Tansy Undercrypt
Author, Illustrator, Purveyor of Doom & Whimsy

Dazzling

September 12th 2017 in Microfiction

It buzzed and clicked, its tentacles coiling and uncoiling, its singular opalescent eye scanning, ever scanning. John and Rachel crouched, trembling, in disbelief and fear. “I come in peace, of course,” it burbled, moving closer. “Uh … okay,” John said, trying to crawl backwards off of the picnic blanket while not looking like he was going to run. “The stars … they are so many … but … they are no company,” it glorped awkwardly into the mouthpiece (its eye roving, ever roving). Rachel had stopped backing up and was sitting looking up at the thing. “Rachel … ,” John whispered, but she withdrew her hand. “Are you all by yourself? Are you lonely?” she asked it gently. “Jesus, Rachel,” John whispered, getting his feet under him. “There is no other pilot … no other one … there a million dazzling worlds to see, but none to see them with,” it moffed, close now – very close. John shrieked, bolting into the woods, rushing at some kind of escape (his body tripping and falling, with more tripping and falling). “Would you like a Fig Newton?” Rachel asked it, taking stock of what they’d unpacked for supper before the ship had landed in the clearing. “It’s a cookie – a dessert; very sweet and chewy. We eat these. I … I hope you’re not allergic or diabetic or something.” It took the Fig Newton in its shorter front tentacle and snoozled it, rubbing it across its sensors, drooling a little bit. “I will ingest this,” it hummed, gumming the thing with the edge of one throat gill until it had disintegrated. “There have been a million dazzling worlds, but no gift such as this,” it purred, coming to rest in a pile near the blanket. “How about I read to you and you eat a sandwich?” Rachel asked, holding John’s ham and cheese out for the tentacle to extend again. She read it Mary Oliver and Raymond Carver; she learned that it liked potato salad, but not cole slaw; Rachel grew brave enough to touch one of its tentacles and learned it wasn’t slimy. “A million dazzling worlds,” it horfed before returning to its ship at dawn, “and one friend.” Rachel cried when it left, marveling, ever marveling – looking up at the sky where the stars were closer than they had ever been.


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