Natural Selection

Avatar Author: Jim Stitzel I dabble a little in a lot of things -- writing, webcomics, gaming, photography, web design, music, and more. I'm a full-time code-wrangler and a part-time farmer with 40 acres, a lot of animals, and far, far too much to do. Read Bio

“Desdemona is a dangerous planet,” the guide called out to the group, “but only if you don’t respect her ways.”

James rolled his eyes. He hadn’t wanted to come to Desdemona, but human-friendly habitable planets were few and far between, especially now that Sol was trending toward red giant these days.

“Most of what lies beyond the energy barrier could kill a person in a blink,” the guide continued. “This bit of safe haven you’re standing in has been carved out with a lot of sweat, blood, and tears.”

And that was when James spotted the maintenance hatch down the path a little way. Making sure no one was watching, he nonchalantly walked away from the group — they were all distracted, anyway — and opened the hatch, using the adjoining service tunnels to get out beyond the barrier.

Sometime later, James finally stepped into the open air and took a deep breath — and a razor-sharp leaf spiraling from a nearby tree sliced cleanly through his skull.

Desdemona was not kind to invading, incautious species.

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Comments (4 so far!)

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  1. Avatar J. Rein B.

    I have a feeling someone watched Avatar.

    I loled in a queasy way.XD

  2. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    I have, but that connection didn’t even occur to me until you pointed it out. This story was actually inspired by a leaf that struck me on the face as I was walking to my car. Made me wonder what a world would look like if just about everything on it was potentially lethal to human life in some way. :)

  3. Avatar Abstract

    Jim, I think your little thought experiment yielded fantastic results.

    Also, the late and hapless James is a rather epic fail.

  4. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Yes. Yes, he is. Tragedy of youth, thinking oneself wiser and more intelligent than others and inherently indestructible.

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