Part 3 should be here next Thursday.
The Past, Part 2
To Lena, it seemed to happen in slow motion. Leo’s arm raised up, his hand outstretched, his palm touched the button, it pressed in.
Then a blinding flash of red light and time sped up again.
She was standing on a wooden surface, the wide blue sky above her. Birds called out as they wheeled on the breeze.
“Where in Graynig are we?” Zinna said.
Lena lowered her gaze. A mast. Sails. Men. They were stood on the deck of an old-fashioned sailing ship.
She turned on a wide-eyed Leo. “Why in the universe did you press that button?”
He struggled to focus on her. “I don’t know. It was an undeniable urge, like when you just have to scratch an itch.”
Zinna glared at him. “When we get back, I’ll give you scratch an itch.”
“And who, or rather what, do we have here then?” A male voice, the words rounded by a strange accent.
Lena stepped towards the stout man. “By any chance, could you tell me where we are?”
He frowned. “I think I’ll ask the questions. Who are you and how did you get on my ship?”
A quick glance around gave no clues as to what sort of world this was. The ship indicated a not very advanced one, so would she be believed if she told the truth? But if she tried to blend in with this world’s inhabitants, how would she explain Zinna’s wings? The men on the ship had an outwardly human look. The truth it was. “We were transported here by accident. We need to find a way to get back to our ship.”
The man’s frown deepened. “Transported? What do you mean by that? And what is she?” He pointed at Zinna.
More men were gathering around them, curious and fearful looks on their faces. “What I mean is…” She struggled to find a way to explain. She was beginning to believe that they didn’t have her sort of technology here. “Zinna is, well, she’s from another world. Another planet.”
The man took a step back from her, and made a strange sign over his chest. A cross? “Demons,” he hissed. He looked disgusted, and afraid. “Light the torches!” he shouted. “Chase them from our ship!”
Lena stepped back, Zinna and Leo touching her back. “What are they doing?” Leo asked, panic in his voice. “Who are these people?”
Lena was getting an impression of where they could be, but she barely dared to believe it. It couldn’t be possible.
“More to the point,” Zinna snapped, “how are we going to get out of here alive?”
Men came onto the deck, brandishing lit torches. Lena had seen pictures of them before. Pieces of wood with a flame burning at the end.They were traditionally used to light up the darkness. The men came toward them, others without the burning weapons stepping back.
Lightning fast, Zinna leapt forward, drawing her gun as she moved. Her clawed hand grabbed at the big man’s throat. The gun at his head. She hissed, “One more move and I blow his brains out.”
The torch-bearers stopped moving. Unsure. Lena met Leo’s eyes. Her thoughts reflected back at her. What was Zinna planning?
“Now, you’re going to give us one of those smaller versions of this thing and let us go, and just to prove what I can do-” She let off a shot. A barrel exploded into flames. The muzzle went back to the man’s temple.
Wide eyes all around. All focused on the flaming barrel. It must have been a pre-gun world. Primitive by Lena’s standards.
“Do as the demon says,” the man said, his speech fast, shaky.
“We’re not demons,” Lena said. “We’re just different to you.”
He didn’t look convinced.
One of the small boats was lowered into the water.
“Get in it,” Zinna said, meeting Lena’s gaze. “I’m right behind you.”
Lena looked around her once more. This ship was just like the ones she had read about in Earth’s history. She wanted to explore and see just how similar it was. It might be the only chance she got.
“Go!” Zinna snapped.
She grabbed Leo’s hand and pulled him to the rail. They both clambered down a rope ladder and into the unsteady boat.
Moments passed, and scuffling came from above. Then Zinna dropped down into the boat, foregoing the ladder. She landed with a cat’s grace. The boat rocked. Lena grabbed onto the sides to keep from falling overboard. “Grab the oars,” she said to Leo. “Let’s go.”
He took one side, and she the other. The large ship got smaller and smaller on the horizon. Regret filled Lena. It was one of her dreams to see the predecessor to her own world’s ships. Sailors. On water or in space, they were all sailors.