The view-port slid open, and a pair of eyes assessed him. "Can I help you?"
"I'm Rocky. Jimmy the Bits sent me."
"But that's not what he told you to say, is it." It wasn't a question.
"…'Flow my tears'?"
The door hissed and swung open. The bouncer was immense, and missing an arm. Rocky didn't imagine he'd have any trouble breaking someone's neck even with only the one, but the Company wouldn't have kept him on in the mines. "Twenty scrip."
He'd thought it'd be more; he handed over the bill, which the bouncer held up to the light.
"Can't trust an Eek freak. Though you're not one yet, I suppose." He grinned. "Give it time. Up the ladder, down the corridor, door's open."
The room was small, full of stale, fetid air. The Eekogle sat in a bowl-shaped chair. Bed? Its tentacles hung flaccid over the rim. It was surrounded by Eek freaks, sitting motionless on the floor. It was watching football on the wallscreen.
There was a handler in the corner, reading a book. His face was blotchy, discolored: old burn marks? He delivered his instructions without looking up. "Sit anywhere. Leave your pressure suit on, the medical sensors will tell us if you're having a bad trip. When you're ready, just stick out your tongue."
Rocky picked an empty patch of carpet, and sat. The man next to him was older, thin, balding. His suit lights showed green but he was sweating, breathing shallow, slack-jawed.
"It's psychotropic," the handler said. "Their ancestors developed it as a defense against predators. None of the megafauna on their planet will even give them a second look now. Not even if they're starving."
Rocky stared at the Eekogle for a long time, without moving.
You only live once. Rocky stuck out his tongue. One of the alien's tentacles lifted from the chair rim, stretched out, elongating towards him. The tip glistened with a clear excretion.
Rocky licked it.
Oh, creepy! I think I would've ran out of that place and never gone back!ReplyDelete
Yeah I'm pretty sure there are safer highs to be had. ;-)Delete
Gah! I don't know if any high is worth licking an Eek. :) This is great writing - I love how you didn't really need to explain anything, you just brought us right in. Great job!ReplyDelete
Thanks very much! It's sort of a personal rule of mine to rely on as little exposition as possible, giving everything needed via character perspective. i.e., 'show don't tell' taken to its logical limit.Delete
Okay, now THAT is freaky :) A completely realized world in such few words. Your word choices are stellar, and that last line? "Rocky licked it." Perfection.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your kind words :-)Delete
eeeewwww lol That is crazy.ReplyDelete
well put. ;-)Delete
This is different, and I like the self-contained scene. You don't need to know a thing going into the story and it works either way.ReplyDelete
Thank you for linking up!
Thank you for reading and commenting :-)Delete
Awesome! Loved this from start to finish. I just finished China Mievill's Perdido Street Station and this reminded me of that. Rocky is a braver man than I would be. Loved the description of the room.ReplyDelete
I haven't read Perdido Street Station yet, but it's on my list! I think Rocky is an offplanet (maybe Mars or the Moon, dunno) miner and needs *any* distraction. ;-)Delete
This is cool - I love the odd setting, the odd characters, and, oh, that ending. Neat.ReplyDelete
Thank you very much!Delete
Brilliant; liked the names for the characters, the currency and the explanation for the alien. Packed with little details which set the scene in such a short space.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much. :-)Delete
You created a world here that is just great. people will do anything to trip, huh. I kinda feel sorry for the Eekogle.ReplyDelete
I figure he's getting at least 10 scrip a head, the other 10 goes to the 'house'. ;-)Delete
I love this and it felt so much like a glimpse into Perdido Street Stations - Wonderful piece!ReplyDelete
OK, I definitely need to read that. :-)Delete