Monday, March 24, 2014

Prompt: Surprised by an avalanche, Part 5

Zoea. How did he know they were zoea? The babies emerged from their eggs under the biofilter and delicately pushed through, clinging to its surface. They clustered around his abdomen, thousands of them, spreading up across his chest. He didn’t try to reach for them with his hands anymore. Surely they would start to devour his body. Hopefully the biofilter would fail and he would drown before they really feasted on his flesh.

When he closed his eyes, he dreamed he was one of them. Tiny, translucent, intelligent. He heard their song, the music of their clicking pincers, the swish of their carapaces against each other. He heard the song of the river, the flow of the water, the crackle of other living things, the bumps and straining groans of the flyer slowly being crushed into the sediment under the rock.

When he woke, they were already larger. Some climbed up his chest and onto his face, probing through the biofilter against his mouth, his tongue, his cheeks, his eyes. One of us.

Jake felt the thought in his head like a whisper in his ear. He knew it should have freaked him out, but his whole body relaxed. Yes, he thought. 

The zoea kept probing. Why stay here?

Body broken. Arm. Spine.

Body whole. Strong. Carry us.

Jake lifted his head and leaned against the harness. He hadn’t even looked at his arm or legs in a long time. Where the blood had covered his destroyed arm under the biofilter, he now saw through it clearly. His skin was white and whole. He wiggled his fingers, then squeezed his hand. Flexing his hand open and closed, Jake felt the first flare of hope.

Arm whole, he agreed. He felt a surge of happiness. Their happiness. Thanks, he added. Confusion. He shook his head. One thing at a time.

His spine had clearly been damaged. He’d been unable to move or feel his hips or legs. Now he leaned forward against the limits of the harness and peered down to his feet. He wiggled his toes. Felt them push against his flight suit boots. Lifted his right foot up at the ankle, then his left. The crabs – what had they done? They’d healed his broken body somehow. Perhaps a fair tradeoff for using him as some sort of incubator, especially since the zoea had yet to eat him…

To be continued?

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
Too long!

March word count:

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