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To Wish For Love excerpt

Prince Ralf of the family Ominar wished for love, but most likely he wouldn’t find it here on Earth, like his cousin Prince Daamic of the family Ominar. After all, Daamic’s encountered with the lovely Earthling, Julia of the family Lincoln, had been chance and most likely life saving when Daamic sought refuge from an assassination attempt. Ralf had never experienced such circumstantial relationships and likely would never. It was the type of story that Earth fairy-tale romances centered around.

He glanced around him at the scurrying, giggling children and adults in their unusual clothing. Still, the researcher in him wanted to experience Earth first hand like Daamic had. That’s why Ralf wandered around in the dusk and in the same neighborhood where Julia and Lance of the family Lincoln had lived before their departure to Mallen. Ralf dared to walk the sidewalks in the same area rather than hide in the shadows of the houses. That was more than Daamic had done. Ralf’s ‘costume’ would fit into the holiday spirit. At least he knew that now. Daamic hadn’t.

Tonight, the children of the locality spread out in full force and ran from door to door, even with the cool late season temperatures. Julia said that the practice of trick or treat had died down in many neighborhoods, especially after dark, but it still thrived here because conservative traditions of the tight-knit district. She said it had become too dangerous elsewhere since many neighbors did not know the others around them. A shame, really, to live in such isolation with so many people around. On Mallen abundant neighborhood activities existed, bringing people together in safe communities, but Mallen neighborhoods had a margin of safety that had become rare on Earth. Children on Mallen could venture out without fear into areas around their homes.

Yes, Daamic found love on this planet. It wasn’t likely that Ralf would ever meet someone as special as Julia, but perhaps walking around on Earth’s surface would remind him of his first visit here when Julia first discovered that life existed beyond her little corner of Earth and beyond her solar system. He treasured even the smallest memory of that visit.

He had to laugh, even though it came from his thoughts rather than his throat. So many people going about a seasonal activity, yet they had no idea of an extraterrestrial among them. What would they really say to know that he was from a galaxy far, far away? What would they think if he told them he came from an empire of multiple galaxies and solar systems that didn’t even include theirs as part of the empire? Julia had said they’d think him loony, in her terminology. It surprised him that they could exist so unaware of the worlds beyond.

Somehow, he’d like to experience again that surprise, showing an Earth being that he wasn’t from this world. He had missed Julia’s first reaction, but her brother Lance had stared at Ralf in disbelief. It had been exhilarating to be on the brink of Earth’s discovery process. Regretfully, the Euphratorian Council and Daamic had decided to restrain from future contact, unless unavoidable as Daamic’s had been. The Council’s ruling left Ralf unable to purposely communicate openly with the Earth beings. He’d like to experience contact again but he wasn’t about to just walk up to an Earth being and say, “Hi, I’m a prince of an empire and I’m from outer space. Do you want to see my starship?”

Here, the same time marked Earth’s October thirty-first as when Daamic had met Julia on this planet with strange customs. The Earthlings of this area called it Halloween. As Chief Researcher of his cousin’s starship, Diamond Cluster, Ralf had learned much from Julia and Lance about this event that happened annually. Now as the newly appointed Supreme Commander of the Interplanetary Starship League’s Priority Fleet, he chose to travel to Earth with a single new starship, Star Cluster, even though he could still issue orders over the Vis-comm if he needed to. If an emergency arose, he could be back to his home almost before anyone knew he had left.

Even in his uniform of white on white, Ralf didn’t feel out of place as he strolled along and children and adults hurried past him. Julia had called it his “Luke Skywalker” outfit and he had learned of the fictional character on the second scientific exploration of Earth. The worlds of Star Wars and Star Trek were more factual than they had been originally to Julia, because space travel was a reality rather than a fictional portrayal in movies or TV series. Even warp-velocity, the many times faster than light travel, existed though Euphratorian engineering. In the seven years since Julia had come from Earth, their warp drive or warp velocity had increased many times over, or the multiple galaxies and solar systems which had been discovered and explored, wouldn’t be a reality.

A child brushed past him and startled Ralf. He had been so deep in thought that he hadn’t heard the young Earthling approach from behind. The youngster’s small feet slammed the concrete walkway.

“Sorry. He’s excited.” The female voice came from behind him. “Benjamin Tyler Fielding! Come back here! Hold my hand right this minute.”

Ralf turned to face an attractive woman in the traditional blue pants called jeans and loose tunic-styled top called a tee shirt worn in leisure by Earth women. She had on a light-weight sweater he thought they called a 'hoodie'. He glanced down at the small child who had backtracked and obediently took the woman’s hand. “It is no problem. I can appreciate excited children.”

“You’re certainly in the Halloween spirit. Nice costume.”

Ralf glanced down at his white tunic and white woven pants. His attire was his normal wear for those of his station as Supreme Commander but certainly out of place in traditional Earth dress.

He peered up again at the woman’s inquiring stare. She was young--middle or late twenties maybe. She wasn’t very tall compared to Mallen standards, but maybe a few inches taller than average American women, he supposed. He couldn’t tell how long her reddish-blond hair was, because it was pulled up with a fastener and dangled from the crown of her head. It wasn’t as long as the Trio-World women’s hair he was used to, but a nice length, maybe practical for her daily routine, whatever that might be. “I believe I should say thank you.”

“Who are you? Luke Skywalker? You don’t see many of those costumes nowadays. That trend pretty much died out, I thought. But then, I could be wrong with the newest release just out.” Her green eyes intensely studied him. He could easily see the color of her eyes because of his special eyesight, but most likely, she wouldn’t be able to see his, which was good.

“If that is what my costume should be, then yes, I am Luke Skywalker.” Funny that he just thought of that just seconds before. He’d have to see that Earth’s entertainment presentation again and see this celebrated character in Earth’s amusement culture. If he remembered correctly, Luke Skywalker was from another planet. Interesting.

“Mama! More.” The child tugged at his mother’s hand. One could tell from his reddish-blond hair that he belonged to her, even though the wild mass of curls were cut short and covered his head. His clothing...uh...costume consisted of a red robe and a golden crown, like a king. He couldn't be much more than two Earth years, if that.

“Well, I guess I better get this little munchkin around to the last house. He is out past his bedtime now and I’m surprised he can walk on his feet.”

“He does not look like he’s ready for his bed chamber just yet.”

Her eyebrows dipped. “He’ll still go to sleep pretty quickly after I get him in.” She made a few steps past Ralf and then turned. Her gaze locked on his with an intensity that surprised him. “I don’t remember seeing you around the neighborhood. You’re certainly new here.”

Ralf tried to not stare at her too fixedly. In the muted light here, she shouldn’t notice his different eyes, but he didn’t want to startle her if she did. Julia had been initially frightened at Daamic’s differences, so it was a given that this woman could be alarmed at his. The Earthlings called them cat’s eyes because of the shape of the pupil and the glow in the dark feature when the light hit them just right. “I am visiting.”

Her eyebrows lifted this time. She spoke with her expressive eyes. “Oh, who?”

He had not expected such a direct question. The truth was that he didn’t know anyone in this area, except Julia and Lance, who had left so long ago, it seemed now. “Well, it has been some time since I saw my friends. I was going to re-visit their abode and see if anyone lives there now.”

“Abode? You mean the house? That’s a strange way to put it.”

“Are you part of the authorities?” The woman’s curiosity began to disturb him. Her confusion bombarded his empathic senses. Like Daamic, he could pick up emotions just by being close to his subject. Maybe he should leave this area soon before he was discovered to be different.

“Authorities?” She frowned, showing more of her displeasure at his words. “You really do speak strangely.”

“Mama! More!” The child pulled at his mother’s hand again.

“I am sorry. Your young one seems to take you from our conversation.”

“Not enough to finish it. Whose house are you looking for?” Her voice no longer seemed cheery but insistent.

“Oh, forgive my ignorance as to your meaning. It is the one at the end of the passageway. Julia… um… Lincoln used to live there.” He’d almost said Julia of the family Lincoln and that really would have flagged his difference of phrasing.

“Oh, yes of course. The Lincolns.” The tension in her shoulders seemed to ease. “You know them well?”

Ralf didn’t see any reason not to give a little of his background knowledge. That would ease the woman’s distrust of him. “The woman and her brother, Lance, moved away quite some time ago. I understand that the house has a new owner.”

“Yes, the Lincolns were good people and I hated to see them go, especially since I grew up with them next door.”

“I am aware that they no longer live there. I was just curious as to the surroundings here. It has been many years since I’ve been here. Not much has changed.”

She again tugged the child to stand beside her. “Do you know where they moved? No one around here seems to know where either Lance or Julia went. I was a freshman in college the last time I saw Lance, but I do remember him very well. We had some of the same high school classes together. I saw Julia almost every day, when she wasn’t traveling, especially after she inherited the house. My parents lived next door and, as I said, I grew up beside them.”

“Then you must miss them.” If only he could tell more of the Lincolns’ departure, but this woman would never believe him.

“Well, I suppose I do. Are you going to answer any of my questions?” The boy gave her hand another hard tug.

He smiled at her. “I’m not used to being interrogated.”

She laughed, still looking serious. “That’s my job.”

He stared intently at her. “Then you are part of the law authorities?”

“There’s that strange wording again. If you mean police, yes, I’m a police officer.”

Now Ralf became a little more than uneasy. It was just his bad luck to come upon the law authorities so quickly and he didn’t want to bring attention to himself, but her position intrigued him. How much of the law enforcement techniques actually matched what Research studied on the broadcasts from the planet? “Then of course, you are concerned with strangers in your neighborhood. I am sorry to be so vague, and I must admit that I am out of place here. You already know that.”

The frustrated child let out another wail. “Benjamin, be still and let Mama talk or you will go to bed right now. I'm tired of you tugging at me. Listen, or no more candy.” Her firm voice finally made the child stop pulling. “I’m also part of the block-watch.”

“Block-watch?” Ralf had not heard the term, but he did not want to appear too out of place. Her inquiries as a law authority were really making him nervous, although he just sensed major curiosity coming from her. Maybe he should just turn and disappear into the night, but that would make him seem more suspicious and she might call for help among her fellow law enforcement agents. How could he just walk away without making her more inquisitive?

“Didn’t you know this area had a block-watch? There are signs posted everywhere. It’s one of the safest subdivisions in town, because we all keep up with everything going on in the area. This is an old neighborhood and one of the few left where everyone still knows everybody, unlike other old neighborhoods that have gone to pot.”

“Forgive me, but I did not notice the signs.”

“You have a slight accent. I can’t place it. It’s not British or French and you certainly don’t look Hispanic. Where are you from?”

He glanced at his arm and where his communicator occupied the space of an Earth timekeeper called a watch. “The hour is late and I must go. Please finish your child’s evening or he will be disappointed.”

“Oh I think we’ll head home now. He’s got enough candy to last him for months.”

“Candy?” Again, his curiosity allowed him to question her words, when he shouldn’t have. Oh, of course, that was the purpose of this night. To solicit sweets from friends and neighbors.

She frowned this time and her neck stiffened. He shouldn’t have spoken again. Obviously, he had said the wrong thing once more. “What else should he have? Look, do you have some identification with you?”

“Do I need some?”

“You walk into our neighborhood and no one knows you, plus you have an accent and don’t seem to know all the English words for common things. Yes, you need an identification.”

He took a single step back. “I am sorry for any concern that I may have caused you. I only wished to see the abode of my friends once more and I did not know that it would cause a problem with the law authorities. Please excuse me and I will leave now.” He turned.

“Wait just a minute!” She grabbed his arm. Her small hand on him made her seem even more petite, but she wasn’t as small a woman as Julia. Her grip had unexpected strength.

He faced her again. “I am sorry, but I can not answer your questions. I should not have come here. Please allow me to go without a disturbance. I mean no harm in this neighborhood. It was with curiosity that I returned here to see the Lincoln abode again.”

“Who are you? Do you know where the Lincolns are?”

It would do no harm to admit to part of her demand. “Yes, but it is not for me to say."

 

 


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