Orin by David Scholes

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Earth, Some years in the future

"Are you all right?" gasped Jenny, her small daughter Kim at her side, as the imposing man approached her homestead "do you need any help?" Through his badly ripped, metal studded, shirt she could see a deep savage cut across his chest.

He had come in from the forest. Even in his current state; injured, dirty, clothes ripped, and white hair and beard unkempt, there was a certain majesty about him.

His face looks old, she thought, but he doesn't have the body of an old man.

The man, who thought his name might be Orin, responded openly to Jenny's questioning eyes. "I cannot tell you what I am, or where I am from, I have no memory of past events."
Jenny took him inside. "You are not from here" observed Orin as Jenny tended to him "although your daughter is."

"You are observant, especially with your memory loss" replied Jenny "I am one of the survivors of the Drealth star ship explosion of twenty years ago" "When the ship broke in two and fell on greater Los Angeles" she added quietly.

This meant nothing to Orin though at the time it was seen as a modern equivalent of the old Hindenburg disaster, on a much larger scale

Jenny did not mention straightaway that those survivors, the last of her race, had received no help or sympathy from Earth's various authorities. Rather they had been treated as outcasts, and small in number, they had gravitated to various isolated locations. Leading the simple life, keeping away from authority, and not drawing attention to themselves.

Jenny and Orin talked deep into that first night. Orin, his mind a blank slate, eagerly soaked up information. About Earth and about other worlds Jenny had known.

Jenny answered freely and at the same time her alien intelligence gently probed for anything that might help loosen up parts of Orin's memory. There would be other such nights for them.

The next day and at the expense of two pairs each of blunted scissors and razors Jenny trimmed Orin's hair and shaved off his beard. Those who had known him of old, including his son, would have been surprised.

Orin stayed on with Jenny and Kim and was good about the farm. Not with things mechanical, but building and repairing sheds and fences, digging trenches, planting, and in the care of the farm animals. While he stayed with them the weather was more than favorable and none of the farm animals or indeed anything or anyone much hereabouts died. It was as if, in his presence, Mother Nature and even death itself had stayed their hands.

"You seem happy here with us Orin" said Jenny after his first week "I wonder if you were happy where you came from?" Orin did not reply. Vague and jumbled recollections had started to come to him; recollections of power, of the burden of responsibility for many, of a frequent struggle for existence and of battles almost without end.

Here things were simpler: a life of physical activity, of good food and good company. Not just Jenny. Others of the survivors of her alien race had visited them.

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