By Kaol

First, an explanation and apology of sorts. This little story I place here primarily for curiosity’s sake as much as anything. It was written many many many years ago when I was a young teen. It was my first effort at a story, and really ended up book length before it was done, though most of it, thankfully, has been lost. I found this bit, however, and given that it does have some quicksand and snakes in it, I thought some folks would enjoy it. How it evolved was that I put together 4 poster boards and made a massive illustration of this battle between aliens and other folks, with lots of traps and such that folks were getting caught in. I then wrote a story based on the drawing. Not polished, but what the hey, it shows my interest was there way back when.

"Yes, Francis, what is it?"

"I believe I've found an underground tunnel," he said, pointing with some urgency to a fake tree stump that he had found. The top swiveled up from the rest of the stump like a garbage lid. "I wanted to check with you before I pursued it."

"Well, okay. Just watch yourself."

"Right!" he replied eagerly and climbed into the darkness, pulling the top back over the stump as he disappeared.

Nichus walked up to the front of the group waiting alongside Sabrina. "Francis found a secret tunnel. He wanted my permission before following it," he explained.

"Oh," she replied, nodding.

The group resumed their trek, walking for another five minutes before coming upon the camp. It was just as it had been when Ammy and Treb had come across it. Jill had meanwhile come up from behind and stood next to Nichus and Sabrina.

"It's awfully quiet, isn't it?" Jill asked.

"Yes, it is," Sabrina answered.

Commander had anticipated their arrival and had prepared accordingly. He had men everywhere awaiting the signal to spring on the Earthlings and eliminate them. He had soundproofed the underground so that the humans could not hear their companions' cries for help. At the moment, he prepared to give the word that would commence the attack in full force.

"Let's go through this passageway," Nichus pointed to where the other groups had passed through the broken coils of barbed wire.

"There's blood there," Jill pointed out, kneeling besides the sharp strands.

"So there is," said Sabrina. "But no bodies. We better get moving if we want to find them. Let's go."

Everyone walked through the opening and stood around Nichus, waiting to hear what to do next, when suddenly a voice screamed, "Keerk!", and bullets began whizzing about everywhere.

"Scatter!" Nichus screamed. "Scatter! Everyone, scatter!"

Jim Haldon was accustomed to these kind of assignments. He was E.E.B.'s chief explorer, and rightfully so. He was renowned within and without the agency for his trips into the Arctic and Africa. A heavily muscled individual, Jim was well suited for assignments where things could get hairy. He was also well known as a fashion expert. On missions such as this one, however, he didn't always live up to this reputation. Right now he had on a Beatles' OH! DARLING T-shirt and some checkered cut-offs. To his right he detected movement. He swung his head in that direction and began to move to investigate when something grabbed him by the right shoulder. He spun around only to look into the flashing eyes of ATL, the Uranian's computer robot. Very typically, Jim lashed out at it with his left hand, only to break it on diamond-hard metal. ATL picked him up by his shoulders and started moving. It moved on a set of treads, much like those of the tanks Jim had ridden in back in the Big One.

"What are you doing, you cheap tin machine?" Jim grimaced.

There was a whirring sound and then a message flashed across the monitor screen in the center of the robot's chest. It read: GOODBYE.

"Good-bye? What the hell does that mean, good-bye?"

Suddenly from a compartment on the lower side of ATL a rope shot out and wrapped about Jim.

"Hey! Just a second. I'm getting mad!" Jim grunted, struggling and squirming with the ropes that bound his arms to his sides. His efforts were pitifully ineffectual. Silently, the robot raised him higher. His gaze moved down to its chest once more. Still the single word GOODBYE glowed there. The robot's arms let go of him and he dropped with an splash into a cauldron of dark oil.

"Hey! Someone! I think I need help!" he cried. On the robot's monitor flashed: YOU'RE RIGHT.

Jim screamed more earnestly for help as ATL built a fire under the cauldron and the oil slowly got hotter, hotter, hotter, hotter...

Sabrina ran and dove to the ground as soon as the shooting started. She knew she had to do something, but what? Joe Flyinger dove down next to her.

"This is chaos! Who's in charge? There's a war on," he sputtered. "Nichus is in charge," she answered. "But where is he?"

"I don't know. I'm going to try to find him. Or someone. I'll see you."

"No! Wait!" she cried. But he was already gone.

She felt another body dive down next to her. Turning to see who it was, Sabrina's eyes locked with the gold, glowing eyes of a Uranian. She started to scream but his hand flashed out and covered her mouth. Her eyes darted down towards his other hand and saw it held some kind of strange weapon.

"Don't scream, or I shall be forced to disintegrate your brain," he croaked and pulled his hand away very slowly.

"Who, who are you? What are you going to do with me?" She avoided looked at his face, a mass of deformed flesh.

"Llugeas is the name, mummifying's the game. We come from the planet you call Uranus. Right now, my lady, you are my little toy." He grabbed her wrist and pulled her along behind him. Sabrina tried to pull free, but to her surprise, there was an inhuman degree of strength in that three foot tall frame. Stopping, he bound her wrists to her sides and placed her on a platform. Taking a piece of cloth, he wrapped her feet up to her ankles. He then took the spool that the cloth was attached to and floated up to her face.

"One move to escape now and I'll do what I threatened earlier and it's so long cerebrum."

He slowly started revolving around her, the cloth gradually making its way up her calves. Sabrina didn't know what to do, her alternatives seemingly disintegration or mummification. Maybe if I go along with him for the time being, she thought, I can be saved later. The corners of her mouth dipped into a frown as she watched the wrapping encircle her thighs.

Fred Rooter was dressed in an authentic blue and red Superman costume, and indeed he much resembled the comic book character. Tall, with blue eyes, his muscles fairly rippled with energy. Employed as a scientist for E.E.B., Fred had developed a pill, suited only for his metabolism, that briefly gave him the powers of the legendary Superman. When the shooting had broken out, Fred had been preparing to take his energy pill, but in the mad rush the pills had been knocked out of his hands.

Crawling along close to the ground, he was currently searching for his pills. After several frantic moments he spotted them, and he reached out and thrust one into his mouth. Unfortunately for Fred, his pills had been switched with alien suspended animation pills only moments before. His surprise at suddenly being unable to move is thus understandable.

Kelly Jackson and Don Hand lay side by side in the dirt. They had seen Fred take one of his energy pills and suddenly collapse, seemingly lifeless.

Kelly hissed at Don, "What should we do?"

"I don't know, Kelly. Why don't we try and catch one of those purple fellers?" And with no more warning than that stood up and took off after a Uranian.

"Darn him," she grunted, jumping up to take off after him.

As Don was running he noticed the ground up ahead had a bubbling appearance generally not associated with land. Abruptly the hard surface gave way beneath him. He felt something hot and sticky touch his skin. He was immediately plunged up to his chest in black, stick stuff. Then it hit him, it was a tar pit. He tried to warn Kelly, but she had already stepped in some as well, and was up to her thighs in it, trying to kick free. This didn't help, but merely quickened her descent.

Kathleen was a tall beauty with long, silvery hair and high cheekbones. Today she wore a sparkling green tube top and white shorts. With her figure, she was a tempting target for human and alien alike. However, in this particular setting that was not at all a plus. She had been upset when she had learned she would not be in Nichus's group, but resigned herself that each member had their part to play.

Presently, she lay on her belly in the dust, trying to decide what to do. I've bloody well got to do something, she thought, and stood up. She had not taken more than one step when she realized she could no longer move her arms or legs. What? she thought.

Tonus appeared out of nowhere, blinking in from the hyperspace dimension in which he had been hiding. "Well, hello tall, light, and beeyooteeful. Looks like you are kind of at my moicy." He reached out and tickled her.

"Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!" she laughed in spite of herself.

"Ha! Youse can't move." He slid a claw into her cleavage and pulled the stretchy top away from her skin, peering down with a leer. "Hey! None of that. What do you think you're doing?"

"Toying with you befores I finishes youse off." Stretching the top further, he abruptly let go, letting it snap back.


"Well, I'm picking up good vibrations now," he quipped. "But I've got something even better planned for youse," he said, sweeping his arm about and directing her gaze to a giant anaconda coiled not far from them.

"That's impossible," Kathleen gaped. "No snake is that big. I know that for a fact."

"Youse thought youse did, babe. And yet perhaps youse ask is that snake dangerous? Of course. And deadly? Yes, indeedy. Why? Because as it does kill its prey there is constrictive power in its muscular coils, crushing power within those muscular coils, to sque-e-e-e-e-eze you, Kathleen, like a used up tube of toothpaste. It will come twisting and curling, entwining about your lovely body until you, my beauty, stand before me a hissing monument of reptilian flesh."

"If you plan to have that snake crush me, you're in for a surprise. Snakes like me."

"Well toots, this ain't no ordinary snake, as you can so plainly see. And I hopes he does like youse. Youse oughtta be very tasty."

"You're going to feed me to him?"

"Duh, give the little lady a kewpie. You'll be the best meal he's ever had, I'll wager."

"Can't I defend myself even? Or are you afraid I'd win?"

"I'll let your arms and legs free, but if youse try to run you will become paralyzed again." He snapped his fingers and she could move once more.

"Maybe we could talk this over?"

"Sorry, you're snake chow."

The snake moved slowly towards her, tongue flicking cautiously in and out. It had been awhile since its last meal, and the meal before it looked quite appetizing.

If I can get avoid getting bitten on its first strike, I ought to have a chance, she thought. She crouched down. "No, boy. No. We're friends. No boy."

The snake continued moving towards her. Then with astonishing swiftness it struck. Hurtling its body at her head, Kathleen moved just in time. It then threw two crushing coils around her waist and right leg. With one hand she seized the serpent's head, holding its wide and salivating jaws only inches from her face. With the other hand she seized the coil about her waist. The snake wrapped two more coils over her, forming a wall of snake from her shoulders to her waist. Her right arm was pinned to her side and her left still held the snake's head. She had to let go of the snake's head and hope that it wouldn't strike her. The snake had completely encircled Kathleen so that her body was, from the shoulders down, coil upon coil of hungry, crushing anaconda. She beat futilely against the snake's head with her left hand, but all it did was get her a bite on that hand.

Each time she inhaled the snake pulled its body tighter around her, squeezing her chest so tightly that she couldn't breathe. It was no use, the snake was winning. That was a laugh; there really was never any doubt. It pulled its coils tighter, tighter, encircling, hugging, squeezing. Soon when she stopped struggling and breathing it would unwrap itself and begin devouring her. A thought flashed through her mind along with a wave of pain. She had to play dead or soon she wouldn't be playing it. She stopped her struggling and feigned death.

The snake had been surprised at how hard this meal had fought back, even though its form was so fragile. It had thrown fold upon fold upon fold over her body, and still she had fought back. Her struggling had become consistently weaker and more frantic as it had begun constricting. Finally the struggling ceased. The snake could still sense her heartbeat, but it seemed otherwise that she was through fighting, accepting the inevitable. The snake then slowly uncoiled itself from around her limp body, leaving one coil about her shoulders to help maneuver her into the best position for swallowing.

Kathleen barely kept in her sigh of relief as the snake had begun unwrapping itself. She had to have the snake believe her dead. She wouldn't be able to survive another squeezing. She readied herself for the moment when the snake uncoiled its final coil and then she would spring up and run off. She looked for the Uranian, but he was nowhere to be seen. Good, then she would be able to escape all the more easily. Yet the snake was smarter than she had guessed and kept a coil looped about her. She fought back her horror. She knew what was coming next.

The anaconda unhinged his jaws and slid them over Kathleen's feet and started swallowing. Slowly and gently, as snakes will, it began to engorge her legs. With powerful muscular contractions it pulled its body further and further up her limbs.

Paul Splendor, Jr. had one of the easiest jobs in E.E.B.. He was their public relations man. That was an exciting job, since something new was always happening within the organization. He enjoyed the ventures they often became involved with, such as the current mission. Eventually he knew he'd have to move into a calmer field, but he didn't plan on that for another ten years or so. He started walking when suddenly a pair of hands lifted him up and threw him into what seemed to be a box of some sort. What? he thought. This wasn't here a moment ago. He tried to pull his hands out, but was surprised to find they had already been bound. His brain seemed to go numb. Too many inexplicable things were happening too fast for him to keep up. C'mon, Paul, he told himself. Snap out of it. A quick glance to his left revealed his captor. The sight very nearly made him sick. Then he suddenly realized what he was in. An iron maiden. A device used to execute dissenters in the Middle Ages. It was like a coffin and in the lid were imbedded several long pointed stakes that would pierce the victim when the lid was shut. Paul screamed as the door slammed shut with a wet crunch.

Susan Cooper was running. She had been running for fifteen minutes now and she could feel it. She could also feel the wounds over her body where that mad thing with the knife had made contact. She had to keep going.

Sandy Haldon was running also. No one was chasing her, but she didn't want to be an easy target if anyone suddenly decided they wanted to. She didn't like what was happening. Her friends were being captured left and right. She hadn't yet seen one of those creatures bested, however. Abruptly there were was a light touch upon her arm. Turning, she saw nothing. There, it was on the other arm now. Spinning about, she looked into a grinning alien face, and then felt other little hands grabbing her arms and legs.

"Let go! Let go of me! Let go!"

They lifted her and set her down away from the main battlefield. "We'd really like to, don't you know, but we have much better plans for you."

"What do you mean? Help! Someone help me!" she screamed. Meanwhile, a couple of the aliens walked over to a huge ant hole and began digging, ignoring or not feeling the ants biting at them.

"What do you plan to do? Who are you? Where are you from?"

"I'm Revlover, and we're from Uranus. That's all you need to know. Hmmmm. Well, it looks like Nemmok and Eht are done."

"What are you going to do? How do you speak English? Where's Nichus? How tall is the Eiffel Tower?"

"We're going to bury you in the ant hill. We can speak anything we want to. I don't know. Very tall."

"You can't do this to me! I'll fight you!"

"You will, and you won't accomplish anything, but it might be fun to observe all the same. Anyway, take off your clothes first."

"Take off my...! No! Way! No!"

"Then I will."

"Don't you try it," Sandy snarled.

"Leave her alone, Revlover. The ants will get to her, just not as quickly. Let's go," grunted Nemmok.

They grabbed her and dropped her stomach deep into the hill.

The wrapping was up to her neck when Llugeas stopped and tied it off at her back. Suddenly he spun about and ran off.

"Stop! Where are you going? You can't leave me like this. I can't move," Sabrina cried. Then she spotted Nichus coming up to her. His hair was different and he was wearing his old glasses, but she didn't much care to wonder why. "Nichus! Help me! I can't move."

The android Nichus walked over. "Stay calm. I'll help you." He lifted her in his arms. "You'll be safe now."

"What's the matter, Nichus? You sound strange."

"Doesn't everyone in the heat of battle? Here. Stand on this platform."

"What? Why here? This is an alien machine."

"Yes. I know," he said, and fitted her head into the bowl shaped upper portion of the machine.

"What are you doing? Nichus, stop!"

The android punched a button on an instrument he had attached to his belt. Suddenly she started shaking. "W-W-W-What i-is th-th-this? S-S-Stop. S-S-S-S-Stop!"

"This is a vibromatic. In an hour your insides will be the consistency of a milkshake. Silly way to die, really, but aren't they all?"

She stood and vibrated.

Ted and Randy had been running about looking for Nichus when a gleaming metal object caught Ted's attention. He ran to it.

"Hey," said Randy. "Where you going?"

Ted picked up the gleaming object. It was Dr. Connor's canister. "I'm taking this. These are the type of canisters E.E.B. uses. It may be important."

They ran to find Nichus.

They found Nichus sitting in a ditch observing the melee. Nichus jumped up immediately when he saw Ted. "Ted, are you all right? I heard you had been killed. How 'bout you, Randy? You okay?"

"We're okay," assured Ted. "I'll tell you more about it later. Look, I found this. Is it important?" He handed the canister to Nichus.

"Let me see that." Nichus unscrewed the lid. The inside was full of papers. "This looks like Dr. Connor's work. Good job, you two. What I want you to do now is round up anyone injured and send them back to base. I hate to admit it, but we're getting whipped out there. I wish I knew where the other groups were, but if they turn up, they'll have to fight for themselves. Now go." He turned to Jill. "Let's get this back to Dr. Connor," he said, handing her the canister.

Jill and Nichus were running when something struck them and hurled them through the air. When they landed, Nichus scrambled over to see if Jill was injured. "Jill, are you okay? Are you okay, Jill?"

"Yes. Yes, I think so. Where's the canister?"

"It's in your hand. Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah. But I'll be glad when we're out of here. This is terrible." "If I can help it, we'll be out of this soon. C'mon."

"I wish I shared your optimism. We're getting massacred."

"And we're doing nobody any good lying here. Let's go."

"Okay. I guess you're right. It's just that seeing Sandy caught in that anthill..." she shivered. "It's scary." She grabbed his arm and they began running again.

Seeing Sandy had unnerved Jill. She didn't care for seeing her friends hurt. The thought of it happening to her made her shudder even more. She felt somewhat comforted that Nichus was with her, but with the aliens she didn't know if even he could do anything. She had seen all the torture devices and was determined to make it out of this mess in one piece.

She took her next step, but when her foot touched down it kept going, sinking into the sucking softness beneath. Quicksand, dammit, her mind cried out. Her other foot followed, breaking the surface crust of the mud and plunging on down. She could feel the grains of sand sliding against her bare legs as they slid down deeper into the morass.

In reflex, she kicked her legs up and down, trying to free them. No. No. Not quicksand. No. She wouldn't accept it. But the quicksand couldn't hear her thoughts, and wouldn't have cared if it could. It was up to her thighs before she could find her voice.

"Nichus, don't come any closer. I mean, stop!"

Her warning came too later for Nichus, as he'd already fallen in behind her.

"Jill, don't struggle. You'll only sink deeper. Throw the canister to dry ground."

"I'll try." But it slipped from her grasp and fell into the bog as she raised her arm.

"Quick, Jill, grab it!"

"I-I can't reach it. I-I can't!"

"Well, don't worry. It's airtight and it isn't sinking yet. Quit struggling! You're only working in deeper, I said."

Jill was indeed working her way deeper. She had kicked and squirmed until the stuff was coming up under her chest. She was worried. She kicked her feet beneath her trying to find something to hold her up. She hadn't wanted this. Her breathing became quicker as she hyperventilated, chest straining against the cotton of her shirt. Wait. She had to calm down. Calm down. The sand was up to her chest and continued moving inexorably upward. "What do we do, Nichus? How do we get out?"

"Well, now that you're calm I think we can work that out. You can't reach to get out, can you? No? Okay. What I'll do is climb over you and pull myself out."

"Okay. Try it."

Nichus slowly worked his way over to her and grabbed her shoulders. He then pulled himself to her, causing the mire to cover her breasts completely. He then pulled himself over her, using her as a bridge. He slid onto solid ground.

Jill was anxiously awaiting his help. Nichus's maneuver had helped him, but had only caused Jill to sink deeper. The mire was now at her neck, and it wasn't slowing down.

"Hurry, Nichus. The mire is almost over my head!"

"I can see that." He lay down upon his belly. "Grab my hand. I know you can reach it."

She pulled her hand out of the muck and grasped Nichus's hand. "Geez, Jill. You're all slimy," he grunted.

"That's right. Up to my chin. Pull, Nichus. Please."

He grabbed her hand with both of his and began pulling. The only way she moved was down. Pulling up his legs beneath him, he braced his feet on the edge and used his legs to help. Slowly she moved towards the edge. With excruciating slowness she began to slide out, the quicksand reluctantly giving up its second victim.

"Pull, Nichus, pull. I'm coming. I'm coming."

He released his grip on her hand and grabbed her arms. His hands slid down them and he grabbed her wrists again. With a slurping, sucking sound the bog released Jill, sending her flying onto Nichus.

"Are you okay, Jill? You okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine. But the canister?"

"Don't worry. I pulled it out when I was crawling out."

"Good. Look at me. I'm a mess." She shook her arms to try to dislodge some of the goop on her. She looked down at her white T-shirt. At least it had been a white T-shirt when she put it on this morning. Now it was a muddy rag clinging to her body.

The aliens were not pleased with the way things were going. They were winning, but by a decreasing margin. Ryknanj spoke to Gnughual about it.

Ryknanj was greatly upset by what was happening. They had pretty well been on top of the situation. Still, he didn't like the way the tide was turning. They had caught nearly every human, and nearly every human had escaped.

"Hey, Gnughual, what should we do?"

"Whatever you say, your meanness."

"What works best on humans?"

"Hard telling."

"Then release the THM VII"

TMH VII was the aliens newest super weapon. It was a sleek, driverless UFO. They had fashioned it into the shape of what humans generally considered to be a UFO, a stainless steel Frisbee. It was a machine programmed to strike at anything with a body temperature over 50 degrees, the Uranians temperature.

Barbara wore a light green jumpsuit and tall, shiny black boots. The pant legs were shoved into the boots, bunching out over the tops, giving her somewhat the appearance of a jockey.

I wonder what I'm supposed to do? she wondered. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. She looked over her shoulder and noticed a little blue alien approaching. She pushed away her panic and prepared to confront this latest menace.

The alien came confidently up to her. "Er, are you bluish?"

Barbara's voice escaped her for the moment, wondering what the creature was talking about.

"You don't look bluish," it continued.

"It's 'cause I'm not."

"You're not?"

"No, I'm not."

"Well, well. We'll have to do something about that then, won't we?"

"Like what?"

"You'll find out soon enough."

He moved away from the wall. She turned with him and took a step forward. "I'd like to know what your intentions are."

"Never you mind."

He whirled his arms over his head and suddenly a large group of what appeared to be furry balls appeared. They were circular objects, covered with fur, each approximately an inch in diameter. There were thousands of them floating in the air about Barbara and the alien.

"What are these things?"

"They, Earthling, are your downfall."

"These dotty old things?"

"Yes. They're programmed to cover your body and absorb you. They are like parts of the same body, and when joined they'll make a giant eating machine. They should come at you now, I think."

Indeed, they were approaching Barbara. A few of them were beginning to 'taste' her. A daring few attached to her back, and then more, and then more.

"Stop them! Please, stop them!" Barbara cried, but the alien had vanished, apparently not wanting to get attacked itself.

The little furballs were all about Barbara. The Uranian had sensitized them to her and there was no hesitation as they went at her. They clung and joined, spanning her shoulders and making their wooly pattern across her abdomen. They hesitated briefly over the uneven three-dimensional curve of her breasts as though not sure what to do about those just yet.

She clutched at them, trying to pull them off, but this got her nowhere.

Barbara was buried in the little creatures as they formed a solid band about her body from breast to thigh. She gasped and choked. "They're tightening..."

And the nonsense continued, really. I'm guaranteed there was a happy ending.

Kaol, circa 1976.

The End

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