How could she leave me here? She knows I hate the sun. It so hot, I think my stuffing is melting. It’s been hours. I think she’s forgotten me. Feel myself getting weaker. What is that thing coming toward me?
Shoo. Go away. I am a mighty voodoo doll and I will make your heart explode or your feet fall off or, what else was I supposed to be able to do?
Oh, yes, I will make your spleen rupture! That is what her father always says when he is lifting a water condenser or something heavy. So Jenel says that is one of my powers, too. Making spleens rupture. Whew. It’s going away. Think pleasant thoughts, she’ll be here soon.
Night. I have never been out at night. I am not sure I like it any more than the day. Jenel is usually tucking me in and telling me stories about The People and I used to ignore them. Now I would give anything for one. What’s that sound? Is it another animal? It’s huge and its reaching for me…
“What is it?”
“I think its a humie.”
“Stupid. They say ‘human’. Besides it’s too small to be a humie.”
“Are you sure? I have trouble with language. Humies are awful small.”
“Does it look like a humie? Does it smell like a humie?”
“Yes it does, it has one head, two eyes, two arms and two legs. And it does smell like a humie, too.”
Get your finger out of my eye, you clumsy oaf. Those buttons are very rare, thank you.
“Let me smell. Hmm. I think your right.”
Stop that, get your nose off of my head.
“Do you think they will miss it?”
“Of course they will. We will keep it safe until they come back.”
Oh, my. What is this terrible creature? Why is it lying down and clutching me? That sure does feel nice. Oh, wait, ouch, squeezing me too hard. I can’t believe the things I have to go through for that girl. What is that smell?
* * *
“I can’t believe you have me out here looking for your doll.”
“Please, daddy, I know I lost Jesque at the watering hole.”
“Okay, we still have a bit to do before the festival, so I need to get back.”
“I promise, if Jesque is not here, I will help you with whatever needs doing.”
Beast! Wake up. I hear my girl Jenel. Get up, I tell you. I will rupture your innards this instant.
They see the creature lying down curled up in a ball, near the watering hole. It’s large, even from this distance, its size is stunning. Tucked in its arms is the small voodoo doll. The most amazing thing is it has two heads, sitting on top of its wide and powerful chest.
“Daddy, I see Jesque.” Jenel runs toward the creature heedless to any concerns except for her doll.
“Jenel, stop!” He raises his rifle that he never leaves home without. Karis III was not a planet you traveled unarmed. Having lived here for many years, they were familiar with most of the animals but not all. This was something he had never seen. It’s movements were slow and deliberate. His finger hovered over the trigger. He hoped he was making the right decision.
“Get up.” A hand smacks the other still sleeping head. “I smell humies. And boomsticks.”
Opening its eyes, the second head, was closer to the ground. “Look at that, its a tiny humie. And she is saying something. I wonder what it is? She is holding out her hand…”
She is saying give me back you dolt. I belong to her. I knew she would come and get me. Release me this instant.
“Do you see the second humie with the boomstick?”
It’s her father. He’ll fix this, right now. Yes, shoot this beast so I can come home. I have been out here all night.
“Oh, there’s another? See I told you they would come back for their kin. Just like we would do.”
“So give their kin back and let’s go.” The giant turning over and rising slowly to its knees, hands the doll back to the girl, Jenel.
She hugs it fiercely and reaches out to touch the hand of the giant. “Thank you.” Looking at the voodoo doll, she holds him out “Tell the nice giant, thank you, Jesque.”
I will not. Just look at them, two heads, scary eyes, rock-hard skin. And did you notice that smell? What’s there to be nice to?
“I’m sorry. He has bad manners. He is a reformed voodoo doll. He still thinks rupturing spleens is good. He still has anger issues. I thank you in his place.”
Letting go of the giant’s finger. She turns and runs back to her father. He hugs her and warily backs away.
“What were you thinking girl? You could have been killed.”
“They seemed real nice. How come we have never seen one before?”
“Maybe they are very private.”
“We should do something nice for them.”
“We will talk about this when we get home.”
The giant gathers up its belongings, fills its water skin and sets off toward its home in the nearby mountains.
“Not so different from us.”
“Nope. Except for that one head.”
“I know. How do they handle the loneliness?”
“I can’t imagine.”