Unheard of, I know, but here I am preparing my second blogpost in two days. Please don’t worry, normal, sporadic service will be resumed forthwith. However, today I wrote a very short, fun little tale as a result of a flashfiction prompt I was given and it made me smile, so I thought I’d share it. Hope you enjoy it.
Zack was exasperated. He’d been haggling with this trader for over 30 solins. The man was being totally unreasonable. His offer of an eye for an eye was nothing short of out and out robbery. Zack’s Palloium violets were worth seven or eight of the trader’s Earther blues. Besides that Zack had been careful to harvest the optic nerve too, those Earther eyes had clearly been ripped out by a butcher. The nerves were shredded, sure they’d look good, but they’d never function.
“You are wasting my time!” Zack snorted as he turned to leave.
“Wait, I may be willing to sweeten my offer…” the trader called after him.
Zack stopped. He should keep walking, he knew, this man had nothing he wanted and he could easily be stalling for time. Ionians, like Zack, were rare in this part of the galaxy. He turned and growled, “How?”
“I couldn’t help but notice your heritage.”
“What of it?”
“Well,” the man had the good sense to at least fake being slightly embarrassed, “I’m not sure if you are aware but there is a belief among some Earther’s…”
“…that my body parts make good aphrodisiacs?” Zack finished for him, already reaching for his weapon.
Alarmed the trader held up both his hands, pleading, “relax, my friend. I mean you no harm. I’m a trader, not a harvester.”
“Then get to your point, and do it quickly.” Zack’s weapon remained at hand.
“Do you often visit Telaniam 7?”
“I have passed that way.”
“Then you will know of their fascination with the ancient past.”
“It is…very profitable.” Zack conceded, becoming curious despite himself.
“I have, in the back, a relic from the giganotosaurus. One of the largest Earther dinosaurs ever discovered. It is over 110 million years old. On Telaniam 7 it would fetch a small fortune. But they are a reclusive people. I have been waiting over twelve years for one to pass my way, and I am beginning to think that, by the time I meet a Telaniam of any moon, I will be too old to enjoy my fortune.”
“What does all this have to do with me?” Zack was becoming suspicious again, his Pallonium violets were valuable but they were not worth a small fortune and this merchant knew it. Zack saw genuine fear pass fleetingly across the man’s face, before he cleared his throat and continued.
“A small, fresh, Ionian body part, voluntarily given,” the trader added in a hurry, “would be much easier to find a buyer for.”
“You propose a trade?”
The trader looked a little relieved, “I do. I propose exchanging my relic for one of your teeth. You may harvest it yourself, of course, as I said, I am not a harvester.”
“Show me the relic.” Zack demanded.
The man turned and disappeared behind the rope curtain into his ramshackle shop. Zack moved to the side of the stall, to avoid any nasty surprises, but his caution was without cause. The man returned almost groaning under the weight of what was clearly a large incisor from a massive jaw. He dropped it onto the table with a thud that Zack could feel through his feet.
Despite himself Zack was intrigued.
He sheathed his weapon, grabbed his scanner from his belt and moved over to examine the tooth. His read outs showed it was genuine and still contained active DNA.
“What do you want for it?” he asked, trying to mask his enthusiasm.
“I’ll take your Pallonium violet and one of your incisor’s. I will throw in the Earther blue as a show of good will.”
Zack mulled it over in his mind. Telanium 7 was 18 light years away. If he travelled via the network he could be there in a little over two years and the trader was right, the giganotosaurus tooth would fetch a fortune there. He thought about what the loss of his incisor would mean. He would be weaker in a fight, and he would need to cook his meat whilst his new tooth grew but then again, he’d be in transit for most of that time anyway. He couldn’t see how he could lose. He changed the setting on his scanner and held it up to his cheek. This left incisor materialised in the organ receptacle.
“We have a trade. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” he said.
F Hellen Riebold’s Author Page