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Saturday, 29 October 2011

The alien in the cornfield (Halloween horror short story, Write Anything challenge)


It was a rainy afternoon, the kind that makes you put on your coat, open the door, sigh heavily and then turn back to flop down on the couch and stay there. But not for Bill. At least not this time.
Bill, 47, “and still goodlooking”- at least in his own opinion – ran his hand through his salt-and-pepper tresses. They were lush like a lion’s and waved luxuriantly in the wind. Back when he was 25.
“Are you ready, Bill?”
“What?” He yelled over the racket of the engine, pulling at his bright-orange jumpsuit.
Are you ready?!”
“No!!” Bill looked out the open door at the ground, so dizzyingly far beneath him, and swallowed hard. Damn kids...
Pinching his eyes shut, he drummed one note into his mind, ‘memo to self: never, ever, tell your kids you want more excitement in your life the week before your birthday.’
“Say, Fred.” He probed the jump-instructor. “Is there any way to make a deal with you, so I don’t have to do this? We can take some pictures together, you’ll Photoshop a couple more where I pretend to jump and then we’ll land this thing, I’ll give you a hundred dollars, we’ll go to a bar and I’ll buy you a nice dinner and a beer, what do you say? For old times’ sake?”
“No can do Bill.”
“When did you get so big on ethics, old chap?”
Fred grinned. “I didn’t. But your kids paid me two hundred. Bon voyage, mate, and don’t forget to pull the red lever!” With one big push, Fred hauled a shrieking Bill out of the plane backwards.
Oh”, Fred yelled after Bill from the door as he dwindled further and further away, “and I’ll be sure to tell your kids you screamed like a little girl!”
                                                                                                                                                      

“Son of a...” Bill muttered under his breath as he struggled to untangle himself from the parachute. “And then you think you know somebody.”
He let out every possible curse and cuss he could think off. Well, maybe it wasn’t entirely so unexpected. Perhaps if he hadn’t spilled that milk on Fred in high school... Or flushed his lunch down the toilet.
“What the hell...” Bill felt underneath him for what was pricking in his back and realised he landed on his bottom... on top of his phone, that had broken into three pieces under his overweight bum. He clacked his tongue. “Great, just great! Now how the hell am I going to get home?”
He paused and walked up a bridge over a tiny creak. Kind of weird to have a bridge here, he thought, he could cross the stream in one big step. Leaning over the ridge and watching the water flow by, he tried to reconstruct the environment as he’d seen it from the sky. Gazing at the cornfield ahead of him, he remembered a road. If he just crossed the field, he should walk straight towards it. It hadn’t been busy, but someone was bound to come by to hitch a ride with. He peered down his trousers sceptically; they were smeared all the way up the knee and along his backside. If only someone could be prevailed upon to take him like this...
With a sigh, he searched his pockets for his pack and lit a cigarette, plodding through the mud. Taking another drag, he started when big blue lights flashed from in between the plants.
“What in the world!” He exclaimed, mouth agape and the cigarette slipping to the ground from in between his open lips.
From the corn, a tall grey figure approached him, it’s four-fingered web footed hands split in half the same way his kids did when he made them watch ET on DVD so he didn’t actually have to babysit them when his wife went out.
“Greetings, earthling, I come in peace.” The creature spoke in a strangely clenched, electronic sounding voice. It had a narrow, triangular head, was very thin and had big, pitch-black eyes. For a minute, Bill thought some teenage asshole in a suit was messing with him.
“Al... Alright.” Bill replied, swallowing hard. “Greeting, eh, sir.” For a moment, he considered it might as well have been a madam. Perhaps it was hidden camera
“I am here to better acquaint myself with the wildlife of earth. Would you like to join me for a beer and a chat?” The alien-person asked.
Bill contemplated the offer. Hey, if ET offered him beer and screen time, why not? “Sure, my extraterrestrial friend.” Might as well play along...
                                                                                                                                                      

“You know, perhaps you alien folk isn’t really as bad as they always claim in the movies, don’t you think?” Bill was starting to enjoy playing pretend with his newfound friend.
“I kind of like your earth movies. Their views of alien races are very entertaining.”
“No doubt.” Bill grunted. “So, what’s your name?” He continued, sipping his beer while he and his tall companion were sitting on folding chairs on the porch of his UFO. The thing wasn’t that outlandish for make-belief advanced technology; it looked just like a metal trailer, just round and a whole lot bigger. And it probably was, given some pimping with plenty of tinfoil.
Come to think of it, the whole thing was a little too sophisticated for hidden camera. Perhaps it was a movie set. Bill threw another glance at the cheesy metal monster. A low-budget one...
“My name is-“ The alien-actor commenced such a wild succession of spitting, clicking and gesturing vigorously as to almost make Bill jump to his feet and start throwing punches, until he plainly continued “but you can call me Danny.”
Man, talk about staying in character... “Nice to meet you, Danny, I’m Bill.”
For a moment, the two sat side by side in silence. Bill studied the bottle in his hand. Don’t drink and fly! It said in fine print at the bottom, next to an illustration of a drunk alien in a crashing space craft. He chuckled. They were a creative bunch, this film-crew, very detail-minded.
Then a whiff of the most heavenly odour reached his nostrils and made his mouth water.
“What’s that smell?” He asked.
“Oh,” Danny replied carelessly, “I was just making dinner.”
“What are you making?”
“Today is Harvest Day on my home planet Planton 364, our most important holiday. I’m making a traditional Harvest Feast Special in earth-style.”
“Sounds interesting.”
“Yes, it’s almost done. It just needs one more key ingredient.” Danny sipped his bottle. “Would you like to stay for dinner?”
“Hey, why the hell not. It’s not every day you get to try intergalactic feeding habits, right?” He replied, straining his squinting eyes to look straight ahead. “By the way, this beer is pretty potent stuff.”
“I imported it from Planton 364. It makes the Harvest stew taste better.”
“Right.” He retorted in an ironic tone, setting the empty bottle on the ground. This guy just wouldn’t give up the act... “My wife does all the cooking at home, so I wouldn’t know, but aren’t you supposed to add the beer to the meat instead of drinking it?”
“Yes. And now you mention it...”
The last thing Bill remembered was everything going black as his new “friend” knocked him out with the empty beer bottle.
                                                                                                                                                      



Grinning, Danny hung Bill’s stuffed head on the wall, next to the others. They were such vile looking things, these humans, so beastly and primitive.

The alien spooned through his high tech cauldron, adding a pinch of savoury herbs from his home planet with one hand and zapping through earth’s TV channels with the other.
“Damn reruns.” He muttered, skipping hundreds of channels a second, until he reached a late night showing of ‘Alien’ and sniggered. These humans were always in for a good comedy.
Humming a cheerful Harvest song from his youth, he threw on an apron saying   <3  the chef and leafed through one of the cook books off the shelf for the page ‘Traditional Planton 364 Harvest Stew.’
“Ah”, he moaned happily, “just like grandma used to make.”
Step 1: Wait for the brew to boil and start cutting the meat.
Whistling, he started hacking away and added chunks of the thick white meat to the bubbling kettle.
‘Yes’, he thought to himself, ‘earth’s wildlife would be very suitable for import; good flavour, nice texture, versatile, easy to work with, ...’ With a little encouragement, Planton 364 would prove an insatiable market for this flesh. His human cattle farm would surely thrive. He should just remember to save some of the Bill stew for his empress. She’d find him quite a delicacy and reward him for his service to the crown. Even so much so as to forgive him for the martian fiasco and undo the exile. Well, perhaps. It was a big fiasco that wiped out an entire nutrition planet. Still...
Consumed in happy revelries of home, he chopped away so zealously that drips of blood spilled all over the aphorism sign over his head;
‘Sometimes prejudices are true after all.’

Note:
This post was inspired by this week's Write Anything challenge (Fiction Friday: October 28th), which ended yesterday. The story was done in time, but unfortunately, a succession of computer glitches (don't get me started) prevented me from posting it until today.
The challenge was to write something inspired by a picture (see link above).

Hope you enjoyed it ;).

This challenge stuff is quite fun. I intend to join in for the next editions too and warmly recommend other writers to do the same. It's a great exercise to boast your abilities and helps you get inspired when your own creativity is running a bit low... Write Anything posts new writing prompts every week. Good luck!

2 comments:

  1. A great funny, and somewhat disturbing, twist at the end. I've heard of Write Anything but never got around to getting into it. Maybe that'll change.

    Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there!

    I love Halloween stories; it's the only time when you can legitimately due away with your characters in gruesome fashions and no one seems to mind ;)

    Please do enter, I've been missing your writing. Maybe the next challenge will inspire you (I find it a bit difficult though):
    "your character has lived a life of excuses and till now has gotten away with it".

    It's set for November 4th, good luck!

    ReplyDelete

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