Chapter 15:

sCene 15 - ꜱearCʜ

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

About a week and a half after Nai-bu had come over, I was starting to feel fatigued. The weight of knowing Nai-bu might be attracted to me resulted in me reading too much into her behavior. This wasn’t helped by her being extra restrained to prepare herself for talking with her parents. And worst of all, my brain loved to take me on the rollercoaster of asking: do you like her, or do you just want to eat her?

To get to the bottom of this, I asked Dale for some information. My father had been on Earth for at least 30 years. He had interacted with tons of people, and I needed to know what made someone a person of interest for him. The result was Dale sending me six boxes filled with folders and files about my father. This included observations, interviews, willing physicals, and profiles of nearly every person he had interacted with across his time on Earth, with the exception of me and Nai-bu. Despite my father having interacted with us both a few times, Dale refused to give me access to that information, even redacting information from Mama’s file. The part I was mainly interested in was the missing persons, aka my father’s supposed victims of his appetite.

Not that my methods were perfect, but I was sorting profiles by comparing my father’s victims to each other and then to Nai-bu. There had to be something they all had in common with her! Some trait, or feature, or something! But the most I was finding was that victims with stronger evidence were often hermits or loners, even some minor e-celebrities. They honestly had more in common with me than with Nai-bu. I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Then a knock came on my patio door.

“Not a good time, Kyle!” I shouted.

“Good thing I’m not Kyle.” Jason shouted back.

I let Jason in and he was immediately transfixed on my paperwork. I did my best to keep his attention off of it.

“So did something happen with Nai-bu?” He asked point blank.

“What kind of something?” I didn’t like this. He’s typically pretty keen on stuff.

“I wanted to invite you two to a concert and figured she would be more receptive to the idea. But she keeps dodging the question.” He explained, sounding pretty exhausted.

“Look, whatever she has going on is her personal business. I can’t go sharing. And we have more important issues than a concert right now.”

I thought I could imply that I was too busy for him, but it wasn’t how he took it.

“Well then let me help. What are you looking for in these files?”

“This stuff is classified, dude. It’s fragile information.”

“You just don’t want me to find it before you can.” The guy knew the magic words.

I caught Jason up to speed on my goals, and warned him that some folders may be very detailed about what my father did to people. The more concrete cases were mostly live butchering of people, which were never officially excused. Less solid cases were normally general mutilation. I pretty much decided that if the majority of a person wasn’t obviously cut up for eating, it probably wasn’t him.

After discussing the situation with him, Jason suggested that I was looking at the wrong information. He honestly thought that maybe what I was feeling was the alien equivalent of a crush. I mean, if people were as violent on my father’s planet as he made it sound, maybe Jason was onto something? But that wasn’t very reassuring. Especially since the only person I knew my father to ever be romantically involved with was a demon who actually liked being butchered.

I was really unsatisfied with this conclusion because it basically meant that if I liked Nai-bu, then I was going to feel like hurting her, and likely do it. She’s not a demon who can resurrect after being decapitated. She’s a normal, living person! But Jason didn’t really care about my plea. He said that we should figure out a way to make it work, if that’s what we wanted. What kind of help was that?!

While he was still playing with the files, I had a thought. I rushed over to the dining room, specifically the coat closet. After moving some junk out of the way, it opened, and I was able to reach for a shoebox at the top of the closet. Bringing it down slowly, I didn’t make any more mess than was already there.

“Hey! Can you help me with this!” I shouted to Jason.

To my surprise, Kyle rounded the corner. As I almost handed him the shoebox, I stopped.

“How did you get in?” I asked, reflexively.

“I just saw Jason leave and the door was unlocked.” Kyle said matter of factly.

“And how long have you been here?”

“I was stepping in as you shouted, so not long.”

I sighed, handing Kyle the box. As I tried to put Mama’s mess back in order, Kyle looked at the box’s outside, and nearly opened it. I climbed out of the mess quick enough to stop him, taking the box back.

This shoebox contained the last gift Nai-bu gave us before leaving. On the last day before she was sent off to boarding school, Nai-bu packed a bunch of memories into three shoeboxes for us to share. Some items were exclusive to each other’s boxes, but at least two of each photo existed, so between me and Jason we were able to bring most of the memories together during those first few years of high school when we missed her.

As I started taking photos out, I tried to sort them. Kyle was actually helpful here because he could distinguish minor differences in the costumes from Forgotten Station and sort photos by the show’s progress. It helped, but I started to realize what I was doing was pretty pointless.

“What’s the goal here exactly? Just sorting some old photos?” Kyle asked, confused.

“No. I’m trying to see if there’s anything I forgot that could help. But nothing is coming back.” I said, holding the last photo I intended to take out. It was a photo where Nai-bu and I were dressed in our “prototype” costumes, but they were really just costumes Jason wanted us to wear before his dad even thought of the show.

Kyle looked over my shoulder at the photo. “I’ve never seen that photo! Is that from a pilot or something?”

“Buddy, we had lives before Forgotten Station.” I said, laughing. “Jason made me play a monster for years before the show. It's the type of stuff that inspired his dad originally.”

“Oh...right…” Kyle didn’t seem to like that.

Then I realized Kyle could help. “Hey. Was there supposed to be like a subplot with our characters? Like something between me and Nai-bu?”

“Not really. There were some episodes where Lonya would learn Spess is a double agent, but they never went anywhere. She was supposed to die in the first one.”

“Wait, she was going to die?”

“Yeah. Lonya was supposed to be killed off, but they decided it was too dark for the tone of the show.” Kyle seemed pretty serious. “A lot of the scripts weren’t allowed to be as dark as originally imagined.”

When I told him that didn’t sound right, Kyle actually said Jason’s dad would always change the scripts to be more positive. Kyle didn’t seem to understand that Jason’s dad made the original concept, and ended up leaving in a huff over it. But maybe I needed this encounter to get me where I needed to be. I couldn’t ask Mama, or Nai-bu’s parents, but Jason’s dad had to know something!