Chapter 16: Something in the Water

Alien (52) There was no doubt about it. I was sick. Dreadfully sick. I had probably contracted some horrendous alien disease, and any minute, I would turn green and break out in hairy warts. Alien (71)Alien (50) “Maybe we should tell him,” said Aksel, his voice reluctant. “No, don’t tell him. I’ll be fine,” I said. “But you’ve barely been able to keep anything down for two weeks!” he said, watching me clutch my nauseous stomach. It was true. I’d been so sick lately that we hadn’t made much progress on our search for a way home. “Maybe it’s something in the water here,” I said. “Or something that I ate.” But it wasn’t something that I ate. Nor was it an alien plague. I was pregnant. It took two months before I finally realized it. But as my belly grew firmer and rounder, I couldn’t deny the truth. I, Xifeng Phoenix Jin, was about to have a baby. The question was, whose baby was it? Alien (107) Aksel took the news better than I had. “I’m going to be a dad?” His eyes were so wide and hopeful, that I couldn’t bear to tell him the truth. I didn’t know if he was going to be a dad. With all my heart, I wanted the baby to be his. But it could just as easily be Arvid’s child. Alien (9) “Stupendous news!” said Arvid when I told him. “I can’t wait to become a father.” Luckily, Aksel was working in the garden, far from hearing distance. Arvid held out a hand to me. “Come, we have to tell my mother,” he said. I was stunned. “Your mom is here, on this planet?” He grinned. “Yes. She just arrived last week. My father and Katje are still in Scandinavia, I’m afraid.” He led me to his car, and we drove down the mountainside to where his mom lived. I stared out the window as we went, fascinated by how different the scenery looked in the daylight. The sunlight here cast an oddly beautiful golden glow on the landscape. I half wished that I had my camera. “Phoenix!” Lita Bergfalk looked as lovely as ever, except for her green skin, bizarrely huge eyes, and pointy, elf-like ears. As she pulled me into a warm hug, I noticed that she still smelled like vanilla and fresh garden flowers. “I am thrilled to hear that I’m to become a grandmother!” she said, as she hugged Arvid, too. Alien (111)Alien (131) I gulped. How would she feel if the baby came out looking like a total earthling? “Now then,” she said, looking at me. “I’ve prepared a list of acceptable foods for you to eat. Also, I expect you to exercise each day for at least thirty minutes. Oh, and take these prenatal supplements.” She shoved a paper sack into my hands. “Now after the baby is born, he will live here with me, of course. It will not be suitable for him to grow up in the care of an alien being.” Alien (133) I scowled. She was calling me the alien? “I don’t think so,” I said coldly. “This is my baby, and I will raise it.” “You foolish child. What makes you think you know how to raise a baby?” Lita raised her voice, which was nothing like the Lita I had known back on earth. Lita Bergfalk would never raise her voice or make demands. That settled it – something about this planet made people evil. Maybe the water was contaminated. Alien (134)Alien (137) When Arvid and I left his mother, who was still steaming from my attitude, I was more determined than ever. Aksel and I absolutely had to escape this place.

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