May Writing Contest


It’s that time for the May writing contest and we have a sci-fi theme going for this month.  Hopefully some creative ideas will be sparked by the guidelines given.  For those who are new to the contest, or haven’t participated in a while, pay close attention to all the details. The stipulations and rules are listed below.  For further information, stop by the Monthly Writing Contest page to see the complete listing of rules and other information that you should know (along with who the previous winners are).

You will have until May 30th at midnight (EDT) to submit your entry.  That is approximately ten days from now.  On May 31st, I will announce the finalists for the contest and open up voting.  There are typically three finalists, but if more than ten entries are submitted, I may select four.  It will remain my right to use assistance from outside sources in the selection process, if I cannot decide easily. Those who judge will have no stake in this contest or its outcome.

As a reminder, the first and second place winners will receive a prize.  First place will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, and the runner-up will get a $10 Amazon gift card.  Both will be announced after voting is over on June 3rd.

Now, here are the stipulations and rules.  Follow them closely or you will be disqualified!

Stipulations:

1) The theme is alien encounters and should follow one of these ideas:

a) A human on earth stumbles upon one or more aliens and their crashed ship.
b) Two or more humans are abducted and taken on board an alien ship for “testing”.
c) A human is abducted and used to help propagate the alien race because they have fertility issues.
d) An alien attack where earth wins against their extraterrestrial aggressors (use creative means for the humans to win)
e) Aliens come to earth hoping to live there peacefully because their own planet was destroyed.

2) Must include the following details:

a) Name of alien race (does not have to be original, you can use Klingons if that floats your boat).
b) Description of the alien race
c) At least three unique differences between them and humans (these can be customs, mannerisms, and/or physical traits.

3) Should have a happy ending.

5) Word count: 1400-2200 words

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General Rules:

1) No extreme language. There are people here who do not want to see it and I prefer we not have anything that might be too offensive to the average reader. Light profanity is acceptable.

2) Making me laugh will gain you favor in my selection, though it isn’t a requirement. All genres of writing are welcome (if you are erotica, try to keep it mild please).

3) Post your story in the comments section of this post. Do not email it to me.

4) Ensure you include your name (even if it is only a first name or nickname) and a title for the story. Neither of these go toward word-count.

5) Anyone who has won a prize in any of the last three months is not eligible for a finalist position. They can submit a story if they wish, just for fun, but they cannot win.

6) Any story submission posted here can be posted elsewhere AFTER the competition is over. The only thing I ask is that you put a disclaimer saying that it was written for a contest on this blog (a link back here would be nice).

7) Must be your original writing that has never been published before or posted elsewhere prior to this.

8)Anyone may enter the contest (regardless of country of origin) but must be able to receive an Amazon gift card (they are not transferable).  I will convert US currency to the currency of the Amazon country site requested, based on current exchange rates.

9) In the event of a tie during the finalist voting round, I will ask (at a minimum) three previous winners who are not involved in this round of the contest to vote anonymously (via email to me) and use the majority of their votes to make the decision on who will win. ***New Rule***

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That is everything you need to know.  Come back on Thursday (May 31st) to see who the finalists are and vote in the poll for your favorite candidate (or maybe even yourself).   The poll will stay open until midnight (EDT) Saturday, June 2nd.  That is approximately three days for voting.  On Sunday, the 3rd, I will announce the winner and runner-up.  They will both receive their Amazon gift cards at that time via email.   Good luck!

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~ by Suzie on May 21, 2012.

41 Responses to “May Writing Contest”

  1. Sounds like a fun one, Suzie – can’t wait to see what people come up with!

  2. Nan-o-Nanu

    I’d had a terrible sinus problem all week. I don’t know what started the allergy, and I wish I did. The only way to keep myself … well, myself … might be to inundate my apartment with whatever allergen kicked if off. All week long I considered it to be a week from hell. Completely clogged sinuses cleared only by blowing my nose with a force that produced a noise like a rusty trombone, interspersed with thunder-like sneezes repeated in helpless succession until I was sure a migraine was close behind them.

    It was after one of the sneezing jags that I caught a tiny glint in my handkerchief. Now, the thing had been pristine cloth just 20 seconds ago. I was certain because I’d just traded out a disgusting used one for clean when I felt the first sneeze in this sequence coming. I wrinkled what would still move of my nose and carefully picked the fleck out with thumb and forefinger. It was a sharp little thing, and I had zero doubt but that it had just come out of my nose. My curiosity chimed in with the same kind of dread that makes you want to know what you’ve run your bar bill up to, even though you dread the news.

    Out of my desk drawer came my trusty and dusty glasses repair kit. It was the only thing I owned with any sort of magnifying device. I turned my mousepad over so that the rubberized side was up and placed the little fleck carefully in the middle. I thought that might tend to hold it in place, since it was so small that a stray breeze or another sneeze might send it flying to a place unknowable. Shining my desk lamp directly upon it, I peered with one eye through the little plastic lens.

    It was electronic … no question about that. Extremely tiny circuit traces were visible. What was it doing … ??? And then the flood of memories hit me. Just when I REALLY thought about that thing being in my sinuses, I remembered it being INSERTED up my nostril into my sinus! There was a guy who might have been a doctor. I could remember him wearing binocular glasses. But he was wearing neither hospital whites or blues, and I hadn’t been in a hospital since I was a kid. Then I remembered his skin, slightly yellow in cast, as if he had jaundice. His eyes were REALLY close together … made possible because his nose was short and its bridge started below eye level.

    I heard the opening music to my favorite talk show, coming on at the accustomed 4 PM … “The Nan Nanitts Show”. I watched it every day and had for … how long now? Almost the entire year since it had come on the air and captured the heart of the nation. Nan always had incredibly needy and worthy charities to highlight. Targets of those charities were on almost every one of her shows, and their stories were heart wrenching and heart warming at once. You couldn’t help but WANT to help. I myself had sent them almost two grand since I started watching Nan. I started to step toward my favorite chair in front of the TV and stopped after the first step. Nan looked different today … somehow plain instead of the radiant image of her that was often in my mind. I heard her announce the “Charity of the Day”, and I was not impressed. Weird. My head swiveled. Back to the little chip resting on the mousepad.

    “Nah ….”

    “Yeah …”

    I was convinced about what had happened to me before a thought could even completely form in words. I remembered something that never happened … that I knew of. I suddenly had zero interest in Nan’s show. I’d watched it with unwavering attention and responded to every call for a cash contribution for months. A shudder of adrenaline surge shook me. Nan had the highest rated show on daytime TV. Her ratings increased in leaps every week. And I KNEW that the only reason I’d ever watched the show was that fleck of a miniscule circuit board embedded at the top of my sinus cavity.

    I sat down … buried my head in my hands.

    ***

    It took me almost two weeks to find a sufficiently technical person who wasn’t a Nan-Fan and who would listen to my story with anything approaching an open mind. Even then it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t looked in the plastic vitamin case which now housed my Nan-o-Chip. He pulled an old microscope out of a cabinet and cleaned the lenses, then took a close look at the chip.

    “Mind if I call Dr. Martin in on this? He’s Dean of the EE Department.”

    “Is he a Nan-Fan?”

    “I … don’t know. Let’s find out” He picked up the phone, dialing. “Dr. Martin, this is Chet Summers down in the lab. I’m sorry, I just realized that it’s 4:15, am I interrupting anything? … No? …. Great, could I impose and ask you to come down here and take a look at something unusual?”

    ***

    Summers and Martin were at it until the small hours of the next morning. They told me I could go home and they’d call, but I wasn’t having any of that. That thing had somehow controlled my memory and my actions. I was sticking to this to the end with unwavering attention. Finally about 5 AM Summers poked me in the shoulder and woke me up. OK, I was sticking to this to the end, but who am I? Superman?

    “Bob, we know a lot about this thing now. Some of it is exciting, some of it is distressing, but there is one VERY important thing we are sure you need to know.”

    “Uh … “ I rubbed my eyes and tried to unkink my neck. “Uh … what?”

    “It has a little power source in it that from our measurements will be completely discharged in three days.”

    “Well, that’s great news! Isn’t it? I mean if there are millions of people who’ve been affected by this, then all we have to do is wait for the power cells to run dry and it’s over.” I smiled the confident smile of a man who is mentally and logically on the same track as two very competent scientists.

    “Not exactly. What we think that means is that you are due for a replacement implant at that time.”

    My smile faded as I pulled in my lower lip and bit it. “Wow … we’re talking multiple alien abductions here, aren’t we? Am I going to be a Nan-Zombie again by next week then? Is there ANYTHING we can do about that? You guys gotta help me!”

    “Actually, Bob, we think we can.” Summers smiled and I wasn’t sure I liked the look of it.

    ***

    Two days later Summers essentially moved into my apartment with me. He had a Skype hookup to Dr. Martin back at his lab. Summers and Martin had made their own versions of the chip and implanted THOSE in our sinus cavities. I’d asked Summers if he wasn’t concerned that he could wind up like I had. His excuse was that he might as well face the thing head on, rather than wait to become a subject when he wasn’t ready for it. Besides, we both had Dr. Martin as a back-up if we both got turned into Nan-o–bots.

    That morning he’d invited over a student from the art program, who did an admirable job of drawing, in full color, a portrait of the “doctor” I remembered from that long ago night. Shortly after he left, a professor from the Psychology Department showed up. He imparted a hypnotic suggestion to Summers and I that, upon seeing such a face, we would be able completely relax and breath in a shallow, even manner.

    The afternoon Summers took up residence in my apartment he installed a variety of electronic devices hidden in various places about my four rooms, and some software on my computer. He and Martin had coached me carefully. I was as ready as I thought I could be.

    The first night was a complete anti-climax. Summers and I took turns napping while the other “kept watch”, and we alternated all night. Nothing happened, and that was confirmed by Dr. Martin, who’d been observing us all along. We’d half expected this, since the next night was supposed to be the time I’d need a “recharge”.

    They were dead right. I was on watch when at about 1 AM I started to hear an odd humming noise. I poked Summers to wake him up. He listened for a moment and nodded. He winked at me and we both settled back, peeking out with our eyes barely open. I don’t know where he came from, but a being much like the one I remembered stepped into the slit of my vision. Same close-set eyes and tiny nose. Three legs, like a tripod … something I hadn’t seen and remembered. The yellow skin. The post-hypnotic suggestion kicked in and I became very relaxed and just closed my eyes. That was the plan. I was nervous about it.

    I felt sets of hands picking me up, and could hear the same happening to Summers. As planned, we were hoping they’d take the presence of a second person as a bonus, and evidently they did. Moments later I had a dizzy spell, was carried for a couple of minutes, and then was lowered onto a hard surface, some kind of table it seemed. We heard some sets of footsteps receding, and then a whooshing sound that reminded me of those doors on Star Trek. After that, there were sounds that seemed like only three feet moving around. That was our cue.

    I opened my eyes just as Summers jumped up and tackled the strange looking alien. I joined him and helped to hold the fellow down. Summers pulled a taser out of somewhere, I didn’t want to guess, and hit the alien with it. He stopped struggling. Summers opened a small compartment on the butt end of the taser and took out a small rubber case. Inside were a large number of nan-o-chips similar to the one that I’d discovered. They were so tiny, it didn’t take much of a space to hide hundreds of them.

    The instrument that was supposed to reapply MY chip was evident on a counter near the treatment tables. Summers used it to insert a chip up the alien’s nose while I watched the door. It was only a few minutes later that I heard footsteps outside and grunted at Summers. Summers stuck a second cartridge into the taser. When the door whooshed open there were two of the aliens, each carrying another citizen of the good ol’ U. S. of A. I knocked them both to the floor, which wasn’t difficult with them being defenseless, carrying the two unconscious men. Summers tazed one while I used the old fashioned method of clubbing the other one on the back of the head with my forearm.

    Soon Summers had planted chips up their noses too. We waited for the three to wake up. They looked a bit glassy-eyed, but each of the three was allowed to leave. As the night progressed, they lured back one alien after another in the facility, all of whom underwent Summers’ procedure. Each time more awoke, our army grew a bit. We counted over 80 aliens in the facility before we were sure we’d made a clean sweep.

    ***

    I’m not allowed to know all that happened after that. Summers made contact with Dr. Martin, and about an hour later what looked to me like a SEAL team suddenly burst into the facility. While Summers thanked me for the help and clapped me on the shoulder, I was blindfolded, then led outside to a helicopter. Sometime later we landed at my city’s local airport and I was given a ride home.

    After that, Nan’s show dropped steadily in the ratings. Once it was canceled she dropped completely out of sight. There was a report on “60 Minutes” that most of her charities turned out to be fakes. I don’t guess I’m surprised.

    Me, I stay away from TV Land. Every time an old “Mork and Mindy” rerun pops up and he lets out with his trademark “Nanu-nanu”, I just can’t take it. I don’t know what to call the yellow skinned guys otherwise, so I just think of them as the Orcans. And I hope that alergy keeps coming back … just in case.

  3. Hey guys! I’m not eligible to win this time but I thought that I would join in for the fun of it. I’ve never tried my hand at Sci-fi before so don’t judge me too harsly. :-)

    “Blue Cheesecake”
    By Charity Parkerson

    “I think we need to come up with a safe word.”
    “Blue Cheesecake,” Beth mumbled, more to herself.
    “That’s two words. That’s how people die. It needs to be one word.”
    Beth glanced up from her menu at Scott’s mention of death. “What?”
    Scott drew his eyebrows together in a thunderous frown. “You have to pick one.”
    Beth felt her confusion grow. “I have to pick one, what?”
    Scott growled, actually growled, at her question. She knew that she had not been paying attention, but in her defense, Scott never stopped talking. He started each day as soon as the alarm clock sounded, he talked through every T.V. program they watched, and on the night’s that he stayed at her house, he even talked in his sleep. She had learned early on their relationship that if she hoped to hold onto her sanity, that she would have to learn how to tune him out.
    “They have something called Blue cheesecake,” she told him, grasping at straws. The only thing that Scott enjoyed more than talking was food, and he was effectively distracted.
    “I wonder what makes it blue?”
    Releasing the breath she was holding, she waved to one of the servers. “Let’s find out,” she told him brightly.
    As the waitress reached the edge of their table, Beth forgot her question. The woman’s skin was blue. At first, Beth searched her mind for a reasonable explanation for what she was seeing. She peered up at the lights above them, but all the bulbs were clear. She took note of the temperature in the room, but it was not cold in the least.
    Fortunately, Scott had taken charge of questioning the woman about the dessert allowing Beth the freedom the look closer at their surroundings. She always avoided coming to this side of town, since it was out of her way, but this new restaurant had caught her attention one day as she was driving past, since it was the exact replica of a UFO. She had begged Scott to bring her here in order to check it out. Fascinated with anything Sci-fi, this place called to her on many levels, and now she found herself openly watching each member of the staff. A man working behind the bar caught her attention when he attempted to hide his tail, but it was too late, she had seen the whole thing.
    “But what makes it blue?” Scott asked the waitress, for the third time.
    “I don’t understand your question. It is blue cheesecake. It just is what it is.”
    “Is it made from blue cheese?” Scott asked, his exasperation shining clearly in each word.
    Beth listened to the ongoing argument with half an ear while keeping her eyes locked on Mr. Tail. He boldly held her gaze and motioned for a nearby server. He whispered something in his ear and the server shot Beth a surprised look before making his way over to her side.
    “Your presence is requested at the bar.”
    Beth glanced nervously over at Scott but he was so engrossed in his argument that he ignored her completely. “I guess I’m going to the bar,” she muttered to herself as she followed the server to Mr. Tail. The man trailed away leaving the two of them alone.
    “Would you like a drink?”
    “You have a tail,” the words fell from Beth’s lips before she could stop them.
    He let out a deep masculine chuckle. He was tall, probably close to 6’ 5”, and he had great hair. There was a hint of curl to it and she wondered if he kept it clipped short for that reason. If she passed him on the street, she would probably take a second look if it were not for the tail and the bluish tint. As she studied him closer, she added super sharp teeth to that list.
    “I hate to keep harping on this, but the tail?”
    He smiled in a way that made her want to pat her hair and adjust her cleavage.
    “Ah, that. All the Zuri have them.”
    “Zuri,” she repeated, testing the word on her tongue. “Our waitress doesn’t have a,” she trailed off as she glanced back at the table. “Oh wait, that’s a dude, and he does have one. How did I miss that earlier and why does no one else seem to notice?”
    “Most humans are too self-absorbed to see past our glamour.”
    Beth thought that one over. She was pretty self-absorbed, so she still didn’t understand how she could see past anything.
    “What are Zuri?”
    “We are an alien race,” he answered. “We were passing your planet when our ship experienced engine problems and we were forced to land here.” He cocked his head to one side thoughtfully. “You seem to be taking this well. I expected tears and screaming.”
    Beth considered the oddity of her own reaction before shrugging her shoulders. “I’ve never been arrogant enough to believe that we are alone in the universe, but I admit that I never thought that I would one day be chatting with an alien. So, why did you stay? Are you missing a part for your engine or did you decide that you liked it here too much to leave?” Beth snapped her teeth shut, when she realized that she was beginning to sound like Scott with her incessant talking.
    He smiled a little brighter and this time Beth was able to focus more on his dimples than the sharpness of his teeth. She let out a little girlie sigh. The blue skin and tail was beginning to matter less and less.
    “Perhaps we are here to harvest your organs.”
    She giggled despite the gruesome picture he painted. “Are you?”
    “No,” he admitted, and she leaned closer to him more charmed than she should have been, until the sound of Scott’s raised voice broke the spell.
    “Do you have any Vodka back there or is it all alien crap?”
    A shot glass filled with clear liquid appeared in front of her, and she tossed it back without question. It burned the back of her throat but she felt her shoulders relax. He refilled her glass and she tossed that one back, as well. “So, what makes the cheesecake blue?” She asked, as soon as she could speak.
    “Food coloring,” he answered immediately, making her burst into laughter, but the sound died on her lips at the hot look in his eyes.
    “We like your women,” he said. Reaching across the space between them, he pinched a lock of her red hair between his fingers, and brushed his thumb over it. “Our planet is slowly dying and we do not have many women, but the women on this planet are so very beautiful.” He pulled his hand away. “That is why we stay.”
    “Do you have a name?”
    “It is Argi,” he answered with a tiny bow.
    “I like your eyes,” she admitted and then felt herself blush. Thankfully, she was saved from embarrassment by the appearance of the man who had been trapped in an argument with Scott.”
    “Can I eat the chatterbox?” He asked, as he slammed a serving tray on the counter next to Beth startling her.
    Argi looked at her in question. “What’s it going to be? I can let Baruku here eat the chatterbox, or I can send him on his way with no memory of this place, your choice.”
    “I guess there is no option for me to leave.”
    One corner of Argi’s mouth lifted and his eyes took on a wicked glint. “We both know that you aren’t leaving here with him.”
    Feeling a little breathless, Beth barely stopped herself from fanning her face. “I can’t condone anyone eating the chatter-um…I mean Scott.”
    “Send the mortal home,” he told Baruku, while holding her gaze.
    “Does this mean that I get to touch your tail?” She asked, as soon as Baruku was gone.
    “Absolutely.”

  4. Cousins by ursiform

    Ursula enjoyed walking through the backwoods of Queen Charlotte Island after work. It helped her to calm down and escape from the craziness of the modern world. As much as she liked texting and being able to watch stupid videos on her phone, she needed to get away from it, and connect with another world. She especially liked to walk past the old Great House and the fallen totem pole of her ancestors. As she had done so many times before, she sat on a log and looked at what remained of the fallen the pole. The bear at the top. Below that the thunderbird, and below that the killer whale. What had the carver intended? Were the thunderbird and killer whale both ancestors, or had the thunderbird caught the killer whale? As she contemplated the scene for the hundredth time, she sensed something wasn’t quite right.

    The forest to her right seemed, somehow, different. Disturbed. She stood and walked in that direction. Within a few minutes she saw treetops that appeared severed. As she continued, she saw trees that had been felled. Then she saw it. Some kind of spaceship. It wasn’t a flying saucer, nor was it an airplane, but rather something in between. It was shaped sort of like a tortilla chip with the edges rounded. She followed the fallen trees until she was nearly in front of it. Almost more shocking than seeing it was a spaceship, she saw that it bore a split bear image wrapped about its nose. But it wasn’t painted on, nor was it engraved. It was sort of like a hologram, but not quite. She’d never seen anything like it. But it was beautiful.

    There was a tree fallen over what looked like a canopy. Something inside appeared to be trying to get out, but couldn’t because of the weight of the tree. Ursula wasn’t an engineer, but she understood the essence of leverage. She walked down the tree until the lowest branch was a couple of feet above her raised hands. She jumped and grabbed the branch, and her weight caused the tree to slide down and off of the canopy. She walked back to the spaceship as the pilot pushed the canopy open.

    “Thanks”, he said, “I could have suffocated with the air supply off.”

    Ursula stared. “You’re a bear”, she gasped.

    “Thanks for noticing. I am indeed”, replied the bear. “Had I expected to encounter a human I would have transformed into human form. But, as you can see, this wasn’t planned.”

    “And you can talk”, she added.

    “A guy crashes his spaceship in the woods, and you’re surprised he can talk?”

    “Well, I mean you speak English”, she explained.

    “Oh, that. Well, my native language is closer to Haida, but who here speaks that anymore? Gotta learn English to get along!”

    “You’re a Haida bear?”, she asked.

    “Oh, yes!”, he answered. “Are you Haida? Are you of the Bear Clan?”

    “I’m bear on my mother’s side.”

    “Then we are cousins. I am Bear Clan from the transformer bears that are ancestral to humans.”

    “The old stories are true? But bears are ancestral to humans? Didn’t raven create people?”

    “Why do people believe what the trickster boasts? Yes, he released something into the world. Not something you would want to claim as an ancestor. The rest of us had to transform ourselves and give your people some of our abilities so you could survive. We bears contributed the most, although some might dispute that.”

    “Wow, this is amazing,” gushed Ursula. “I can’t take my eyes off the split bear on your spacecraft!”

    “Cool, isn’t it. It’s the latest thing. ‘Course now I’ve scratched it up. Gonna cost a fortune to fix it.”

    “So how does it work,” asked Ursula, “how does it look like that? Like it’s part of the ship, but like it isn’t.”

    “Oh, it’s a quantum physics thing”, answered the bear.

    Ursula didn’t quite know what look she had on her face, but it led the bear to add “Don’t look at me like that. Just because a transformer bear crashes a spaceship in the woods doesn’t mean he can explain quantum physics!”

    “I’m sorry”, she replied.

    The bear sighed, and continued, “It’s not your fault. I’m just mad at myself for crashing. This whole crash is going to be hell for my insurance rates!”

    “I understand”, said Ursula, “I backed into a light pole last year, and was so mad at myself I snapped at the nice guys who tried to help me.”

    She was afraid the bear would scoff at that, but he chuckled and said “It’s always the same crap, isn’t it?”

    “So, my name’s Ursula.”

    “Good name for a bear. My name would be hard for you to pronounce, but it translates as something like ‘Grouchy Bear’.” Ursula giggled. “Right, go figure”, he added.

    “So where do you come from?”

    “I’m from here and not from here,” answered the bear. “It’s not quite like being from another place. It’s sort of like another dimension, but not quite. Part of me belongs to the bear world. Part of me belongs to the human world. They are connected by a non-corporeal state I can’t really explain. I’ve already told you I’m not good at quantum physics. But we can emerge from that state in human or bear form, although we are never really either.”

    “Well, it’s getting close to sunset, and as soon as it’s dark my tow will be here,” continued the bear. “I suppose I should give you something to thank you for your help.” He ducked down into his cockpit, then came back out and extended a paw. “Please accept this as a token of my thanks, and our shared heritage.”

    Ursula accepted the amulet he held out. It was an exquisite carving of a Haida bear. “It’s beautiful”, she exclaimed. “It’s copper” she noted, then quickly added, “the metal of our people!”, lest the bear mistake her comment for criticism.

    “Yes, we are all beings of copper. It’s what’s in the soil here. It’s part of why we have kinship with your people.” The sky began to darken. “You must leave this clearing now. Go back into the woods until you cannot be seen from here, but from where you can just see me. Stay quiet and watch; you will see something no human has seen in centuries.”

    “Goodbye”, said Ursula, “I will always treasure meeting you. You are charming even when grouchy!” “Goodbye”, said the bear, “I am grateful for your help in getting that tree off of me.”

    Ursula followed his instructions, and went back into the woods until she just had a clear line of sight to the bear’s ship. She began to hear thunder, and started to worry. But then she looked up to the sky, and saw an amazing sight. A bird the size of an airliner was settling down toward the bear’s spaceship. A Thunderbird! She watched as it gently grasped the ship in its talons, and then rose into the sky. The thunder grew distant, and then it was quiet.

    She pondered for a moment the incredible sight she had seen, then turned back toward the dark path home. She didn’t normally remain in the woods in the dark, but somehow the amulet made her feel safe and secure.

    She was exhilarated by what she had seen, but also a bit melancholy. She could never tell anyone about it, because they would think she was delusional.

    Ursula never did tell anyone about her encounter with the bear transformer in the spaceship. But she also wore the amulet the rest of her life. It was so exquisite that she was often asked about it. She always replied that she got it from an old Haida. Everyone assumed she meant that she bought it from a native artist. Only she knew it was a gift from an alien bear cousin.

    But it gave her a special confidence, and she never again felt overwhelmed by any situation she found herself in.

  5. Loved this, all the stories are great!

  6. [...] quick reminder before we get started, this month’s writing contest ends tomorrow night.  If you want to get a story submission in, please do so before then.  The [...]

  7. An Evening with Bob
    by Jon Recluse

    I was driving back to the office from Old Man Kadiddlehopper’s farm, having finally convinced him that it wasn’t aliens that were messing with his daughter, Beula, but the local fraternity. In shifts. He didn’t take the news much better than if he really was going to be the grandfather of a bugeyed monster. Although, considering Beula’s looks, the possibility was still in play. But, my work was done. Kadiddlehopper paid me what he owed me in cash and threw in a jug of his moonshine as a bonus, if I could run down the one Beula swore was the daddy, a football player named Nad. Life was, if not good, at least keeping it’s head above the sewer line.

    I had just turned onto Old Highway 16 when I noticed the lights approaching. They were coming in fast, quiet and from the air. I briefly wondered who I had annoyed that owned a stealth helicopter with a mauve searchlight, when I got a clear look at the aircraft. Check that. Flying object. Because, from where I was sitting, it looked like a giant pink spongeball. I leaned on the gas to get myself away from whatever it was and considered the possibility that I was high from the fumes leaking from the moonshine. I should be so lucky. The thing put on a burst of speed, caught up with my car and the last thing I remember, the lights got very bright before I lost consciousness.

    I came to sitting behind the wheel of my car, but I hoped to Hell I wasn’t on Jupiter, or in Kansas for that matter, because I knew that, without opening my eyes, that I wasn’t on Old Highway 16 anymore. Unless the moon had become a disturbing shade of puce while I was out, because the lighting was wrong. Then something spoke.

    “Are you awake,Mr. Chase?”

    “Maybe. Does Mr. Chase want to be awake?”

    “Awake, we can talk. Open your eyes, Mr. Chase.”

    “Will I regret it if I do open them?”

    I got a hurt silence for that one, and decided what the Hell, things couldn’t get worse. If it did, I would just bang my head against the steering wheel until I didn’t care anymore. I opened my eyes and saw what was standing on the hood of my car. It wasn’t wet your pants and scream like a girl horrific, but I was still thankful that years of hard drinking made it easier to swallow.

    It was about 4′ tall, with an egg shaped body, short little legs and huge feet. It’s arms were like an orangutan’s, long and held over its head. Only it didn’t have a head. It’s shoulders were set just below the smallest end of the egg shape, so only a little hump lay where a head should be. It did have a face, though. Big, green eyes, two. No nose. And a wide, lipless mouth in a big smile. Smack dab in the middle of it’s belly. It appeared to be naked, perfectly smooth, sexless and pink as a rubber sponge ball. It gestured for me to exit the car and hopped down from the hood.

    I opened the door and stepped out onto the rubbery pink floor of some kind of loading bay. It appeared to be the same material that my host was made out of. My mind filed that piece of info away and then set it on fire. The alien beamed up at me and offered it’s hand. It sported 6 fingers and two thumbs.

    ” I am Bob, of the Bob, Mr. Chase. My apologies for meeting like this.”

    I shook it’s hand, which was also rubbery.

    “Pleased to meetcha. Bob of the Bob?”

    “You have religon, Mr. Chase?”

    I nodded for the giggles.

    “Well, we do, also. Our creator, BOB, made us in his image. Ergo, we are the Bob. I am Bob of the Bob. See?”

    I didn’t want to, but I nodded again.

    “How do you know me, Bob of the Bob?”

    “Please, just Bob. You are known through many dimensions, Mr. Chase. Even mine. I am a dimensional traveller. I come from one down, three diagonally and up yours. I need your help with things that go hump in the night.”

    “Bump in the night, Bob. Things that hump in the night involve a different kind of detective.”

    “So sorry! Bumping in the night. Yes! My ship is haunted, I’m thinking, so I come find you.”

    “Haunted by what, Bob? The restless spirit of another Bob?” I was gonna need therapy after this.

    “Oh, no! Bobs don’t have ghosts. Bobs are recycled. I have been Bob of the Bob 1,734,892 times. Ghost is ghost of something else. Or not ghost, Bob not sure.”

    Lot’s of therapy.

    “What do you mean, you aren’t sure?”

    “Ghost solid, Bob thinks.”

    Great. Solid alien ghosts. I should have been a proctologist.

    “So, where do you see this ghost, Bob?”

    “Running around ship, yelling, different places. It is big, like you. Bobs are peaceful. I have no weapons. I hide from it.”

    ” How long since the haunting started?”

    “Two days. Since I came here to check on cows.”

    I didn’t want to know, and I didn’t ask. But I was gonna have my hand sterilized if I got outta here.

    “Kadiddlehopper’s cows? The one named Beula?”

    “No, cows. Beula’s no cow…….is she?”

    “Close. What else does the ghost do?”

    “Steals food. Touches controls. Leaves puddles, sometimes piles that stink. Writes on walls. I show you.”

    I followed Bob out into a corridor that was defaced by gibberish. I couldn’t read it, but I didn’t expect to be able to. I had seen this kind of thing before. I knew what I was dealing with, now.

    ” Bob, I think I can help you.”

    “Thank you, Mr. Chase! How may I be of assistance?”

    Suddenly, a wild scream echoed down the corridor, followed by thumping footsteps, running hard. Bob dove into the loading bay, bounced and landed behind my car. I pressed myself against the wall hard enough to sink in and waited.

    From down the corridor came a white sheeted figure, bouncing off the walls like a deranged cartoon character, yelling “BOO!”. Just as it reached me, I stepped out and clotheslined it across the chest. The “ghost” hit the floor and bounced a few feet until it finally came to rest against the far wall, out cold.

    Strolling over, I pulled off the sheet and took in the low brow, block head and letterman jacket. Two for two. I caught the ghost and baby daddy in one shot. Things actually stopped sucking for a moment. I didn’t get comfortable.

    “Bob, come on out”

    “You caught the ghost?” He looked down at the napping frat boy. “That is not a ghost.”

    “No, Bob, that is a hitchhiker you picked up at Old Man Kadiddlehopper’s farm.”

    “What do we do with him, Mr. Chase?”

    “I have a pretty good idea, Bob.”

    After securing Bob’s “ghost”, and explaining what needed to be done, we dropped the frat boy off at Old Man Kadiddlehopper’s. From 60 feet up. He hit the compost like a meat carpet. I hopped out from a safer height and introduced Kadiddlehopper to his future son in law, or fertilizer, as the case may be. The old man was so beside himself with gratitude, he never noticed the pink ball floating in his front yard. Bob took me back to Old Highway 16, thanking me every second of the way. After putting my car back on the roadway, he gave me a hefty bag of gold and silver bars, a doohickey to contact him if I ever wanted to chat and asked if he could be my interdimensional agent. I patted the little dope on the shoulder and told him to call me before accepting any jobs on my behalf. These carjackings on lonely roads weren’t good for my mental health. With a final wave, he went back to his ship, and with a loud raspberry, vanished into the whatever. Shaking my head, I climbed back into my car and sat quietly, wondering if I ever would repeat the events of this evening to anyone. After some contemplation, I realized that even my own bartender would have me carted off to the screwball academy, where I would spend my days hanging around with the assorted nuts, playing Go Fish and waiting for a big Indian fella with a pillow. With a sigh, I started the car and headed for the questionable, but familiar insanity of hearth and home. I only slowed down once, to run a little blue guy holding a card that said “Uranus” into the ditch. I needed a drink.

  8. Great story, Jon. I laughed throughout :-)

  9. Wilfred’s Rest

    a 2200-word story

    by

    Tim Greaton

    If she hadn’t met Wilfred and been taken in by his over-the-top and ultimately fake charm, Ethel wondered if she might ever have had a chance with the silver fox on the TV screen. It’s true she had never met him, but who knew where her life might have taken her had marriage not tied her down so young. She watched as Walter Cronkite reported how more than 25 people had died when their freighter ship the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior.

    Those poor people, Ethel thought, suddenly feeling foolish for fantasizing when real tragedies were taking place in the world. Having heard enough, she heaved up onto arthritic legs and shuffled over to shut the TV off.

    Suddenly, a horrendous roar vibrated the entire house. As quickly as old legs would allow, she hobbled to the kitchen and peered out the window at brilliant lights glaring down from the forest behind her house. The roar dulled to a loud whooshing sound. The floor ceased to quake.

    An emergency landing!

    It wasn’t unheard of for Coast Guard choppers to pass overhead on their way to the Powell River Inlet. This would, however, be the first time they had pit stopped behind her house. Had Wilfred been alive, he would surely have found some way to sue someone over this.

    The intense lights came from a spot well above the trees. The Whooshing sound turned into a deep growl. She debated phoning the police, but since anyone injured would need help now, not when Seattle’s finest managed to spare the time, she grabbed her walking cane and shuffled outside. Leaves and twigs swirled violently in the air.

    She shielded her eyes. “Hello! Are you all right?”

    Unfortunately, the machine growl and wind were louder than her eighty-three-year-old voice. Having no choice, she limped out into the gale and somehow managed to reach the shed. Her property line ended just beyond the small ramshackle building, but she had no neighbors. One of Wilfred’s lawsuits had bankrupted the landowners behind them and, even though Ethel had offered to sign anything needed, no developer had had yet been able to clear the title.

    The whirring stopped. Leaves and bits of sand made a soft hiss as they dropped to the ground all around her. Then everything fell silent. Ethel crept past several evergreen trees and nearly tripped on a blueberry bush her grandson had planted a year earlier. By the time she unraveled her cane and aching legs from the tenacious shrub, only one steady light close to the ground remained on. Two thin silhouettes stood in front of it.

    “You must be with the Coast Guard,” she called out.

    “Ghoost Caard,” came a high pitched reply.

    “Is everyone okay?” Ethel asked.

    “Evraayne kaaay.”

    Fearing the woman had a head injury, Ethel said, “My house is right back here. Please, come inside where you can get warm and use my phone.”

    She waited long enough to see the figures coming her way before turning and limping through the dark toward her house. With all the spotlights and commotion earlier, she hadn’t thought to turn her outside lights on. Finally, out of breath, legs throbbing, she made it up the two rear stairs and flipped the switch to illuminate the yard. She turned back to look and, suddenly, all of her aches and pains faded to insignificance.

    Though probably no taller than six feet, the aliens’ extra-long legs and slender bodies gave them a towering appearance that was enhanced by their protracted necks and tiny heads. Their large, yellow eyes glowed under the spotlight. They didn’t seem to have noses or ears, but each had a large open mouth with no discernible lips. In the dim light, their pale skin seemed to glow in contrast to their gray uniforms.

    Ethel knew she should have been terrified, but she had enjoyed eighty-three good years on this earth. If the Heavenly Father wanted to take her now, she would be satisfied to go.

    The broader alien motioned with a many-fingered hand to the slender one. Apparently the male of the two, it seemed to be saying, ‘Let me handle this.’

    Ethel stiffened. Wilfred used to do that all the time. Taking charge of everything, controlling her life every change he got. Now she could see there was sexism even in space. Well, Ethel was having none of it.

    “Nonsense,” she said, addressing the slender female. “You come right in. This is my home and you’re welcome to come inside.” She glanced to the male. “You’re both welcome.”

    The female blinked in what Ethel interpreted as a friendly gesture then nodded her long neck and moved in spider-like strides toward the house. The male followed. Ethel felt the smallest tinge of fear as the tall creatures gracefully slipped past, but she ignored the feeling and went inside.

    Minutes later, she was readying hot tea for the two aliens who were seated awkwardly in her kitchen. Their extended legs made it impossible for their knees to fit under the table, and short torsos meant small heads peered out between their knees. Ethel placed the floral china cups at the edge of the table so her guests could see them more easily. After offering crackers and several other snack foods, she gave up on finding a suitable alien cuisine and sat down to rest sore legs.

    The aliens were cautiously sipping their tea.

    “I never expected anything like this,” she said, “but I’m thrilled to meet you.”

    The male stared wide-eyed but the female blinked several times in what Ethel interpreted as a smile. She again pushed her fear of the unknown away and recognized the male’s similar reaction. His cup trembled each time it returned his saucer.

    “I’m guessing your ship is broke,” Ethel said. She motioned with one hand as though it was flying then brought it quickly down into her other palm. “You crashed.”

    “Crayeesh.” The female mimicked the fallen ship hand gestures, and pointed toward the backdoor. “Crayeesh.”

    “You’re welcome to stay here with me,” Ethel said. She gripped her hands together and hoped they understood friendship.

    The male studied her for a moment then gibbered a series of long-vowel squeaks. The female shook her head and made the ship gestures again. This time all nine of her fingers wiggled as she showed the ship taking off.

    “You can fix your ship,” Ethel said. “That’s great.” Already she worried what the women in her Yahtzee Club would say if she canceled their Wednesday games. And what about the weekends with her grandchildren and her eldest son’s impromptu stops for morning coffee? Keeping alien guests a secret would not be easy.

    The female got effortlessly to her feet and crossed to the stove. She turned the knob and pointed at the amber light. “Yeet aw.” She turned it off. “Yeet da.” She did it again, repeating the words. “Yeet aw. Yeet da.”

    “On, off,” Ethel said. I understand.

    The female mimed her flying ship again. As it rose up, she said, “Yeet aw.” Then she crashed it into her pale white palm. “Yeet da.”

    “Your ship shut off. Yeet da.”

    The female blinked her yellow eyes in agreement. Then she showed her ship taking off again. “Beenay oh yeet aw.” She wiggled her fingers as the ship took off and pointed to her wriggling fingers. “Beenay.”

    “Fuel,” Ethel guessed. “You can only take off if you have more fuel.”

    “Fooweel.” The alien pointed to her wriggling fingers and the ship taking off. “Beenay oh fooweel.”
    Ethel smiled. Somehow they were communicating but they needed something more. She fetched her entire set of encyclopedias. The aliens spent hours leafing through the pages with their many fingers speeding the job along. The female pointed to a page about evolution. She pointed to the picture and to Ethel.

    “Yes, I’m a human being.”

    “Huuman beeeing.” The female pointed at herself then the male. “Kreeloown.”

    “Kreelown,” Ethel said. “You’re Kreelown.”

    After scanning thousands of pictures, the Kreelowns finally made Ethel understand they needed methane. More specifically, they required a way to manufacture the gas for the duration of a long trip. Unfortunately, a retired bookkeeper, Ethel had no knowledge of chemicals or how to manufacture them.
    It was after two in the morning when the female helped her to her feet and followed her to the bedroom. Ethel removed two clean blankets from the closet and pointed to the bed. She tried to explain her guests should sleep there, but the alien woman wouldn’t hear of it. She helped Ethel into bed and stroked the sides of her cheeks.

    Ethel fell into a deep, luxurious sleep.

    The following morning, she literally hopped out of bed and hurried to the living room to see the aliens curled into a single ball in the center of a nest of cushions scavenged from the couch, chair and kitchen chairs. The female was first to open wide amber eyes which immediately crinkled into what Ethel felt certain was a smile.

    She smiled back.

    “Ooga reefla,” the female said, getting gracefully to her feet. She led Ethel into the bathroom and pointed to the mirror over the sink.

    Ethel took one look and nearly fainted. Her stringy gray hair had been replaced with the silky black hair of youth. The skin on her face, forehead and neck had smoothed. She didn’t look a day over thirty. She glanced down to see the ugly splotches and blue veins on the backs of her hands were also gone.

    “You made me young again!” she exclaimed.

    “Ooga reefla,” the female said, stroking Ethel’s cheek.

    Suddenly, Ethel felt terrible for not having learned her name. She pointed to herself. “My name is Ethel.”

    “Eeethel,” the female said, blinking large yellow eyes. Pointing a slender finger at her gray uniform, the alien said, “Avaraaay.” She gestured out towards the living room. “Benara.”

    “Avaray and Benara,” Ethel said. “Ava and Ben.”

    The female blinked. “Ee, Ava oh Ben.”

    “It’s so nice to meet you,” Ethel said.

    “Neece to meet, Eeethel.”

    Realizing her vision had improved along with the rest of her body, Ethel glanced around the tiny bathroom until her eyes settled on the toilet. She suddenly knew what the aliens needed.

    “Cows,” she said. “Cows make methane, a lot of it.”

    “Cooows,” the alien said.

    Ethel hurried out to the kitchen and started searching through the encyclopedias. Soon, she found a picture of a cow. After an embarrassing explanation about how cows create waste products, including methane, she rushed outside on thirty-year-old legs and pointed to the grass.

    “They eat grass and drink water. Can you create those things on your ship?”

    The male said, “Ubda go cooowd?”

    “A farm,” Ethel said. “You get cows at a farm.”

    It took a dozen calls but a few hours later a truck pulled into Ethel’s yard with six cows on the back. She used the last of Wilfred’s life insurance to pay for them, and was glad she’d kept the cash stashed in the closet. It seemed unlikely the bank would have allowed a thirty-year-old to remove money from an eighty-year-old’s account. She didn’t want to think about the complications ahead—oh, what a problem to have!

    After the farmer left, they herded the cows to the spaceship, which looked like a three-story ice cream cone standing on its head. When a large door retracted near the bottom, Ben led the cows inside. Ethel would have liked a tour but Ava made it clear they had a different atmosphere in the ship.

    Ethel hoped the cows could survive.

    Ava followed her back to her house. On the way, Ethel leapt over her grandson’s blueberry bush. She felt wonderful. Ava stopped beside a row of six crosses where Ethel had buried her beloved pets. After Lacey died three years earlier, she had opted to avoid further heartbreak and now lived alone.

    Suddenly, Ava dug into Lacey’s grave.

    Horrified, imagining her tiny dog’s remains being sucked into the lipless mouth, Ethel grabbed Ava’s shoulders but it was too late. There was a familiar yelp and her beloved dog shook dirt from her fur and jumped into her arms. Ethel was so busy hugging and being licked by her poodle, it was several seconds before she realized other paws were reaching up for her. Three cats and two more dogs. All her pets were now alive and clamoring for her attention.

    Ava squinted in laughter. She pointed toward the house.

    “Weelfreed,” she said.

    Ethel understood. The ashes of her husband sat in an urn beside the TV. He hadn’t liked pets and would never let her keep all six of them now resurrected. But how could she deny him a chance to live, to be young again?

    She suddenly remembered the countless restless nights alone during their thirties while he’d been having an affair with his boss’s wife. Then there was the tall blond coworker he dated throughout their forties. And the string of cocktail waitresses he saw well into their fifties. It hadn’t actually been until he got too sick to slip away before he became a one-woman man.

    “That’s okay,” Ethel said. “Let’s let Wilfred rest.”

    The End

  10. Water Water Everywhere
    Katie Cross watched the dark clouds from her wheelchair in the living room. The sky swirled or maybe her vision did, she wasn’t sure anymore. The pain meds were getting stronger. A storm had blown in. That wasn’t unusual in itself, this was spring and everyone knows that March roars in and all that. This rain was different. It wasn’t clear like normal. The liquid was silver and the drops drew together forming a large puddle in the driveway. Normal rain fell on the front lawn, on the mailbox and on the road, but Katie didn‘t notice. Fascinated, she wheeled herself outside to watch the silver puddle grow.

    Her parents would have a cow if they saw her outside in the rain, but Mama was grocery shopping and Daddy was taking working in the study. He did a lot of work at home these days. Twelve and a half year old Katie knew in her heart that it didn’t matter anymore, but it was alright. Mama didn’t want to admit it, but Katie knew she didn’t have long. The cancer had spread throughout her bones and there wasn’t much the doctors could do for her besides giving her medication for the pain. She was too weak to take chemo again this week. You see Katie was okay with it all, she understood and was prepared. It was her mother that couldn’t accept what was coming. She was driving herself and the rest of the family nearly to distraction with her food combinations and medicine regimes and rules. Mama wouldn’t let her go outside or do anything anymore.

    Katie watched a silver droplet land on her arm and slide downward. It hesitated, rolling around on her fingernail before sliding off to add itself to the puddle below. Katie giggled, and looked up when she heard a musical tinkling coming from all around her. It sounded like music in a way. She giggled again, and the sound intensified, sounding less like a wind chime and more like… well, more like her!

    “Hello?” She called out softly. The air around her shimmered and called in return.
    “Allooo,” in a child’s voice. Katie smiled. A voice that sounded like music. She wished she could do that.
    “Where are you?” Katie called out, looking around. “I can’t see you!”
    “Err arr ooo?” Came the answer, then another giggle. Katie heard a watery sloshing sound and turned back to the puddle at her feet. Rising from it was a human outline. Soon Katie was faced by a shimmering, silvery child. It was at eye-level with her in her wheelchair. As if in a dream, Katie reached out to touch it.

    “You look and feel like water.” Katie said to the strange being in front of her. “Kind of silvery and soft and… what happens if I do this?” Katie ran her finger slowly through the shimmering arm. The water rippled. Katie pulled her arm back and the being smiled.

    “All isss well,” the being replied, “I am Gala.”
    “Ga- lah,,“ Katie repeated. “My name is Katie.”
    “Kayyy-tee.” The being tried the name slowly. Katie grinned. This was way cool. “Where did you come from?” She asked. The being turned and pointed to the mountains in the distance. “From the mountains?” Katie asked. The being shook its head.

    “Sss-sky.” It almost hissed.
    “Are you a like, a kid?” Katie asked, curious about so many things. The being nodded. Katie looked around, a little apprehensive. If this was a child, where were its parents? She was about to ask when the being reached out and touched her knee.

    “Parentss.” It parroted. “Arre yoo a child?”
    Katie clapped her hands and smiled. “Well yes, but I’m almost a teenager.”
    The being smiled and clapped its hands. “I’m almossst a teenager.”
    “This is so cool,” Katie said. “Why did you touch my knee?”
    “Learn you by touchings.” The vocabulary was improving. “I learn talk. Words.” It touched her knee again. “Tendonsss. Knee-cap. Blood vesselsss. Muscles.”

    Katie grinned. “How did you get here?” She asked. “Where is your family?”
    Gala looked quickly toward the house and back to Katie.
    “They work. I play,” it said smiling.
    “Work?”
    “Our… vessel crashes into the tree-ish things.” Katie kept from giggling at the errors in speech but she knew what it meant. Their spaceship had crashed into the woods behind the house!
    “Was anyone hurt? Are they okay?”
    “No injuries. Adult of… me perplexed, and ah,” it touched her knee again, “not happy campers.” Katie laughed.
    “What is wrong with your ship?” She asked. “Can they fix it?”
    “This is not known.” Gala replied. “They have not informed myself.”
    Katie nodded knowingly. In other words grown-ups never tell kids anything.
    “Well, I can’t help you, I’m afraid.” Katie said, pointing to her wheelchair. “My chair won’t roll on the grass.”
    “I walk you.” Gala said, pointing at her legs. Katie didn’t understand what Gala meant.
    “You mean you can push my chair?”
    Gala shook its head no. “I cannot do this thing. It is… not. You are. I am. ” The being gestured to her legs once more. “I walk you.”
    Katie smiled and held out her arms, ready to try. Gala walked toward her and fell splat! Back to the driveway. Katie gasped as a wormlike form rose from the puddle and covered her feet. She could still see her shoes, sort of. The alien being was wrapping itself around her somehow, surrounding her. It rose to her knees and Katie shivered.
    “It’s cold.” She told Gala. The shimmering liquid paused at Katie’s knee and she felt it warming against her. “Oh that’s nice.” Katie smiled.
    The liquid continued on towards her waist. Katie began to worry. What if it covered her head? Would she be able to breathe? She tensed.

    “No worry,” Gala said. “To breathe is good. Clean.” There wasn’t much choice, as Gala had encircled her chest and had reached her neck. “Be feared not. All is well.”
    Katie forced herself to relax. If it was real, it was completely wild and she might as well jump in with both feet. What did she have to lose?
    She froze when the liquid covered her mouth and nose. In a moment she couldn’t help it, she had to breathe. The silvery liquid was soothing as it entered her nostrils and filled her throat. There was a moment of panic before sweet oxygen hit her lungs and began to work. They sat together in the chair for a moment, becoming accustomed to one another. Katie had never felt anything like this before. Where her own body was sharp in places and soft in others, this alien being was soft all over.

    Katie found her head filling with information about the being. Apparently the touch thing worked for her as well. Gala was a female from an alien species called the Puras, and they were from a watery world that had been contaminated and destroyed by a warrior race. Katie wanted to go see the ship, but Gala was listening to something. All Katie heard was a soft tinkling in her ears. When Gala spoke, it was as if it came from her own head.

    “The adults have requesting. We search.”
    “Search? What do they need?” Katie asked.
    “Need flowness to fill fuel cells so that we can go to home. Rare and hard to carry.”
    “Liquid? What kind of liquid?” She hesitated. “How much do they need?”
    “962 Quantares. It is a great amount.” Gala said gravely.
    ”Quantares?” Her newly acquired internal calculator figured that out to be just several gallons. What? “We’d better go see the ship,” Katie said. “Maybe we can figure out what to do.”

    She felt rather than saw Gala agree with her. It was strange, this feeling. An alien being had completely taken over her body and she wasn’t even afraid. As if understanding Katie’s fragility, Gala rose slowly from the chair, carrying Katie along with her. Katie’s arms had become theirs, her legs theirs. Gala took several awkward steps and almost fell. Katie could tell it made Gala angry, the water around her feet foamed and seemed to slap the ground.
    “It’s all good Gala,” Katie reassured. “Humans take a whole year to learn how to walk. I think you’re doing really well.” The angry current began to subside. “That’s interesting,” Katie remarked, “when I get mad I stamp my foot. You kind of stamp your water!” They both laughed. It was a wonderful tinkling feeling and Katie loved it. In no time at all they were walking together across the yard and into the trees.

    A while later, Katie looked at the spaceship in front of her. It looked like a deflated beach ball, only it was all gray and ugly. Two or three people could carry it easily. She and Gala were communicating by mind now, spoken words no longer necessary. As soon as she thought of something, Gala answered. “Best you not touchings.”

    Gala straightened, bringing Katie with her when two tall silver beings came out of the trees toward them. The tinkling noise that Katie had begun to understand was now laced with crackling noises. She could tell that they were angry with Gala, but didn’t understand the language enough to know why. Gala explained.

    “Unhappy that I left the clearing. They search for myself and not for flowness.”
    “Flowness?” Katie asked.
    “Flowness is two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom,” the larger of the two beings said. “Our instruments indicate that there is flowness here.”
    “Water? You mean water!” Katie asked. It wasn’t rare, it was the most common thing ever!
    “You call it water yes. To us it is flowness.”
    Katie looked back the way they had come. There was a stream in the woods, but she thought it would be closer to go home and just use the garden hose. Instantly Gala agreed.

    They walked back to the house, all of them carrying the ship. It was heavier than it looked but they made it back to the tree line at the back edge of the property. There the aliens hesitated. They were unwilling to expose themselves. Katie told them she would get the hose and bring it as far out as she could. She would get several containers and bring the water to them, as long as Gala could help her walk. The aliens nodded their agreement.

    Katie struggled to get the hose across the yard, while hanging on to 2 water pitchers and an empty milk jug. She finally made it and filled the water containers. Finally the ship was full. Katie was happy for them, but her legs and arms were really tired. Gala read that thought and quickly conferred with her parents. Katie was glad to hear the tinkling once again, it meant everyone was happy. She smiled.

    “Gala, can you take me back to my chair now?” She asked her new friend.
    “I will do this,” Gala agreed. The adult aliens looked around the back yard and nodded. Gala walked Katie back to the wheelchair and sat her down gently. Katie gave a contented sigh of relief.
    “We are unhappy of your illnesss.” Gala said. “Sleep now, Kayttt-eee.”
    Katie smiled; all of a sudden her eyelids weighed a ton.
    “I just can’t keep my eyes open.”
    “Goodbye Kayttt-eee,” said Gala, caressing her eyelids.

    When Katie was fast asleep Gala began to leave melt away from her. Like liquid leaving a tank, she simply melted away from Katie’s limbs and back into her own childlike form. As she departed, she took part of Katie with her. It was black and malignant; and smelly and scaly. By the time she had separated herself from the girl in the wheelchair, she was no longer a silver child, and she was black from head to foot. Gala managed to take a few steps toward her alien parents and collapsed. They rushed to her side and carried her back to the safety of the trees.

    Some time later Katie snapped awake, her father was calling her. She must have had a good nap, because she felt refreshed. She was still in her chair, the rain was gone. She realized that she couldn’t feel Gala anymore. Was it real or had it been a dream?

    “All is real Kayttt-eee.” A voice echoed in her head. Katie could hear her father coming out the kitchen door. The aliens melted backwards into the woods, all three of them. “Kayttt-eee is well!” Gala called, giggling.

    Paul Cross came around the corner to the driveway calling his daughter’s name and stopped dead in his tracks. Katie, his sweet little Katie who had been confined to a wheelchair now for several months, was running across the driveway toward him. She was giggling as she ran.

    • Such a sweet story, Neeks. Very creative idea for the aliens as well!

    • Great story, Neeks. I especially liked the way you hugged the point of view so closely. I definitely felt as though I was Katie as I read this. Great ending :-)

  11. “When Katie was fast asleep Gala began to leave her.” Sorry, screwed that up.

  12. I’ll give it fifteen more minutes for any comments people want to leave on stories. After that I have to close it down so no late entries can get in.

    (yes, Charity, I see you getting them in, lol)

  13. Dragon, Dragonman & Me (told in poetry format)

    Evening was poking through the horizon
    Lone cicadas sang their songs in the tall trees
    The jungle was bustling with wildlife
    The wild monkeys swung from the branches and joined cicada songs with their loud screeches
    Walking the jungle path were two lone humans
    Amaya Tir’well, a young African native of sixteen years
    And Johnny Berkenstein, the glasses-toting scientist with the intent of studying the local wildlife.
    Amaya was experiencing those hot flashes again. The humidity of the jungle was not helping the situation. She bumped into Johnny when he came to an unexpected stop.
    “What is it?” she asked, “We haven’t reached Edgewise yet.”
    “Shhh…look.”
    A dormant black dragon lay in the wreckage of dirt and trees.
    His horns were tangled in vines, his scales were dirtied and bright green moss had dominated his wings.
    Unmoving, with no sign of life, Amaya assumed it was dead
    Johnny knew better than to think like that.
    “I heard of these…these alien dragons,” he said to her, “Draconizica, I think. They’re everywhere in Italy, completely took control of the country.”
    “Well that means it’s safe. Go touch it,” she said.
    “Why? Do you know what that is? That’s the Vessel, one of the largest dragon ships. I ain’t touchin’ it.”
    “Fine. I’ll do it.”
    Amaya walks up to the dragon and does not hesitate to touch it. Nothing happens, like she expected.
    “It’s dead, Johnny. We should take its scales. A nice ship like this will be…”
    “Uh…Maya…”
    The ground lightly rumbles as the dragon’s eyes are illuminated to a bright green color. Slowly, the dragon turns into dust from tail to head. Its scales fall away as its body disappears. Where the dragon’s head once occupied, there is a man in its place. This man looked to be in his mid to late twenties and his hair was quite long. to Amaya he looked European, somewhere close to Italian.
    “he’s a dragon shifter,” said Johnny, “and only one dragon can become a fully working ship and a human.”
    Amaya crouched to the man’s level and held his face up.
    “He looks like he’s been drugged,” she said, “we have to take him to the cottage.”
    Johnny gives her a displeased look, “What? Why?”
    “Beryl will know how to treat him,” she single-handedly picks up the dragonman but nearly topples over.
    She irritably shouts to Johnny, “Help me carry him!”
    Johnny lets out a deep sigh as he helps her, “Kugi-sama won’t like this.”

    * * *

    Amaya sat in a chair beside the dresser and watched Beryl examine the young man that she and Johnny brought in.
    “He’s sick, but he’ll be fine,” said Beryl.
    Out of the blue, the dragon jolted and awoke with a scream.
    “What time is it?” he asked them.
    “seven o’clock? Why?” asked Amaya.
    He ran through the cottage, rushing outside. Amaya and Johnny followed behind and stopped when they saw hundreds of ships flying overhead.
    “Who are you?” asked Amaya.
    “I am Ashuton Karrucci,” said the strange man, “I thank you for waking me.”
    “Are those dragon ships?” asked Johnny.
    Ashuton nodded, “yes. we are preparing.”
    “For what?” asked Amaya.
    “Today is a special holiday for us. We celebrate the unity of High Glassian.” Ashuton smiled brightly.
    The fleet of ships dotted the sky, almost breathing life into the multi-colored sunset that painted the sky. Amaya and Johnny were dazzled at the sight. Dragons were flying alongside the ships, giving a new meaning to “the final frontier.”

  14. This is the first time I’ve had someone literally post in the last minute!

    *All comments shall be closed now*

  15. [...] in the process of receiving them.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  We had some outstanding entries this month and I look forward to seeing more in the future.  For those interested in next [...]

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