WIP Wednesdays | Alien Collector Excerpt | 5/18/2022

A shorter one this week. Despite sci-fi’s sister fantasy tending to be more my bag, I’m dipping into sci-fi here in the interest of potentially submitting to some short story magazines that call for it. Here is the beginning of some unhinged rambling of a story about a prisoner of a huge alien that I wrote upon forcing myself to write something science-fiction-y (it’s probably still more science fantasy than anything, I can’t help it).

In her memories, the creature loomed huge and unending as the night sky. One many-eyed glance proved enough to send the members of his collection scattering like roaches.

All except for her. Naivete, curiosity, and simple, childish stupidity kept her up close. Exposed to his wrath but never the object of it. She examined him as he, in turn, surveyed the peoples he stole.

The cages he kept them in were tweaked to their respective needs. One of the collection could only exist in the noxious gas expelled from their home. Another needed the temperature to match the closeness their species required to their sun. A third required ingesting gemstones to stay alive. They spoke to each other in universal tongues when they could, but they fell silent when he approached.

His body language proved impossible for her to interpret. He acted too different from her or any other life form in this place. Her brain supplied qualities to his body nonetheless: lazy confidence in his world-shaking movements. A detached air in the way he plucked his prisoners from their confinement with his claws, spidery in his efficiency. Intelligence, the cold and sinister kind, shone from all of those eyes. She made a game out of trying to count them, giant fruit seeds, slick and pinkish-red. The most she got up to was twenty-two before he blinked and she lost count.

He muttered to himself in various languages, even slipping into her mother tongue. “A gelatinous pseudopod of a thing,” he’d called her on one of the few occasions he spoke to her. It made her blobbish body smoosh down to the bottom of her cage. While cruel, the assessment was fair, she supposed, next to his might.

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