(I can't seem to write anything substantial lately, and any one of these may be inappropriate, let me know if you think so)
The little yellow schoolbus turned that last familiar curve, and Kaylee Marie grinned joyfully. School was done, school was dumb, the sun was shining and she had so much energy left to spend. Which isn’t to say she didn’t try at school, but her antics turned her teacher from the wonderful friendly lady she’d met on day one, to a horrible yelling, punishing monster. She pictured Miss Bailey with green scales and glowing laser eyes in her head, and laughed out loud, as the bus came to a stop. She left the bus and started down the driveway, each side lined haphazardly with evergreens and shrubs, to the little white house her mum kept spotless. She banged on the window, leaving her Power Puff Girls backpack on the porch and took off into the rolling hills that surrounded the house. She was a fairy princess, a sly kitty, a space astronaut, and a dancing butterfly. She inhaled the scents of the wildflowers that grew in the fields, and smelled the delicious aroma of strawberries. There weren’t any around that she knew of, but she followed her nose to where the scent intensified, and discovered a shimmering pinkish light, on the other side of the hill she had climbed. She moved closer and the aroma enveloped her, and she was giddy with delight. The light pulled and pushed at her, and finally drew her in, to a world of aromatic phenols, and very little oxygen.
Dirk Janson had had enough. For the last month or so, he couldn’t maintain his pool at all. He’d added massive levels of chlorine, cleared the debris daily, and he finally had a service come in to analyze his water. Salt water, they said, like you’d find in an ocean. They even pulled a lionfish out of the pool that day.
“One of your buddies is pulling a pretty good prank on you,” they said, laughing, and told him to have the pool emptied before trying to clean it again.
He did, but within a week, his pool was heavily salted again, and he couldn’t understand how. He set up cameras around his pool, began to threaten friends and family. His blood pressure shot up. He caught nothing on tape, but more and more odd debris ended up in his pool, including a single shoe, two empty beer bottles, bit of shells and coral, and the odd fish. He drained his pool and refused to refill it. In a couple days it was full again. He forbid his family to use the pool, an unpopular decision. He came home from work several times to see bathing suits on the deck, evidence that his rule was being disobeyed. He lost his temper, time and again, his friends and coworkers became distant and uneasy around him.
He was found by his kids, slumped on the deck in the sunshine, dead of a heart attack. Their mother’s bloated, mangled body floated in the water, and an eight foot tiger shark swam cramped circles in the pool.
Haggah Merai didn’t speak English. In fact, English was a foreign concept to her, and to the other denizens of the world she lived in. Her people were a lean and agile race, with the potentially unfortunate visage of earth gibbons. They were intellectual and curious and had pioneered great advances in technology and exploration in the last 1000 years and were beginning to explore the stars in earnest. Haggah had failed out of her educational program, her dreams of leading a ship of scientists into space crushed, and her subsequent depression swallowing her life, day by day. She managed a meager career in environmental regulation, and never imagined that one day, she would lead a team in exploring a strange phenomenon that opened her worlds borders to that of a strange place called Earth, from the very soil she tread daily.