This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The warning lights were not a good sign. Not to mention the exhaust gasses hissing across the cockpit; they were a necessary part of the safety overrides but did not help cabin visibility when a focused mind was needed to guide the ship towards a safe landing. Emergency landings were never easy, but super-hot gas fumes tended to hinder concentration levels.
Luckily the shiny outer skin of the pilot was almost impervious to these conditions. Well, some might say skin, more would veer toward an outer shell. A slightly flexible shell, put it that way.
He knew that intense focus was required right now and he gripped the descent levers tightly. He adjusted them slowly, any rash moves would make this an uncontrolled spiral downwards. He reached up to the top of the panel in front off him and activated the auto-flight override, auto-flight was always the default setting. The ship’s trajectory of approach was next, he swiped the touch-screens with dextrous wrists. However, all these controls were only fully effective in a normal landing scenario. And this was a little different, the ship shuddered under the strain and heat was building up all around him. The angle was always going to be too severe for a comfortable outcome so he used his powerful forearms to grab the handrails while the ship careened toward the unforgiving surface.
Bouncing and rolling, the craft slid to a halt after almost a full minute of chaos. The impact mangled the smoothness of the outer hull but that was intentionally sacrificial in the same way cars have crumple zones. The crucial inner hull survived, just. A few minutes passed before a gush of steam signalled the ejection of the main door. The pilot struggled out the craft and stumbled out on to the surface of the planet. He stretched and eventually stood tall; he measured roughly 7 foot in height and was of of a singular frame. Curved bone and shell, framed in sleek, powerful musculature. If an uneducated biologist was to describe him it would be a cross between a tall gorilla and some sort of insect, for he had an oval head which tapered to a point at the back. The pilot had large impenetrable black eyes, with sideways flicking eyelids - almost snake like. The sun bounced off his shiny bulky frame. He had insect-like hairs around each muscle group, that looked almost soft but when a breeze blew through them, there was no give. They were in fact, quite coarse.
He surveyed the planet surface. Irregular cracks criss-crossed the rocky ground, patchy grass sparsely covered it here and there. Small flowers were speckled throughout the area and gave more variety to the vista. There weren’t many trees or dwellings around but the atmosphere consisted mostly of Nitrogen and Oxygen, which was compatible with his respiratory system.
He proceeded with caution across the terrain and was mostly concerned with assessing what kind of technology was prevalent in this area, a good way of knowing if he had been noticed from a distance by anyone or if there was only local sightings. He made slow progress over the uneven ground, occasionally reading down to the ground to help his balance. He stopped to apply a mediband over a section of outer skin. It was beginning to ooze from the left side of his abdomen and he didn’t want orange gunk left all over these rocks as evidence of his trail.
“Hiya” said Conor.
The Alien stopped dead. Somehow he hadn’t noticed the boy approaching. He assessed that he was distracted by the mediband application coupled with his slightly groggy state.
Conor had been playing in the field when he noticed the flaming ball streaking across the sky - he’d never seen anything like it in his short 8 years. He had dropped the stick in his hand and stood there gawping as the explosive thud reverberated across the parish. Even though it looked like the end of the world he was compelled to walk towards the crash site. Being a countryside boy, Conor didn't have the guarded approach of a child who would have been reared in the city.
Mommy wouldn’t mind, he mused, he was always allowed to wander around the fields as long as he came back for lunch.
When he had seen the beast approaching Conor was taken aback by how tall he was. It had a powerful structure and strolled in a calm but purposeful manner. It was then that Conor began to stall - the face of the beast became clear. Those eyes. They must have taken up most of the top half of the face and were disturbingly smooth and impenetrable. He finally stopped when the rest of the head became clear.
The pilot remained about 6 feet from Conor and stared, at least Conor thought he was staring.
“Hiya” said Conor again.
But no answer came. He didn’t have the mouth of any known mammal, it was more like something you would see on a spider or insect. Strangely enough, Conor wasn’t afraid. The beast looked like nothing he’d ever seen before but the alien’s calm manner engendered the same response in Conor.
“Do you have a name?”
“Are you even from Clare?”
“My name is Conor” he offered.
Conor shrugged and he thought to himself that maybe he should leave right now. But Conor didn’t always do the right thing, he could never understand all those invisible dangers that his mother got excited about.
“Do you have a ship?”
“Well, if you have no ship or nowhere to go, do you wanna come with me?”
The alien didn’t answer so Conor slowly turned and trudged deliberately in the direction of home, as if to indicate how walking should be done. Conor kept looking over his shoulder until the alien started to move with him. Alien and boy in sync, trudging towards the houses in the distance as Conor to began chat away in a monologue about the prosaic details of an 8 year old’s life.
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Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...
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thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...
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FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."