Sitting by his brother, his tears still on his tomato-red cheeks, Denice had no knowledge about the rough, sympathetic, shaky -‘Let’s go now’-coming from his 70 years old grandfather, who too had slight drops coming through his huge eyes. Having been shaken on the shoulder the second time, he wiped his eyes with the sleeves of his already wet t-shirt. Wrapping his arms around his grandfather’s waist, they sobbed together for a moment, before checking into their Maruti, already boarded with his parents, whose tears were silent, still evident.
The boy came out of the womb dead the last week. Denice looked out the window till the graveyard was well out of sight, still not out of mind. About and hour it took, but the tears were still there when they went into their 2-BHK rented apartment.
Denice, being 8, grew a habit of viewing the world every night, from the roof, where he would look into the beauty, and try to forget all the excitement he had before the delivery. Not that he was old enough, but his folks still allowed, though he never got over it.
Standing in a corner of the rectangular roof, he realised that the darkness was being disturbed by a flashlight. It was pointed on his back. He thought that someone came to take him home, so he told that someone that he’ll be back, still not facing the light. But that someone was not in the mood to face down, so it was Denice who decided to turn himself.
Finally his mind got off his brother and towards the boy standing with a weird light. As the boy drew closer, Denice had a clear look on the shiny belted robe he was wearing, and the light was not a flashlight but it was from the boy’s forehead. The only things peculiar about him were the light on his head, he wearing such outfit at that hour, and of course, his height being no more that 10 inches from the floor.
‘Ello, fent!’, the boy told, trying to say- Hello, Friend! – in the English accent of any foreigner struggling to learn English.
‘Who are you?’ I said vaguely, in spite of him being unbelievably tiny.
‘You can call me Forty Two.’ (In his own way actually).
‘Forty Two? Where did you come from, man? And so tiny?’ I said without my manners.
‘Of Course. Back in Pluto, we are given numbers, unlike earth’s way of giving fancy words to a new-born. So, what fancy word do they call you by, eh?’
‘Denice. And that ain’t fancy, Mister!’
He told him that he came to earth on his vacation. And boasted about how skillfully he avoided the defence’s radars, and now as he was the first of humen to meet him, he was responsible for his safety, and would have to show him around. Denice suddenly remembered something and asked, ‘Wait, are you God? If yes, then tell me why you killed my brother?’ He had the tears back.
‘I am no God, child. But your people may refer to us as something called aliens,’ he sighed.
He wanted to know about his dead brother, and was polite enough to delay his vacation. Forty Two told him about ‘New Horizon’ which was sent from earth, which he had seen from his balcony in Pluto. He told Denice that the Plootroops (Pluto people) also call the human being – Aliens!
Forty Two was telling him how earth was weird for him, as everything there was all alien to him. Then Denice’s small mouth told something really huge. He said the whole world was all alien to him. Whole life was alien to him. God’s ways were alien to him, for he never understood why the God he worshiped didn’t let him have an alive brother. Why Humanity was alien to him, seeing the laughing faces of people in the hospital, who thought his family to be creating a scene on the news of a dead child.
Then Forty Two told that Humanity sure was an alien thing. The people who call themselves social workers by donating clothes or money once a month are the firsts to lift the car-windows on a poor beggar. Firsts to give, and firsts to think they’ve done enough. Denice nodded, though he vastly disagreed to that, but was happy to have someone to talk to.
It was a blink which took him to the bedroom, comfortably tucked into bed. He heard from his grandfather that it was his father who carried Denice’s sleeping body to the house from the car. That he was too tired to wake up, and thus, they didn’t call him up.