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Nobody Will Believe Anything Manny Says

Ronald Van Hall | Delilah Buckle

Sagt elected to exist during the low-photon period and within an inexact corner of the adolescent, female’s sleep chamber. It would be many eons before this bipedal species developed NAD-particle devices to understand bundled energy levels and thereby discover the rich multiverse all around them.

Sagt occupied this time period to mentally archive yesterday’s assessments while the female slumbered fitfully in front of him. He would accompany the girl child for one final day as was outlined in his post-doctoral plan.

The tiny girl child muttered as she slept in her bed, “You won’t hurt me, will you? My name is Prissy.”

Sagt never replied to children’s questions. To acknowledge would be to violate every established non-contact convention. He was not surprised about the girl-child’s sleep question. Certain biological units among different species unconsciously acknowledged his presence. Within this particular family unit, only the girl had indicated her prescience to his existence.

“You’re scary,” Prissy murmured as she tossed in her bed.

Sagt remained silent; but, he made an effort to emanate compassion. His effort seemed to quiet the small girl.

“You’re scary but nice,” she repeated with a smile on her lips as she instinctively tucked the corner of her pillow against a soft cheek.

Sagt was amused. A luminescent indicator at his peripheral vision activated. Prissy had re-established deep sleep. He created another time-period folder to separate this day’s assessments from the last fourteen sun-rotational periods on the planet.

Sagt instructed his optic nerves to capture images of the child’s marionettes, figurines, gadgets, clothing, and trifles scattered about the chamber. He would assess the images as part of his dissertation in exo-bipedal, pubescent anthropology after his dimensional twist to home. He repeated his transcriptions a second time in the parental unit’s chamber as they lay in repose; then, he terminated his device.

Manny Wilkins, a skinny, twelve year-old bully with a wart for a nose, waited at a street corner for Prissy to approach. Manny tried to shove her.

“I told you in class yesterday that I’d be waiting for you if you didn’t give me money,” he said to Prissy.

“Leave me alone,” Prissy yelled as she deflected Manny’s arm.

Manny shoved Prissy again, hard enough to send the girl stumbling backwards. She fell hard to the ground and struck her head. A dirty scrape began to bleed through her blonde hair above her ear.

Prissy began to cry.

“You try to touch me ever again, you stupid girl; and, I will hurt you really bad,” Manny warned. “You didn’t pay me. I told you what was going to happen if you didn’t,” he continued.

“I don’t have to pay you anything.”

Prissy tried to push herself up but the palms of her hands hurt from the fall.

“That’s why I’m here.”

Manny made another threatening gesture.

Sagt realized he possessed some sensibilities toward Prissy as he escorted her to the learning building. Had the male adolescent that attacked his ward been slightly older, he would have deserved a more memorable treatment. However, and with tempered emotion, Sagt refrained from over-reacting.

His embedded sensors scanned the immediate vicinity. No other entities were within visible proximity. Sagt searched his animation files and selected a species cloak which he felt would modify the contest displayed near him. Sagt assumed the cloak and reduced the spectral fold about him. He became visible.

Sagt noted the male adolescent’s response. His eye sockets grew wide; his mouth organ cried out; his bundled musculature jerked with appropriate responses to Sagt’s sudden appearance. Sagt noted that the adolescent soiled himself as he scurried away. Sagt emitted a half periodicity and reshaped a shallow mind pattern within the boy. Never again would he be so aggressive.

Sagt received Prissy’s voice. There was no tremble in her words, no fear in her eyes as the little girl gazed upon the cloak of Sagt.

“Thank you.”

“You do not see me,” he gently replied as he transmitted a second oscillation. This one altered Prissy’s brain in a different, subtle fashion.

“Of course I do, silly,” Prissy stated.

Sagt smiled as he replied, “For now.”

Sagt was both amused and curious as Prissy appeared to study the cloak he had chosen.

“I should be afraid; but, I’m not.”

She stood up and tried to smooth her dress. She left streaks of blood on her yellow dress.

“Ouch.” Prissy looked to the deep scratches on the palms of her hands. Tears began to well in her eyes.

Sagt healed her.

Sagt monitored her wounds as they closed. He recorded her level of pain as it diminished.

“How…?” She looked at the cloak of Sagt.

“You will understand another day. It is already done. You will be well,” Sagt replied.

“Why do you look so terrible? That is not really you, is it?” Prissy asked.

To Sagt, the question was far more sophisticated than her age of nine years. Sagt’s change to her learning pattern was already evident.

“No,” he replied.

She pointed in the direction of Manny.

“You switched the way you look to scare him off, didn’t you?”

“Do you think so?” Sagt asked.

Prissy nodded as she replied, “Nobody will believe anything Manny says in school today.”

“Or what he will say any other day. Pick up your books. It’s time for your lessons,” Sagt told her.

“You’re going away, aren’t you? Will I see you again?” she asked.

“Many years from now after you teach your kind how to discover where I live,” Sagt replied as he folded a portion of the visible spectrum tightly about him again.

As Prissy glanced around, Sagt recognized sadness on her face.

“The nice, evil-looking spider is gone…,” she stated, “…goodbye.”

Sagt heard her loud whisper.

He felt paternal regret and transmitted a kindly farewell knowing that for the immediate future, the female adolescent would be puzzled at receiving his message inside her head.

About Ronald Van Hall

As a child, Van Hall fell asleep many nights surrounded by such works as A Fall of Moondust. The October Country, and Tunnel in the Sky.

Today, Van Hall enjoys early mornings and sipping coffee while he strokes a keyboard to spin tales of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Should one desire to read additional fiction by Van Hall, a few of his tales have appeared in Deimos eZine, Stinkwaves, Dark Edifice, and Flashes in the Dark.

Visit the author's page >

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