Author’s Note: So I learned a bit more about how this particular alien’s species works, as he shared it in this section. Their physiology is quite interesting.
Impossible, but interesting.
The children of the vortex were scattered long ago, and they possessed no unified society. In some sense, he had found this true of humans as well, for their politics and nationalities divided them. Racial groups did not live in one place only, nor did they seem to extend much effort in what could be called a collective way.
Sometimes he would see images that suggested some unity, but he did not see it when he wandered among them. He did not think that they thought it was a lie, more that optimism was always a part of such messages, even the ones that did not seem like they held any spirit of optimism in them. Perhaps there was hope if people could dance in synchronization or gather in large masses.
Humans had an advantage over the children of the vortex. They could never gather, not in any number, for if the hunger was strong in one of them alone, in greater number, the hunger would feed on itself, taking each of them with it, turning thousands of “monsters” into one with the need to consume the universe itself.
He thought it erroneous to call them children, at least by the definition of many humans. The children that filled the park were small, not having reached their maturity, yet his people spawned fully grown, and a black hole was anything but maternal.
These human families, they had an organizational structure and qualities that he had never seen among his own people, and several other species bypassed it as well, having asexual reproduction or only producing clones to continue on their existence. Some had children the same as humans, and their emotional ties were as strong as the ones between these humans here and their offspring.
A ball rolled toward him, and he looked up at the child who rushed after it. “Hey, Mister! Throw me the ball, please.”
He looked down at the ball. The child’s request was simple: pick it up and toss it back. The father had done this several times already. The others would all think that he should give the boy back the ball. He should not have stayed in this place, the park had little to show him, but he had not left. He stepped back instead, letting the ball roll past him. If the toy came into contact with him, the hunger would consume it.
“No! Why’d you do that?” The boy pushed himself faster, running toward the ball, now rolling into the street, heedless of the vehicles traversing it.
“Joshua!” The mother rose from her spot with the daughter, calling to him. The father ran after his son, but he would not catch the child in time.
He had thought to save the ball from destruction—the ball and the park—but he had made a mistake. The child would be hit trying to retrieve it, and it would be because of him. He should have eaten the ball rather than allow that to happen.
He went to the street, his ability to distort space and time making the move seem almost instantaneous, reaching his hand out toward the car that would have struck the child. He gave it no more than the shortest moment to connect, knowing the hunger too well to let it take hold of anything for long.
Darkness spread around the vehicle, and he felt the too tempting euphoria that always came with appeasing the hunger. It was at peace for that second before it started to demand more, and he had to pull his hands and legs up against himself, fold it all inward until it realized the only thing to consume was himself.
The pain tore at him, ripping at his facsimile of flesh and causing him to cry out. He had not had to do that in so long, he had been so careful not to let it get to this point, but he could not let the child perish. He was not here to destroy.
“Mister, are you—”
“Don’t touch me.” He forced himself up, needing to get far from all of this. He could see what he’d done to the car, just how much he’d taken in so little time, and it shamed him. If he’d held on for even a fraction longer, the driver would have suffered the same fate as the mangled wreckage that was once his transportation, now missing more than half of its front end.
He had to leave. This city was too crowded for him. The hunger, having been roused and denied, would keep him suffering and desperate to silence it. A rural area would be better. He’d go to where there was less temptation and chance of hurting anyone.
He had already destroyed so much. He could never give it back or atone for it, but he had to make sure that he did not do it again.
He liked to blame the hunger, to give it a sentience it did not possess, and to make it the monster, but he knew the truth. He was the one that was evil. He was the being hated and feared by the advanced species of the galaxy. He was the monster.