Stories Hub / Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Gilgamesh


by BonVivants 06/21/15

A naked man stood firmly in the center of a smoldering crater, his clothes having burned to ash during his entry into Earth's atmosphere.

'Man', perhaps, was not an adequate word to describe a creature who just survived a four hundred mile drop from the Exosphere. Unscathed, he stood with his chest heaving, his lungs quickly acclimating to the gases in his new environment. The stench of scorched earth burned in his sensitive nostrils before taking in the subtleties of the field around him. He smelled the loam, the tall stalks of some alien life form, the faint scent of mammals, and a mix of chemicals in the air he could not place. None of it was familiar to him, in fact, nor were the sights currently in view.

Eyes squinting in profound confusion, he drew himself up to his full and considerable height, and climbed from the smoking hole he made in the ground. As his head swiveled, instinctively looking for potential danger, he stood a full head and shoulders above the tallest stalk. His neck was long and strangely elegant compared to heft of the rest of his body, though currently it was taut with nervous tension.

"What is this place?" He asked the plants, in a tongue never before spoken on the planet. Other than his durability and language, his eyes - flickering with pulsating, bioluminescent light - were the most inhuman thing about him. He looked upon the physical world on some unearthly plane, efficiently cataloging everything he saw. To his right, beyond the acres of open field was the shadows of a tree line. Still further, he was able to discern the shape of small mountains etched into the dark sky. To his left, however, the man spotted a structure of some kind surrounded by artificial light. A home, perhaps. All of it, to his eyes, radiated fields of colorful light that seemed unhindered by the veil of evening.

After a moment of processing, the giant realized that he was standing in a harvesting range of some kind. Unbidden, a memory - or rather, the lack of one - told the man that while he heard of such places before, he had never seen one for himself. The distinction was unusual, for he was experiencing life for the first time, to his knowledge. And recollection before his fall from space was completely gone.

Tentative footsteps approached from the direction of the home, then there was heavy breathing punctuated by a mechanical click. "All right now, I want you to turn around reeeaal slow like and explain to me why there's a giant fuckin' crater my field!" The voice was masculine, but young. And when the man - or whatever he was, either way he was undoubtedly male - turned to face his accuser, he found himself having to look down. And down some more. A diminutive gargareanoid stood out of arms reach, clutching a long staff of some kind in a white knuckled grip and pointing it directly in the center of the visitor's forehead.

The naked man attempted to respond but his language was foreign, and the only response he received from the smaller being was a look of puzzlement. He supposed it was fortunate, at least, that the smaller male was a creature whose body language and expressions could be easily read by a gargarean. But that was another strange and inexplicable thought, because he didn't think he knew of any creatures other than himself. So if the self was his default- was he, then, a 'gargarean'? And if so, why should it surprise him to find a gargareanoid?

Without thinking on the problem of communication further, the giant stepped closer to his would-be assailant and his hand rose. There was a loud noise, like the crack of an explosion, followed by a sharp sting of something glancing off his cheekbone. Though confused, the strange noise and sensation did nothing to keep him from advancing. He gestured toward the small man, who was now backpedaling with a look of muddled shock on his round face. He tried to speak to the giant in his intelligible language once more, but stopped abruptly when the empty air between them glowed with otherworld strands of energy. Dazedly, the farmer blinked at their intensity, but they were already gone. When the night enveloped them once more, the man was on his hands and knees, panting, while the giant looked on.

"What the fuck did you just do to me!?" Embarrassingly, the farmer's demand was cracked and breathy. He hadn't intended to sound like that, but his body heaved like one raw nerve. With wheat stalks taller than he surrounding them, they were shielded from the wind. Or at least, they had been. But now he could feel the breath of a breeze blowing through the individual hairs on his arm and the back of his neck. The feeling aroused his senses in such a way that punched the air from his lungs.

"I tasted a bit of your aura and gave you a bit of my own." The giant said, his English perfect. His accent, however, was unlike anything any human had ever heard. "So we could better communicate. It was rather thin and easy to circumvent, however. Which, I sense, is not normal...are you quite well?" The giant asked, offering a huge hand to assist the man back onto his feet. The hand went ignored.

"What the fuck?" Was his response. "I-I shot a man and he barely noticed, there's a giant hole in the middle of my fucking field, and something about auras." He somehow managed to mask the increasing sense of panic he felt from his voice as he cataloged the strange series of events. Ordering them in his mind, which always helped to calm him. "Okay then, sure. But why are you naked?" That seemed like the most logical place to start again.

"I think my clothing might have burnt up as I fell into your atmosphere. Your species, I take it, is not familiar with offworld life-forms? That does complicate things for me..." It seemed customary to exchange questions, so the giant obliged. "This place? You call it, Texas?"

"Burnt up in the atmosphere...I...? Yes. Sunrise, Texas." The small man was at a loss. Wildly, his brain presented thoughts of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator to help him understand. He might've laughed at the comparison, but he was still trying to steady his breathing and control his body. One thing was certain, however, he was glad he hadn't accidentally killed the man. He pulled the trigger of his rifle as a reflex, thoughtlessly responding to the very strange stranger as he came toward him. Regardless of intent, he would have deeply regretted killing another person.

"I forgive you. You are obviously scared and outmatched, I too would have been afraid in your place." The giant said, which startled the young man. Had he said that aloud? "And I do not mean to embarrass you with my nakedness, nor did I mean to ruin your crops. I can see in your eyes and in your aura that this is confusing to you, but please understand...I do not know who or where I am at the moment. Or how I came to be here. Or even, what you are. I will help repair the damage I have caused to your livelihood if you will allow me. Perhaps it will help me asses the situation."

Slowly, the felled man got to his feet, his sensitivity to the environment subsiding. The giant before him, his voice nearly low enough to make the ground shake, sounded too reasonable and polite to be trusted. Especially considering the fact that he words were entirely insane. "So what you're telling me..." He began. " that you fell out of the sky, made that crater, and survived the fall with even a scratch. You were speaking some funny language before you did...did...whatever it is you did...and now we can communicate because you nibbled on my aura. And after all of that, you have amnesia?"

"You seem to have the measure of it, yes."

"Look if you're some kind of escaped convict or mental patient or whatever, let me just say that I have no money. And my partner knows I'm out here so if you kill me he'll call the cops, they'll know you did it, and they'll find you."

"I do not wish to murder you."

"Good to hear, because I just shot you with a .375 H&H at point blank range and you barely flinched. SO maybe my threats aren't all that great."

"It did sting slightly, if that calms your mind."

The smaller man simply stared in disbelief, or rather, stared with increasing belief. It was easy to believe a man fell from the sky and lived to have a calm chat about the experience when you shoot said man in face to no effect. And what was more, he and Wilson both heard the sonic boom and both felt the ground shudder upon impact. And while it was one thing to empirically admit that alien life - statistically speaking - existed elsewhere in the universe. It was another thing altogether to come face to face with it...on an isolated farm of all places.

Had he read such a thing in one of his many science fiction books, he might have rolled his eyes at the tired trope. Since childhood, he loved anything to do with the fantastic. Whether it was mutants or magicians, his imagination soaked it in greedily. And indeed, in order to comb his field for danger he had to throw a particularly pulpy paperback, inherited in large quantity from his father, onto his nightstand. After hastily clothing himself with whatever happened to be nearby, and dashing out of the front door, he now witnessed first contact instead of reading about it. In bunny slippers. Heavily mussed with mismatched pajamas on his stocky frame, the farmer indulged his sense of hopeful whimsy by believing in something that any rational human would consider impossible. And besides, with all the evidence, he hardly had a choice.

"I guess they're called clichés for a reason..." He was definitely face to face, or rather, face to chest with the fantastic now. Whatever the giant did to him, it made him feel...connected; not just to the alien - though he literally felt his presence rooting around in his mind - but to his fields and the bugs and birds living within them, the air, and even the moon. It was stimulating to an overbearing degree. But the sensation soon subsided, the vibrancy dimmed, and he missed it. With the normalcy of the cool country night sky returned he was once again cut off from his surroundings. He never realized how isolated and cold he was.

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