This story is inspired by a Writing Excuses podcast (ep. 14.5, “Viewpoint as Worldbuilding”) writing prompt that said: “Take a character who is alien to the culture or the setting that you are writing within but has a reason to be there, and describe things from their point of view. Now describe those same things from the point of view of a native, who’s grown up there and is familiar with it.”
His heart raced as he hurdled to earth, flailing, desperate to reach out and grab anything to stop his fall. He was surprised when he felt himself stop, hitting the ground with a thud, and still alive to consider what just happened and where he’d landed. He put his hands down on the ground, recoiling when he felt something soft and moist. What was that? He looked down and saw a dark green material, misted with some kind of moisture and curling over itself. He thought he saw something move and leapt to his feet.
He nearly lost his balance when he stood, the ground was so soft. He put his arms out to balance himself, looking around for sturdier ground to move to. Seeing some brown-colored ground not too far from where he stood, he made his way toward it. It looked much more sturdy and reliable. As he gingerly took a few steps, a shuttering sound came from above him. He cowered, covering his head with his arms. He looked up and saw a few small, flat green objects falling toward him. Not wanting to find out what would happen if one of these foreign things touched him, he quickly stepped toward the brown ground, sighing with relief.
Suddenly, a sound, like some kind of animal call, came from the skies. He looked up, but all he could see was darkness; the small green objects were clustered on large brown poles all around him, with a bit of light coming through from above. He jumped as a strange looking being with odd colored skin fell to the ground a few feet from him. Instead of clumsily landing as he had, the being landed confidently on its feet, stared straight at him, and made some very strange gestures.
“Hello,” I said, speaking loud and slow as if that would help the alien understand me. I smiled and waved, stepping toward him, my bare feet squishing into the damp mud beneath the peat moss. I slowed my movements when I saw him recoil and take several steps away from me. I considered what I could do to help and befriend this strange being who seemed to have fallen from the sky and landed by my village. I leaned against a nearby tree, watching him recoil again and look up, following it from the roots to the sky, squinting the whole time. Had he never seen a tree before?
Figuring food would help, I opened my knapsack and pulled out srafary, a delicacy here. It was a simple dish, seasoned mashed vegetables and grains and a bit of animal fat that was placed in a Tobin leaf and steamed; but it was delicious, and perfectly suitable for travel and hunting. I offered him one of the delicious squares, and after some time of considering, he made a gesture that I hoped was friendly before taking it.
“Eat,” I said, making the motions with my hands. I took another srafary from my knapsack and ate it. “Mmm,” I said as I chewed it. “Good.” He seemed to nod his head and put it in what appeared to be his mouth. There were three small tentacles on top of his head that swayed as he ate; to me they seemed like ears, and I was pretty sure he was enjoying it.
“Come, follow,” I said, making more gestures as I walked past him. He didn’t seem to understand so I tentatively reached for his hand; a shimmery green, two-pronged extremity attached to a fairly long appendage. I gingerly held it as I led him through the trees, guiding him toward my village. He reluctantly began to follow, and I continued to gesture to put him at ease.
Mother always said my exploring the woods was a waste, that nothing good would come from it and there was much to do in the village. But here I was, bringing home an outsider unlike any we’d ever seen before. I couldn’t wait to show her what I’d found, and see the reactions of everyone who laughed at me for exploring. My mouth watered as I considered what a feast we would make to welcome our new friend.