Sitting on the rock next to the river made him feel better. He hadn’t slept so well since the saucer crash. Every night for the last three nights he would just sit up in bed wide awake. Falling back asleep was almost impossible. There was a strange electric stirring in his solar plexus while he laid awake. A shivering feeling like wind through the leaves of trees on a cool afternoon. He didn’t feel alone which was the really strange part but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Last night he had started crying for no apparent reason. Everything just kept getting stranger and stranger, not knowing who he was anymore certainly wasn’t helping. He was a mystery even to himself in a place he didn’t understand. The crew of the ship had started calling him “22” because the number seemed to follow him everywhere.
The pressure is his forehead was another thing that was bothering him. A dull throbbing that never seemed to go away. Sometimes it felt like his forehead was having some sort of seizure. Right before he left the house to sit by the river he had been overcome by a powerful surge of energy that came from nowhere which made his head feel like it was exploding. Blood had begun streaming down his face out of one of his nostrils. It had scared the crap out of him because he had never experienced anything like it before. A million tiny megaphones had turned on his brain for a moment and he had almost started screaming. An overwhelming presence of otherness was with him at that moment.
He had the feeling that something life-changing had occurred but it was hard to be sure of anything with the amount of sleep he had lost. Everything was starting to smear together in an otherworldly haze as he wandered around half awake as his world kept getting stranger. Doctor Sophia was sending their passenger to stay in the Bio-Lab cabin by the river with him. He didn’t quite to know what to make of the girl who was constantly shifting in front of him. Every day she looked like a different person and the Doc was completely at a loss to explain what was happening. There were no identifiable genetic markers that could be found anywhere to explain who she was or where she came from. As far as Doctor Sophia could determine she was an unknown species with a unique gift for camouflaging her physical appearance. Every attempt they’d made to identify her origins only led to more questions. And who was it that erased the evidence of where she came from? Why destroy an entire settlement to hide something nobody understood?
The other thing he didn’t understand was how she made him feel when she looked at him. It was like she could see right through him. Something in her eyes said that she recognized him and knew exactly who he was. He couldn’t for the life of him understand how that was possible. Or how how she made him feel the way that she did. She rarely spoke and had the profoundly unique gift of making him feel like he’d been plugged into a light socket. Every time he had tried to answer who he was and how he got here he was left with more questions. Maybe he’d played so close to the edge of life and death that he’d finally fallen over. Maybe she was angel sent to guide him to the afterlife and he didn’t understand what was happening. Maybe that would explain why he always felt better when she was near him. It was like time stopped and everything was going to be okay even if he didn’t understand what was happening. She looked so different than she did before. Even her eye color had changed and she certainly had different physical characteristics and mannerisms now. Sometimes she wouldn’t stop talking and other times she just sat there silently watching him.
He didn’t know how he was going to deal with having a new person in the house with him but at least she was easy on the eyes. Despite how many times her physical aspects had changed she was still one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen in his life. It was like staring into the sun when she looked at him. She was like one of those classic movie bombshells with a sharp edge. Doctor Sophia had let them go down to the firing range for weapons practice and she was a terrifying natural marksman. She just smiled and blew holes in things like nobodies business. Every more interesting she seemed to truly enjoy it. If it would have been a date it would have been a great one. He hoped her living in the river cabin with him worked out because he grown to enjoy the time he spent with her immensely. There was always this feeling that she was watching him even when he was alone. It was the same feeling he had when she looked at him. It was such a puzzling thing and he had never experienced anything quite like it. Sometimes when she looked at him it was like she was the only one on the ship who knew exactly what was happing. He could certainly use some more company. He felt so alone and alien in the world he was living in now.
There was a rustling off in the distance and he saw Walt leading her down the path to the cabin. They appeared to be sharing one of Walt’s magic cigars which he hoped didn’t also give her the power of invisibility. He was still getting used to riding around on a spaceship with Bigfoot. Especially one that smoked as much magic pot as Walt did. The profound absurdity of his current situation did not escape him. Bigfoot was smoking a doob with a girl that had come out of nowhere and she was coming to live with him. He hoped she liked cats because Shadow had grown to be his best friend and companion. The waffles still appeared unexplainably and Shadow kept happily eating them. He had never seen a cat with such a voracious appetite. Shadow would regularly nibble on his face to wake up him up for more waffles and there they were always waiting in the kitchen like some kind of magic trick. Maybe he was caught in some kind of near death hallucination which would certainly explain what was happening.
Walt handed the girl a red bag he had been carrying, waved, and then turned around to walk back down the trail before turning invisible again. It was something else he had never gotten used to. Not only was he on a spaceship with Bigfoot but the jovial hairy man could disappear at will while smoking his magic cigars and everyone was always wondering where Walt was really. The girl walked up to him and fixed him with another one of her hypnotic gazes and cocked her head. She held out her hand which he took readily as she pulled him up off the rock. Somebody in Med-Bay had given her a form fitting orange jumpsuit that made her look like a superhero. Curiously there was a round patch over her left breast with the number 44 on it and it made him think of all the times he had seen the number 22 along his journey. She didn’t let go of his hand as they proceeded back to the river cabin and it felt like massive amounts of energy were coursing through him. It was like being plugged into a battery.
As he opened the door Shadow came running and begin to rub around their legs. Shadow seemed to be fond of her immediately which he found odd for a first meeting. She was still holding his hand as scooped up the giant cat and headed for the couch. 44 seemed to suit her for some reason so maybe he’d just start calling her that as nobody knew her name. She led them to the couch and sat down and patted the cushion next to her while reaching into the bag to retrieve another magic cigar which she promptly passed to him and he inhaled deeply. He could feel the relaxation spreading through him which was nice because he wasn’t quite sure what to do next. She fixed her gaze upon him and again there was a moment of recognition like they weren’t strangers. He couldn’t understand it but had this weird feeling that everything was going to be alright.