The stone walls faded into flat black metal. But Anthony didn’t trip until the butler’s head turned sandstone red. The floor didn’t change temperature, though the black walls chilled Anthony’s thoughts. This is something more than I expected. And when the source of green light multiplied in the hallway, Anthony noticed each source came from a window.
The Butler walked ahead in silence and never checked on Anthony, so he peeked through one window. After his eyes adjusted to the glare of green light, the image that resolved made Anthony want to run and scream. A frozen face of an unfamiliar man stared up at a green orb that rippled with wisps of cloud. Each orb looked like a miniature green sun. And each orb floated in front of a person with the same deadlocked gaze. A movement behind the person made Anthony jump and curse.
“Don’t look at me, it’s important that you watch,” the Butler said.
Anthony fought the urge to check where the Butler stood only because the small creature in front of him was more interesting. The creature’s skin matched the Butlers, but it wore what looked like a space suit without a helmet. A series of tubes ran along the suit’s exterior and then to a unique rebreather in its mouth. The sandstone skinned creature reached one figure, a woman dressed for a safari, and ladled a sparkling liquid into her mouth.
“What is he? Are they? Giving her?” Anthony asked.
“A nutrient supplement to keep them alive.”
“Information, knowledge, everything our leaders need to continue their growth.”
Anthony almost turned from the window when he noticed one of the green orbs moving from the end of the line. Another sandstone creature held a black cord attached between the girl and the orb. The orb stopped just behind the first man.
The moment of recognition stilled Anthony’s heart, his chest tightened, and the blood left his head. Stone-like hands kept Anthony from the ground.
“I don’t understand why our leaders want to study you…” the butler said.
Once again, the last word sounded more like tones and static to where Anthony couldn’t understand. But the implication was clear. Why would they want to study me? Then a meow came from the opposite direction than the Butler led. Once the other sandstone alien fed Elida the elixir, Atlas’s mews grew louder. Anthony turned to run, but the Butler’s stone’s grip pulled him down toward a door outlined in a green glow.
The doors opened and revealed a crowd of the sandstone aliens dressed in what he could only compare to robes. Wizards?
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