Alien trees had sprung up in Central Park, huge and black and tentacled like inky upturned squids. Just like the ones Fishbowl had been growing by the waterfall, Tabitha remembered sadly. Birds were chirping and hopping between the trees’ tentacles, oblivious to the fact that these alien growths didn’t belong here. Everywhere Tabitha looked, strange new plants had flourished. Pale white tubes grew everywhere in the soil, hollow and rubbery; phallic flutes like headless mushrooms. Tabitha looked around at a wild world transforming; adapting new elements into itself, just like her.
Their footsteps crunching down a gravel path, Alex and Tabitha walked by a flower as tall as they were; a scaly blue limb with yellow petals the size of palm leaves. Tabitha stepped closer, sniffed at it. It just smelled like a flower, remarkably unremarkable. The petals just felt like petals when they brushed her arm; the whole thing swayed gently in the breeze just like anything else. Like the otherworldly bloom had belonged here since prehistory.
As they walked on through the park it dawned on Tabitha how peaceful it all was. The bright and bizarre had melded in with the ordinary. The birds and squirrels didn’t care what was growing around them; only whether they could climb it and perch on it. Bees hovered around alien flowers and just dismissed them and buzzed away. The planet had moved on and adapted to the new additions, and the human world was a fading memory. There was new life here. Everything, growing. Flourishing. Nothing managed, nothing pruned; nothing cut down. Just wilderness, growing unchecked, splashing the world with bright alien colour. In her daze, Tabitha felt a sudden oneness with it all. Like a magnet pulling her closer. A feast of current laid out for her, ready to make her a part of it all. The alien garden was a pulsing voltage goldmine; a vision of paradise. Full of everything she’d ever need, ready and waiting if she wanted it. She only had to step in and live amongst it.
‘See that?’ said Alex, stopping for a second. Tabitha snapped out of her daze.
‘Hm?’ she said, looking around sleepily. Alex was pointing at a blood-red bird a little off the path, no bigger than a wren. It was perched on a bobbing alien bloom on a spindly stalk, drinking tiny arcs of voltage in the shade. Feet dusted in white pollen to carry away.
‘It’s an alien bird?’ said Tabitha, watching it hop from one orb-shaped flower to the next. When it startled and flew away though, it didn’t fly on wings. Tiny jet scales glowed on its sides, just like Seven, and it floated up and zipped off into the trees. Tabitha smiled as she watched it go; she didn’t know why. The cheeping creature was cute, but the meaning was terrifying. The invasion wasn’t just about war; there was a gentler occupation going on too, and it was happening all around them. The wildlife was moving in.
Want to read more? You can download the full novel free this week here on the Kindle store. I’m writing the sequel at the moment, so I’d love to know what you think about Tabitha in an Amazon review!