Neon outline of an alien

Crude Oil by Isobel O’Hare

They came to Earth seeking a bride for their dying king. Bottles of moisturizer were sent to Earth’s women so we could beautify ourselves for the choosing ceremony. On use, the strangers’ ship received a signal that translated roughly to: this flesh is complicit. Behind on the news, not having watched television or listened to the radio that day, I was excited to find free cosmetics on my doorstep. In moments, as if my fingertips had become cosmic erasers, I was removed from my own life. The king’s human disguise was pleasing enough, but he needed to transform into his natural state in order to consummate our union. I found myself standing before a tiny old man, nestled gently in a sort of protective wheelbarrow, suspended in green slime with an elephant trunk draped down the length of his body. I placed a hand to my cheek. My skin had never felt so smooth.

Isobel O’Hare is an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She spent her early twenties running around Ireland, where she co-founded the now-defunct literary magazine dreamvirus. These days she is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader based in Baltimore, where she lives with three black cats and a spooky human.

Lead image: “Alien” (via Flickr user Angel Ortega)