It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone

She plodded towards the farmhouse, root over burned root.

Her stems tick-tocked in mourning for her lost brothers, sisters, and husbands. The silence that answered made her sap run slow and thick. They had been so many, so happy, before the animal and his flames.

How her poison sack swelled at the memory.

She would root beside the door and wait. She could wait so quietly. One way or another, the feud would end.


 

The prompt was unusual, and the theme pastoral.

“Unusual” made me think of the song from the title. If it’s not unusual to be loved, then it is unusual to not be loved by anyone, therefore I had to write about a triffid who had lost all of their loved ones. Classic logical progression. Oh yes.

Ordained in Darkness

At midnight, the ritual opened the way.

She recognised Christophe’s legs as he burrowed into the dark. Envy flared that she was last, but it would be found by spiritual strength, not brute searching.

She pushed in head first.

Pressure, squeezing. The walls alternately impeded and impelled. Breath snatched and lost. She released her sanity and tunnelled.

When the others emerged, born a second time, they found her crowned and triumphant.


 

Commentary:

The theme was night owls, genre: weird.

Not sure how well I hit that to be honest, or how much sense the story makes, cut down as it is. But that’s the game isn’t it? In my mind, this is mad cultists competing in an occult struggle to be crowned High Priest, and their enemies are about to Rue The Day.

Hot Fantasy Romance

“When he gave me that smouldering look I knew he was the one.”

“Are you sure that’s not just heat stroke, darling?”

“Mother! You never like any of the boys I date.”

“I just think you should date someone more…”

“You’re going to say something racist, aren’t you? Well look at this. Diamonds! He made them himself. Find a human boy that can do that!”

The magma elemental burned with embarrassment as they argued.

Back Channels

The reception hall was light, airy. Most of the creatures there were partying, congratulating themselves after a hard fought negotiation that had left both galaxies better off. Most, except for two ambassadors that were huddled in a corner, trying to avoid the delegation from Sol.

“Oh you didn’t.”

“We did.”

“You just went and threatened Earth.”

“It seemed logical at the time. I mean, they love the place so much, but it’s only a planet.”

“I know exactly what you mean, it’s crazy how attached they are to the place. Do you want to know a secret? I probably shouldn’t tell you this but…”

“Go on.”

“They aren’t really a part of our alliance. We just leave them alone out there on their spiral arm to weed out extragalactic invasions from that quadrant. Means we can put our defences elsewhere. All the locals learned ages ago, but newcomers fall for the same trap every time; you can fight them, conquer colonies, obliterate navies, whatever you like. But point one planetkiller at Earth and they get-”

“They just got that look. In their freaky binocular eyes.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

“So, what did you do?”

“We had an amazing invasion force, backed by giant mechas.”

“Classic.”

“Really? We thought it was pretty special, the mechas were- but I suppose it doesn’t matter now. You know, they burnt a continent to get rid of us though. How many times can they do that, realistically?”

“You’d think that wouldn’t you? Have a look on your way past, they’ve probably rebuilt it already.”

“No thanks. If I have to see those smiles again…”

“Urgh, yeah. So creepy.”

“Don’t look so down ambassadors, negotiations finished, everyone wins. Have a drink!” The two froze as a species-appropriate liquid was plopped into the cybernetic augment or pseudopod of each one. The human smiled, mouth too full of teeth in between the bristles on its face, then left, calling out to another species.

Each ambassador said something untranslatable from their own language.

“Do you think he heard us?”

“I’ve no idea. Let’s never find out.”


HFY!

345 words

Panroachia

“I know you love my stories really.”

“I know you love rambling about the space rangers.”

“Okay. One time, we went to a planet that had too much water. By the time the inhabitants had industrialised they’d melted aaaaaall their ice and flooded everything. The only things left were huge floating plastic clumps, covered in cockroaches. Because-”

His grandsprout chorused the familiar last words.

“No matter how far you go, the roaches got there first.”


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It Contains Multitudes – Scifi Gothic

Theodora fled through endless corridors. She glanced back, flickering plasma illuminated no pursuer. Had she escaped?

The robot burst through the bulkhead, its impossible strength demolishing the structure. It opened its arms.

“Oh my darling, come here,” it said, with a feminine voice.

“Mother?” They embraced. With an internal grinding noise the robot’s voice changed. Became cruel, masculine.

“Now you are mine.”

Theodora swooned over its shoulder. Then, unseen, slipped a spanner from her sleeve.

“Haunted robot, my foot. I’ll fix you.”


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Can We Help?

“It’s art, Mum,” said Eric. “I thought you would understand.” He had all of the hurt a teenager could possess. “Maybe all your ‘patients’ are just creative.”

“This isn’t art.” She grabbed the pebble stack that had been hidden at the back of the bookshelf, ruining their careful balance. “It’s obsession.”

At work she took a new, unethical route. Instead of treatment she encouraged them. Gave them rocks of varying sizes, shapes and textures. She had to know what was happening to Eric.

The patients loved it. They were all, if they took a break, desperate to help with anything they could, especially cleaning. The ward sparkled.

“Can we help?” they asked. “Can we help?”

One, Pete, was so far gone that he had no time to help. She found herself spoon feeding him as he stacked, holding bottles of water to his lips so he would drink. He muttered a phrase, too low to hear, but the same shape every time.

“It’s not for you, it’s for the Earth.” He would say when asked. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t make out his words.

Eric found the solution. She’d been telling them all about the frustration of trying to listen to Pete. Eric looked up from his rocks. “Remember when I thought spies were cool?” That had been twelve months ago. “I have a spy microphone in my drawer. I’ll get it for you!”

She pinned the microphone to Pete’s shirt. He paid no attention. She listened to his mumbling on her phone.

“You’re dirty. Can we help?”

She repeated it. Pete stopped. He smiled at her with relief.

“You’ve heard it too.”

“It’s a message?” she asked.

“Yes. I hope the Earth listens. It should be clean.”

“Do you think it will reply?”

“Not where we can hear.”


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First Contact Troubles

The ambassador was a mess of ichor and shattered exoskeleton.

“I treat humans,” the doctor stammered. “Could a vet-?”

“Until we break through that mob, you’re all we have. Now save him!”

“There’s no pulse, no breath. He’s gone.”

“Oh for-” the nurse pushed past. “He doesn’t have a heart, of course there’s no pulse.” She bandaged the worst wounds and began to pump insectile limbs. More fluid leaked, but then – a shuddering breath.

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Pain Then Pleasure

“Oh,” said the man, delightedly. “Do you know, I’ve been at this all day and you’re the first to agree to my terms?” He shook Pete’s hand. Pete shrugged, he was up for experiencing some extremes.

“So,” said the little man, “one hour of the worst pain you can experience, followed by an hour of the greatest pleasure.” He led Pete to a bare room and sat him on the floor. He closed the door as the screaming started. It didn’t take long before even that stopped.

Two hours later he opened the door to stop the pleasure. The screaming returned.


 

101 words.

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The Failure of Strike Team 1, or: Don’t Forget The Pheromones

“Please,” said the worker, releasing an acrid smell of fear. “Is non-combatant.” The soldiers stared at his dropped weapon, more like it were racked against the walls, organised by type. One of them swore.

“It’s a rake. We’re in their bloody garden shed.”

“Restrain it and move, the queen must be in the big structure. Mind the mandibles.”

The ground outside rumbled and burst, as chitinous titans emerged.

“Ah,” said the worker, “is combatants.”

 


I wrote this for a Chrons 75 word challenge, but it wasn’t close enough to the theme. So I wrote another one for that instead and put this here.