In this section, the main characters' arrival is witnessed by a local lifeform.
Rez sat on the sandy hills, popping rocks. One thought ran round her limited brain, not least because that was the most thinking it was capable of at one time but also because the thought was important: the new clubs weren’t as good as the old ones. Had her brain been larger she might have recalled many things about the old society that she preferred.
The new clubs were too short. Holding one of the stubby, shiny weapons in her ebony flesh, she had to move a lot closer to what she wanted to hit, and even she knew that was dangerous.
Its shininess distracted her.
Hadn’t she just been thinking about something else, before the glint of light on the smooth surface had drawn her attention? However, when she squeezed the middle of the new club it did go fizz and pop anything that she pointed it at. The noise had made her jump the first time, but soon alarm gave way to joy as she pointed the club at many things including what passed for trees in the dry climate, plants, stones and even a desert pomrat.
Plus, she couldn’t grip it well. Its tiny handle and loops infuriated her.
“Clubs should be round and solid. Hand grabs, holds club.” She wrapped her whole hand around the shiny enigma until it could barely be seen poking out of her fist, and then squeezed it before releasing it. “Not tiny handle. Fingers dance to hold anything.”
The object dropped to the dust.
She left it there and stared at it, hoping it might melt under her contempt or at least realise the frustration it put her through.
“Why all the noise? Me want old club.”
She stuck out her forked tongue at the new one, wiggling the two points independently, then walked away, kicking dust up as she went. Narrow strips of cloth, attached only at the collar, twisted about her in jerky movements, timed to her kicks. They could have been classified as clothing had they been made with more substance and discretion of the wearer in mind.
She barely made it to the trio of large rocks a few metres from where she had sat, her hand reaching out for the smallest in preparation to launch herself over them, when the shininess of the new club penetrated her mind even from there. She paused. Her rear strips, bright against her flesh, slapped against her like followers who hadn’t noticed she had stopped.
“Is fun popping stuff.”
There came two moments of reflection then she glanced over her shoulder at the object lying in the dust.
“Could just pop until home arrives.”
A snort of self-disgust. She turned back, cloth strips twirling. They danced with every movement of her body, warding off bloodthirsty insects. The fact that this often exposed certain bulges and dips in her figure was a mere coincidence that had never crossed her mind because it couldn’t find such a small target.
With a swipe of her hand she scared off another insect, then sauntered the rest of the way to the new weapon, bending at the waist to pick it up.
“So doll. Doll to play. Doll if seen.”
Yet she smiled and almost fumbling the device, rose to point it at one of the three rocks. With a fizz and a pop the triplets became twins, showering baby rocks all around. Rez cheered and jumped up and down, abruptly stopping to cough. She spat out lots of dust, and again.
Giving her pool of spit no more thought, for that would have meant she would have forgotten her way home, Rez set off at a casual lolloping pace to that very place, looking with lolling movements of her head and ungainly jerks of her body for something other to zap. After several short minutes of nothing presenting itself, she started pointing it any which way and pulling the trigger. With each fizz and pop she made her own noises. New craters exploded into existence, and then the device swung skywards and fired.
A beam of yellow light surged forward from the weapon and as soon as it stopped - this time with no audible pop - she noticed, from behind the device, a glowing dot in the sky. The dot grew bigger until she could make out flames around this shape. A fireball?
Since when with fire from sky? Fire burns houses and some times Nev’s pet. That’s all, she thought. There was no denying it though; something fell from the sky aflame. Her gun arm moved across her brow to shield her narrow eyes from the sun. As she gawped up at the anomaly the fire vanished with only a whisper of smoke, and she gasped. It looked dark now, grey, but still it fell.
She looked at the device in her shielding hand, dangling in front of her.
What I made go pop and fall?
She could only think that it must be worth a lot to be up there. People who owned things like that had ways of finding out who damaged them too, so she knew it would be useless running, but run she did, towards the falling object.
“Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” she cried as her gangly legs carried her unsteadily across sand and stone. “Sorry! Sorrysorrysorrysorry!”
As the sky doodad dropped lower and lower it grew larger, burning the air as it went. After it dropped beyond the cliff ahead of her, and that meant it had fallen into the wasteland, there came a tremendous clatter. Rez skidded to a halt, huddled into a ball and covered her ear slits.
It took a good five minutes for it to die down piece by piece. The mountains of junk that had served as the doodad’s cushion rolling, crashing, colliding and falling, then every time she thought it had finished there would be another clunk as one more rejected contraption from the pile went to see what had caused such a ruckus.
When a lasting silence reached Rez’s ears, it kicked her into action. She jogged to the cliff edge, afraid and fascinated by what she might see. She expected the heaps of unwanted, broken, useless, misunderstood technology stretching out below her, but somewhere amongst it there lay a new curiosity and one she had been forced to care about for a change.
There it was! At least, in a rare moment of deductive logic, Rez reasoned that the large dip that now lay midway would hold what she sought. She thought about moving, and so she hopped unwaveringly forward as she was incapable of considering two things at once. Nor then could she conceive of what might have happened should she have slipped on the jagged metal. It had been piled so high that it almost overshadowed the cliff that she leapt from.
Every now and then another metallic item still clattered into the fragmented crater. It was slow going as she scrambled across sheets of metal, devices that looked like orbs with flashing lights, some that resembled tubes, others that looked like they could either make coffee or destroy the world at a touch of a button and others still that had never been removed from their packaging. They slipped under her bare feet and the tightening grip of her hands. On one device, her toe, with its small pointed talon, caught a button and the object started beeping. By the time she came near to the crash site it chugged and groaned then exploded brown liquid over its neighbours.
“Your coffee is now ready,” said a voice, but Rez only heard sharp, grating tones. She ignored them. Something pushed at the junk ahead of her from underneath, just in front of a section of the skybox that jutted out of the waste.
She slowed, remaining on all fours, watching.
A hand emerged first, throwing aside another timesaving or world-destroying device for it to slam into more junk with a bang, but it was not this noise that made Rez jump. The hand looked so pale, like a pomrat’s fur, but the hand did not seem hairy.
“Rat hand,” she muttered.
It rose up, followed by an arm, a head and eventually a whole body, so pale it looked like a dead person. Rez had only seen a corpse once when she had worked as a cleaner in the arenas and it had drained of colour too, and slowly turned into goo. She had quit that job immediately after, deciding there had to be a way for a newt like her to earn status without losing bladder control every day, but when dead people walked around like this, at least you could talk to them.
“Dead man!” she called out. She straightened up and waved her arms to attract his attention, almost losing her balance in the process. “Dead man! Sorry.”
The man, who had since turned around to pull out another person, glanced over. His mouth formed an ‘O’ at the sight of her. Was this good or not? Certainly it was good for Rez that these people seemed much like her in appearance and they must be rich to have a moving skybox. She smiled. They would be good friends who could give her a decent club again with all their riches.
The second figure had now reached the surface and stood beating itself with its hands. Determining it best to address her new friends correctly, else she might not get her new club, Rez observed their nature. Her tongue flicked in and out. The first was a man, she recognised them easily from sight and smell, and the second.... Rez looked down at herself, a glistening, stick-like ebony figure, and then at the others. The second had greater curves than Rez. She was a female then.
“Dead man,” she nodded at him, and then at her, “Dead woman. Sorry. New club pop your skybox. Sorry.”
The two figures jumped backwards, eyes locked on Rez’s new club, raised in demonstration. The surface being what it was, they spent the next minute or so trying to balance again.
“You want?” Rez asked, holding the new club out. “You can have. Rez likes old clubs.”
The man jabbered, his speech all sharp unrecognisable tones. He shook his hands back and forth, his mouth pointed downwards and then he jabbered at the pale woman. While Rez wondered what to make of this, the noises slowed with the woman joining in.
“Ok. What you saying?” Rez asked. “You have skybox but cannot talk?”
The two then took turns to jabber at her, but Rez growled as her arms crossed. He had looked frightened at first, but now she wasn’t so sure.
She looked at their bug catchers. Large and flat, the cloth wouldn’t swat any bugs at all because they had no movement. Too few rings and no rings, Rez noticed.
It was their flesh that fascinated her though. She leaned in to prod the man’s hand as it held the woman’s, to see if it felt gooey like she thought.
“It’s not gooey. Soft and cold though.” She straightened up. “Aren’t you cold, dead man?”
 Who was rather annoyed about the whole ordeal because he had just spent the last nine hours searching for some water and his nose seemed confident that it was getting close when his flesh suddenly decided it wanted to be outside of his skin.
 Though no one seemed to have noticed that the bloodsucking insects had become extinct over one hundred years ago.
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