A World of Horrors

Drud Yuloill, First Scout of Salore, knew he was out of his depth the moment he stepped foot on the new planet. It was night, of course, according to Kichter II regulations—this was an inhabited, intelligent planet after all.

But that didn’t stop the ground from melting.

Drud yelped and scurried away from the ocean, but he couldn’t find solid purchase beneath his four booted feet. It seemed like an eternity before he realized that he could stand without sinking. Small waves lapped gently against the shore several clips behind him now, and vegetation brushed his legs.

As he caught his breath, Drud dared a glance back over his shoulder. Oddly, the ground wasn’t moving. Could it react to body heat? Was it some sort of trap laid by the inhabitants of this planet? Records claimed that they hadn’t interacted with any kind of life outside their planet before, but Drud knew better than anyone that the records were sometimes wrong.

Still, he decided to keep going. As he checked himself over, he saw there was no harm done, and the meter on his gas tank showed he’d still have breathable air for a long time yet.


Dred snapped to attention and looked straight up, his hearts thudding wildly. Just local fauna, he told himself.

But it wasn’t just “local fauna” that towered over him. It was difficult to make out in the darkness, but Drud could see enough.

A hand. A massive hand spread, palm down, with countless wiggling fingers ready to squash him or grab him or—

Drud didn’t wait to find out. He turned tail and ran, across the melting ground, back to the ocean and his pod. A screen showed up inside, asking for his immediate assessment of the planet. Without hesitation, Drud typed only two words:

“Highly dangerous.”

* * *

The next morning, a young couple ambled down toward the beach, making their way through the underbrush beneath the waving palm trees. As they reached the shifting sand, they dug their toes in and watched the horizon.

While they waited for the sun to rise, they tried to guess what kind of strange creature had made the hurried, four-footed tracks in the sand.

Neither of them guessed right.

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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


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