Rattler’s Tale #10

by Anthony North
Friday Fictioneers
Poets & Storytellers United
The Sunday Muse
in association with

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio


The two android scouts disguised themselves in the engines and looked up.
All they could see was empty space in the hot air balloon.
Realising it wasn’t going to get into space, they looked again at the data.
Reports of early space exploration:
Early successes – Poe, Verne and Wells …
The aliens had sent androids to counter the deadly viruses that had got previous aliens.
But …
What a useless species, these humans, they decided.
No interaction, no touching, and definitely no hyperdrive.
They’re doomed.
And delusional.
And the virus still around.
They decided to go home.


It seemed crazy to hunt deer in a boat, but since I met him …
‘Not hunt; draw,’ he admonished.
I apologised. ‘Old habits.’
He sat in the boat with me, riding the waves, yet there was no wind in my sails.
‘How are we moving?’ I asked. ‘How can there be a deer down there?’ ‘Who are you?’
He replied: ‘Maybe we’re in a lake held up by its antlers. Or maybe by a bull’s horns.’
He claimed to be an artist yet he looked like a harlequin, or a woman in a wall …
… always with his head on his side …
I guess its just a crazy world.
‘How do you feel?’ he asked.
‘But the water’s dry.’
‘Then you’re finally wide awake.’
‘What’s that over there?’
‘Your leg.’
Then I remembered, and it seemed to me that at last I was in a sensible world …
… and I saw the deer and didn’t want to hunt … and …
The lake became my blood, the antlers the staves of the stretcher and tranquility exploded.
And the artist wore a soldier’s helmet and I asked: ‘Who are you?’ once more.
‘I’m the artist who created crazy, and people thought me crazy, and couldn’t get I was reality.’
And as I closed my eyes, and the pain flowed away, I joined Picasso in the eternal picture.

90 comments on “Rattler’s Tale #10

  1. They needed to see it up close but eventually got it right. It’s a good thing they didn’t see what’s going on here in the U.S. They may have recommended extermination.

  2. This is like watching the birds between the houses–swoop and dive, humor and float, then a stoop toward the ground. Dizzying and marvelous.

  3. “What a useless species” lol I second that.
    I love the line “The lake became my blood, the antlers the staves of the stretcher and tranquility exploded.”

  4. Clearly you are an optimist to think that other advanced creatures might be more intelligent than us. However they might just think we are edible!

    1. As the author of a book on UFOs, I don’t speak as an optimist, but rationalist. In getting here they would have successfully passed a stage of tech in which they could have blown up their planet. As they didn’t do so, I would argue they’d come to terms with themselves. But your last point is valid. Would they class us as sentient?

  5. To be in a sensible world and not wanting to hunt deer would be an awakening of sorts. Your poem made feel like I had walked into a dream and the deer was actually a guardian to a world that is slowly drifting away.

  6. “‘Not hunt; draw,’ he admonished.
    I apologised. ‘Old habits.’”

    The politeness adds to the delight of this Gulliver Travels tale leading from the height of the stag’s horns to the company of Picasso. Perhaps you joined him in the middle of Guernica? I rested in the middle awhile, quite taken with your form and ideas. If only reality made that much sense. I like the title, too: “Hunter Dear.”

  7. Happy Sunday Anthony. Thank you for dropping by my sumie Sunday.
    I enjoyed all your tales today. The alien androids madd me chuckle😊


  8. It’s a busy write, Anthony, I would like to go wild some days but always I find a solid place to crash. On reread I will jump off someplace if I find one that suits me. I am afraid there won’t be, things are crazy now-a-days.

  9. They did the right thing, Anthony. Going home was the best option – I think I’d join them, given the chance. I liked the irony in the way the android scouts found themselves in a hot air balloon and identified it as early space exploration, especially the early successes.

  10. I love the idea of reality, where no one wishes to hunt deer. The water is dry as the land may become.

  11. I think aliens would never land here unless they understand irony and sarcasm. Otherwise there is much too much to misunderstand.

    I’m in a detente with the deer on my land except for the three-legged deer. She’s welcome.

    You come up with some interesting tales, Anthony.

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