- This particular story and narration were originally recorded by Kate Baker for Clarkesworld Magazine, and is used here with their expressed permission. Thanks very much to Baker and Clarkesworld.
- The Escape Pod Flash Contest is over! now check out the judging!
- Editor’s note: Thanks so much to Dave Thompson and Peter Wood for taking on this project of securing all five Hugo stories during the hiatus of Escape Pod. Most of the work was done before I joined, and this wouldn’t have happened without them stepping up.
Next week… We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with a story from Heather Shaw!
By Kij Johnson
The alien is not humanoid. It is not bipedal. It has cilia. It has no bones, or perhaps it does and she cannot feel them. Its muscles, or what might be muscles, are rings and not strands. Its skin is the color of dusk and covered with a clear thin slime that tastes of snot. It makes no sounds. She thinks it smells like wet leaves in winter, but after a time she cannot remember that smell, or leaves, or winter.
Its Ins and Outs change. There are dark slashes and permanent knobs that sometimes distend, but it is always growing new Outs, hollowing new Ins. It cleaves easily in both senses.
It penetrates her a thousand ways. She penetrates it, as well.