(formerly "A Little Story")
Posted 21 June 96
Max thought as he washed. It was the best time to think, because washing is so comforting, his mind could race far beyond his normal distractions. The thought which most occupied him today was the Outworld. He didn't know the real name, but he called it Outworld, as that was the difference between where he was and where It was.
He had always been inside, since he was an infant. He started out inside, with his mother and brothers and sisters, and it was quite a while before he even saw Outworld. He was the first to look through the clear into It; his siblings were oblivious, concerned only with the growing and the feeding and the washing and the learning from mother. His mother had talked of It, but only in whispers, as if it were not somethingpers, as if it were not something she wanted them to think about. She said the Bigs were very strict about letting small ones experience Windplace, which is what his mother called Outworld. He didn't know about wind, but he guessed his mother did. Whenever he tried to learn it from her, he got confused. Max thought his word was better, since it helped him keep things straight.
Now that Max and his sister Kira were living with their own Bigs, he had more clear to look through. Clear was the way he could see Outworld, and his Bigs had lots more of it than his mother's. And now that Max's growing was nearly complete, he could reach more of the clear, to see all around. Bigs could come and go to Outworld as they wished, but they made the rules for little ones like Max and Kira. There were many rules and Max had not learned them all yet, but he was trying. He sometimes got angry with Kira, since she did not seem to care about learning the rules. She would tell him, "The Bigs have far too many rules, I prefer to make my own. "I know the Bigs won't hurt us, they need us to take care of inside! "We help them every chance we get, and they give us feeding, even if we don't learn rules. "You go ahead and learn them, I'll stick to my own, since they are nicer for me."
Max knew, though. He knew that remembering rules would be his best chance at the Outworld. Kira just doesn't have the curiosity, he thought tosity, he thought to himself. She doesn't care about where she is, as long as the feeding comes. He fantasized about going to Outworld, and having many adventures. He would come back and make Kira smile with his tales of wonders. Then she would want to go too, and she would take more care to learn the rules. Max wanted this, because he knew it made the Bigs happy. Aside from making his sister happy, making the Bigs happy was his favorite thing.
His washing done, he went to the clear to try to understand more Outworld things. He could see Flyers, Scooters, and Hoppers. There were so many different kinds! He wanted to learn them all. He liked the Flyers best. They were the ones who could go anywhere in Outworld. Scooters and Hoppers could not go beyond the barrier, but the Flyers could. They just went up, up and up. Max wondered if he would be a Flyer when he got there. He hoped he would be. Those Flyers had the best adventures, he figured. They could go up and up and look at the Scooters and Hoppers down below. They could even look down on the Bigs! Max could look down on Bigs from the high parts inside, but the Bigs could come up there too, then he felt small again. The Bigs could not come up to the Flyers. And the Flyers were fast! They were even faster then Max, he was pretty sure.
He listened to the Flyers. He spent a lot of time trying to make Flyer sounds, but he was inside the clear, and the clear stop and the clear stopped much of the sounds. Max liked to practice the Flyer sounds. He figured that he may be able to fool the Flyers into staying on the ground if he could make the right sounds. Then he could get close enough to learn them, and that would be the best learning of all!
Max looked down just in time to see a Hopper come close. Hoppers were either small or big, the big ones looked a little like him and Kira. They were smaller than he was, and he thought they might not be as fast. Max watched the Hopper as it hopped around looking for feeding. He decided that even if he could not learn the Flyers, he could learn Hoppers and Scooters, and that would be good, too.
Max was studying the Outworld so hard, he didn't even hear the smooth Big come in. He jumped when he heard the Big call him. How long had it been there, watching him? He went to the Big, and listened to it. He liked the sounds this Big made. The smooth Big had the nicer sounds, and it made Max feel safe and happy. The rough Big made some nice sounds too, but they just weren't as good as this one's. Max was starting to learn the sounds the Bigs made. He knew they were telling him things and he knew that one day, he would learn the sounds well enough to tell the Bigs things, too. Maybe even his adventures in Outworld! But for now, he just listened to the sounds, and made his own sounds, trying to tell the Big he felt nice, and he felt happy, and he felt happy.
The Bigs listened to Max and Kira's sounds, and sometimes Max thought they understood him, but he wasn't sure. When Max made his happy sounds, the Bigs liked it, he knew that. So he made his happy sounds for this one now. Kira heard and came up to him. She nuzzled him, which made him even happier. Max loved his sister. They had been together since the first, and she was his best friend.
She asked him, "Are you still trying to talk the Bigs into sending you to Windplace?"
Max replied, "Yes, but you know I call it Outworld. "Why do you use mother's word when you know I don't understand it?"
"It doesn't matter," she said. "They won't let you go there, it is not for us."
"I think they will," he said. "I think that soon, I will know enough rules, and It will be time to go there."
"You and your rules. "Outworld is not worth the trouble!"
"You'll see. "When I go to Outworld, I'll have great adventures, and you will hear my stories of them. "Then you will want to go, too."
"I don't know," she said. "Outworld looks dangerous to me. "The Hoppers and Scooters frighten me, and the Flyers are terrifying! "They are faster than you, Max. "They may take you up and up! "I would not want you to go away.ld not want you to go away."
"Don't worry," he said. "The Flyers are too small to take me away. "I'll always come back, so I can tell you my stories! "You worry too much, Kira."
"Maybe so," she said, yawning. "But it doesn't matter. "I still think you will not be allowed. "Mother told us the Bigs were strict about Outworld."
Kira's yawn was contagious. Max replied through one of his own, "You may be right, -ahhhhhh- but-I-hope-not -hmmmm. "I want to go to Outworld more than anything!"
"I know, Brother. "Now, get some rest and dream of your big adventures."
As the little ones drifted off, the smooth Big left them. Max's last thought was how much the Bigs loved them and how that alone could mean he will be allowed to go to Outworld. The Bigs liked Max and Kira to be happy, and going to Outworld would make him more happy than anything!
Ok, on to Chapter two!
Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 by John M. Meyer. All rights reserved. The Alien Mind is not associated with any earthly company or its products.
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