Sun Floaters (Short Story)

It came as a bloated shadow eclipsing the sun.

If the sky were clear that crisp morning, it would have been an obvious intrusion. However, that day, the air was clogged with brown dust, and it took me several moments to become alert to its presence.

I regret wasting precious time in ignorance, for I knew it was more than the usual passersby, more than the average threat.

I launched myself up and allowed the wind to take me to the nearest grassy field. Most of us were farmers, harvesting the tall green stalks for food.

I was one of the few who guarded the community. Those of my trade were positioned on the nearby sandy plains, looking up for danger. The area was good for making clear observations, though relaying such information back to the general public was strenuous. Fortunately, I found a father and daughter pair on the community’s outskirts.

“Excuse me, sir and ma’am,” I pulled the two aside, their blue eyes staring into mine.

“What is it?” The father asked.

“I’m a nearby patrol, and I saw…well,” I looked over towards his daughter, who was a young girl of 4 months, and lowered my voice. “I saw a Sun Floater.”

His face became expressionless, his entire body still. I prodded his side, and he began to jerk around uncontrollably.

“Tell the others, as many as you can,” I spoke slowly, trying to keep eye contact with his moving figure. “I will remain out here and continue observing it. Okay?”

He stopped shaking. I wondered if he had heard me, but then he turned around, signaled his daughter to follow, and headed deeper into the thicket. I sighed in relief.

Suddenly, I felt a large thump from above. My vision become blurred by particles flown up from the impact. I closed my eyes and kept them shut until the atmosphere calmed. Once I regained my sight, I was surrounded by gray bodies, including the father and daughter I had encountered.

I knew there would be no escape once we emerged from the ocean, so we had to act, quick. I shouted for everyone to get up, and to follow my lead. I began chomping on the surrounding bundled net, and the others did the same. Though we were all working together, we were making minimal progress. I looked around desperately for another solution and recalled something my patrol officer had mentioned about Sun Floaters.

She had told us that while Sun Floaters were powerful creatures, their exterior armor was rather weak. I pushed up towards their flabby appendix and clamped down on it with all my might, and hoped for the best. Immediately, we were flung away towards their backside, and sunk back down to the surface.

As we cheered for our freedom, I noticed something rather odd. From my studies of these creatures, they supposedly had a total of four limbs, all covered in a brown-hued coating which occasionally had an extra, multicolored layer.

However, this being seemed to have three limbs. There were the usual two at the front, but, then, instead of two more at the back, there was just one long, fish-like tail. It was covered in hypnotic, iridescent scales.

All I could do was watch it swim away, and wonder what such a creature could be, and how such a contradicting combination of earth and water could exist.



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