quids for slave labour. I think we should take him with us.”
“Yes, I agree. Shall I send him up to the ship now before we get the Human female?”
“Yes. We’ll store him until we can decide where we’ll get the most credos for him.”
“Hurry! The female is getting away.”
The next thing I know, I’m elevating at a phenomenal speed vertically up into the night sky, heading for an open doorway into a cylindrical spaceship.
Moments later more rat-faced aliens appear from nowhere and push me over to the side of the room, still vertical and still encased in the beam of light. I try with all my might to move but it’s useless and I’m left inside the beam paralysed.
A movement over to the left draws my attention and I watch with my peripheral vision as the woman who’d flagged me down also rises through the opening I’d come in through. The three aliens from earlier crowd around her and then I hear her scream out.
“Ouch! Get your ratty little claws off me you nasty stinking vermin!”
Then all I can do is watch as they drag the woman past me. I get a good look at her for the first time. She’s a little older than me, maybe mid-thirties with light black skin and defiant wise eyes. I want to help her but I’m a living statue, and I watch helplessly as she’s dragged away to a different part of the ship.
All I can do now is assess my own predicament. Will they free me or am I to be dragged off too? I should be terrified, but I’m not. Too much time in battle has stolen many emotions away from me, and one of them is fear for my own mortality.
Christ, it stinks in here. It stinks worse than the pile of decomposed civilian Afghanis my platoon and I stumbled on during my last call of duty.
My eyes suddenly glaze over as another of my flashbacks takes hold of me, but this time it’s as alien to me as the creatures are only feet away.
“Texxari! We’re heading down to where the families are. Stay close! This surprise advance will send the township into a frenzy!”
My skin is icy cold, covered in a layer of perspiration, and guilt far heavier than I’ve known before weighs me down. It feels like I’m carrying the full weight of my truck on my shoulders. My heart is bass drum booming in my chest as the flashback disappears leaving only the physical effects of what I felt that day. But what day was it? Where was it? It didn’t resemble any of the scenarios that have plagued me from Afghanistan. And who the hell is Texxari?
Two of the aliens come back into the room where I’m being held. One goes over to a control panel and presses a button, and using my peripheral vision I can see the entry hole in which the woman and I came in through close up, leaving just a normal floor surface in its place. The other alien stands in front of me scrutinising me like I’m the first Human he’s ever seen, however my six-sense has me believing differently.
“Shall I implant him with a translator chip, Vermis?”
“No, not until we’ve decided what is to be done with him. Let’s just keep him suspended like that for a few doons. Twicta will be taking the latest shipment of convicts down to Prismn, and then he also wants to see if he can sell the Human female to a corrupt warden he knows in CH134T, one who’s purchased females from us before for his sexual gratification.”
“What about hydration and sustenance for this one?”
“Huh, look at him! He doesn’t look like he’s going to starve, does he? Leave the Human riff! Maybe when he’s weaker he’ll be more compliant.”
They walk out of the room, and as they exit, the lighting goes out too. I’m left alone suspended with just the glow of the bluey-white light and my thoughts.
I must have passed out with my eyes open in exhaustion because just like an elastic band snapping, I instantly switch from blackness into consciousness. My eyes are aching and dry, desperate for me to blink and coat them with moisture.
How long have I been like this, suspended in this light? I need to take a piss but I’m not even sure it will come out. I don’t want to expel urine only for it to have nowhere to go, but what else can I do? Gauging the dryness of my eyeballs and the ache in my contracted muscles, which are still tensed in a shocked recoiling movement from when I was first encased in the light in my abduction, I’m guessing I must have been in this freeze light for a minimum of four hours.
It’s no use, I have to piss. I can cope with aching muscles, dry eyes, and taking small shallow breaths because of not being able to expand my diaphragm, but I draw the line at unbearable bladder pain too.
I go for it. Concentrating I relax my urethral sphincter, allowing my body to do what comes naturally—take a leak.
At first, it doesn’t leave my cock and I feel the pressure building up in a back-log. My heart goes into overdrive with my internal panic.
But then there’s no stopping it.
Christ! How much piss is there?
It just keeps coming and coming. With nowhere to escape it’s storing in my cock, I can’t see it but I swear it’s doubling in size. Well, it at least feels that way.
Then like the first blast from a fire hose, it explodes out from me. I don’t know if my urine is just wetting my pants or whether it’s actually firing out through my pants in a hot liquid blast, but the light holding me in place begins to flicker and crackle, releasing me and then holding me in place again. I get to quickly blink and move positions with every split-second it releases me before grabbing hold of me again in between circuit breaks, until with a manic of static flickers, the light diminishes and then extinguishes altogether.
I fall to my knees, right into my puddle of warm piss—but I don’t care. The exhilarated feeling as my contracted muscles are allowed to stretch again is euphoric. It’s as though every sinew in each of my muscles is breathing a sigh of relief. But my respite doesn’t last long. I hear a door behind me whoosh open and then the footfall of at least half a dozen aliens rushing into the room.
I try to get to my feet but the sudden contraction again in my muscles as my body goes into fight mode has me wobbling from foot to foot like an old-timer. I’m too slow and they’re all over me like a bad case of the pox.
Digging deep I’m able to make a fist and swing for one. It connects with his jaw and I hear a crunch. I grin manically only to have my grin contort in a ghoulish grimace as pain shoots up my back.
I swing around to see what looks like cattle prods in the hands of four of them. Another aims his at my chest and I shake violently, no longer in control of my own limbs as electric shocks course through my body. When it finally finishes I face plant the floor, still conscious but with every ounce of strength zapped from me.
“Put him in a cage with the livestock! That should settle him down.”
I’m dragged from the room by my arms, down a corridor laden with what smells like excrement and rotten meat. I feel it cling to my urine-soaked clothes adding to my filth. Then another door slides open. I can’t raise my head to look but I hear grunts and hisses all around.
A buzzing noise jolts my survival instincts out of me and then hands lift me with surprisingly little effort before flinging me into a cage lined with horizontal white laser beam bars.
I just manage to turn my head ready to assess my new surroundings when a green striped creature with three protruding eyes and a nose horn peers down at me before stamping on my face. Blackness instantly consumes me.
The first dream I have is so real it’s palpable.
I’m surrounded by males. I’m not sure if they are Human because their faces are out of focus, but I’m not frightened of them. They are a lot older than me and I know without a doubt that I’m much younger than I am now. Even though I can’t see their faces, I realise I know every single one of them by sight, but their names elude me.
We are in a village of sorts and as I look around me I know who lives in every dwelling I see. I know the huge building in the centre of a large piece of ground is the communal meeting place. I know what the job role of everyone that I see is and what each one of their positions in the clan are.
Turning my attention back to the group of males I pay more attention to them. They are getting ready to make a raid on a neighbouring clan. I know I must go with them but I have an internal battle raging inside me. I don’t agree with what they are about to do. I look at the blurry faces of the males until my eyes settle on a face that is more familiar to me than the others. This male is the leader of this clan and he feels the same way as I do. Our eyes meet and lock and I see regret in them.
I drift in and out of consciousness for what feels like days. The creature that stamped on my head disappears sometime in my incoherent state and just its bloodied horn remains in the cage with me. I’m delirious from dehydration and I’m not sure if the faeces that I’m lying in belongs to me or the creature that was my cellmate for such a short time. Grunts and screeches continue to ring out in the room that I’m locked in and the dreams come and go but still no water or food is brought to me.
I’m dreaming again. This time I’m with my troop on Earth just stumbling across a mass grave when I’m zapped back into reality with an electric prodder again. I don’t know where the strength comes from but my body sits up riged. My eyelids are forced open with the shock from the blast and they are bulging. This is the first time I’ve seen the room I’ve been trapped in.
It’s cluttered with the same laser celled cages that I’m trapped in, and inside each one is a solitary creature or a few creatures of the same species, and all look as wretched as I feel.
From the blood and guts strewn across the floor, I assume the creatures are kept as a food source. This has me momentarily worried. Is that why they’ve kept me—as food? I’m not afraid to die but the thought of my life ending just to line the guts of rat-faced alien men half the size of me is fucking annoying as hell, and I feel a minuscule of strength fire up into my muscles. If they try to grab me without using the cattle prodders I plan to go out fighting, aiming to take as many of them out with me as I can.
But I’m not that lucky. The bluey-white light appears once more and immediately encloses in on me. However, I’m now so dehydrated there is not enough moisture to wet my lips let alone break the circuit by pissing on it again.
I’m lifted by the light out of the cage and held feet off the floor, hovering in front of the rat-faced alien men as they walk past the caged creatures towards an opening door.
As the door opens in, I’m greeted by a teal green sky. Unfortunately, from spending the last however long it’s been in near darkness, the bright light is not as welcoming as it should be and it hurts my eyes. But there’s no escaping it because the light I’m frozen in won’t even let me close them and the pain is excruciating. It’s like my eyeballs are being attacked and stung by a swarm of bees, but all I can do is take the pain like a man.
After fighting through the agony, my eyes begin to focus again and I’m vaguely aware of a humming noise surrounding me. Hustle and bustle is going on all around me as outlines of bodies walk past. Finally, I’m able to focus and I realise I’m in an outside market of sorts, and I’m astonished when I realise the bodies passing by are of a completely different species to the rat-faced aliens.
They are humanoid in stature, with two arms and two legs but although their long hands resemble humans, they have three fingers and a thumb instead of four. Yet, their feet are completely different. They are elongated versions of a camel’s hoofs, but whereas a camel’s hoof has two toes, these humanoids have three toes and a heel, which seems pointless because it balances about two inches off the ground.
I concentrate on the faces that quickly walk past. Hairless, they have large upturned almond-shaped eyes twice the size of mine and a large flat forehead topped with an upturned crescent-shaped bone. The males’ bones being much larger than the female ones. Either side of their pointy ears hanging down over their shoulders are thick skin tendrils that are as wide as my wrist are, coming from their heads they slim down to thumb size at the bottom. If I could move my jaw it would be scrapping the ground right now.
The grating voice of one of the rat-faced aliens calls out behind me. “I have a very rare species here for sale, a male Human. Perfect for using with your laborious jobs!”
A couple of men stop in front of me and laugh. “Ha! He looks fit to drop!”
My abductor is quick to defend the accusation. “No, I assure you he has many a doons work in him.”
“Prove it! Release him from the freeze ball. Let us see how strong he is.”
A second later the light encasing me disappears and I drop to the ground on all fours, weaker than a newborn kitten. The alien men crease over and erupt with laughter, drawing the attention of the other patrons. Their combined laughter ignites a cluster of lost memories that invade my head simultaneously, all too much for me to disentangle and comprehend. My brain feels like it’s going to explode and I grab my head and begin yelling like a man possessed.
“He’s worthless, look at him. Worse than a feral conchibus!”
The rat-faced alien sounds desperate. “No, don’t walk away! I’ll let you have him at a good price… Six million credos!”
I’ve fallen onto my side on the ground and I watch the two men shake their heads already beginning to walk away. “I wouldn’t even give you one million for him.”
My vision is periodically hazing over and I watch the males take a few steps. My eyes are trying to refocus when a female with green skin and radiant violet eyes steps forward from nowhere. She stoops in front of me and looks me over from head to toe. The two males stop walking and look back over to her, sniffing the air. I watch her mesmerised as she looks up to the rat-faced alien standing behind me.
“I’ll give you three-million for him.”
“Four and he’s yours.”
She hesitates and draws in a slow breath shaking her head. “I can’t go that high, I would use all of my spare credos.”
The two alien men stop, turn back, and take a step forward. “You must be joking female. Why would you even contemplate wasting a single credo on that useless male, especially being a worthless Human?” I watch her bristle and then stare into her eyes hypnotized; it’s as if they have turned to liquid fire at the male’s comment. “Come and be my mate, you’ll not need to worry about credos then!”
She stands erect and turns to him, her body language hostile. “I wouldn’t look your way if you were the last male left on this planet.” She turns back to rat-face, “I’ll give you three and a half and no more and you will help load him onto my dray!”
The two males’ faces are screwed up and incensed, and the one who’d spoken spits a reply to the violet-eyed woman. “You’ll be sorry. Let’s see how brave your words are the next time we meet!”
The woman gives him a sweeping look of disgust and then turns her back on him. The two men turn around and stride away, barging through the crowd.
The woman pulls a backpack from her back and begins foraging inside it until she finds what she’s looking for and pulls out a small drawstring bag. She proceeds to count out some small flat rectangle grey objects and throws them back in the backpack, then hands the bag to rat-face.
“It’s all there.”
“I’ll just double-check.”
The woman sighs impatiently. “At least get your minions to load him up while you’re counting!”
I hear rat-face make a click of distaste with his mouth and once again I’m immersed in light and hovering off the ground towards a cart. I’m placed down on my back and the light vanishes, and as my eyes begin to glaze over again, the last thing I see before I pass out are two swirling violet pools.
Flinging my eyelids open I shoot up in my bed covered in a thin layer of perspiration. I’ve woken up hot again and I feel like I might burst into flames at any moment. Swinging my legs out of bed I stumble over to a bottle of hydration fluid on the table and fill my mug. I gulp down the contents as if a single drop of liquid hasn’t touched my lips in wids. When it’s gone I fill my mug again and drink the refill just as quickly.
My head is thick and muggy and my heart rate is elevated but I don’t feel sick…just…different, and this new unwelcome bodily state has been plaguing me every doon for the last cyc, causing me to have restless nights which in turn make me tire quicker, so now the doons are getting longer as I try to catch up, and the work around my property is now starting to pile up. Whatever this ailment is that’s taken hold of me, it had better hurry up and run its course because with only me to do the work around here, even if I get sick like now, I still have to grit my teeth and get on with it.
Bupple raises his sleepy head from the mat at the foot of my bed and lazily opens his eyes. Yawning, he stands on his eight legs and stretches the four in front and shifts his weight to the front ones to stretch out the legs behind.
“Are you hungry maley?”
He just stares at me and the spines along his spine ripple his response showing me how happy he is at my question. His huge silver eyes are trained intently on mine and my insides melt.
With Bupple supplying me with companionship and all the love I need, I’ve never given any thought to finding a mate and having nips, and from the males I’ve come into contact with at the sooq and the ones I’ve encountered when they sometimes come out here to buy livestock from me, I’m not at all impressed by what I’ve seen and certainly don’t feel like I’m missing out.
I head outside to my shimmer with Bupple close at my heels, but then he spots a whiffleet and begins to chase it around, zigzagging across the ground in front of the dwelling.
Normally I don’t take my shimmer until the day’s work is complete but with the amount of perspiring I’ve been doing this past cyc I have no choice, and my routine now calls for a shimmer both morning and night because the odour I’ve been emitting is not my usual smell and although it’s not unpleasant, I’m not used to smelling any other way other than I how usually do.
I rack my brains to try and think of the reason or source to why it’s happening. Have I been eating differently since I began with these symptoms? The only new thing added to my diet is lingo berries, and that’s only because they’ve come into season. Maybe it’s not an illness I’ve got, maybe the berries just don’t agree with me anymore, after all, the last time I’d eaten any was last yana. My body could be trying to eliminate them from me anyway it can. I lift my arm and smell my pit. Eliminating them through my pores by the smell of it. I must cease eating them at once.
Stripping my clothes I stand naked for a moment taking in the view of my land, luxuriating in the feel of the cool breeze as it brushes against my clammy skin. I smile contentedly. I’m secretly proud of what I’ve achieved, more so because I’ve been on my own since I was barely a nipseak. Alone I’ve managed the lands of my parent’s property, grown my own sustenance, and making a small living from the livestock I’ve raised and sold—unheard of on my planet for anyone other than males to do. I fought against all odds and took care of myself, a lone female in a male’s world.
Thinking about it now, maybe the elders of my clan were a little too eager to let me be a ward unto myself, they wouldn’t have let any other full-blooded Kimanka female in my position from their clan live alone. My heritage most certainly had something to do with it. My jaw ticks. I’m beginning to question everything about the politics and ethics of my clan these last few wids. It’s as if my brain has suddenly woken up to my situation and surroundings.
The shimmer’s temperature is tepid, perfect for the way I’m feeling. With skin still a little too hot to the touch I close my eyes and let the jets rain down on me and lose myself to the rhythmic hum as the liquid pulses out.
“Saaxxatee, I need some chigmuts—four of them!”
Startled I open my eyes to see Boraf, one of the males from the township sitting astride a ewit, a silent creature usually only ridden when out hunting. I turn away from his leering gaze and grab my night shift, hurriedly pulling it down over my wet body. It snags on my damp skin doubling the effort and time needed for the task.
“A warning of your approach would have been appreciated, Boraf. You can see that I am not in a fit state to receive customers yet!”
He dismounts the ewit and struts over to me slowly, raking his eyes over me. My damp shift has glued to my mambas and I instinctively wrap my arms across them to shield them from his unwelcome lascivious glare. He stops abruptly and lifts his chin, sniffing the air, his nostrils flaring, and I watch in astonishment as his pupils dilate. A lecherous grin forms on his thin lips and I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Something smells good!”
He takes a couple of steps towards me and Bupple suddenly appears, his normally soothed skin spines now erect and pointing in Boraf’s direction, a low warning hiss emanates in the back of his throat. Boraf stops in his tracks and narrows his eyes menacingly at Bupple.
I keep my voice even and controlled. “I suggest you go and help yourself to the chigmuts today. You know where they’re kept!”
His eyes lift off Bupple for a node to glance at me but then swiftly return to him. He pulls a small cloth sack from his belt and throws it to the ground at my feet.
“That should be more than enough credos to pay for them.”
He turns his back to me and leads the ewit away towards the byre where I rear the chigmuts. I feel my shoulders drop a couple of inches when he’s out of sight and then stoop down to Bupple’s level to pet him under his chin, grabbing the sack as I do so.
“Good maley Bupple, there is something off about him today and I’m glad you spotted it too.”
Going back into my dwelling I lock the door and quickly change into my working clothes. I fill Bupple’s feeding bowl with strips of dried chigmut meat and then pulling off a handful of cemec dough bread I stand by the window biting off pieces, eating it there while I wait until I see Boraf emerge from the chigmut byre. When he does I quickly count how many he has before he shoves them into the basket on the side of the ewit. Satisfied he’s not taken more than he’s paid for, I’m just about to turn away from the window when I see him look back at my dwelling. I move my body to the side out of sight but keep my eyes trained on him. His face has an odd look. I don’t like it one bit and it sends a shiver up and down my spine.
As soon as he’s completely out of sight I grab a canister of hydration fluid and head for the door, and as usual, Bupple is close at my heels. I feel weary even before I begin my doons work but I still have so much to do to prepare my lands and livestock for the imminent change in seasons, sinno season is closing in fast, and with it, the unmanageable and unpredictable winds. If I don’t get all of my jobs done before it comes, I can say goodbye to next yana’s credos.
I spend the morning fixing holes in the byres and checking the roofs for loose fixings. Everything must be held down fast. The winds are only here for a few cycs but in that time they wreak havoc and can cause an immense amount of damage, so it’s imperative that even the smallest problem is repaired.
The morning is quickly over and I’m disheartened when I realise I’ve only worked on two byres. This strange ailment that has taken hold of me has slowed me down threefold and I’m disgusted that I’m working more like the dainty females from the township than the strong independent female that I’ve evolved into. More than once I’ve found myself sitting down for a rest, mopping my brow and fanning myself.
I have a delivery of pijjits to take to the township this afternoon and just one final job that must be done before I go. I finish securing the last shingle into place on the byre that I’m on and then jump down and reluctantly head for the building with a lower storeroom I’m growing my new rooted parnifs in. It’s a job I’ve been putting off for the last two wids and if I don’t get it done by the end of next wid I can kiss goodbye to potentially earning five million credos next yana because if I don’t cover a doorway to the underground storage room, the winds will ruin all of the upturned leaves that need to be kept in a dark and damp environment.
When I reach the entrance to the lower storage room, I stand staring at the huge stone circle disc I use to cover it, with hands on my hips like it’s a piece of art and not the job I’ve been putting off for wids. Assessing it, I think about which is the best way to go about moving it, almost willing it to move with my eyes, but of course, it just sits there. Last cyc, this job would have been tough but I’d have gritted my teeth and done it. That’s why I’d put it off, thinking I’d leave the harder jobs until the last minute. Little did I know I’d succumb to a mysterious energy-sapping virus.
All I have to do is roll the damn thing along the length of the wall until it covers the doorway, how hard can it be? I psych myself up and jut my jaw out in determination, then putting my hands in place I dig my heels into the ground and push.
I can feel the veins sticking out of my forehead, the cords of muscles bulging in my neck, as well as the burn in my shoulders and arm muscles. It doesn’t budge so I try a different tack and put my back against it. Five mids in I know I’m defeated, and slump to the ground with my back still against it panting.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Bupple appears from nowhere, drawn by the distress in my voice. I run my finger up and down his spiny ridge and he makes a purring sound. “It’s okay Bupple. I’m not mad at you—just myself. This means I’m going to have to hire help, and you know how I feel about asking males for help. Especially the males from my clan.” I kick at the ground with my heel, angry at myself. “Right! Let’s get the pijjits loaded onto the back of the dray and then it’s the dreaded trip to the sooq.
My stomach begins to turn over before the sooq even comes into view. It’s the sound of so many people together in one place that unsettles me and like always when I hear the hubbub, I fight to keep the traumatic images of the last time I saw my parents out of my head.
As if sensing my distress, Bupple comes over to me from his viewing place on the dray and snuggles down by my side, rubbing his flattened needles into my leg. I stroke my hand along them taking comfort in their softness when flat. But there is no purr this time. So close to the hustle and bustle of the sooq, like me, he’s tense and on high alert.
Driving my dray through the crowds to get to the stall where I need to deliver the pijjits, I’m unnerved by the number of males looking my way. I normally elicit the odd stare from one or two males, more out of curiosity than attraction, but today the unwelcome stares have eyes filled with something else, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say it was desire.
I finally pull up by the side of my buyer’s stall. It belongs to an elderly male named Niddoo to whom I’ve supplied pijjits to for the last decadion, a male I feel indebted to for the way he helped me when I was a nipseak. I jump down from the dray and begin unloading the screaming pijjits.
“Saaxxatee, you’re here at last. I was expecting you here a hinc ago. I have eight orders to fore-fill but I’ve had to tell them to call back.” He walks towards me eying me up and down. “I can see by the state of you you’ve had a busy morning.”
A Taraquet’s grating voice draws my attention and I look over to see three of them holding something on the ground in a freeze light, but with so many people milling about it’s impossible to see what it is.
“What’s happening over there Niddoo?”
He waves his hand in the Taraquet’s direction. “Pah, I had word from the committee that Taraquets applied for a doon’s trade licence to sell some poor mistreated male they’ve acquired. I’m not sure what species, but I’ve heard it’s a prisoner they’ve purchased from a warden off Prismn, someone who was too mentally damaged to do his time there. But who knows what to believe.” He takes a step closer and sniffs me as he hands me payment for the pijjits. “My sense of smell is not what it used to be but you are very malodourous my dear Saaxxatee.”
I recoil at his breach into my personal space and snatch the sack from his hands, embarrassed that the smell is noticeable to others too. “Have you heard if there is anyone in the sooq today after manual work Niddoo?”
He grimaces. “There was Saaxxatee. If you’d got here a hinc earlier there were two young nipseak males after a doons work for some extra credos. But they are hired for the wid now.”
My shoulders drop in disappointment. I nod, “Okay, thanks Niddoo. Is it okay to leave Bupple and my dray here for a short time while I purchase a few essential items?”
“Of course my dear, but I wouldn’t stay too long smelling like that!”
I cringe at his words and pull my scarf up over my head. It won’t stop my stench but it will hide my shame. “Stay Bupple! I won’t be long.” He hunkers down at my command and I pat him and then turn to face the throng of people.
Spying something that I need on the opposite stall I walk over to it and smile relieved when I see that I’ll be able to buy the majority of the essentials on my list from here. All I need to source now is balm and the quicker I get out of here the better.
Paying the stallholder, I scan the other stalls. There’s got to be some here somewhere. A feral noise and then laughter from a gathering of punters around the Taraquets draws my attention. It’s the perfect distraction to walk through the crowd unnoticed so that I can quickly make my final purchase and be on my way. But when I glance between the bodies crowding around the Taraquets, I stop abruptly. The male they are selling takes my breath away. Although I can’t be sure, I swear he’s Human. But I know that’s impossible. No one would be selling a Human here. For some reason the people of my clan don’t take kindly to Humans.
Whatever species he is he’s a filthy wretch, hunkered down miserably on his knees and forearms. It’s hard to tell if he’s mentally incapacitated as Niddoo suggested, but by the looks of him, he’s been treated worse than the wild creatures captured trying to take livestock from byres.
My mind tells me to ignore the wretch and walk right past, but my heart pulls my limbs towards him with invisible twine. Maybe I could buy him to help out with the manual tasks around my lands until my ailment disappears—all the tasks I’ve been struggling with. He could work off the credos that I pay for him and buy back his freedom. A wid of rest and plenty of sustenance to bulk him up would heal his physical ailments no problem. But what if he did have mental issues as Niddoo suggested? Would I be able to deal with those? I make my mind up and slip through the crowd towards him. I daren’t ask the Taraquets if he’s a Human, I don’t want to draw any more attention to me than necessary.
The words leave my mouth before my brain catches up with what I‘m doing. “I’ll give you three-million for him.”
The Taraquet is quick with his reply. “Four and he’s yours.”
I hesitate and draw in a slow deep breath shaking my head. As much as I’d like to help him out as a means to my own ends, that price would almost wipe me out financially. “I can’t go that high, I would use all of my spare credos.”
Two males who I hadn’t noticed take a step towards me. “You must be joking female. Why would you even contemplate wasting a single credo on that useless male, especially being a worthless Human?” I bristle, My presumption confirmed and my hatred rising. Being a halfbreed and only half Kimanka, I can feel my contempt for them and their prejudice radiating out of my eyes.
His companion addresses me. “Come and be my mate, you’ll not need to worry about credos then!”
I don’t worry about drawing any unnecessary attention after that derogitory suggestion and stand straight and tall. Turning to face them properly my body radiates aggression. “I wouldn’t look your way if you were the last male left on this planet.” I turn back to the Taraquets, more determined than ever to buy the Human male. “I’ll give you three and a half and no more and you will help load him onto my dray!”
“You’ll be sorry for that reply. Let’s see how brave your words are the next time we meet!”
I turn to face the males again and glower at them, running my eyes over them in repulsion, then I turn my back on them both, dismissing them. I hear them stride away, and cries of annoyance as they barge through the crowd.
I get my sack from off my back and look for the bag of credos I’ve just been paid by Niddoo and begin taking out the right amount of credos to bring the sum to the correct total. Throwing the spare credos back into my sack I leave the remainder in the bag and hand the payment over to the Taraquet.
“It’s all there.”
The Taraquet sneers. “I’ll just double-check.”
I sigh. I want to be out of here. I’ve never felt comfortable around these people. “At least get your minions to load him up onto my dray while you’re counting!”
The Taraquet looks down at the male and makes a sound of disgust in his throat. But I’m the one who should be making that noise not him. Does he realise how much I’ve wanted to vomit whilst being in his odious presence, but at least his stench has masked mine for a while.
He pulls out a freeze ball and the light immediately consumes the male and lifts him off the ground. I spin on my heels and march towards my dray just meriks away, pointing to where I want him. Once the male is placed down on the dray, the Taraquet releases him from the holding light and the male’s eyes glaze over. I lean down over him to check he’s alright and stare into two black pools. Our eyes lock onto each other for just a few nodes before he passes out.
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