Friday, November 5, 2010

ROOT FOR JACKSON

BY RAYMOND NICHOLS.

The gnarled roots were very unusual; Jackson had never seen anything like them. They were packed in a wooden box imprinted with foreign names. It was odd that they should be left in the alley.

Reaching down, Jackson touched one of them; he then picked it up. It was much heavier and softer than he expected. In fact, it felt a little like dead flesh. He smoothed its bumps and ridges with his thumb; then he put it back and felt vaguely uneasy. Its sweet odor was strange and unfamiliar to him. He wondered why the roots had been left in the deserted alley.

His mouth felt dry as he reached into the box again, and he picked up another one; it was smaller. It too was pulpy, and it had the same pungent smell. Using a handkerchief, he wrapped up the root, and he put it in his windbreaker. He glanced over his shoulder as he did this, because he suddenly had a strong, unmistakable feeling he was being watched.

When he got home, he put the root in his bedroom. He went into the living room; he wanted to grab a drink from the kitchen refrigerator. Suddenly, a blinding light shone through the window. A dark shape appeared in it, and Jackson felt as tho his head was held in a giant hand. The light died down, and the shape became visible.

It had the same unfamiliar odor coming from it, and its skin was the same as the roots'. It raised its odd arm and pointed its twig-like finger at Jackson. Jackson could not move. tho he could still use his senses. Five creatures, nearly the same size as the first, came from Jackson's bedroom.

"Daddy," said one, who moved beside the creature. The others followed it, and then the creature lowered his arm after listening to their senseless chatter.

"Thank you," said the father, "for taking care of my sons." He held up the box. "Our spaceship was stranded on your planet, and the children were ready to leave the larval stage and sprout from their egg when i left to find food. I left their mother in charge of them, but she was afraid of your enormous size, so she didnt attack you. I will take care to scold her for not telling you of our dilemma."

He then was engulfed, with his sons, into the light again, and they disappeared with it.

Jackson decided to tell no one of this, yet he did not feel it was over. He saw a seventh creature appear at the door, and he laughed when it asked to "phone home?"

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