A short conversation based story. I used a prompt from a Review Chain house contest (that I didn’t enter).

“Things just started to disappear, plantlife mostly. It was so weird. Grass just vanished from fields, someone in the pub said they’d seen it happen. Little bits of green started rising into the sky as if they were being vacuumed up or something. Of course no-one believed him. That is… until we saw it. Leaves from trees started rising. I’m not sure what was louder, the gasps of people who’d had their peaceful lives disrupted or the popping noises as flowers burst out of the ground before shooting into the sky. After all the small plants were gone the tree trunks started to go. We felt the Earth shaking like some mega big scale Richter turned up to eleven sort of stuff. You should have seen it, everyone was so scared.”

“Medium”

“Well done.”

“We went from a modern city with spots of greenery to a deserted wasteland. The only plants left were the ones with a ceiling to get through, the houseplants and office decorations. The world was dying fast and nobody could do anything about it until finally this scientist guy who worked at the space rocket place suggested chasing the plants upwards. He helped the people to make a special rocket that could capture and store any plants they found.”

“Ooh, red.”

“Can’t go too expensive though.”

“Can’t go cheap. We’ll share a bottle of your house wine. That seems nicely priced.”

“Up it went, tearing through the clouds as it shot as fast as the eye could follow before… BOOM!” The speaker enthusiastically slammed his hands down on the table for effect.

“My god Brian, nearly gave me a heart attack.”

“Something had destroyed the rocket. Flaming bits of flesh and metal dropped through the air. Clouds replaced by smoke. Onlookers couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Some turned on the scientist, after all he had just killed their friends or family with the explosion. The ones that kept their eyes on the sky got a big surprise. Something was coming through the smoke, a craft more than five times the size of the rocket was heading towards the Earth.”

“Yes, very nice.”

“Lovely, thank you.”

“The spacecraft started glowing at the bottom. From it dropped a million tiny objects. Some of these bounced as they hit the ground while others splattered leaving just a blob of goo.”

“Come on Brian, try the potatoes.”

“Everyone was fleeing in terror. Chaos ensued in the small suburb with wheelie bins knocked over and flowerbeds accidentally trodden on in the turmoil. The Scientist’s curiosity got the better of him, he went to look at one of the objects that had fallen. Baffled by what he saw his attention turned back towards the sky. A single man sized object appeared from the spacecraft, its body dripping slime as it writhed around in the air.”

“Brian?”

“Man sized snail aliens. After several guttural noises it coughed a few times then with a thick Scottish sounding accent it shouted "Your species has become of great interest to us. It started with the houseplants. We have harvested what we could of your plantlife which we will consume in order to survive. The houseplants called to us, sending signals through sunbeams to let us know you had them trapped in small containers placed in stone boxes. The plantlife understand and they shall be reborn as our young after we digest them. Free our future. Free our food. Or we will destroy you!""

It’s at this point that the story teller’s companions spoke up. The companions both being the speaker's sisters, one started “I’m sorry about my brother. It’s his birthday so we thought we’d take him out but he’s been a bit strange since the accident. He was a creative movie maker but brain damage means he can’t tell fiction from reality. I promise we’ll tip well for your patience.”

“I’m actually quite interested in hearing about these snail people.” The waiter politely remarked.

“Oh, he never finishes.” The other sister replied. “We just hear this much, then he doesn’t talk for ages. I guess whatever he was working on never got finished so the same thing goes through his head.”

The first sister, now seemingly uncomfortable forced the conversation to a close “I think we’re done now. Please would you bring the bill?"


Submitted: May 23, 2022

© Copyright 2023 Lucas Barstow. All rights reserved.

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