I sat on a dented cabinet from the wreck, silently watching my alien girlfriend burn offerings to her god. She genuflected with whispered prayers. My gaze drifted to the sheer mountains surrounding our encampment, graced by foliage bearing colors I once thought only possible by industrial manufacture. Behind them, in the sky, hung a huge pink-purple marble of a planet.
She beckoned to me with a five fingered bird claw. "Jacob."
I shook my head, refusing to kneel with her.
Her frog mouth curled downwards in disappointment. A string of non-English syllables erupted from her lips. Translation: "When are you going to admit to yourself that Ponai stranded us here for a reason? When will you accept the fact that our ship crashed in the middle of nowhere because your stubborn unrepentant hart refuses to bow to Ponai and perform the cleansing rite of Norlep?"
An orange deer with coral antlers regarded us with spider eyes before bounding past us.
I'd spent enough time with her to learn the language. "My religion says the rain falls on the just and the just alike, so the only way we're getting off this rock is if we miraculously come across spaceship parts, or the components for a distress beacon."
A gentle breeze ruffled her long green hair, the bands of fur growing from her arms and legs. "You believe in miracles, but do not ask Ponai to grant them."
My eyes traveled the lean outlines of her spandexy astronaut suit, the ripped sleeves, threadbare midsection, the torn leggings. "I do not believe in Ponai. I say silent prayers to my god every day."
"Jesus." She stuck out her star-nosed-mole tongue. "An idol."
I blushed as I thought about the times she'd used that eight pointed tongue in my mouth. "No, Zujra. He's the son of God."
"Ponai is not a he or a she. Ponai has no genitalia. You sin against Ponai by the very language you use."
I opened my mouth to argue, but then she argued, "You worship three gods. That is a sin. There is only one god, and that is Ponai."
"I don't have three gods. It's just one. Yahweh."
"Then how does he have a son? How is he crucified and talking to your god? Explain this."
"I can't. It's a great mystery of the faith."
"I think it is bullshit."
"Do I say those things about your religion?"
Zujra sighed, dinosaur tail flopping against neon green lichen covered stones. "I am sorry. I did not mean to insult your beliefs. They are obviously very important to you. It's just...I cannot feel but Ponai has cursed us, made us crash land here until we can make ourselves right before It."
A green bat flitted past us. Instead of squeaking, the damn things made human sex sounds. The only things around there that made those noises. Zujra definitely didn't. Hers sounds like a frog.
I tried to ignore the noise. "Look. The solar flare shorted out the equipment and dislodged the gyroscopes and reaction wheels. Then we had that atmospheric storm."
"The tail of Ponai directing nature to do Its bidding. When you first landed here, you said the Laughing Bats, this whole place, reminded you of your religion's hell."
"Things could be worse. If you're pessimistic, anything can seem like hell. I'd show you a book called Robinson Crusoe if the computer worked."
She laughed, a purring cicada sound. "The story of a man who swam naked to a ship and put things in his pockets."
"Yes. That one." The bat's Dimetrodon finned mate let out a woman's orgasm noise. I shuddered. "...In the story, the man counts the bad things that happen to him against the good, and thanks God that he's still being blessed, despite being shipwrecked and miles away from civilization."
Zujra rolled her crescent shaped pupils, but smirked a little. "And how are we blessed?"
"We have plenty of water and food, and neither one of us is dying from an allergic reaction to it. We got air. I mean, crash landing on another planet with air, that's a miracle in itself. For shelter we've got our spaceship, and tents, we've still got our solar cells, and although we don't have refrigeration or a cooking machine, we found salt on the beach, and the heater can double as a stove. Also..." I gave her a wry smirk. "I am not lacking in companionship..."
That managed to coax the ghost of a smile out of her.
"Wait. You said we. I'm supposedly being punished for my idolatry. What did you do?"
Her tail twitched nervously. I felt a guilty twinge as I thought about all those times I'd run my hands over it. "Other than sleeping with me, I mean."
Her purple skin flushed neon orange with embarrassment. "That wasn't exactly a sin."
My turn to scoff. "Seriously? What about fornication? Or the fact we're not the same species?"
"I am not betrothed to anyone. Besides, that did not happen until after the accident, and we found fermented berries. As a widow you also have no prior commitments, so it is not a sin."
"Widower," I corrected. "So you're saying we're married."
Zujra bobbed her head slightly. "In the eyes of Ponai."
"So...what was it then? What sin?"
She responded by running a claw across her belly. "Jacob, I just used a medical scanner. I am with egg."
I stared, mouth hanging open. "You're...saying there was someone else."
"And you're not with him."
Her blush deepened. "I don't know if it's his. We have been marooned here for a long time."
My face flushed hot. "What you're saying is an impossibility. Your yuxhauba...it doesn't even have the right shape."
Zujra's eyes narrowed, inner eyelids nictating. "Are you saying your human wumloq wasn't able to go in?"
"No, I'm saying the human wumloq doesn't split down the middle and go down two separate channels. Every time we sleep together I have to pick one."
She lowered her voice like someone would actually overhear. "That may be true, but I always ask you to back out and stimulate the other side. Something could have happened."
"Fine," I groaned. "What's your scanner show?"
"Only that I'm about to bear an egg."
"I thought what we did wasn't a sin."
"I didn't say it was."
"Then what did you do?"
"Jacob, don't ask me. Please."
I reached for her hand, but she turned and ran from me with tears in her eyes.
The bat perched on a rock, uttering another obscene noise.
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