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The Alien Came over the Hill

Karen Heuler's stories appear in literary, fantasy, and science fiction magazines regularly and have won various awards, including an O. Henry. Her 2014 novel, Glorious Plague, was about a strangely beautiful apocalypse, and her second story collection, The Inner City, was chosen as one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly. This is her third appearance in Daily Science Fiction.
The alien came over the hill
elongated, with a gravity belt, leaving behind all thoughts of home, armed to the teeth, scared and young. All superior officers dead; not sure of her mission; wishing for home.
The alien came over the hill
straight into someone else's war. They didn't know whose side she was on, so they missiled her. She didn't care about sides. She sent the missile back.
The alien came over the hill
spacegun shooting silently, ducking behind trees, two of its arms waving alien gestures, brought low by a man screaming, noise being a weapon she'd never heard before.
The alien came over the hill
invisible save for her eyes, which didn't look like human eyes and so could creep among the bushes and through the hedges, noting everything like a burglar.
The alien came over the hill
looking sharply left and right, holding her empty hands up, having done her research. Still, the chances were good she'd be killed so she had a dog with her, or really a dog-like thing, which could turn bombs into kittens.
The alien came over the hill
playing pop music out of a speaker on her shoulder, twitching her hand like the pope, nodding like the queen, bowing before a barking dog seconds before she was shot.
The alien came over the hill
shining; dragging images of more aliens behind her, floating like kites. Magnificent, golden, eyes like ray guns (they were ray guns), the kind that legends are built on, but limping.
The alien came over the hill
Photoshopped, 3-D printed, looking like a human but with too firm a handshake. Found out, rough-handled, she pushed a button and sprang up three feet away, looking like a woman landing a good punch.
The alien came over the hill
holding out a new energy source, without wires or gears, just a thing like a mushroom cap and an aura of force. She came in peace. It would revolutionize the poor and save this world if only the world would agree to be saved.
The alien came over the hill
like a bullet in its small craft, burning the ground, crunching trees. The pilot adjusted her range and sped close to the ground, raising a dust devil that whirled silently even after she was gone.
The alien came over the hill
with many things for trade: strange fruits, new alcohol, fabrics that fit automatically, shoes that changed colors, guns that killed their targets then animated them again, shiny trinkets that unmasked the truth.
The alien came over the hill
with short arms and two long tentacles in addition to legs that never straightened out, used to screams, flight, shots, and bullhorns, striding into a suburb where all the cars revved up and came at her, riding and driving until she was flat.
The alien came over the hill
She was flat and slow, unpeeling more selves like a pack of cards, standing them all in a row as if to say, Shoot me, or maybe, Look at what I am.
The alien came over the hill
and found nothing lovable. Metal things, flesh things were there, but nothing of spirit, nothing of mind. She went back over the hill and sent her report: no more or not yet.
The alien came over the hill
slowly and stopped often, taking seeds from a pouch, and planting them. A hunter passing by saw the strange creature and killed her, but did not see what she had planted.
The alien came over the hill
and it took days, the alien was small and had feeble legs and wings that didn't work in this gravity. Her food packs were gone and what around her was safe to eat, and what was lethal?
The alien came over the hill
carrying a gift wrapped in a bow that kept changing color. She left the gift on the side of the ridge and went back over the hill.
The alien came over the hill
guns blazing, making eerie sounds, her head revolving, leaking a lethal green gas that smelled of alien almonds.
The alien came over the hill
dressed as a cat, stretching as she walked, eyes recording, turning as a boy shot the cat with the second gun his father gave him.
The alien came over the hill
just before she died and wrote a message in the dirt, or a map, or her name, before she turned over on her back and died with her eyes open.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, July 13th, 2015


I was just thinking one night and I thought, if an alien came over a hill, you would automatically think that alien was, in some sense, male. And your first impulse would be to kill it, which is what we do when we don't know why someone who looks different is approaching us. So I thought: female alien. And she has multiple tries at coming over the hill. Aliens can do that.

- Karen Heuler

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