Up There so High

What do you get when you have a space fanatic, a runaway princess and a bunch of miscreants? Well, you get the three E's; Explosions, Expletives and Enemies.
You may not laugh along with this story but you may sing (because the main space man is very much fond of that).


17. The Trek


~ The Trek~



Everett knew that he shouldn’t talk to strangers never mind follow them. But he was on another planet in another galaxy for god’s sake and if he didn’t want to be eaten by some animal then he needed some sort of ally.

He was fixated on her eyes but he had to move on from that, his companion was strong and used to being out in the woods on her own. Skylar could certainly hold her own Everett didn’t doubt that.

“So…” Everett tried because they had been walking for some time in different directions and Everett had no clue on what they were doing. Their walk had been saturated in silence and Skylar had refused to do anything else but ignore his entire existence. “What’s the plan here?”

Skylar barely looked back. She did look at him sometimes, only to make sure that he was still following her and that he was still alive back there.

“We need to find somewhere to stay the night, lay low and then tomorrow we can find somewhere proper,” she continued to trudge forward looking stern and quiet. Her hair had fully dried now but it was still slightly curly.

Everett didn’t even know what time it was. It had been mid-afternoon back on Earth but they were in another solar system so it could have been any time. The forest made everything green and the sky couldn’t be seen from their vantage point since the canopy was quite thick. But he knew that they would have to be settled down by the time nightfall came, he did not want to be eaten by something when he could avoid it.

They walked and walked, and Everett noticed the ground became full with moss, less of a muddy brown and more of a slippery green. He was lucky that his space boots had good grips on them. Skylar didn’t even look bothered about the change in surface. The forest became darker and deeper.

It was then that Skylar started to look mildly worried. It was why when they found a cave system that Skylar angled towards it. “I’ve saw enough horror films to know that there’ll be an alien life form in there that we better not touch,” Everett edged at the entrance of the caves.

“Naturally I have no idea what you’re on about,” Skylar asserted and took something out of her pack, a box of matches. Everett didn’t even know they had matches on other planets. “And technically I am an ‘alien lifeform’ to you so I think you’ll be safe,” she had some dry humour in her yet Everett decided. Then Skylar took a random stick from the ground and got to work making a torch to see through the caves.

Everett was reluctant to go in them but they were dry and according to Skylar it was set to rain.

“How do you even know we can’t see the sky from here?” Everett looked upwards and found more leafy canopy. Skylar sure was weird but then apparently so were her species.

“I can feel it, can’t you?” she turned to look back at him as she held the torch aloft. She had eyebrows, Everett realised, but they were light and they barely showed against her skin. It was only the shadows casted by the flame that made them more noticeable. At least the flame was the same as that on Earth.

Everett could not feel what Skylar felt. Usually he could tell on Earth but apparently it was different here. He shrugged and Skylar raised an eyebrow. Everett wondered if she knew that she was doing that or if it was just a natural instinct. Skylar led them into the caves and they were pretty simple, rough grey stone leading in one solid direction. They were deep however.

“What do you think this was?” Everett asked as he watched the flame cast reflections on the glass of his helmet. His Prototype Space-onator 3000 was hot but he just had to deal.

“I think it would have been an underground river system, maybe a waterfall further up, you can tell from the grooves in the ground. It must’ve dried up who knows how long ago.”

Now that Skylar had pointed it out Everett could see it. It was like going to the beach on a morning just after the tide had retreated back out and you could see endless grooves in the sand from where the tide had beat against it during the night. In the rock it was less noticeable since it was dark and some fungi had taken the caves as its own but it was there alright.

Skylar trailed her hand on the left side of the cave and allowed it to take her further into the caves. They eventually came to a single room with three different routes back out, the way they came and two new routes. The thing that was wonderful with this room was the convenient hole in the roof, it offered a view of the sky without the canopy of the trees. It did look like it was going to rain, there were a few dark clouds, but it was the gaps in between those clouds that amazed Everett.

“It’s going to rain but you can look for now while I set up camp,” Skylar knew that seeing the view would be spectacular to a human even if she had saw something similar to the view for the majority of her life.

The sky in Zeld was red, nearing on orange, and its stars were white balls of heat. There were clusters of them in the distance and they were like a murmur of birds, crossing over themselves in arcs and rises. Everett wanted to see more of it, wanted to immerse himself in the filled void that the sky offered.

There was a moon, a thick slab of crescent hanging heavy in the sky. No, there was not a moon there were three; three crescents of decreasing size arranged in a rough triangular shape. Everett would have stayed under that skylight for the entire night but the sky echoed with a rumble and seconds later a sprinkling of rain came falling down. Everett allowed the first few droplets to fall on his skin cooling him and he figured that it wasn’t poisonous since Skylar hadn’t said anything to him. The rain came heavier and he figured that if it was poisonous, because maybe he couldn’t trust his companion, the less exposure to it the better. Plus he didn’t want to be soaked.

"Zeld has three moons?" he asked hesitantly. 

"Yes," she muttered, "Evir, Moy and Ira, named after the first explorers to walk among them due to wanting to find the Entity, our God you could say," she asked and looked at him properly for the first time since she met him. He decided not to question her on their Gods.

Skylar was making camp on the edge of the room in the middle of the three routes back out. She pulled out a bedroll and then another one because she was prepared enough to buy two. "Were there any stars?” She looked expectantly towards the sky, now smeared with billows of rain.

“Yeah lots.”

“I never get used to stars,” she pondered and watched as the rain fell heavier, pouring down in a rough circle in the middle of the room. It offered some coolness to the rather warm night.

“Why?” Everett loved stars and he couldn’t bear never seeing them.

“Zeldor, my home town, is known for its urbanisation and its towering pinnacles. That means moons but few stars at night.” Skylar watched as Everett stood at the edge of the circle of rain and peered back at her rather than at the night sky.

“That’s a shame,” Everett muttered and made his way over to his bedroll, finally putting his helmet down and unzipping himself from his Space-onator.

“What even is that?” Skylar asked referring to the suit and suddenly Everett was left in sweatpants and a blue tank top rather than the heavy suit.

“It’s a space suit, what I designed to get here,” Everett dropped all of the materials onto the ground and relaxed against the bedroll. Skylar knew that he hadn’t planned to come here and she wouldn’t understand the spiel that would come when she asked how he managed to get anywhere in the first place so she didn’t ask the question.

Everett knew that if he asked too much she would close up like a clam. Skylar was a reserved person, not used to company especially by a human, and so if he pushed and pushed he would get nothing in return. She may have been strong but she had her flaws.

“Would a Bandesnack really have devoured me if I stayed out there?” Everett asked into the growing darkness, he felt like that was the safest question he could ask.

“They’re carnivorous slugs, so of course they would. Would they have passed through there, maybe not?” Everett couldn’t tell if Skylar was smiling but he hope that she was because she didn’t seem like the type of person to smile much.

“Do they have any slime?” Everett was insatiable and he wasn’t bone tired yet. It would take some time to get to sleep.

“Of course not, that would make them detectable and when people know their tracks they’ll avoid their paths. That means no dinner for the Bandesnacks.” Skylar lay back and burrowed herself into the bedroll. She watched as the human fell asleep his head lolling to the side as his arms rested behind his head. Humans were weird because their sleeping positions were all crooked and strange. Why couldn’t they sleep straight?

But Everett didn’t care, he was already beginning to dream of gigantic brown slugs with no slime and huge antennas that would whip around to smell their prey. Their tongues would be bright purple and long, and they would have no teeth. Everett used to be a trainee at NASA so he had a wild imagination, wilder than even he knew.


In truth, Skylar didn’t have a proper plan, she had always made something up on the go, going wherever her feet took her. She didn’t know the forests so it was all a great game of fortune. She liked it that way though, if she didn’t know where she was going neither did The Miracle. She would have to do some thinking and it was all because of the human. 



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