Prompt: An alien girl’s escape pod crash-lands on Earth; she is the crown princess of her empire and is pursued by their enemies.
The initial impact was enough to knock her out cold, which was very bad for one of her species, especially the young. She was of the Kilinitt, and their imaginations were rich, sometimes overpowering their conscious minds. Sleep was always a battle to best the flood of dreams, and getting a concussion was like those dreams breaking down the castle gates.
When Blika’s head slammed into the controls of the escape pod, crushing and bruising one of her soft felt-covered ears, the dreams poured in. She thought she was back in the palace her family lived in. Her pod had crashed, without her knowledge, on a place called Earth. It too had palaces, but nothing like hers.
The kilinitt were clawed skilled climbers as well as excellent inventors and artists. Indoors, especially in abodes like the royal family’s, every surface was covered in dense carpeting, perfect for sinking your claws into. She remembered, before the dreams grew wiggly and aggressive, clawing her way across the ceiling in her playroom, when her personal guards had rushed in, peeled her off, and thrown her into the emergency shuttle.
Blika was too young to understand exactly why their enemies were after her. She thought she’d done something to anger them, stepped somewhere she shouldn’t, or clawed on of their favorite plants. The rival species of their home sector, the Kugata, could not be swayed by apologies or the adorable moist eyes of the Kilinitt.
They were pragmatic as a species, narrow in focus but dogged in determination. They thought the Kilinitt weak and stupid, still relying on royal lineages to do their governing, thus making them extremely vulnerable to the kind of attack that forced Blika to land on the backwater blue marble.
Her dreams darkened as the emergency lights in her crashed pod finally failed. The faces of the Kugata appeared in that darkness: yellow eyes and glistening fangs. Why did her dreams have to show her that? It wasn’t even how they attacked. They came in small ships, lithe mobile things like animals, and rarely ever emerged.
It took two hours for the nightmares to subside. Blika finally opened her eyes and put her hands against the cracked viewing glass of the pod. Earth meadows were strange. The flowers wouldn’t dance until the wind touched them. Its star had no orange to it at all. There were tiny soft animals in the sky, whistling and tittering.
Blika was about to pop the glass open, stumble into a new world, when she heard another impact. She flopped to the other side of the tiny pod and looked out the other window. She threw her hands over her mouth, thinking the Kugata might even be able to smell her breath.
She waited in silence, thinking perhaps her nightmares had simply invaded once more. No. Her pursuer was real. There were likely three or four Kugata piloting it. Its curved metal skin was brass in color, marked here and there by battle scars. It had four long legs, a tail charged with weaponized electricity, and a long-snouted head with glowing yellow eyes like theirs. She remembered the action toys she played with, including miniatures of such ships. She knew they were modeled on aggressive carnivores.
She’d never seen a real animal like that; her people had cleared most of the animals ages ago. Even the calm meadow they’d landed in seemed like a dense jungle to her. Blika felt her dreams swelling again, emboldened by the form in front of her that so resembled them.
When the ship’s head turned towards her she became paralyzed with fear. It was on her pod in moments, incredible strides tearing up the ground and showering the flowers in root-bonded dirt clods. The ship extended claws of its own, metal ones that raked across her pod with a horrible sound. She squealed, asked the Earth for help, but it provided none. It was a world that still had a dollop of nature left, that still allowed the predators to toy with their prey.
The Kugata ship batted the pod, trying to force it open, but it only succeeded in rolling her across the meadow. Blika tumbled inside, worsening her bruises and growing new ones. The pod rolled up a hill and down the other side, with the ship hot on its heels.
All the colors swirled together, but she saw something approaching through the blur. A forest. She didn’t know what the trees were, buildings perhaps, but at least they were cover. If she could sneak out somehow… hide in the weird green carpets of Earth… The ship struck again, and again failed to pry the princess open. The pod rolled into the trees and bounced off a boulder.
Suddenly, before it could even settle, there was another face staring in. It wasn’t the Kugata this time. It vaguely resembled the ship that toyed with her, but she knew it wasn’t engineered. It was more of Earth’s wild nature. It was covered in fur like her own, except it was very short and tan. Its eyes were round and full of little… adjustments, like a bubble growing and shrinking on the surface of a pond.
She didn’t know that the creature examining her pod was called a mountain lion. All she knew was that it acted just like her enemies. It saw the ball of her pod as some kind of toy, and started swatting at it. Blika was sent rolling again, with this new nightmarish form chasing after her.
The Kugata soon caught up. Their ship recoiled, unsure how to respond to the whiskered rival. It seemed to be after the princess as well, and they couldn’t let that stand. Their ship moved in and tried to pull the pod away, but the mountain lion batted it out from under them.
One of the hinges finally popped and a seam opened. Earth air rushed in and hit Blika. The sensation was strange. Air full of pollen and dust made her instantly feel itchy. She thought of it as some sort of minor, swift, annoying disease, but there was no time to linger. She jumped at the seam, tried to squeeze herself out, but the pod rolled over it and she was forced back.
The Kugata and mountain lion fought over their prize for nearly five minutes, sending it rolling and bouncing this way and that. The Kugata weren’t even trying to pry her out anymore; now it was simply a competition. They didn’t realize it, but they were having fun. The mountain lion was as well, and saw no reason to stop when something small and floppy fell out of their toy and scurried away. It just batted the pod once more and chased it across the rocks.
Blika ran for her life, finding shelter under a rotting log. In its shadow she watched the mountain lion and her foes disappear after their toy. Finally, she had a chance to catch her breath, to stomp the dreams back down and shut the door. She was alone… well… not exactly. There were bugs everywhere. Plants everywhere. Earth was so cluttered with life.
Blika had no carpeted walls anymore, no teachers, no guards, and no way of calling for help. Sh saw a pill bug at her feet and snatched it before it could get halfway into the soil. It curled up. She tossed it back and forth lightly. If she was going to make it on Earth, she would have to learn how to toy with its life.
Author’s Note: This flash fiction story was written based on a prompt provided by cobaltfox11 during a livestream. I hereby transfer all story rights to them, with the caveat that it remain posted on this blog. If you would like your own story, stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade during one of my streams and I’ll write it for you live!