Teacup

From WriteWorld‘s Writer’s Block prompt: “Listen, teacup, you have no idea what you’re into here, okay?”

Written in first person, which I rarely do, while sitting in the dark at work.

“Listen, teacup, you have no idea what you’re into here, okay?”

Those were his first words to me. Crouched behind the only rock outcropping in miles of desert, I told him I could handle myself, thank you very much. We would be fine. This unnatural wind that stirred no dust would settle down and we would be on our way. That was when the earth exploded next to me. Not exploded like a bomb buried beneath the ground or from above, I learned to read the detritus of explosions and destruction for which the humans have no name much later. The earth itself exploded, sending Jaymee’s body into the air. Not flying into the air. One moment Jaymee was crouched next to me, the next it was only air and dust.

I looked at him then, really looked, and began to understand. His hair wasn’t so black it looked blue; it was so blue it looked black. He wasn’t wearing sunglasses because it was too bright outside; he was wearing sunglasses because his eyes were pure white—no discernible iris or pupil.

There were any number of things I could have said then. Things like, “Oh my god, is Jaymee dead?” Or possibly, “You’re one of them,” the names we did not say, even then. Maybe even, “What the hell is going on?” because I came from a respectable family beyond the desert’s borders and we never had windstorms that hovered six inches from the ground, or earth that exploded with no provocation. But I said none of them.

I said, “Teacup?”

Ma’Keth, I learned his name much later, tilted his head down, observing me from over the top of his opaque sunglasses. I could see the whites of his eyes then, could sense that he was looking me over, weighing me, but I couldn’t see his eyes moving, the way you can follow the gaze of a normal human. Adaptation, they taught me. One of the hundreds of things I learned. Track your prey, don’t let them know you’re staring straight at them. He smiled, a minute quirk of his lips that I wasn’t even certain I saw until he pointed westward.

I don’t remember what he said then, or for the rest of the two days we ran together toward some unnamed haven only he knew. That haven is still there, if you know how to find it. Leave the outcropping just before sunrise and you’ll arrive two days later just after sunset.

I’m one of them now. I know what made the earth explode. I know how to track and hunt and kill the shadows that walk in the sun. My hair became so blue it seemed black, my eyes whitened, my skin hardened, overlapping chitinous scales invisible to the colored human eye, but that sparked like quartz in the noonday to us.

And now, whenever I find someone in some far corner of the earth, someone who looks like they could survive this life, thrive, and excel, I look at them and say the same thing he said to me.

“Listen, teacup, you have no idea what you’re into here, okay?”

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