26 parts of a Speculative Fiction story by J Lenni Dorner
“Wow. Okay. You’re the first alien I’ve ever met.”
“You met Googahlack. That monster was not from Phaeton or Earth.”
She’s got me there. My stomach growls again. “Sorry. I’m really hungry.”
“A first fight is for a trophy. The second fight is for nourishment. Win, and we will eat.”
“Great. What if I lose? I’m a dancer, not a fighter.”
She smacks me. “You came to fight. You will fight. And you will win.”
I rub my cheek. “I didn’t come to fight. I met up with a weird guy named Brydanz at a warehouse. Then I was here.”
“Why did you meet Brydanz? To fight, yes?”
“No. I just wanted to watch and get drunk.”
Her eyes widen as she stares at me. Then she spits in my face.
“What the…,” I wipe off her saliva. “Hey, I thought you were supposed to be a nice trophy! Spitting on me isn’t pleasing.”
“Oh, so sorry, Master Attie of Earth.” I drown in the sarcasm dripping from her words. “You tell me that we’re going to die, that I will die because you are not a fighter, and I am expected to what? Hug you? Pleasure you with my body? Jump for joy? What reaction to imminent death would you like your trophy to have?”
“Death?” I pull the cloth off of my forehead.
“You fight or we die. Brydanz only brings Earthlings who wish to fight. He claims there are plenty of them on your world; he needs only determine which to take. I have heard his boasts many times, for he has held my future in his hands since the day it became clear that I am not a fighter.”
I rub my temples. “You’re not a fighter but I have to be? That’s great. Look, I want to go home. I have children.”
“There is no going home, only fighting. You are a fighter, I am a trophy. My life is tied to yours, to your wins.”
“Until when, Trophy Girl? And why don’t I know your name yet?” I get up and pace along the mat.
“When? There is no when. There are seven champions. That is the highest rank, which is why they live on the top level. Champions can be challenged by any fighter at any time. A champion can only be defeated by death. When you die, I die, unless I carry your offspring, in which case I live until giving birth. As for a name, you haven’t given me one.”
Questions swirl in my head. I grip the cold wall, hoping it would be hard. It feels like it’s filled with gel. Great. This is a padded room. Maybe I’m hallucinating.
“You don’t have a name? Nothing someone has called you since birth? Your mother didn’t give you one?”
“A trophy is named by their winner.”
More questions. I know nothing about Phaeton; and not much about this woman. Her skin color reminds me of the pine cones my mother use to bake and then decorate with, from our pitch pine tree out back. Darker than my wife’s skin, but light enough to show an abundance of freckles across her nose and cheeks. She has thick, wavy brown hair that would resist a baseball cap locking it away. Her eyes, I can’t decide if they’re more green like mine or brown like my wife’s.
“Sorry. I’m trying to pick a name for you. Maybe something with a J? Jennifer? Josefina? Jemima? My wife named our children. How about Jenesis?”
“Yeah. I think it means the beginning, something new.”
How did you get your name?
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