Dweely the Terrahort

Submitted into Contest #121 in response to: Write about someone giving or receiving a gift.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Speculative Fantasy

Shuffling across the barren steppes of Grittengrak, Dweely, a Terrahort of meager standing, was cooling off from a difficult day of sweaty manual labor on the farms of Snooleysnak. His thoughts never ventured far from his basal ganglia. The flat front of the forehead on Terrahorts was evidence of poorly evolved frontal lobes. Menial tasks were their curse. Higher level mental executive functioning was handled by the Anannaki, a subterranean race that depended on the Terrahorts for their strong backs and weak minds.


Dweely stopped. The ebbing light of the distant native star they depended on and worshiped was glinting off a strange orb wedged in a a crack of the bedrock that jutted from the surface. Kneeling down he examined it. The sphere had perfect symmetry and was a soft aqua blue that stood out on the crimson and ochre stained flat lands of the desolate outer ranges. Picking it up the texture was soft and pliable, almost silky. An eerie hum met his ears followed by weak vibrations emanating from the object. Scared yet mystified Dweely dropped his new prize and it rolled to a stop on soil that hadn't grown anything in hundreds of years.


“OOOOOOO” Dweely raised an eyebrow so bushy it looked like a long extinct caterpillar.


Trembling in a fitful manner the thing's surface deformed and rippled like the surface of a fluid that was being gently agitated. Slowly a pointy tendril emerged from its surface, it was pink and wiggled around as if sniffing or searching for something. Growing and stretching the appendage reached the dirt under it and began squirming and drilling its way into the soil with the aplomb of a burrowing nematode.


“AAAAAHHHHHHH” The watcher grinned slightly, eyes widening, mouth hanging open, exposing large teeth of granite.


It lay still for some time as if it was resting or pondering some unfathomable mystery of the universe. Suddenly with an astute vigor, the ball became erect at the end of its leg/foot thingy and swayed back and forth. It was then Dweely, ever a curious Terrahort, sat down legs crossed in front of it and rested his enormous mandibles on the palm of his paw between four large digits that were situated across from each other in pairs not unlike the zygodactyl feet of the long gone chameleon.


Poking the curved claw at the end of a finger into the hearing apparatus on one side of his head, Dweely dislodged a clump of wax, sniffed the claw with a slight grimace and craned his head to this new creature he had found on his nightly walk. It seemed to no longer hum, now a ethereal voice was emitting from its roundness. The sound was pitched so high as to be almost inaudible, yet the closer he leaned in towards the sphere, the louder the voice became. The song was vacillating in a slow vibrato, each note a perfect fifth from the other, though a Terrahort would not have known that, only that it sounded harmonious and pleasant.


The swaying of the orb in time with its siren song picked up tempo as its stalk lengthened and its bulbous mass began expanding. Over the span of a few dozen breathing cycles it had swelled to the size of an average Terrahort's brain bucket. The singing was now being complimented by a scent. Dweely wrinkled his wide nostrils and sniffed mightily. The pleasant smell flooded his lung and sinuses. It was so wonderful a wide grin swallowed his face. The music and smells and dancing weaved into a hypnotic spell, mouth agape and watering, eyes wide and tearing, Dweely could not turn away.


It was then his new friend decided to open up. The bulb split from the top into eight perfect triangular wedges, from its center a swirling mass of tentacle like stamen emerged, whipping about like an angry sea anemone. They were light purple in color, lavender to be exact, which was the scent by the way. It was an ancient sleeping potion of gods long dead. The insides of its sepals were glowing yellow, lighting up the curtain of night that had since fallen. Emerging now were fiery petals the shape and color of the jagged red clouds that tore apart the skies of Grittengrak, yet never once rained. Dweely curled the tip of a claw so he could feel the petals with the back of his knuckle. The skin there was smooth and sensitive, not calloused and scarred like the tips of his protuberances.


The awesome cosmic flower now had Dweely fully engaged. His face was inches from the undulating blossom.......


It is here we must stop and backfill the brain with something for the story to stick to. You see nothing had bloomed or grown on the plains of Grittengrak for many many many centuries. The Terrahorts had to grow and harvest Diddle Fungus, the food stuff which nourished the underground denizens and kept the brains of the Anannaki fertile. The mycelium of the Diddle Fungus was fermented to produce the liquid ambrosia wine called Hanahanahooey that kept the peace underground with the Anannaki families. Thankfully the discarded trub of the fermenting process was enough to nourish the Terrahorts. They were used to leftovers. Anyway, on with the story.


The puff of pollen from deep in the flower's ovaries startled Dweely. He sniffed and snuffed, sneezing and coughing as the plant's powder invaded his respiratory system. The pleasantries were gone and a taste like acid stung his tongue as he blinked and wiped his eyes. The bitter dust burned his face and eyeballs. Blinking and staring he looked and the flower was gone. It had slowly erupted, yet now quickly retreated to its pod and a gentle breeze allowed it to roll down the rocks and out of sight. As much as he wanted to pursue it another problem had surfaced.


The pollen dissolved inside the Terrahort and made its way to Dweely's brain. Specifically, the cerebral cortex was flooded by chemicals with the precise chemical handshake to marry itself to his pleasure centers. As his eyes rolled back in his head and the pollen overwhelmed his gray matter, Dweely fell into a deep slumber on the plains of Grittengrak. As the conscious part of his brain disconnected, the liquid of his limbic system was lulled into a stupor and the quiet of his subconscious sprang to life.


To say he dreamed would be doing his journey a disservice. The subtle level of his spirit was transfigurated to an ancient comet. The comet called Mythos had glanced off a little planet called Patagonia and acquired a passenger. The Perpetuation Plant as it was later named hitched a ride on the comet hurtling through the dark expanse of space. Ever the shameless cosmic hiker, the entity could survive for eons, dormant and waiting for the fertile ground of an expanded capacity brain to invade.


Dweely wished for his spirit to commune with the entity, but its secrets were locked up in a resilient little iridescent ball. Entire galaxies flowed by, their centers anchored by super massive black holes whose event horizons had trapped trillions of souls and a few sad songs along the way.


The beautiful pink and purple crab nebula and binary star systems of such unlikely partners as white dwarfs and red giants, spun into the ether. Dweely had never seen such colors on Grittengrak. His barren planet was as featureless and plain as a Snooleysnak instructor. The universe though was brimming with inspiration. Heavenly bodies whizzed by. Riding on the comet he was soon eagerly anticipating the next planetary vision. Waiting for another galaxy to pass close enough to see its intimates felt like leaning on a hoe watching Diddle Fungus grow.


Somehow Dweely was connecting with memories of another life and time. Scratching his imaginary forehead, it felt slightly larger. Did his brain get bigger? He knew he was high as a rocket ship now. He wanted to reach out and grasp the muse of his travels. Try as he might his hand passed through the orb, his spirit thin and translucent. Reaching back to the nexus of his journey he remembered how the plant had tricked him. How could a plant transcend time and space? Still he wanted to reach out and caress the sphere. I'm in love thought the Terrahort. There were no native plants on the plains of Grittengrak. He had become intertwined with a cosmic traveler. The orb's spirit song was drifting into his thoughts. The smell of lavender flooded his mind.


Soon the constellations seemed familiar. He was entering his own solar system. There was Blooneesnark the sister planet. He couldn't believe his eyes, they were hurtling straight for the red surface of Grittengrak. Entering the thin atmosphere the frozen comet burst into flames, a frosty tail of fumes left in its wake. Speeding faster and faster it impacted the surface with an explosion of dust and gas, a sonic boom ripping across the land. Skidding and scraping it slid across the rocky surface and came to a stop.


When Dweely woke up the native star was winking on the horizon. He tried to move. His body was stuck to the dirt. Pulling with all his strength his arm tore free from the dirt. To his wonder the hair on his forearm had grown like roots into the soil. Peeling the rest of his frame from the surface of Grittengrak each exposed part of his body was rooted to the planet. The orb was nowhere near; a hangover of loss and emptiness lingered.


The walk back to the Diddle Fungus farms of Snooleysnak was uneventful. His body hair returned to normal transforming from the root structures that anchored the Terrahort to the planet. Dweely's mind felt open as if the gentle breeze was filtering through it and carrying it to the sky. The paths of his simple thinking were slightly wider. His preponderance was interrupted by a tickle in his throat. Reaching for his neck he tried to shrug off the discomfort. A loogey was compacted in his diaphragm, something needed to be dislodged. Stopping and edging to the side of the trail, Dweely doubled over and clutched his midsection.


The heaving felt necessary. He forced a dry cough. Nothing came up. Lurching and leaning over Dweely placed palms on his knees and tried to come to grips with the feeling in his throat. Something deep in the lung had taken root and was causing discomfort. The first hack felt satisfying. The next few were excruciating. Soon wracking heaves felt like vessels of blood in his throat were bursting. Green phlegm streaked with yellow was followed by a dry coughing that caused stars to burst in his eyesight. Then an all encompassing retch released the pods.


The hack launched them into the air. Orbs, tiny translucent spheres erupted from the Terrahort's lung. Dweely watched as they swirled into the atmosphere. Unlike particulate, they had minds of their own. Spinning and flying, the children of the entity spiraled into space unbidden by the laws of physics and science. Dweely had received a gift of the cosmos, a communion with an interstellar traveler that expanded his mind. He watched as the tiny orbs drifted into the blackness of space, the Perpetuation Plant had again found its way to the future.

November 21, 2021 22:11

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6 comments

K. Antonio
20:50 Nov 22, 2021

I loved how quirky and strange the beginning of the story is. The names were great. I really enjoyed the blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements, making the story so interesting. The part of being in love with the orb was so unexpected. 🤣🤣

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Kevin Marlow
21:39 Nov 22, 2021

Thank you. I usually try not to repeat words often, but I was having a Seussical moment.

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Boutat Driss
10:34 Nov 22, 2021

well done!

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Kevin Marlow
19:15 Nov 22, 2021

Thanks!

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Delia Strange
07:31 Nov 22, 2021

Reading this story felt like reading a quirky cosmic fairy-tale. An interesting and creative premise, to pollinate the universe.

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Kevin Marlow
19:18 Nov 22, 2021

I give credit for the idea to my friend George. He gave me the idea and asked me to write the story. He is 85 years old and credits his youthful mind to meditation.

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