Today, I’m posting my short story.
Sierra gave me the prompt “Bird with a Broken Wing” by Owl City. It’s a really good writing song.
Jay Hawke drew his pistol and pointed it at the pair of creatures stalking him.
The bolder of the two beasts crept through the snow, its belly low. It looked like a huge pit bull crossed with some sort of rodent.
With his good arm, Jay aimed the pistol. He had to make his last shot count.
The creature screeched in pain. It spun in a circle and bolted into the night, its mate behind it. Hopefully, the beasts would stay away for a while. Then again, a downed pilot with a broken arm was probably the easiest food on the planet.
Jay holstered the empty pistol and gazed at the moon, his only light in this world of darkness. No aircraft flew overhead. He’d been left behind, the lone survivor of a lost battle. Most likely, what was left of the Space Force didn’t even remember he existed. No doubt they’d been more upset about losing a starfighter than its pilot.
He trudged through the thick snow. What was the point anyway? If the reports were to be believed, this deadly world’s night lasted at least two years. There was only one way his story could end.
Wind tossed snow into Jay’s face. He shivered. His flight uniform hadn’t been designed for this death world. At least the cold seemed to have partially numbed his arm. Why had he even signed up for the Space Force? Maybe the aliens were monsters, but why did the Space Force have to fight them on their own turf? That move had been suicide. Now, he’d die without ever seeing the sun again.
A rock caught his foot and sent him sprawling.
Jay held back a scream. His arm throbbed worse than ever. He lay in the snow, waiting for the pain to subside. Finally, he mustered his remaining strength and climbed to his feet. He re-tied the primitive sling he’d made for his arm. It needed splinted, but what would be the point? He was a dead man walking.
The snow fell away in front of him. He’d come to the edge of a creek, or what would have been a creek if the water hadn’t frozen like everything else.
There seemed to be some sort of path beside the creek. The snow had been packed by something. Jay wandered along it.
The path turned away from the stream and into hills. Jay stayed on the path. After all, what else could he do?
He walked along the path for what must have been hours. His legs trembled. He needed rest, but with the cold, stopping would mean death. Even if he kept walking, he wouldn’t last much longer.
Moonlight shown off a wooden door built into the side of a hill. Rocks surrounded it, like some primitive building from ancient history.
Jay paused. This was one of the alien dens. If they found the guy who had bombed them, they’d kill him for sure.
The cold wind cut through his uniform. Did it matter how he died? He’d never survive the night. He took in a deep breath walked to the door. He knocked. Hopefully, it would be empty, then he could go in and warm up.
The door swung open to reveal an alien. He stood half a head shorter than Jay, but the saber-like teeth and muscular wolfish jaws made up for what he lacked in height. This predator could kill Jay with one bite.
He reached for Jay’s good arm.
Jay shied away from the alien’s cat-like claws. Every instinct within screamed “run” but Jay had no energy for that.
The creature lowered his hand and said something in a growling language, then made a waving motion.
Even if Jay didn’t know what the alien said, it was obviously inviting him into its home. It probably wanted to have him for dinner or something like that.
The wind howled. It would kill him as surely as the alien. “Guess I’m dead either way,” Jay mumbled as he stepped into the alien’s home. It was nothing more than a stone tunnel leading deeper into the hill, but it was warmer.
The alien led him down the tunnel, which opened into a large room. At least thirty others lounged around a small fire, everything from elderly with white whiskers to toddlers. By the look of the shades of gray and brown fur, they were probably from two family groups. All of them watched Jay, like a pack of wolves sizing up a cornered rabbit.
Snow dripped off Jay’s uniform. He shivered and glanced toward a small fire. Would they let him warm up before they killed him?
The aliens all began talking at once. Some clawed the air with wild hand signals and growled. Judging by the looks directed at Jay, they were discussing him.
Jay stood, his legs trembling. Much longer and he’d collapse.
Finally, an older male, his face white with age, strode to Jay. He placed one of his clawed hands on Jay’s good arm.
Jay stiffened, but the alien’s touch was gentle. He led Jay to the fire and motioned for him to sit.
Jay sank to the floor.
A female handed Jay a shallow bowl of something that resembled soup. Another wrapped an animal skin blanket around him.
Why were they treating him like this? He’d helped bomb them, yet here they were, letting him into their home, sharing their food and fire. If anyone was the monster on this planet, it was him, the creature without claws or fangs.
Jay’s gaze landed on a picture on the wall, an image of three crosses on a hill. Somehow, these aliens knew about Christ. Judging by who started dropping bombs, they’d been doing a better job of following His example than Jay had.
Jay bowed his head. Lord, please forgive me.