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Fantasy Science Fiction

Wess trundled into the room, all four legs stomping firmly on the ground, sticklike torso whirring around, a dozen arms flailing. The small eyes dotting its arms blinked randomly.

“Thank you for coming,” said its fellow librarian, Urtless. “I’m at a complete loss. She’s so lovely, and I’m, well…” He looked down at his own boring bipedal form.

“Do we know her exact date of birth?” asked Wess. “Perhaps we can examine historical and cultural events during her childhood. this will allow you subjects for conversation."

“Indeed,” replied Urtlees. “Second Epoch, First Galactic Expansion, 6532 BTV.”

“What a wonderful date!” Wess chortled and its arms flowed smoothly for a moment before returning to their normally chaotic movements.  

It lumbered over to a low bench and straddled it, lowering itself to sit somewhat awkwardly. The Great Library wasn’t really designed for its physique. Wyst were a little-known race from a southern part of the galaxy, with four legs, twelve arms, six brains, and at least twenty fully developed consciousnesses crammed into one body. They had no visible heads, which was disconcerting for any species that relied on eye contact to reinforce communication.

The library’s maintenance man had balked at adding the extruding panels that Wyst considered chairs, but finally agreed to place tasteful padded benches strategically on the four floors of the main Library building.

“I believe that is also the date of the First Annual Frost Runners Reunion,” mused Wess, one arm absently scratching the top of its torso. “And also the Rsklet Supernova.” It continued muttering events to itself as Urtless rolled his eyes.

“Wess, focus. What should I do?” Urtless froze, and then tried his best to retract the question. “No, no no no I didn’t ask a direct question, Wess, not really!” 

“Meet her on a train, ask for her number, trip in front of her, make friends with her friends, send her an anonymous note, hire a messenger, follow her around until she notices you, hang out near her desk…” Wess spun fluidly, arms akimbo, as each of its consciousnesses answered.

Urtless gave up and sat behind his desk with a sigh.

“Enter a talent show and invite her, find something she’s lost, buy coffee at the same place she does, move into her apartment building…”

Opening his desk drawer, Urtless pulled out a small tin and opened it. The smell of dried fruit filled the air, and he held up the box, wafting it back and forth.

“Smell that Wess? Mmmmmm! Delicious dates! Just one round of options, ok? Then you can have a snack.”

“…pretend to have a cold so she’ll bring you soup.” Wess finished its list of different actions for its friend, distracted from repetition by the dense smell curling through the air, telescoped one arm over to the tin, retrieving a bit of dried fruit.

It placed the fruit on top of its torso, where it slowly started sinking into its flesh. “What a wonderful date!”

Urtless rubbed his eyes. “Glad you enjoyed it. Now, let’s talk about Castella. I do really care about her, even if she doesn’t know I exist.”

“It is still confusing for me,” said Wess. “Why don’t you just approach her and introduce yourself? That would be an effective first option.”

“For you, maybe, yeah, but not for me. I can’t even meet her eye, let alone form words.” Urtless shook his head. “We have to figure out what she likes, so I can be ready. I don’t want to blow it.”

Wess shrugged, a particularly eloquent shifting of its arms. “Ok then.” It stood up and waddled forward until it had cleared the bench. “Perhaps we should try a reconnaissance mission again.”

“Oh no, absolutely not!” blurted out Urtless. “Not after what happened last time!”

“What happened last time?” asked a light, breeze filled voice. A collection of bubbles in a roughly bipedal shape was floating towards them, trailing a sparkling wake of light.

Urtless froze, turned red, and disappeared under his desk.

“Unforeseen disaster. Apparent error. Embarrassment. Miscommunication. Abject failure. Remorse. Bitterness,” recited Wess. 

“Librarian Wess, how lovely to see you,” said the bubbles, her voice rising lightly, effortlessly, as Wess continued his list. “I see I’ve triggered your answer instinct. How thoughtless of me.”

The being curved over the top of the desk and peered underneath. “Librarian Urtless. How are you today?”

“Umm… yeah… okay.” Urtless was coiled in a fetal position, his head wedged in the far corner under the desk. “Hi Castella.”

“Hello.” She perched on the desktop, her aura of glowing light settling around her shoulders like a mantle. 

“Wrack and ruin, mortal consequences, a hollowing of the soul…” continue Wess.

Castella smoothed her bubbles and blinked her enormous, luminescent eyes. “I’m sorry to barge in like this, but I’ve got a bit of a knotty problem and I’d love your advice.”

“Problem?” Urtless stretched one leg out from under the desk.

“Insurmountable odds,” finished Wess.

“Well,” said Castella, her bubble brow slightly furrowed. “I’m wondering if a walk along the Chasteel River seems like a nice thing to do. There’s this fellow I know, quite wonderful, quite respectful. I’m wondering if a walk by the river seems like a good way to spend time together.”

“What a wonderful date!” exclaimed Wess. He froze for a moment, then slowly writhed his arms in distress. “Urtless, does that sound like a good date to you?”

Urtless had pulled his leg back. His reply was muffled but sounded suspiciously like a sob.

Castella flowed down, bubble by bubble, to the floor, kneeling by Urtless as he lay curled up in the dim underbelly of his desk.

“Oh goodness, Urtless,” she whispered. “You are too gentle for your own good. Would you like to walk along the river? With me? Or am I bubbling up the wrong spring here?”

Unfolding his limbs, uncurling his torso, Urtless slowly expanded out from under the desk. He wiped his nose on the back of his hand. “Me?” He glanced at Castella quickly, then studied the carpet on the floor with diligence.

“Yes,” said Castella, her dazzling voice firm.

“OK,” said Urtless, as she took his hand. The two of them stood as one, an ethereal breath of a being and a plodding flesh based biped.

“Can you spare your co-worker for a bit, Wess?” asked Castella.

Wess spun in glee, tipping back and forth in his joy. “Absolutely! Certainly! Definitely! Yes! Without a doubt...”

July 10, 2021 01:21

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1 comment

Alex Sultan
10:25 Jul 10, 2021

I like how you wrote Wess - very vivid with dialogue, imagery, personality, and everything. A great way to write an alien. I enjoyed reading this story :)

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