Wikus didn’t really understand too much of the crazy shit that seemed to happen in his life. He didn’t know why the fuel to the mother ship started to transform him into a prawn. He didn’t know why his father-in-law was such a rat bastard. He didn’t know what he would do for the next three years as he waited for Christopher to come back.
And he really had no idea why so many prawns were constantly offering him gifts.
He had quickly taken shelter to clean himself of the blood of the military men and had collapsed in exhaustion. And pain. There had been lots of pain as his left shoulder blade had popped out.
Wikus had wanted nothing more than something to eat after that. He slowly staggered out of the shack he claimed as his own, only to freeze at the sight of five different prawns seemingly waiting right outside of the shack.
He blinked and looked each prawn over. None of them seemed hostile as they didn’t approach him, though the two that had been sitting stood. Other than that the prawns just stared at him and their mouth tendables seemed to work overtime as they sniffed heavily.
“Um, hello,” Wikus offered. He was well aware that the only thing that had tried to help him out was three years away from helping him again. It was time to make new friends and being neighborly seemed like a good start.
None of the prawns answered but one stepped forward hesitantly, eyeing the other prawns more than Wikus as it reached one hand out. Wikus frowned, not used to seeing a prawn act with such caution, despite how much time he had spent with Christopher. The prawn seemed to sense his discomfort with the situation and didn’t move forward anymore. He simply lowered himself and extended his hand a bit more before dropping two, small, shiny rocks.
Wikus stared at the rocks and then looked at the prawn. The prawn shifted and pushed the rocks forward a bit more before he took a step back. Wikus looked to the other aliens and was even more at unease by how they all seemed to be waiting for his next move. Wikus thought that he might be involved in some sort of prawn welcoming ritual.
“Thank you,” Wikus smiled as he bent slightly and gathered the rocks. “These are lovely.” The gift giver seemed to beam, as much as prawns could, and then scampered off.
Wikus stared at the others and backed up, alarmed, as the other four quickly rushed towards him and placed their own gifts by his feet. Wikus blinked and looked at the pile of buttons, a fishing hook, a bent butter knife, and some metal hair clips. Figuring that he was simply getting the welcome wagon and house warming gifts, Wikus scooped the items up and smiled.
“Thanks, all of you.” Again, he received the same reaction and was left alone as they all ran off. Wikus stepped back into his shack to place his new gifts down and then went back out to continue his original search for food. He tried to think that the prawns following him the entire trip were simply his new friends and that they were just trying to keep a look out for him. But by the time he headed back into his shack, he counted ten prawns standing around. He waved at them and then closed the flimsy door.
Wikus screamed as he felt his back snap in half. At least, it felt like it and the sound of his new prawn body working its way through him sure assured him that whatever was happening, it was far from good for his human body parts. He withered and sobbed openly on the pathetic mattress as he tried to work through pain. What he wouldn’t give for some hard alcohol at that moment. Or, even better, for a can of cat food at that moment.
The first time he had tried cat food, back before he wasn’t aware that his entire body was doomed to look like a space crab-monster, he had learned why the prawns liked it so much. Cat food was pretty much crack to prawns. Wikus had been a juvenile teen in his college years and tried more than one drug. Eating that cat food had started to give him the same affect and he had quickly thrown it out. Plus, his teeth had been falling out at that point.
But as he groaned and cried out for some kind of mercy, he wished he had some of the drug so he wouldn’t have to endure such a pain in his right senses. “Oh fuck me,” he whined as he clutched at himself and rolled onto his side.
Wikus screamed and jerked as he saw a prawn in his shack. “What the fuck? Why, why the hell are you, what are you doin’ here, man?” Wikus shouted, extremely embarrassed to have a prawn witness his moment of weakness. He tried to stand but only toppled over. The prawn luckily caught him but Wikus was still furious and attempted to struggle. Only, the prawn started to stroke his back gently. Wikus mewed in pleasure at the soft sensation soothing his aching back and leaned into the prawn.
The prawn seemed pleased as he shifted Wikus slightly so both hands could rove over his back as his chest hands carefully gripped him to keep him standing and balanced. Wikus didn’t even care that the prawn had broken into his shack or that it was practically molesting his back; for a few minutes he wasn’t in pain. His knees started to buckle as he felt himself being claimed by exhaustion once again, his head lolling forward as he bobbed in and out of sleep.
The prawn carefully laid him on his stomach on his mattress and sat by his side as it continued its gentle massage. For the first time all day, the prawn actually spoke to Wikus as his eyes closed, a mere moment before sleep claimed him. “Relax, my queen, all will be well soon.” The prawn clicked just as Wikus drifted off.