Glen was escorted roughly to a house where he found the thing sitting in a Lay-Z-boy. It had a head three times normal size, designed to accommodate all the additional genetic information and enhancements, and it had no features on that face, no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. Glen guessed all of the sensory apparatus, anything that would distract the mind had been removed. She wore gloves on her hands, probably special gloves designed to limit contact. He guessed she needed some nerve endings in her hands to be able to properly manipulate things, but otherwise all nerve endings were likely removed as well. She had a terrible bruise on one leg and did not appear to be suffering from it.
Glen paused. Something touched at the corners of his mind and moved across the surface of his thoughts. Alice assured him. “Don’t worry. The gods themselves could see no deeper than the surface of your mind. That was one of the privileges given when you were declared to be counted among the gods.
“Good to know.” Glen responded out loud, but he was sorry he did not have any apparatus or special gifts of his own to throw the thing out of his head altogether. It felt creepy, like fingers running across his brain.
When the creepy fingers left his mind, he saw a face form on the outside of that bulbous head. It was an illusion, it looked misshapen and the picture looked fuzzy like an old worn out photograph, but it did look like a cute little girl’s face of perhaps thirteen years. Glen figured the girl got deposited here when she hit puberty.
“Why can’t I touch your mind?” The girl asked. The mouth did not quite work in sync with the words.
“Just lucky, I guess since you don’t touch minds, you take them.”
“They are mine. They all belong to me. You belong to me. I have looked at your insides and you are just an ordinary grub. There is nothing special about you. Why can’t I touch your mind?”
“Kind of disconcerting, don’t you think?”
The girl paused. She had to look up the word before she said, “Oh, yes. Very disconcerting.”
“So there are maybe a hundred or millions like me that you can’t touch. Maybe you should just go back to your own earth and leave this one alone.”
“Oh, no. Mama said there was nothing on this earth that could stop me from having my way. I want my way. I deserve my way. I am Nelkorian. You are just a grub.”
“So maybe your mama did not know.” Glen suggested, and he found his feet off the ground. He shot back into the wall with enough force to crack the wallboard and it was painful.
“Mama knows everything,” the girl said. “You can wait with the other one while I think.” Two men picked Glen up off the ground and dragged him to a back room. They unlocked the door and threw him in.
“How many of your empty shells do I have to kill before you leave me alone?” The woman in the room stood. He hands sparkled with some kind of electrical charge. Glen quickly scooted his back to the wall and threw up his hands.
“Wait, wait. I’m not a zombie, I promise. That thing can’t touch my mind. I assume you are not a zombie either.” He closed his eyes and expected to be electrocuted any second.
“How do I know this isn’t a trick?” The woman paused and asked.
“Because. Because. I don’t know how.”
With that the woman sat down on the couch. “The thing would have had an answer for that easy question.” The electrical charge vanished from her fingertips, and Glen breathed.
“I take it you are the other one the girl mentioned.” Glen rapidly changed the subject.
“Don’t call it a girl. You give all girls a bad name.”
“Glen,” he offered.
“Melanie,” she responded.
“So how is it you’re not—“ they both started to ask the same question. Both wanted answers but each was reluctant to give their own.
Glen studied the woman—young woman. She was pretty, but maybe a bit too young to be out and about on her own in the city. He finally had to break the silence. “What are you, about fourteen?”
“Nearly fifteen.” She responded with an I’m all grown up attitude.
“In high school?”
Melanie dropped her eyes. “I’m a Freshman.”
“No, that’s good. Thinking about college?”
Melanie shook her head. “I have access to more information than any college graduate on this earth could ever have, or I will once I graduate.”
Melanie shook her head again. “Well, my brother and sister-in-law are talking about the Gaian academy, but I don’t know.”
“Why? It could be fun. I’m still thinking about college myself. Still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up.”
“No, But you have to be thirty—near thirty.”
This time Glen shook his head. “Not that old, please. Wait. Gaian?” Glen had to think and Melanie got a look on her face that suggested maybe she said too much. “Gaian.” Glen thought out loud. “A technologically advanced civilization from a parallel earth that became concerned about some of the people learning how to move across the dimensions. They started planting guardians in the worlds to defend those worlds from intrusions like this creature—oh, yes. Now it makes sense. You are the guardian for this world.” He looked up at her again. “A bit young for a guardian, aren’t you?”
“Jillian’s sister, Diana picked me.” Melanie defended herself.
“Jillian, of course. I met her, you know. World War II in London. She said she wasn’t supposed to interfere, but she was a great help to me at one point.”
“Wait, How? You said you weren’t thirty yet.”
“Twenty-eight,” Glen confessed. “Well, it was Doctor Mishka who met her, but that still counts as me.”
Melanie looked confused. “Jillian is my sister-in-law. She married my brother, Ethan. She is sweet, though. I can’t see what she sees in my doofus brother.” Melanie paused then threw her hands to her head. “No, no! Get out! Get out!”