By Sara Codair
“Don’t feel bad. I’m pretty hard to kill,” said GiYu. His purple appendages were already reattached and his torso was knitting itself back together.
The human female nodded and sucked air in through her nose. The slurping sound worried GiYu that the mucus her crying had evoked was making it hard for her to breath. Her skin was still flushed red though, and everything he had read about humans had said they turn blue when they are suffocating. Her eyes were focused on on torso, watching feathery tendons flicker back and forth.
“What do you think of it?” asked GiYu.
At first, the female didn’t respond. However, GiYu was patient. He watched her brow furrow, her lips quiver and her shoulders square before she finally speaking it a quiet, raspy voice. “It’s…Like…like 3-D printing, only without the extruder. It’s…it’s magical.”
“Regeneration is the art of my kind.” GiYu beamed down at the missing section of his torso. It was wide and purple, but shaped like a an earth-tree half eaten by one of their furry beavers.
“Does it hurt?” she asked with a steadier voice.
GiYu shook his head. “It is pleasant, almost like mating. Some of my kind get addicted to it and harm themselves just to experience the pleasures of regeneration.”
“You’re not mad?” Her eyes were wider now, and the tears were starting to dry up.
“Quite the opposite.” GiYu wrapped a fuzzy, purple tentacle around the human female’s back. “I’ve met many humans, but none of them were born during The Melt. None possessed your unique abilities.”
The female’s hands had uncurled as she let out a slow breath. GiYu could see the tips of her ten tiny fingers now. He was pleased to see the flesh on the the tips were still smooth and whole and he was relieved that using her ability did not do harm to her.
“My own people think I’m a monster.” The human’s creamy cheeks glowed red as she looked up. It was the first time her two green eyes made contact with any of his seven eyes. “I burned my family’s home when I was seven. They wanted to kill me, but the government took me, experimented on me, deemed me unfit for service and sold me to you.”
GiYu pulled her closer. “We have plenty of use for a firestarter here on SyLur. Fire is the only thing that keeps the mold at bay, and it really isn’t a problem if you accidentally set me and my kin on fire. We rather enjoy it, and we hope you will enjoy our planet.”
“But I’m a slave,” said the human.
“For now,” said GiYu. “Dedication and hard work may yet earn you your freedom.”
GiYu was pleased to see a flare of hope in the girl’s eyes.
The above story was originally written for the Cracked Flash Fiction Competition. It was the runner up, which meant the judges wrote a brief review about saying a few things they liked and a few things they thought could be better. That draft had been written from a more omniscient 3rd person point of view where the human female talked a lot more. The judge liked the concept of the story, but said the following:
“I felt like her personality felt incongruous with her backstory–for someone who was a pariah for most of their life, and probably both mentally and physically tormented and abused (generally what ‘experimented on’ stands for, since experiments tend to not be gentle things), she felt far too talkative and adventurous. It would be more believable to me if she was more timid and had a lot more nonverbal gestures; it might have been useful to write from a more limited third-person view from GiYu, where he observes her more closely, and we hear more of his thoughts.”
So I took that suggestion, more or less, before posting the story here. The reader does here more of GiYu’s thoughts. The girl is more timid and has more nonverbal gestures. As she realizes GiYu isn’t going to eat her and is pleased with her actions, then she becomes more talkative.
You can see the original here.
If you have any further suggestions for the piece, I’d love to hear them. I don’t think this piece is quite finished yet, but I am trying document/show my revision process online. I learn a lot from revising and documenting that revision. I hope other writers can too.
©2016 Sara Codair