FlashFic: Demon Eggs

This is a great piece of #NerdArt I found a few weeks ago. I thought the scene was so interesting, that I had to write what, in my mind, was happening. Was this something fantasy or science fiction. Sometimes the difference between them is a matter of perspective and understanding. The title for the art itself is Easter Eggs, and it’s by Nick Storozhenko. Check out more of Nick’s art over at ArtStation.

Easter Eggs by Nick Storozhenko at Deviant Art (https://www.artstation.com/artwork/J5Olm)
Easter Eggs by Nick Storozhenko at Deviant Art

Demon Eggs

Save for the sinuous etched lines swirling and curving along the surface, the white eggs were perfectly smooth. At least as far as Gertsig could tell. He knew of no one in his tribe or any other with the craftsmanship to create something like this. Damned if he could even tell what the thing was made of. It looked like glass, yet he doubted that if he combined every scrap he’d ever seen that it would equal how much it took to cover even one of these eggs. And there were four of them.

Gertsig shook his head as he stared up at the massive thing. It wasn’t what the eggs were made of that terrified him. As the leader of his house and tribe, Gertsig had always prided himself on being practical. He refuted the superstitions and claims of witchcraft so many of the others clung to when they were scared. Sure, he followed the old rituals, but he did that for show as much as tradition. The people needed to think you understood their fears and beliefs. But these things? He could find no explanation for how they hovered above the ground. With no supports or strings or anything, he was forced to admit that the only other explanation was magic. Still, he held his tongue from saying it out loud.

Letting the muzzle of his rifle dip toward the ground, he reached up with his free hand. His finger traced one of the lines without touching the thing’s surface. A hiss from Vahn, his First, warned him of the possible danger, but Gertsig was no fool. Knowing so little about this unholy thing, he wasn’t quite prepared to actually touch it just yet. “You say you saw skyfire come down here?”

Hohkda stood on the far side of the egg with the rest of the men from the village. The round hunter kept his own gun ready. “Yes, Sesha Gertsig. It came straight down from Great Dark. I ran out here to make sure no one was hurt.

Gertsig chuckled. “You came to harvest starmetal.”

The other man looked abashed. His gaze turned to the forest floor, his voice even more raspy than usual “Other villages are not so fearful and pay a good sum for a few handfuls of starmetal ore. The hunt has not been so good this season. Instead, though, I found these… these demon eggs.”

“Demon eggs.” Gertsig whispered to himself. He didn’t begrudge the hunter for his fear. “Indeed.”

He slung his rifle onto his shoulder and turned to Vahn. “I pray to the soil that no one has actually touched them.”

“Surely not, Sesha. No one would be that foolish.” There was a hint of scorn in Vahn’s voice. The lean-faced First, not Gertsig’s choice but competent enough, scoffed. “We should have known. It has been too long since the Great Dark sent its skyfire down at us. Perhaps the Void knows that some have been harvesting its starmetal and sent this new horror to remind us of why we should fear the darkness.”

Vahn leaned around the floating egg and glared at Hohkda. “Were it my decision, I’d say we destroy them by any means necessary. Even if it means gathering every grain of sparkpowder we have.”

This time Gertsig scoffed. He clapped his First on the shoulder and started for the rest of the group. “No, let us not be so hasty. Remember, we know to fear the Great Dark above because of our ancestors. They were the fools who did things without considering the consequences. Acting without thinking is what gave us the skyfire in the first place. No, we will seal off the area with a watch, make sure no one comes ne—”

A short, musical note pulsed from the nearest egg. The sound reminded Gertsig of a swampfitch bird, but was too regular and high-pitched. As he whipped around to face the egg, he saw every other gun-carrying villager stepping back as they raised their weapons. With a start, he realized his own rifle had found its way to his hands.

The curved lines on the glassy surface glowed an unnatural blue, like the color of the bright morning sky. The lines grew brighter until they were a stark white light. The odd musical chirp continued as a piece of the egg separated from the bottom of the larger shape. Air hissed and steam puffed from the opening.

“Destroy it!” Vahn screamed.

From the corner of his eye, Gertsig saw Vahn take aim. He slapped his First’s weapon. A loud crack split the air and dirt and leaves erupted from the ground two paces in front of Vahn where the fellow’s shot had hit the dirt.   

“Are you mad?” Gertsig hissed. He wasn’t quite sure why, but he knew Vahn’s attack was the wrong choice. Still, he couldn’t tell the others that he just felt that way. He had to use words that resonated with them. “You think our rifles can do anything to that? Anything other than anger the Great Dark even more?”

“Get back with the others.” He yanked the weapon from the other man’s hand and tossed it to another villager then shoved Vahn away. “If he so much as reaches for a weapon or does anything else, sit on him.”

The others just stared open mouthed at the egg. Gertsig turned back and his own jaw fell. The piece of the egg that had opened was lowering to the ground like a platform, supported by impossibly thin lines of some kind of thread.

On that platform, a strange creature stood, wearing white trousers and a short, evening-blue  tunic. Though it did appear to have two arms and two legs, it’s skin was a light tan, like the color of the sunbaked dirt from the waterless lands. Gertsig’s mind reeled at the idea of how a being’s skin could be so different from his own pale blue. And the creature’s head… The top of the thing’s head was covered in some kind of long, brown fur. It had almost no brow ridges and had no bloodline markings to speak of. Poking out from under the long fur were two swirled flaps of skin, right about where Gertsig’s own soundpads were.

The platform stopped a few fingers from the ground and the creature glanced down as it stepped off. It looked back up and scanned everyone’s faces. It was then that Gertsig saw its eyes, round, of all things, not slitted. And every few seconds, it blinked with a single eyelid that stretched down. Down! The creature was tall, taller than any Merssith Gertsig had ever known, by at least two full hands.

In its hand, the creature held a small, flat rectangle that looked like it was made of black glass. It lifted the shape in front of it’s mouth. The creature spoke into the glass in some strange language but normal words came out. “Greetings.”

Gertsig’s eyes bulged. The creature spoke their language and its voice was smooth, like a new-hatchling’s pur, but in words. “Yuh-you speak our tongue?”

The thing smiled, revealing white teeth, flat in the front but more jagged as they went back into its mouth. “In a way. Listened. Some learned. Speaking more, learning more.”

“Oh.” Gertsig glanced back over his shoulder. The rest of the males looked terrified. “Um, well then wuh-welcome. I am Sesha Gertsig”

“Thank you. Sesha is your title?”

“Yes.”

It nodded and tapped the center of its chest. “Good. Captain Mehtu.”

“Please, what does the Great Dark above want? Why has it sent you? Have we angered the Great Dark? Do you come to destroy us?”

Captain Mehtu’s face scrunched. “To destroy? No. No harm. As friends. Across the…Great Dark we came from a world far off. The place from which we come is called Earth, and we come in peace.”

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