Thank you all so much for your updoots and feedback. It gives me the will to go on. Want to see more? Think about becoming a Patreon. Tea refuses to buy itself and the more time one has to spend on a day job the less time there is for befuddled aliens.
“I do not think I would be able to explain it scientifically,” Twistunder observed as he nuzzled into his companion, “but I think I understand the allure of these indoor combustion chambers to the humans.”
Rollsslowly gave a lazy hum of assent and lifted a sensory rich appendage to absorb some of the radiant warmth spilling out of the combustion chamber. They were twined together in a shallow pool that formed a sort of raised center to the common room of the research base. The main lights had been dimmed in tune with the diurnal cycle of the planet and the majority of the staff were spending the rest day sprawled over the furniture either reading or composing messages for distant loved ones. Several human couches were arranged around the Undulates’ pool, all facing the circular stone contrivance the humans called the fire pit. A vent hovered over the pit to guide the fumes and smoke out of the common area and various steel levers hung on the side for when the humans felt the mysterious urge to prod at the flames.
Twistunder’s musings were cut short as one of the humans in the shadowy reaches of the room tossed aside his book and directed a resentful glare at the large bay of windows that comprised the south arc of the structure. Twistunder mused over the view. One of the massive storms, the kind that were unheard of on his planet, was whipping the forest outside into a frenzy of movement. The trees, each of which he knew to be several unds in diameter were bending and dipping like so much algae. Twistunder supposed he could sympathize with the frustration that caused the human to drum his fingers on the arm of his chair. Finally the human produced a wordless gust of air and snapped to his feet. The human paced back and forth several times and suddenly made a run at the wall.
“Human Friend Susan?” Twistunder asked after a moment.
Rollssowly grumbled as Twistunder had to pull away to form the words.
“S’up lil bud?” Human Friend Susan asked, before immediately breaking into a yawn.
“What is Human Friend Red doing?” Twistunder asked.
Human Friend Susan blinked slowly at him and Twistunder lifted a gripping appendage to indicate the path the human was taking. Human Friend Susan swiveled her head slowly and focused on the other human. Her face went slack for a moment as her eyes tracked his course, before breaking into a wry smile.
“He’s climbing the walls Twist,” she said with a laugh.
“I did not think this architecture allowed a human sufficient purchase to climb the walls,” Twistunder observed.
“Neither did I,” Human Friend Susan agreed. “But it is storming you know.”
She indicated the window with a nod of her head.
“I was under the impression that storm weather sent mammals into a torpor like state,” Twistunder said.
“Sometimes,” Human Friend Susan said.
She winced as the other human reached the ceiling and almost fell from his perch before moving onto the next one.
“But keep a human cooped up too long and they do start climbing the walls,” she concluded, turning back to her book.
“I have heard that phrase,” Rollsslowly observed. “However I thought it simply a figure of speech.”
“Well now we know,” Twistunder said. “Human Friend Susan, I believe the fire needs poking.”