(Flash Fiction) “That Thing We Saw Last Night”

That Thing We Saw That Night

By Kevin Candela


There’s just something about riding in a flying fireball.

Mariko smiled, taking in the darkened fields and forests over which his absolutely silent vessel was currently gliding at an unhurried pace.  More than a mile below, a handful of awestruck motorists gazed up at the impossible red, white and orange ball of flames that was his ride of choice for duties like this.

The man with an egret’s head – for that is what Mariko would seem to be if viewed up close by any of those gawking drivers and passengers below – turned his long beak to one side and pointed its tip at the IR display.

The screen showed nothing but the heat signatures of the cars and riders, all of which were following the primitive concrete and pitch roadways of this still young project.  Another quiet patrol, it appeared.

He couldn’t help thinking about landing; it had been centuries, and of course it was virtually taboo these days.  But he really missed interacting with the beings that his race had created and elevated to dominance over this Terra-formed world.

Of course he wouldn’t be a god to these modern ones, as he had been back when they weren’t all rapidly merging into one globe-spanning electronic organism.  He’d be a freak, a nightmare, unless he used his own advanced technology to disguise his appearance.  And if he couldn’t find just the right individual and…well…be himself, what was the point?

Twin white meteor streaks jarred him out of his nocturnal daydreaming.  In an instant Mariko was on the job.  The magnetic snare was already enabled and the ship was on track, so all he had to do was hold course to intercept.  The first superheated mass he snagged easily, and as it went into a quick half-orbit around his craft Mariko slowed slightly to ensure catching the second as well.  The flux beams guided them into the containment bay.

Mariko sighed.  Dull job for a god, he thought as he cruised on toward his next intercept.

But at least he had a cool ride.


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