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Alien Jerky

A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in literature, Kelly Sauvage Angel is the author of Om Namah... (published under Kalyanii) and a collection of poetry entitled Scarlet Apples & Cream. She's not necessarily as frightening as her name might suggest.

The moment Sebby arrived at the overlook atop King's Bluff, she sloughed off her backpack and plunked herself onto the gritty, yet somehow smooth, limestone. Though the guidebook had deemed the trail "difficult," she hadn't found the climb much more than "invigorating." However, her feet hurt like hell.
"You going to be okay for the trip down?" her big sister, Bronwyn, asked after taking a long pull from her Camelback.
"I'll be fine. I'm just not wearing the best socks."
"You know, you should always wear a liner beneath the socks themselves. It virtually eliminates the friction," Bronwyn said.
Sebby rolled her eyes. "We can't all afford high-tech, moisture-wicking fibers."
"Don't get salty, Baby Girl. You'll make your mark one day." Bronwyn made a come-hither motion with her hand. "Let me take a look."
Sebby unlaced and, at long last, removed the hiking boot from her right foot before placing it on her sister's knee for inspection.
"Jiminy crickoids!" Bronwyn exclaimed.
The taut sheen of an angry blister appeared through a gaping hole beneath and to the side of Sebby's big toe. Unable to help herself, Bronwyn prodded the pustule with curiosity. Sebby didn't mind. The gentle pressure took her focus from the burning sensation of the one slightly above it that popped and had been marinating in the saltiness of her sweat. Reading her thoughts, Bronwyn directed her attention slightly upward and flicked the wet flap of skin that simply begged to be ripped away. She abruptly chose to leave it alone, knowing better.
"When we get back to town, I'm buying you some new socks. And, I won't take 'no' for an answer," Bronwyn said as she reached into her pack and pulled out the pouch of jerky that she had brought back from her last interplanetary business trip. "Here, you don't want your blood sugar to dip."
Since she began importing foodstuffs from the planet Schicksal, Bronwyn never lacked for new and interesting prepackaged snacks.
"What is it?" Sebby asked as she re-laced her boot.
"Alien jerky," Bronwyn said as she opened the package with her teeth. "Have some."
"That's gross," Sebby said with a scrunch of her nose.
"How's it any different from beef, salmon, or any of the other jerkies?"
"I wouldn't know. Remember? I'm vegan. Nonetheless, you have to ask?"
"Oh, come on. You'll get beyond all of those fads once you graduate. Now that we have access to Schicksalean resources, we should indulge and be grateful. There's an abundance of new products to try!"
"The Schicksals aren't our resources, much less are they products, Bronwyn. They're living beings who deserve the same respect as you or I do."
"We're still the superior species. So, they are resources, don't you think?"
"Absolutely not. What makes you think we're better than they are? And even if we were, whatever that means, that's no excuse for flaying and dehydrating another creature." Sebby looked to the horizon.
"I'm not going to take the bait, Sebby. Just get something in your stomach and we'll head down."
Sebby snatched the package just as Bronwyn had reached in for another bite.
"It's tasty. You'll see." Bronwyn popped a last piece into her mouth.
Perusing the package's label, Sebby's lips curled in an expression of amusement mixed with horror.
"Um, Bronwyn...?"
"Just so I understand, your business is to import to Earth products that are sold on Schicksal, right?"
"Yes, Sebby. You know that. Why do you ask?"
"Because, to a Schicksalean, wouldn't a human be an alien?"
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
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