An Annual Alien Adventure

This story is a response to the following writing prompt:

The nighttime ambiance of chirping crickets was broken only by a faint hum, which grew steadily louder. Soon the grass began to thrash this way and that, gently at first, but then more violently, caught in the downdraught of an unseen approaching craft. There came a soft thud, and the ship’s cloaking shield shimmered for a moment upon impact, the only indication that anything had landed there at all. Suddenly the engine cut and the humming ceased, returning the moonlit meadow to its previous state — undisturbed.

Inside, the creatures gathered excitedly, clicking and chirping in their native tongue. They arranged themselves at the door and all communication gradually died down. They didn’t need it, for they’d done this many times before. This evening was a well-rehearsed ritual and them a well-oiled machine. With a gentle hiss, the door slid open and they came tumbling out in single file, scurrying quickly down the hill and towards the lit streets and houses in the near distance.

In that small town the roads were abuzz with excited noise, and the air filled with the kind of electricity you only find among large groups of children of elementary school age. The occasional joyful squeal could be heard amidst the continuous drone of chatter as they moved from door to door, adorned in all sorts of fanciful gear. Chaperoned by a guardian, a princess and witch walked contentedly side by side, while a zombie scrambled to collect a bag of candy that had just clumsily been spilled over the sidewalk.

After a brief bout of reconnaissance, the creatures emerged from a row of bushes and began waddling and weaving their way along the busy street. They moved almost entirely silently and undetected, save for the shuffling of their appendages along the concrete slabs and the odd wary eye from a few of the more astute adults.

Mrs Wetterson had just finished sorting candy into three separate coloured bowls when she heard a faint knock on her front door. She opened it to find half a dozen individuals, their glistening scales ranging in hue from earthy brown to a shiny mossy green, to a rarer dull blue.

“Oh my”, she exclaimed after a brief pause, “look at these wonderful costumes! And what sort of fantastic monsters are you children supposed to be?”

She was met with only silence and fearful gazes. “Well?”, she inquired gently. One of the creatures shuffled forwards, its several stalked eyes swiveling to take in her looming form and the bright festive lights that draped her doorway. “What’s your name?”, she asked it.

The creature emitted a chirp from one of the orifices on its body that most resembled a mouth. Unsure how to proceed, she eventually grabbed a Snickers bar from a bowl to her side and offered it in an outstretched hand. Without hesitation, a tentacle swiped the treat from her palm, leaving behind a viscous slime. “Oh! Uh…”, she began, startled, but they had already beaten a hasty retreat, scuttling down her driveway and into the darkness, presumably onto another house.

This went on for most of the night, approaching houses and collecting candy, and it almost did so without a hitch, with the exception of a close encounter with a now traumatised chihuahua. When the hour had grown late, and the wandering children more scarce, they returned once more to the meadow.

The ship’s door slid open again, and the creatures piled in, chirping and clicking in excitement that they could no longer contain. One by one, they regurgitated they individual hauls into a pile in the middle of the floor. The candy sat there, still in their various wrappers, but now covered in a translucent mucus. The alien din reached a climax as their eyes darted back and forth eagerly across their prize. Before their annual feeding frenzy could begin, however, they were interrupted by a foreign sound. A gentle sobbing.

The creatures parted quickly to reveal a small child who had become lost and followed the wrong group home. Lost and afraid, he whimpered softly as he gazed around at the assortment of knobs, buttons and flashing lights that lined the interior of the ship. After a brief shocked silence, the aliens burst into a panic and clambered for cover, having found themselves in an unprecedented predicament. The boy’s sobs grew into wails amidst the confusion and flurry of movement.

Suddenly a blinding flash of light filled the ship, and what followed it was only a smoldering pair of charred sneakers and an unmistakable collective sigh of relief.