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Adventure Science Fiction Fantasy

Yes! I am so excited I have to concentrate on not slamming the door as I leave the Boss’s office. “Guess what?” I beam at Prm, the large fuchsia beast who sits at the desk next to mine.

“You got it?”

“Yes! I’m to leave within the month. I just have to decide where to go. Any ideas?” I plop down in my worn-out swivel chair and put four of my sixteen neon green tentacles up on the desk.

“Well, it can be any of the smaller planets, right? How do you plan to get in? That’s going to be the tricky part.” Prm lifts a small squid from the jar on his desk and pushes it between his feeders as he thinks.

“I have a plan for that part. It will make things take a little longer, but it will be worth it.” I look at Prm and lower my voice. “I’m just hoping the Boss will approve my timeline. I’ll tell you if you promise to help me and not tell anybody else.”

Prm looks a bit suspicious for a second, but I know him. The guy’s curiosity won’t let him sit idly by when there’s a secret to be had. A second later he nods. “I’m in. Spill.”

So I tell him. He is extremely surprised and thinks I am absolutely brilliant. Or maybe absolutely crazy. Or both. “You’re going to what?! Do you have any idea what you’ll be getting yourself into? Well, it’s your skin. Just don’t come crying to me when you run out of patience.” See? I told you he thinks it’s brilliant.

“Yes, well, since that’s covered, can you help me with the other part? Which planet do you think will be easiest?” I am a little worried about my plan. It’s a bit crazy. But I can handle it. I have oodles of patience, and besides, there’s no more foolproof way to infiltrate a planet than the one I have in mind.

“Give me an hour or two. I have to do some research.” Prm puts away the rest of his snack and turns on his computer screen. I get up to get a snack of my own. This will be a snap. Prm is great at research. He’ll find the perfect planet to complement my plan, and I’ll go in undetected and retrieve what the Boss wants. Then I’ll come back, and just like that, I’ll be a hero. I’ll have a successful mission under my belt. I can’t wait.

#

“Lksjgh! Come here! I’ve found the planet for you!”

Prm is calling from his desk. I quickly slither over. This is my big break, after all. I can’t afford to start sloppy. “Well?”

“It’s a cute little place called Earth. They’re very nice to their young ones. You should have seen the other places I looked through. Anyway, here it’s all cuddles and lullabies. You’ll love it.” And that’s it. I have found my new home for the coming years, the place that will make my name go down in history.

#

Beep! Beep! Would someone shut off that incessant beeping? What is it for anyway? I am so tired of these cramped living quarters. It’s been nearly ten months since I got this assignment, and I really hope I’m almost there. I’ve been living in the womb of Margaret L. Smith for way too long. I’m going back to sleep.

#

I’m moving! And . . . I’m out! Infiltration complete! I was just born into a human family on Earth. Brilliant, no? What better way is there to infiltrate a planet? Just show up, no questions asked. Can you do that at the airport? Just checking.

I quickly take stock of my surroundings and see that not everything is so pleasant. My newly grown human body is covered in fluid, and the room smells awful, like some kind of disinfectant. Welcome to Earth, Buddy, I think, excited to see everything about the planet Prm picked out for me, the unpleasant along with the pleasant.

“It’s a boy!” I hear a female voice say. The voice comes from the human closest to me, and I notice it seems to be coming out of her feeding apparatus. How queer. Suppose she wants to talk and eat at the same time. What then?

Margaret is lying down, looking exhausted, but also happy. I wonder what I look like. She at least had more than a cubic foot of space to live in these past months. And she hasn’t been pickling in strange fluids, either. I could do with a few cuddles and lullabies now. Not to mention a bath.

#

I’ve been here two days, and so far, I am not impressed. I got my bath, and food, and even some cuddles, but what I didn’t get is, well, control of the body. It’s like I’m sitting at the controller of one of those racing games, pushing all the right controls, but none of them actually do anything because I never put in the quarter to activate it. Except I’m talking about my body. I am 352 years old, which is young for a Zgskdrnjn, but still old enough to have lived with a functional body for 351.95 years. I was not expecting this. And it only gets worse.

“Come here Maxie,” Margaret croons. As if I could move. Doesn’t she know better? From the records I studied before coming here, I understood this wasn’t her first time bringing a new human into the world. And Maxie? Seriously? Did the woman not here the announcement 2 days ago? I am a boy human.

“Do you like your new outfit? Today is a very exciting day. See this car seat? You’re coming home with me today! Okay, pumpkin? Ready to meet your sisters?” See, I knew she had other offspring already. What’s wrong with the lady? Pumpkin?

Margaret picks me up and presses her feeding hole against my head. Is she going to eat me? Prm said they were good to infants here! Instead, she makes a funny noise, then lowers me into the car seat. Here we go. Time to see what human dwellings look like.

#

We’ve arrived. I got to ride in an Earth Mobile, strapped into the car seat thing. The driver, Erik M. Smith, Margaret’s husband, opens the door for his wife and then unstraps me from the car seat and picks me up. I have a thing about being carried. I don’t like it. When will I be able to use this useless little body myself?

Inside the house, I find out the true meaning of the word “sisters.” Julia and Emily are two smaller versions of their parents. They stand upright on two appendages that protrude from their bodies, though the smaller one, Emily, is a little unsteady. Their heads sit on top of their bodies, and they have two more appendages that protrude from either side. It seems that all humans share this shape. Curious. The girls also use their feeding contraptions for speaking.

“Mommy!” That’s Julia. “Can I see the baby?”

“Me too!” That’s Emily. “I want see baby too!”

Erik puts me down on a raised, enclosed surface, and they come close, appendages extended. Now I can see that on the ends of the side-of-body-appendages, the girls have miniature tentacles. There are no suction cups on these tentacles, but they are smeared with something sticky and blackish brown, which is soon all over me. Remember how I said this body doesn’t work so well? Well, one part works just fine. The sensors are picking up wetness on my head from Margaret’s noisemaking, and stickiness on my face and appendages.

Suddenly I notice that I have the same appendages as the other humans in the room. I know because they are all tingling. Emily has her tentacles on the tips of my lower appendages, and she’s pulling. Julia’s tentacles are slipping under me. “My baby!” Julia screams at Emily.

“Mine!” counters Emily. Somebody help me! I don’t like being carried. I don’t like sticky human tentacles. Oh, no! Julia is picking me up, and my body is flopping all over. Something tells me she’s never held an infant before. Help! Remembering that people use their feeding apparatuses for speech here, I open mine. A wail comes out of it. And then it’s over. Margaret’s appendages descend, and I am lifted away from the little grubby tentacles. Suddenly I don’t mind if Margaret holds me.

“Now children, don’t forget that Max is just a baby. He’s our baby, so we get to take care of him, but he’s very new and we have to be very careful. Okay?”

“Okay,” the two girls say quickly.

“Can I hold him now?” asks Julia. And Margaret takes her over to the couch and lets her. Nobody asks me. Nice to their young ones indeed. Luckily, I’ve learned how to handle these creatures. I open my feeding hole and scream.

#

Finally, after plenty of torture from the little girls and multiple feedings, it’s time for my cuddles and lullabies. Margaret holds me with her upper appendages and begins to sing. Her voice is sweet and soft, and before long I fall asleep.

#

I’m warm and comfortable, but I don’t think Margaret is still holding me. I feel something soft underneath me, but it doesn’t radiate heat the way Margaret’s appendages do. I open my eyes and see that I’m lying on my back, staring at the ceiling. The ceiling is plain white—not much to look at. So, I turn my head. Or try to. I forgot this head was so stubborn. On the third try, I get my head to move a bit to the left, and that’s when I see them. Bars. I am caged in.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’m imprisoned in a human body that can’t do anything, thousands of light-years from my home planet, and they put me in a cage. As if I could escape otherwise. I wish I could have my own powerful body back, so I could ram these flimsy wooden bars to pieces. Instead, I put all my effort into straightening my head so I can see the ceiling again, then turning to see what’s on my right. There. Margaret lies on a large bed beside my cage. I remember how she responded so quickly to my screams during the day. Time to use that trick again.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Okay, that was a little louder than I was going for. I hope I didn’t disturb Emily or Julia. I wouldn’t be too happy if I were stuck in a cage trying to sleep and I was awakened by wailing. Maybe Margaret isn’t too happy either. She heard me, and she’s getting up.

“Maxie? What’s wrong, baby?” Margaret’s voice is quiet, just loud enough for me to hear. She still looks exhausted, but I’m not sorry. Of all things, a cage?! What do you think is wrong?

#

Patience is the key. Patience and perseverance. I wasn’t kidding when I said I have lots of patience. But Prm is definitely going to hear about this. Life on this planet is not what I expected. I’m trying to learn the human words for all the new things I’m seeing and experiencing. It’s not going so well, because the humans don’t talk to me much about anything that matters. They mostly say the same words over and over. Many of them don’t make sense. Take this morning, for instance.

“High, Maxie! High! Who’s the cutest little boy? Maxie! Look at me. Bittle bitty little baby boo!”

Who do you think said that to me? It was Margaret. Seriously.

Erik wasn’t much better. “Come to Papa, big boy! Pa-pa. Pa-pa-pa-pa.”

Then there was Emily, “High, baby! I wuv you!”

And Julia, “Can I hold him?”

All I got from that was that Erik had a nickname: Papa. I think Margaret had one too. The girls had called her something else when she first walked in the door with me, but I can’t remember what it was. I’ve never liked nicknames. Oh, well. Patience, like I said. They can’t go on like this forever, can they?

#

It’s been a few weeks. I am learning a bit here and there, by paying close attention. I watch as my family eats dinner. Emily puts her tentacles in her feeding hole along with the stringy yellow stuff she’s eating.

“Emily, no hands in your mouth. Mouths are for food. Use a fork.” Margaret pulls on Emily’s tentacles and gives her a pointy contraption that looks much less tasty than Emily’s meaty tentacles.

So I guess they call their feeding apparatuses “mouths,” and tentacles are “hands” here. I disagree with Margaret’s assessment, though. Where I come from, feeding holes are for food, but here they are for screaming, yelling, talking, and singing lullabies. Once, I even saw Margaret use hers to cut tape. Also, while the attention is on Emily, I manage to get five of my tentacles – er, hands, into my mouth. I see why Emily tried it. The sensation is quite pleasant. It makes me feel powerful. It’s the first time this silly little body’s hands do what I tell them to.

After dinner, Margaret lets me chew on one of her hands. I just wonder why she has different rules for me and Emily. Are hands for eating, or not?

#

Sometimes Margaret puts me down in the living room during the day, so I can work on my crawling. She spreads out a blanket, and puts me face down on top of it, then sits down on the couch and watches me. I’ve gotten really good at multitasking. Oh, and also at controlling my head. Both very important skills for my mission.

Since Margaret won’t speak plain English (that’s the language they speak here. I understand about 67 more, including Qpcmieo, the language we speak in my hometown on Zgskdrnj) to me, I concentrate on the other voices around, that don’t come from mouths. Margaret calls them the radio and the TV. They provide words for many of the new things I’m experiencing, as well as occasional stories of faraway places. Once or twice I even heard other planets mentioned, but never Zgskdrnj. Never my planet. I don’t think these Earth dwellers ever heard of it. It’s probably better that way.

So here I am listening to the radio and working out my tiny muscles on the blanket. In my own body, I could do pushups non-stop for 5 hours, but this little guy, Max, isn’t ready for that yet. Instead, I focus on a small round object that is just past the edge of the blanket. It looks like something Emily was eating yesterday. It’s small and round and has a hole through the middle.

I use my upper appendages (I think these are supposed to be referred to as “arms”) to pull on the blanket, trying to move forward. It doesn’t work. The blanket moves towards me instead. Grunting, I pull the blanket until I have a clear piece of floor to grab onto with my hands. I’m pretty sure Margaret wants me to stay on the blanket, but since it doesn’t have bars, she can’t make me. I try to get a hold on the floor, but without any suction cups, it’s hard to get a good grip.

It takes all ten hands and a lot of hard work, but finally, I am off the blanket and I get the little gift Emily left me into my mouth. And yes, it’s worth it. Until I start to choke.

#

After living with this human body for almost 11 months, I’m finally beginning to get used to it. I know that all those months ago I wasn’t old enough to eat “Cheerios” as Margaret called the soggy item she managed to get back out of my body. And now that I am old enough, I still love them. But seriously, someone should have told me I wouldn’t be able to eat that. How was I supposed to know?

I also know how to crawl. Crawling is how little bodies like mine are supposed to get around before they are ready to stand upright. It takes all four appendages, and it’s rather inconvenient for chasing little girls who run off with your food or playthings. I’m working on learning to walk, but I haven’t figured that part out yet. Somehow, I am supposed to be able to balance on just two appendages. Four is bad enough for a guy who’s used to sixteen. But I’ll get it. If Julia and Emily can do it, I’m sure I can.

It’s going to be a while before I’m ready to start working on the main part of my mission. In the meantime, I’m starting to get along a little better with my sisters. I feel bad for them, knowing how much trouble they must have gone through to be able to get their hands dirty on their own that first day I met them. The worst I can do is get mine wet by putting them in my mouth. Also, I can tell they love me. I think I may use the girls as accomplices. They have more experience in this world than I do, and they’re young enough that I may be able to convince them to take my side. When the mission is complete, and we are the enemies of all earthlings, they may follow me home to Zgskdrnj, where the earthlings will never find them. I know how I’ll sneak them in. It’s a tried and true trick. Undetectable. I wonder what they’ll think of infancy on my planet.


August 10, 2020 22:11

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26 comments

Charles Stucker
02:11 Aug 12, 2020

This is an interesting idea- an alien who comes as a baby to infiltrate. I might have chosen a title like, "Through the Eyes of a Child" but that's a quibble. Your big problem is that it's almost all tell. Lksjgh narrates the entire story and it's all fairly removed from the action. One thing to make clear- the imaginative premise makes this tale worth the effort to improve it. Your ability to come up with the plot makes it worth the effort to try and coach you along a bit as you get your feet under you. you did a good job, and so I ...

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Clara D Berry
04:48 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for the detailed feedback, Charles. I should have expected you would tell me to show, not tell. I noticed that you commented that on some other stories I was reading. Anyway, I changed this story a lot. What do you think of it now?

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Charles Stucker
05:06 Aug 13, 2020

This is so much better. Your scenes all work to advance the tale of how this alien is infiltrating earth, it's consistently funny, and the voice is clear. Check which places pay for reprints (Reedsy counts as first printing) and see who takes it. Somebody will.

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Clara D Berry
20:19 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you again for helping me with it. I hope you are right about being able to get it published elsewhere. I'll look into that.

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Deborah Angevin
10:14 Aug 18, 2020

By reading the opening, I expected some kind of office-related story. I didn't expect it to turn into a fantasy/science-fiction genre! P.S: would you mind checking my recent story out, "Gray Clouds"? Thank you :D

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Clara D Berry
17:14 Aug 18, 2020

Interesting. Well, it did start in an office, but with aliens. My original opening was clearer with regard to what the story was going to be about, but less fun. P.S.: I checked out your story. I agree with just about everything Regina Perry said there, though I don't think I noticed the rhyme. I also liked how you made Bella come back to watch her own funeral. It must have been fun for her to hear what people said about her, and say her last goodbyes, even if nobody heard her. I wonder what she would say to Kevin if she wrote a letter ba...

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Keerththan 😀
08:40 Aug 20, 2020

Interesting story. Wonderful dialogues. Your writing style is great and welcome to Reedsy. Keep writing. Can't wait for your next..... Would you mind reading my new story "Secrets don't remain buried?"

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Clara D Berry
20:18 Aug 20, 2020

Thank you! I checked out your work and I love it. I will keep writing but I don't think I'm going to submit anything this week. Maybe next week. You can find my more detailed comment on your story.

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Chris Buono
16:27 Aug 16, 2020

Interesting story. Loved it!

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Clara D Berry
17:05 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you!

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Andrew Krey
13:58 Oct 06, 2020

Hey Clara, I really enjoyed your story. It was an excellent and creative premise, but what makes it great is all the little touches that the alien observes, as he's enduring his torturous childhood. How do you eat and talk at the same time I thought was really funny, especially as we know humans definitely find a way!! Figuring out how to handle the siblings by screaming was smart...despite the aliens intelligence, his method is the same as a child...as it works. I also liked the image of fingers being little tentacles too :) The alien's ...

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Clara D Berry
15:18 Oct 06, 2020

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed my story. I had fun writing all those details. I've always thought babies are more intelligent than we give them credit for, so I wanted to see what would happen if I put a developed mind into a child's body. I'm glad you appreciated the result.

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Andrew Krey
15:23 Oct 06, 2020

Well exactly, if babies get adults to be their servants...they must be smarter...right!? :S lol

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Clara D Berry
18:17 Oct 06, 2020

Ha ha. Exactly. I once wrote an essay for a school assignment from the perspective of my baby sister saying she had known how to walk long before she let us think she figured it out, but didn't want us to know and send her on errands or anything like that.

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Andrew Krey
19:19 Oct 06, 2020

Lool and it had the disclaimer - fictional story based on true events lol

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Clara D Berry
03:50 Oct 07, 2020

Yep. We were waiting to see when she would walk, as all the other siblings could walk by 12 months. She walked by 12 months and one week or so. Totally planned.

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Keerththan 😀
06:16 Sep 11, 2020

Wow! That's such a sweet story. Even though, this is the second time I am reading it, I found it interesting. Very creative indeed. I am here for the challenge. 1)but it will be worth it. I don't think if its a mistake but, I think the it is redundant. 2)She at least had more than a cubic foot of space to live in these past months. I think its 'atleast' instead of 'at least.' Again, I am not sure. 3)I’ve been here two days, You missed the 'for' in this sentence. I've been here for two days. 4)Did the woman not here the an...

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Clara D Berry
18:19 Sep 11, 2020

Thank you for the nice comment. Yay! You got it! The answer was number 4. Responding to your other comments: 1. I don't think it's redundant. I think it's clearer the way I have it, but technically I could have left out the first it and it would still make sense. 2. "at least" is two words. "atleast" is not a word in English 3. This was a stylistic choice. Your way is technically more correct, but I did this on purpose. 4. You got it! That was the error I was talking about! 5. Usually, you would be right, and I would say human boy...

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Keerththan 😀
02:57 Sep 12, 2020

The first 2 I wasn't sure. So, I don't care if its not a mistake. I am glad I won. Okay, I understand 3. 5 and 6 are okay. Keep writing. Nooooooooooooo, I am not ready for that.

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Clara D Berry
00:53 Sep 13, 2020

You don't have to be ready for that now. I am still planning to help. But maybe soon the day will come that I will read your story and tell you that I have nothing to correct or add.

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Keerththan 😀
03:43 Sep 13, 2020

Waiting for that day!

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The Cold Ice
04:20 Aug 26, 2020

Super story .Great job👍keep it up. Would you mind to read my story “The dragon warrior?”

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Clara D Berry
05:02 Aug 26, 2020

Thank you! I read your story and liked it. I will try to comment later if I have some free time.

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Tony Hadley
16:45 Oct 23, 2020

Amazing and fun! I like how it starts with not knowing that Lksjgh and Prm are aliens. I thought they were plants on earth, then BAM! Aliens! Loved it! And the mystery of why Lksjgh is going to earth, left unanswered until the end?! Such suspense! So great! Also the small details such as the way Emily spoke (this described her as only being a year or two old), and the misunderstanding of having five "hands" at the end of each appendage (even referring to Margaret's finger in her mouth as a hand). So enjoyable! Keep these coming!

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Clara D Berry
23:57 Oct 24, 2020

Thank you! I'm glad you understood that detail about the hands and fingers. I wasn't sure if it was clear, but I had to do it that way because he was guessing based on context and the context wasn't clear. I'm glad you liked my story. I haven't been writing in a while because I've been really busy, but maybe one day soon I'll have time to write more. I can't wait to read more of your stories as well!

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