Leilani looked at him as if it was the strangest question in the world. “I don’t know…I don’t remember."
“Well, what do you remember?" asked Harlan.
“I…I’ve been out there all…all day. Wandering. Just wandering."
“Thank goodness your skin is so dark," said Harlan, “or you’d be burnt to a crisp."
“Here’s a glass of water," said Lester. “And a wet cloth so you can clean your feet up." The girl began to slowly wipe the considerable amount of blood off her feet, revealing deep gashes under the sea of red.
“Do you know where your…people…are?" inquired Harlan.
The girl’s huge black eyes fixated on Harlan. “Up."
Harlan rolled his eyes. “No, no that can’t be right. The only thing up there is a 13,500-foot volcano peak covered in snow. And, more lava rocks. With the exception of a few scientists, astronomers that is, no one lives there. There’s nothing up there for you, Honey."
The girl stood and pointed her finger northward. ‘’Up. I have to go. Now."
“Wait," said Lester. “You could get really lost out there in the dark. Plus, your feet need medical attention. Let me call the Ranger Station, and they’ll arrange for emergency transport."
“No," said the girl. “I must go."
“Well," said Harlan, “we’re sorry to see you leave, of course, but let us give you this shiny lava rock as a souvenir. You can take it up, down, or wherever the heck you want."
The girl turned the rock round-and-round in her hands. And then, without saying another word, she disappeared into the quickly fading light.
Afterward, Lester sat down on a stool, bending over slightly.
“What’s wrong, Les?" asked Harlan. “Pining away for your girlfriend?"
“No…No…" Lester sat up. “It’s just that, well, don’t you feel even a little bit bad for giving her a rock? She didn’t seem all there, that’s all."
“Trust me, Les. A good lookin’ girl like that….who cares what’s going on in her noggin? When the HoloVid shows her taking off that hideous dress, and revealing what’s underneath, you’ll thank me. Yes, Les, just like you always do, you’ll thank me."
“Harlan, I smell a strong scent of Sulphur. That’s strange."
“Ah, not really, Les. We’re surrounded by vents on this beast of a volcano. It farts disgusting stuff periodically. God, how I hate this hellhole. Only a couple more times of raiding these rich tourist’s bank accounts, and we’ll have enough to leave, Les. And then we’ll buy our own paradise. Maybe even…"