Science Fiction Fantasy Romance

I've never been in a tree house before.

"Really? That's odd—well, I guess...there's not much soil on Saturn?"

That's right. Trees are downright beautiful. Best things about Earth.

"That's only because you're new here. There's lots of great things."

Emma settled her hands in her lap and looked out the window of the tree house. Her parents had made it for themselves when they'd gotten married. They were nature lovers and the tree house had a telescope and a bird feeder and a camera to watch them eat. Those things were still there but Emma was the only human who used them.

The alien stood up and looked through the telescope. Such a blue blue sky.

"It's best at nighttime. For stars."

Ah. Stars and planets far away interest the humans of Earth while Earth interests the humans of Saturn.

"You call yourself human too...? I wondered, where did you pick up our language?"

It's not so different from ours.

"That's...very hard to believe."

There's a human who visited Saturn once. I learned English from her.

"No way! And why did we never hear of this?" Emma gave the alien a sharp look.

I suppose it is because she did not tell.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Alien, but that is just not something you do not tell." She stood up as well and marched over to him. She stroked the unique material covering his body and then his forearm. The texture was not at all normal. It was marvelous and unsettling, a bit like touching electricity.

Does this mean you shall tell your parents about me? Your parents and your neighbors?

"The whole world actually."

I've only come here for a visit, not to stay. There's no need to get everyone concerned. There's not enough time to partake of all their hospitality; I wouldn't be able to eat all that food.

Emma pulled away. When those words drifted into her head, she was recalled from the wonder to a sad truth. She may well have good intentions behind sharing her new discovery—she was filled with curiosity, not cruelty—but as she'd always seen it, the world all together never had any good intentions. They were a poking-prodding sort, not the type to stand back in awe.

Is something the matter, Emma?

"No, it's all right." She shook off her depressing thoughts and mustered a smile. "But you're correct about this. You wouldn't be able to enjoy Earth in such a short time as you have." She approached him again and smiled, a little falsely for secrets were not something she took pleasure in. "I'll keep it a secret that you came. So then what would you like to do?"

The alien gave her a perceptive look, but did not press the matter.

Let's stay in this tree house. You can tell me about what you're going to do this summer. With your friends. And then, tonight, before I leave, we can take a look through this telescope.

"Well, before you came I was on the phone with my friend—"

Pardon me, but female or male?

"Female. I-I only have fe-male friends."

Do your males not like your green hair?

"It might be that," said Emma, whisking her hair into her boonie hat.

Maybe it's the glittery things you wear all over yourself.

"Jewelry. No, males are fine with jewelry."

Then maybe your legs are too long for them? Your bones too prominent?

"It doesn't matter. Friends that are girls are much better. Entirely less judgemental about your appearance."

He touched one of her bones, her elbow. It seems all right.

Emma felt not at all what she was supposed to be feeling around an alien, especially one who was going away that night. "...What is that supposed to mean?" she said carefully.

If I accept your appearance, and the vulnerability that comes with it, I may be your male friend, may I not?

Emma decided to be calm about this, as calm as she was about everything. She was not in the habit of letting feelings run away with her. "Well," she said, "if you want to be friends, you have to realize you're basically the worst friend ever."

All right. Now explain to me why I am such a bad friend.

"We barely know each other. And you're going to leave to a place impossibly far away. You're not going to write or call, because it doesn't work like that. And you're not necessarily coming back. That's a bad friend."

I see now I could have figured it out myself. Forgive me the wasting of your words.

"It's such a bad friend it's really not a friend at all. Our meeting is more like a good memory." She turned to look out the window at the luxuriant trees. "Summer is about memories. The glow of the sun becomes a glow in your mind that lights up the colder days to come. The laughter and games cheer you up when you're worn out from studying. The relationships you have are strengthened in those days and you remember to be kind to your family. Something about all those days out in nature—blame my parents—but I become grounded... Something's so floaty about being in buildings. Nothing's really real there. But after summer, and every day outside, I can remember that I'm alive." She laughed suddenly. "Oh, and the exercise keeps you slim for all the end of the year feasting.

"...Would it be all right if we left it at that?" she finished quietly, her cheer evanescing.

It was his turn to have his expectations turned down. You're right. We wouldn't be able to enjoy our friendship this way. I don't like being merely an acquaintance but it will have to do.

"Well, why don't you tell me what Saturn is like this time of year."

Electrifying. We try and see how many times we can get struck by lightning.

"It doesn't hurt?"

You who are from Earth are made from earth, are you not? We are a part of Saturn. We are storms and lightning and everything else that it is; not at all earth. That's why I find your version of nature so fascinating.

"So the more time you spend in the storms... The more you are...struck by lightning...the more alive you feel?"

The alien offered his version of a smile. Yes.

Emma felt a little less confused and sad. She smiled more honestly at him and put her hand near his on the window sill. "Just like me," she said.

July 17, 2020 18:38

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A. Arima
12:09 Jul 23, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story; it is very well written! :)


Hamadryad 77
19:02 Jul 24, 2020

I'm delighted you think so. Thank you very much for the like, comment, and follow. ^-^


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Corey Melin
00:05 Jul 19, 2020

Very enjoyable conversation between life on Saturn and Earth. Flowed well and easy so able to quickly read and enjoy. Well done


Hamadryad 77
16:25 Jul 19, 2020

Thank you so much for your comment, like, and follow. I really appreciate it. It's satisfying to hear that my story was easy to read ^-^ I was only inspired to write it two days before the deadline, so I think if I'd had more time I could have fleshed things out a bit, exploring the alien and life on Saturn more, but I'm glad it was still enjoyable!


Corey Melin
16:34 Jul 19, 2020

Totally understand the time restrictions. The reason why many of my stories are short. Sometimes shorter is better. Some writers prolong their story to the point where it becomes dull.


Hamadryad 77
16:56 Jul 19, 2020

Indeed, you are right. I love doing this contest because it trains you to be concise. Personally I prefer to write novellas or short stories over a novel, though I heartily enjoy reading novels! I believe you generally shouldn't go into writing thinking, "I'm going to write a novel", if you only have enough material to write a novella, you know. Just write your story until it's done. And if it's a novel or shorter, cool.


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21:00 Jul 26, 2020

❤️❤️❤️👏👏👏😁😁😁 —Aerin! (Would you mind checking out my stories ‘Rebel Prince’ or ‘A Poem By A Star (No, Literally)’? Thank you so much!)


Hamadryad 77
03:24 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you for your comment and the follow, Aerin ^-^


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