15-minute ficlet: Moving In

Originally posted here in response to this image prompt

The planet had been, to all of their sensors, bare of tool-using life. There was nothing there that showed up using anything more complex than a stone axe. No smelting. No radio waves. No large gatherings of populations.

(Not that it really would have mattered. They had nowhere else to go, after all).

They had landed in a place that looked clear, on a body of water their initial survey told them was potable, near some purple and green vegetation that, even if not edible, would be useable in building materials. They had landed… and stared, open-mouthed, at the landscape around them.

They had seen ruined cities. They had seen corpses. All of that, they had left behind. But the ruins on this planet, where nothing was left using tools; the corpses stacked by the side of the city, like someone had been trying to be tidy; the strange architecture, built to fit those strange shapes, those twisted spines… it was like stepping into their own nightmares, twisted into alien forms.

The worst of all wasn’t the vegetation growing over the things that could be houses, the purple flowers that they soon found were flesh-eating and blood-hungry, the buildings that would never quite fit them. The worst was the statues by the waterfront, and the others, tucked in every place where a god might look, the strange and creepy edifices seeming to beg help from gods who, it seemed, had turned a blind eye.

They slept inside the ship that night, but they could not go home, and they had nowhere else to go. The next morning, they began to dig graves for the remaining corpses, to brush out the biggest of the residences, to plan their own statues to gods they hoped had followed them.

I think it’s in the same world as “Dancing for Joy” http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/43474.html and a couple others

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/44030.html. You can comment here or there.

17 thoughts on “15-minute ficlet: Moving In

      • The being trapped alone on a planet that eats people seems rather horrific… It’s one of those “no way to leave, the party is killed off one by one” beginnings.

          • Opps! The ghostly and overgrown buildings were kinda erie and a reminder that the last group all died… Maybe it just needs more to be upbeat?

          • I think there’s a difference between not-upbeat and horror though. Mm .Maybe we’re using the word “horror” differently.

          • Possibly? I decided to wait to answer, in any event… It feels solidly horror to me: They found a bunch of overgrown buildings and odd looking corpses that were not entirely decayed, so they had to have died recently. And have no way to leave. It reads like horror, as in “what is out there that will make us corpses?” sort of horror. Not to mention “what is going to make us corpses and then neatly stack our bodies up”? is also pretty horrific… If this was longer and they well and truly triumphed over whatever it is that kills and stacks the bodies, then that’s no longer horror, or at least not horror as I am familiar with it.

          • Brian agreed with your assessment. I think I was just having a callous couple days, or being in a different spot in the story from what i was writing. /hugs/

          • *hugs* Ah. Moving changes your personality – it has definitely done that to me! Does that mean there is more story? *perks*

          • I’ve had a pretty exhausting month or so! Not yet. But it’s in here, tucked in my head somewhere.

          • Oh neat! Erm, on the more, not on the exhausting month. I’ve been on a sci fi kick lately, as my latest post describes.

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