When Jedediah and Jenny finally came to their senses, Doc sat them down in his backyard kiosk. How do you interrogate people who’ve been kidnapped by extraterrestrials and have been in some kind of trance for days?
“What say you two tell me what’s happening?” Whatever the off-worlders did to them, scattering his silver on the lawn wasn’t good behavior.
Jed and Jenny looked at each other nervously.
“It’s like we’re reading from the same book,” said Jed. “Sometimes I read the words, sometimes she does, but we’re both seeing and understanding them.”
“Yes,” said Jenny. “Put him in the oven and smoke him, but he’s right. Only it’s more. Like a concert or a soiree on the lawn or a train ride.”
“So why in tarnation did you scatter my silver all over the place?” asked Doc.
Jedediah glanced at Jenny, and they both shrugged, then widened their eyes.
Both spoke. “There’s another.”
Will, dressed in his blacks, road up to the side of the house in the six-seater and escorted a tall black man to the kiosk. “Hello, y’all. This here’s George Davis, up from Georgia. I think you might find some things in common.”
“You let Harold know?” asked Doc.
“Yep. He and Ty’s right behind me.”
George regarded Jed and Jenny, then started moving his hands like they had before.
“No, no,” said Jenny. “Pull your head out of it, we’ve already been there.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Doc. “He’s just reading the book or dancing at the soiree, isn’t he?”
“That was the weirdest part,” said Jed. “When we was scattering your silver, it was more like we were in the book, not reading it.” He looked over at Jenny, who nodded. “It was like a retreat, out of the way of the hunters.”
“Who are the hunters?” asked Will.
“Who do you think?” said Jenny.
Ty and Harold road in on horseback and dismounted.
“The gang’s all here,” said Ty. He beamed at the rest of them, probably because they all had their blacks on.
“Yeah?” said Doc. “Well, we’ve got to do something to take care of these people before they lose themselves.”
“We’re not losing ourselves,” said Jed and Jenny. George’s eyes locked in on them, and all three spoke. “We’re sharing a gander.”
“What’s that mean?” asked Doc.
“It means were not loco,” said Jenny. “Stop acting like we’re steers to be branded.”
Doc was ready to put them all in the hoosegow until they could figure out the off-worlders’ intent with them and protect them.
Harold stepped onto the kiosk. “Miss Newcastle, I assure you I have not lost sight of your humanity. I think you’ll find my experiments have shown great respect and restraint.”
“You ain’t putting me in no restraints,” said Jenny and George.
“Not what I mean,” said Harold. “I’ve restrained myself from treating you inhumane, and believe me, the temptations are there.”
Ty pulled out his half chewed cigarillo and popped it in his mouth. “We’ve got to reckon what they did to you.” He lit the butt. Dock shook his head at Ty’s theatrics. “I don’t regard your captors as benevolent, so whatever their intentions, we need to know.”
“Get off your highfalutin pedestals and eat some grass, fellas.” Jenny stepped down from the kiosk and took George’s hand. “We’re all looking for answers, and we appreciate yer help, but we’ve got to keep searching.”
“We’re with you all the way,” said Harold. “We just want to make sure the right beings are their when you find them.”
“We know you’re friendly with them,” said George.
“Not the ones that abducted you,” said Ty.
“We know three kinds of off-worlders,” said Will. “We don’t trust any of them much, which is why we’ve got to see what they did to you.”
“Then why do you have to treat us like things?” asked Jed.
“Because they made you a thing,” said Harold. “And we’ve got to figure it out before they utilize you without recourse to your persons.”
Doc liked the way that sounded.
“I don’t know what that means,” said Jed.
Doc squeezed his shoulder. “It means we’ve got to know how to use you before they use you up.”
Jed drooped his head. The three abductees spoke in unison. “Okay.”