The alien lifted its head and peered bleary-eyed at the dawn. ‘Their sun is pink,’ it thought. ‘How bizarre.’ And then, ‘Where am I?’

The dew had washed over it in a cataclysm of crystal droplets, both freezing and warm at the same time, like a sweat that was both evaporating and condensing all at once to remain, vibrating in suspension and held together by surface tension, a trillion miniscule droplets of water netted across exposed flesh.

‘Their water is blue,’ it realized, staring out at the ocean that roiled below the cliff the alien rested on. ‘I suppose some things in the universe are constant.’ It chuckled, a hoarse and gagging sound but one that rang with humor.

It placed its three-fingered hands beneath its swollen chest and pushed itself upright, then sat back among the waving strands of golden grass. It turned its head around to look behind it and saw a curving flattened swath that trailed from a scorched crater some distance away.

‘My craft,’ it mused. Slowly, as creatures of ancient patience and power are wont to do, it rose. Its tall and misshapen body cast a long and bulbous shadow over the swaying grass. It turned its back on the ocean and paced forward, its toes picking a path along the trail its tumbling ejection had made.

‘Quite surprising that I am unhurt,’ it thought. ‘Not so much as a nick or cut.’ It ran its hands over its smooth belly and back, then up over its hairless sloping skull. It closed its eyes and gently pressed its thumbs into the lids, watching the star-burst washes of silver filaments that exploded across its darkened plane of vision.

‘I am well.’

2014.12.01 – 2023.07.03

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