On Sundays, I write flash fiction based on a prompt I liked during the week. I usually try to find different prompt givers, but Sammi Cox just has reliably good prompts on Saturdays. This week’s Prompt 52 – Emergence – is no exception. I wrote a flash fiction in which a main character is supposed to change. I hope that my character’s metamorphosis is readily apparent!
I let my fork clatter to my plate. The steak tasted bland, felt tough and stringy in my mouth. “Don’t eat me,” the meat cried. My stomach rumbled, and I pushed the plate to the center of the setting, closer to the sprigs of flowers in a ceramic vase.
Skirr swallowed his bite. “You’re not eating. You sick?”
I shook my head. “No. Not sick.”
“Then what’s wrong? The bicep’s nice today. We’ll get good money for the kidneys at sale.”
I rubbed a third of my eyes with my fuzzy, biramous limb. “I… no, you’ll think I’m crazy. The meat spoke today. It picked up some rocks and definitely knocked them together to mimic speech.”
“This planet drives people crazy.” Skirr stabbed another piece of human flesh, making me shudder. “The humans are smarter than most animals, but the scientists proved they’re not sentient. It’s the winds on this planet – they never stop blowing. It’s driven lots of farmers mad… don’t let this place do it to you.” It put a limb on my back to comfort me.
I looked down at the muscle on my plate, remembered slaughtering the animal. The limbs – so unwieldy, five tiny appendages sticking out at the end with zero randomness – wrapped around a couple rocks. I remembered the creature huddling before me, how it beat the rocks together. After a couple tries, I thought I could hear:
“Don’t eat me.”
“I’m not mad,” I told Skirr. “You take my steak.” I expelled my legs from my carapace and stood from my cushion.
Skirr chuckled as I walked away and drew my plate closer to its mandibles.