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Today is Greenbean’s turn for the Thanksgiving 2021 edition of the Fondue Writer’s Club. I went science fictiony. Of course I did.

If you read this, and want to read my decidedly non-science fictiony Thanksgiving story from last year, CLICK HERE.

Thanks for reading, and tomorrow Kathy Kexel finishes us up with the last story until we launch our Christmas tales.


The Second Thanksgiving

Jamie D. Greening

            ‘It’s not a turkey,’ Mary Beth said. The words slid out of her nose more than her mouth. Her lips barely moved, although her nose turned upward just so.   

            ‘Like I told you last week when we planned Thanksgiving, there are no turkeys on Ravenna Gamma.’ Mary Beth’s father, Harold, puffed a snort from his nostrils, and finished the thought. ‘That is a part of the adventure of settling on a new planet. Everyone on Earth right now is bored of their cloned turkey and seaweed gravy solvent. I promise you that. But here, on Ravenna Gamma, we have the adventure of enjoying real wild game. They haven’t had wild game on earth in over six generations. We are truly blessed.’

            ‘Blessed,’ Suzanna shouted. Harold could not decipher if his wife was asking a question or making a statement. It was hard to read her sometimes. It wasn’t long before Harold’s uncertainty was laid to rest. 

            Suzanna said it again, ‘Blessed? This thing doesn’t even look like a turkey. I understand there are no turkeys on this planet, but isn’t there something that might pass for a turkey? Something with wings and a drumstick? Maybe a goose, hen, or even a small quail? A chicken? Is it too much to ask for a chicken on Thanksgiving Day?’

            ‘We all sat through the same orientation before we left the Earth Orbital Zone. Ravenna Gamma is devoid of poultry or flying beasts. My friend Jean-Paul says R-Gee is devoid of predators. The animals are herbivores. There was, and is still, no reason for anything to learn to fly.’

            ‘But what is it?’ Their youngest son, Theo, asked. ‘It looks like an ugly cat. I don’t think we’re supposed to eat cat. I mean, is that legal.’

            ‘I’m not eating a tabby,’ Mary Beth poked the roasted animal with a fork. 

            ‘It’s not a tabby. It is close to an opossum on earth. I ate some last week at one of the first settler’s homes. It is good. Its diet is mostly a kind of berry, so I had the chefbot prepare it with a glaze of berries gathered from the forest edge. It should be very tasty.’

            This was the tone of the first Thanksgiving on Ravenna Gamma, or R-Gee as they sometimes called it, for the Strenge family. It was the second one any human had ever observed on the planet. Of the first one hundred families that settled there, only fifteen were left. The others went back to earth after the first batches of lithium were extracted from the top of a mountain. It was lithium, and the promise of quick money, which brought the Strenge family here. Harold signed a three-year contract. The money they made would set them for life and create generational wealth for his children. On this particular afternoon, he wondered if the money was worth it. 

            ‘I’ve chewed on this forever,’ Mary Beth said. ‘It just will not give. Why can’t we just eat the regular food like everyone else.’

            ‘Because it is Thanksgiving,’ Harold said. ‘We can’t always eat the regular food, because it comes in shipments from Earth. We must supplement it with indigenous meals from time to time to make it last. The food you’re accustomed to must be stretched. The corporate leadership team decided everyone would do this on Thanksgiving, so everyone else is eating something like our little opossum friend here today.’

            ‘Did it have a family?’ Theo asked.

            ‘A family?’ Harold chewed on his bit of leg. ‘What do you mean?’

            ‘Did you kill it and rob it from its family? Did you think it might have wanted to live?’

            Mary Beth caught the scent of her brother’s disdain and pounced. ‘If everything else on this godforsaken planet is herbivore, maybe we should be too. Perhaps we should eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of feasting on the life-forms here.’

            Suzanna gasped. ‘See what you’ve done, Harold. You’ve turned our children into vegetarians. Next thing you know, they’ll want to drop out of their careers and go to college and question everything about life. Good job.’

            Harold defended himself with history, his favorite tool. ‘If it is any consolation, they didn’t have turkey at the first Thanksgiving either. It really wasn’t until the twentieth century in North America that turkeys became the tradition, and now a thousand years later here we are, in the very privileged position of reenacting a more authentic holiday. We are pilgrims, like Miles Standish.’

His appeal was met with six eyes that rolled at him. The rest of the meal was silent chewing until they all became too tired to chew.

            The meal came to an end with a pie made from a kind of nut which came from short trees with blue bark. Suzanna retired to the game room where she played backgammon remotely with her sister who lived on one of the nicer orbital platforms over Earth. They both complained about their husband. Mary Beth went to her room and Theo went to the cinema with a couple of friends he’d made. Harold helped the housebot clean-up, because he didn’t know what else to do.

            Two of the three suns were still in the sky when he messaged his family he was going for a walk and would be back before moonrise. No one responded. 

            Walking was harder on this alien planet than it was on Earth because gravity was stronger, which is why the trees were shorter and the animals smaller. He walked through the village center, an assembly of the cargo containers from the spaceships that brought supplies and people. Each time a new shipment arrived, a new store or entertainment opportunity came with it. Rumor had it the next shipment, due just before Christmas, was destined to be transformed into an ice cream parlor.

            Soon he was at the clearing’s edge and entered the forest. He’d been in the forest several times, but never alone. He knew the trees were similar to elm and pine. They had not been given names by the settlers. The blue barked trees the pie was made from were on the other side of town on the hillside. Harold walked toward the river, which he knew would take him to the waterfall. He’d never gone that far, but he knew that was where the river went because he’d seen it on a map in one of the unending briefings and meetings he’d been forced to attend by the Settler’s Board.  

            He met the river while still in the forest. Its water was red, reflecting the light crimson daytime skies of Ravenna Gamma. He followed the river until it came to a field of wildflowers which swayed in the wind. He thought they looked like poppies. Every color the eye could behold flashed on their petals such that it seemed a rainbow had exploded in the heavens and painted the landscape. Particles floated in the air around him and he breathed in their floral scent.

            A euphoria overcame him so much so that he forgot about his family, and work, and even where he was. He was cognizant enough to realize there was hallucinogenic material inside the flowers, and that he should turn back, but he didn’t. The field was beautiful. The air was nice. A peaceful, easy feeling engulfed him. Why would he turn back?

            Soon he was at the waterfall. Gravity forced water down the cliff toward the roiling pool below. Harold judged the distance to be nearly seventy-five meters. Rocks jutted out. The water’s red hue combined with the bubbles and foam of the spray looked to Harold like a boiling pot of blood. The cataract’s roar hummed inside of him. He worked hard to focus, to not fall, but he kept moving closer and closer to the edge. 

            The music in his mind pulsated ever more colors until he could no longer withstand the attraction of the water’s lure. 

            ‘Just here at the edge,’ he told himself. ‘Just here, no further. I am safe here. Here I can feel it and love it and enjoy it.’ He edged out a little further. ‘Just here. That is enough.’ 

            Whether it was a slip of his foot on wet grass or an impulse from his subconscious no one will ever know, but Harold lost his footing and tipped over the edge of the cliff and tumbled, slowly at first, and then gravity did her work and slammed him hard into the shallows below. The last thing he remembered was the water tasted like the bubble gum ice cream his mother used to give him whenever he was sick. After that last thought, the colors vanished, and blackness took him.

            Harold’s head throbbed like a hyperspace transmission about to throw an asbestos piston. He was cold but felt a blanket over him. His clothes were missing but there was a fire beside him. He felt a presence nearby. 

            ‘Did you jump?’ 

            ‘No. I don’t know. Maybe.’

            ‘It was the flowers. I was worried they might affect your people.’ 

            ‘Your people?’ Harold, who had been lying on his back sat up and huddled near the fire. ‘What do you mean your people?’

            ‘They are not my people. They are your people. People from the corporations that have come to take the rock from the hills.’

            ‘Lithium. You mean the lithium. We need it to power the things back home.’

            ‘This is home,’ the man said to Harold.

            Harold squinted in the fire’s yellow light and beheld the man sitting opposite from him. His hair was black and his forehead broad. His cheekbones high, and his skin dark, but not dark like brown, dark like orange. 

            ‘I know almost everyone on this planet,’ Harold said. ‘I do not know you.’

            The man said to him, ‘You know almost no one on this planet. We have been here for seven thousand generations and are innumerable. We live on nine of the eleven continents.’

            Harold’s head hurt even more. He remembered the feeling of joy from the field of flowers. He wondered if he were dead, and this was a last momentary spasm of his mind processing the end of life as he neared oblivion. It could also be a drug-induced hallucination.  

            ‘I saved you from dying,’ the man said. ‘You hit the water hard, like an egg onto stone. I thought the fall broke your neck, but you began to flail and then I knew you could be saved.’

            ‘Thank you,’ Harold said.

            ‘I should have let you die.’

            ‘Excuse me,’ Harold’s body jolted upright. ‘Did you say you should have let me die?’

            ‘Yes, I should have. Your people are only here to take our rock. You will take and take and take and give nothing back. You are ungrateful, greedy, and selfish.’

            ‘If I am so bad, then why did you pull me from the water and keep me from drowning?’

            ‘Because our people have decided that even though you are evil, we are not. We will not interfere with you. But I do have a message.’

            ‘A message? For me?’

            ‘Yes, for you and all your people. You may have the rock you call lithium. Our Elders have determined its removal will not harm the land, even though once it is gone it cannot be replaced, and we will be diminished because of its absence. But you are human as we are human, and therefore you have the same right to it as we do, since we too came to this planet from your home.’

            Harold’s brain worked through the headache and the fog of trauma to piece together what he heard. This man was part of a society that lived throughout the planet, but they are humans who came from Earth a long time ago. ‘How did you get here from earth? Interplanetary space travel for humans is a recent development?’

            ‘No,’ the man said. ‘That is inaccurate. Again, your facts are wrong. However, you must listen to the message. You may have the rock, but you must not build more cities here. You may live on our Turtle Shell with us peacefully, but you cannot bring your corrupting ways with you. Our scrolls teach us how your ancestors allowed evil into the world in the ancient garden. We will not allow that to take a foothold here. We obey the rules of the garden.’

            ‘What are you talking about?’

            ‘The Elders told us you would not understand. You are uncivilized and do not know the true ways of life, nor The Life Giver.’

            Harold’s spine stiffened at the realization of insult. ‘We know about nature and the origins of life. I don’t know why you would think we are uncivilized. We know how the universe works, that is how we found Ravenna Gamma.’ 

            ‘Nature is not The Life Giver. Only a heathen would think everything in the created world created itself. As if a story could tell itself or a painting could paint itself. We have been studying your ways and investigating your beliefs. Fools. You are fools. Your laws and beliefs are centered upon selfishness, as if human beings were the center of existence.’

            ‘Human beings are the pinnacle of creation. There is nothing greater in the universe than the human spirit.’

            The man stood up, ‘If that is your creed, then you are indeed a fool. It does not matter, though. What matters is that you understand the message I have given you and you will take it back to your Elders, or as you call them, The Corporation.’ 

            ‘What happens,’ Harold asked, ‘if we ignore your warning and bring many more people and build large cities and cultivate this planet for our own benefit. That is what we did on four of the planets in the ZBerg system and three of them in the Smiley system. Now that we know humans are already on this planet, it will make the transition faster.’

            The man shook his head in disbelief. ‘If you ignore us, Turtle Shell itself will fight you, just as it did today with the waterfall and the flowers. You will not survive here without our help, and we will not help if you ignore us, our ways, and our requests. You cannot live without us, but we will live far better without you.’

            The man walked out of the radiant light and into the darkness.       

Captains Log — Stardate THANKSGIVING!

I have wonderful news for you!

Today begins the ‘Thanksgiving Stories” I promised you from the Fondue Writers Club. Each one of us are taking a day to provide a FREE story that has a general theme of Thanksgiving. You’ll recall in the past we’ve brought you COVID Chronicles, Halloween tales, unthemed shorts, and now THANKSGIVING STORIES!

You’re welcome.

Today we start with Kathy Kexel who goes science fiction on us. I am so proud of her. When you read her story, look for my last name in the text. It is in there, I promise. I think she is virtue signaling.

Click on your present location to read Kathy’s logbook narrative, “Other” and come back tomorrow for another FREE Thanksgiving themed story.

The Meteor Shower Is Free, The Lobotomy Will Cost You!

I wish I had the words to describe Joseph Courtemanche’s free Halloween themed short story, but I just don’t. There is a lot of science fiction to it with definite homage to H. G. Wells. There is also a kind of biting critique of bureaucracy that reminds me of Orwell to some extent. If this were movie, Mel Brooks would have to direct it.

All I can tell you for sure is that it is fun! Joseph takes the Fondue Writers Club back to its COVID roots with this one.

Click the Hubble Space Telescope to read “Little Ambassadors”. But I will warning you, don’t be frightened by the pistol on top of the Bible when you go to his page. Joe is one of the kindest people you could ever meet, and he moonlights as a Santa Claus.

If you click on one of the clouds instead of the telescope you’ll be
transported to a secret meeting of the Flat Earth Society

This Free Story Is Daring You To Read It!

I went full on sci-fi spec-fit for this one. I hope you like it.

Remember, these COVID-Chronicle stories are free — no hooks or gimmicks, no paywalls or email’s to give. We just want to give you something to read during the quarantine. Of course, if you like or stuff, feel free to buy something over at the Amazons. I have books over there just waiting for you to read them.


The Parallax

A COVID Chronicle Short Story

Jamie D. Greening

 “The humans are in trouble,” Archon Streegan stood as she made her report. “And the situation has become,” she snorted before continuing, closing all four of her eyes, “worse.”

“We know all about the problems they are having with the malady. My hope is for their numbers to decrease and so too their impact upon the world.” The Exalted Alpha of the Council of Wise Ones was famous for his disdain of humans. Since they exploded atomic weapons he’d secretly itched for their demise. Many of the Nunaki agreed with him, which is why he was chosen as the Exalted Alpha. Sharing the same planet with humanity was a judgment they accepted from The Creator, but it was not one they enjoyed. 

“The good news, then,” Streegan said, “is that very well may happen. Our prediction is ten percent of their population will perish from the malady.”

“That is not near enough for my taste,” The Exalted Alpha hissed. Many of the other council members chirped their approval. “Ten percent doesn’t remove the stench of their combustion engines or cleanse the waves in the air of their perversion.”

Streegan’s face turned from its natural blue to a bright yellow. This quieted the group. “I must present evidence from our science departments about the nature of this depletion and its implications to my brothers and sisters, fellow archons and superiors. Please allow me.” She bowed and tilted her head to the archon side of the room, then to the superior side of the room, and finally to the Exalted Alpha on his pedestal.

“Many apologies, dear sister archon,” The Exalted Leader said. “Please continue.”

“Blessings and thanksgivings to you, O Exalted Benefactor.” Streegan said, still bowed. Then she stood upright again. “The malady is spread by contact with people. This is a situation we do not deal with in our realm, but in the other parallax, this is the way this particular malady operates. Because of this, the common people will mostly be spared because they turn in fewer circles. It is the leaders, heads of governments, the archons, superiors, and exalteds of human society who will expire in greater percentages. Leaders of business, industry, science, and the learned classes will fade away leaving the masses to their own devices. The result will be incompetence. Great incompetence is already occurring. It will get worse. Destabilization will occur. Wars will erupt. Warships are even now being deployed across our seas. Suspicion and paranoia are rampant. Conspiracies are fluid.

“We’ve been monitoring humans for millennia and know their patterns better than they know themselves. Wars, violence, and societal dislocation will take another fifty percent. Many who are left will die of other diseases and starvation.”

Streegan could see from the looks on their faces they were unconcerned. Their inability to see the symbiosis of their two races frustrated her. The ancient books were clear about how linked the two were, but since the rise of New Thinking there was nothing but disgust for the humans. 

“If this were the only news I had, I understand why you would dismiss it,” she said. “And I would concur there would be nothing we could do. But there is more to convey. Our analytical team has retrieved a sample of the malady and we have spent considerable energy dissecting it. This is not a new woe. It is old. Very old. We don’t know how the humans reacquired it. It dates back to the Time Before.”

“The Time Before?” Archon Dmnstryn was embarrassed by his outburst, but others chirped. He would not be punished for the breach in protocol.

“Yes, Before. This is the same malady which took our ancestors away forever. It is the same.”

“Are you sure, Archon Streegan?” The Exalted Leader’s color became green.

“Yes. I am sure, and I share the concern.” Her color turned green as well, as did most in the room. We have checked and double checked. It is identical to the First Woe.” She took a deep breath and twitched antennae. “But we have a plan and we have retrieved the remedy from the Holy Place. We should give the remedy to the humans. If we can stop the spread of the malady in their realm it will not penetrate our parallax. Our survival depends upon saving them.”


Superior Ptolmex stepped to the middle of the room and bowed low toward Archon Streegan then pivoted toward The Exalted Leader. Her actions indicated she was requesting to ask a question. The Exalted Leader’s color turned red signaling his approval.  

“How can this be done? There is no place of concourse which now exists between our realms? The last concourse closed when The Flood came.”

“This is partially true,” Streegan said. “Open intersection is no longer possible. Yet there remain humans who still see glimpses of our realm. There is one we have identified who sees well. Our plan is to give the remedy to him. What I need from this council is permission to proceed.”

The severity of the situation and the consequences of inaction overwhelmed the normally slow decision-making process. There were no conventions held or days of fasting and reflection. The Council members all turned ash gray without deliberation. Permission was granted.

***

Sometimes the air shimmered. Other times it folded, the way a meringue folds on itself while being whipped in a copper bowl if it were translucent. Often, he could see shapes moving but mostly he could only hear pleasant tones of beeps and chirps, like birds, but with a sense of grammar. 

 Ezra Feldman tried to explain it to his mother when he was twelve. He was rewarded for his honesty with a year’s worth of visits to a psychiatrist. When he was in college, he shared the experience with a professor. The professor suggested he take LSD to explore the possibilities of opening his mind to what was happening. He followed this advice with his girlfriend one night. They were awakened the next morning by the person trying to clean the bathroom of the Taco Bell. He had “Don’t Fear the Reaper” written on his chest with magic marker and a phone number written on a piece of cardboard in his underwear. 

He never called the number.

After his firstborn entered the world, he developed a good relationship with his rabbi. One night at dinner, he spoke with him about it. The rabbi suggested Ezra might be one of those people who could peer into the in-between space. He encouraged him to open his mind and clear his thoughts when he had those moments and to focus upon the transcendent and endless nature of God. 

“Perhaps,” his rabbi told him as he stuck Peking duck into his mouth with a chopstick, “you are having a philosophical breakthrough into the essence of being.”

“Or,” Ezra said, “I’m a lunatic.”

“It must remain a distinct possibility,” the rabbi laughed.

That was twenty years ago. 

When the air shimmered and folded this time, he didn’t care about existence or lunacy. He only hoped for one thing. He hoped to see Jo. “Maybe if I look hard enough, I can see you,” he whispered.

It was predawn, about five-thirty in the morning. Ezra drank coffee and read the news on his phone. He heard it first. When he looked up from his phone, for the first time in a very long time, he saw the air shimmer. The folds seemed more pronounced, truer than ever. There was color to the moment, but he couldn’t make out what color it was or where it came from. Jo loved color. Everything about her was shining color. Maybe she was trying to speak to him from wherever it was the dead lived.

“Jo, is that you?” His voice lifted at the end. “Please God, let it be her.”

The memory of her crushed him. The virus. The coughing. The hospital. Not being able to see her. Saying goodbye on a phone. The pathetic funeral with no mourners. 

“Jo,” he said again, standing up. He reached out his hand toward the ruffle in space. “I love you. Come back. Please baby, come back.” 

He focused as hard as he could, but he couldn’t hold grab the essence. The shimmering stopped. The color drained. The feeling left. The moment was gone. 

Ezra left his study to take a shower. He was at work by seven. There were two heart procedures he had to perform before noon. It was lighter than his normal workload as the COVID-19 restrictions on surgeries put regular operations on hold. But these couldn’t wait.

By five he was home to his empty house. He ate an apple and drank a half glass of mineral water then decided to go for a walk.

The park was lovely with the leaves golden; it was exactly the way Jo loved it. It was their park. They even bought a row of benches for the alder trees. A bronze plaque with “Ezra and Joanna Feldman: Earth Day 1998” on each one. The autumn sunlight faded as he returned home.

He was as agitated and antsy as he was before he’d left. The pills were in the medicine cabinet. He thought about taking a couple. It would probably help him. He doubted he’d be able to sleep without them.

He didn’t take them, though. He wanted to feel the misery. It was the only thing he’d felt since April. 

***

“We are ready for our next attempt, Archon Streegan.” The keeper of science stood erect on two of her four legs as she waited for a reply.   

“Good. This time, we will succeed.”

Streegan took her spot underneath the ancient terebinth of Avram. The first attempt had taken a toll on her mind and body. The tree too, needed time to heal. The ancient bark had cracked. They mended it with balm and words of love.

One hundred and forty-four lengths away, The Order of Keepers formed a circle around the tree and their archon. When Streegan turned the color of amber, they began to chirp in rhythm the incantation they’d kept for thousands of years. Archon Streegan allowed her mind to rest, then placed her flat face against the knot on the tree. She formed the image of the human in her head then chirped the liturgical response of the keepers. She forced the energy from her feet, through her torso, and up to her brain and out of her antennae.  

There he was. The one named Ezra.

She called his name in her heart. Words would not work. The beautiful clicks and chirps of her language was too different from the barbaric grunts of humanity. She had to make the connection through her soul to his. 

Ezra heard his name.

\He’d fallen asleep in his bed while reading a book. He awoke to the shimmer. 

And the sound. 

“Jo,” he said. “Jo?”

“Ezra,” Streegan called to him.

He sat up. His nightstand light still on, but the light from it danced. The space at the foot of the bed shimmered, and parted. Ezra squinted his eyes at the rainbow colors which poured out of the prism of energy that created the doorway between the two realms.  

“I have something important for you.” Streegan said.

“You don’t sound like Jo?”

“I am not Jo. I am another. We must make haste. I do not know how long we can maintain the portal. Speed and efficiency are necessary. Do you understand.”

Ezra did not, but he said, “Yes.”

Streegan began her rehearsed speech. “You are a healer. We have for you the way to heal your realm of the malady.”

“COVID-19?”

“Yes,” Streegan said. “Open your mind and I will give it to you.”

 “Open what?” The middle-of-the-night visitation made Ezra a literalist as he thought the voice from the rainbow was intending to open his skull. “Are you about to hurt me?”

“No, it will not hurt.” Streegan picked up Ezra’s underdeveloped brain patterns and saw his concern. “We will not touch you. Be calm and let me tell you the balm. Rest your thoughts.”

“You sound like the rabbi,” he said. Then he closed his eyes and thought about the rainbow of light. Streegan found the thought thread she was seeking, then her antennae began to vibrate at supersonic speeds. The crackle came through the portal; it carried in one message the precise technique and materials necessary to formulate a cure.

Ezra opened his eyes and stared into the rainbow. His bond with Streegan was strong enough now to see her on the other side. He saw the tree she stood under, her four legs, four arms, horse-like torso, hard angular face similar to an ant, blue color, glowing antennae, and four eyes.

Thinking of his grandson he asked, “Will the cure you gave me hurt the babies?”

“No,” Streegan said. Her tone reminded him of his grandmother. She sounded very old and wise. “The unborn will not be harmed. Larvae are precious in the eyes of The Creator. It is not necessary to destroy life to save life. The malady itself is alive and has agency. To destroy its evil, you must use the essence of new life which has not seen the corruption wrought by freedom. Purity is needed to remove and replace the impure.”

Ezra said, “I am only a surgeon. I don’t treat this kind of illness.”

“You must find a way. Two realms depend on you.”

“I’ll do my best.” His eyes widened, “Did Jo send you? Is she with you?”

“None of your kind are here.”

“Why are you helping us, then, if Jo didn’t send you.”

“The malady, what we call The Old Woe, affected our realm a long, long time ago when the two realms were closer together. In those days we had concourse with your kind. Your people were just beginning, and the pestilence did not cause as much damage to humans as it did to the Nunaki, but it did indeed come to us from you. I remember, I was a pupa then. To prevent your filth from repeating the same contamination of our realm, we have decided to help you in order to preserve our way of life.”

“I thought Jo sent you. This seems like the kind of thing she would do.” Ezra shook his head. “Do you know where Jo is? Do you know where the dead go?”

“The dead go Beyond to the Ultimate Realm.”

“Will I ever see Jo again?”

“I cannot answer that. But I can tell you, in our realm, we do not live for those who have left. We live for those who are to come.” 

The rainbow disappeared. 

Streegan squeaked. “I am growing weak. The link must end. Make haste, Ezra Feldman.”

“Wait,” Ezra said, but Streegan was gone. He was alone in his bedroom again with only the Wisconsin murder mystery book to keep him company. And his tears. 

Time vanished as he cried. At some point in the night he stopped crying as a thought came to him. An old friend from med-school was his friend on social media and that friend worked at a pharmaceutical lab which he believed had a contract with the CDC. He grabbed his phone and sent his friend a message detailing the cure which was shared with him.

\He put on his walking shoes and walked to the park again, in the dark. He didn’t need light; the harvest moon was up high and bright. He sat on one of their benches and listened to owls talk to each other. At dawn he walked home. His feet were cold, but his heart strangely grew warm. 

When he walked in the door his phone chirped. His friend had replied, “This is brilliant. How did you figure this out?”

Ezra typed out, “I saw it in a dream. I think Jo sent it to me.”

***

“Archon Streegan, how are things with the vexatious humans?”

“I am happy to report, Exalted Alpha,” Streegan bowed low and turned blue, “our plan has prospered. The malady has been healed and a woe has been averted.”

The archons and superiors all turned yellow. The remainder of the meeting consisted of issues from other archons and superiors such as food allocations and education. When the meeting ended, Archon Streegan went to the Cave of Memory. She found the alcove her tribe and then the stalagmite with her clan. There she saw the names and images of her larvae and their offspring for numerous generations. Then she came to the name and images of her father and mother. They died in the Old Woe. She remembered, and her color turned to ash. “Where do the dead go?” she asked.