Lomas Brane was one of a handful of people who inhabited planet Earth under false pretences. You couldn’t easily spot them, they had neither the straight little finger of your classic Invader nor the hurricane hiss of your common or garden BodySnatcher, but if you looked real close as you walked down any high street in smog choking city or suburban village green, you would notice some who looked more alert than others.
Part 1: Dad’s tale.
Alert, this was a good word for them. They looked alert. If you really knew what they were doing here on planet Earth you would swear that you could see them weaving slothed off pheromones and viral ejaculates into a hormonal froth that they smeared all over their outer carapace like a beach babe smearing on sun oil. You wouldn’t believe you could have missed the signs for so many centuries.
These law abiding citizens were not tramps on the scrounge or undercover cops on a stakeout or Mormon missionaries itching out the next feel. They were a totally undiscovered breed, living here among us, on our streets, in our government, elected members of our parliaments, supporters of our families. And no-one has ever known. Until today.
Lomas Brane tossed and turned in his long drawn out sleep. His old bones were giving him trouble and he could not get comfortable on the uneven, lice ridden mattress he found himself on. He was beyond his prime and he knew that this could well be his last season of Earth duty. It had been a long dark period for him and his inherited family. He was astonished he had survived another year’s personal transition as the Earth’s chill turned his perfect world of mime into a waste land of characterless doom – like a badly prepared dinner missing a good dessert. His ego ached from chattering and his shrunken id rumbled constantly. He got up on several occasions in his restless slumber and a scratched out a starchy meal that filled a gaping hole but inefficiently and the meagre repair soon needed extra standby attention.
Lomas Brane craved real nourishment, be it Sagittarius or Leo or any of the fire signs. Nourishment that contained the necessary proteins, fats and carbohydrates that his weakening identity structure needed to survive out in the wild, as they refer to Earth on far distant colonies. They say it like this, ‘out in the wild’ in a hushed whisper with the shoulders hunched over as if it was something you shouldn’t do but was such a dirty thrill if you could survive the stink of humans and their fetid romances and garish tragedies.
Lomas Brane often dreamt of windswept fields of shimmering skin throbbing with layers of goose fat. The entire landscape would be carpeted in this vile covering of snake scale pregnant with months of stored body fat such that he could graze on it, dredging his retractable lower jaw through the succulent mush until his belly was full and the burping of personal transformation would be his meal ticket to more hidden months acting out the living soap of the everyday. He would awaken in the cold and shiver, trying against his fading memory to hold onto the glossy fantasy only to have hunger slap him hard with the starving reality of this dark time. He pulled his Winter Coat tighter around him.
Lomas Brane had a wife this year, who in her turn had smaller mouths to feed – he envisaged her with moaning cock-hungry cunts all over her shimmering body like a reptile in heat, ecdysiastically raping herself so he could slither into the damp newness time and time again in a self fulfilling prophecy of lust fuelled hormonal renewal. This had been a good year for bearing young and three beautiful chicks nestled into their mother’s pouch, suckling at her dry teats out of habit. Their back and legs got crampy and they shivered all the time in that dingy bedroom devoid of the sunlight they so needed to spring about and frolic and mature. They were like seed pods in limbo, waiting to shoot, to root, to stem, to flower. Replenished by the sun, they would soon muscle up, able to run down any intruder into their family territory.
They are lonesome creatures, these homoforms, tending to skulk about in the familial confines like an employee in a job he hates but can never leave due to career inertia or a soiled résumé. They mark their own territory with the pungent piss stink of anger and abhorrence for the human race. You can taste the territorial signature of one of their kind on the chilling winter wind, as clear as if their zone had been hand painted in Day-Glo green. Stay out or die, it is written, the warning like a beacon carved from living loathing. Tall as a totem pole – horror as art.
Spring greeted Lomas Brane then fell back into Winter, this jolted the family into premature half life feverish with disappointment when a late March snow fell for three days. They retired to their starving hovel while meagre shoots, teased out by the seasonal switch, perished in the frost. But then the atmospheric fortunes changed, bringing with it an abundance they had almost forgotten. Daily they traced the boundaries of their family domain, snacking here, luncheoning there, never overfeeding or gorging like they had to before the long sleep. The world would not always be this calm, this protected, this predictable.
For soon would come the crazy months, frenzy time – the spawning season. When the streets swell and hormone distorted humans rush upstream to the seashore spawning grounds that their fathers and their fathers’ fathers had for eternity pledged the life of their offspring to. Why they come back year after year, shifting from the comfort and amenities of city life to these seaside back waters, their bodies undergoing dramatic physiological and hormonal change as they reach the end of their journey where lies in the baking sun the future mothers of their future children, no-one has ever surveyed. The spawning season is dangerous for other reasons.
The spawning season brings out all the other resident homoforms to these strategically relevant coastal landmarks. Basically, you get too many short tempered hot heads in the one place for too long as the feasting can continue for a fortnight sometimes maybe more given the vagaries of an English Summer. It would be on the banks of this great battle island, as the half dressed humans raced for the gravel and sand of beach and bay, desperate to make it to the sun beds before their fellow bathers, where the fate of Lomas Brane and his new family would be put to the test. Many lessons there were to learn and one fatality there would undoubtedly be this spawning season.
Cut to the first morning shoot of the spawning season. Human and alien alike had been gathering from sun up like crabs around a beached whale, gorging on decay. Each species protecting their own agenda. There was a sour taste of anticipation that discoloured the breeze lifting off the ocean blue. The little Lomas Branes were the first to hear the thunderous calls of their daddy’s rivals. They were the most horrifying sounds the little ones had ever heard as they huddled under their mother’s Summer Coat for protection from the cancerous rays of the sun. The closer the family got to the spawning grounds, the clingier the young ones got. There were many families crowded at the edge of the ocean. Babies watched on, shivering next to their mothers or older sisters while the juveniles and young males tried out their different catching methods.
Many had obviously been here before and were expert at their craft, reaching into the raging torrent of sunbathers at just the right time, one would hook itself onto them as if by design or Godly ordainment and that would be it, the transaction complete, the body politic. That wasn’t the hard part. Some used the tactic of watch and wait. They knew the drill but why bother learning the catchers’ skill when you could reap swifter and more regular rewards by stealing from those more competent in the catching art than yourself. This is when a young homoform was most likely to get itself injured, sometimes mortally.
The majority of homoforms wading in human slurry had gaping wounds where they had come a cropper at the jaw of a more experienced and more ruthless adult. Only one remained unscarred this year. Lomas Brane stood resplendent in his bristling Summer coat, he had already caught a sixty-five pounder for the oldest of his three little chicks and while he held it down he stripped the fat rich skin off the back of it, while it still kicked and complained about its impromptu wrenching from the sun and the life it used to lead. This first catch was a mother loaded down with caviar which spilled out when he stripped her belly fat from her. The roving eye darted about in agony and loss as her offspring that would soon be nought but slurped up offal shone in the sun.
Lomas Brane would often put the screaming ones out of their misery by taking their shrieking skull in his mouth and snapping the thorax and spinal column with a chomp of his upper jaw, but not today. Today, for no real reason, he was mesmerised by the dying pleas of the woman. Give me back my babies, she screamed at the top of her voice.
It was this lapse of concentration that led to the one death of the day. An enormous rogue male had ambled over to Lomas Brane, attracted by the fur on the back of his tongue tingling with the flavour of caviar on the air. How the rogue loved to slurp up the sweet smelling eggs of ripe humans, whether his catch or not. He raised himself to cataclysmic proportions to dispatch Lomas Brane. To his aid came his wife, but she was no match for the might of the rogue male and the force of the blow killed her ego instantly, her id withered before the family’s eyes.
Lomas Brane was stunned, he turned to his children, now motherless and ordered them to stop weeping. This is the way it is ‘out in the wild’, my girls. You just have to go on and learn from this shit. Nothing is ever right, there is no justice.
Suddenly, from the left flank another came in for the kill. The young chicks watched as their daddy fended them off for one and a half hours. Their numbers increased and soon what remained of the Lomas Brane family had to flee the spawning grounds. But there would be time to right the wrongs next year, time to lick the many vaginaed body scars into a frenzy of retribution, of that you can be sure. Then his family would be firm and fit from the year of hard drilling.
Lomas Brane was a good teacher and his sole remaining chick would learn all he had to pass on to her...
Part 1: Daughter’s tale.
It had been a terrible time since the summer melée and dad had passed away, without finishing my teaching, over the course of that desolate winter. I could see him physically degrading day by day into mad fits of psychogenetic ululations that kept me awake at night like a new cabin boy cast out on a stormy sea on fourteen hour shifts. I was on my own, in every sense of the word, working the streets in a way only my genes understood. What I was achieving I could not be sure of.
The streets were deserted that last cold evening. A stiff breeze blew in from the northeast, memories of kelp swaying in icy seas. I was that lost, without destination. On this frigid street corner, I awaited my fate while my feet turned blue and my back groaned with the pain of glamour on show. They so wanted me but I had on my purest diamond outer casing. I was doing no-one any favors just secluded, on show like those too-expensive Amsterdam window girls – look but can’t afford to penetrate.
But I was so lovely, tears in my eyes like a make-believe Pandora fossilized in the aloof. My loss of circumstance haunted me. A cold, dead silhouette, maybe male, maybe female, part way between stellar systems. A bloodless body glides through the vastness of open space. Could be moving at close to the speed of light but the tears in my eyes occlude all but the most specular passers by. Just a dizzying scene shift would occur at odd, unexpected moments, a guest spot on Talk Radio, a film crew my lovely life of charm and polish. So much preparation, so little time. I have been on the streets now for four nights, I feel like I am made of stainless steel - impenetrable. You can taste the growth of sexual tannin on unwashed teeth.
He found me on the morning of the fifth night, if that makes any sense, on the same cold corner dressed in ice. My blue toes were poking out of someone else’s shoes. My dress, tight fitting so as to accentuate the male/female angularity/curvature, glowed a phosphorescent mist of promise. I stank of some sort of mushroom spores that exploded on me when the spitting rain hit my outer surface. A sea of hate I had to change. And he was so warm, you know, full of the social graces.
We talked for hours throughout the first day as his many arms enfolded me. He smelled of something strangely alluring, maybe that was why I never struggled to be let loose. Something within my social camouflage was about to give itself up to him. Like it was pre-ordained.
The tears are rolling down my cheeks as I recall that fatal moment, for him, that is. He felt it even before I did, a chemical shockwave coursed across my fractal plane. Cross waves checked and returned, he was caught full face in the undertow. The world looks so beautiful the way the refractions of past lives and happier times grow from the cloying haze of need, such nauseating need. The lines of age, blackened by street grime, a chiaroscuro sketch of humanity in despair. The shiver took hold as my nerves unhooked, catatonic, I slumped heavier into his many armed embrace like a scene out of a dream going wrong inherited legacy of rape sequence boiling in the pot of fools. He could feel me breaking, heard me cracking under the supernatural gravity.
He was such a pure trinket, real warm inside like a fig in the Mediterranean sun, wasps pollinating, impregnating.
He didn’t even feel the first injection. And no pain I have since suffered will let me be forgiven. Life is so beautiful but man must survive, and woman. I lay beneath him in the missionary waves of his stroking, titillating, fondling, loving embraces. Arms all round me like some sweating sickness, every inch tickled by his carapaced feelers until I was fully in. He tore open my softened shell with his broken fists as if he had any choice in the matter. Spread me like a new napkin on the slaughter slab. It was so hard to hold back, and in the end I just caved in.
I have been a man now for seven years and despite the interminable itch, there is no turning back. The memory of my female genealogy comes back to get me in the dark cold nights with the wind blowing in from the northeast. On the lookout for the one. The perfect gleam ringing out from the cat hair shooting up her spine that creature of the night with whom I must one day share my shell. But for now, I am alone in my quest, no loving handrail to guide me back from the dark cellar. No sign or sight. No sound but the knowledge that soon, oh, so very soon, my shell will once again begin to pick up the frequency of beauty weakening in the chill air, the sound of seduction. Once again, the lure of my exact opposite sex.