Author: Elena Horne

Darkness is all she sees, at least at first. She blinks, her eyes closing from left to right. The darkness lets through yellow stripes; little strips of light. The sky here is like a pinstriped suit of black and gold.

It’s hard too, and so close it grazes her nose. She touches it. It’s rough, and slivers of it catch under her skin.

The ground beneath her is soft and crumbly. Is this planet falling apart? She rolls on her belly and looks around. The sky seems to end just above her head. Beyond she sees a burst of light only blocked by little green people standing in a row. She scoots over to say hello.

The green people are not very friendly. They don’t say a word, but they all wear very nice hats. Some of their hats are yellow with brown centers, some white with yellow centers. The hats fall apart when she tries to tap on them, so she takes them off.

Maybe the green people aren’t people after all. She tries eating one instead. It tastes bitter but better than the crumbling ground.

A face appears behind the green non-people. It is small and surrounded by long dark hair, just like hers, only this face blinks up and down. The face asks why she is hiding under the porch. She didn’t know she was. She doesn’t know what porch means.

The face has a name, Daisy. She has a name too, but the Daisy person can’t pronounce it, so she calls her Khayyam for short. Daisy shows her more of the green non-people, which she calls flowers. She gives them all names too, only the Daisy lets the white hat one take hers.

Khayyam tells the Daisy person her secret. She shares it when she blinks from left to right and tells her where she’s from, but the Daisy person already knows Khayyam is not from this world.

The Daisy person leans closer. Something clicks as the Daisy’s face moves through the now named green things. She has a secret too. The Daisy’s eyes blink rapidly with a gentle creak.

Khayyam pokes her in the face. It is harder than the sky Daisy named Porch.

“You may be an alien,” the Daisy person says. “But I am a cyborg.”