Axter curled up in an alley, tired of the looks, of the silence, of the simmering hatred from their fellow Qwotarians.
“I’m sorry Timosh went all mad scientist! I didn’t raise them like that!” Axter protested. It didn’t help. Strangers, enemies, and ex-friends still glared. As the economy started up again Axter was left out. As Qwortarians gathered in the market square for shopping and chatting, Axter was left alone.
With no one to talk to Axter was left wondering, for the millionth time, if there was anything they could have done differently. If they missed teaching Timosh an important life lesson. If it all could have been avoided with the right intervention.
“Probably not.” The voice startled Axel and they flinched, a couple tentacles waving in the air. “Sorry.” The Qwortarian was standing in a doorway, a little light coming through the slightly open door, to the alley.
“Oh, n-no. I’m sorry. Did I say all of that out loud?”
“Yes.” The second Qwortarian bobbed their eye stalk. “But like I said, it is likely nothing you could have done would have changed Timosh’s decisions. And none of their decisions are your fault, Axter. For they were an adult, and if a child can take responsibility for their actions, rather than their parents, so can an adult.”
“Easy for you to say.” Axter grumbled. Recognizing the chatter on the other side of the cracked door. “You’re Jatydid, a parent of Skylar, the savior.”
“Skylar took a big risk, and in many ways they got lucky.” Jatydid shrunk a little, letting their body rest on the stone stoop. “Timosh was also, only trying to help in the way they thought best.”
“Try telling that to…” Axter just gestured all around them with their tentacles.
“I have. And you have.” Jatydid clacked their beak. “Eventually they will give up their plan to eschew you until you leave.”
“Not like there is anywhere I could go!” Axter hit the wooden wall with a tentacle. “All the colonies know about Timosh, and know there is only one person in their family left… so it would only be a matter of time until they ignored me too.” Their breathing got heavy as Jatydid watched them with one unblinking eye. “That’s if I finally starve to death because no one will hire me.”
“You were an engineer, yes?” Axter bobbed their beak up and down. “Have you tried juice?”
“Skylar and Benti need a way to make juice faster and with less effort. They are straining their tentacles from manual juicing. If Skylar shows you some of the data collected from Earth, do you think you could make something similar with what’s available here?”
Jatydid held out a tentacle. “Then let me introduce you to my child Skylar.”
“Thank you.” Axter spoke softly.
“You’re welcome.” The two Qwortarians entered the side door to the juice shop.
Word count: 483