”I’ve been wanting to ask you something for a while,”
It was the last thing Floop was expecting.
The door slid cleanly open.
He was standing against the side of the frame. His clothes were torn and ragged, eyes swolen and exhaused, his skin dripping with blood…
”I’ve been wanting to ask you something for a while,” the boy said again.
His skin crawled — not just at the boy — bloody and back at the worst time imagineable. But at the words. The oh-so familiar words… Floop’s eyes darted between the boy and the console. It was so almost done. Why? Why now?
The boy’s eye twitched, and he drew in a loud, creaking breath. “I’ve been wanting to ask you something for a while,” he said for the last time. “But I wanted to do it in the best way! And in the tunnel of love, I thought ‘Amity’s too cool for this’,”
Floop’s stared, mesmerised.
The boy took a step forward.
”What I mean is… Everything is so crazy right now,” another step. “And I have no idea what my future holds but,” another step, “—it would be so cool, if you were in it.”
”H… Heye—!” his voice said, indepdent of him. But the boy’s features seemed to harden before Floop had finished saying his name. Heck, barely before he had even started it. As if the act of him saying anything at all was enough to bug him, as if the contents of his speech were already known….
”What, you’re gonna adress me now? You’re gonna bother explaining yourself? Now that you need me again?”
”I—” started Floop.
”Alternatively: See? Now you bother to adress me. Because I’m a threat.”
”I—” he tried agian.
”‘I- um- I-‘ come on, do some BRILLIANT thing that takes me down right now. Go AHEAD. EVERYONE’S WAITING. DO IT!”
”Okay!” erupted Floop. “Congratulations! You can quote! You can say things that you’ve heard before! I get it, we all get it. What do you want—”
”That you’ve been keeping me awake,” the boy’s footsteps seem to squelch as he took each slow step forward, eyes locked with the three-foot alien. “Are you here to distract me so I make a huge mistake—”
”SHUT UP!” screamed Floop, crashing his hands against his ears.
”You gave the fake tip…” the boy continued, his features ceasely hard as he hobbled towards the pale blue man. “You turned on the TV last night, not Jessie!”
Floop’s features almost seemed to flicker, as though he was going insane.
And then his eyes widened, as though the way to end the suffering became abundantly clear to him.
”You clearly aren’t well,” said Floop calmy. “I must have gone a little light on you with the fixing.”
He reached over, retrieving in his hands a small button, detatched from anything else. A six-legged creature very apparently tattooed across its casing.
He stared at Heye, his finger careening towards the button.
”How’s this for a little quote therapy?”
Floop’s vision was consumed by a bloody half-corpse catapulting across the room, his hands like cranes grasping against his wrists.
Heye catapulted towards the child, an exhausting fury channeling through every part of him, and crushed his wrists inside of his ferocious grip, keeping them away from the nanobot-summoning button.
“TAKE A BREAK WITH THE FREAKING ROBOTS!” Heye screamed into Floop’s face. He took an arm and dragged it behind the alien’s head, Heye’s own up against Floop’s neck.
”What’s wrong with you??” the boy pleaded, looking down at the Sokotian in his captivity. “What kind of reaction is that? What kind of person’s first instinct to someone doing something they dislike is ‘let me call in my army of nanobots to change their core brain structure’?????”
”You don’t get it!” Floop squirmed within the headlock, trying to rotate the button inside his isolated left hand to press it with just one finger… “I already told you! The pain isn’t the important part! You’re broken! You’re all broken!”
”Oh, the classic ‘we’re all just trash, waiting to be thrown away’ garbage?” Heye’s arm tightened viciously around Floop’s neck, his voice dropping to a deep whisper. “Don’t you dare pretend it’s about us. I came to you! I talked to you! I spent all that time listening to you and believing you! And you ignored me! I told you you were wrong and you didn’t change your plan AT ALL!”
In speaking, Heye diverted too much of his attention away from his captee. He screamed, blue saliva dripping off the part of his wrist where Floop’s teeth had just sunk into him.
Floop slithered through the hole, landing near the dashboard covered in buttons and dials, the remote dancing out with him. “What, you want me to throw away ten years of work because you used a different word in a definition? That’s not excactly a rigorous proof.”
He made to press the button and Heye launched himself at him, smashing Floop’s body against the dashboard. The sound of a thousand beeps blipped in their eardrums as they tumbled over the console, Heye straining to reach the hand that held the remote that decided his fate, which Floop held as far out as he could above his hand. Their crazed dance was doused in a flurrying array of colours, the sound of slabs of stone sliding away and screens descening from the sky — chairs extending and restraints contracting—
”HEYE!” screamed Floop. His eyes darted about frantically, until in one easy motion he propped himself apon the counter and sent a foot floundering into Heye’s gut. But in his distraction the remote had become loose in his grip, and Heye effortlessly swooped it into his own as the kick sent him spinning across the dashboard, about to crash against the metal wall—
Where he was certain a wall should be he instead slipped through a cold air, specks of dust floating past his face. He paused, assessing the bizzare hidden room he had found himself in, clearly unveiled by a button he had pressed. In it was a sad, lumpy bed, a mirror, and a sink.
And apon the wall were hundreds of pink post it notes, arranged in a fascinating shape around something rather shredded—
”Get out of there!” Floop screamed. Heye doubled over in pain at the alien’s punch, and it did not let up. He garbeled as he found Floop’s arm tight around his neck, and he staggered outside the room into blinding white light, the air thick and slow — as though moving through water — purple specks lining the air.
The portal was flickering wildly, flashing between purple and transparency.
”This is your whole problem!” said Floop as he reached wildly out towards the button, Heye stretching as far as he could while choking under the grown man’s strength. “You’ll go to such bizzare lengths…” Heye’s eyes widened as the alien grew closer.
Heye’s arms erupted seering pain, as if something was slicing deeper into his wounds— Floop was crushing his nails into the sore sections as he reached upwards, the anticipated reaction of Heye’s hand snaking downwards functioning all too well. Floop grappled it with one hand, ripping his other from within the bloody wound, and smashed down on the button with a throbbing, bubbling glee.
”HaHA!” The room dowsed in red as a horn blared. Floop stuck up both arms in a delighted cheer, effortlessly rolling off Heye and bouncing off the ground. His face seemed burned in a delighted grin, every inch of his face creased in an endlessly euphoric smile.
The colony inside of the boy’s skull seemed to activate, vibrating excitedly and wiggling within him. He felt dizzy and sick, and could only stare straight ahead, to where Floop stood speechless.
He watched him, the alien’s perfect smile beginning to falter, his eyebrows beginning to twitch, then dance up and down his face, settling in a strained smile. He collapsed to the ground, beginning to chuckle. A glorious, relieved chuckle.
This project… ten years… for him it must have not just been like his child wandering near a cliff, but like his child being grabbed by the collar by a stranger, their body dangled over the raging seas, teetering near death…
But Heye couldn’t let it happen.
The grains of rice jiggled wildly inside his brain… the swarm was almost here.
Heye pointed a burned finger down at Floop, almost hearing the creak as he raised his arm.
”You’re a real wise guy but you made one fatal mistake,”
Floop looked up, the innocent look of a baby plastered all over him.
The glass shattered, a swarm of beetles spiralling into the room.
”You messed with my family!”
Heye leapt onto Floop, hearing something click as he crashed against the body that was half his size. He grabbed him with all the strength he could muster, his arms pinned tight against the desperately squiggling body — spinning him around—
And the bugs swooped directly for Heye’s head—
And Heye brought up his human shield—
And the bugs swooped into its skull, an infinite amount more than should have been able to fit racing into his ears and spilling out of his eyes in demented black tears—