A Different Species

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Chapter 11

"Is there any wynopa?" June asked, switching between both her and Kargon's languages.

Kargon reached into June's bag and grabbed the fruit she asked. The sight of the navy blue mango sized fruit had her mouth water. With open palms, she accepted it.

"Thank you," she smiled at him. The moment it was placed into her hands, she wasted no time to take her first bite. June didn't care whether it would stain her lips and teeth—not in the moment—but maybe later. Then again, Kargon never said anything about it, so she didn't mind it.

She plucked a piece of cooked meat from what once was a furry looking chicken Kargon had hunted earlier. The blend of flavors from both the fruit and meat was June's new favorite food combo. Maybe it was the fact she hadn't had any Earth food for so long, but at least her stomach wasn't complaining.

In the four weeks since June had been teleported to Kargon's planet, their communication had improved tremendously. During the first two weeks, memory was the key in learning each other's language. However, it was more June remembering everything Kargon pointed out to her. She'd repeat the word and if there was an English word for it, she'd tell Kargon afterwards.

They had each forgotten a few words from the other's language and wouldn't be able to relearn the word until they had played heads up. Only that there was no visual of the word they were describing, neither one of them could speak more than two words in the other's language, and that it wasn't a game.

This was reality.

During the third and fourth week, it was easier for them to understand each other. The two switched between both languages when speaking, like Spanglish, only it was English and Kargon's people's language.

Despite being fluent in French, June stuck to teaching Kargon English for the time being. Once they could have full conversations in either language, she'd introduce him to her parent's native language. She wondered if Kargon's people also spoke other languages.

Her gaze landed on Kargon once more. His eyes were trained on the blade in his hand as he sharpened it with the smooth side of a stone. He had made one for June the day before the flames terrorized their cave, unaware until he handed it to her after they settled into a new cave—miles away from the fire.

Ever since that day, Kargon had been distant.

She couldn't help but recall his behavior on their way to the cave the day before the fire. He had stopped his walk and stared into field of exotic trees and bushes. She never voiced her thoughts out loud but it was clear that something was wrong. June didn't know how long it lasted before Kargon resumed their journey. While she was glad they had moved again, Kargon still seemed as wary as when he stopped. The muscles in his back didn't ease until they reached the cave, but his blade didn't leave his hand.

And what a coincidence that the day after a fire had formed. June couldn't remember hearing any lightning during the night. Nothing in the sky nor the environment had alerted her that the weather would turn ugly. As unusual as her life at the moment was, in the time she spent here, that day seemed like any other.

As much as June tried denying the possibility, the fire might've been started by someone. It explains why she didn't hear anything through the night. What if we were being followed? Was that who Kargon had noticed? What motive did they have?

She pushed those thoughts away.

Not a word was exchanged about what happened. Whenever June noticed Kargon was lost in his thoughts, she'd ask him how he was doing to which he'd always reply 'I'm okay.' That led to end of the topic.

It took hours before their lungs removed all the toxins and replaced them with oxygen, other than that, neither one of them had received any injuries. At least none that were physical.

June could only imagine what Kargon must have felt—must be feeling. He carried the guilt of almost killing both of them when she knew it wasn't his fault. He was angry at himself. She saw it every time he stared into the small pit of fire they would make to cook their meat and light the cave they stayed in. Recently, she had taken that task, among others, wanting to lessen the workload from him as well as show her appreciation for everything he had done for her.

Kargon sat with his scarred side facing her across from the fire. She watched his muscles flex with every movement he made. She stared at the scarred portion of his dark complexion, trailing her eyes from his thigh up to his torso and arm.

Kargon had carried her for who knows how long in order to get away from the fire. She remembered how much he kept pushing and pushing himself even when she kept telling him that everything was okay. June didn't want to think of Kargon as incapable due to his injuries, but she did worry about him. That same day, when he found them a new cave, she insisted on making sure he was okay. She asked him all kinds of questions, whether he understood most of it or not, she needed to know he was okay. Kargon didn't speak to her, not until the next day to let her know he was heading out to get them food. Since then he has kept his distance and only approached her to hand her food or anything she asked for. Whether he was tired of her constant asking for things, he never showed. To June, it was the only way she could get him to come close to her.

Her heart ached at the thought.

June's gaze then reached the portion of his jaw and cheek that the red mask didn't cover. Some of it was scarred, but most of the damage was done from the neck and below.

She wondered what the significance of the mask was. Was it part of his people's culture and if so, why did they wear them? The more she thought about, she realized she had never seen Kargon without it on. If he ever did take it off, she wasn't there to see it. Her brows knitted together, creasing her skin.

Would he take it off if she asked him to?

Even if it was for a moment. Just to see how he looked like.

"Kargon?" She stood and made her way toward him.

He didn't move from his spot. However, June didn't miss how his shoulders tensed before quickly relaxing. Her green eyes caught sight of his violet ones and then the blade in his hand. "How come I've never seen you without a mask?" She gestured to her face. Using her fingertips, she made an outline of his mask as if she wore it. "It's not something commonly done with my people, unless it's tradition."

While his mind still processed her words, finding the meaning of each just as she had taught him, he didn't have to fully understand to realized what June wanted. His eyes widened and he shook his head.

"No, June."

This was something he couldn't—wouldn't do.

He never asked personal questions, things he thought were personal, because it only meant she'd have the right to do the same. While he had the choice to not answer, it seemed disrespectful, especially when June hadn't done anything wrong. She was the closest thing to a friend, but he could never be open about many things.

June immediately raised her hands. "Hey, it's okay. I'm sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable."

Kargon frowned. She apologized?

He tried ignoring the feeling settling in his chest. Both heavy and yet, light. The way in which she said her words was unlike the way many spoke to him, if they ever did. "Why?" He asked, his frown deepened. "There's nothing to see."

June only understood why and see. "Because I'm curious as to who you are," she responded. "You've seen me, day and night, and yet I only see what you let me, when you allow me to."

She genuinely wanted to get to know Kargon better. "I want to be your friend."

"Frehnd?" Kargon asked.

A small smile fell onto June's lips. His pronunciation wasn't perfect, but she didn't mind. She actually found it cute. The topic of friends had never been brought up. "Yes," she gestured between the two of them. "I want us to be friends. Friends help each other."

She couldn't wait till they were able to fully understand each other, be fluent in either one of their languages. She couldn't imagine not being able to speak with Kargon, to be with him. It was what she had been doing for weeks and now she couldn't imagine her days being any different.

As friends of course.

"Malah," Kargon said. "Malah is frehnd."

"Can we be malahs?"

Kargon remained silent, made no move.

June wanted to be his friend. Initially, he believed June only stayed with him because she knew she wouldn’t survive on her own. Using the man who saved her was her best bet. The moment he was no longer of use to her, she’d leave.

But as the days went by, his beliefs crumbled and new ones formed.

June showed interest in finding a way to communicate with him. She was eager to learn everything and anything he was willing to teach her. She wasn’t uncomfortable being around him, despite his deformity. June had done more than what many in his life had in years. The thought of it stirred something in Kargon.

Without further thought, he sent her a curt nod. “You and I are malahs.”

Her smile grew. "Great," June mimicked his nod.

And then there was silence.

June chuckled before she glanced at the fire. “I think we need more wood or are we good for the night?”

“I will get more.” He handed her her blade and rose to his feet.

“Stay safe.”

He turned to June who continued to look at him with a genuine smile. She added, “I’ll pack everything for when we leave morning.”

Her words earned her another nod. Kargon grabbed his things and made his way out of the cave.

Despite her worries, June knew he was capable on his own. He wasn’t going far, she reminded herself. At first, she was confused as to why he didn’t collect bark or branches from the trees closest to the cave. Kargon explained that certain trees burned quicker than others which meant having to go out more.

Muffled voices from outside the cave drew her attention.

She quickly tightened the grip on the handle, the point of her dagger pointing ahead. Quietly, she made it to the wall next to the opening and listened.

Instead of two, only one voice became louder. They were heading June’s way.

“Can I just say that it worries me that your vitals aren’t going up? Are you really not scared? I don’t see why we had to wait till the sun began to set.”

A male. Her grip tightened. Not once did she and Kargon run into any humans, nor any of Kargon’s people. There was no way they were the only two left in this planet. Then again, she was teleported here. Anything was possible.

But these people were here as well, whether human or alien.

“We can’t just leave her, Atlas.” A female voice.

They were right outside the cave, but they didn’t stop.

“I’m not saying we will, but the alien will be back soon. We could’ve waited till — right.”

The woman snapped her gaze to June and aimed her spear at her. June’s eyes widened. Before her stood another human female.

Thank you for reading ❤️

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