by Jason Davis
"I eat rocks" was the first thing that the alien said. Later, over limestone and shale, it told us that it didn't know what we meant by "love," and when we explained the term, it replied off-handedly that the whole thing seemed contrived and put upon, an affectation that did no one any good. It said the same thing about God. It told us that it was only being honest, and, whale-sized bone-plated jaws crunching away, whistling its speech through what I can only guess was a nose, it said that we, as a species, were just lying to ourselves, brainwashing each other to believe that there was some bigger meaning hovering over us in the dark. We asked it, hands in our pockets, what then, was the point, what was the meaning of existence, the real reason for getting up in the morning, for breathing, for living, for talking to it right now, if not a hope for something transcendent. It sat there for a while, apparently mulling things over, a spray of eyes the color of rusting iron peering without focus from the stalk on the top of its head, and then it said "I eat rocks."
Jason Davis, author of Sky Lighting, currently lives on the Tibetan plateau, where he spends his days studying the habits and behaviors of small nonmigratory birds. For reals. His warmth comes only from the friction of pencil on paper, and so he writes an awful lot. He is also a contributing member of The Drinklings and of The Story Game.