Xornam wiped sweat from her brow and dug into another orange. So much for pleasing papa. Everyone knew she was enterprising. Not papa. She rarely cared for his opinions but, he had said something unforgivable and unsettling.
More unforgivable than Ho’s dehydrating heat. She sighed. This was important, she would stomach her discomfort and clear the pan of oranges on her head.
Getting the oranges was fairly easy. But not for most people. This guaranteed she would be a hit. Except, nobody was buying. Some occasional stares from people with hints of nostalgic longing and…nothing. Evening was near and she had sold nothing.
She walked beside an incessantly honking taxi and peeked inside. There were a bionic driver and a woman in the back, who looked like she might soon crap a baby. Wow, just wow! Hadn’t this woman heard of the Procreation Department or egg-pods at least?
Unless she was one of those Luddites, then no luck. This was Ho, where traffic was thicker than groundnut paste and Mondays, more loathsome than the terrifying Christian fundamentalists.
They weren’t getting through.
Xornam sauntered on. A sudden, violent chill crept up her skin. Xornam turned around. She screamed…no, not quite, she couldn’t. She swallowed and stared.
Slimy, man-sized tentacles slithered out of the taxi. She looked on, horrified, as a tentacle decapitated the driver.
The woman screamed and Xornam unwillingly ran towards her, deftly balancing her oranges. The woman was crapping out a baby alright, except, it wasn’t a baby. Instead, some, thing, with razor-sharp tentacles. Babies aren’t programmed that way, right?
Chaos erupted as people run helter-skelter towards safety.
Swish, slice, grip, dice! The tentacles were everywhere, choking, slicing and sparing Xornam, stopping inches from her face, contemplating her call to glory.
The tentacles wrecked everything, exempting her and the screaming mother who writhed in pain and possibly regret. She must’ve known, Xornam reasoned.
Xornam reached her and pulled on the largest tentacle. Xornam tugged, the thing, whatever it was, struggled against her. It thrashed about and forced her back. She was going to save this woman or die trying.
She tightened her grip and yanked with all her might. The thing erupted from the woman, something of a cross between an octopus and a roach.
The roachtopus looked repulsed and tried to back away. She held on. Then it desperately smacked her oranges away.
Xornam understood; oranges were its weakness. Roachtopus wrapped her in its tentacles and squeezed.
Her dead mother handed her an orange. She took it and immediately awakened, hovering above the ground and cocooned in a glorious, golden glow. She pointed at the roachtopus and watched it implode in horrified relief.
“No shit” she cursed between hysterical outbursts. Papa was semi-right. She wasn’t human. A terribly selfish creature however, that was a lie. She was…
“You’re up Agent Orange” spoke the pilot into her intercom, zapping Xornam from her memories. She looked down at the swarming insectoid forms and smiled, time to glow!
Feature photo by Urkel Ace, via AFREADA.