Author : Jennifer C. Brown aka Laieanna
Shimmering just before, the dome door melted away into nothing. The vibrations that came with the shield opening left Henrick feeling a little nauseous. Between the clear slats of the dome’s walls were colors of light pink to lavender. Stepping outside the shield, Henrick saw the sky was painted in deep purples. He looked back at the surface of the outside wall for the indicator. It gave a tolerable reading.
“The shields really distort the true colors of this world.” A girl two feet taller said as she passed him.
Henrick looked back at the indicator, up at the sky, then at the girl and decided to follow. He ran to catch up with her long strides. “This is my first week here. I’ve only seen orange till now.”
“The toxins are pretty high today. When it’s bright green, you especially don’t want to be outside. That’s when you have trouble. I’m Patrish.” She only gave him a momentarily glance.
“Haven’t participated in the planet education class yet, have you?”
“No. I’m rarely out of the tech labs. How long have you been here?”
“Sixteen months. I’m part of the language classes. You better keep your eyes on the walkway.”
Henrick did as he was told, turning his attention from the sky to the shining white walkway that carried the students safely from one dome to the other without a single foot touching the massive jungle of alien plant life that filled the planet just ten feet below them. He glanced over the side. Something of a puke brown snapped in his direction, it’s razor leaves coming together in their search for lunch. Another plant just five feet further away was oozing a substance between it’s lumpy gold petals. Henrick looked around at all the disturbing plants and remembered why he usually stayed in the labs. Ever since he got a glimpse of the outside from a shuttle window, he opted to stay inside as much as possible. The vegetation growing over the planet’s surface terrified him.
The sky was getting lighter with a shade of forest green trying to eat at the purple near the horizon. Patrish quickened her pace. “This won’t be good soon. We should probably hurry.”
Henrick’s legs were thicker and shorter so he took another jog to keep up. Patrish still had him at her back by four steps. He put on a burst of speed to catch up. His right foot missed the edge and Henrick found himself falling to his nightmares. Heading face first, he could see a clearing between the thick plants and prayed he would land there. It was going to hurt since the planet itself was much further down than he assumed based on the tall vegetation, but a broken leg was better than being dinner.
Patrish was screaming behind him. His voice joined. Before he could feel the impact, a giant blue leaf caught him. It was tacky against his skin and smelled like an unwashed body. Henrick shut his weeping eyes and braced for the first crunch.
“Get up!” Patrish yelled only seconds later. Henrick opened his eyes to find himself back on the solid platform. The leaf was snaking back off the edge.
“I’m alive?” He asked as she pulled him to his feet.
“Of course. The plants just saved your life. If you had touched the soil you’d be dead, which will still happen if you don’t move. The sky is getting brighter. Can’t you see the planet is trying to kill us? Now run!”