Ever wonder what it feels like to wake up after a night of
partying after having drunk an entire carton of beers, three fireballs, two
shots of whiskey, and one cup of Blakna 176 vodka feels like? Nothing, cause
that would probably kill you. But from the intense migraine that was repeatedly
slamming its heel into the side of my head, my stomach convulsing even after
I’d already thrown every possible thing up, and my muscles so tense that they
were practically one step away from turning my body into one huge charlie horse,
yeah, death kind of didn’t sound too bad at the moment.
For all you alcoholics out there who really want to quit
drinking, but somehow always end up going back to the bottle, try throwing
yourself into a malfunctioning teleporter. Really does the trick.
I couldn’t even open my eyes. When I had the incredibly
stupid idea to do so, the light was so bright that it felt like the sun was
going to bore a hole straight through my retinas and out the other end of my
skull. Which, in hindsight, might have killed the migraine. Jokes aside, I was
in such a mixture of pain and sickness, that best thing I could do was curl
myself into a tiny ball and cringe as the waves rushed past. The worst was that
I knew exactly how long I was suffering. Each ache in my head acted like a
stopwatch, periodically ticking off the seconds of pure self-induced torture
that I would never wish on another soul for as long as I lived.
Slowly, God, ever so slowly, the thumping in my head started
to lessen. This must have acted as some sort of trigger because the other
symptoms decreased along with it. After nearly ten minutes of eternity, I felt
relatively normal again. Now released from the duty of consistently recognizing
pain, my senses started taking in the world around me. The ground felt soft
beneath me, the soil loose and spongy, yet warm and comforting. I took in my
first natural breath and almost coughed. The air…it was hard to explain, but it
somehow felt…fresher. Clean was probably the best word. A deep breathe was
something akin to taking a very light mint. It left a strange, lingering
aftertaste after each breathe that seemed to just invite your lungs to keeping
taking it in.
Cautiously, I let one eye peek out from behind its shelter.
The light came back again, just as bright as before, but thankfully no pain
came this time and I was finally able to observe my new environment.
And I was thoroughly blown away.
I was in some type of meadow-like oasis amongst a
surrounding ocean of trees and shrubbery. Patches of white-petal flowers were
swaying with the passing midday breeze, creating a small wave-like effect as
their shadows shifted back and forth. I was lying next to a small rock
formation made from two miniature boulders that were pressed firmly against a
more adult version of themselves, the smooth stone reaching up to my stomach.
It gave off the slight impression of a parent keeping watch over their children
and the white flowers that poked out from the cracks in between the little ones
only reinforced this notion. Finally, a crystal clear pond stretched out in
front of me, the surface so still it looked like a glass reflection of the sky.
This amazing construction of nature wasn’t what caused my
mind to do a complete flip inside my head though. Rather, it was what enveloped
The grass…it was so green. I mean, to the point where it
actually seemed to give off a slight glow in the sunlight. An almost emerald-like
aura seemed to just hang out around right on the outskirts of the blade. But it
didn’t stop there. The trees, flowers, rocks, everything around me gave off its
own distinct glow, usually corresponding with its most dominant color. I rubbed
my eyes, not because I wasn’t sure I could believe what I was seeing, but
because the new environment actually stung my eyes. The extra depth added
pushed my visual boundaries so far past their physical limitations that I
briefly wondered if it would be better to have been color blind.
After a few minutes though, my brain seemed to have made the
adjustment to accept this new change. At least, enough to stop my eyes from
watering. However, there was still a slight irritation that nagged behind my
retinas. I could only hope that it would fade with time.
I decided I should probably try and get up, planting a
steady hand down in the plush grass. The ground gave slightly under my hand,
like a wet sponge, leaving a tiny indentation in the soil. I pushed down a
little harder, curious to see just how low my hand would sink. It quickly hit
much more densely packed dirt. Not much further then. That was good. If every
step I took made my feet sink a couple inches, walking would be quite the
workout and that was certainly the last
thing I needed.
My muscles still weren’t relaxed, making my limbs feel just
as stiff as the trees around me. I settled for a sitting position first,
locking my arms and putting them behind me, using them as support. I started
shaking my limbs, hoping to rid myself of both the tenseness and numbness from
being stationary for too long. I let out a long sigh and stared up at the sky.
The new, purple-tinted blue sky.
I let out a long, heavy sigh. If it wasn’t already obvious,
that was the last shred of evidence. There was no way I was still on the planet
Earth. I’d already come to that conclusion. Still, that didn’t make things any
easier to deal with or logically explain. From what I could remember through
the fragmented memories that swirled in my head, the teleporter machine malfunctioned
somehow and I got sucked in. The main purpose of the machine was to break down
an object’s molecules and send transfer them to the secondary gate, them reform
them back to their original state. But, that gate had shorted out in the
ensuing chaos. For intents and purposes, I shouldn’t have gone anywhere. Hell,
I should have been dead. Yet, I wasn’t. Well, unless this alien world was
Hah. I severely doubted it.
In that case, I’d better get a grip and start exploring. No
point in just sitting around. I rose, this time much more confidently, onto my
feet. Looking up at this planet’s sun, assuming that the laws of space and
gravitational pull still applied in the same way as Earth, I was able to
distinguish which direction was east and west, then north and south. I chose
north at random and started walking since I couldn’t make out any
distinguishable geographical features outside of the forest to help in my
judgment. There had to be natives around here somewhere. Hopefully, anyway.
Although even if I found another sentient species on this world, what could I
do? The odds that we would both share the same language or dialect had to be
pretty close to zip.
I pushed the thought out of my mind and instead chose to
focus on the more positive side of my situation. As I stated before, the air
was much richer here and I took great enjoyment of each refreshing breathe. There was also a comforting cool
breeze drifting through the forest, making the trees and foliage sway,
consequently creating a waving dance of colors for my eyes to absorb. The
effect took what was once defined as natural beauty and magnified it well past
our normal conceptions. Magnificent.
As I walked the westward path, I noticed something else that
was very peculiar. The sun had hardly moved from its position in the strangely
tinted sky. Maybe a few inches or so, from my perspective, but not near far enough
for the amount of time I spent walking and from waking up. To check my theory,
I flipped up a pocket in my tactical vest and took a look at the silver pocket
watch within. I remembered checking the time before I started my little
venture. It had been 12:37pm when I started. It was now close to two. The two
time frames didn’t add up with Earth’s rotation cycle, which meant two things.
On a good note, the days were longer, but the nights were too. Unfortunately, I
didn’t have any night vision goggles or any tools to aid me so if I didn’t find
shelter by nightfall, I would be completely at the mercy of whatever predators
roamed the forest at night. Not something I was looking forward to.
Just as I was about to consider what kind of temporary
shelter I might have to construct, A loud cry ring out past the trees and my
heart nearly leapt in my chest. It sounded human!
I surged forward towards where the sound had come from, hand
already grasped around the Desert Eagle at my waist. I pulled it free from its
holster, thumb flipping the safety over to red. I didn’t hear whomever it was
cry out again, but the sounds of rustling and the panting rasps and grunts of
something that was undecidedly not
human spurred me on towards their location. Right beyond that tree line! It had
to be. I put on an extra burst of speed and jumped out from in between two
thick trunks, barely passing by without scratching myself.
There was no type of training that could have prepared me
for what I’d come across.
Straight ahead, a giant mass of untamed, orange tinted fur,
stood on four legs and growled ferociously. It had the build of a boar, but the
size of a bear. Curved, sharp tipped bone poked out from the sides of the
creature’s head and its tail flailed wildly behind it. Blood spotted the forest
floor and the surrounding foliage looked like it had been crushed underfoot.
Something had provoked it and it was retaliating with a vengeance.
Sensing a new threat, its pointed ears twitched and it spun
around to face me. Now that I had a good look at its face, I almost wished I
hadn’t been so hasty to engage. Its eyes were small and beady, but that was the
only good thing. The lower lip of the beast was curled up over its upper one,
showcases the sides of its teeth in a menacing snarl. Several rows upon rows of
jagged, pointed teeth. It snorted at me, scowling and scraped at the dirt below
with long, razor-edged claws. Its eyes looked over me with uncertainty, unsure
of how to label me. It settled for growling lowly at me, issuing a warning, forbidding
me from coming any closer.
Fortunately, I didn’t need to take a single step.
Crack! The thunderous
boom of the Deagle resonated out among the trees, drowning out all and any
other forest ambience. In a light flash of yellow and orange, my bullet ripped
through the air and bore itself right through the animal’s skull, a small
concentrated burst of blood erupting from the hole. The amount of milliseconds
it took to travel the short distance between us gave no freedom for the beast
to shout or cry out. Instead, it collapsed silently over on its side and laid
still. I remained poised to shoot, the last of the smoke from the barrel
dissipating fast, confirming that it was truly dead before lowering my weapon
and letting out a quiet, relieved breathe.
The muffled clink of metal on wood drew my attention back to
what the beast had been stalking. Once again, a wave of shock and awe washed
over me. No, a wave was putting it too lightly. It was more like a raging
tsunami. My brain’s sense of reason and knowledge about the evolutional scale
of humans and animals was completely turned on its head the minute I finally
processed just whom I had saved. Or, more accurately, what I had saved.
Kneeling at the base of an overgrown tree, was a fox. Well,
vixen I suppose. The curves on the upper part of her body confirmed her gender
pretty easily. Her fur was predominantly a midnight shade of blue, though there
seemed to be strange symbols and patterns painted across her chest and cheeks
in a slightly grayish shade of white. She was wearing what looked like tribal
style clothing, a brown top piece covering her…important areas, along with a
low cut skirt of the same color. They appeared to be from the hide of some
other animal, which was something else I really didn’t want to think about.
Another thing that added to her almost human-like
appearance, was the fur on top of her head, which was a shade darker and draped
down the sides of her face like hair. It was even held down with some sort of
hair band that looked like it was formed from some kind of smooth black stone
that covered the entire top of her head and disappeared underneath her bangs. One
other accessory hung loosely around her neck. A thick line of cord with a
single sharp tooth tied around the top, embedded with some kind of red
Of course, all of this was soon disregarded once I noticed
the sizable gash across her side.
Throwing caution to the wind, I began advancing towards the
tree, quickly closing the distance between us. That was a mistake. The vixen
let out a pained grunt, one paw clutching her side wound, while the other thrusted
a dangerous looking staff in my direction. The spearhead tip on the end glowed
for just a moment before I felt the blazing impact of a concentrated fireball
slam against my chest.
“UgH!” I exclaimed, my back smacking the soil with an
audible slap! My neck and part of my
face felt hot from the spread of the flames before they dissipated, but
thankfully they weren’t hot enough to burn. I silently thanked our scientific
department that manufactured our gear. The tactical vest I was currently
wearing was a prototype that had just been designed last month. It had a lot
more pocket room for storage, not to mention it was also bullet resistant and
fire proof. Well, that is, fireproof under normal circumstances. I don’t think
any of the lab coats anticipated one of their security guys taking a full blown
fireball to the chest. But to their credit, besides some brief uncomfortable
heat and a large ash stain on the front, my vest held together pretty well.
The vixen seemed shocked when I started to rise to my feet
again. It vanished quickly though and she positioned her staff towards me
“Wait!” I shouted, throwing up my hands in what I thought
was a universal sign of surrender, but another fireball burst out and knocked
me to the ground again. “Hmmghf” I grunted, this time readying myself for the
fall. Listen lady, I’m trying to help
you! I thought to myself. Why was she being so hostile? I mean, I did just
take down what was about to hurt her. It wasn’t like I was trying to be…my gaze
shifted the gun that was still tightly clutched in my right hand. The very same
gun she had seen take down a massive creature in less than a second.
Getting up much slower this time, I raised a hand up and
palmed the gun in my other hand. She watched me carefully as I slowly set it
down on the ground, staff still trained on me. I got to my feet a third time,
hands still raised to show I had nothing else on me that could harm her. She
started to relax a little, her staff lowering, but bolted it right back into
“Kxo ekxoh edo kee!” She shouted at me, thrusting the spear
to the right of my waist, cringing slightly at the pain this caused her side.
I looked down and saw that she’d caught sight of my other
gun I kept on my left. “Ok, I got it. I’m moving it.” I said, though clearly
there was a language barrier. I was hoping that the soft tone was come through
as non-threatening. Again, being careful to control my movements, I grasped the
hilt of my second Deagle. Gently, I lifted it out, bent down, and placed it
beside the other one. I turned around slowly, hands back to their surrendered
position, just to show her there were no more.
Cautiously, she lowered her staff for the second time, but
still kept it by her side. I took that as my cue that I could come closer, so I
did. She kept her eyes trained on me the entire time. Like, well, like an
animal. I kept eye contact, hoping that in some way it might ease her guard. I
had to say, she had the most amazing eyes. Maybe it was just the angle of the
sun and her positioning, but I swear they sparkled. Emerald green. Huh, it
suited her well.
I knelt down in front of her and pointed to the wound on her
side. “Are you alright? Does it hurt?” I asked, again, hoping my tone would
convey what I meant to say.
She paused for a moment, glancing at the wound, then back at
me. “Ak'j vado. Ak ajd'k kee toof. A'cc calo” She stated, breathing out a
Uggghh…not understanding what she was saying was really
annoying, but from way she made it sound, it didn’t seem life-threatening. That
was one positive at least. Still, that wound needed to be cleansed or it could
run the risk of becoming infected. I think she knew that, but from the looks of
it, she didn’t have anything remotely related to first aid on her. Good thing I
always kept these supplied handy.
My hand went for one of my vest pockets, but I must have
made the movement much too fast for the vixen’s liking. I soon felt the spear
tipped end of her staff at the edge of my throat. I felt my insides shiver at
the thought of death being not but two inches away. “Its okay, its okay.” I
managed to get out, trying to keep my fear from spilling out into my words. I
continued to pop open the clip of my singed pouch, her eyes once again trained
on me the entire time. When I pulled out the gauze from inside, she lowered her
guard, but only just. Enough to remove the spear from my throat.
I set the gauze down on the grass and gestured that I was going
to open another pouch. She didn’t freak out on me this time, and I was able to
pull out the travel size bottle of hydrogen peroxide and some cotton swabs. She
watched with a curious glance as I unscrewed the cap and let some of the liquid
pour down on the first swab. I had to fight to keep myself from chuckling as
she covered her nose with her paw at the strong smelling chemical. Even without
a heightened sense of smell, this stuff always reeked.
I took the freshly wetted swab between my fingers and guided
it to where she had her other paw clamped over her wounded side. She looked at
me challengingly. I didn’t blame her either. I was pretty much going to be
treating her with an unknown substance that had a pretty awful smell. That was
how she saw it. She wasn’t wrong, but this was important and needed to be done.
“Please, I need you to move your hand.” I said, keeping my
tone soft and polite, asking her permission before I went to remove her paw
with my other hand. She hesitated, but she didn’t put up any resistance when I
gradually move it aside. “Now this is going to sting a little, so I’m sorry in
While I had been trying to prepare her for what was going to
happen, some of the solution dripped off the swab and dropped onto her wound.
She let out a startled shriek and went for her staff. My own hand reacted
before my mind could stop it, latching onto her wrist and pulling it away. Past
the point of no return already, I snatched up the open bottle of peroxide from
the grass and splashed a good amount on her wound, knowing that no amount of
coaxing was going to get to let me apply it regularly now. But in that same
instance, her other hand came out at my right cheek, claws bared.
I pulled back, but not fast enough.
“AGH!” I screamed as I felt the tips dig into the most
vulnerable area of my face, slicing through the skin like a butcher’s knife
through meat. I recoiled back, clutching the side of my face. At once, I felt
intense anger flare up inside my head before I consciously clamped down on it.
It had been my decision to rashly apply the peroxide. I honestly should’ve seen
it coming. It was my fault for not being prepared.
I looked back at the vixen, who was clutching her side with
both hands as the drug took effect. As soon as the pain died down, she removed
her paws and stared agape at her former wound. The hydroxide had bubbled up and
was nearing the end of its cycle. White foam covered the gash, but she also
seemed to realize that it had stopped the bleeding.
Still with a job to do, I peeled my hand away from my own
cut and approached her once more. I reached for the bottle and poured the rest
of its contents on my newly inflicted wound. As trained as I was, even I
couldn’t help but cringe as I felt its stinging sensation. The vixen watched in
amazement as she saw it perform first hand. I smiled, despite the
circumstances. “See? It only stings for a minute.” I said, reaching for the
gauze and pulling out some length. “Let’s get it bandaged up now, huh?”
She understood and lifted her arms up while I systematically
wrapped the medical cloth around her slim figure, cutting it off at an
appropriate length. I handed the end to her so she could tie it off herself.
After all, I wouldn’t want to make her
angry again, now would I? I chuckled at my lame little joke, causing her to
look at me funny. I waved it off, I wouldn’t be able to explain it anyway and I
think she got that. She surprised me in the next second though, suddenly
reaching up and cupping my chin in her paw and leaning in closer, her thumb gliding
over near my wound. My skin tingled. Her fur, it felt so soft. Softer than any
felt or carpet I’d ever experienced.
Clearing my throat, I pulled back and turned away slightly,
trying to keep my face its normal hue. “Don’t worry, it not that bad.” I said,
waving my hand dismissively. “I’ve had worse, believe me.” I said in the most
reassuring tone I could muster. There was a small moment of regret that came
over her eyes, but she soon reverted back to a neutral state.
A bit of an awkward
silence passed between us as I tried to think of how I could convey what I felt
I needed to say next.
“Um, can you walk?” I asked, getting up and walking in place
to re-iterate my point. She chuckled softly at this and grabbed a hold of her
staff, using it to lift herself. She did manage to get herself standing, one
paw back to clutching her bandaged side. She went to take a step, but her leg
buckled under her weight and she started to tumble forward. I swiftly reached
out and caught her arm, steadying her with the help of her staff.
“Sihjoj, A mijk xulo jfhuadot m0 udbco.” She spat in clear
frustration. “A'm jehh0, rik seict 0ei xocf mo ad wokkadw rusb ke m0
laccuwo?" She asked, looking up at me with her emerald eyes.
I wasn’t entirely sure what the first part was all about,
but I could tell that she was asking for help. From the looks of it, she
might’ve sprained or maybe twisted her leg judging from what transpired a few
seconds earlier. She probably needed help walking, but I knew it wouldn’t be
good for her to walk on an injured foot. So, I bent down, scooped an arm
underneath both her legs and lifted her up into a bridal style carry. She
gasped in surprise at my sudden action, but there was really nothing I could’ve
said to explain to her what I was going to do beforehand anyway. Wait, was it
just me, or did the fur around her cheeks just get a shade or two lighter?
It was probably just another illusion caused by the light,
like with her eyes from before.
“Im...m0 laccuwo ajd'k vuh unu0. Akj ureik kxhoo sceithidj
ad kxuk tahoskaed.” The vixen in my arms muttered, pointing off in the
direction I’d originally been heading. I guess that was where she wanted me to
go. Well, hopefully when we get back to wherever she was staying, I might be
able to find shelter for the night. Maybe even meet more of…whatever species
this was on this strange new world. No, I should probably start addressing this
place for what I now knew it was.