I get to the professor and boy am I out of shape! “Enough about that, that painting you did before about that thing you were seeing in your dreams – I need to see it now!” I yell.
“Why Jimmy, you said yourself that it was cra-”
I cut the professor off, “Oh it’s not crazy. Show me the painting.”
“Ok,” he says, “It’s inside.”
“Good. You lead”, I follow behind the professor as he’s practically dragging his dog who had unfinished business with the yard into the house and the second I step into his study I spot the painting. I run towards it grabbing whatever paint and bushes I could find. “Where’s your turpentine, prof?”
He hands me some colors, the turp and I get to work. I sit there for hours mixing colors, adding strokes to that canvas and waiting for paint to dry. Layer over layers, making no mistake of what I’m looking at, all the while both the creature and the professor are looking over my shoulder like children watching a colorful television show.
“I think you have the wrong color for my face, I don’t think I’m brown,” says the creature, “I’m more of a caramel color.”
“Stop talking, you.”
“Well, that’s just rude!”
“Jimmy, Who are you talking to?”
“OI! I’m talking to you, you can’t just ignore me, especially now that I know you can see me.” says the creature.
“I said shut up!”
“Jimmy, calm down there’s no one here.”
“OH, yes there is!”, replies the creature annoyed. “You don’t know how lonely it’s been, just talking to myself.”
“There, I’m done. Is this what you saw in your dreams all those year ago?” Big, doughy, sad eyes, beige skin, with a tiny build about the size of a small monkey. It looks like a Slow Loris if you had to compare it to something, but it isn’t clinging to a tree, and can actually walk upright. The professor begins to tear up, “Yes, it’s exactly what I saw. It’s exactly what I used to see.” he falls to his knees, “Where did you see this?”
“I’m seeing it right now. It’s in this room as we speak.” The professor stares at me with a look of shock as he finally realizes that all those sleepless nights trying to recreate the image of what he saw in his dreams weren’t in vain.
We spent the entire day trying to understand what exactly he was, and getting a sense of where he came from, and why he was here. “So what are you exactly?” I asked.
“I’m a Cranianthan from another world other than yours, where we lived for what would be in your sense of time, millions of years. Until the Abyssal came, and drove us from our homes.”
“I’m not going to call you a cranium, it draws wayyy too much attention to your large forehead,” I said. “Cranie, yea that’s it. Cranie for short, kind of rolls off the tongue, don’t you think?”
“THE ABYSSAL, is a force of unimaginable greed and gluttony. It travels the universe looking for planets that have abundant life, on which it feeds upon until there is nothing left. It comes and swallows everything in it’s path. Literally everything, and it corrupts anything it touches to use as servants to bring it more food. Until they outlive their usefulness, resulting in their deaths. There are other life forms in our planet which sided with the Abyssal, in order to stay alive. The Crothons, are you could say a precursor of what a Cranianthan is today. They don’t share our brain capacity, and what they lack in intelligence they make up for in brute strength.
“Wait, the one attached to my father is a Crothon?”
“Yes, but he is different. There was a splintered fraction of Crothons that didn’t want to live under oppression. They sided with us, on the condition that they be left alone to their own devices.”
“That doesn’t explain what these tethers are, and why I’m the only one that seems to be able to see you and the tethers.”
“There have been others throughout your time that have seen us. But to explain as to why you can’t see us – we created a hole into another dimension as a means to escape the Abyssal. Merely traveling to another world wouldn’t have helped. It would have found us eventually. Gathering our resources we developed a way to travel between dimensions. We are virtually undetectable. Well to the ones who can’t see us that is. But there are others like you like I said before.”
“What about the tethers? And why doesn’t the professor have one of you guys attached to him?”
“They are our life lines. They feed us.”
“Feed. You!” I exclaimed.
“Yes but not in the way you think. It’s more of a symbiotic relationship. We feed off your emotions, your dreams, your positivity. We influence you to be great in return, thus fueling us with more positive energy. Crothons on the other hand feed on anger, laziness, and greed. The negativity increases them in might and size. As for your friend, the reason he can’t see me is because I used to be the Cranianthan that he was attached to. He is a perfect steady supply of positive energy and it became boring if I’m being honest. That is until I saw you. I saw the negativity oozing from you. And saw the Crothon attached to you and wanted the challenge. I tricked the Crothon into leaving you and latching onto a dog, in return for me foregoing the relationship between me, and your friend. I would latch onto you.”
“What is he saying Jim?”
Putting my hand on the Professors shoulder, “I’m sorry prof, but your friend is attached to me now. Which is why I know what he looks like. He left you because they feed on positive energy and found you too perfect. So perfect in fact that frankly he found you boring. He saw me reveling in negativity and he attached himself to me.”
“They come from another world, and escaped because a being was essentially feeding on his people. Causing them to escape.”
“Oh dear!” He yelled in shock.
“That’s the gist anyway.”
“Oh and you can’t see him because he’s tucked away in a different dimension.”
“Yes, and you somehow gained the ability to peer into our dimension after being bonked on the head. It must have changed the frequency your brain works on.”
“Whoa, that’s cool. I gained a superpower! Wait… you said you influence people to do things? Like to become better people or going to poo?”
“I don’t control your bodily functions, James. I can influence you to try something new, step out of your comfort zone, and overall become a better person. Although there are some who influence the wrong people. We can’t change evil. Surging an evil person with positive energy creates an evil person with ambition. That’s why throughout history you have some truly terrible people who were motivated enough to do very heinous things. We can’t counteract that, although sometimes I wish we could.”
Hours and hours went by, and Cranie explained everything. At around 8pm we left the professor’s place, as we were leaving he told me how happy he was that he wasn’t crazy. How much it felt like a piece of him was restored, happy he was to see the Cranie helping me out of my negative slump.
On the walk back home I could see the Cranies, Crothons out and about with their humans. But the only thing I could think about was what in the world was I getting myself into.
An excerpt from “Amongst Us” by Victor Ferrero.