Utopia Gone, Part 3

By Zachariah Wahrer

A mantra of fear ran through the man’s head. What was the large thing that had just floated across the sky, near the horizon? Seeing it brought up a strange feeling of foreboding, a remembrance of something his mind fled from. If it was a moon, it was unlike any moon he had ever seen. It traveled in strange directions and changed course in unexpected ways. Its very presence raised many disturbing questions. The feeling he was being watched did little to ease his troubled mind.

Doing what came instinctively, he hid in a nearby shallow cave. Crouching against the back wall, he tried not to think about the moon that was not a moon. Perhaps it would go away and he could resume his trip around the planet. His favorite parts were just up ahead. As he thought about the rest of his day, a strange, throbbing sizzle of energy filled the air. It crackled and tingled. The hair on his body wave as if in a breeze, yet there was no wind in the cave. His heart began to thud and fear slamming back into his gut.

The man hated the sensation of the airless wind. Maybe could get away from it outside. Perhaps the moon that was not a moon had left and he would be safe to continue his journey. Cautiously, he stuck his head out of the cave’s mouth.

In the sky, directly over head, was the moon. The man’s knees began to shake so hard he almost fell back down the cave entrance. It was massive and very close. Its bright surface had magnificent, graceful curves unlike anything he had ever seen before. He knew it had been looking for him, had seen him. Now it was going to hunt him down.

The man froze with indecision. If he went back down into the cave, he would be trapped. Running away was equally dubious because the moon was very quick.

Just as he was about to decide between hiding and fleeing, the choice was taken from him. Several black shapes came rushing out of the scrubby undergrowth. They circled the spot the man stood on, cutting off any escape. At first he thought they were animals, but then he realized there were no creatures like this on the planet. Just before the forms reached him he realized they looked much as he did, with the requisite arms, legs, hands, and feet. Although he was filled with terror, the man felt a kinship with them.

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