She listened as they talked about her outside.
“Found her up in the hills,” Dr. Paul Mouse spoke in his now kindly voice, changed from before. Another operation, this one performed by a colleague, not that he was opposed to working on himself. He’d done it before, Las Vegas style. “Can’t say where, exactly. Might be a crashed alien spaceship involved, might not,” he cryptically added. Texarkana Ritter was mesmerized. She saw a prize winning surgeon before her and knew he would do the right thing. Turn the alien in! It was the unwritten law of these here parts. You turn the aliens in, you subjugate them to tests, and then, when you’re done, you turn them loose up in Upper Austra into the wilds where they and their kind belong. Let them run over some distant, kind-of-alien village of its on up there. The up, the north, the wilds. Lower Austra hated Upper Austra in general. Where did it all begin? Roads, most likely. Lower Austra had them, two of ’em in fact. Upper had none and that started the whole wild aspect, she supposed. Limited transportation, limited communication. And now *those* aliens had the real deal kind; our infestation becomes their infestation. She was saying some of this stuff aloud to Dr. Mouse as well, which young Ruby, still without clothes gosh darn it, overheard of course. Her sharp ears pricked up as she sat up. She better get use to being up, since she’s heading that way. After the tests. They might have brought her to the good doctor anyway of course, although he was new to this dealing of the civilized south, the down, the lower. All aliens go to the doctors for checking and inspecting and making sure they don’t have any tracking devices or internal, hidden babies or whatnot and then: let ’em go up north. They don’t usually make it back. The border patrol makes sure of that with their guns specially loaded with alien poppers, as they called them. That was a concoction they learned from the midlings, the ones between the human and alien avatars and had knowledge of both and could swing both ways. Well, the ones that swung toward the human side told them of the alien side secrets, the weakness, the vulnerabilities. Achilles heels. Right as advertised. The old myths and legends were based on truth, just *extraterrestrial* as it turned out.
Ruby reached down with her long arm and scratched her right heel anxiously. She could feel there were bad days ahead.
(to be continued?)