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Saturday Storytime: Bedtime Stories for Alien Children

To say that something moves at the speed of publishing is…not a compliment. Writers who are dependent on their writing income for anything other than luxury purchases can end up in bad places financially, even when they’re working their asses off, simply because income trails so far behind the work. David J. Schwartz is in one of those situations now. He’s finished a novel recently, but who knows when or if he will see any money from it. In the meantime, he’s in trouble, enough trouble that he’s asking for help. In return, he’s provided something for you to read, whether you donate or not.

What you need to know is this: the Whisper was in love with the Wire. It was a strange love, as the Wire was blind and deaf and uninterested in interaction of any sort. Upon its arrival it had driven its tendrils into the seed and discovered that the unborn world tasted like burnt copper with a hint of orange. Warmth flooded the Wire, and it shuddered. It had not known there was such a thing as ecstasy.

The Whisper was on the other side of the world-seed, contemplating the seventeenth star in the firmament. The light of the seventeenth star gave the Whisper a feeling that it was trying to name. The Whisper did not notice the Wire’s arrival on the world-seed, but the Worm-child did. The Worm-child flashed its snout-gland in alarm, and after some time the Whisper became aware of this additional star in its peripheral vision. Something had happened. This was the first time since the Whisper had taken up residence on the world-seed that something had happened, so it was eager to investigate.

The Whisper shuffled to the other side of the world-seed and found the Wire siphoning life from inside. The Wire’s tendrils glittered in the light of the Worm-child’s snout-gland, and a contented hum rose from its swollen nucleus. The Whisper contemplated the Wire for a time. Then it sighed with its feet, wrapped its wide arms around the Wire, and unfolded its legs to their full length.

The Wire panicked as it was detached from its new source of sustenance. Tendrils broke through the Whisper’s skin, but there was nothing inside but the taste of camphor and coal dust. The Whisper trembled with this nearness. Eventually the Wire, unable to feed, gave up its struggle and rested in the Whisper’s arms.

The world-seed traversed the gap between the fourth and eighth stars in the firmament, and all that while the Whisper embraced the Wire, seeking a word for it. The Wire keened softly from time to time, its only recourse against deprivation. The Worm-child clung to the seed-stalk, gulping at darkness.

After a time the Whisper realized that the Wire was starving; after an additional time the Whisper realized that it did not want the Wire to die. It folded its legs and lowered the Wire to the surface, ignoring the renewed flashing of the Worm-child’s snout-gland.

Without hesitation the Wire pierced the skin of the world-seed, and moaned as it drank copper-orange nourishment from the core. The Whisper found that it was aroused. As the Wire became engorged with stolen life, anticipation rose in the Whisper until it could no longer restrain itself. In its faint deep voice the Whisper spoke love to the Wire, who could not hear this declaration. And then, because the Worm-child still flashed its alarm, the Whisper lifted the Wire once more from the skin of the world-seed.

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