Snap and Crackle.
By Ami L Hart (Jess Colvin)
Published in The Future Is Short; Science Fiction In A Flash (2014)
Speak after the tone (Beep).
I came to this place wanting solace, desiring to escape the horror carved upon my corneas. Correction- I didn’t come here. The local Human settlers found me; pulled me from the frosty, gut strewn mess that was my old life and deposited me here, the dusty dung heap of a town that’s apparently to be my new life.
As fortune has it, there are no Snowy Bugbears resident this low down; giant, ugly, death-dealing things. I still see them, snacking on Larry’s unfortunately disgusting entrails, slopped across my vision each time I close my eyes. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, especially that frontier doctor -busy on my body like he owns it -that I don’t make a habit of closing my eyes.
Sleep is over-rated anyway. It’s been 3 days since my last trip down the bloody, nightmarish rabbit hole to Slumberland; (Gasp) what if he listens to this! I hadn’t thought of that…that busy body, with those rough pinchy fingers, like pinchers.
I know, I’ll hide you, dear friend.
They expect me to attend some sort of rustic bonfire hoedown tonight, a feast. I can imagine it now, they will watch me eat, concern radiating from those simple eyes. I hate people watching me eat. How much I put inside my churning guts is my own business. Just the thought of it makes me want to…excuse me.
It was horrible; I had to smile, switch it on like a lamp, but being broken I just spark, fizzle…and sweat. What’s worse, Doc Pinchy Fingers, insisted on sitting beside me. I suppose he considers us intellectual equals. I’m not sure where he got his medical degree from…a dark alley behind a roach motel?
His office is bug infested. It makes my skin crawl thinking about it and I kept wondering if the terrible little things had caught a ride with him, inside that puffy brown leather jacket. There’s a lot of space in there; he’s not a large man.
Tonight made me realize how much I miss my fellow colleagues Larry and Jeff, even though their tech fascination bored me. Still, discussions’ involving the latest spectral surveying gear is preferable to the Humanities.
Oh the Humanity!
At least I still have you, automated recipient of my thoughts. Goodnight, I hope you sleep well; I won’t… so I won’t sleep.
It crawled on me, those pinchy little legs stomping my hot skin. I searched the dark shadowy corners of my room, while brandishing a shoe. I still feel it, as if it’s invisible. Do invisible bugs exist on this planet? I can’t remember… can’t think.
I looked out the window and saw a passable sunrise through the dust this morning. Not comparable to the way it used to rise over the pleasantly jutting glaciers, cut like diamonds. Location, location.
Diamonds… they have bugs here that are translucent, their bodies cut like gems, casting rainbows as they walk. I remember that much, deceptive little things.
I used to like diamonds.
He came to my door; said he was checking on me. I politely told him that I wished to catch up on sleep after a bad night. He offered me pills; I opened the door a crack wider and took them. No! I didn’t imagine it, I saw it… crawling up and under his sleeve. I screamed, internally. He can’t know, that I know, that he’s one of them. Those Bugbears always did have unusually complex nervous systems. Maybe they control these people remotely? Perhaps they wish to experiment on me, the Entomologist! The pills are a trick. I will light a fire and burn them.
They forgave me for burning down half their village. They told me I was sick… Me! They keep me locked in the small room adjoining the bug-infested doctor’s office, said it’s for my own safety. That infernal doctor puts me to sleep every night with that awful needle, but at least I don’t dream anymore and I still have you. They let me keep you…something about… good therapy, although you disappear sometimes. Have you been talking to the doctor? I’ll break you if you have.