Mark found himself lying on a bed when he woke. He had no idea where he was or what time it was. He was definitely alive. Were his friends safe? He tried to sit up.
“You’re awake,” Mark turned his head so suddenly towards the voice that spoke that he nearly fell off, but the speaker moved forward to catch him, and to help him sit up before moving back. It was a man or at least it looked like one. A young man with silvery blonde hair, whose skin had a silvery sheen to it. Even his eyes were the colour of silver. All in all he looked like a silver ghost. He was not the same man who had driven the creature away, but Mark had only a hazy recollection of that man, so he could not be sure.
“Who are you? Where are my friends? What is this place?” He was aware he was speaking fast, but he was feeling anxious, his panic returning in full force now that he was awake.
“I am Rowen,” the man spoke, and his voice was calm and soothing. “You are in my home and safe. Your friends are also safe. They are in another room. They are all unhurt. One had a broken leg, but now he is fine.”
“Fine?” Mark muttered and it was then he noticed something. “My arm- it’s not broken anymore.”
“I healed you,” Rowen said, and Mark could feel himself gaping. Healed a broken arm? So quickly? With all their advancements in technology and science, with all the progress humanity had made in the medical field, they still couldn’t mend broken bones so quickly. How advanced must this civilisation be if they could do something like this!
Mark closed his mouth and flexed his arm. There was not even any discomfort. He looked at Rowen, “You are not the one who saved me.”
“That was my father. If you are all right, he wishes to talk to you.”
“I’m fine, but- What is this place?”
“I told you before, this is my home.”
“Which planet? Which galaxy? I’ve never even heard of a galaxy like this.” He had to get as much information as possible.
“This is the planet Petar. It is in the Swelgarian galaxy. “
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“Now you have. Are you feeling upto getting up? My father wants to talk to you”
“I am all right, just give me a moment.”
Rowen nodded. “I’ll wait outside.”
Mark looked around the room once Rowen had left. It was a spacious room with large windows opening out to the forest. The room did not have much furniture; apart from the bed, there was only a chair and a wardrobe. All the furniture looked new, the smell of fresh varnish still in the air. What was even more curious was that the furniture was all made of wood. Mark ran his hand over the side of the bed. Wood, polished wood, but wood nevertheless. With so many trees around, it made sense, but he couldn’t wrap his head around the extravagance of using wood for anything. Back on earth, trees were precious, because there weren’t many left, and to cut down a tree was a capital offence. Of course, it was too little too late, but had the war not broken out, perhaps they could have ended up saving their planet.
He sighed and sat up, his thoughts too depressing, and he thought of the man who had been there. Rowen. He was absolutely certain that Rowen was not human, but he had no idea what he was. Not any more than he knew what the other creature that had killed Dr. Harvey was. Perhaps the man who had saved them had the answers.
He rose, noticing with surprise that he wasn’t as tired as he should have been. How long had he been unconscious? He was barefoot and the floor of the room was also polished wood. His toes curled an an involuntary exclamation of pleasure left him. He had no idea wood was so comfortable to walk on!
Rowen was waiting for him outside, standing near a balcony from which he could see the forest. There were no other buildings or any signs of civilisation nearby. The house seemed to be standing right next to the forest. The entire building seemed to have been made of wood. Mark ran his hand through the railing of the balcony in wonder. Rowen didn’t move or speak till Mark turned to him.
“You said your father wanted to talk to me?”
Rowen nodded. “If you’re ready,”
As he stepped outside the room, he saw Rowen standing there.
Mark nodded back. The corridor through which they walked had huge windows and open balconies on the right and bare smooth wooden walls on the left. It was well lit, but he couldn’t tell where the light came from. There were no electrical fittings anywhere, so perhaps it was sunlight.
Rowen stopped before what was apparently a bare stretch of wall. He touched the wall and Mark noticed with surprise that it was actually a door. He looked at the sides, and could find nothing that distinguished door from wall. How did they tell it apart?
Rowen opened the door and Mark entered the room. The first thing he saw on entering the room was his friends.
“Mark! You’re okay!” Andy was at his side in a trice.
“We didn’t know where you were,” Ron said, the next to reach him. “I thought maybe that creature…” his voice trailed off.
“We’re missing Dr. Harvey,” Jake said.
“That creature got him,” said Sam.
“Got him?” Andrea asked, “You mean he’s dead?”
“Yes,” Mark replied. “And it would have killed all of us if-” he paused.
“He didn’t follow you in,” Sam said. “Who is he?”
“I don’t know,” Mark said. “But I don’t think he’s human,”
“He’s not.” Ron said. “I mean, he just put his hand on my leg and it was mended, as if it had never been broken. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
That made Mark gape again, thankful that he wasn’t awake when Rowen had healed his arm. What sort of technology was this?
“Yes, my arm is healed too.” he spoke when he could find his voice.
“But if it’s not human, then what is it?” Jake asked.
“I don’t like it,” Andrea said. “Mark, where are we?”
“Planet Petar. Or at least that’s what the man told me.” Mark said, a wry smile twisting his mouth. At least he knew something even if that wasn’t much.
“Any idea what that other creature is?” Sam asked. “We have not enough weapons or ammunition. If there are more creatures like that here, we may have to find some other planet to settle in. Unless we know how to make more guns.”
Mark saw the dismay in the others’ faces, but he had to agree with Sam. If there were more creatures like the first one, they would have to leave. They had only very minimal weapons and that only for protection. They had no idea how to build weapons. They had no weapons experts with them. It had been a conscious decision. Weapons was what had finally destroyed their planet, and made it so it could never again be habitable, and they weren’t going to take the seeds of their own destruction alongwith them. But now, they were here, with a creature that could swat them aside like rag dolls and break their necks like twigs and they had no means of protecting themselves.
Mark was saved the trouble of answering by the door opening and two men entering. One was Rowen and the other one was an older man with the same silvery blond hair, silver skin and eyes. That must be Rowen’s father, the one who had saved them all. His gaze was shrewd and penetrating unlike Rowen’s friendly one. Mark swallowed, feeling as if he was about to face a trial.