Building the bonds

Alexis woke early the next morning, eager to get back to Senna. When he had left her the night before she had been sleeping peacefully, a rolled up picture grasped in her fist. After he had told her his name he had taught her a few more english words, such as 'pencil' and 'paper', 'table' and 'bed'. In response she had told him the word in her language. The language she spoke seemed to rely heavily on facial expressions, ear flicks and tail movements. He presumed this was so she and her kind could communicate on the hunt without being heard by their prey. He had written down what each word was, using pictures to show the ear flicks, facial expressions and tail movements used. Even if he was unable to speak her language, at least he would be able to understand her. 


Senna awoke to the same grating sound that she had heard when first let into this den. She opened her eyes and saw that a strange, flat stone had been pushed through an opening in the side of the den. Along with it came a see-through container with water in it. Water! This planet had water! How glad Senna was, she had been so parched. She ran and grasped the container with both hands, tipping it so quickly toward her mouth that a little of the water sloshed onto her tunic. She gulped down the rest and then turned to the flat stone. On it were several pieces of a strange substance that was spongy when she poked at it. She raised a piece to her nose. It smelt good! Gingerly, she tore a piece off and put it in her mouth. Satisfied with the taste, she bolted the rest and was disappointed when it was all gone. 


Alexis left the sleeping quarters of the lab after a bolted breakfast. He had sent one of the other scientists to Senna with a plate of bread and some water, curious to see whether she would deem it edible. He pulled on a t-shirt and jeans and was just pulling on his lab coat as he went through the door. He reached Senna's room quickly and peered through the window on the door. She was staring at the door and when she spotted his face her eyes lit up and she got to her feet. He opened the door and entered, smiling. The first thing he saw was the cup and plate, both empty. His smile widened to a grin. Senna rushed up to him with the eagerness of a small child and thrust a piece of paper into his hand. He looked at it, and his eyes widened. It was a beautifully drawn picture of him, looking like it could have been drawn by a GCSE art student. He marvelled over how quickly she had mastered the use of a pencil and how good both her eyesight and memory must be. She was definitely more intelligent than he had first thought. 


"Hello!" Alexis said. Senna tilted her head. 

"Heo. Heyo. Heylo. Hello. Hello!" She beamed, mastering the new word. She wondered what it meant, searching for any object he might have been indicating. But there was none. "Hello?" She repeated, bemused. Alexis's strange, pink encircled lips broke into a strange shape, but Senna could tell the emotion he was conveying was happiness through his eyes. He turned and exited the room, saying: "Bye!" then he entered again and said: "Hello!" 

It took Senna a few cycles of this exercise  to understand. It was a greeting! Smiling, she inclined her head, accompanying it with a tail flick to the right. "Hello." She announced. Alexis pulled some more of what he had called 'paper' from his inside his white cloak and took a few minutes to mark the paper with his 'pencil'. Then using his arm in the place of a tail, the repeated the motions from her language, inclining his head and, putting his arm behind his back, flicked his 'tail' to the right. She beamed. He understood her!



The End

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