Green Smoke is a scary science fiction story about astronauts who land on an unexplored planet and come in contact with a lifeform they don’t understand.
I live in the smoke. Green smoke in the red light of the moons. I move within the smoke, floating, watching, waiting. I have waited on this barren planet for almost a thousand years.
One day, I hear voices. Human voices speaking in a human tongue. I watch. I wait. I listen.
Three humans stand near a small spacecraft. They are dressed in shiny metallic suits and wear glass helmets on their heads. One human signals to the others. They take off their helmets and breathe in the air.
The humans spread out to explore the barren surface of the planet. One of the humans sees something that catches its interest. It sees the green smoke. It sees me.
The curious human approaches. It stares at me and I stare back. I reach out and touch it.
Now I am human.
I look down at myself. I wriggle my fingers. I stretch my legs. I touch my shiny metal suit. I breathe in. For the first time in a thousand years, I taste the air.
I hear a voice. I understand what the voice is saying. I open my mouth and reply.
“Nothing is wrong,” I say. “Everything is normal.”
For the first time in a thousand years, I have a body. I test it out. I blink my eyes. I nod my head. I stretch my arms. I get down on my hands and knees and walk around.
The two humans approach me cautiously.
“What are you doing?” one human asks. “What’s wrong with you?”
“I am normal,” I say. “There is nothing to fear.”
I feel a trembling within. It grows and grows until I cannot stop myself trembling. I feel a burning heat within. My mouth opens and I emit a piercing scream. I cannot help myself. I collapse on the ground and my body thrashes to and fro, my limbs flailing wildly.
I cannot control the body anymore. I close my eyes. The screaming stops. The shivering ceases. I am floating in the green smoke once more.
The dead human lies on the ground. The two other humans gather around it and kneel down. I reach out and touch one of them.
Now I am human once more.
“He’s dead,” says the other human. “His heart stopped.”
I nod my head.
“What happened, Captain?” it asks. “How could he just die like this?”
I stand up straight. I roll my eyes. I put a hand to the front of my head and feel my nose, my mouth, my face. I take in a deep breath of air and let it out slowly.
“What’s wrong, Captain?” the human asks.
“We must leave this planet immediately,” I say.
Together, we carry the dead human back to the spacecraft and then drop him.
I can feel the trembling in my body once again. The shaking grows and grows and I do not know how to control it. The burning sensation starts deep inside and once again, I am screaming.
My right hand reaches into my belt and fumbles for a weapon. I cannot stop it. It places the weapon to my head.
“Sir, what are you doing?” the human cries. “Sir, no!”
Against my will, the finger pulls the trigger. There is a deafening explosion. The screaming stops and I am floating in the green smoke once more.
The second dead human lies on the ground below. Where its head once was, there is just a twisted mass of blood and bone.
The one remaining human makes a run for the spacecraft. I follow him. I cannot allow him to leave. He scrambles up the ladder and gets inside. Just before he closes the doors, I reach out and touch him.
I am a human once more.
I climb down the ladder and go for a walk. I walk and jump and dance and sing. I skip across the planet’s barren surface, turning cartwheels as I go. This body will only last a few short minutes, but I will enjoy it while I can.
Soon, I will return to the green smoke and when I do, I will wait. I will wait as long as it takes. I will wait and wait until more humans arrive.