Bergen Catholic Talisman

on-line edition of our literary magazine

This Can’t be Earth Anymore

Tearing through the air at a hundred miles per hour at around 20,000 feet is the standard way most operations start for me, but this time is different. The sky is not its peaceful blue, riddled with puffs of clean-white clouds, and the air is not refreshingly cooling as it usually is from so high up. Rather, the sky is an intense and brazen mix of reds, oranges, and yellows; even the most skilled artists would have difficulty recreating its entrancing beauty. As I wonder why the air is so warm and heavy, the stark realization strikes me. I am no longer on Earth, for I have just seen two celestial bodies shining in the sky.

I start to approach the ground, which is becoming closer and closer with each passing moment. A vast jungle covers the landscape that seems to stretch indefinitely. I cannot find a clearing, so I brace myself for a harsh landing in the canopy of the trees. My parachute automatically opens as I speed into the tops of the trees. They rush by me in such a blur I only slightly notice the bizarre colors emanating from them. It is not until I crash into one of the larger trees and fall to the ground that I actually observe my new strange environment.

The plants are not luscious and lively greens, but glow with neon colors of different assortments. All of the trees, grasses, and plants have an acute glow, that stings the eyes after a while. Their bright hues of blues, purples, and whites remind me of the skylines in the great cities of America. I find myself lost in the captivating glow of all of these extravagant colors completely surrounding me. It is after so long that I realize I must keep moving. While it is an astonishing sight, I cannot remain in the vivid palette of colors for much longer.

I proceed through the wooded labyrinth of this curious new world, and pay close attention to the miniscule features of the area: the various and peculiarly shaped footprints in the ground and the many large scratch marks engraved on the trees. Something is off. Even the air seems to take on a different feel, as if it suddenly grew fearful and ran away, leaving me breathless. I do not know what I might encounter on this bizarre planet, but the obvious signs of damage to the timber and features of the environment make all the more apprehensive to continue.

I press on, and finally reach a clearing in the tangled underbrush of the jungle. It’s then that I see the source of the damage on the forest. A monstrously large creature in a deep sleep is slumbering in the center of the clearing. It is covered in a dense fur, and colored in ominous black with traces of bright red blood in certain places. It is too far to be carefully examined, so I creep closer to get a more detailed look. The strange animal has large golden claws tipped in fresh blood that sticks out from a paw the size of my head. Without noticing, I step on a stray branch and the crisp crunch sound of the branch awakes the creature. Its eyes shoot open, displaying it bright green eyes with cat-like corneas. I stand, frozen in mortal fear, as the eyes of the monster locks with mine. I do not know what will happen next, but I fear for my very life.

By: Nigel Noriega

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