THE BEINGS AND THE BEAR – JAMES&NATALA&ORIANA&MANNIX

Below is a short story featuring a supporter of the Seed & Spark campaign to raise funds for the short film “Have Wine, Will Travel“. Wanna see your name in a tale? Check out the campaign page here: Have Wine, Will Travel S&S Campaign

Enjoy!

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James held the bear by the paw and together they ducked under the caution tape. They stepped over the edge, into the crater, and skittered down the steep dirt towards the center.

The three Beings were there. They all wore the bodysuits that James had provided: old pajamas from his neighbors and friends.

The Beings turned to face James, blinked at the bear, then went back to their careful task with the stone pieces in their arms. It wasn’t yet noon, their usual scheduled meeting time, but James thought it would be better to introduce them to the bear early so they could get to know him before their journey.

Kyleen would never believe it. She was always traveling, trying to save the world, and now James would have to tell her all about the Being and how he had come to save them. That would make a good story over creamed corn soup.

Of course, he’d have to make the soup with someone else’s corn now, but that was a small price to pay. The Marshes down the road had good corn crops. Wallace was an under-appreciated farmer, that was the word around town.

The Beings were short and James called them kids from the start, but they had barely paid him attention. Only when he had given them names, real names, did they seem to perk up and allow him to help them as they pieced together their “ship”.

The Being dubbed Natala licked her hand, and placed it in the cracks of the loose pieces she’d just stuck to the side of the meteorite. The cracks sealed with a dark blue glow, and the shape held. Patched over. Natala was the leader of the Beings, and James had nicknamed her the Captain – but she responded better to Natala.

Oriana tried to mimic her, and placed her hand on the other side of the meteorite. The cracks lit up with a bright yellow and then fell apart. She kicked at the meteorite and the yellow glow flickered throughout the machine. Natala stopped her with a hand gesture, and Oriana picked up the pieces and tried again, her yellow glow stronger this time. The pieces held.

Mannix, the Being who looked like a boy, was smaller and had a line racing down his head from front to back. He threw smaller pieces at the ground. Where the pieces struck, dirt flew up with soft red puffs of smoke. He chuckled again, cackling until his cheeks were red and falling to his butt. Oriana was also laughing hard, but Natala kept working, gathering up Mannix’s pieces and sealing them anew.

Down at James’s feet was the bear, now standing on his own two legs. It was a repurposed Teddy Ruxpin skin over an electronic concoction of James’s own design. He’d been working for a week on the piece, but it was finally ready to reveal.

The Beings all turned to watch when the bear spoke, his voice deep and computerized, and matching James’s intonation: “My. Name. Name is. Huck. I. Am your. Navigation Reader. Shall we. Proceed?”

Natala cocked her head, eyes flicking up to James. She held her hand to James, pointing, and then with her other hand pointed at the meteorite. James almost reached out to her, but then stepped back. “I can’t. But you’ll have Huck.”

Oriana mimicked Natala, reaching for James with one hand pointing to the meteorite with the other. Mannix watched it all, then walked to the bear and took his paw, leading him to the meteorite. To the “ship”.

James’s wrist vibrated. He pushed the button on the side of his wrist monitor and the image of Kyleen lit up. She was in a forest, and there were a few bear cubs nearby, playing. “Hey babe!”

Her voice lifted James’s smile. “See you soon? I can’t wait to hear about your trip.”

“Me too. This one’s felt longer than… Hey, what’s that?”

She was looking behind James. He turned, and the meteorite floated up above him. The “ship” suddenly zipped up into the sky.

James watched it until it was nothing but a speck and then gone.

“James? Babe? What was that?”

“Just some… kids. Stopped by for a visit and I helped them get home.”

“That looked like –”

“Yeah. Lots to tell you.”

“Tell me now, I’ve got time. And I wanna hear your voice.”

James grinned again, and sat in the crater. “So about a week ago I heard a noise and felt this crash…”

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