Inspired by that time honored tradition of setting off fireworks for the Fourth of July. Where I’m from, setting off fireworks in the city is pretty much illegal, but people do it anyway. You can hear the faint pops and snaps carried on the night breeze.

Lots of explosives go into these things... Image from Wikimedia by Ikluft.

Lots of explosives go into these things…
Image from Wikimedia by Ikluft.

*  *   *

Colors bloomed across the night sky. Spires of blazing white, flowers of red, and snapping showers of blue dominated, with dashes of green and yellow tossed in. Full of barbecue and beer, people stretched out on blankets or leaned back in folding chairs, watching the colors burst and fade.

In the center of a particularly dense red starburst, a dark spot appeared, wavered, and then plummeted into the grass. People screamed, scattering. A few brave souls grabbed flashlights and rushed towards the crash.

“What was that?” A man yelled. “A helicopter?” He drew closer, shining his light on the shape half-buried in a pile of ripped grass and disturbed dirt. His beam played over pitted, scorched metal, dotted with debris.

“I don’t think so…” The man standing next to him said, studying the metal form, the curves not like any aircraft he’d seen before.

Something rattled from the shape, and with a groan, a door opened halfway, stopped by the earth against its edge. Unintelligible sounds emerged from inside the ship, spoken with a volume and vehemence that reminded the second man of his abuela when she got in a mood. The noise continued as something squeezed out of the opening, a quadruped about the size of a golden retriever.

The creature crouched on limbs that bent like a spiders, shaking itself and lifting one foot after the other to brush at the dirt caught in its short, blue-gray fur.

The first man nearly dropped his flashlight, fumbling to catch it with a gasp.

The creature looked up, folding its hind legs to sit upright. It made a few more noises, then reached a foot, which had four stubby fingers, into the harnesses slung around its trunk. “…were you thinking firing on an unarmed ship?”

“Firing?” The second man asked. “We didn’t fire on you!”

“What do you call all the candles in the sky?” The creature waved its front legs in the air. “The colored fire that burned my ship?”

“They’re fireworks. A part of a celebration. They look pretty, when viewed from the ground.”

The creature stared at the man with wide dark eyes, and craned its neck to look beyond him at the chairs, blankets, and huddled crowd. It said something that didn’t translate, and turned around, squeezing back into the half-open door. The ship groaned and rattled, and the door slammed shut.

It did not open again, no matter who yelled or banged on its sides, and a few hours later, the ship lifted slowly into the sky, and vanished into the stars.

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

2 responses »

  1. Regan says:

    The poor little guy – he sounds adorable though, the way you painted him, I could see him really clearly

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