Thank you, Taylor Eaton, for the writing prompt this morning. It made scrubbing Norm’s slobber goobs off the wall much more entertaining!
A human’s natural instinct is to take cover when danger appears. Solid walls and a ceiling are preferred. This is what they did the first time the ships descended and hovered over our city. The vast circular shadows triggered street lights and pandemonium.
People crushed each other in their haste to cover themselves in hopes of becoming invisible and thus safe from whatever may emerge from those flying plates. In under and hour the streets were silent. Humanity held its breath and waited.
All at once, beings with octopus legs and bodies bounced from the ships, dangling from bungee like ropes, or were they extra tentacles? Each blobby body had one bright green eye and seemingly no other features. They were silent as they swayed on their cords.
People pressed their faces to windows, surprised the things hadn’t attacked yet, then stumbled backward in terror when the first blasts struck the panes. Loud smacks filled the air as mucousy slime slapped the surfaces of each and every building. I remember catching a glimpse of cavernous maws gaping on the octopus bodies after a thick loogie slid down the sliding glass door of my duplex apartment.
The aliens’ barrage lasted no more than twenty minutes, then they bounced back into their ships and disappeared. By the time they left, every surface was coated with their goo. Horrified and disgusted, no one emerged from their safe hiding places. Power flickered on and off due to the weight of the slime on the lines. Calls were made, and soon crews in hazmat suits appeared to take samples.
I decided the best thing to do was to get comfy. I pulled out my ancient typewriter, grateful to my newspaperman grandfather for hanging onto the beast that didn’t require electricity. I clacked away, describing what I had just witnessed. This was unreal. I was freaked beyond measure, but the rhythmic beat of my words hitting paper was soothing and I was soon lost in my story. Until a chunk of ceiling crashed onto the dining table across from where I sat. Upon impact, the plaster disintegrated. First it was powder, then simply gone.
My eyes flew to the watermelon sized hole over my head just in time to see the cracks beginning to race along the surface of what was left of my ceiling. The place was coming down. I bolted. I slipped and fell in the slime that coated my small courtyard, and as I regained my balance, I watched as all the buildings around me crumbled and vanished.
The screaming was overwhelming. I covered my ears and slogged through the mess, not sure where I was going. I was exposed, and who knew if those bouncing beasts would return. Surely they would, I realized. Whatever secretion they used to plaster our shelters was meant to eat them away, thus exposing the people within. We were ants without a hill, just waiting to be stepped on.
I wondered if buses could be used to transport people away from the site, but then became aware that all the vehicles were gone too. Curiosity overrode fear bringing me to a halt. I looked down at my bare feet. The crowd continued to churn around me, individuals knocking into me as I studied my toes. There was no pain. In fact, the slime was solidifying. I was standing on it, rather than in it now. It was tacky like a booger, and I grinned as the light bulb came on in my brain. This stuff was not toxic to human flesh.
I raced over to the closest hazmat suit, waving my arms and yelling frantically. “It’s not toxic!”
The giant yellow figure turned to me, holding me at arms length with a covered hand. “Stop right there,” the muffled voice commanded.
I looked around to see the other suits avoiding being touched by the hysterical masses. They thought they were the only safe ones and feared being stripped of their protective barriers.
Something wet splatted on my face. My stomach clenched and my heart raced. Certain I would see dangling octopus aliens when I looked up, I was surprised only to see raindrops and clouds. The drops grew larger and fell faster, soaking us all. The dousing slowed the crowd, and the noise died down. The coating under my feet began to feel wet again, and soon the mess was viscous again. I wasn’t the only one who was noticing. Others were staring at the sidewalk. Within minutes, the mucous began to dissolve and the concrete of the sidewalk dug into my skin. I laughed because there was no other response that fit.
Walking a slow circle, I observed those around me making the same conclusion. If water could dissolve the goo, could it also defeat the aliens? Hope and determination replaced the terror in the people’s eyes. Those ships would return, but we would be ready.