Note From A Triceratops

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Digital drawing. The fossil of a triceratops, seen head on from a three-quarters profile, facing left, is either etched in a sandy stone slab, or is standing in front of the slab. The slab is etched with scratches and fern leaf stems.

You think you know our story.  The asteroid.  The extinction.  The line of descendants who succeeded in taking to the air in ways we never did, never could.

I stopped writing and dropped my pen.  I glanced up at the monitor that displayed a magnified image.  And shifted my gaze over to the already withering leaf mounted on the simple light microscope. 

It was my imagination.  It had to be.

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Unstable Blood

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Digital drawing. At center, figure seen from chin to mid-thigh, wearing a top with no sleeves, a shirt or blazer tied around the waist, and a watch around the left wrist. The ends of the figure’s short hair dangle just below the chin. The right hand grips the left at the elbow. The left arm dangles. Rivulets of blood trickle from a wound at the left shoulder. They trickle down the arm, but also float across the body and out from the arm. Behind the figure is a glowing background with spatters bursting out from the center.

Too much blood.  Too much blood is dripping.  He’ll smell it.  He’ll find me.

Once again, she stopped for a moment and leaned against a wall under the flashing red bulbs and the piercing alarm.  She inhaled and drew the blood back into her body through the poorly sealed gash that arced over her shoulder.  A dozen rivulets trickled up her bare arm.

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The Margin Alien

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Don’t spend too much time looking around, I told myself.  Just find Andy, fix the harness, and come on back.

My brother had said the place was amazing and the people were great and that he couldn’t wait to take us there, once he was sure it would be safe.  

But I couldn’t let that dazzle me.  Especially since a small part of me wondered if he’d somehow gotten enthralled into staying longer than he’d intended.  Maybe he’d lost track of time.  I glanced over at the kids, who stood thirty feet away in the doorway.  Andy didn’t allow himself to lose track of time anymore, unless someone else was taking care of the kids.  And the state of his bedroom, his garage…

Remember why you’re going there.

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The Alien in My Headphones

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Digital drawing. Overview of a wooden desktop. Clockwise from top right corner, most of a cup filled with a brown liquid. A cell phone displaying a checklist with a few items checked off. A hand with a bracelet visible, holding a pen perched over a folded-over notebook. A crumpled sticky note. A pair of over-ear headphones. A cylindrical container filled with colored pencils. A partial view of a pair of glasses folded up. A folded-over notebook with notes written on the top half lying over a document affixed with a binder clip holding a note where the sentences are partially visible under the headphones.

I settled the headphones over my ears.  When I inhaled, I felt a little lurch in my stomach.

Every time I turned them on, I was afraid I’d lost the signal.  And every time I turned them on, I was afraid I hadn’t.

This was getting out of hand.  This…investigation that I’d gotten caught up in.  But if it was a prank, it was—I was going to say “epic,” but that word gets overused.  It was…extravagant.

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My Every Existing Memory

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Digital drawing. Composite image. Left bottom, a young man seen from his left side, from the shoulders up, with his eyes closed, with his hand in his hair. Faint words are visible in his hair. The word “Forward,” and below it, in reverse, the word “Backward.” He is in grayscale, while the rest of the image is in color. Behind and to his right is the façade of a diner seen from an angle. An “Open” sign hangs from the closed door. Four windows are visible. A sign above the door and windows reads “Singing Star.” Above the sign is a marquee with a huge five-pointed cartoon star hung in the center. The star has closed eyes with long lashes and an open mouth painted with lipstick. Beside the star are lines hung with musical notation symbols, flanked by more stars. Behind and to the left of the diner is a sign seen at an angle. The sign reads “Dr. V. Varma, Applied Transdimensional Theory, 8-9 PM, Auditorium.” To the sign’s left is a set of two theater chairs. A backpack lies under the leftmost chair.

“Memories are unreliable…”

Max paused, hesitated actually.  He’d rehearsed aloud what he was going to say so many times—despite not needing to remember the words—that he’d fooled himself into believing it all sounded reasonable.  But now, he was about to say the words out loud to another person, the most critical person he could possibly tell his truth to.

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Galactic Ring of Wrestling Ladies

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Digital drawing. Five figures arrayed in flanking formation. At center is a human woman facing forward.  She holds her hands before her, facing each other.  A glowing ball of light is suspended between her fingers. Along the forearm part of her left armband, a lightning bolt glows.  She wears color-blocked exercise clothes. A humanoid lizard sits to her right and behind, raising her right arm as if in greeting. She wears a scarf around her neck, and a breastplate displaying circuitry. To the lizard’s right and behind is a giant seagull, wings outspread, head raised, and beak open, blasting out a ray of swirling circles. To the human woman’s left, a toad springs up and out, to the toad’s left and behind, a unicorn with a rainbow mane rears up, her horn blasting forth a ribbon of light.

“Sentient entities of the cosmos!” the announcer spoke, her voice booming through the arena that floated in free space.  “Welcome…to GROWL!

The audience cheered, waving their flags, waving their extremities, and shouting the names of their favored fighters.  The announcer paused until they settled.

“Our first contender on tonight’s mind-blasting roster, is also our first human ever.  Hailing from Earth, wielding the powers of biological science, I give you….Molecular!”

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