The Jungle Reclaims All

The biggest problem with time travel isn’t the journey, it’s the arrival. The jarring, absolute silence as you tear through the space-time continuum, the draining loneliness as your cerebral comms go dead for a heartbeat. The impotent panic that something has gone wrong, that you’re the only survivor. It’s been thirty years since a catastrophic re-entry, but as static envelopes your brain you can never remember just how long it has been in meat-space.  It’s unpleasantly like being drunk – from the glass of water’s perspective.  But you go where you have to, nestling into the fabric of time. I understand, but that doesn’t mean I’d do it all again if I get a reset.

Paris. 1944. The beast has been here, the sensors ring out their chaotic, unnecessary warnings. The beast was here.  The cracked, blood-soaked cobblestones, torn swastikas, the Arc de Triumph shattered in the ancient city square. The walker’s tripod legs touch down amidst the evidence of his landing. Cleanse the population of their haunting memories, remove the ghosts of the impossible from their minds. There is nothing more difficult than erasing a chapter of history – each newspaper headline, each photograph must be deleted. To protect the Earth, to ensure our future history.

Venus 6. 2109. The jungles have taken over. The terraformed surface has been given over to alien biomass, the creeping arboreal fingertips of human intervention. The warm, wet atmosphere has been over-exploited, the greed of the colonists for their own world too obvious in the South-East Asian biomass exported over thirty-eight million kilometres. The dragon was here. The scanners show it still is, too heavy not to fall back to ground. The tripod speaks through the comms,

The air crackles. Electric fire dances across the out buildings. We will bring the beast back. Alive, if possible. Dead, if necessary. The biologists will have as much fun with an autopsy as they will with a living specimen.


It’s early, and I had to write something, you guys. Photo prompt via io9. I also used LAST WEEK’s TerribleMinds’ A Game of Aspects (I got Cyberpunk; Paris, 1944; and A Dragon) as well as this week’s 3WordWednesday prompts (AbsoluteFall and Nestle) and the SundayScribblings prompt I understand. Comments and criticism welcome…

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2 thoughts on “The Jungle Reclaims All

  1. This was great — those first few sentences got me really hooked it. Nicely done. 🙂

  2. jackkastor says:

    Awwww yeah! More of this please, Chris. It’s bloody ace! Points go to you for use of the word, “arboreal.” Totally entrancing. This stuff is right up my alley.

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