THREE EARTH WORDS • by Chuck Von Nordheim

The future vision swelled in the mind of the Lemur-Dude fem as the post-coital astral projection abated and she floated back into her body. There would be much blood and fire. The rapes and murders of the invaders would be avenged tenfold when the Old Ones returned.

“C’mon, Maria baby. Say it.”

Maria was not her name. Her true-name was a string of plosives pitched above Human hearing plus a whiff of pheromones. But Combat Corporal Rodriquez was ignorant of Real-Speak.

“I know it’s more than stiff-weed, this thing we got. I want to hear it from you is all.”

She went to the pretty-smelling candle he had given her. The ceremonial costume he had brought made breathing hard. Customers never allowed for fur; stiff-weed made her seem as laughably bare-skinned as a Human after their eyes pin-pointed.

“That sashay makes me feel almost home. Only need to add–”  He cut the air with ritual motions. She grabbed the fetish sticks that came with the costume and did the sacred dance he had taught her.

North Salinas Steinbecks, Lead the way!
Show them you know how to write the play!

“Damn,” Combat Corporal Rodriquez said, “Now if you’d — ”

She set down the sticks and blew out the candle. A wisp of smoke trailed up. “Dress,” she said. “Go.”

“I got three hours till report.”

“Your thirty minutes done,” she said. “Waiting list backed up.”

Maybe she should say the three Earth words he wanted her to speak. She would say them if he were like the others; if he were only worthy of lies. But his thoughts were not spotted with the thrill of pain-giving; sorrow sugared the mind pictures he carried of torched huts and burning nestlings.

“Don’t know why you’re so cold.” He jammed brown legs into the black Invader outer skins. He pointed to the candle. “We’re talking four ounces of California beeswax infused with pure Indian sandalwood. Two months pay for the freight bill.”

This one did not deserve the fire and blood that was coming. He was as innocent as her lost nestlings. He was only a male who missed his mate.

“I’ll say it if you won’t.” The black Invader skin had sealed around him except for hands, neck, and head. “I love — ”

She leapt at him. Teeth tore at the soft flesh of his neck. Spit glands pumped hormonal markers into the exposed tissues.

He flung her into the corner. “What the — ?” He stood with one hand holding a blaster and the other staunching the wound. “Shit,” he said. “I guess I was wrong. You’re really just a fucking animal, like everyone says.” And then he left.

It was like the story the Invader priests told, she thought. The Old Ones would not punish this nestling now that she had marked him. He would be passed over.

She never saw him again, but she often did the ceremonial dance in hope that it blessed him somehow.

Chuck Von Nordheim writes in Ohio.

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