Canto Sixty-Two – In Lester’s Flower Garden
Sizzahl came running into the Arboretum as fast as her feet would work. She slammed the door behind her. Lester and Brekka both looked up startled. Lester’s two extra heads also looked, as did sixty-five buds whom Lester had started growing to feed his/her friends and provide more plant-people as well.
“What’s the matter, Sizzahl?” asked Brekka trying to rub sleep out of her eyes.
“Uncle Makk is trying to kill me.”
“Oh, yes! That reminds me. Lester told me that he was a clone with robot programming. I meant to tell you all about it.”
“Thanks, Brekka. That definitely would’ve been useful to know a bit sooner.” Sizzahl was smiling a grim, determined smile.
“What do you want me to do now, Sizzahl? Lester said I should eat Makkhain myself.”
“Ah, please don’t do that, Brekka.”
“Yeah, good. Thank you. But maybe Lester can help by eating him for me.”
“Um, no. I love him, even if he isn’t really my uncle. I may let him win and destroy this planet. Maybe he and the other Galtorrians are right. Maybe we don’t deserve to live. Maybe this planet needs to be rid of us.”
At that moment Alden and Gracie came in through a door that led to the sleeping nests. Both of them were nude again, but both were breathing hard and looked determined. Both had obviously heard what Sizzahl had just told Brekka.
“No, Sizzahl. You won’t let the bad guys win. You have to fight for what is good. You are good, and we love you.” After gasping out her impassioned speech, Gracie bent over and grabbed her knees. She seemed a bit short of air.
Alden, also breathing like he’d run a marathon, didn’t say a word until he had reached Sizzahl and put both arms around her neck. He hugged her.
“You are like a daughter to us. You even made more children for us. You have to be here to help us raise them.”
Sizzahl wept. She hugged Alden fiercely. And Gracie came to them both to put her arms around both and turn it into a family group hug.
“Together. We belong here more than we ever belonged on Earth. We stand together for whatever comes next,” said Gracie.
Brekka felt Lester wrap a leaf around her as if he or she or it was also giving a hug.