[Kaimee]: 5.Contest Entries.A Dark and Stormy Night
This one needs editing. And a better ending. And to not suck. Sorries ^^;
Candy from a baby anyone?
It was a dark and stormy night that she came to us… At least I think it was. On second thoughts, it may have been a routine clearance day, which would account for the elements going cracked; the smoke in the air during burns is usually enough to darken the sky to night.
Now that I think about it, it was probably more like 3 in the afternoon, because I was still full from lunch, and Olly wasn’t back yet. She’d gone out about noon to check our compacters and make sure no clingers were nesting in them. The smoke when they clear the compacters near your apartment can get pretty vile if the burnouts catch a fuzzball up there.
Anyways, so it was dark and dusky, and the air held that retchingly strong acrid taint from the burn chems spread over everything. City north would already have been done because that’s where our viewer faces and the entire dome in that direction was pure smoke dark. I remember now you could hear that little splashing patter on the metal sidings of the ‘partment; definitely a chemical burnout then, yes, I remember. We hadn’t seen a routine clearance in these poorer parts for hundreds of sectors, but Olly always kept up with regs, no matter what else she did. The fuzzies hadn’t been burnt out for so long that they were starting to become a nuisance in the parks and public areas, but Olly always kept our complex pretty clear of ‘em.
I’d been planning on making rounds of the rations slots that afternoon – they were slow to update and if you switched decks and ordered the same packs, the machines tallied it up as the same order. With the chems spattering the place I’d have to stay indoors, our faction’s burn machines weren’t programmed to differentiate human from parasite or alien, and burned you just the same.
A pounding on the door had interrupted, that’s right, I remember. Poundings on the doors around here often heralded death or robbery, so I ignored it until I heard Olly yelling on the other side and remembered that she probably wouldn’t like to still be outside when the place turned into an inferno.
Sighing, I marked my place in my book (an eccentricity I have, nothing smells the same as an actual book, holos just don’t come close in my opinion), and slid open the shabby bath curtain dividing our living area from the entrance hall. After keying the OK from our side I left Olly to open the door herself, and curled myself back up in my nest of cushions, picking my book back up.
I remember that I admired myself momentarily in the split of mirror leaning up against the wall opposite me; I made for quite a lovely picture with my old fashioned long hair and genuine woollen knit top. Everyone else was wearing velcose and synth these days, I much preferred the image I presented with my paper books and metal rimmed glasses.
Olly had been moving about in the hall, stripping off the heavy plas-chemical covering down to the shorts and straps she preferred. I’d never liked those straps, left far too much uncovered and, well… bouncing about in full visibility.
I once asked her - blushingly I’ll admit, for I’m a bit of a shy creature – how the straps stayed in place, and how she could possibly stay warm wearing so little. She’d laughed and offered to let me try them on, explaining they were thermal technology and quite easy to fit, but I’d fussed and said no, no. I sometimes think I wish she’d kept asking, but I know that I was right to say no, those straps are for the likes of her Rose friends, not sensible people like myself.
And so it was with thoughts of disapproval on that dark and smouldering, stinking afternoon that I watched her bending to check her thigh straps, the other thin strips straining to fight gravity and stay where they were meant to.
And it was with barely half a mind that I noticed the little stowaway hopping from Olly’s suit and clinging with its sticky little toes around the walls until it came to my beautiful silver candlesticks, where it wrapped itself around them.
I remember watching it flex it’s pupils and seeing it’s inner eyelids flick twice, sure signs of fear I now know, but at the time it was a mere distraction.
I turned back to Olly and stood, eying her up and down. She’d been at Sal’s Rose again after the compacters obviously; her skin was darkened to a deep glistening golden hue and her eyes and smile wide. I must have pinched my mouth in censure - as she always said I did - and I may have said something hurtful, I don't know. But I watched her eyes darken and saw some of the smile go out of her, and only then did I think of the stowaway.
Crossing the room I hoisted the candlestick and awkwardly handed it to her, smiling a little slip of an apology. The creature’s weight shifted as the little thing scrambled about on the cold metal thing, pupils widening and contracting in rhythms. Olly had blinked right back at it, and both creatures had stayed stock still, entirely unsure what to make of each other.
I remember laughing and scaring the little fuzzy sticky footed thing onto Olly, and laughing even more as her eyes widened again and for once a drug free smile lit her face. Our little thing had run up her and curled itself around her neck before scurrying back down her front and plastering itself against her bare breast, tasting the straps quickly with it’s nose.
Two pairs of condemning eyes lifted up and glared at me in my laughter and I’d done my best to swallow it, I remember too clearly. Gulping and giggling we’d heard the banging on the door and full of cheer instead of warning I’d gone to answer it. The lock was keyed open before I had a chance to think what I was doing and I’d seen Olly glance at me in pure horror, backing away from the door.
As I turned back to see who entered the stowaway had screeched. These days when I think of it I imagine her eyes – for she was a decidedly female presence – whirling, and her pupils dilating, Olly’s eyes cold and dead as the light gun flashed through her breast.
It seems I can only remember that afternoon in slow motion now, that dark firestorm afternoon when the alien hid in our ‘partment. When little sticky pads fastened themselves on my friend's glowing skin and then the dead thunk of Olly’s head hitting the floor; echoed only by the hollow snick of the lock, closing behind them.
As I watched tiny little pads - like baby fingernails - one by one come free, as I looked through the mess made of her body to the mess made of my friend’s, I knew then I’d never forget.
I remember that day all too clearly. Maybe not the specifics, I can’t tell you what I ate that morning and maybe I was a bit mixed up on some details, but how could I not remember it?
I’ve always been sensible, shy, so I stay indoors. It has nothing to do with fear. That isn’t true of course, everyday since then has been a terror in my solitary ‘partment. I no longer hear the merry crackling of burnouts like the rest of the citizens in any faction, like I used to.
Instead I hear the tiny screams and cries of a fragile child race, a furry sticky footed baby ousted from its nest; roasted alive. I hear the screams from our raids, a child shot through on its foster mother’s breast.
I watch the opened dome for that small interval each sector and stare out at the swirling green skies and know that we pillage all we have here, in this colony; every inch is stolen plunder.
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