A Short Story by Eddie Fitzgerald
(Copyright 2010 by Eddie Fitzgerald)
It is I, Magog the hunter, daughter of Nartha the matriarch, and along with my fellow nogs I watched the metal thing emerge from the stars and, with fire roaring from its bottom, land on the surface of my cratered asteroid. None of us had ever seen anything like it, so we waited in practiced stillness to see what would happen. Who knows? Maybe there was a meal to be had here. Sure enough, after a bit, a hole appeared in its side and a creature emerged.
It walked on only two limbs, something none of us had ever seen before. How does it do that? Nogs have barely enough at twenty, twenty-two if you include the large mandibles which are for ripping and tearing, but are also useful as extra legs when running down prey. No need for that now, though. With no prompting from us the thing was slowly advancing right into the middle of us, cautiously shining a wide beam of light into the shadows that defined our still and rock-like bodies.
I was in favor of waiting another moment or two but one of the hungriest young nogs impetuously reared up and loomed over the creature, its mandibles opening and closing; hot, steaming acid dripping from its grinding mouth parts. The startled creature made a move to run back to the metal thing but was cut off by several adolescents who spat a corrosive fixing fluid that anchored the creature to the spot.
The thing was doomed, but was apparently determined to sell its life dearly. It reached into a pouch on its side and frantically withdrew a thing which shot out beams of light which vaporized whatever they touched. A big mistake. At the sight of a struggling victim nogs go into a feeding frenzy of inconceivable ferocity. The creature shot its beams this way and that, pouring the destructive force of its energy into us; maiming, killing, destroying, and for a moment appeared to be getting the upper hand. It was time for me, the chief, to enter the fray.
With a leap I jumped onto the transparent globe on top of its body and sank my fangs into the smooth surface. The top of the disk crumbled and there was a whoosh of gas and inside I could see a soft hairy thing which I immediately bit. The flavor was indescribably delicious but the thing was still alive and was able to bring its shooter up to my abdominal segment and fire.
In the silence of space I saw my body divide into two wildly flailing parts. My entrails unwound into the ether and large quantities of blood escaped in shimmering globules. My time was up. I only had a moment of consciousness left, but that's not important. For nogs it's the species that matters, not the individual. With my last instant of wakefulness I watched as my belly disgorged hundreds of small nogs which carried the feeding frenzy into the gaping hole in the shattered dome.
Life goes on.