Guess What Happened On Our Way Down the Milky Way?
By Jeff Baker
The thing about Cyburnius was it looked so much like Earth we could almost forget where we were and that caused the problem. Kendrick and I had parked the Solar Scooter (actually it was close to being a junker) in the Civic Parking and we were basically picnicking sitting on the green grass, surrounded by trees, scanning through our filter-browser, (we could still pick up service) when the girl showed up. We’d been pretty careful and hadn’t jacked-up our cards too much but we spent some on what Sol called a picnic basket from one of those machines.
“Hey, guys!” The girl’s voice was so perky it made my hair bristle. “You two alone? Or are you with each other?” She let out a giggle and I felt it in my hair. Her hair was brown and curly, contrasting to her slender build and pale skin and twinkling eyes behind her glasses.
“I’m Kendrick-41,” I said with a grin. “The quiet one is my buddy Sol-19. Yeah, it sounds like a planet.”
Sol waved and said “Yo.” She giggled again. Again, my hair tingled.
“I’m Eeenie,” she said. “So, what brings you boys out here?”
“Just traveling,” Sol said. “We got the scooter juiced up and we’re, well, going to see what we can see.”
I’d never heard Sol talk that much at once. That should’ve been the second warning, but I ignored it.
“Basically we’re sliding down the Milky Way,” I said.
“Sounds fun!” Eeenie said. “Got room for one more in your scooter?”
“Don’t think so,” Sol said.
“Hey, that looks good!” Eeenie said, pointing to the packaged stuff in our picnic basket. Her smile grew broader. And broader. And broader… I was just staring up at her. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that Sol was staring at her openmouthed too.
Eeenie moved in closer.
There was a sudden crackle and a flash of blueish light. I blinked my eyes, feeling like I was waking up. I made out a uniformed Cosmos Patrolman with a long pair of tongs crackling with energy. In the grip of the tongs, Eeenie shriveled and dwindled down to a wavering stick figure, giving off the piercing giggles and was quickly stuffed into a silvery carrying bag on the ground which the Patrolman sealed shut.
“You boys are lucky to be alive,” the Patrolman said. “That was an Eeenimite. A dimensional parasite. Usually they stick to the caves, but this one had absorbed enough mass to mimic human form. She was able to mesmerize you with that high giggle noise of hers.”
“Wait; there are a lot of these around here?” I asked.
“The caves are their natural habitat, but people have been going down there a lot lately and they aren’t supposed to,” the Patrolman said. He shook his head, prodded the bag with the tongs, making sure it was secure and then went on. “Eeeniemites usually don’t grow this big, but this one had been feeding a lot,” the Patrolman explained.
“Feeding?” Sol asked, looking at me uncomfortably. My mouth felt dry.
“Bodily fluids, essential salts, the usual,” the Patrolman said. “Blood. Tears.”
The bag wiggled. I shuddered. We didn’t feel like eating the rest of our lunch. We got in our SolarScooter, checked the seals and took off, putting Cyburnius behind us.
The stars were ahead of us.