Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hotel Womb

Hotel Womb
By Scott Wilson
Word Count 639

Outside the volcano pierces the air with high pitched shrills and shrieks. Dark, sulphur ashes block out the midday sun. The sky appeared as midnight, with a feint blood red moon, hidden behind black clouds. Inside, I dream I am safe in my hotel womb. The white walls are soft and comforting, a stark contrast to the morbidly gloomy and mysterious alien world outside.

Lying next to me, on the luxurious emperor sized bed adorned with smooth, peach satin nightgown is my wife. I met her at a small boutique nightclub, The Lair, or at least I think I did, two weeks ago. The locals were strangely friendly to all foreigners, and I heard that many men came to this planet to meet a wife. I shortly found there was a price for everyone, even women already married. I paid eighty credits for this wedding ring; I couldn't take it off if I tried. The local goldsmith must have been a Sharman, or witch doctor. Some kind of spell shrunk the gold band when I put it on, joining it with my skin. Either that or something was in the strangely, sweet cactus wine I drank at the wedding, melding the alien material with my flesh.

A sudden voltage in the sky lights the river outside my hotel womb. I see a single, sullen woman float downstream to where the black waters swirl. She is wearing a pale white mask, but I can tell she is crying. Tears roll out under the mask, dripping on her ash, covered blouse. She must not have met an Earthman from the last shuttle landing on this planet on Monday. She will have to return home to her parents. There will be no union with our species for her this time. No rebirth in one of the hotel wombs. Great shame will fall upon her father. She will say, “Can we be reconciled?” Her father will have no choice, but to bear the burden, live as an outcast and hope next time an Earthman will pick her.

I go to sleep.

In my dream, I see the mother of the storm roam the sky searching for her child. She is sad, crying red tears that wash away the ash from the volcano. Drenching the alien streets, staining the cobblestone paths with crimson tears of pain. I wish I'm back in my hotel womb, slip through the cracks back to that wonderful room. I have done my duty, come to this planet, and selected a wife to maintain interstellar relations between Earth and these highly evolved aliens. Why do I still have these dreams? They are supposed to go once the psychic bond links between man and alien.

Morning comes at last, and she is lying by my side. She has not moved since we consummated our marriage last Tuesday. She has the face of the widow that keeps following me and the body of my bride. I check to make sure she is alive. The hotel womb is slowly pulsing, so I guess she is creating our child. It usually only takes a week for this to happen, the female alien hibernates for the gestation to conserve energy for the birth. The walls are now slightly pink, pulsating, and warm. It has become humid in here, uncomfortably so, but I will not leave the womb until after the birth. That would just be bad form. If I did leave, there is a high probability that both mother and child would die.

I look out the window again.

“Why are those buildings swaying like trees?” I say to myself.

She says, “Can't you hear the city that's hidden in there?”

I can hear her voice in my head again.

I am going to be a father soon.

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