Caveman Alien's Treasure - Calista Skye


- Dolly -

“What exactly is this?” Jennifer gingerly pokes the shapeless, yellow lump with one finger. “Some kind of food?”

“You'll see,” I reply absentmindedly, cutting off a piece with a small knife. “Probably not good to eat. But I won't judge.”

Jennifer raises her finger to her nose. “Not bad. Smells kind of fresh. Some kind of bread dough? Except dough is not supposed to be this hard. Can I taste it?”

I examine the cut surface of the smaller piece, tapping it with one fingernail. Hard all the way through, and that's a first. It has taken weeks of experimentation to get this far. But now it looks like it has finally worked.

I've boiled dinosaur fats and burned various types of wood and tested out all kinds of proportions for the mix for weeks and weeks. I don’t even know how many times I then had to throw it all away because it failed. And even this finished product doesn't look that great. It's just an irregular loaf of pale yellow something on the flat rock that is my lab desk. Even so, I think the girls may like it. The guys too, perhaps.

“Also not recommended, but it won't kill you. I think.”

She leans back on her haunches. “You're being very mysterious, Dolly.”

“You bet. Mostly because I don't know if this will work,” I admit, slicing another piece off the main lump. “If it doesn't, then I’ll have no idea what to do.”

“You'll keep experimenting, I'm sure,” Eleanor says, sitting down beside us in my work area a few feet from the house that we three used to share, but where only Jennifer and I live now. “Isn't that what chemists do?”

“You know, that's what I thought,” I agree, smelling the larger piece. Not bad. Nice and firm. Not rock hard, but it’ll do. The excitement rises in me. “I mean, when I decided that chemistry would be my major. I was thinking I would spend all my time in a lab with test tubes and beakers and complicated glass pipes and thousands of cool substances that I could mix and then see what happened. Then I would discover a new element and be famous. In my defense, I was eleven at the time. So of course, it turns out that actual chemistry is mostly done on a computer and the real experiments are almost an afterthought. Let's see if this works.”

I hold the piece up to the sunlight. It's the size of a Graham cracker and a little bit translucent, with thousands of black little specks spread all through it.

“Bring me some water, Jen?”

Jennifer picks up an empty pot and heads for our stream, which we have turned into a pretty effective system for both fresh water and irrigation. And I think Delyah, our chief, has even more ambitious plans for it.

I glance at Eleanor. “Meanwhile, you're looking happy.”

She gives me a guilty little smile. “That's the way I feel, too. Who'd have known that all it would take to turn me into a better person was to marry a dragon? I'm actually not even too bothered anymore that we're stuck on this miserable planet. I can’t stop smiling.”

“It's a revolution for psychology,” I state. “Feeling down? Not happy with your place in life? Marry a dragon!” I give Eleanor a light punch on her shoulder to show that I'm just making a joke. She can be kind of prickly. Or could be, anyway.

“Yeah,” she chuckles. “Such a simple solution! No, it probably won't be approved as a treatment. The FDA would be concerned about the side effects.”

“Like all the burns and claw marks?” I suggest.

“I guess. Except, I haven't actually burned Aragadon. There's been some clawing, maybe. Hey, I can be pretty fierce at times, especially during… um. Well, you know. But he can take it.”

“I meant the side effects for you, not the dragon.”

“Oh. Let's see. Side effects for me... Okay, happiness. A sense of fulfillment. Getting used to flying on the back of your husband. Anxiety gone because he will protect me against anything, and he loves me. Being pregnant by a mythical creature. Never being cold again. Seeing the world in a new and better light. Being optimistic about the future, no matter what happens. Hoping I never make him mad because he could reduce me to a heap of ashes in a split second. Hoping he never sneezes in my direction for the same reason.”

I chuckle. “You left out the incredible sex. No need to hide