OPEN AND CLOSED • by Oonah V Joslin

Rosa closed her eyes and opened her mouth. He popped it in. Exquisite. She’d never dreamt of anything this good.

Sweet as caramel, crunchy as butterscotch with a slight juicy quality as she broke through the crisp exterior, rather like eating fresh lychees — no, that was an unhelpful analogy — a little too accurate. You had to peel back the rough grey skin to reveal the pink exposed flesh underneath, eking sticky gobbets of ooze that stained the fingers and smelt unpleasantly like iron filings or dried blood. Rosa had seen her co-pilot lying beside her in the wreckage, his head split open like that — only pink outside and grey within.

But Gdandra was doing the messy bit for her. Yes, she had to admit these Cargahelli Grubs were ambrosia. If this was the only way — she would get used to it.

Gdandra’s claws dug up another grub expertly from its root burrow. Rosa lay shaded from the Suns and allowed herself to be fed. “How long have I been here?”
He grunted and placed another grub in her mouth.
“Mmm. Do the Suns ever set?” She made a lowering motion with her hands and was answered with the same strange guttural sound… ghdndr.

She was protected, sheltered, sustained. So what if her companion’s skin was purple and knobbly? And what if Gdandra’s claws were filthy and long and his conversation limited? Gdandra was gentle and kind and seemed genuinely to like her.

So when he — she assumed Gdandra was a male — curled himself round to offer protection while she rested, she made a decision. If she was going to be stranded here months, years — perhaps indefinitely, she should at least be open to possibilities. Gdandra seemed very sweet on the inside.

Yes, mind open — eyes closed. She’d get used to it.

Oonah V Joslin lives in Northumberland, England. Winner of Micro Horror Prizes 2007 and 2008. Most read in EDF, Jan 2008. Guest judge in the Shine Journal 2008 Poetry Competition. Bewildering Stories Quarterly 4 2007 and 1 and 2 in 2008. She has had work published in Bewildering Stories, Twisted Tongue 8 & 9, Static Movement, 13 Human Souls, Back Hand Stories and The Pygmy Giant, Lit Bits, The Linnet’s Wings, The Ranfurly Review and Boston Literary Magazine. The list is growing every month which pleases her immensely! You can link to work, follow up-dates and contact Oonah at or She thanks all of you who take the time to read and comment.

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