(Arallets’ Revenge on the Grey Planet)
Early evening, an hour or two before twilight, the heat wave dropped from the “Grey Planet,” in the Dark Galaxy. Tangor lay in his bunk within his spacecraft watching and listening to the landing and the glare of the back engines as they descended, Arallets was the pilot, the rains loud fury that had been a moment before and it drumming fierce echoing had come to a halt. They had landed in a grave and barren area, where the Jawbone People lived, Arallets wanted her revenge for her mother’s death, and she wanted genocide, to bring turmoil to the whole Jawbone race, and then eradicate them, one and all. She looked at her lover, her travel mate, Tangor with: still, cold, pale eyes—
“It’s inherent,” she said, “possible atavistic, in the genes, I can’t wait for revenge forever, or any longer!”
It had not seemed long, yet the evening had gone, and it was past twilight, with the jawbone from one of the bulls she had killed on Planet Toso, she picked it up and walked within the dark grey of the night. Tangor had wanted her to let go of her hatred, her revenge, it was still eating at her though. Like a perinea fish gnawing at her soul, a snapping turtle chewing at the main artery of her heart, so she had told him these past few years. Of course it was, he told himself; he always thought it was there!
The Jawbone tribe was now camping, some crossing over the desert looking for animals in the dusty lowlands, where she was. Tangor, in the spacecraft had turned the light switch off so they’d not be the wiser. Arallets knew the tribe, its location, was walking fast to it. She also knew there were less than a hundred of them total to their race, and most likely not all would be there, and she, like her mother when she first had went to the Planet SSARG, she was at her prime.
There seemed to be a ‘V’ in this unfenced straggling desert, one that went into the sandy desert—where she heard voice hunting the stray dogs for food, the other that went into a more rough and broken stone area, she did not hesitate, she went towards the fire, the rough area, the smell of the fire, was of a dirty bucolic taste, and she could see dotted flames a mile off—several fires evidently within a small area, and as she went to either side of it, it vanished, thus, she figured it was within an enclosure.
Behind her beyond, some twenty miles behind her, was the spacecraft, beyond that where hills, no longer in sight, she now was already slowing down, nearing the camp.
She could hear again, the voices of the Jawbone People, as she carried her jawbone of the Great Bull of Toso, the lower part, weighing some fifty to seventy pounds. And there was a man standing by the central fire, the largest of the several fires, and she seemed to recognize him, as if she had second sight, the man who took revenge for her mother’s beating, a terrible beating at that.
Self-sufficient and violent he looked; born in a primitive land with no rules, shouting at some kids. She hid among the ridges of the natural enclosure, and waited for sunset to arrive, and then she’d make her move, when everyone was just waking, half drowsy, and when the hunters just coming back from the hunt were tired; hence, she would be rested and fed, and ready for battle, she took out some meat and bread she had from the spacecraft, and nibbled on it.
This was something more that she had missed, while contemplating her revenge: kids, “I didn’t see them,” she said to herself, and she knew this was something that hadn’t happened yet, but they’d get in the way, and she’d have to make up her mind if it was all, or some: some meant she’d put her life in harms way to avoid killing the kids, more so than ‘all’; for this reason, it would have to be all or none, it was all.
It was daybreak, the heat wave started: with still, cold, pale eyes, raising her voice, making wild hand gestures, she rapidly dropped down into the camp, subdued the guard with a blow of the jawbone— the one who had killed her mother, the one who had led the group to kill her mother he was on his knees before her, as if he had been waiting for her arrival, knowing someday, somewhere she’d show up, convulsively gripping her cloak before she went onto her rampage: looking up into her dark eyes ablaze, hoping she had passion, suddenly she laughed: “You’re sorry, but it’s too late, and sorry don’t do a damn bit of good…” her soul was stirred, she was flanked on either side—but it didn’t matter to her, she’d take them out like swatting flies, so she told herself, then he let out a brief passionate cry, said: “I know I am guilty,” all were silent, “and I know you can kill many of us, perhaps all of us, we took advantage of your mother’s age, and her weakened condition, it was wrong, but if you kill us all, we will no longer be a people, you will break the balance of this land…kill me alone!”
And he looked at her great strength and the jawbone, and he knew she might by luck wipe out her race, several hunters were out of the camp, there was for sure, the weaker and older and all of the children available, along with several fighting young men, even though she detested his effort, she listened, for her anger was going to make her reckless, and she sensed it but she needed hate to kill like a wild beast and she had driven herself to this edge:
“take my life, let the rest of us live, we are not the hungry wolves you think we are, it was I who stirred the people, just I…!” he pleaded,
she looked at them as if she was the Black Devil, all she could think was: I came on a road of death for my enemies, and she wanted her pound of flesh, her thousand pounds of flesh, or ten-thousand pounds, all the more the better, but a voice came to her mind, it was that of her grandmother’s, Jokaneen: ‘Agree with him, save the tribe, and draw up your great jawbone, and your legend, like Siren’s will be born for a thousand years, but leave a reminder!”
And she nodded her head, as to agree with the man on his knees that she would take his life, along with one other exception, and with a dash caught at his head, his pale eyes went ablaze and then blank, and his head like an acorn fell of its stem and into the fire, and her revenge was near final—but not compete.
The Next day, just before Tangor and Arallets were to lift off, to begin their journey back to Earth’s solar system, how orderly and ordinary everything seemed, as Tangor looked at Arallets, knowing she didn’t kill everyone as she said she would, what did she do besides killing the main culprit, and wounding a guard? Her name, and her mother’s name and her grandmother’s name were famous characters, always acting inappropriate for the norm—she had to have done something else to appease her soul’s revenge.
“I wonder what the pack you made with those Jawbones was,” he muttered—it was a statement-question, and he waited impatiently.
“The children were sulking with their mothers, sisters with their brothers, and I wasn’t going to spend the night there, and they were waiting for me to compete my revenge, unknowing what was on my mind, what could replace this anger inside of me, but I had agreed to it, they were worried, after I tore off the head of their clansman. And they all drove together to the fire, a crowd and asked, ‘What can we do to pacify you?’
“You can imagine what they were thinking, minds full of terror. Figuring it would be all over soon, perhaps I’d go back on my word and not let them live: crying, and at that moment an idea come to my brain, it made its way through my head like a door opening up, and a message was inside and it came out floating out: and I grabbed it, and then I grabbed a stone knife from a young man, and I cut everyone’s thumbs and big toes off, they could not conceal this, and they’ll remember this for a thousand years, realize a sad end came to them because of one man, and they’ll fear my name, and my return for decades.”
Tangor gave her a grave expression, “I wish I’d had thought of that, they’ll realize, the great gift in such small things that are taken too often for granted. Kiss me,” he told her. “How complimentary to your legend,” he added after the kiss.
—oh, she had a temper, and perhaps it was done out of spite, but a seventy pound bull’s jawbone would scare the devil back down to his hole though Tangor. Then Tangor looked at his watch, pushed a button, and said “We’re off!”
Last OF the Cadaverous Planets