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Coming Back Down
The pipe opened and ejected a fresh egg sack
into the freezing Baltic Sea. Like a mouthful of spit, the spores clung together as tiny air bubbles pulled them up. The sack coalesced on the surface of the water.
The humanoid curled up like a shrimp while it calibrated itself in the starlight. Mucus emerged from its skin pores to form a thick protective layer that encased its entire body.
Slicing forward, the creature's long, tapered head and slender frame allowed it slip through the water unnoticed. Tiny webbed hands and feet pulled the being around chunks of ice, while its gill slits extracted oxygen from the briny water.
Sensing an opportunity, the alien hijacked a passing fish headed toward the shore. It used its two rows of sharp, tiny teeth and a thorny proboscis to latch on and extract needed protein and blood. The being's thin, wiry muscles grew stronger.
Stubs emerged on the extraterrestrial's back and grew into two spiny tendrils. At first, these appendages functioned as antennae. Then the tendrils developed into a translucent set of wings.
When the being sensed that the wind was blowing in the right direction, it leapt out of the water, glided along an air current and ascended into the sky.
When Kevin found the creature on Sudersand beach,
the first thing he thought to do was poke its gill slits with a twig.
"Ewww!" he said, as green fluid leaked out.
He poked it again. Still more emerald goo gushed from the being's gills.
"Let me see!" Josiah said, shoulder bumping Kevin aside.
Josiah snatched the twig away from Kevin and snapped it in half. He used his chopsticks to lift the sticky being onto a frisbee.
Josiah's mouth was a horizontal line. He tilted the frisbee back and forth so that the tiny corpse flopped around.
"It's fake," Josiah concluded.
Like a hibachi chef, Josiah flicked his wrist and popped the corpse up, catching it in midair with the frisbee.
"Look at the way it tumbles. It's a puppet. Duh."
"Aww," Josiah said. "You thought you discovered a UFO or something, huh?"
"But it is!"
"Kevin, you're just a little kid. Little kids don't discover aliens. Besides they probably don't exist."
"You don't exist."
"Shut up. Now you're just-- Ow!"
"Something just flicked me in the ear!"
Kevin zeroed in on a crumpled, tiny winged body in the sand. His jaw dropped.
Josiah wheeled around.
"That little dude smashed his head on your earlobe, Josiah!"
The second creature was far more damaged than the first. Its head looked like a flattened grape, and its legs were bent in all the wrong directions. Josiah lifted it up by the foot and placed it onto the frisbee, next to the first body.
Josiah eyed a sandy path leading into a field of tall grass.
"Let's look. Bet there's more in there."
"Are you crazy?"
"No. Are you chicken?
Josiah marched forward, and Kevin tagged along behind him. The grass was thick and came up to the boys eyes, but Josiah parted it with his hands and pushed ahead.
"Gross! This lil one is clinging to a blade of grass!"
"Where? Is it alive? Lemme see!"
With a small noise that sounded like a piece of paper being ripped in half, the tiny humanoid leapt off the blade of grass and disappeared into the sky.
"Yeah! Over here!"
"I don't see it. Stop messing with me, Josiah! I'm gonna tell…"
"No, I swear. I saw one hanging onto a piece of grass. It zoomed up and I lost it."
"What was that?"
The two flabbergasted boys looked on as the thick, dark swarm of tiny winged humanoids rose and disappeared into the sky. They exchanged confused glances.
"This is weird," Kevin said. "Let's get the hell out of here."
"Wait a minute, Christopher Columbus," Josiah said. "You're the Christopher Columbus of aliens now. Cuz you discovered em. So, don't you want to stick around for a minute? Maybe they'll come back in a few-- Owww!"
Green goop slid down the side of Josiah's face, and a twist of tiny broken bones dangled from the hair on the back of his head. Kevin looked up and hit the dirt.
"Josiah! They're coming back down! Stop, drop and roll!"
The next creature penetrated Josiah's eyeball with its pointy skull. Kevin watched the creature's thin legs do a mad dance in the air as Josiah fell to his knees, screaming. Josiah tried to rip the creature out of his eye socket by its legs, but they snapped off in his hands.
The next dive bomber came in at an angle and shattered apart in the middle of Josiah's forehead, leaving a green stain. Josiah fell backwards to the ground. As if on cue, a funnel of tiny, skeletal men poured down from the sky in a suicidal deluge.
Kevin watched in horror as the beings continued their terminal attacks long after Josiah stopped screaming. He never forgot the way that Josiah's corpse shivered and convulsed from the force of each individual impact. The hailstorm of dive-bombing aliens kept spiraling down from the sky and careening into the body of the helpless boy until there was nothing left but an unrecognizable puree of crushed flesh and shattered bone.
Shivering in a small, dark office at the police station downtown all Kevin could muster was "I told him they were coming back down."