The Human Outlands
Part VI: Explanations Required
I went to bed early after the party finished. That time I even slept truly alone for the first time. Unless you count Mr. Hopper in my arms and Jaime sleeping in the other bed. It was a little scary but I didn’t get any bad dreams that night so I was okay. When I came out of my room and went downstairs, I saw that there was this strange creature on the ground. It was furry with horns, looking a little like the bush hares I’d seen a few times back home but it was bigger, its ears had fallen down and it had spots.
“Hello little thing.” I said greeting it. “I’m Ahti.”
I went down to its level, going on all four and reached out to touch the creature but it recoiled away from my hand.
“You’re not one of the strange humans who don’t look like humans, are you?”
It didn’t answer, so maybe it was just an animal. With humans, it’s hard to tell really.
“I see you’ve met Nibbles.” Charlie said, coming up next to me.
“It’s so weird…” I said examining it. Earth is strange, things don’t look anything like they look in the pictures I’ve seen of Ithar; not the plants, not the fishes, not the animal. There’s so much things on earth with hair, it’s weird.“Why is everything on earth so fuzzy? You can’t even see its skin. Even some of your bugs and flying animals are fuzzy, it’s weird… They look like plants.”
“Wasn’t there any furred animals on Ithar?”
“No, they have skin, scales or carapaces like animals normally do. But you’re fibrous like plants.”
Having hair must be inconvenient; I mean doesn’t it get stuck everywhere? Get in your eyes? Become heavy when you get wet? Blubber is way better to keep you warm than hair, it doesn’t get in the way and it helps you swim too.
Since the strange Nibbles didn’t want me to touch it, I gave up sat down at the counter where Caroline gave me a human thing. It was some kind of strange cake coming from a mold. I didn’t recognize the taste but it was okay.
The others started coming out, some of whom went for the cleaning room. We normally used baths at home, but I figured out how to use the ‘shower’ as Annabelle called it rather quickly. It just sprays water on your head and you have to use it before it drips off you and goes down a drain.
Once I was clean, it was time for our first class of the day; exercise. We had to change into special clothes there and Annabelle had to help me put on the human style shirt since they don’t have a front opening. They’re kind of like pants that you put on your torso really, but they have a wrong and right way to be put on. Humans like to do things very strangely and in a really complicated way.
The physical education class as the others apparently called it was very different from what I did in school, normally in Vaal we played games but here the giant human female who was the teacher instead had us do these weird things she called ‘push-ups,’ ‘Sit-ups’ and more movement, which weren’t very fun… But at least when that was done, she let us do whatever we wanted. I looked around, but didn’t recognize what the others were doing.
“You look lost.” One of my classmate said. It was a male called Sanjay.
“It’s just that I don’t know any human games.” I had to think for a moment, trying to think what we could do. And then I figured it out: “We could play Tavzi!”
“You’ll have to explain the rules.” Annabelle said. I hadn’t noticed Rowan and her coming closer.
Tavzi is pretty simple; you just need a ball and a wall. You have to throw the ball at the wall and the other team just need to send it back to hit the wall before it hit the ground twice. If they can’t you get a point.
“Sounds simple enough.” Annabelle said. “What are the teams?”
I looked between Rowan, Annabelle and Sanjay. It didn’t take long for me to decide. Although I liked Annabelle, Rowan was big and strong and also a friend.
“I want Rowan on my team. They’re big and strong.” I announced.
“Guess that makes us partners.” Sanjay said, going next to Annabelle.
We got a ball from the storage and played the game. Sanjay was pretty good at it, but he wasn’t as good as Rowan and I. In the end, Rowan and I beat them two to one set.
“Good game.” Sanjay said, trying to catch his breath “But next time, we’re going to crush you.”
“You can try.” Rowan answered.
The bell rang not long after and we changed out of the dirty uniforms and back into our normal clothes. The next class was just down the corridor and we went there. There was a big scary looking birdman, he was different than the one whom I’d seen when I’d arrived. This one was called Mr. Rook and he was pretty mean, taking turn fighting everyone until he stood in front of me and I just stared at him.
“It’s your turn.” Annabelle said, giving me a small push.
“What am I supposed to do?”
“You need to fight him.”
“But why? I don’t want to fight him. He was a little mean to Rowan and the others, but maybe it was an accident. Maybe I can talk to him instead?”
“It’s the point of the class, to teach us how to fight.”
I stepped forward and Mr. Rook took position.
“Ready?” He asked.
“I think so.”
Mr. Rook started moving and quickly he threw something at me but when it hit me it just fell down on the ground after a brief blue-zaru colored flash. He tried again, this time throwing some kind of ropes but they also fell limply at the ground.
“That didn’t work. Do you want to try again?”
He came to a stop not far from me. He took out a long rod and hit me with it but that didn’t work either.
He sighed. “Show me what you’ve got.”
What I had? What did he mean by that? What did I have he wanted to see? He just stared at me, like he was waiting for something… Oh right, I was supposed to fight. I didn’t want to hurt him so I made sure to do it gently. I pointed at him with my arm and let out the power. It hit him with a slapping sound.
“Was that good enough?” I asked. “Do I need to do it stronger? I really don’t want to hurt you.”
“You know what, we’re done.”
“Okay. Did I do well?”
“This going to be a long fucking year…” Mr. Rook whispered even though I didn’t understand why he said that. “You can go back to the bench with the others.”
Was that it? I didn’t get it. I probably should’ve asked for instructions on what I was supposed to do…