This short story was originally published on richardholliday.co.uk on August 2nd 2014. It was written as part of a writing challenge.
by Richard Holliday
Through the hazy sky above the tree line rose smoke that was alien in origin. There were never fires on this moist planet, and the tribal leader was intrigued. With a grunt he signalled to his troupe that investigation was necessary. They followed, their primitive language unable to question.
Through thick, sappy leaves the elder trudged, his feet sticking to the warm moss that lined the planet surface like a carpet stretching eternally. Despite his age he’d never seen the jungle of this world change. The sonic boom and earthshock of the crash was alien and deeply worrying. He didn’t like change.
It had recently rained and the moisture still hung in the air. Humidity was a fact of life here, and the elder’s flimsy cloth gave away the last vestiges of his human past. Coming to this place so long ago had changed him and his group of survivors, though they were more than that now. They were inhabitants of this place.
Smoke and the scent of death signalled the crash site was not far away. The elder grunted. This was an alien smell, though a vestigial part of his brain recognised it from a past life long deserted…
A large crater lay in the ground, exposing the natural dirt that the lichen and moss had shrouded for ever. Smoke rose from broken and exploded parts of grey space capsule. This was a re-awakening for the Elder. A figure in a silver suit lay lifeless across a rock. Clearly dead before he’d even entered the atmosphere.
Through the wreckage the Elder found one reminder of his past and the origins of this ship. A package, battered and blackened fell open in his hands. In it a solitary, squishy yellow object. It smelled sweet and vibrant.
© Richard Holliday, 2014