#52weeks52stories Writing Challenge: Week 10
Word prompt: friend
Word count: 1193
“Hey mom, look at my rock.”
Jill Morgan, distracted by dinner preparations, responded without looking at her eight-year-old-son.
“That’s nice, Jeffie.”
“And it’s cool, mom. It changes colors, see?”
Jill glanced over her shoulder to see the glow of the smooth orb in her son’s hands change from green to red.
Potato and peeler fell from her hands to the floor.
“Jeffrey Alan Morgan!” What did your dad and I tell you about messing around near the old rock quarry?”
She rushed over to him.
“They shut that place down and walked away without any notice. We have no idea if there are open shafts or toxic chemicals in that place.”
Grabbing the rock from his hands, Jill’s face went blank. The glow was gone, and she held a plain piece of gray slate. She tilted her head down to her son. “Are you playing a trick on your mom?”
His eyes locked on to the rock, Jeffie shook his head. “No, mom. Honest. It changed colors. You saw it, right?”
“I saw something, I’m just – “
Sizzling pops behind her grabbed Jill’s attention.
“Dang it!” She raced to the overflowing pot but was startled by the ringing land-line phone.
“Oh, for the love of…” Sliding the pot from the burner to the counter, Jill stomped across the kitchen to the phone, tossing the stone back to Jeffie.
“You take this thing back to wherever you found it, Jeffrey Alan, and come right back here for a hot bath, just to be safe.”
Rock and child were forgotten as she answered the phone to get a health update from her husband about his dad. Jill didn’t see the red glow return to the rock cradled in Jeffie’s hands.
Frowning, the eight-year-old walked out the back door and sat on the steps. Why did the colors stop when his mom touched the rock?
Jeffie Morgan needed answers. With a quick glance over his shoulder, he hopped from the porch steps, headed for the far back corner of the backyard—the corner on the side of the garage shrouded in bushes and trees.
He ducked down and crawled under the lowest bush, scooting forward until his body cleared the thick branch. Pushing himself to his knees, Jeffie sat up in the small hollow created by the bushes. The denseness of the foliage kept the pocket cool, allowing enough light to stream through the brush so the child could see clearly.
“I know you’re here, Hypo.”
At first a transparent outline, Hypo faded into corporeal form.
The alien sat in the dirt, his thin lower limbs crossed at each of his two sets of knees.
“Why didn’t the rock work for my mom, Hypo?”
The Hypogean extra-terrestrial extended his upper limb to Jeffie, who placed the rock in his two-digit hand.
The stone flashed a bright yellow, rising into the air. As it hovered, Hypo reached out and touched Jeffie’s arm.
Jeffie Morgan wasn’t afraid. He learned soon after finding Hypo near his favorite tree swing two days ago touch was the only way he and Hypo could communicate and hear each other.
“The globule illuminates only for the one who created it and the one it was created for.”
“But why, Hypo?”
“When we met, you were despondent because you thought your elder was losing his life source. I filled the globule with my energy to help you feel better.”
Arthur Morgan, Jeffie’s grandpa, had a heart attack three days earlier and Jeffie’s dad flew to San Francisco to be with him. Grandpa Art was better and would leave the hospital soon, but Jeffie, afraid he’d never see his grandpa again, had sat in his tree swing and cried.
“When my people experience distress, it disrupts their life force. Sharing our energy helps to calm the disruption. I believe your people would call it a boost.”
“I think I understand, Hypo.”
The globule ceased to spin and lowered back into Hypo’s palm. He gave it back to Jeffie.
“Our life forces are different, and this will serve you well into your later years. But, I must caution you again against sharing the knowledge of it. Your people are impetuous and act before knowing the facts.”
“You haven’t told me how you know so much about us, Hypo.”
“We’ve been watching you for thousands of years, Jeffie. In some ways, your people have made great strides. Your technology, though crude, serves you well, But the minds of humans… your thought processes, still hold you back.”
Hypo’s body, a pale coral in color, morphed to deep, dark red.
“I must go now, Jeffie Morgan. The lunar eclipse approaches and it is the only time we can exit your world undetected.”
“What? No, please. Can’t you stay longer? You can stay in my room so you don’t have to worry about the sun.”
Hypo’s coloring returned to his normal shade.
“No, Jeffie Morgan. Even if we didn’t have to avoid direct sunlight, extended exposure to the atmosphere of Etieran—this place you call Earth—would weaken us over time. The moon has no atmosphere, but still has solar exposure. That is why we live inside it.”
Jeffie hung his head.
“Why does your energy darken, Jeffie Morgan?”
“I liked having a friend.”
“We haven’t lived in Southbrook very long. My dad’s job sent him here. In San Francisco I had friends and people didn’t care my mom is black and my dad is white.”
A single tear rolled down his cheek.
“Here, they treat me like I’m the alien.” His face brightened at his joke.
“I understand, Jeffie Morgan. It’s something else we’ve witnessed about your kind that bears no logic. The separation of your species based on how your outer surface appears. The mistreatment and alienation… wars fought and life forces lost. Hypogeans do not have this.” His deep-set emerald eyes blinked sideways. “Nor do we want it.”
“I get it, Hypo. I just have so many questions. There’s so much I want to know.”
Hypo’s coloring flashed to deep purple.
“I must go. Hypogeans are in danger of discovery. That can’t happen.”
“But I know about you, Hypo.”
“Yes, you do, Jeffie Morgan, as do many others. When there’s no sense of danger detected, we interact.”
Hypo’s touch on Jeffie’s hand lightened as he faded from view.
“We will see each other again, Jeffie Morgan, and be encouraged. The elder—your grandpa Art—and your parents will be with you for many years to come.”
Hypo’s departure paused and he gripped Jeffie’s wrist with his two digit-hand.
“Take care… my… friend.”
Jeffie was sad Hypo was gone but happy they’d met.
Spreading a few branches on the ground, he placed the globule on them and covered it with a few more. He would follow Hypo’s instructions and keep it hidden.
Laying on his belly, Jeffie crawled from the dark hollow.
He didn’t need the globule right now anyway. Hypo said grandpa Art was going to be fine and that was enough to make Jeffie happy.
Heading for the back door, Jeffie began to run.
He didn’t even mind having to take a bath.
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