The Crossroads

It was like a server, almost. You wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, you got sent from your planet to The Crossroads and then from there it sent you automatically to wherever you were going. It was because the whole planet was inhabited by people who couldn't tamper with the system for their own needs and the thing itself was more or less central to the Allied Network, a host of populated planets who had agreed to peace. From there, it was just a hop, skip and a jump to wherever you fancied.

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Important information: All characters are owned by me and the co-author, any resemblance to other characters is purely coincidental. Please no flaming and no negative feedback, if you don't like this type of story don't read.

It was like a server, almost. You wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, you got sent from your planet to The Crossroads and then from there it sent you automatically to wherever you were going. It was because the whole planet was inhabited by people who couldn't tamper with the system for their own needs and the thing itself was more or less central to the Allied Network, a host of populated planets who had agreed to peace. From there, it was just a hop, skip and a jump to wherever you fancied. One problem, though... Sometimes it spat you out.

A flash of blue light erupted from nowhere in a clearing in a small forest, suddenly, a blonde boy was sent headfirst out of the light. He skidded along the ground on his chest, dust billowing from either side of him as he moved, closing his eyes and raising his arms to cover his face. He skidded to a stop, but didn't move. There was a Silence in the forest, birds stopped chirping, dust settled. Slowly, the blonde blinked open his eyes, one bright green and the other chocolate brown. He looked around, confused... Oh dear. His Konar had warned him about this happening, but he had assumed she was just being paranoid. Birds started chirping again, and the blonde stood.

Walking along the forest, Matthew was sure he heard something falling, and the dreaded image of some horrible beast coming to eat him popped into his mind, but he wasn’t afraid, oh no, not with Killer next to him. Ok, he was a little scared, a house cat on a leash wasn’t going to do much to save him. Sighing, Matthew was tempted to just turn around and leave, but he couldn’t do that, not if it was an injured animal, not only would the rescue centre go mad at him for not helping it, he wouldn’t be able to sleep in his little cottage thinking that the poor animal was dying.

Rolling his eyes, Matthew bent over and picked up his cat, cuddling him to his chest. It would be easier to run this way. Stepping around a few trees, Matthew came to a small clearing, surprised at the image of a guy on the floor looking very bewildered at his surroundings. “Uh.. excuse me Sir. Can I help you?” Matthew was little over average height, and worked as a vet at a rescue centre, he was mid twenties with black hair, just long enough for it to be tied back with a fringe hanging down, which was how it was styled at the moment. For his walk with Killer he had chosen some red sneakers, a red top and some black jeans.

Standing slowly, the blonde brushed some of the parched dirt from the white work shirt and black jeans that he found himself in. Apparently, The Crossroads had at least had the decency to prepare him with some local attire. At least, he assumed it was local.. this person seemed to be very unsettled by his arrival. He furrowed his eyebrows slightly at the other, entirely unsure as to how best to convey his meaning, having no idea how closely this planet's facial expressions (and their meanings) resembled his own, or how primitive the place was.

He had flicked through the safety handbook on the planet The Crossroads had been constructed on, as everyone who wished to use the teleportation services had to, but it only covered basics like what was poisonous, that bobbing one's head meant yes and shaking it meant no, and how to build an emergency signal beacon...Ah, well... He could only live in some hope of being understood in this new place.. And that he wouldn't be thought just some passing, mute idiot. He held both hands to his chest to mean himself, then two fingers to his lips, and shook his head, hoping beyond hope that this Crossroads dweller would pick up his meaning.

Sighing, Matthew wished he had some kind of alarm that told him when to get up in the morning for a good or bad day. This was turning out to be a bad day. So this guy couldn’t talk, and what’s more, he seemed to like laying on the ground, and was covered in dust. Even though he looked kind of local he didn’t seem to understand anything at all.

Putting his cat down on the ground, still holding tightly onto the lead, Matthew took a few steps forwards, deciding to start from the basics. He didn’t understand and he couldn’t talk the language, so it was time to start on the names. Putting his hand on his chest, Matthew offered a warm smile “Matthew” He muttered softly before clearly, before holding out his hand to the other, looking expectant, hoping he would take the hint and give his own name. It wouldn’t hurt to feed the guy for the night and then take him to a centre of some sort in the morning to see if they could help him out. If that didn’t work he had a linguistic friend that might be useful.

Staring blankly at the slightly shorter boy in front of him, the blonde blinked slowly. What just happened here? He looked to the animal that the other was carrying with some suspicion before glancing back to his eyes. He parted his lips as if he was about to say something before narrowing his eyes slightly in confusion, tilting his head a little to one side as he looked to Matthew. He took the small, pocket sized version of the Emergency Procedures manual out of his pocket (written in his mother tongue) and started to flick through it for some sort of explanation of how he was supposed to communicate here. The air was more dense here than on his own planet, and he felt that speaking may overwhelm his lungs, they felt heavy enough as it was.

Dropping his head forwards, Matthew let out a deep sigh. Well, it wasn’t going good so far, there had to be something he could do to let this guy know that he wasn’t going to hurt him. Well, staying back seemed to be a good move for the moment, it gave the new guy enough room to stay away from him if he didn’t want to get close, and gave Matthew a chance to run if he turned into some kind of deformed monster like that film he had watched the night before. Or if he was a killer, both were just as bad as each other.

Furrowing his eyebrows slightly, Matthew pouted before he sat down on a nearby rock, the cat jumping up to his lap. Running his hands through the thick fur, Matthew turned his attention to the cat, grinning as it began to purr. It was so fat and spoilt; he was such a bad owner. Would he be able to take care of this new guy if he couldn't even keep his cat healthy? He was a vet as well, that made him even worse, although, not as bad as that foolish vet on TV that is allergic to cats, why become a vet if they make you ill? Silly.

After a good two or three minutes of flicking through the manual in his hands, the blonde closed it and put it back in his pocket, turning to Matthew and furrowing his eyebrows briefly before taking a breath which was too deep to be comfortable for his insides, but too shallow to actually make it look like he was taking a breath. With this densely oxygenated air, he would only have to take a breath every 4 or 5 minutes, at best.. He made a vague kind of half strangled gasp before coughing and wincing. This was going to be painful, but necessary. He held a hand to his chest, speaking very slowly, but managing to be clear. “Ne-rai.” It was short for Nyriaede, but he'd never get through that word alive.

Looking happy, Matthew stood up, dropping the cat to its feet at the same time, glad that he could finally get along with some kind of conversation. “It’s nice to meet you” Grinning, his head tilting to one side, Matthew put his hands on his hips.

“I know you probably can’t understand a word I’m saying, but if you like I’ll look after you for the night, and give you a place to stay so that you’re not out on the streets, and then tomorrow I’ll take you to see a friend of mine, he’ll be able to distinguish you’re language and we can send you to the right place.”

Nodding his head, Matthew held out his hand for Nerai to take, so that he could lead him home and give him something to eat and drink. That’s if he liked anything that Matthew could give him. Looking after a human was hard, one that couldn’t speak the language even harder, and he had to go to work as well, hopefully he could bring him along if they couldn’t do anything with him before that.

After the stream of complete and utter gibberish he had just barely heard for the speed of it, Nerai slowly narrowed his eyes in an incredibly confused kind of way as he looked to Matthew incredulously. He then looked down to the other's outstretched hand, assuming that the other wanted something from him. Maybe the manual? Maybe these people had some way of translating written word? Still.. Nyriaede didn't want to give up his only hope of understanding customs here. He glanced up to Matthew's face before looking back down to his hand, showing his own to prove that he had nothing in them.

Laughing nervously, Matthew shook his head, leaning over and grabbing onto one of Nerai’s hands, tugging on it as he began to walk back to his house, showing that if Nerai didn’t want to want to fall over, he had to follow and be nice. Matthew was just glad he didn’t have all of his piercings in today, that wouldn’t have gone down well, the guy would have probably been terrified.

“I hope you don’t mind small houses, I mean, I don’t even know if you’ve lived in a house, but you don’t look like you’re homeless so I can only assume you have. But if you were well off I guess you would have people looking for you, so maybe you’re just lost and need to find your way back to your own house, I’ll take you around the town tomorrow and see if we can sort you something out. Maybe someone recognises you”

Following Matthew without much fuss like pulling, but looking down to their joined hands with a look of utmost terror passing over his face for a good few moments, Nerai ignored the urge to try and decipher what Matthew was saying, preferring instead to listen to his overall tone to try and judge his mood. Nerai had no idea why he was being pulled, but he decided.. he may as well trust this one for now. Hopefully he wouldn't have to meet any others, though. Looking up from their hands to look to Matthew, Nerai's eyes dropped to the other's neck, tilting his head a little and looking contemplative.

 

To be continued... 

The End

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