Shock of the Other by
Lillith! Would you shift!!
The Harleys engine was shrieking at an ungodly rpm that it surely had never seen before. Even with all that frantic motion within the engine cases, the motorcycle was rolling along at a leisurely 42 miles per hour. The only person upset about it all was William.
Damn it, Lillith! SHIFT!
Lillith moved slightly forward on the seat to please him. Williams head fell on her shoulder in resignation.
No, honey. Shift the gears. Weve been puttering along in first for five blocks. Didnt Cecil teach you about that?
Lillith shook her head and shrugged. Gears? What are gears, darling? Are they important? Williams eyes closed momentarily before he kissed her on the shoulder lightly.
I love you, darling. Stop the motorcycle.
With a quick Okay!, Lillith reached down with one hand to remove her shoe. Handing it back to William, she switched her hold of the handlebars and reached down to repeat the shoe removal with her other hand. When both shoes were safely in the possession of her confused mate, Lillith suddenly jammed both feet down on to the pavement while simultaneously hitting the kill switch of the bike. Asphalt, concrete, and even some centuries-old brick fragments flew out from the ruts she left. As the bike shuddered to a stop, Lillith calmly flicked the kickstand down with her big toe, rested the loudly ticking motorcycle on it, and turned to see why William wanted her to stop. Williams expression confused her a bit.
Is there a problem, Willm? Your mouth is open. The mouth closed.
Cecil didnt mention the brakes either, did he. Williams voice had a forced calmness about it.
Lillith beamed. Brakes? Oh, those would be nice! I wouldnt have to take off my shoes! Where did they put them? Lillith proceeded to hunt over the length of the motorcycle for anything that might look like it would help stop it. William took her shoulder in hand to regain her attention.
Lillith? Lillith, honey. Why dont you let me drive and you can see how its done. Okay?
Lillith looked visibly disappointed. But I like to drive and Cecil says Im really good at it! William needed strategy fast.
Honey, you really ARE good at it. But theres a lot more to these machines than what youve learned about so far. Why dont you let me show you some more about your bike while you sit back, enjoy the yellow sun, and see everything around us. You can protect Phil from harm too. Sound good? He knew darn well it sounded great. It served to remind Lillith of her primary responsibility regardless of which planet she was on. Plus, he knew she loved to sightsee. She grudgingly agreed.
Alright, but tell me what youre doing so I can learn, kay?
Youve got it, hon! Lets change places.
As Lillith rose slowly upward in flight, William slid forward. He could feel her settle in behind him. She had to hike her dress up to straddle the wide seat, baring her long legs. Instead of putting her bare feet on the floor boards, she curled her legs around Williams waist and leaned back against the backrest. Pushing her arms upward and back, she stretched her taut body alluringly as she cupped her feet to slide along the slick, cool tank in front of William. Those same feet came to rest on opposite sides of William as she hugged his waist with her legs, pulling her sex tightly against the small of his back. When William started the Harley, the vibrations introduced unexpected sensations for her.
It IS a wonderful day, Willm! Lets go really fast! That made Phil sit up instantly.
Mistress, I would suggest restraint. I am not familiar with this machine and have little confidence that I would survive a collision with another machine.
Lillith placed her hand on Phils head tenderly as William rapped the throttle a few times. Do not fear for yourself, my friend. I will see that no harm comes to you.
Thank you, Mistress. That is certainly..YAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Smoke billowed from the shrieking rear tire as William slammed the motorcycle into gear and rocketed away.
At the stoplight for the northbound entrance to the Edens Expressway, a huge, bearded Terran male with a shaved head, riding another Harley, pulled up along side. He was dressed in the appropriate uniform to be looked upon as a biker: dirty jeans, leather vest, no shirt, tattoos, chain-drive wallet, and dark glasses. William looked over at him, smiled and nodded, but the biker only glared at him. He was more interested in Lillith. He leered at her, flicking his tongue at her when she smiled. Finally, the biker leaned toward her as if William was transparent.
Hey, baby! Why dont you come over here and be with a real man? He was flexing a powerful arm that bulged large with muscle.
Lilliths smile vanished. Willm? Did that Terran just slight you?
William laughed openly. Yes, hon, he tried. But its really no big deal. Lets just... Lillith interrupted as she called back to the biker.
Terran! Do you believe yourself to be man enough to please ME? With that, she flexed her own arm that exploded into such a display of gigantic muscle that it dwarfed the bikers arm by several orders of magnitude. The effect on the biker was instantaneous!
HOLY SHIT! Jamming his foot down on his rocker shift, the biker ran the light and disappeared around the corner. William suddenly burst out laughing.
Lillith shrugged and rested her head on his back. Her hands reached up under his shirt to caress him as her eyes closed with contentment.
Lake Forest Hospital, northern suburb of Chicago
And Im telling you that you cant bring a dog in here! The nurse at the desk was adamant. In spite of Lillith and William both trying to explain to her that Phil was not a dog, she would not allow Phil beyond the desk. Even when Phil spoke up, which startled the nurse, she would not budge. Phil not only could not go into the hospital, he had to wait outside. William felt terrible.
Im sorry, Phil. Maybe Lillith can keep you company while I run upstairs and check on my brother. I wont keep you waiting long. Promise.
Phil looked a bit dejected, but wouldnt hear of it. Oh, no, sir. Please, Mistress, accompany the William. I will be fine. It will give me an opportunity to observe yet more Terrans! The information would be most welcome!
Both William and Lillith sensed a false enthusiasm in Phils voice, but did not want to argue the point with him. They nodded without a word as Phil trundled toward the glass doors that only moments ago they had all entered through. There was a small seating area just outside. I will remain there until your visit is completed. Please express my regards to your family member, sir!
I will, Phil. Thank you. We wont be long.
The weight of the Tetrite on the rubber mats was sufficient to trigger the automatic opening of the doors. He scampered through, worried that he might be caught when the doors would mindlessly close again. Relieved that he successfully completed the passage, Phil leisurely trundled toward the flat bench nearby. People on the sidewalk pulled away at the sight of him. Mothers picked their children up protectively. None responded in kind when Phil would wish them the warmest of good mornings. By the time Phil reached the bench, he was starting to believe that Terrans did not care very much for him. The idea was disturbing. He so admired Terrans. They were an amazing species in Phils mind, capable of so much wonder! But they saw something in him that they did not like. Perhaps, he thought, there was something lacking in him that Terrans could immediately see was missing. He was, the thought said, not adequate to be among them and that thought hurt deeply.
On the bench, a young Terran female, about 13 years old, sat calmly talking with an older woman who stood nearby. The older woman stepped quickly into an automobile idling at the curb and pulled away. The young female sat alone, staring into space. She made no reaction when Phil approached, yet he kept a respectful distance in case she too did not like his presence. Standing by the opposite end of the bench, Phil spoke to her.
Pardon me sincerely, mistress, but would you mind if I rested upon this structure as well? The sound of his voice seemed to startle the young girl.
What? Oh! Sure! Please sit down. Its not my bench, Im just using it.
Thank you, mistress. Its very kind of you to allow me to join you.
The girls head turned slightly. She continued to stare straight ahead.
Allow you? Why wouldnt I do that? She was smiling as if the idea were silly to her.
Many of your fellow Terrans do not tolerate me very well. The disappointment in his voice was noticeable. Her smile faded.
Are you from another planet? Ive heard about some of the alien species that visit Earth, but Ive never met one before. Which planet are you from?
For the first time since he arrived, a Terran was openly conversing with him. Phil was overjoyed!
My planet of origin is called Tetra, mistress! It is a lovely planet with seven moons and vast oceans full of the most delicious seaweed. I prefer Northundran, which is sweeter. My home is in the central desert region, south of the Faldref Mountains. It is a wonderful place to live, full of the warmest rocks! There is the occasional cricket in the nest, of course, but I am most enthusiastic about my home planet nevertheless! I hope you visit someday and see it all!
I cant. The sound of disappointment belonged to the young girl now.
Oh, mistress, I agree that it is much too far for your species to travel to without a better understanding of the quantum physics involved. But I am sure that within a generation or two you will...
No, no, its not that. I mean I cant see it. I cant see at all.
Phil looked at her unmoving eyes. As a bird flew by, she didnt react. Blindness in Tetrites was uncommon. The only cases Phil had seen personally were injuries caused by the war. He wondered.
Is your blindness inflicted from battle? That made her smile again.
No, sir. Ive been blind from birth. Im 13 now. Its not so bad. Phil now knew why she didnt react to him.
You accept your loss with much dignity, mistress.
What? Oh, its not so big a deal. I just cant see. I do other stuff to get stuff done. She shrugged.
It sounds as if vision is not required. Phil was a bit confused. He couldnt imagine not being able to see.
Dont get me wrong. There are things that I wouldnt mind seeing at least once. Like your world or my folks or ... She rolled a small tube in her hands once. Something in it was broken into fragments.
Mistress, I am sorry you cannot see. Perhaps it is best that you cannot see me, otherwise we would not converse.
Oh, nonsense! Youre very nice, mister.....um, my name is Carol Ann! Her hand reached forward in a friendly gesture to shake hands. Phil recognized the gesture from the Williams use of it. He took her hand with one of his legs and moved her hand up and down, just like the William would. Carol Anns face took on a curious expression. Say, you ARE different, arent you, sir!
Please refer to me as Phil, Mistress Carol Ann. My full name is rather unpronounceable by many of your species.
Okay, Phil! And you refer to me as simply Carol Ann. Now were friends! She released his leg.
Indeed we are, Carol Ann!
The two new friends spent a moment of silence as they both smiled at the world around them with contentment. Carol Ann broke the silence first.
You know, Phil, it must be cool to see another world. To go someplace for the first time and meet completely new beings. I wish I could do that. Have you visited many planets?
No, Carol Ann, this is my first time away from my home planet. It is, indeed, the first time any of my species have ventured out away from Tetra. It is most exciting! I am here with Mistress Lillith and her mate, the William. Mistress Lillith is our Protector and the William is a Terran, like yourself, although he has gone through a number of genetic enhancements that make his identification as a Terran somewhat dubious. But in all other respects, he is indeed a Terran!
Wheres your spaceship, Phil?
We required no such device. Mistress Lillith simply brought us here. She is a Velorian Protector and is quite formidable.
Something like SuperFemme? Cool!"
What brings you to the hospital, Phil? Are you sick?
Oh, my goodness, no! The brother of the William is convalescing after some physical disorder.
You mean, hes sick?
Precisely. The William intends to determine the cause of the disorder. I believe he worries for his brother.
South Wing, Room 221, Bed 2
You dumb sonavabitch! What are you doing here? Williams brother bellowed loudly enough for every patient on the floor to hear him. His normal volume, as the nurses had learned the hard way.
I came to see why youre sitting around on your ass all day long. What, do you like those jammies with no back to em? The two brothers embraced warmly as Lillith looked on. The back slapping the two men did confused her for a moment. Shed have to try it with William one of these days, she thought.
Hey! You brought your girlfriend too! Hi, Louise!
Lillith, she corrected hesitantly.
I know that. Just teasin! Lillith smiled briefly and looked to William for a clue how to react to his brothers teasing. The last time they met, she made a complete fool out of herself by defending William against his brothers accusation that Williams dickhead was stupid. She was not about to make another silly mistake like that! She really hoped that whole thing was dead and forgotten by now.
Hey, Lillith! Remember when I called Will a stupid dickhead and you lashed into me about how the head of his dick was anything but stupid? I laughed myself hoarse over that! Still do! HAAAA!
Lillith felt her ears become rather warm as she tried to keep her smile on her face. William, sensing that she wasnt comfortable with this, tried to change the subject.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thats old news, man. What I want to know is why youre in here. Aunt Laurie didnt say a word about that in her letter. Whats the deal? His brother had been laughing too hard and had a slight coughing fit before responding.
Well, I ...Get me that water thing over there, would you? Thanks. Well, they dont know what the hell is wrong. Scared the shit outta me, I can tell you. I thought I was having a heart attack! But the docs have been giving me all kinds of tests for the last few days and nothing shows nothing! Oh, they found a little thing here and a little thing there. They gotta find somethin, dont they? Shit. Two hundred years ago they were friggin barbers. Most of em still are or oughta be! Not a damn thing wrong with me that a couple of beers wouldnt cure. Right, Lillith? Lillith gave him a goofy I guess grin that made her cheeks chubby as she shrugged. It only served to remind him.
Stupid dickhead! HAAAAAA!! Williams brother roared with laughter as Lillith slinked into hiding behind William.
Okay, knock it off. Thats enough. Come on, youre embarrassing her. William turned and apologized to a very red-faced Velorian behind him. Lillith was about to say something to the effect that it was okay when Williams brother interrupted.
Aw, hey. Hey, Lillith? Come over here, honey. He reached out with his hand as Lillith peeked out from behind William. She placed her hand in his and stepped forward to the bedside. His voice suddenly became very personable and kind.
Lillith, understand something about me in this family. Im loud, I can be crude, and I can be overbearing. But you know the one thing that I am mostly?" Lillith shook her head silently. Im mostly sorry. I mean well, honey. And I dont mean to embarrass you."
Youre like my Uncle Dtwe!
Ah! Your favorite uncle?
Oh, no! Nobody likes Uncle DTwe!
Everybody broke up laughing. Everybody except one confused Velorian woman who didnt see the joke. Her ears started to become warm again.
I like her, Will!! HAAAAA!
Outside, on the hospital grounds
Oh, no! We dont get that much rain here. That sounds terrible!
Phils story about the Time of Troubles ended. Momentary silence again descended on the two new friends.
Phil? Would you like this? Carol Ann held out the short tube that she had been turning in her hands. Phil looked up at the device before gently taking it from her. It was a very light cylinder with a white film over one end and a small hole pierced through aluminum on the other. It rattled.
What is it, Carol Ann? Phil rotated the tube continuously, trying to make sense out of it.
Its a kaleidoscope, Phil. They were giving them away at some kind of party in the hospital and someone just put it in my hands. Its okay. They didnt know. But I dont have much use for it. Maybe you can enjoy it.
It made no sense to Phil. How does the device operate?
Mom says you point it at a bright light and look through that hole. Its suppose to be pretty cool. Carol Ann shrugged again.
Phil pointed the kaleidoscope at the sun and peered through the hole. He was astonished!
My goodness! Carol Ann! It is truly beautiful! There are all kinds of colors forming a wonderful pattern!
I think youre supposed to turn it, Phil. Phil turned it as he continued to look through it.
This is amazing! Symmetrical patterns! Wonderful! Such a remarkable device! Its....its...... Phils excitement carried him away until he looked toward Carol Ann. She continued to sit calmly. She was smiling at his enjoyment, but seemed unmoved by the experience. Phil lowered the kaleidoscope and spoke to her.
Have you ever had such an experience? Carol Ann shook her head.
I dont know color, Phil. They teach it to us as temperatures or emotions, you know? Red is hot. That kind of thing. But Ive never seen color.
Phil was unconvinced. One cannot describe color, mistress. It is rather unique. Carol Ann shrugged yet again. Couldnt argue that point.
Well, I guess Ill just take a pass on that whole color thing, Phil. Its not important.
Phil sat quietly for a moment, looking at the young Terran. He moved closer to her and spoke with a resolute calm.
Your species..... is the most talented and creative in the Universe, Carol Ann. In my world, information is the most highly prized commodity we have. From information comes the fulfillment of our lives. Your species is unique in that a small quantity of information can yield great things. I have seen this in others. I have seen it in you.
Phil placed a leg gently on her arm. Carol Anns sudden smile faded as a subtle amber glow enveloped them both. As the intensity of the glow increased, Carol Anns eyes closed. Her expressionless face matched the emptiness that had cleared her mind. No thought, no image was presented to her. Only a familiar, soothing voice came from nowhere to be heard only in her mind.
Carol Ann, the universe is so vast, yet there are few absolute truths to be found, save one. The Universe will always seek a balance. For every is not, there is. For every cannot, there is can. For every impossibility....
As if on cue, a bright picture of colors and light burst into her mind as the same image of the kaleidoscope that Phil had witnessed transferred into her consciousness. The suddenness of the appearance stunned the young girl, her gasp marking the beginning of her awe. Slowly the image rotated as colors formed infinite patterns. Carol Anns face reflected her surprise as her hand swiftly covered her mouth out of reflex. Her useless eyes opened once again to reveal the tears of joy that quickly filled them. She slowly extended her shaking hand as if to reach out and touch the apparition! Her lips quivered, her deep emotions barely allowing her to speak above a whisper. I can see it! Oh, Phil, somehow I can see it all! Its so beautiful!
After a few moments, the kaleidoscope image faded as a second image took its place. A vast desert with mountains in the far distance. All around, furry creatures with eight legs carried on the normal business of the day. Some slept on tall rocks while others talked or worked on any number of things. Tiny infants played and laughed and tumbled everywhere. Carol Anns eyes were open wide, the look of astonishment on her face complete. She finally spoke tentatively.
The voice in her mind returned only briefly.
The image was as real as if she had actually seen Tetra herself. It appeared to her as a memory with sights, sounds, smells, everything as if she had been there herself. The effect on Carol Ann was profound. Mesmerized by the vision in her mind, her voice was little more than a whisper.
Phil removed his leg from her arm letting the amber glow swiftly fade. Carol Ann remained motionless for only a moment before she reached out tenderly to touch Phil. He leaned into her touch appreciatively.
Oh, Phil, thank you so much! I dont know how you did that, but thank you so very much! I...I cant..... Carol Ann was finding it difficult to speak.
Carol Ann, your kindness toward me was very much welcome. I have only provided information to you as you expressed your desire to have such information. I thank you for your gift as well and wish you the warmest of goodmornings.
Phil nuzzled her hand once before climbing down from the bench. Carol Ann suddenly realized that he was leaving.
Phil? Phil? Will I see you again?
Phil turned back and spoke softly to the young girl.
I have provided information as memories, Carol Ann. You have only to remember. There is yet much more to remember. We will meet again. With that, Phil scampered down the sidewalk to catch up with William and Lillith who were just coming out of the entrance to the hospital. William saw him first.
Hey, buddie! Making new friends?
Indeed, sir. Phil handed the toy kaleidoscope to William. Sir, may I request that we take steps to protect this wonderful instrument from adversity during the transportation back to Tetra. It is quite remarkable.
You bet, Phil. Ill see to it right away.
Thank you, sir.
Carol Ann heard a rather large motorcycle pull away into the distance just as her mothers voice spoke behind her.
Carol Ann? Are you alright, honey? Carol Ann turn toward the sound immediately.
Mom! Oh, Mom! Ive seen! Ive seen another world! Her embrace of her mother startled the older woman. He said there would be more, but I....
Carol Ann froze for a moment before touching her Mothers face. The familiar features outlined through her fingertips. Carol Ann cried out!
Mother! MOTHER! I CAN SEE YOU! Carol Anns Mother took the excited girl in her arms as Carol Anns hands flowed over her face to be sure of the image in her mind. Yes, that face! That face! Mother! Oh, Mother, its you! He must have seen you! He must have...
Carol Anns Mother was totally confused by now as she tried to calm her daughter. She silently vowed never to leave Carol Ann alone while she parked the car again! Easy, honey! Who did this to you? What happened? Carol Ann only turned her face upward toward the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun as she tried to understand it all herself! The memories were still all there. The memories would be there for a lifetime.
Oh, Phil, I will remember!, she whispered.
The motorcycle rumbled noisily down country roads as William leaned first one way, then the other, taking each curve in stride. Lillith was fighting an incredibly powerful urge at the moment and remained quiet. She found Williams shoulders irresistible and rolled her face slowly back and forth over them. Her hands were nowhere to be seen. Fortunately for Lillith, Phil was becoming comfortable enough on the machine to try a little conversation. His voice broke the spell she was falling into.
Mistress? Where are we going? This is not the same route we took out of the city of Chicago!
Lillith blinked twice and turned back to keep from having to yell over the wind. Were going to Aunt Lauries habitat for a visit. Some place called.... Lillith leaned forward to ask William to repeat the name before she leaned back to Phil.
Phil watched the trees pass by. Lush green grassy areas, called lawns, stretched on endlessly. In the center of each area, was a habitat. As they proceeded closer to this place called Mettawa, Phil noticed that the habitats became larger and larger. Phil had a question.
Mistress, is Aunt Laurie a rather large Terran? Lillith noticed the habitats too.
Fences now began to appear as new species could be seen feeding within them. Many were as large as Flare! Lillith checked in with William and reported to Phil.
Horses! The Terrans keep them as pets and ride on their backs for enjoyment. Phil nodded as he looked first left then right at all the sights.
They do not look displeased at such an odd arrangement, Mistress. Lillith merely shook her head in agreement. The horse beings indeed looked content.
Finally, William slowed without an intersection or other vehicle in sight. That caused Lillith and Phil to look around quickly, trying to determine where William was going to turn. The choices narrowed quickly as he finally leaned into a shady, tree-lined drive that looked to go on for quite a distance. As the motorcycle rumbled along the curved driveway, Aunt Lauries home appeared beyond the treeline.
She must indeed be a large being, thought Phil.
Shock of the Other continues....