Lumps and Bumps, by Jodie Llewellyn
The body was strange. Xavier Valac twisted from side to side, examining his reflection from all angles. Beside him, a long line of Cronian’s were making similar movements; leaning in close to the mirror, pulling faces, prodding at odd lumps and bumps, and stretching out limbs that were much shorter than what they were used to.
“What are these?” Andras asked, poking at the soft squishy lumps that had taken up residence on her chest.
Xavier tore his eyes away from the mirror and looked at lumps in question. “I think the commander called them ‘breasts’.”
“Breasts?” she repeated. “Why don’t you have any?”
“Because only female humans have them,” Xavier said, pushing strands of hair back from his forehead. What was all this hair, anyway? Why did humans need so much of it? It was absolutely everywhere.
“Alright ladies and gentlemen,” the commander called from the head of the room.
No one moved.
“That means you lot,” he sighed. “Gather round. Come on, stop looking at yourselves. Vanity is not a desired human trait.”
“Am I a lady or a gentlemen?” Xavier muttered to Andras as they stepped back from the mirrors and turned to face the commander.
“Maybe you’re neither,” Andras smirked, nudging his shoulder playfully.
“How is everyone feeling?” the commander asked when he had their attention. He was still in Cronian form and stood on a platform high above their heads. “Your transition into human form has been a success. It is now time to get acquainted with your human bodies. This familiarity is essential for our vacation. We don’t want to stick out and cause a panic amongst the humans.”
Xavier looked around. No one was really paying attention. Andras was still staring at her breasts and everyone else was plucking at hair on their arms, examining fingers, moving toes, or squinting up at the bright lights that illuminated the space station. Xavier followed their gaze curiously and snapped his eyes closed at the glare. Human eyes were clearly more susceptible to light than Cronian’s.
Xavier lifted his hand. “Permission to speak, commander.”
The commander gestured for him to continue.
“Perhaps it would be best to allow us the time to adapt to our bodies,” Xavier suggested. He gesturing around the room, “as you can see, our new forms are very distracting.”
The commander sighed. “Very well, spend the morning experimenting. I want you all back here and ready to listen to me after lunch. Oh, and please be careful, these bodies are fragile. We don’t want any broken bones or split skin before we even leave the galaxy.”
Andras squinted at her wrists. “He’s right. Our new skin is very thin. What happens if I fall on something sharp?”
“I don’t know. I suppose it doesn’t matter, we have to be able to move first.” Xavier glanced over his shoulder to his backside. “How am I supposed to run without a tail?”
A loud thud caught his attention and Xavier looked up to see one of the lower ranked Cronian’s on the floor laughing hysterically. He had apparently tried to run and fallen over before he could go more than a couple of feet.
“What do you think it will be like?” Xavier asked, skimming his eyes across their brethren and smiling at their antics. “Earth?”
“I think—” Andras caught her reflection in the mirror and was momentarily distracted.
“Andras?” Xavier prompted patiently.
“Oh, right. Sorry, this is so distracting.” She tore her eyes away. “I think Earth will be magical. I mean, think about it Xavier. We have a whole month there. It is going to be amazing.” She smiled, excitement shining in her brown human eyes. “So how do I look? Do I pass for human?”
Xavier surveyed her. “Well, you are stooping a little to the left, is that normal?”
She spun around to the mirror and corrected her posture until she stood straight and tall.
“What about me?” Xavier prompted, stepping up beside her.
“You look very human-ish.”
He felt human-ish. His human body was shorter and thinner than what he was used to, but it was comfortable. He felt very fragile, but he was trying not to think of the myriad of ways he could be hurt on planet Earth. He had sat through enough lectures to know of the dangers that awaited them – sunburn, poisonous animals, their bodies shutting down if they failed to nourish them properly. It was a lot to learn and a lot to remember but Xavier was confident they could pull this off. He glanced up at the large clock on the far side of the room. 30 days. In one human month their spaceship would breach Earth’s atmosphere and their adventure would begin.
That is of course, if they managed to stop poking and prodding their new bodies long enough to pass for human.
Jodie Llewellyn holds a Bachelor of Communications degree from the University of the Sunshine Coast. A self-proclaimed travel nut, she has been sighted in such exotic locations as Greece, Morocco and Thailand. Jodie is currently writing her first novel, a dark urban fantasy set in Purgatory. See more at JodieLlewellyn.LiveJournal.com
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Tags: aliens, experimentation, Jodie Llewellyn