by Walter Kwiatkowski
Table of Contents|
parts: 1, 2, 3
In three weeks, the egg had grown to the size of a large bookshelf and developed certain physical characteristics: two grotesque, button-like shapes on the upper half of its form and a long jeans-like seam running from left to right just below the buttons. The buttons looked like raisins. Now tar-black, gnarly like liquorice, it glistened like the chrome on a car.
Roger had moved it from off the worktable and now was examining it on to the floor, in the corner. During the day, he covered it with a blue tarp. He also painted a circle around the egg and refreshed the circle each day. Doing this, he could see if the thing moved. And it had, ever so slightly, glacier-like, every day.
Roger was refreshing the circle of paint when it first spoke to him. Uncle?
The word pounded his brain. He stopped painting and looked up. “So you can communicate?”
The two small, raisin-like eyes seemed to reflect the light from the nearby table lamp.
“I’m not your Uncle. I’m not your anything.”
After a minute’s silence, it continued. That is what Mother suggested I call you.
“She is not your mother.”
He felt the thing’s eyes, if that’s what they were, gouging into his brain digging like an archaeologist searching for ruins. Mother is mother, but what shall I call you?
“I am medical doctor. I was, when I was younger, a neurosurgeon..”
Again, the thing’s eyes flickered, like buttons on one of the old computers. Yes. You help those who are ailing.
He nodded. “And get out of my head.”
Roger said nothing more and finished the last little bit of painting. He dropped the brush in the bucket, removed his gloves, tossed them on the worktable and went over and scribbled something down in his book. He looked at the egg harder, then wrote something else.
“I don’t understand,” he commented, looking at the figures he had written in his book, “how you manage to grow. Every day a little more, yet you do not eat..”
After a moment, the thing answered. You mean nourishment. There is plenty here, doctor. More than enough to stimulate my physical and mental growth. I simply absorb what I need from the ground.
“You mean like a root?”
The thing thought for a moment. Yes, according to your human language, that is an adequate word. Root.
“Water? You survive on water?”
Its eyes glittered again, this time more intensely. We require water, yes. But our main source of nourishment is an element you humans call arsenic.
He looked at the the egg sharply. “Our?”
Yes, my heritage. You see, doctor, I now understand.
Roger’s eyes caught a smudge in the circle he had freshly painted. It was drawing moisture from the cement.
And purpose, doctor.
Roger bent down on one knee and wiped his hand on the basement floor. It was damp like a sweaty palm. “You can draw water from—”
Your mind is so full of fear, doctor. And your assumptions are correct. That is my purpose. I am, what is the correct word, a seed.
That is correct, doctor. That is why I am communicating with you. So you will know and understand your fate. Inform your leaders. Tell them that all on this planet will perish.
“They will not believe me.”
For the first time, the twisted line that stretched across the top half of the body moved. It contorted into what Roger thought looked a smile.
“I will make them believe.” His hands were shaking.
You will fail. When you humans plant food, do you put only one seed into the ground?
* * *
Martha ran towards the basement as soon as Roger left the house. She grabbed the knob and turned it, only then noticing the padlock on the door. With difficulty, she made her way back upstairs and looked through the kitchen drawers. Roger kept all the tools in the basement.
She picked up a butter knife, looked at it, then threw on the floor. She limped as fast as her twig-like legs could push her. Down the front steps, around to the back and then to the outside basement door. It, too, was locked. The window, however, wasn’t, but arthritis and that second fall had made it difficult for her to open things like windows.
She then noticed the garden rake leaning against the garage. Picking it up, she pushed the end against the window until it opened just enough for her to climb in. She landed unsteadily, her weak legs offering no support. She fell to the cement floor.
It took a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the lack of light. Crawling over to the worktable, she grabbed a table leg for support, pulled herself up and went over and flicked on the light switch.
Seeing the blue tarp, she hobbled over and jerked it off the egg.
The thing’s raisin-like eyes glistened and Martha’s temples ached. The ubiquitous fog lifted, and everything sped past her, blurry, almost shapeless. Voices ricocheted off the walls of her mind. Twirling, twirling until solid pictures of memories dropped like a slideshow before her eyes.
Her eyes looked down at withered hands, a street map of veins running up and down the skin of her arms. She turned them over, examined them and then brought them to her face, sliding them down her cheeks, feeling her oldness. She reached up with one hand and touched a memory.
She was stumbling through the woods. Her feet were cut and bleeding. Her head panned in one direction, then another. A loud buzzing racked her brain like a swarm of bees bouncing around inside her head. A light shone so brightly she had to cover her eyes to prevent from being blinded. It was hot and intense. But, almost against her will, she continued to walk towards it.
She went over and jerked off the blue tarp.
* * *
When Roger entered, he headed straight for the stairs. As he climbed them, Martha appeared at the top. He stopped and looked up at her. “Go to your room.”
She looked down at the box he was holding in his hands.
“It’s weed-killer,” he said, holding up the box.
Roger started up the steps. “I need to get a syringe from my doctor’s bag. Move out of the way.”
“You want to kill my child.”
He glared at her. “Your child? You’re not a mother, Martha. Get that through your thick skull.”
Martha took a step down. “You are wrong, Roger.”
Roger craned his neck and looked up at her. She was standing up straight and a coating of light seemed to cover her skin.
“What are you babbling about?”
“I am his mother,” she said, her voice taking on a sudden hardness. “And I am not Martha.”
“You humans have frail, primitive minds, so easy to read and manipulate. You believe it logical that an invading species would attempt to conquer your planet by taking possession of the strongest, bravest, smartest of your kind.”
Martha became blurry. Her skin, seemingly sloppily held together by pins and tendons, shrunk and became tight. Grey and white hair withdrew into the the top of her head. Sheets of what looked like seaweed unfurled from her arms, wrapping around her body until her arms disappeared.
In reality, taking over the weak and frail, those you would never suspect, is by far more effective.
“My God, you are that thing’s mother.” In a growing panic, he tried to push his way past the thing that was not his sister.
A large, liquorice-shaped form, continually folding in on itself blocked his way. Two raisin-shaped dots near the top of the head were almost identical to the thing that came out of the egg.
At this moment, Roger, there are others across this planet like me. The old, the infirm, the destitute. We are all mothers with our seeds.
He looked at her.
And, like any mother, we will protect them.
The two raisin-shaped orbs began to radiate. Roger stopped. A sudden sharp pain ran up from his groin and under his ribcage like a giant hand reached up and grabbed his heart and began squeezing and squeezing
Your mind and acumen are sharp, but the organ that you call a heart, that is another story.
The weed-killer fell from his grasp and spilled on the stairs. He started clawing at his shirt, ripping it open. Buttons flew in all directions. The large imaginary hand now gave one final fatal squeeze. Roger’s eyes rolled into his head and he fell backwards, reaching out and grabbing for the railing, but missing. He bounced back down the steps until finally coming to a stop at the bottom.
“All mothers protect their children,” the thing said, slowly reverting to its Martha form and beaming a large smile.
“I’m coming, baby,” she said, turning and limping down the stairs.
Copyright © 2016 by Walter Kwiatkowski