I lie beside you, in the pre-dawn light, listening to your breath, listening for the change which I know is coming. We’ve argued, the last few months, past the autumn festival at the town hall, into the first frosty nights. Yesterday, you told me you’d decided, held my gaze as you slipped the hypodermic under your skin and injected the alien serum. How will you change? Become taller, stronger, with scales on your skin and goat-like eyes, yes, but will you still be ‘you?’
At first the aliens—the Ekru—kept their distance. We allowed them to build a base on the moon; in return, they employed their technology to our benefit. There were sceptics, but over the years, the Ekru earned our trust. What we saw of their behavior was calm, pacifist, just. A decade after their first arrival, they announced that anyone who wished it could become an Ekru and leave this world forever. Years of exploitation, unemployment, pollution meant that there was no shortage of volunteers, injecting themselves with the alien serum which would transform them.
In the morning, you don’t mention the injection, and neither do I. I scrutinize your breakfast choices: peaches, yoghurt, and a little slice of toast with ham. For a long time, you were vegetarian, and I realize now that I don’t know whether the Ekru eat meat.
You put the dog on a leash and head out to the forest to work on another oil painting. You have an exhibition coming up in a month. I wonder if it will go ahead.