I live nigh about the middle of nowhere. There ain’t no good ways in er out. People ‘round these parts mostly stay put, and that’s fine by me. I don’t cotton much to furriners, or their newfangled technology they’re always tryin’ to push down our throats.
Truth be told, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of anyone for a couple o’ months now, ever since ol’ Jaku died. Him an’ me used to sit and jaw a bit, every week or so.
‘Suppose if I’m to be honest, it’s thet technology I claim to hate what makes it possible for me to live alone like this in my own dome. But at least I don’t have to deal with the government’s nonsense. This colony ain’t new enough to update and ain’t old enough to make into a museum. So they pretty much let us be.
I just send out my grocery hover ever’ week or so, and it come right back with everythin’ I asked for, which isn’t much. The little store here at Station 1094 might not be fancy, but it’s got enough grub for a dude like me.
My little greenhouse gives me a few veggies, too. I like to putter around in the dirt, with’n the solar panels shining a soft pink light on things. In fact, I was workin’ on pollinating my broccolitch when I first saw movement through the glass of the dome. Now understand, out here in the middle of the moon, there aren’t too many things that move out beyond the domes.
Mayhap it was ‘cause she was wearing pink that blended right into the color of the glass, or mayhap ‘cause I wasn’t expecting it, but it sure took me a while to convince myself that I really was seeing a little girl.
I was about to shrug and go back to my work. Then she collapsed.
I raced for the portal. These old joints don’t work so well as they used to, and it near about took me forever to get there. Then I had to fumble with the oxygen injection, but finally the portal swished open. One good thing ‘about bein’ old, I done been genetically engineered and acclimated to the atmosphere here ages ago.
The girl’s lips was turnin’ blue. I punched her with an injection and scooped her up. Back inside I rightly marveled at the young’un. I s’pose it’s been nigh some twenty years since I’ve laid eyes on anyone younger than a hundred twenty. Station 1094 been here longer’n that, and like I said, not many come in anymore. Sides that, I heard tell that the government takes the kids away nearly afore they done finished suckling, if’n mums even bother w’ that nowadays, and wisk ‘em off to boarding school.
The child revived pretty quickly, and I started wondering what an old codger like me was gonna do with a bitty thing like that. Which lead to me a’wonderin’ how she got here in the first place.
Not bein’ one to beat around the bush, I asked her. “What in God’s great universe are you doin’ way out here?”
She perked up right quick like. “Do you know God?” Her little eyes shone like a double North Star. “I’m not supposed to talk about Him, but Mom told me that if I run out here as far as I can, then maybe I can hide from ‘m.”
It’s been a long while since I’ve chuckled. “Chil’, you gonna have to go a whole lot further than this to hide from God.”
That did it. She burst right into tears. And that’s exactly why I keep to myself--to avoid blubbering females.
“I’m not hiding from God! I’m hiding from the gov’mnt ‘cause I love God.” Her eyes dripped like a glass of iced tea sittin’ under the solar panel, but when she aimed thet glimmerin’ gaze right at me, a heart I didn’t ken I had melted like radiated plastic. “Do you love God, mister?”
“You think I been sittin’ in this galaxy fer a hundr’d seventeen years, an’ not believe?” I shook my head. “Well, what ya sittin’ in the entry for? Better find yersel’ a spot to bed down. Looks like’n you’ll be stayin’ fer a while.”
There come thet sparkle again. “You mean it, mister?”
“Ah bother, I been hankerin’ for a bit of chatter anyhow.” So it was a bit of a stretch, but somehow, it felt zac’ly right.
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