Ann woke up the next morning by the sound of heavy continuously knocking on her bedroom window. Grumbling to herself she turned around and tried to ignore it with the only result of the knocking becoming more and more intense. Pulling the bed blanket up above her head she tried to close out the infamous sound. Just one more minute. But eventually she finally gave up. Pulled the bed blanket off to the side and sat up with a grumble, rubbed her eyes, slowly stood up and made her way towards the window. Outside stood her uncle with a cheesy grin on his face signaling to her to get ready for the day. Ann grumbled lightly as she lifted a hand and waved off her uncle, letting him know that she was awake. He smiled his usual goofy grin and gave her a thumbs up before finally leaving her alone. Moments later she managed to kick herself out of her bedroom, allowing herself a good long shower to wake herself up before getting ready for the day.
Now dressed in her gi, belt semi tight around her waist, hair up in a ponytail and bare feet as usual she headed towards the boys building. Found her uncle at the table farthest away, sitting together with Mr. Kagoshima. Without asking, as she figured that it would be alright she sat down on the other side of her uncle and reached out for the breadbasket, helping herself to some food. The others had already started to eat without her anyways. At this point she was still unaware of today being the day her entire life would change forever, although deep down her instincts felt that something big was brewing. Moments later she made her way outside along with the others as they made their way behind the boys building to a small outdoor field.
Standing in line, facing the rising sun, with the white belts to the right and black belts to the left, which only included Hassan at this point as Mr. Kagoshima himself stood in front with everyone facing him and the sun. He was the leader, the sensei. Ann stood in between four other brown belts, one of them in between her and her uncle. It would be a while before she herself could consider herself ready for the first black belt trial although she spend most of all her spare time back home training intensely on a near daily basis. For that one bright moment of glory in her life karate was her entire life, her hobby, passion, and lifestyle. Now however, on this vacation it was her uncles moment of glory. He was to partake on the international karate competition in just one and a half weeks time.
In many ways Ann envied her uncle for this glorious invite and honor of part taking such a competition. But on the other hand she felt happy that this kind of burden did not rest on her shoulders. After all, she was not yet ready. She was not yet a black belt, but perhaps in a three to five years time it could be her who get an invitation to such an event as this if she kept on training. Ann's mind was swimming with thoughts and was taken aback as Mr. Kagoshima raised his voice, bringing her back to reality. Still in the front he turned around, now standing with his back on them, sat down on his knees in one swift but calm simple motion, the rest, including her, followed with the same motion afterwards. With a single command from Mr. Kagoshima everyone closed their eyes; it was meditation time.
Ann cleared her mind as her uncle had taught her years back when she was still but a little child. Thoughts, images and colors all left her mind and left was nothing but a pure white emptiness. Minutes passed by as if they were hours before Mr. Kagoshima barked a new command, everyone opened their eyes and bowed to the sun in a perfect motion as if of the same body and mind. Mr. Kagoshima turned around, now facing the others, his students and two friends, this time without having to say another command he bowed to his students, Ann and Hassan and them to him.
Everyone sat still, listening intensely for Mr. Kagoshima's movements. The sensei as always, deciding the pace of the bows. Finally he rose up with grace and without his hands touching the ground he stood up, using nothing but his leg muscles. Everyone immediately following pace, copying his movements down to every little detail, for such is one of the unwritten laws of karate. Mr. Kagoshima turned the side to his students and with a single firm command from him, everyone turned to face that same direction. And with Mr. Kagoshima in front leading the group, they started to run. Staying in a perfect straight line one behind the other as they took several rounds around the field before Mr. Kagoshima allowed them to rest and start stretching out. They were warming up for the forthcoming karate lesson of the day.
After the long intense tiresome training session with her uncle which had lasted the entire midday and afternoon, Ann sat down on a tree trunk a little away from the others to get some peace. Not that she did not like the others, but being the only girl it had quickly become a little lonesome for her. Not that the boys wouldn't be better than nothing, but the issue was that hardly any of them spoke English and those who did only spoke a very little. Ann did not understand Japanese beyond the few command words she had been taught through her karate training.
She took a sip from her water bottle, dried off sweat from her forehead with the sleeve of her gi as she stared in direction of the surrounding forest. Although being exhausted from the several hours of a long intense training session, Ann could not help but still feeling restless and something kept drawing her attention towards the forest. She felt a desperate desire to go in there and explore. A hunch deep down telling her that that was where she had to be and she had to go soon!
Ann had been told that the surrounding forest was safe enough. There were no large carnivores in these parts and the only thing she had to be careful about was not to enter the military area. They were known to be highly secretive and did not like intruders, not even innocent children from the karate camp which they only reluctantly shared the island with.
Ann snapped out of her thoughts as she saw her uncle from the corner of her eyes signaling to her. She and the other boys had been dismissed for the day and it was time for a shower and getting ready for the evening while Mr. Kagoshima and Hassan went on their way towards the kitchen once they had chosen two unlucky souls to help them cook tonights meal. As was the rules in this camp. Everyone had to help cooking sooner or later and they were doing it on turns, being young and being a boy was no excuse for not helping out in the kitchen one way or the other.
She watched the two not so happy unlucky souls as they followed right behind Mr. Kagoshima and Hassan to the awaiting kitchen. Once they had entered the boys building Ann stood up and went back to her own quarters for a quick shower before changing back in to her shorts and tank-top. There was no need to keep on her gi when not in training. As she had gotten herself dressed she grabbed her hair band and hair brush, placing herself in front of the mirror.
The moon was now up in its full shining glory and the others had settled in for the night. Now was a perfect opportunity to check out the surrounding forest alone. She turned off her Nintendo DS and threw it aside on to her bed, watching it bounce up from the mattress as she stood up and went for the hallway, put on her jean jacket and sneakers, grabbed the key for the building just in case and stepped outside, locking the door behind her out of old habit.
She was eager to check out the forest wondering to herself as she entered if the wildlife here would be much different than the wildlife back home. After a while she stopped on the middle of the narrow forest path that she had been following for several minutes, looked up at the full moon with a smile and content sigh, taking in a deep breath enjoying the cool night air as she thought to herself that she would most definitely come back here several times before her and her uncle had to leave. While in deep thoughts something strange all of a sudden caught her attention from the corner of her eyes. Something green with a strong glow to it. She blinked and snapped her head to the side, halfway expecting to see lights from a car or bike. Seconds passed by before she realized that the object was not moving at all.
Curiosity got the better of her although she knew that she had long ago trespassed the borders to the military side of the island. Cautiously she approached the strange light. Luckily the full moon gave her just enough light to navigate between the trees and bushes without stumbling over the various tree roots. Something overly large and dark lay on the ground before her. The strange light came from no object but from the ground itself! Approaching the figure she soon realized that the glowing green substance was no natural part of this forest. She bent down and touched the green substance with the tip of her fingers. It felt cool but not overly cool and thick as well. Her first thought was paint. It had to be paint! But why here? Had some soldiers dumped the paint here for no apparent reason? It didn't make sense to her. Stepping closer to the large object she soon realized that it was not something but indeed someone!
She bent down by the side of the man. At least she assumed it was a man. "Damn he is big!" She muttered to herself knowing that some humans could grow unnaturally tall, although usually as a result of a genetic disease. But this man was not just tall. He was enormous! And muscular too, extremely muscular actually. Her eyes scanned his body up and down and she was taken aback by his strange clothing. He was dressed in what she defined as a samurai outfit of sorts, but to her knowledge even Japanese soldiers dressed as European soldiers. They wouldn't dress like this. Taking a closer look to the details on the man, although the full moon only provided her a limited vision she soon realized that some of the green paint had splattered on to him. No not splattered on to him! It came from him!?
"What the hell!?" she muttered to herself in Danish.
She moved closer to him, trailing her fingers across his mask and down his chest before taking his huge hand in both hers, her eyes widening when she realized that he had claws and his skin was nothing like human skin. It felt different. Slowly it dawned for her that he could not be human and first then she noticed his deep cuts and gun holes down his side. "Oh my God. Your injured!" she gasped. Her eyes widened "Its not paint...it... it's blood!" she continued mumbling, more to herself than to him. Part of her refused to believe in what she saw, but yet there it was, physically presented before her eyes, a living proof.
In panic she started to look around in a desperate hope for nearby help but there was none. She stood up and rushed back a few steps in the direction of which she had come, wanting to get help before it finally dawned for her. She could not get help. If he truly was not human the others would not understand. With nightmarish flashbacks she recalled several of the alien movies she had seen throughout her life. Pretty much all of them ended with the aliens being cut open in some nasty looking government owned laboratory. It was awful and cruel, not to mention nasty and inhumane. No, she could not tell anyone about this.
Turning around right in her path she rushed back to the man and bent down, not knowing where to place herself nor what to do. She was in panic and stressed. She had no idea at all about first aid. Taking in a few deep breaths she forced herself to calm down, trying to think more clearly. With a trembling hand she reached out and touched him again. Her hand trailing down flat searching his chest where she knew that her own heart would be. After a few seconds of searching she finally found what she was looking for. A very faint but barely there heartbeat. He was still alive.
"Heat!" She thought out loud. She could not let him stay here. He needed heat.
Quickly she stepped up behind his head and bent down, placing her hands under his shoulders, wiggling them down beneath him in prying search of his armpits in order to get a good grip on him. His head now resting against her belly as she slowly stood up using nothing but her leg muscles and started to drag him towards the path not far back. No more than five steps later her arms were already aching and she realized that there was no way that she could drag him back towards safety like this. Not if she wanted to get back before morning. Slowly and gently she placed him back down on the moist ground and whispered. Unsure if he could hear her, even more if he could understand her. "I will be back! I promise."
Turning her back on him she ran as fast as she could back through the forest. Soon found the path and followed it back home to her temporary residence. Once she stood in front of her door her hand dipped in to her pocket, fumbling to get a grip around the key, then smacking it in to the lock with a rather harsh movement and rushed inside. Without bothering taking off her shoes she rushed to her room and slammed the door open. Her heart was beating fast of both exhaustion from the fast run and stress from what she had just seen and what she was about to do. Taking in a few deep breaths she looked around inside her room for anything that could possibly help her lift or drag the man but she found nothing. She started to panic until her eyes finally fell on the bed sheet. Of course!! She could use sheets. With any luck she should be able to drag him using a sheet without it ripping in half, if she was careful. But she could not use her own.
Turning around she rushed to the other bedroom in which she had found her blanket and pillow. Searching the dresser she soon found a mattress sheet cover. She grabbed it and ran out, this time not even bothering to lock the door behind her as she rushed back towards the forest. She quickly found her way down the path until the green glowing light came within sight and she approached the man of whom did not seem to have been trying to move. He really was out cold! She placed the bed sheet cover on the ground in front of him, folding it out in its full length and width before stepping back to him. Grabbing around his shoulders once more, using his armpits to hook her fingers and dragged him partly onto the bed sheet. She placed him down gently and stepped back, grabbing the two ends of the bed sheet behind his head and tied the ends together in a knot to form a good handle for herself to hold on to. She knew that this was a silly idea and probably looked stupid for any nearby eyes watching her right now. But she did not care, she had to try something and using a bed sheet was what had first come to her mind. If she was very careful she would probably succeed without ripping the bed sheet in half.
Holding on tight around the knot with both her hands she started to pull and much to her surprise even though the man was very heavy, it went a lot smoother this time. Although his weight still wore her down fast, but at least she didn't have to lift and pull anymore. Ever so slowly she managed to get him back to the path, only accidentally hitting his head against high tree roots twice. Now on the path, the rest of the way home would be smooth and pretty much straight ahead without tree roots nor bumps in the ground in the way to slow her down.
Nearly an hour passed by before she had managed to drag the man the whole way back. Stopping in her track just a few feet from the door she released her grip in the now badly torn bed sheet and dried of sweat from her forehead with her jean jacket sleeve. After opening the door up wide she went back to the man and dragged him towards the door. Now the tricky part would be to get him up and past the slightly leveled door step. Looking from the door and back to him she was trying to come up with a solution to that problem. Using the bed sheet alone would only result in her causing him to have his head knocked one more time. He already two bumps too many. Eventually she finally came up with the solution as to try and drag and lift him as she had tried the first time. Stepping up behind his head, she bent down snuggling her hands in under his shoulders into his armpits once more. Then using her leg muscles to stand up as she lifted his upper body up as high as she could muster, she stepped backwards through the door. Moments later she had managed to get his entire body inside and after a short break, rested her sore arm muscles. She grabbed hold of him once more, dragging him the last remaining feet towards her bedroom and let him lay on the floor as she rushed back outside to get the badly shredded bed sheet. It was beyond repairing and the man's blood had been smeared on to it. She could not let the others find it and brought it to a container located to the side of the boys building where she stuffed it inside a black plastic bag before closing it. She hid it well beneath some other plastic bags while trying to breathe as little as possible due to the foul stench of old food coming from some of the bags.
She rushed back inside, closed the door behind her and looked down at the man. She could not let him stay on the floor like that. She looked at her bed, grabbed her Nintendo DS and placed it on her table before pulling her bed blanket aside. He could borrow her bed, it was the least that she could do and after a few failed attempts she finally managed to get his entire body up into the bed. The bed frame only complaining slightly when both his and her weight was on it at the same time. Most of his wounds had stopped bleeding, but a couple of the larger ones still flowed, especially after her having dragged him for so long. Making sure that he was not about to fall down from the bed she left him alone and made her way towards the boys building. Luckily they had not locked the outer door and Ann could easily enter and head in to the kitchen.
She found what she was looking for, a kettle, filled it with water and switched it on, leaving it be as she went in search of a bucket that she could use for the water. She found one in the lower cabinet bellow the kitchen sink and placed it on the table just as the water finished boiling. Poured the water in to the bucket and filled the kettle once more. By the time the bucket was one quarter full she could hear someone behind her and she quickly spun around, finding her uncle staring at her with a slightly puzzled expression. He was dressed in his pajamas and had already gotten himself some morning hair. Clearly he had been asleep for a while.
"Ann! What are you doing here?"
For a brief moment she did not answer him but then finally gained control of her voice. "I.. I was just boiling water for a cup of hot chocolate. I could not fall asleep." She gave him a weak smile, doing her utterly best to look innocent and much to her surprise he seemed to have bought into it. Shrugging his shoulders he stepped up to the sink, grabbed a glass from the cupboard for then filling it with water, taking a few sips as he looked at the bucket on the table. "That is one hell of a large cup of hot chocolate!" But without waiting for an explanation he drank the rest of his water, placed the glass on the table and turned around.
"Well, good night then sweetie pie. Good luck with whatever you're doing." He said as he placed a hand on her shoulder and Ann leaned in, planting a wet kiss on his cheek. "Thank you uncle! You're a darling!"
At first Hassan stared at her with a slight puzzled expression as he blushed lightly from the kiss but then smiled at her as he let go of her shoulder, making his way back towards the door. Ann lifted a hand, placing her fingertips on her lips where his beard stubs had pricked her.
"Uncle?" she said, watching him turn around as he had his hand on the door handle. "Yes?" He asked. With a cheesy grin she replied, "You know..,you really need to shave!".
She put pressure on the word "really" and smiled warmly at him as he blinked for then shaking his head at her and he smiled back, leaving her alone in the kitchen as he walked back to his own bedroom. After he had closed the door behind him, Ann turned her attention back to the bucket, grabbed its handle and took it back to her own building where she placed it on the floor in a corner of her room, her attention back to the strange man in her bed.
She looked down at him, studying his armor and odd looking skin a little closer as she now had more than enough light to work with and could look at him a lot more closer than she could earlier. Now she realized that his skin actually looked and felt slightly like lizard skin of sorts, however a bit more soft and without scales. But his skin was of a dark olive green color with black spots of various sizes.
"What the hell are you?!"
She muttered to herself as she ran a couple of fingertips across the top of his wristblade gauntlet down towards his fingers and looked at his middle index which seemed to be connected to the gauntlet with a small wire wrapped around his finger like a finger ring. Her eyes moved to the two pointy blade parts that stuck out slightly from the gauntlet. It would not take an Einstein to figure out that those blades were somehow connected to the finger ring and wire going between the ring and the gauntlet.
Slowly and carefully she lifted his arm to take a closer look beneath his wrist gauntlet and noticed that it was attached to his arm with a couple of buckles, seemingly easy to remove. Moments later the buckles were open and carefully, ever so carefully, , she pulled off his gauntlet slowly by pulling the ring down off of his finger and then placed the gauntlet on her table. She then moved on to his other gauntlet which thankfully proved much easier to remove. Happily unaware of the fact that it was actually a bomb that she was working with.
Soon after she had undressed him almost entirely except of the strange netting suit, the loin cloth, the attached cod, his mask, and the shoulder armor the mask was attached to. She did not dare to remove the cod and loincloth, figuring that he would not be very understanding if he woke up and found himself completely naked. She stood up, stretching her legs and back as her eyes fell on his mask once more, wondering how he looked like beneath. Was he was truly an alien or mythological humanoid creature of some sort? Trailing her fingers across his mask she got back down on to her knees. Her fingertips now on the hose connecting his mask to the shoulder armor. Slowly closing her fingers around the hose and before knowing what she was doing, she pulled, the hose disconnected from the mask with an angry hiss. She then moved her fingers back trailing across the mask towards his cheeks where they found their way to a tiny opening between the inner side of the mask and his face. The rest of the mask seemed to fit perfectly and tight against his hidden features.
Slowly she lifted the mask off his face, surprised by its light weight as she had expected something that big and metallic to be very heavy. Without taking her eyes off his mask, she stood up and took it to her table. She gently placed it down next to the rest of his armor that she had removed from his body and walked back to his side, first now taking a closer look at his face and could not hold back a light gasp of surprise. He was hideous somehow but yet beautiful, but in a rather strange way. Trailing her fingers across his left lower mandible she pondered to herself. She could not remember having seen something like him in any folklore or fairy tales books. However, she could vaguely remember having seen masks similar to his before, but where she could not remember. Moving her fingers upwards to his tusks and what seemed like a mouth opening beneath, she started to wonder if he truly could be an alien as she had first guessed. When pulling the hose from his mask it had given a hiss, as if the mask had been placed on his face with a vacuum. And then it hit her.. What if the mask and hose had been providing him with some type of oxygen?
She felt her heart starting to speed up as fear stroke her. What if he could not breathe because of her? What if she had brought him all this way from the woods to her bed only to kill him?! She was no murderer and she had no intentions to ever becoming one. She was just about to jump up as she noticed his chest slowly but steadily rising and falling. He was able to breath without his mask.
With a relieved sigh she pulled the bucket closer to the bed, dipping a piece of cloth which she had ripped off from a spare bed sheet in the now cooled down water. She started to wash his wounds one by one, still amazed by his strange but cool looking green blood. Some cuts were easy to clean while others more deep ones proved very hard as they kept bleeding. She looked down at the bed sheet that she had already ripped apart moments before. Reaching out for it she started to tear it up again, using the pieces to wrap around the bigger of his wounds in attempt of trying to stop the bleeding and any possible further infections. She wrapped the pieces around his wounds, mainly his waist. It drained her a lot of energy as she had to lift certain body parts of his yet again. Once she was finally done, she could sit down and look upon her work with a satisfied expression, ignoring the sweat trailing down her forehead and cheeks. But it had been worth it she thought to herself especially if he would survive. She had so many questions to ask him, if he could even speak or understand her language. But for now, she was in need of sleep herself if she wanted to appear at least somewhat awake for the next days training session. Before leaving his side she pulled up the bed blanket and tugged him in. The bed blanket too small for his massive height, leaving his feet and lower shins exposed, but at least it was better than nothing. She did not want her new friend to wake up freezing.
Twenty minutes later she had dragged a mattress from one of the beds in the other bedroom to her own, placing it right next to the bed which her new big friend rested on. She put a bed cover on it and lay down with a spare blanket and pillow. Eager and yet nervous for when he wakes up, she hoped that he would be friendly. She had after all saved him, but having the creature show some sort of gratitude was no guarantee. Listening to his calm breathing she soon fell asleep, greeted by strange dreams from far away worlds, dreams that she would not remember once waking up.