“What about… your male? Does he remember his parents?”
Teyata shook her head. “Do you want to go hunting?”
Her short attention span frustrated him, but then it should. Teyata, a manine, had to not only absorb the physical attributes of a cat, but surely some of their traits. She acted impulsively and seemingly without restraint, putting their friendship into question. As soon as she grew bored with their relationship, she’d move on without giving him another thought, much as cat’s loyalty never went beyond the food bowl.
“Teyata, you’ve seen my world as it was, in the holographic books. Have you ever wondered why everything’s different now?”
She shrugged. “This is the new world. The old world was just a dream.”
“No; it was real!” Brad erupted.
Teyata looked appalled.
“I’m sorry. Look; there was a war.”
“What is a war?”
“It’s something only men do. They fight and kill each other in great numbers.”
Teyata gaped, nodding knowingly.
Good; she understands that.
“Like the males in my clowder. Sometimes clowders fight each other.”
“No, no,” Brad said, lowering his head into his hands.
Taking a moment to compose himself, he sighed with the raising of his head.
“The whole world fought. Billions died.”
Teyata stared blankly.
“You don’t know how many that is; do you?”
She shook her head.
“Imagine how many grains there are in a handful of sand. Then if you were to dig a up a pile of sand for an hour; that’d be how many people died. I might be the only one left. Everyone, and everything I know is gone.”
He felt his eyes water. Shock and pain had descended on his shoulders in too great a proportion for any human being to bear. To make matters worse, he sat in the presence of an emotionally shallow being. At this moment, he needed her embrace, but Teyata would never do so unless it led to a sexual encounter. Didn’t she learn anything about humanity from the books? Touch between human beings was vital. It stopped the soul from shrivelling away inside. Men cemented deals with the shaking of hands. Friends embraced, and married couples intertwined with each other in sexual union.
Brad sighed. He would have to bear his burden alone.
Teyata’s fingers crept over the back of his hand. He looked up as her hand slid over his. She looked meaningfully, eventually smiling as Brad smiled.
“You do know something about us,” he said, almost tearfully.
Teyata only nodded. Brad drank in her features in each minute detail; recalling something… she looked familiar.
“I think I know you,” he said.
She hunched her shoulders. “I’m Teyata.”
“No; before. I used to watch you go down the street to the bus stop each morning, just before I had to go to school. Damn, I thought you were beautiful then, but… even more so now.”
Teyata grinned, leaning into kiss him.
Brad pulled away. “Don’t you remember? I mean who you were?”
She rolled her eyes in thought.
“Sometimes I see a woman from the old world in my mind. But it’s just a dream.”
“So you’re not her?”
Teyata shook her head. “No; not her.”