The Pod

Lise’s eyes darted back and forth in the dim light under the trees. Jole was always following her around, but she didn’t want to share her find with her loudmouth little brother. Sure she was alone, she ducked under the hanging moss hiding the strange pod and its contents.

The bones were merely a curiosity; scraps of material that crumbled at a touch held no meaning, though she did run her antenna over the hands. What possible use could require the use of five fingers? No matter, she had seen stranger creatures.

It was the box that she came for. The lock was simple and old; nothing a quick finger circuit couldn’t shock open. Inside was a roll of some thin stiff substance, cracking with age despite being protected in the box, and covered with what could only be a map. Lise had seen one when she snuck inside the council bore; a whole cycle of silence had been the price of that indiscretion. This one didn’t look right, though; the outlines were far bigger and more wiggly than on the other.

Beside the map was the strangest device, like a small box except covered with gadgets that spun and clicked under her fingers. She dropped it with a alarmed purl when one side flew open and whatever had been inside scattered as dust over the square objects beneath it. Carefully she pulled them out, wondering at the images on their smooth faces. Nothing like them grew anywhere near her home; surely such things were nothing but fever dreams of a creative. Still, her eyes drifted to the five-fingered creature’s remains and the odd looking map. What if they weren’t?

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