Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 67
“Daisy. You crazy bitch. Don’t eat that!” Zach shouts to the cocker spaniel.
“Mom, Zach called Daisy a bitch again! Mooooom!” Zoe whines plaintively towards the camper.
The camper is sitting in an undeveloped federal site reserved for such recreation. Truly, there is no real campsite here. No fire ring, no picnic tables, no restrooms, no showers, not even a trash can. There was just the barest hint of a road. But this is the type of camping site Ella prefers. She is constantly defending her unusual choice of camping sites to her two children. She prefers to, as she says, ‘rough it.’ Neither Zach (twelve) nor Zoe (four) has the heart to point out the huge RV, with its three slide-outs, walk-in shower, a better kitchen than they have in their tiny apartment, is hardly roughing it. But they give their mom a pass since the divorce.
Daisy continues trying to eat the discarded yogurt container.
“Give me that, you crazy bitch,” Zach says as he drops to his knees and attempts to wrestle the plastic container from her mouth. Now Daisy thinks it’s a game of ‘tug’ and is happy to oblige the wiry twelve-year-old.
Daisy is Zoe’s dog, and she is always eating things she shouldn’t.
“Here, let me do it,” Zoe says. “DAISY, DROP THAT!”
Incredibly, Daisy immediately obeys her tiny mistress and drops the mangled plastic container.
“Mooooom!” Daisy shouts over her shoulder.
The RV door bangs open. “Dang it, Zee. What did we agree to about that word? Huh?” Ella shouts as she barges out of the motor-home towel-drying her hair in the time-honored roughing-it fashion.
Zach and Zoe both turn to watch their mother approach them. Daisy whines and whimpering and excitedly runs to meet her momma’s momma. The three of them can never figure this. No matter how short a time is between Daisy’s last seeing Ella, she always carries on as if it had been years since their last encounter. Despite being Zoe’s dog, Daisy usually ends up nestled against Ella’s legs on top of her bed every morning. A habit they at first tried to discourage, but ever since Jim had left, Ella didn’t mind the crazy dog’s affectionate if forgetful nature.
Daisy leaps up, crashes into Ella, who is still in her pajamas and housecoat. As every true camper roughing it does every morning.
“Is that a different housecoat today?” Zoe whispers to her brother.
“Well, you know, we are roughing it, Zoe,” Zach whispers back. “I’m sure she just brought the two.”
Zoe turns away and buries her mouth in her elbow to stifle her laughs.
“Did you miss me, Daisy? It has been almost twenty minutes since you crawled off my bed, silly girl.”
The three of them and the playful canine are blissfully unaware that at that precise moment an alien spaceship has just touched down close to their campsite.
The aliens aboard have hostile intentions towards every living creature on this planet. They do not come in peace.
“Zxyghts dyghtphltt. Crytho comxygp obitox mxmuz, xylonk gonzeit crthous.” the pilot says to the other alien who is the leader of this mission.
Which roughly translates as:
[Great joy commander. We have arrived on this big planet. Victory will soon be ours.]
Earth is much bigger than their planet, and they have every intention of conquering it. They are confident that their small ship with a crew of only a dozen will have no problems in this. Theirs is the more advanced species. After all, they have flown from a planet deep in the Andromeda Galaxy, at velocities approaching the speed of light, and have landed on earth utterly undetected. This was going to be a great feather in Commander Phlbygratt’s hat.
[The plant life here is enormous. So slender, so tall, so green.] says the pilot.
[It is lovely and it will be our home] the commander says.
Their ship has adopted a brilliant disguise and has camouflaged itself as a random selection of one of what the aliens have determined to be the larger plant formations. Their technology is impressive, and the camouflage is quite convincing.
[Once their single sun has set, we will deploy scouting parties. Dispatch a message to home that our food and space problems will soon be over comrade pilot. We will surely have this mission completed well before they even receive our broadcast. Rest now weary pilot, Soon history will record how a planet of billions was defeated by a crew of only twelve.]
It was true. Their technology was impressive, and they had landed on earth undetected. The lone ship had traveled thousands of light-years at speeds way faster than anything on earth could manage. They had a vast arsenal of weaponry aboard their ship, and no one knew they were even there.
“Come on, slow-poke. Keep up, will ya?” Zach says.
“It’s Daisy. She keeps smelling everything in the world over here.” Zoe says. “Come on, girl. There’s more stinky stuff to smell over there. I promise.”
Daisy ignores her, continues enjoying her banquet of delightful odors.
“DAISY, COME GIRL,” Zoe says in her best authoritarian tone, the one that always works.
Daisy ceases her smelling and squats by Zoe’s feet, looking up; her eyes filled with expectation and adoration.
Zoe pets her fondly. Then proceeds along the rough trail to where Zach is waiting. “Come on, girl. We are hiking.”
The trail is a 3/4 mile loop that is barely marked at all.
This is roughing it, Zach thinks and smiles.
“What are you smiling at, you big goon?” Zoe asks as she catches up to her brother; Daisy still heeling impressively by her side.
“Nothing, it’s just a beautiful day. I kinda wish dad were here.”
The two siblings are quiet for a bit. Daisy stands up, restless.
“We better go, She’s getting antsy again,” Zoe observes.
“We can leave her with mom if she’s going to be a problem…”
“No, I want her to get some exercise,” Zoe says.
Together the three of them head onto the trail and directly towards…
…. the alien spacecraft with its malicious crew and a vast arsenal of weaponry.
“Daisy, you crazy bitch. What are you eating now?” Zoe says.
Zach is stunned. His little four-year-old sister is now swearing. He is sure this is going to be an issue later.
“Did you just… ?”
“Ugh. It’s an icky mushroom, Zach. A mushroom. Is she going to die Z? Is she? You are a bad doggy Daisy. A bad doggy. No treat for you tonight,” she says as she turns toward Daisy.
Zach rushes over, pulls the large mushroom out of Daisy’s mouth before she can swallow the damn thing.
He flings it onto the ground, wipes his hand, now wet with Daisy’s saliva and bits of partially chewed mushroom. “Ouch! That smarts,” Zach says as he inspects his hand more closely.
“Weird, there’s some kind of metal in this thing.”
Zach nearly gags. “And bugs. Like nasty cockroaches. Ugh,” he says as he brings his booted foot down
over and over, squashing the little bugs that look oddly bipedal. He continues grinding his foot down until he is certain the bugs inside are all dead. He stoops down, drags a stick through the wreckage, and counts a dozen tiny dead bugs and way more metal than one finds in a normal mushroom.
“You think we should give her the medicine that makes her go throw up?” Zoe asks as she gently tugs at Zach’s sleeve.
“No, she’ll probably be okay,” Zach says, “I think she’s eaten mushrooms before and not gotten sick.”
He pokes once more at the mushroom, no longer certain that it is a mushroom at all. He grinds his boot into the whole mess a few seconds more and then kicks dirt over it.
“Come on, Zoe, let’s get back to mom.” He takes his little sister by the hand as they head back to their RV; a vehicle whose top speed was barely 85 mph, would never cross the universe to conquer another planet, and certainly didn’t contain an arsenal of weapons but at least it didn’t look like a nasty mushroom.
Originally published on MEDIUM.com