I hadn’t made it half way across the room before a tall man dressed all in black appeared in front of me at the bottom of the steps. “Who are you?” he asked with his hands on his hips.
The first thing I noticed about him, aside from his choice of color, was his eyes. I don’t know what it was about them, but they reminded me of cat’s eyes. “I’m Liam,” I said frankly. It’s not as if I could hope to pass for a local. “I’m here to look for my friends.” I wanted to say I was here to look for my girlfriend, but I didn’t want to tip him off to the fact that I had one.
He smiled. “There are a lot of ‘friends’ here, which ones do you think to try for?”
He seemed amiable, but I knew better than to trust him. “Oh, I don’t know; I thought I’d start at the top. I might find one I like along the way.”
“You’re a cocky little shit, aren’t you? Speaking of little shits, why are you so little? Was there something wrong with your mother?”
I think that question was pure curiosity rather than malice, so I decided to answer it just as honestly. “No, my parents and I come from Earth.” The word was out of my mouth before I thought about it. I had said the same thing so many times that it was rote, and I wasn’t used to the idea that my parents had both been born on Cambay.
He laughed uproariously. “Earth. What an unusual name for a home, but then perhaps that’s why you are so small and pale. Why don’t you go home? Perhaps you’ll find something to mate with among the worms.”
I felt myself flung backward and knew that the floor of the inn and the ground underneath it was melting away as fast as I was falling. Equally as fast, I saw the light of day in front of me vanish as he closed the hole after me.
I kept the ground from crushing me, but he apparently didn’t suspect. After I picked myself up from where I had sprawled at the bottom of his grave, I created steps in the earth around me and began to climb out moving the dirt from my path as I went. When I reemerged into the inn, I recreated the floor making it as solid as before. I’d fill in the hole later.
As I began to climb to the second floor, I heard voices above me. Someone was getting a serious dressing down. I’m thinking my adversary didn’t realize who I was, and his boss thought he’d made a big mistake letting me live more than five seconds. He was right. I was pissed; I never liked being knocked down.