Martians had no concept of prejudice. Their brains were wired like lobotomized slugs: each experience was new. Yet, their transcendent race had accumulated the wisdom to recognize xenophobia as it applied to them. I blanched at the unusual combination of smell and terror-inducing hisses emanating from my tour guide.

“Plack manu frobbish, Gia?” What are you afraid of, Earthling? Yonder creek has overflowed its banks, disgorging a nice harvest of plump bayroot and plankton. Shall we dine?

I frantically waved my hands in front of me. It was—I hoped—the universal gesture for “Hell, no!” Thankfully, within minutes, the creek was forgotten. We continued our trek along the outskirts of Phaethontis.

“This vista is majestic, Gia. No other kaluluwa lives with this view. I know this is an odd concept for you. Your habitat is overpopulated, covered with chemical gases and rather too close to Mother Star, at any rate.

“We kaluluwa worship segregation. Each creek is a natural peace-keeper: we have not had a rebellion since the Ethereal Exodus.”

I just nodded dumbly as I tried to control the periodic tremors that accompanied each foul whiff of this grotesque creature. Truthfully, the milestones of inter-species diplomacy seemed less relevant with each step I took on this godforsaken rock.

A war between the worlds was about as likely as my kissing that green guppy on its cheek. I turned toward the embassy, hoping the hint would be taken.

Majestic Vista
Majestic Vista

Copyright © 2016 by Mitchell Allen

Originally appeared on CreativeCopyChallenge #424.