Chapter 5: Strange Meetings
Once day hours left the skies, the youth sleeping in a soft and warm bed, bolted in an upright position wheezing a heavy breath. Shifting left and right to comprehend his location, he spotted the bright light stationed near.
Outside the room, the sound of footsteps rapidly approached the room’s door. If listening well, one could tell the person was also short of oxygen as pants stopped adjacent to the entrance.
Knock! Knock! “Young Brigan?” The speaker paused to wait for a response before calling another time. “Are you awake Young Brigan? I heard noises, did something happen?”
As a person who possessed some sense of dignity, he was declined to mention the cause was from a nightmare. “Yeah, everything is fine.” He calmly spoke, hoping the answer would suffice and cease the questioning.
Sadly, the response didn’t seem to bring any reassurance to the speaker. “Is there really no problem inside? In this village, people rarely make a sound like that for no reason.” From the disbelief heard in the tone of voice, uttering no for a retort would lead to further suspicion.
Brigan glared at the entry that faced the left side of his bed before sighing how easily he was going to shatter the small pride he treasured just to rid himself of Elber’s disturbance.
“I just remembered the past, nothing major,” he said firmly — this time with the belief that it was expressed strongly enough, really ending the doubt.
“Yes, Yes… I see I see…” Elber said, admitting to being the party in the wrong. “In any case, the village sights are well lit at this time. Now would be an excellent chance to explore our village. It should get you more familiar to how we live.” The patriotism vibe emitting from his mouth signified how heartfelt the village genuinely meant to him.
“You really are kind Mr. Elber. I can tell you love this village greatly. Give me a minute, and we can go tour it!” Brigan excitedly replied. To him, Elber’s mood was contagious. It had thoroughly washed away his previous ordeal.
“It is troubling to say, but I will have to displease you.” Although Elber said the words with amusement, Brigan felt Elber should also be disappointed. If the door that was separating them opened, he could further decipher whether his thoughts were correct.
“Isn’t it nighttime? I didn’t think you worked at these hours,” he asked in confusion. Now mentioned, he became curious whether the jobs done here would differ much in differences from earth.
“Well…,” as Elber begun to talk, Brigan sled from the bed’s comfort to don his clothes. “…I can’t elaborate on my work, but it is something only I can do that will help the village immensely,” he said evasively.
In Brigan’s mind, an image formed. Of its figure, it was the first time he compared Elber resembling a turtle recoiling into its shell, even when counting their original meeting. Was the information classified? He failed to understand why there was a cause for secrecy unless the job was shady.
Striding across the small space, he made sure to place the chair back in place near the desk supporting the lamp before going to grab the door handle. To get to the heart of a controversy, one needed to address each either face to face for a better discussion.
Click, click! Both, unlocking and opening the door, produced deafening tingles to ring along the inner eardrums as the atmosphere was now quiet. Greeting him on the opposite of its frame was the same slouched middle-age man in his standard black wear.
The messy reddish hair lobed to one side emphasized his image, portraying the idea of an easy-going slacker. It didn’t mesh well with his up and tidy personality at all. Nor did it show the kindness he was known to possess.
“Since you are ready, I also need to leave. I’ll barely make it if I delay anymore,” Elber said neutrally with his head shifting to an angle that avoided eye contact. This response could only mean that he was aware of his own evasive actions, and probably creating a guiltier conscious also.
Brigan let out a tired sigh. The enthusiasm was gone, and he had yet to depart from the house. Provided that the two of them were still strangers and Elber had been sympathy enough to render a dwelling place and free food, making him awkward in return was just terrible etiquette.
“Alright, I’ll trust your word about the good sights and spend the night outside. I also need to pay that loan off.” This was the other reason he accepted the invitation at night seeing.
Usually preferring daylight, if the circumstances were normal, he would choose to earn money during those hours. However, in life, not everything would go the way it was wanted. “Make sure to return before daybreak. This village still has its fair share of troublesome affairs.”
Promising to comply, the two separated for the night as Brigan went the route that centered toward shopping. In his step, taking relaxed strides, Brigan had a clear objective in mind for his outing.
One was to familiarize himself with the layout, and the other was to pay the loan off before his ownership expired. When he had a discussion the first night, Elber had explained there was an ownership time before the item then became the money for payment.
Surprisingly with Elber’s kind nature, he didn’t offer to pay the entrance fee and wait to be paid later. Brigan also didn’t mention these queries since he had been helpful beyond what others would do in contrast.
As the buildings changed, he could see the different kinds of structures the village fancied. Regarding the housings, most favored the silvery color that resembled mercury metal while casing off a rainbowish tint. Even the few that had sprinkles of moisture, the liquid was the same shades.
The minorities leftover was copper but still with its metal-like shimmer. For the spectacles ahead, it was more similar to the Information Age than his Space Age. And given the night hour plus its brilliant lights hovering over the village, an Asian style festival seemed underway.
“Such a carefree village in the middle of nowhere is amazing.” He mumbled.
“Now where should I start searching first?” Pondering deeply, the noise in the surrounding became unintelligible.
“That looks like a good area!” He exclaimed, seeing a shop with the name The Works & Exotic Goods in grand display.
“Oh Honey!!! It really is you! You look the same as the day we married. Have you come back to me from the other side?” Screamed a short senior woman that appeared older than eighty.
Feeling the pull on his sleeve and the shout coursing through his ears, Brigan redirected his head, placing his attention on the rude distraction. However, the old woman’s mood had already shifted.
Her gaze was now facing the direction his eyes were at moments prior. “You haven’t changed at all Honey. You’re still interested in those fake items. I brought a lot of money with me to properly honor your death so let’s use it here,” she declared eagerly.
The old woman had total control of their pace as she then dragged him inside despite lacking the strength to do so normally. ‘This woman’s strength is insane,’ thought Brigan, helplessly following.
The inside was purple, dark purple. It was so dark that it was creepy. The shelves lining was like a regular grocery store. However, most of the products displayed glass jars or glass tubes housing liquids of unknown origins.
“Welcome! Surprise me again I say. If it isn’t Madam Melody. How goes your singing? It’s been years since we last communicated.” The store owner spoke stunned.
“Can I buy another one of your God Gene Formulas? Honey would like one of those fake things.”