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“Five-Minute Escape”

short science fiction story.



TIME: The year 2187. PLACE: The Rain Planet Plineius V

Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


Arthur! Do you have water in your ears? I asked if that creature is dangerous!”

Arthur Dolescomb looked up from his guidebook to the natural wonders of the rain planet Plineius V and sighed.

“No…no, I don’t think so, dear. Nothing in the park is considered harmful to man. However, it is a wild creature, Edna, and I hardly think it advisable to bother—“

“I didn’t ask you to think, Arthur, I asked if that…that thing is planning something horrible! You have the guidebook…just what exactly is it anyway?

Arthur stared at the thing on the pathway, decided the creature resembled nothing so much as a large mound of wilting lettuce, and consulted his guidebook. Rain pattered violently against the surrounding Ylinthis Palms, and Arthur, feeling the mist seeping through his air shield, turned up the molecular generator on his collar. The contraption, which also kept Plineius V’s ferocious insect population at bay, promptly agitated the air molecules surrounding his body. The resulting barrier kept Arthur safe and dry.

Edna on the other hand…

Edna was miserable. Edna was always miserable, mind you, but today, dripping, soggy, her thin, angular frame nearly moldy from the incessant downpour, Edna was particularly miserable. Arthur decided it was in his best interests to answer quickly.

“The book doesn’t say much about it, dear, but its name is Pacifistus Melodius. Sounds friendly enough, I’d say.”

“Disgusting blob! It looks like a overturned bowl of putrefying salad,” she said. “In fact, everything about this godforsaken planet is disgusting! Why did you bring me to this hideous jungle, Arthur? I wanted a decent vacation!”

Arthur rubbed his pudgy fingers over his balding forehead. “I did the best I could dear. You spent all our vacation money on your fusty old wardrobe artifacts. What is that contraption anyway? Can’t you just turn on your molecular generator? You’d be a whole lot drier. You’d probably feel a lot brighter too.”

Edna frowned. “I prefer to use my umbrella, thank you. It’s fashionably retro and makes me feel chic. Goodness knows,” she said, pulling her shoe out of a mud puddle, “nothing else in this nasty place does. Besides, the rain is stopping.”

Wiping away the rainwater dripping from her nose she regarded the thing quivering on the trail.

“What do you suppose it eats, Arthur?”

“I don’t know. Some native flora, fauna, or other. What does it matter?”

“Give me your sandwich.”

“But Edna, it’s my lunch and I’m hungry—”

“Give it to me!”

Breaking off a piece of the sandwich, she lobbed it on the trail before the creature. The creature stirred. Green folds parted, and a single golden eye regarded the morsel for an instant. Then the green folds closed and the eye disappeared.

“Well, it looked anyway. Didn’t seem to like your sandwich though. Small wonder. How you like sardines is simply beyond me….”

Dropping the sandwich in the mud, she rummaged in a cavernous purse done in the ancient style.

“Oh, Edna, my lunch—”

“Quiet! You can buy yourself something later at the snack stand… Ah-ha! Pea-nuts!”

Smiling triumphantly, Edna shoved the bag of nuts in Arthur’s hand. “Throw it a peanut.” She demanded.

“I’d rather not, dear. As I said—”

“Do it!”

Arthur sighed and halfheartedly tossed the creature a peanut, missing by several feet. Again the green folds parted.

“Oh, give them here!” Grabbing back the peanut bag, Edna launched several peanuts at the thing, one of which hit the creature’s open eye. The thing seemed to moan and shuffled back a pace or two. Edna followed, jabbing at the creature with her umbrella.

“Edna! No! Don’t antag—”

“Take it! Take the peanut!” Edna shouted, poking vigorously. “Why don’t you just take it!”

The green folds parted a final time and a forest of tentacles embraced Edna.

Arthur began to scream.

“The creature just couldn’t take it,” he wrote later on the missing persons report.




  For more information about the possibility of alien life on other planets, please click the following fascinating links:

For a general overview, try:

For an interesting older (2005) article put out by NASA, try:

ABOUT THIS BLOG… Each “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short science fiction story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!” “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013